Today’s Scrip-Bit   15 April 2022 Matthew 27:46.

Matthew 27:46.      ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ 

A BLEESED GOOD FRIDAY! 

And then it was Friday…Good Friday to be exact; the end of our Lenten season, the day our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross of Calvary to pay for our abominable sins! And why that name on one of the most horrendous days in History? There are all sorts of reasons, but I like this one. It’s a Good Friday in the sense that on this particular day, ALL of our sins were washed away! That’s not only what‘s good about it, but what is exceedingly and abundantly wonderful! 

Yes, we know that Christ suffered terribly on our behalf, but that’s considering the glass half empty. However, looking at what that sacrifice entailed and accomplished – atonement, forgiveness of sins – means looking at the glass half-full. And no one wanted, or wants anyone to undergo such ‘sufferation’ as Jesus did – and that’s the only word that can truly explain what He went through for us undeserving and ungrateful sinners – but without someone sinless paying for our sins we would ALL still be headed for damnation and hellfire with no options of salvation and eternal life. 

And since Jesus was the only sinless soul available, it was obvious that the Father had to sacrifice Him if He wanted our sin debt to be paid. And oh, how it hurts my heart when I consider the unfairness and misery Jesus went through on our behalf. Sometimes I don’t even want to read about the shame hurled on Him during the mock trials He went through. And the flogging, oh brother, that wicked beating that cut His back to tatters brings tears to my eyes. 

Then the ignominy, the embarrassment and humiliation of dragging that heavy wooden cross on which He would be crucified through the streets of Jerusalem, falling under its weight, just like he would later fall under the weight of our sins that the Father would ultimately lay on His shoulders. It’s like our modern-day trait of having someone dig their own grave. Just listen to this description of Christ’s early suffering as told by Matthew, and if it doesn’t break your heart and bring tears to your eyes…then…I don’t know what to say about you nuh. 

After Pilate delivered Jesus to be crucified, ‘Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall (the governor’s headquarters where everyone could see), and gathered unto him the whole band (cohort) of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had plaited (twisted) a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put on his own raiment (clothes), and led him away to crucify him.’ (Matt. 27:27-31) 

Oh friends, can you imagine how Jesus must have been totally humiliated, especially after only a week earlier, the same crowd that had cheered His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, singing ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ was now shouting ‘Crucify Him!’ But yuh know what, our heavenly Father is always a kind and LOVING God, and even in the depths of Jesus’ despair, though He knew that He could not take away the cup that Jesus must drink, He could soften the blow somewhat. Thus, the following scriptures: ‘And as they led him (Jesus) away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.’ (Luke 23:26) 

Oh my people, do you think that Simon just happened to appear there when Jesus was so exhausted and broken after all that He’d suffered in the last several hours. No, I don’t think so. I think the Father, knowing the terrible state that Jesus was in, placed him there for just that purpose. And isn’t it strange that the first three gospels all named Simon by name, a supposed casual passer-by? Mark even named his two sons, Alexander and Rufus. And every Good Friday since then, we too are also calling Simon the Cyrene’s name. As they say, people are not named in scripture without a purpose. So the story had to be true. 

And I like what this one author, Chris Nye, says on importance of Luke’s words, ‘that he might bear it after him.’ That means Simon was walking behind Jesus with his cross. Nye writes: ‘Before his arrest and betrayal, Jesus said to his would-be followers, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). To be a Christian is to live a “cruciform life,” a kind of existence that is shaped by and through the cross. 

We bear the cross Jesus provides for us. This is precisely what Simon did and precisely what we must do too. As St. Paul wrote, we do this so that we may know Jesus “and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10). Simon of Cyrene, following behind Jesus with the cross, is the picture of discipleship. Christ has gone first. He has gone and is going to where we cannot. Still, we follow in his steps, bearing the cross behind him.’ 

Ah mih fellow saints, the cross is indeed the symbol of our faith! Everything in Christianity points to it and leads away from it. Without the cross there’d be no solid foundation for us to build our lives upon. And we all know the rest of the story of that First Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified naked like a jay bird, the ultimate shame in His Jewish faith, between two thieves, with nails in his hands and feet, and left hanging on the cross for some five hours in the hot midday sun to die from dehydration and loss of blood. The ultimate cruelty ever devised by man! 

But we also know that Jesus bore His ‘sufferation’ like the true Son of God that He was, mostly in silence too. His only complaint being at about the ninth hour, when He cried out to the Father: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46) 

Yes, my faithful brethren, on that old rugged cross, bearing the sins of the whole world on His shoulders, that was the ONLY time that Father and Son had ever been separated, and apparently that was the only thing that troubled Jesus deeply. He was otherwise so in control that He promised the repentant thief crucified with Him: ‘Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ (Luke 23:43) 

Even in His misery, His dying moments, Jesus was cognitive enough to plead on our behalf. ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) He is asking forgiveness for the people who are unjustly crucifying Him, the same ones for whose sins He was sent to atone for! Now doesn’t that say everything about our magnificent Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? It certainly does! What a fine example He is for us to follow! And that’s all He’s asking of us this Good Friday, this immortal day on the Christian calendar; to take up our cross, just like He did His two thousand years ago, and faithfully follow Him to salvation and eternal life! Much LOVE!

…if you’re not faithfully bearing your cross…then you’re not following Jesus… 

P.S. Sorry for the lateness of the Bit, but I had to go to church, because the 10 o’clock service was the only one we have today. But as always…better late than never. (smile) Much LOVE! 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   5 April 2022 Philippians 2:12b.

