Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 September 2019 Revelation 20:15.

Revelation 20:15.    ​And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Come Sunday morning…I will be going to church! Come Sunday morning…to fellowship with other believers…to hear God’s word…sing His praises…give Him thanks…and receive strength and guidance for the upcoming week! That’s what I’m going to do, come Sunday morning! Yeh friends, Sunday is the day most believers set aside for going to church, so let’s do just that this morning nuh. 

And you know we always begin the proceedings with a song of praise and thanksgiving, so let’s belt out this 1893 hymn by James Milton Black that’s still a crowd favourite.  It’s titled: ‘When the roll is called up yonder.’ ‘This hymn’s central theme is being in Heaven when your time has come and not missing out on the eternal salvation of God.’ And since all of us expect to be there, let’s sing it in loud voice, with the appropriate enthusiasm and sincerity and all the background voices that makes it such a sweet hymn. (smile) 

 As one harmonious choir: ‘When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there (Chorus: When the roll…when the roll… is called up yon-der, When the roll…when the roll…is called up yon-der, When the roll…when the roll…is called up yon-der, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.) 

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, And the glory of His resurrection share When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. (Chorus…When the roll…when the roll…I’ll be there) Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. (Chorus: twice. When the roll…when the roll…is called up yonder, I’ll be there.)’ 

What a joyous day that will be my fellow believers! There’ll be singing and dancing and joyful shouting as each name is read from the Book of Life. Unfortunately though, some of us might be disappointed when we don’t hear the names of some friends and family. But they will only have themselves to blame, as they had every opportunity like we had to come to Jesus and surrender their souls to Him. And before we get into the scriptural aspect of the Bit, let’s get some idea of how the hymn came about, as per the web site God Tube. 

They say it ‘was inspired by the idea of The Book of Life mentioned in the Bible, and by the absence of a child in Black’s Sunday school class when the attendance was taken.  The thought of someone’s being not in attendance in heaven haunted Black, and after visiting the child’s home and calling on a doctor to attend her for pneumonia, he went home and wrote the song after not finding one on a similar topic in his hymn collection.’ Ah mih people, these wonderful old hymns we sing nowadays have such diverse and inspirational backgrounds, and sadly we don’t know the inspiration behind many of them. 

Now let’s check out some relevant scripture. Those of us who get to heaven will have complied with the messages Jesus sent to a couple of the churches in His Revelation to John. In the message to the church at Thyatira, He promises: ‘And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over nations.’ (Rev.2:26) And the scholars explain that thus: ‘3-26-29. The obedient believer will be given a reward of power or authority in the millennial kingdom as he reigns with Christ (12:5; 19:5; 20:4).’  

And to the church at Sardis, the conclusion of the message was: ‘He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment (garments); and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ (Rev.3:5-6) And this is the scholars’ explanation: ‘3:5-6. The one who has genuine faith in Christ has the righteousness of Christ accounted to him through the redeeming blood of the Lamb. This is the white raiment (cf.7:14). 

The book of life is a list of the saved of all ages (cf. Phil.4:3; rev.20:12, 15). The promise not to blot out his name out of the book of life is an emphatic assurance of the eternal security of the true believer. The statement in Greek contains a double negative, which may be translated, “I will be no means blot out his name.” Christ will confess the name only of genuine believers (cf. Matt.10:32-33).’ 

Oh my people, hopefully we will be in the first resurrection (Rev.20:5) which includes the resurrection of Christ, of the Church (the dead in Christ), and of Old Testament and Tribulation saints. The second resurrection though will be for all the unbelieving dead of all ages. ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev.20:12-13)  

And the scholars explain. ‘20:12-13. The unbelieving dead are judged from two sets of books. The books contain the record of every unsaved person’s life. Each unsaved person is judged in accordance with his works (cf. Rom.2:6; 16), which clearly show that each one is a guilty  sinner (cf. Rom.3:9-19) deserving of eternal death (cf. Rom.3:23; 6:23). The book of life contains the name of every saved person who has received eternal life through faith alone (cf. John 20:31; 1 John 5:11-13). These unsaved people are shown that they did not take advantage of the offer of eternal life through faith (cf. Rom.9:32; 10:3) Death and hell (Hades) are the temporary holding places of unsaved men’s bodies and souls, respectively (cf. Luke 16:19-31).’ 

