Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 January 2019 2 Timothy 2:3.

2 Timothy 2:3.   ​Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!
 

And then it was the first Sunday of the New Year! Glory Be! And all the devoted followers of Christ flocked to His sanctuary to hear His Word, to give Him the praise and worship He so obviously deserves, as well as to mix and mingle and to encourage and edify and uplift their fellow believers. And for this first Sunday in 2019, we have an awesome and most appropriate song of worship to open the proceedings. 

It’s an old 19th century British hymn whose lyrics were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865 as a processional hymn for children walking from Horbury Bridge to Horbury St Peter’s Church near Wakefield, Yorkshire, at Whitsuntide in 1865. It was originally entitled, “Hymn for Procession with Cross and Banners.”  

 Then Arthur Sullivan composed the accompanying music in 1871. They say that Sullivan first named the tune “St. Gertrude,” after the wife of his friend Ernest Clay Ker Seymer, at whose home he composed it. But eventually the Salvation Army adopted it as one of their favourite processional hymns …and the rest is history! 

Oh friends, let’s belt out that well known and greatly LOVED tune that calls us to be strong and steadfast soldiers in Christ’s Name. As one great army now, marching into battle, letting the enemy know that we’re coming…and coming for only one thing; victory! 

‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!) 

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain] 

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod; We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain] 

Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honour, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain] Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!)’ 

Oh my fellow believers if that doesn’t stir up the LOVE for Christ in your hearts, then something’s seriously wrong with you! It’s exactly the kind of battle cry Christians need in these turbulent, decadent and evil times! And that’s why it was written; ‘to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces throughout the world.’ 

And there’s been no other time like now, when evil is running rampant all over and the heathen seems to be winning the battle! But friends, that’s only in their imagination, because we believers are coming out loud, proud and strong this year of 2019! We’re going to mightily embrace those rich and encouraging words of Bruh Paul to Timothy: ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!’ 

Wow mih people! What better words to frame our year than with those eh? We are in Christ’s army, and as good soldiers do, we WILL endure hardship for Him, and in His name! That’s our faithful promise! For as Bruh Paul continues to Timothy: ‘No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:4) 

Yeh friends, if we are soldiers for Christ, we can’t afford to get entangled in the affairs of this world. We have to keep our hands and hearts clean of the evil that surrounds us, so that we can please Christ who has called us, who has enlisted us in His LOVE Revolution, to fight the good fight in His name! 

As Bruh Paul told Timothy earlier on: ‘This charge I commit unto (command) thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee (previously made concerning you), that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away (rejected) concerning the faith have made (suffered) shipwreck.’ (1 Tim.1:18-19) 

Oh my brethren, we need to be ever so faithful having personal confidence in God, as well as the word, the gospel that’s been handed down to us by the saints. For if we reject those things, then we’ll surely become shipwrecked, lost and left on the outside looking in; the worst thing that can ever happen to a human soul!

And later on, Bruh Paul again gets on poor Timothy’s case. After warning him of the deterioration of the church in years to come, (2 Tim.4:2-4) he declares: 

‘But watch thou in all things. Endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist (preach the gospel of Christ), make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that LOVE his appearing.’ (2 Tim.4:5-8) 

Yes my believing brethren, we ALL ought to be able to say that at end of our lives. But for that to happen, we have to begin being good, strong and steadfast soldiers of Christ, RIGHT NOW! So let’s get to it nuh! We have a crown of righteousness to win! Much LOVE!

…to win any race…especially the race of life…one needs to have commitment…courage…perseverance…endurance…and faith…and ONLY in Christ…can one find all those attributes… 

P.S. Yes, it’s late, but church had to come first…and anyway I likes it…hope you do too! (smile) Much LOVE!

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2013 Matthew 5:12

Matthew 5:12.   Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Oh Friends, the church bells are tolling this beautiful Sunday morning! They’re tolling to invite us to fellowship and worship as the body of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ down here on earth! Wow! What a special benefit and honour to be numbered in that most august society!

Many of you may remember growing up with the church bells pealing every Sunday morning and evening, calling all the faithful to the house that Christ built. I remember them quite vividly, because I lived only a couple minutes walk away from St. Andrews Anglican in Scarborough, Tobago, and I’d use them as a time piece, listening for when the last bell begin to toll, then I’d hustle off to get there just in time.