Philippians 2:12b.      work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 

So friends, what are we going to do on this wet, cloudy Tuesday morning in early April, during the last two weeks of this Lenten season of 2022 eh? And I’m just being a tad humorous on this serious matter, because I very well know what’s expected of us believers each and every day of our lives; that’s a constant and faithful attitude of living for Jesus! (smile) 

And if we’re into the last two weeks of Lent, then it also means it’s two weeks to Easter, that big Christian celebration of Jesus’ death and triumphant resurrection! Yes my people, we’re talking about the rock-like foundation of our Christian faith, for without Christ’s death on the cross on Good Friday and His resurrection on Easter Sunday, there’d be nothing called Christianity! 

And the awesome truth is that there’s nothing better than the wonderful story of Christianity; the good news of Christ’s coming to earth and dying for us, making us right with God, and giving us the marvellous opportunity to spend eternity with Him. Now that’s a story we ought to tell; all over the world, in every nook and cranny, because it’s a life-saving tale, the most important story ever told on planet earth! And that’s what living for Jesus is all about; simply telling His story and living the way He desires of us, that’s being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, in other words being a reflection of His caring, compassionate and LOVING self. 

Now we all know that this evil, sinful, greedy and selfish world doesn’t regard those things very highly…but Jesus does, and if we are going to live for Him, then we will be expected to put up with a lot of harassment, temptation and even persecution for our different beliefs and lifestyle. But we’ve been given all that we need to do the job by Christ our Saviour; namely His Holy Spirit as a Guide, Leader and Comforter and the fruit of the Spirit which enables us to do great works in His name. The problem though is that we must embrace those tools and use them like they were intended, which isn’t always easy to do, but try we must. 

That’s why in talking to the Philippians about being shining lights in this evil world Bruh Paul said it thus: ‘Wherefore my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of (according to) his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings (grumbling) and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless (innocent), the sons (children) of God, without rebuke (fault), in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (generation), among who, ye shine as lights in the world.’ (Phil. 2:12-15) 

Yes friends, we can never get away from that image of shining like lights to the world, because that’s what Jesus requires us to be! However, it doesn’t happen without work or overnight. That’s why Bruh Paul said to ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.’ And let’s make it clear that you NEVER have to work for salvation, because that’s the free gift of God, but we have to continue working out to its logical conclusion what God has begun in us, that’s basically growing the fruit of the Spirit planted in us through right living; showing the world the awesome possibilities that exist for those who are lost, sick, downtrodden, whatever. 

And since it’s God who is doing most of the work in the working out of our salvation, then success is guaranteed. ‘For God is producing in us both to will (to desire) and to do (actually accomplish) of his good pleasure.’ So why then the need for ‘fear and trembling’? 

Because we won’t know all the sacrifices and problems we will have to undergo to do God’s will. And each of us will have to work seriously and sincerely on our individual problems, with God’s help of course, but it’s still not going to be easy. So, we have to be prepared to fight a good fight, which leaves no room for squabbling and dissension amongst believers, if we want to be seen as blameless and innocent, the children of God, shining as bright lights, in this evil generation. 

And I like how author Ed Elliot explains it in his article on the medium.com website. He says: ‘Working out our salvation is very different from working for our salvation. When Paul tells believers they need to work out their salvation, he is simply explaining that the wonderful gift they freely received from God is inside of them. We bring out those beautiful attributes and character traits by faith. Faith is a rest, but it is faith that works, not us. So, working out what is on the inside of us happens by faith. 

This process can be frightening in the beginning as a new believer discovers how to live and walk by faith. Some strong trepidation may be present at first when a person decides to trust God as his or her source and peace. I remember how scary it was for me to stop trusting in my natural abilities and trust in God’s Word. This is what Paul is referring to when he mentions “fear and trembling.” He isn’t talking about being afraid of God. Rather, he is helping the new believer to know that in the beginning, it will seem scary to walk by faith. However, it is the only way to see our inner salvation manifest on the outside through our character.’ 

Ah mih people, living the Christian life will always have roadblocks and trials, but if we hang in there and fight with God’s help, then we’ll live the joyful, abundant, interesting and blessed life that Christ died for us to have. Now, for those of us who have already made the wise decision to live for Christ, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. 

As one strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’ 

Now, it’s time go and work it out; (smile) that’s share the amazing friendship and LOVE of Christ with others, just as generously as He shared it with us, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do. Much LOVE!

…salvation is free…but to keep it blossoming beautifully…takes work…and ofttimes sacrifice… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 April 2021 Habakkuk 2:3b.

Habakkuk 2:3b.     ​though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

And then it was Holy Saturday; that suspenseful day of waiting between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the day after the tragedy, but the day before the great awakening of joy and celebration! And yes, it’s always difficult for us human beings to wait for something, even though we know it will be better than what we currently have, especially in these times of immediate gratification. 

But please wait patiently on the promise my people. For as the Good Book says: ‘For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’ (Hab. 2:3) Yes friends, Easter Sunday will surely come, so let’s just mourn quietly, but expectantly today, show our tremendous faith, for we are assured of the triumphant rising of the Holy One of Israel tomorrow! 

Now let’s see what interesting quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow. Here’s the first one: ‘We can’t retract the decisions we’ve made. We can only affect the decisions we’re going to make from here.’ I don’t know if that is totally true nuh, because sometimes we can take back the decisions we’ve made, especially if they have not been yet implemented. But in the logical process of the situation, I guess you can look at the retracting as a new decision and not merely a taking back of the old one. So, in that sense, the quote is right. (smile) 

Then there’s this: ‘I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.’ Now that seems to be rather truthful. If the current situation is bad, then things will only get better if wise change occurs. Merely leaving it the same will not cause any improvement. However, I totally disagree with this next quote: ‘When in doubt, choose change.’ That means you’ll be choosing change just for the sake of change, since there might be no good or logical reason to change. 