So what happens after that? ‘And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.’ (Rev.20:14-15) That says it all people! As the scholars explain: ‘20:14-15. The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire, experienced only by the unsaved. Once this final judgement occurs, there is no further need for either death or hell (Hades) (cf. 1:18, 6:8; Is.25:8; 1 Cor.15:26, 55). An eternal separation is now made between those who have life, and those who have “death” (cf. Dan.12:2; John 5:29).’ 

Oh friends, there are a lot of scripture references and plenty stuff that will happen when the time comes, but all you need to worry about is basically getting saved through faith in Jesus, obeying His words, and thus having your name written in the Book of Life! Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…else he will surely feel…

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 July 2019 Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18.    ​I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Now just in case you did not realize it, I’m here to inform you that the weekly cycle of life has come full circle again! (smile) This is the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath, the day on which He rested after spending the entire week creating the universe and all therein. It’s also the day that we ought to rest from our labour and journey to His sanctuary to fellowship with other believers, praising and exalting His Holy Name, giving Him exceeding thanks for all that He’s done for us. 

And last, but definitely not least, to hear His Holy Word, so that our spiritual selves can be refreshed and renewed, to enable us to rebuke and repel the evil enemy as we venture back into the ungodly working world tomorrow. And all of God’s children said a loud, proud and sincere: ‘Praise the Lord! Magnify His Holy Name!’ 

So let’s get right into the praise section by singing this old but much LOVED ‘Christian hymn, ‘Abide with Me,’ written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.’ And was it ever a fitting going away present to leave to posterity, as he indeed wrote a telling, thoughtful and true hymn! So, in one accord, let’s sing it like we really mean it nuh. 

‘Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? 

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’ 

Oh friends, those are such powerful, moving and gospel true words! Nobody else can help us in this life like Jesus can! And I like the descriptions: ‘Help of the helpless.’ That’s exactly what Jesus came to do! ‘O thou who changest not…’ More glorious truth! ‘I need thy presence every passing hour…’ And do we ever my believing brethren! Without it, we’d quickly be toast against the enemy. ‘What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?’ Exactly what we were just saying: only with Jesus in our lives can we ever hope to overcome the evil and diabolical enemy called Satan! 

Consequently, ‘I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless.’ Oh my people, living with and for Christ, certainly raises our level of courage to great heights, because we know that with Him in our corner we can conquer any and every foe! And when he asks? ‘Where is death’s sting? Where, grave thy victory?’ The thrilling, victorious answer comes: ‘I triumph still, if thou abide with me.’ 

And that’s for certain sure friends, because Christ defeated hell, death and the grave by His sacrificial death and His awesome resurrection! Note His words to John in the vision on the isle of Patmos: ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.’ 

Oh friends and fellow believers, the victory is indeed ours through Christ Jesus! Never forget that! Isaiah prophesied it: ‘He will swallow up death in victory (forever); and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. ‘ (Is.25:8) And we all know that our great and faithful God doesn’t make idle promises, His word doesn’t return to Him void, but accomplishes all its purposes. 

And Jesus certainly made mincemeat of Satan!  That’s why Bruh Paul could be so exuberant and cocksure when he wrote to the Corinthians: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Hades), where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (2 Cor. 15:54a-57) Oh mih people, shout and jump for joy, for victory is ours! Sing ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Praise the wonderful name of the Lord for He has indeed done marvellous things on our behalf! 

And Bruh David said it too in Psalm 68 – God has gone before his people. ‘Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.   Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation: and unto God the Lord belong the issues (escapes) from death.’ (Ps.68:19-20) But my people, all that good and wonderful news of victory through Christ, doesn’t mean we can just sit on our laurels and don’t do anything to help our cause. 

That’s why Bruh Paul at the end of his victory speech, warned the Corinthians:  ‘Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (2 Cor.15:58) And it most definitely is not, for all good work will eventually be rewarded in God’s time.

Friends, I sincerely recommend then, that we all take that warning to heart and get down to brass tacks right now, standing steadfast in Christ, rebuking and repelling the enemy who is trying to be a spoilsport and curdle our victory! Please don’t let him! Much LOVE!

…Christ won the victory…but we have to keep it alive…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 August 2014 Psalm 134:2

Psalm 134:2.     Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Well hello there mih lovelies! It’s a new day –Sunday –the day of the Lord, when we gather in His sanctuary to praise, worship, give thanks and glorify His Holy Name!
 
And all God’s children boldly declared: ‘Blessed be the name of the Lord who hath blessed us with all good things!’
 