There were either two or three tollings, I don’t remember, but back then, when the bells pealed, you knew that almost the whole community was getting ready to go to church, regardless of their denomination. Unfortunately though, church bells tolling as a means of inviting the faithful to worship is now a thing of the past, like prehistoric dinosaurs.

The youth of today don’t even know that church bells existed, for there are very few around now, and even fewer toll, and likewise, even fewer attend church regularly. But my brethren, going to church and fellowshipping with others of like faith, is exactly one of the things Jesus had in mind when He commanded us to ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’

That’s because it’s much easier for believers to rejoice and be exceedingly happy, in spite of persecution, when they are gathered together worshipping and praising Almighty God, whether it be in a church, a house, a thatched hut, a cave or in the open air. Togetherness is the bedrock, the foundation of Christ’s body! No wonder we’re not making the progress we should, since that body is so fragmented, divisive, quarrelsome and resentful of each other.

But Friends, it’s virtually impossible for us to stand strong in the face of persecution when we’re not in sync with each other. That only gives the forces of evil an excellent opportunity to further divide and conquer us. For as logic declares, a group can usually stand stronger together against a common enemy, than a single individual.

And my people, coming together is one of the things we desperately need to concentrate on, if we’re to ever survive the challenges and persecution that the evil world powers are plotting against us. And even as a group, we can’t do it without the omnipotence of Jesus working in and amongst us. So please, let’s seriously concentrate on coming together, rather than drifting further apart nuh. That’s the only hope we have of strengthening and growing Jesus’ LOVE Revolution.

And I have the perfect quote for that from an article I read earlier on in the Anglican Newspaper, November 2013 edition. I copied it for use at some future time, but in God’s mysterious workings, (smile) that time seems to be now. It’s written by Bishop Patrick Yu, on the subject of inviting people to church.

He writes that ‘Growth is actually the sign of all living things, including a living faith and a living church!’ Now that’s gospel truth my people! If we’re not growing in faith and fellowship, then to all intents and purposes, we’re spiritually dead.

Anyway, enough sermonizing from me for today. (smile) Let’s get to the scriptures I faithfully promised you yesterday. And the first one deals with the first part of our Bit: ‘Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:’

Peter puts it this way: ‘Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as (to the extent that) ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.’ (1 Pet.4:12-13)

Yeh Friends, it’s definitely not an easy concept to grasp and then hold on tightly to, but we do need to believe that when we suffer for Jesus’ sake, we’re part of His suffering. Therefore, when He comes back in all His majestic glory, then we too shall participate in the overwhelming joy during those momentous times!

And James say it thus: ‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials). Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith, worketh (produces) patience.’  (James 1:2-3)

Short and sweet eh Friends! (smile) What a way we doing a lotta smiling today mih breddren! But that’s just the way it ought to be, if we’re exceedingly glad.

Now here’s what the scholars have to say: ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.

The words in verses 2 and 3 (temptations and trying) are often regarded as virtually synonymous. If this were true, then the trials themselves would produce spiritual maturity. But they do not. Often, testings make Christians bitter instead of better, with no spiritual growth occurring. The Greek word for “trying” (dokimion) might be better translated as “approving.”

It is not merely one’s presence in such trials but one’s victory over them that brings spiritual growth and maturity. Those Christians whom God can use the most are those whom God has bruised the most.’

And all God’s people said a low, unenthusiastic ‘Amen,’ because they know that’s the living truth, and it’s hard for the flesh to handle!

But enough for today Friends, I don’t want to stretch your intelligence and busy lives by running on too long. (smile) So let’s ponder all that we’ve said and heard, then make some good and godly decisions, in as many areas as we can, obviously with the help of Jesus. Much LOVE!