But change, especially significant change, should not be made without some good grounds, some useful purpose or enhancement such change will provide. And just because you have doubts, doesn’t mean you should just jump into the unknown. Although that’s what a lot of us are doing in these times of great change. Oftentimes, we don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going, but because others are changing, are doing something new or different, we think we ought to do the same, we can’t let them get ahead of us, because we absolutely need to be a part of the in-crowd. But that is pure foolishness my brethren. 

Not all change is good for us, and the follow the Jones’ lifestyle only gets us into more problems than we already have. Just take the example of the new cell phones that come out almost every year. Some of us just feel we need to have them because they are new, and have new toys in them. But they are usually more expensive too, and don’t always work as good as the older ones. And in fact, most of us won’t ever use the new toys in them. 

We don’t even use our current phone to its best level. But there’s a new one out, and we must have it, we must keep up with the throng and make the phone makers even richer! And in such situations, re our first quote, we definitely may not be able to retract our hasty and thoughtless decisions. (smile) But as they say, to each his own. 

That brings us to the next quote: ‘When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things. Define the moment, or let the moment define you.’ Now that’s gospel truth friends! When defining moments crop up, you only have two options; to let the moment define you, or you define it. And the sensible option is usually the latter. You define the moment, you come up over the problem, don’t allow it to take you where it wants to go. 

And I guess we should define what we mean by defining moments. (smile) Those are basically important times in your life, when what is in front of you has the ability to change the trajectory of your life, like a new job offer, or meeting a new lady friend, or the most important defining moment in all of our lives, finding Jesus and cheerfully latching on to Him! When those opportunities appear in our lives, we have to face them mano -a- mano, rise up above them, take the bull by the horns sort of thing, evaluate the situations, and hopefully make wise decisions, because it’s not always in our best interest to let nature take its course. 

And that segues real nicely into our last quote. ‘A wise man can learn more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.’ Now that’s certainly an interesting statement. I guess it goes back to a couple of other sayings: ‘Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer.’ And also, ‘Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.’ The last one insinuates that if you are foolish, then most likely your friends are also foolish, so there’s not a whole lot you can learn from them. 

Meanwhile, the first saying is telling us to keep a close eye on our enemies because we can learn their secrets and tactics, which will help us in our fight against them. But the whole thing boils down to having wise friends and no enemies. But if you do have enemies, as Cousin Sol says in Proverbs: ‘If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.’ (Prov. 25:21-22) And the scholars tell us that ‘Coals of fire does not refer to revenge or punishment but to pangs of shame that will lead to reconciliation.’ 

But Jesus goes one better than that. He says: ‘LOVE your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully (spitefully) use you, and persecute you.’ (Matt. 5:44) Now that’s not an easy row to hoe in this strife filled world of ours, but that’s what Jesus expects of His followers, and what we should all endeavour to do, if we bear His name, consider Him our Lord and Saviour. 

And remember, He’s promised never to leave nor forsake us, as He told the disciples: ‘and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:20b) So there’s no need to fear, for Jesus is always with us, leading, guiding and helping us through His indwelling Holy Spirit and allowing us to do great things in His name, through His divine strength. Much LOVE!

…one more day…just one more day…before the triumphant resurrection…please wait faithfully for it… because it WILL come…

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8               

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 April 2021 John 3:16.

John 3:16.     ​For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

So friends, we have at last come to that sorrowful day of mourning in the lives of Christ’s followers! A day that we contrarily call Good Friday. But the truth is, that day, two thousand years ago, was one in which a most horrific crime was committed, the inhumane abuse and eventual crucifixion of Jesus Christ on an old, rugged cross on the hill of Calvary on the outskirts of Jerusalem. And the unbelievable thing is that this took place, less than a week after they had welcomed Him in such a wonderful manner on Palm Sunday, hailing Him as their Saviour, their Immanuel, with Hosannas to the Son of David! 

And it’s not so much the crucifixion itself that was most hurtful, but the shameful manner in which the dastardly act was perpetrated. As the song, ‘The Old Rugged Cross’ puts it, that Cross was and still is ‘the emblem of suffering and shame.’ But the most important point of that day is the purpose behind Christ’s crucifixion, why He allowed Himself to be so abused and demeaned. Hear His fateful words on the subject as He talks about there being one fold and one shepherd in His kingdom. 

‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it up again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) Yes friends, as Jesus said, they didn’t take His life from Him, He gave it to them, willingly, so that a world of lost sinners could be saved, so that our horrible sins could be forgiven by a just and righteous God the Father, otherwise we would be heading directly to eternal damnation! 

But Christ’s sacrifice on that old, rugged cross gave us another option, a most wonderful one, that of reconciliation with our Creator! And all God’s children declared a loud and grateful: ‘All praise to Jesus and His atoning death on our behalf!’ And what’s so great about Jesus’ sacrifice, is that the Father didn’t force Him to do it, but He did it willingly, because of His LOVE for the Father, and knowing the Father’s great LOVE for us! And that’s why we call it Good Friday, because the good of salvation, of atonement, of sin debt relief in full was embedded in, and born of that fateful act! 