Yes Friends, as usual, today will be filled with a whole new slew of blessings and mercies from our magnificent and majestic God! Thus His people joyfully proclaim: ‘This is the day the Lord has made. We WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’
 
Ah mih breddren, what a wonderful God we serve! Who else would still fill our coffers with mercy and forgiveness in spite of our less than exemplary service and obedience eh?  Nobody else Friends, nobody else! That just goes to show how much He LOVES us and desires a personal relationship with each and every one of us.
 
It’s just like and earthly family, where the parents provide for and look after the children, nourish, protect and LOVE them, but not always unconditionally like our God LOVES us. That’s the big difference! Our God will never turn His back on any of His children. We are the ones who stray, who walk away from Him.
 
But yuh know what? Whenever we choose to return to His wonderful and LOVING fold, He is always there to welcome us back with open, outstretched arms and wrap us in a big bear hug, gently whispering in our ear how much He missed us and how glad He is that we’ve come back home.
 
Ah mih people, what a glorious Father we have in heaven! It’s just like the parable of the Prodigal Son that Jesus told.
 
So now that we’ve established what a great and magnanimous Deity we worship, let’s put on our Sunday-best and get ourselves out to the sanctuary and fellowship with other believers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a big sprawling fancy church building, or an old wooden shack, because it’s not the building that matters, but the people within it.
 
And please note that dressing up to go to church is not to incite envy and jealousy from your fellow believers, as so many of us do, (smile) but as a mark of respect and appreciation to Almighty God, though He doesn’t really care so much about our dress, but more the state of our hearts.  
 
Now let’s check out Psalm 134, from which our Bit comes. It’s an exhortation to praise.  And according to the scholars it’s ‘apparently antiphonal: the people call on the priests to bless the Lord (vv. 1-2); the priests respond by pronouncing a blessing on the people (v.3).’
 
So let’s get on with it my people: ‘Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.  The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion.’ (Ps.134:1-3)
 
Yes Friends, it’s short, but certainly to the point!
 
Now hear how Bruh Paul puts it to Timothy: ‘I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.’ (1 Tim.2:8) That’s certainly a wonderful idea, my brethren!
 
And the scholars have this to say about that verse. ‘2:8. I will…that men pray every where (or, “I intend…that men in every locality pray”): The Greek word andres means “males.” Men are to lead audibly in public prayer; women are to pray silently.
 
This directive remains the same “in every locality,” geography being no factor. The manner in which men are to pray is that of lifting up holy hands, that is, with a pure life, which is without wrath and doubting (disputes).’
 
And though women now conduct public prayers, the requirement for doing so is still the same; without anger, resentment and disputes. As Bruh David says so wisely in Psalm 133; the joy of brotherhood: ‘Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!’ (Ps.133:1)
 
Oh my brethren that is gospel truth, and what Jesus desires of His followers here on earth. But unfortunately that unity doesn’t exist in Christ’s earthly body, His church, as strong and prevalent as it ought to. There is still too much dissension, disagreement, resentment, envy and jealousy in the church.
 
We’re supposed to all come under one umbrella, that of the Lord God Jehovah, with pure and humble hearts and clean spirits, all for the purpose of worshipping, of fellowshipping, of exhorting and encouraging and teaching each other, so that we can stay strong and grow, become mature in Christ and spread the good news of his gospel through the living example of our lives.
 
But obviously that’s not happening, hence the poor view that so many unbelievers have of Christians and the sad state of our very troubled and strife filled world. Every day I hear about the hypocrisy with which we are viewed. And I dare say Friends, that if we, as Christians had a better testimony amongst the heathen, our world would definitely not be as war torn and strife filled.
 
Please remember that we are the ones Jesus is depending on to bring the world to Him, to salvation and eternal life.  And if we falter on the job, then numerous souls will miss out on the good things that Christ died for them to have, meaning His tragic and very painful death would have all been in vain.
 
Oh my people, we can’t allow that to happen. So please let’s get our act together nuh, let’s clean up whatever we need to, so that when we go out into the world, others will notice a difference in us; that the light of Jesus is truly shining through us, that we’re truly the salt of the earth, and they will want to become like us, for remember that examples work more forcibly on the human mind than words.  
 
Remember too, Jesus’ last directive to the disciples, the Great Commission, of which we are now the recipients: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’ (Matt.28:19-20)  
 
Let’s concentrate and ponder on that today nuh Friends, truthfully considering how we are individually obeying Christ’s directive, and then let’s invoke the Lord’s help to improve our obedience to it. For if we don’t improve, our world will sink even deeper into the evil morass in which it’s now wallowing. Heavenly wisdom is desperately calling for us to respond favourably. Much LOVE!
 