…for whom the bells toll…for all mankind…why…so that they can come to Christ…to acknowledge Him as Lord and Saviour…and receive the free…but oh so wonderful gifts of salvation and everlasting life…


 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 November 2013 Matthew 5:12

 Matthew 5:12. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
 
Oh Friends, do you realize that in a mere 2 months we’ll be into the new year of 2014? This year of 2013 has really passed by quickly, and today I’m asking us to check on how we’ve done on the main New Year’s Resolution we made back in January; the promise to walk more closely and sincerely with Jesus than we did before. I’ve also been encouraging us to reflect on it every month rather than at the end of the year. That way we have time to catch up on and/or make amends to any aspect(s) on which we we’ve been lagging. 
 
And what about the resolution we made last week eh; the one to try and change the world a little bit everyday? Have we been doing anything about that? I surely hope so. And if you have, then you’re also working on the first one, because making a positive difference in this crazy, troubled world everyday, is indeed walking closer with Christ, since that’s exactly what He did, and also desires of us.
 
Anyway, your reactions and answers to those questions above are between you and our heavenly Father. I am just the messenger, so please don’t shoot me. (smile)
 
And today we’ve come to the last part of the Sermon on the Mount that deals particularly with the Beatitudes. Today’s Bit: ‘Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you,’ follows from yesterday’s.
 
That Beatitude informed us: ‘Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.’ (Matt.5:11) And we saw how many believers are being persecuted, even unto death, for just believing in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
 
Now none of that is easy my people, but Jesus is telling us that we should rejoice and be exceedingly happy when we’re persecuted for following Him. Why? Because our reward for standing steadfast and strong in faith down here on earth, will be great in heaven; also that’s how the heathen and false believers persecuted the prophets that came before us. 
 
Now that last part is certainly true as the Good Book records all the persecution the early prophets endured, including Jesus, and the general church after that. But Friends, standing strong in the face of persecution, especially if and when it’s unfair, is definitely not that easy. And the promised rewards way up in heaven at some later date, doesn’t make it any easier for most of us, because we’re still living by sight and not by faith as we ought to.
 
It’s only when we have a real strong, steadfast and mature faith in Christ, will we be able to truly consider those rewards in heaven, against the persecution here on earth. And that can only come with time, constant communication with Almighty God, delving deeply into His Word, writing it indelibly in our souls, then trying to live by it.
 
And Friends, we’re so lucky out here in the Western world to be able to freely worship the ONE TRUE GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob without any fear of serious repercussions, but many others in distant lands are not so fortunate. And please, please, I sincerely implore us not to get too lost in that freedom which we now take for granted, because if you haven’t noticed, it’s being slowly eroded by the evil powers that be.
 
At this juncture in our evolution, the LOVE Revolution, we need to stand up even firmer and stronger against the forces of evil, so that we don’t lose what our forefathers gave their very lives for; the right to worship in freedom and peace. And that’s no joke Friends, because more and more everyday, prayer and God are being removed from schools and public places.
 
Therefore it’s imperative that we stop being as complacent as we are about it, and instead be very vigilant and pro-active if we don’t want to lose those rights. For remember, whatever freedom that’s been won, can always be taken away, and the evil minions of Lucifer are just chomping at the bit to take away our freedom to worship.
 
Now listen to the scholars’ interesting take on our Bit. ‘5:12. Rejoice is the command that grows out of the blessedness of the believer. The phrase, ‘Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad’ means even more, exult! Great is your reward in heaven focuses attention on the eternal destiny of all things. If God is as real as He claims, if the Bible is true, if heaven is to be gained, then no temporary earthly trouble or persecution can dispossess the child of God of joy in the prospect of the eternal glory that lies ahead.’
 
And that’s gospel truth my brethren! But as we’ve said above, it won’t just happen automatically, we have to work seriously and consciously on it.
 
Now I have some scriptures to share, but they’ll make the Bit too long, so we’ll address them tomorrow, our great God in favour. In the meanwhile, please let’s concentrate on truly following Jesus, doing the things we know we ought to do, so that we can gain all those rewards laid up in heaven for us.
 
And may the Lord bless and keep us, cause His wonderful countenance to shine upon us, and give us His everlasting peace and divine wisdom, so that we can greatly glorify His Holy Name and further His glorious kingdom down here on this wicked, ungodly earth. Much LOVE!
 
…to successfully handle persecution…we must focus steadfastly on what Jesus has done for us…and on the heavenly rewards He’s promised…