Oh, glory be mih people! What a mighty and unselfish act! And that’s why we cherish that old, rugged cross, though it’s the ‘emblem of suffering and shame,’ the manifestation of an act that could only be described as ‘sufferation!’ And yuh know what friends? We ‘LOVE that old cross with the dearest and best, for a world of lost sinners were saved.’ And we’ll keep cherishing that old, rugged cross ‘till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old, rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, what a wonderful Saviour Christ is! Who else would have spilled His divine blood on a rugged, man-made cross for a bunch of ungrateful sinners eh? NOBODY! In fact, nobody else possessed the ability to pay for the sins of a lost and fallen world, just the sinless Son of God. And God LOVED us so much, despite the bunch of disobedient ingrates we had become, that He broke His own heart and sent His Son to earth to sacrifice His life on our behalf, so that we could have an opportunity to be reconciled to Him. Now if that isn’t real, true LOVE,I don’t what is nuh. 

As Jesus so graciously puts it. ‘For God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) Yes precious people, all we need to do is believe in Christ, and we become saved, sanctified, justified, forgiven, indwelt by His Holy Spirit, with our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that means eternal life with Christ! Now what could ever be better than that eh? Absolutely NOTHING! 

So those of us who simply refuse to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour are just fooling ourselves, laying down a most unwelcome path to eternal damnation with that ole fool Satan, when we could have a most excellent journey through eternity with Christ. But as the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. And that’s the same way with us hard-headed, stubborn sinners, who believe in the now pleasures of sin, and don’t think of the serious then consequences of our ungodly behaviour. 

Oh yes, there are always consequences to sin, because our righteous and just God can’t stand sin, can’t stand disobedience, and the pleasures of sin only last for a fleeting moment, while the consequences can last a lifetime, even an eternity. So my people, there’s no better day to embrace Christ and all that He stands for, than on this Good Friday, when He selflessly gave His life, His all for us, so that we could be filled with new and eternal life. 

And do we ever need His saving grace in this time of pandemic and strife that’s engulfing our entire world. So please, let’s go to Him in prayer nuh, the medium that He’s set out to communicate with us. So as one strong, sincere, but humble voice, let’s offer up our Friday Chant. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. Yuh know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife causing. We not accustomed to that kind of life Lord, and it really telling on us. And we know we can’t handle it on our own, that we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, so that we can avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

Now let’s go out and show the Lord that we are indeed faithful believers nuh, by handling the situation in a godly manner! Much LOVE!

…weeping may endure for a night…but joy comes in the morning…Easter Sunday soon come…

P.S. I didn’t forget the ordinary workingman’s spiel, but he was so angry today because the province wide lockdown that starts tomorrow, has cancelled his long awaited return to work, and he bluntly refused to talk to us. Them’s the breaks! (smile) Much LOVE!

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2020​ 1 Corinthians 15:57.

1 Corinthians 15:57.    ​But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Happy Easter

First there was Christmas – the birth of Christ, the greatest gift ever to mankind; then Good Friday – the savage torture, injustice and horrible crucifixion He endured for the payment of our sins; then today – Easter Sunday, His triumphant resurrection from the dead! Yes friends, today is possibly the most important of those three days, because without Christ’s resurrection our faith would be worthless, since eternal life would have been merely a pie in the sky promise. That’s why it’s ever so important that Jesus won the battle with Satan for the keys to hell, death and the grave and rose victorious. 

Jesus told it thus to John in His Revelation: ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.’ (Rev. 1:17c -18) Oh my bredrin, it couldn’t be any plainer than that! And though we have no corporate fellowship these days because of the lockdown for the Covid-19 virus, it is still such an important occasion in our faith calendar that we must do our best to celebrate it with whatever means are at our disposal. 

And as always, we’ll open with a song of praise and worship, one that is ever so appropriate for this momentous occasion. It’s the old hymn by that magnificent writer, Charles Wesley, titled ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today!’ But before we get into it, listen to this enthusiastic monologue that opens the version of the hymn from the Simple Series Musical ‘Mercy Tree’ available on Youtube. ‘We have gathered to lift up the name of Jesus. We rejoice in His victory over sin and the cross. Our cries of ‘Hosanna! Save us now!’ have been answered. Our Redeemer has conquered death! And because we are certain of that, we have reason to celebrate!’ 

Mama Mia! What awesome truth that is! So, without further ado, let’s celebrate, let’s rejoice in the resurrection of Christ, the redemption of our sins and the sure promise of eternal life! In a rollicking, but soulful and harmonious fashion let’s sing the praises of Christ our wonderful King! ‘Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia! 

LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia! Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia! Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia! Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, Thy pow’r to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Oh friends, what a magnificent rendition of a magnificent hymn! Wow! And as somebody wrote, every word in it truthfully refers to Christ’s work in the resurrection! And I particularly like two statements therein. The first is ‘LOVE’S redeeming work is done!’ And is it ever! The enormous price of Christ’s life has been paid for our sins for ALL TIME! Now that’s certainly nice to know! And the other statement that captivates me is: ‘Christ has opened paradise.’ And that He surely has done, by giving us the option to believe in Him and spend eternity in His amazing presence. 

Now since all of us know the Resurrection Story itself, with the women coming in the early morning to check on Jesus, finding the tomb empty and two angels telling them that He is risen and gone to Galilee to meet them, and they running to tell the others, and Peter and John coming to check it out, and Mary Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener until He calls her name, (smile) we won’t get into it, rather we’ll look at some other scriptures that have to do with our own resurrection and how we ought to behave. 