…it’s all about truly LOVING our God… sincerely LIVING our Faith…and diligently SPREADING His word…

 
 
 
 


Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 August 2014 Deuteronomy 33:27

Deuteronomy 33:27.    The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and he shall say, Destroy them.

Aye mih people, fellow believers in Jesus Christ, once again the week has come full circle – Sunday to Sunday. Yeh, it’s time to begin another new week on the Lord’s Day.

And I was guided by the person of the Holy Spirit to remind us of two unassailable, irreversible truths. The first is that the Bible is God’s Word to us, and remains fresh through all the ages. And if we read it, we will find God’s wisdom embedded in its pages.

And the second truth is that ONE truth from the Bible is worth more than all the wisdom of man.

Oh Friends, please let’s spend a quiet moment and contemplate on those two statements, while writing them indelibly in our hearts and souls, for they will certainly help to guide us along the straight and narrow path that we need to adhere to, to successfully follow our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

And now having reminded us of those two glorious truths, (smile) let’s also remind us that the Lord’s Day is the day we generally get together with other believers in His sanctuary to sing and praise, worship, glorify and magnify our heavenly Father, Jehovah God! So please, let’s get ourselves together and find ourselves in a place of worship sometime today.

And the great thing about getting together to worship, is not only that it magnifies and glorifies God, but it also raises our spirits, puts a positive spin on our doings, brings joy to our souls and readies us for the coming Monday, the first day of the work week!

Yes Friends, having participated in joyful praise and worship on Sunday, undoubtedly enables us to face the daunting Monday without fear. In fact we are enabled to face it with complete assurance, joy and the oodles of positive opportunities that will be available to help us spread the good news of Jesus and His wonderful doings! In other words, to face Monday fearlessly and positively, we have to start getting ready on Sunday by worshipping.

And today we’ll continue with the message of our Bit from yesterday. ‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’

Yes Friends, that’s our great God! We have already seen how He is the safest and most wonderful refuge we can ever have, how He gathers us under His protective and comforting wings like the hens gather their chickens under their wings, and how He provides awesome comfort to all who believe and come to Him for succour.

Now let’s look at the second half of the Bit: ‘…and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’  

And my brethren, that is exactly what the Lord said to the Israelites through Moses, at the beginning of their Exodus from bondage in Egypt. Listen to what Moses told them way back in chapter 9 of Deuteronomy.

‘Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go into possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced (fortified) up to heaven, A people great and tall, the children of the Anakim, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, who can stand before the children of Anak!

Understand therefore this day, that the Lord thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the Lord hath said unto thee.

Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For (because of) my righteousness the Lord hath brought me to possess this land: but for (because) the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee.

Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform (fulfill) the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.’ (Deut.9:1-5)  

Yes Friends, the Lord made it abundantly clear that they would inherit the Promised Land, not because of their righteousness, since they were already a stubborn, disobedient and stiff-necked people, but because of His will and the wickedness of the people then inhabiting the Land.  Above all, it would fulfill His promise to their fathers to give the land to their descendants.

But even with God’s assurance of victory, the Israelites were afraid, and showed that fear and stubbornness by refusing to cross over the Jordan and take the land. And it’s not like they hadn’t experienced the wonders, goodness and miracles of God during their exodus from Egypt.

That’s why the Lord allowed them to wander in the wilderness for forty more years, until all the people who had come out of Egypt had died. It simply showed a lack of true faith and trust in the God of their fathers, in spite of all He had done for them. That, to the Lord was definitely not acceptable.

Ah mih people, how many of us today behave the same way eh? How many of us have God assuring us of victory in some area(s) of our lives, but because of fear or some other negative emotion, we refuse to take the next step, that leap of faith that will solidify our trust in His LOVE and faithfulness?  How many of us have missed out, or are missing out on God’s blessings like the stubborn and fearful Israelites eh?

Oh Friends, that is not the way Jesus expects His followers to live. We can’t say we trust and believe and surrender, then don’t do what He asks or guides us to do! That just makes our faith a total lie!

So please, for today’s ‘ponderation’ (smile), let’s take serious stock of our actual level of faith nuh, not the one we believe we have, but the real nitty gritty one, and see where we are falling down in the things that Jesus asks and expects of us, and then,  with sincere prayer, ask Him to help us improve.

Now that is what is termed absolute wisdom! For He WILL NEVER refuse our requests in that area. Much LOVE!

…if God has been faithful to us in the past…why would we ever doubt Him in the present and the future…