The first thing is Bruh Paul’s advice to Timothy: ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ (2 Tim. 2:3) Now that’s rather important if we want to set a good example to the unbelievers and create heavenly rewards. And yes, ministry is not an easy task, especially with the enemy constantly trying to spoil our testimony. We must be willing to suffer privation if we want rewards. And I like how Bruh Paul continues later on: ‘It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer (endure), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. If we believe not (are faithless), yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.’ (2 Tim. 2:11-13) 

Yes friends, it’s all a matter of standing strong and faithful, of growing and maturing; of suffering with and for Christ, if we want to reign with him in eternity. As the scholars explain: ‘2:11-13. The principles of endurance are enumerated on the basis of the assurance of salvation.’  And there’s no better time for us to show true faith and endurance than RIGHT NOW in this scary pandemic situation! 

And to bring it all together, hear these marvellous words of Bruh Paul 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.’ (1 Cor. 15:54a-57) Now all of that is gospel truth my people. Death and the grave were defeated. They can’t touch us anymore, because of Christ’s victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. And we owe it all to the great LOVE that our heavenly Father had, and still has, and will always have for us. 

But in the long run, the crux of the matter is our behaviour, as Bruh Paul said to Timothy above, and as follows to the church at Corinth. ‘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.’ (1 Cor. 15:58) Oh my fellow believers, not because we achieved victory through Christ’s sacrificial death we can afford to now sit on our laurels and our fat fannies and do nothing. 

Please note, that the enemy, though he was soundly defeated by Christ, has not turned tail and run home whimpering, but has revamped his army of evil minions and is still out there fighting, trying to recapture his lost territory. That means that we also need to continue working as hard as we can, keep on fighting the good fight, doing what Jesus desires of us; spreading the gospel to all parts of the earth, and thus helping to making disciples of the unbelievers. That’s what Christ’s death, resurrection, redemption and atonement of our sins requires of us. So let’s get to it this Easter Sunday as we celebrate and rejoice over His magnificent victory nuh! Much LOVE! 

…though victorious in battle… a wise army…NEVER lets down it’s guard…or lowers its work ethic…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 April 2020 1 John 4:8.

1 John 4:8.    ​He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE.
 
Come Easter Saturday morning, me and my friends, will be heart-broken, thinking of Jesus, His beaten and battered body buried in the tomb, but whose awesome spirit is fighting the devil in hell, so that He can return triumphant on Easter Sunday! Oh glory to God my faithful brethren! He’s such a wonderful God, and LOVES us much that He gave His only Son to die to atone for our sins on that horrible but blessed day called Good Friday! 

And it is always worth noting, that though we’re sorrowful for the abuse, injustice and terrible ‘sufferation’ Jesus experienced on our behalf yesterday, without Good Friday, we would never be able to have the joyous resurrection of Easter Sunday, and thus the amazing promise of eternal life! And all God’s people gave a loud and grateful cheer of ‘Praise the Lord, for His mercy and LOVING-kindness to the children of men!’ 

And having said all of that, let’s turn now to the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says it in spades: ‘The future depends on what you do today.’ And is that ever so true my fellow believers! The seeds of our today doing will be the ones we reap henceforth. As we all know, we reap whatever we sow, and as Uncle Charles (Dr. Charles Stanley) likes to say: ‘We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow.’ 

And ain’t that the gospel truth! Have you ever noticed how much harvest we receive even though we only sow a few seed? Well that’s exactly what will happen to us, with whatever we sow today, good or evil, LOVE or hate. It will be multiplied and measured back to us several fold. So please, lets pay close attention to what we sow today, for it will certainly boomerang on us tomorrow. 

And here’s another nugget of truth: ‘Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than trying to solve them.’ That’s for certain sure! We like to give it a fancy name like procrastination, but it’s usually an act of laziness, or fear, as we just don’t want to face the problems that have come against us. I can testify to the laziness aspect. (smile) And the truth is, if we just ramp up our efforts and deal with the problems in a timely and effective manner, most of them will quickly go away, for most problems are never as insurmountable as they seem when we shy away from them. 

Therefore, this next quote is rather timely. ‘Don’t brood. Get on with living and LOVING. You don’t have forever.’ And isn’t that what many of us are finally finding out with the Covid-19 pandemic that’s clutching tenaciously at our throats? We can’t allow life to pass us by without making significant efforts to throttle it and keep it in line. We must LIVE and LOVE as though there was no tomorrow! And who knows if there will be eh? 

But still so many of us refuse to do what is necessary to survive, or at least have a reasonable chance of surviving. There is still too much doubt, denial, confusion and totally different messages prevailing amongst the top echelons in our society, so what can we expect from the lower rungs eh, but the same negative behaviour. 

Then there’s this: ‘LOVE yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to LOVE yourself to get anything done in this world.’ I don’t know how much truth there is that statement nuh, although I suspect there is some. The long and short of the story though is that Jesus said: ‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

Yuh see friends, LOVE for God ought ALWAYS to be first place! And you’ll notice that LOVE for self runs a distant third, because we need to LOVE our neighbours after we LOVE the Lord. The only mention of LOVE for self there is in the context of LOVING our neighbours.  How much we LOVE others, will be in direct proportion to how much we LOVE ourselves! The truth being that we can’t LOVE anyone, or can only LOVE them as much as there is LOVE in our own hearts. As Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say on the subject: ‘You can’t give away what you don’t have.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! If you don’t have LOVE in your heart, you obviously can’t give it away! That brings us to this amazing quote: ‘Keep LOVE in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.’ And don’t I ever know that! Oh friends, LOVE is the most important thing in the world, as Jesus reminded us above. LOVE for God, our neighbours and ourselves! For LOVE is truly what makes the world go around! 

As John so clearly tells us in his epistle. ‘BELOVED, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God.’ (1 John 4:7) 

But the scholars clarify that by stating: ‘In context, John is not saying that everyone who LOVES is somehow a Christian, whether they trust in Christ or not. He makes it clear elsewhere that true knowledge of God entails right belief about Christ, as well as right response to God, including LOVE of others. Mere human LOVE apart from Christ’s redeeming presence and motivation falls short of LOVE in its fullest dimension as a human response to God’s perfect and infinite compassion (cf. 1 Cor. 13).’  

Thus the LOVE we’re talking about here is that which is securely entwined with true belief in Jesus Christ. And thus John could continue: ‘He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God is LOVE.’ And all God’s people declared a loud and proud ‘AMEN!’ 

And we’ll close with this reminder from the scholars, re that verse. ‘John has also recorded that “God is light” (1:5) and “Spirit” (John 4:24). LOVE is one of many attributes of God and is to be understood in relation to the others, such as holiness and justice.’ 

And that’s why sin had to be justly paid for, before forgiveness could be bestowed. Much LOVE!

…but the greatest of God’s attributes is…LOVE…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 April 2020 Hebrews 9:22.

Hebrews 9:22.    ​And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness).
 
Prologue: Yes, it’s long and late, but that’s nothing new. (smile) I thought though that a heads up was necessary, since today’s Bit is somewhat different to what we might all expect on a day like today. But that’s where I was lead. So I hope it does make sense and it resonates strongly and deeply with us all. (smile) Much LOVE!

And then it was Good Friday! But you ask what’s so good about it, when they tortured our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ so terribly, then nailed Him to a cross to suffer and die in the burning noonday sun? Well the simple answer is that we were, and still are, a bunch of disgusting, ungrateful sinners, and if we didn’t get some form of salvation, we’d all go to hell and be eternally separated from the Lord God Jehovah, our wonderful Creator. However, though the Lord is all powerful and can do anything, there is another side to His nature, one that’s just and righteous, and requires justice to be done. 

He couldn’t deny Himself, so though He LOVED us ever so much and wanted to save us from eternal death and damnation, it would not have been right to just forgive us without any payment for our sins. And the Good Book, His eternal Word, says: ‘For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Rom. 3:23) It also stipulates without any hesitation or distinction: ‘For the wages of sin is death;’ (Rom. 6:23a) The Good Book also says: ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness).’ 

And right there is the roadblock. Something or somebody had to die to pay for sin. Now earlier on in the Old Testament, the Lord allowed the Israelites to kill animals in temporary atonement for their sins. Moses wrote in Leviticus on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.’ (Lev. 17:11) That’s why there was so much killing of animals and sacrificing and sprinkling of blood in the olden days; atonement called for blood. That’s also why the Israelites were not allowed to eat blood. (Lev. 17:10-12) 

But we also know that from the beginning, when Adam and Eve sinned, and the Lord threw them out of the Garden of Eden, though He placed a curse on them, He also promised that by Eve’s seed mankind would one day be eventually redeemed. (Gen. 3:14-24) In that bit of scripture (vs. 21) the Lord also made more durable clothing for Adam and Eve by clothing them with ‘coats of skins,’ as opposed to the fig leaves that they had originally used to hide their nakedness. 

And as the scholars explain: ‘This is how Yahweh provides clothing for Adam and Eve after their feeble attempt to cover their nakedness and shame. It is His way of demonstrating that He acknowledges their act of faith in verse 20. The word for “skins” presupposes the death of an animal and therefore the idea of blood sacrifice is clearly implied.’ 

And having said all of that, I guess I now have to quote verse 20 so you might get a better understanding of the topic. (smile) ‘And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; (life or living) because she was the mother of all living.’ The scholars say: ‘Eve comes from the verb ‘to live.’ Here is Adam’s act of faith, looking to the future with hope. This word sounds like the word used in this verse, living. Adam seems not only to believe that God spoke the truth, but also to have faith in the salvation God had promised in verses 15-16.’ Please read them for yourself. (smile) 

And life moved on through the flood and Noah, (Gen. 6-7) then the City and Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9) and finally to Abraham, whom God promised to make a great nation of and from whose seed a Messiah, a Saviour would eventually come. (Gen. 12:1-3) And all through the ensuing years, in fact centuries, the Lord, through the prophets kept promising the Israelites, His Chosen People, Abraham’s main descendants the coming of a Messiah to save them from their sins. The only problem there was that Israel thought the Messiah would be a warrior king, coming to release them finally from all their days of slavery and impotence. 

That’s partially why when Jesus came, in the Lord’s much belated time, saying He was the Promised Messiah, but speaking peace and LOVE, so many doubted Him. That brings us finally to the real reason for Good Friday. I guess the Lord finally got tired of all the blood sacrifices and decided it was time to put on the grand show; so we have Jesus being born supposedly at Christmas time, growing up as the carpenter’s son, then ministering, doing miracles, healing and teaching and showing the people what their great God was like in person. As he said so often, if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. 

But then His rhetoric and deeds were too revolutionary for the rulers of Rome and Israel, so they hatched a plot to get rid of Him. But little did they know that that was His express plan for coming to earth as a man; to die and be a once and for all blood sacrifice for man’s sins. That’s why He specifically said: ‘Therefore doth my Father LOVE me, because I lay down my life. That I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.’ (John 10:17-18) 

Yes friends, Jesus death on the cross was the next step in God’s plan to provide a real and serious but fairly easy option for us to be reconciled to Him and be redeemed. Remember no real atonement was possible but though the shedding of blood, and it still isn’t, except that Christ with His sacrificial death on the cross paid for ALL our sins once and forever. The father placed them ALL on His shoulder that extremely rough but nonetheless blessed day. That’s why we can afford to call it Good Friday. 

And don’t think that it wasn’t rather rough on the Father to turn away from His wonderful One Son. It was pure hell for Him. And I guess especially so when Jesus cried out on the cross: ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46). Yeh friends, that must surely have broken the Father’s heart, because it was the very first and only time that He and His precious Son had been on opposite sides. But He had to do it, if He wanted to save mankind from their deadly sins. 

His ultimate plan of atonement and forgiveness, because of His righteousness and justice, called for a sinless soul, and Jesus was the only other sinless soul in existence, that’s why He was forced to sacrifice Him. And strangely, whenever I think about the Father sacrificing Jesus for us, an old song always comes to mind. It was made famous by BL&D, Byron Lee and the Dragonaires back in the late sixties, ‘Only a fool breaks his own heart.’ I always picture small, but powerful Keith Lynn singing that soulful ballad and consider How Jesus’ death must have broken the Father’s heart. 

And the sad part is that His heart is still breaking because two thousand years later we’re still reluctant to accept His magnanimous offer of salvation and redemption and forgiveness and eternal life through the sacrificial death of His wonderful and selfless Son Jesus Christ on this Good Friday, and His glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday, a couple days hence. Please friends, let’s remember that without Good Friday, this rough and heart breaking day, there’d be no rejoicing and glorifying on Resurrection Day; Easter Sunday, and wisely make the most of the time we have left on this earth! Much LOVE!

…the wages of sin is death…but the gift of God…is eternal life…through Jesus Christ our Lord…  (Rom. 6:23)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 April 2020 Revelation 3:19.

Revelation 3:19.    ​As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
 

So we’ve rolled into ‘Holy Week’ where we see Jesus go through a rather intense and emotional time, knowing that the occasion He was born for, His essential task, was close at hand. He knew it would all lead to a setta ‘sufferation’ on our behalf, ending with His crucifixion on the old wooden cross on Calvary’s Hill on Good Friday. And it’s struck me as being somewhat symbolic that at the same time Jesus is going through His adversity, this year, we are also going through some of the roughest times we’ve ever experienced in the world, with this Covid-19 virus situation. 

We’re locked down, with our lives in serious jeopardy and essentially in limbo, keeping away from others, no work and no pay, the streets are for the most part empty of both humans and traffic, people are sick and dying, some can’t even get attention for illnesses because the Health System can’t handle it. Panic, anxiety and fear are rampant, and we can’t get any sure and true answers to when and where and how it will all end because no one really knows. It even seems like a more fearful and disastrous time worldwide, than during the two world wars we fought in the early part of the last century. 

At least then we knew our enemy and what weapons it would take to defeat Him, but in this time of ‘germ warfare’ which has hit us so unexpectedly, we have no real knowledge of it, even where it came from, much less a cure for it. And I’ve said all of that, just to ask this question: do we see the mysterious moving of the Father’s hand in it all? I think we should, because I firmly believe that this is a worldwide wake-up call for confession and repentance. And even if it’s not, then the wisest move we can make is still to turn back to God and confess our manifold sins and wickedness, for there’s no doubt that the current state of mankind is possibly at the most evil and sinful level it’s ever been. 

Please friends, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the omnipotent God, who still sits on His heavenly throne and still controls the world He created, will allow us to get away indefinitely without some kind of chastisement for our blatant disregard of His rules and regulations and foolish, futile attempts to remove Him from our society? Remember the Lord LOVES all whom He has created with a deep and burning, never-ending LOVE, and He doesn’t want to lose even ONE of His most valuable creations to the enemy. So if we step out of His will for too long, it’s only expected that He will try to correct us, to bring us back into line. 

This scripture tells the story of God’s discipline: ‘For consider him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction (hostility) of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds (become discouraged). Ye have not yet resisted unto blood (bloodshed), striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (sons), My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?’ (Heb. 12:3-7) 

Unfortunately, in this soft and irresponsible world the answer to that question is too many sons are not chastened, and that’s partly why our world is in such a sinful mess. Remember Cousin Sol’s words of wisdom: ‘He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that LOVETH him chasteneth him betimes (promptly)’ (Prov.13:24) Yes friends, LOVE and discipline go together. And not sparing the rod doesn’t necessarily mean child abuse as so many of us preach today, then wonder why our children have turned out the way they are, and hence the behaviour in our society is less that satisfactory. 

So yes, I do believe it’s a warning, and a serious one at that. It could mean that the Lord is just tired with our sinful shenanigans, or that Christ is coming back sooner than we expect, or even both. Anyway friends, please, I implore us, let’s take this next scripture to heart nuh, these immortal words of Jesus to John in his vision of revelation. ‘As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ As always, Jesus puts it as plainly and simply as possible. So let’s take His wise advice and do that right now nuh, by coming to God in sincere prayer, declaring our Covid-19 Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. 

That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now let’s hold true to that promise, for remember Cousin Sol says the worst thing we can ever do is to make a vow to God and not keep it. Better not to have made it at all. (Eccl. 5:4-5) Much LOVE!

…Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts knocking…please, please…let’s open them and let him in nuh…

 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 22 April 2019 Romans 12:17.

Romans 12:17.   Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men.
 
Ah my fellow believers, what an anti-climatic situation! Yes, in the heat, in the heart of our Easter Celebrations, the most important event in our faith, or rather the most important event in man’s history since the Creation, Easter Monday rolls around and many of us have to go back out to labour for our daily bread! 

Chuh! How unfortunate that the evil and ungodly world doesn’t consider Easter important enough to make the Monday following a public holiday. But some of them do think that it’s okay, in fact quite right to massacre Christians in their churches and elsewhere at Easter, as was so shamelessly done this past weekend in Sri Lanka! Ah Lord eh! When will the foolishness end eh? 

But let’s leave that topic alone for now and consider the importance of what happened at Easter time; the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ from the grave! Glory to God! And yuh know what friends, even though the ungodly world would like to trample on our physical celebrations, they can’t trample on the joy that the resurrection of Jesus Christ stimulates in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls! Absolutely not!!! And yes we need three exclamations marks there! (smile) 

For by God’s great grace, mercy and forgiveness, they can’t destroy the assurance of our own resurrection, and the ever-faithful promise of salvation and eternal life that Jesus’ triumphant victory over hell, death, the grave and our arch-foe Satan provides! Glory to God my people!

Give Him overwhelming praise and thanks for the overwhelming and unconditional LOVE He showed for us undeserving sinners when He sacrificed His only, sinless Son so selflessly for us on that old rugged cross of Calvary! 

So today, even if you’re out labouring, please keep that joy and assurance flowing freely and joyfully as you go about your tasks diligently and excellently, as Jesus desires of His followers.

And yes, you might have needed this a tad earlier, but it’s NEVER too late to pray. So let’s declare our Monday Morning Battle Hymn with the gumption, confidence and enthusiasm that Easter Sunday has raised up in us! 

Altogether now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. 

Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Oh friends, by the enthusiasm, gravelly voices and slurred words, I can tell that I’m not the only one caught up in the throes of excitement and celebration of this most wonderful Easter Season! As always, those of us not going to work are rather vociferous on these occasions, but please remember Granny’s warning, ‘Sonny boy, please, please, ah beg yuh, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ 

Yes my brethren, at times like these the evil one and his evil cohorts are out there seriously trolling for believers who might slip and allow them a foot or toehold into their righteous souls. So we do have to be careful and curtail our celebrations with a modicum of circumspection. 

But coming back to the massacre of Christians recently in Sri Lanka, it seems like it’s open season on believers these days. All over the world somebody or other is killing believers for no apparent reason other than that they believe! Hn! And to tell the truth, I think it’s high time that we retaliate in kind, because these people only understand one thing, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth, in other words, violence! 

Are we going to be continually led like sheep to the slaughter with no resistance? I certainly hope not! Oh, I know our faith and the Good Book says: ‘Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men.’ But that’s extremely difficult friends, when the enemy is killing us with such joy and gay abandon with no one doing anything worthwhile to stop them! 

There must be something we can do to curtail this offensive and sinister state of affairs. It’s obvious that the governments of supposed Christian countries aren’t really interested in doing anything but talk when these senseless murders occur, because they soon get back into bed with the same offenders in search of money and power. So it’s definitely up to us believers to stand up in some form and fashion and do something about it. 

But then again we are constrained by our faith as to what we can actually do, for the Good Book purposefully says: ‘Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom.12:21) Now that’s a real hard row to hoe friends, but we just have to find some way to mitigate this senseless slaughter of our fellow believers in certain parts of the world. 

And please don’t ask me how, because you’ll just get me in trouble with the Lord! (smile) But some of you deeper and better thinkers than me, will have to come up with something, else the nonsense will just continue unabated…and possibly get worse, as the enemy begins to believe they have an open license to do their evil work. Much LOVE!

…the darkness and evil of Good Friday…has now been overcome…by the light and goodness of Easter Sunday…please…in Jesus’ name…let’s keep it going…

 

 

Today​’s Scrip-Bit 20 April 2019 John 3:3.

John 3:3.   ​Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (or from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.
 
Rain, rain go away, come again some other day! Chuh! I like rain, but after experiencing it for my last three days in Tobago then coming back home to it, it’s become a tad much. And the warnings of extensive flooding don’t help. But how to keep us happy eh? 

When we have a lot of sunshine, and it’s hot, we complain. A lot of cold and snow also cause bitter mutterings. And we don’t like it much when it rains on our parade either. (smile) And when you’re sick and feeling lousy, like I am, that state of affairs doesn’t help matters either. So I guess there’s just no pleasing us and we just have to learn to live with whatever Mother Nature supplies. End of story! (smile) 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. But first let me apologize for a typo in yesterday’s Bit. I talked about Peter cutting off the high priest’s ear; it was actually the servant of the high priest’s ear he cut off. 

I knew that very well and it was what I intended to write, but somehow or the other didn’t write that. And you can imagine my disgust when a friend wrote and pointed it out to me because I don’t like to make mistakes in the Bit. But I guess that only shows I’m human and thus not infallible. (smile) 

And the first quote says: ‘If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.’ I guess there is much truth to that statement as passion is usually a driving force in our lives.

However, passion alone will not bring us to our destiny, we need other things like wisdom, knowledge, help and perseverance. In other words, blood, sweat and tears must be combined with our passion to provide success! (smile) 

And that segues in nicely to this other quote: ‘You’ve been given the innate power to shape your life…but you cannot just speak change, you have to LIVE change. Intent paired with action builds the bridge to success. You can’t just want it; you have to do it, live it…BE it! Success isn’t something you have; it’s something you DO!’ 

Ah friends, we see there it’s all about the doing, the living, the action! We just can’t sit on our fannies and expect things to change or our lives to be good because we wish it or talk about it. Yes, there is power in our words, but that power needs to drive us to action, to actually doing something to bring about the changes we desire! 

But then we come to this quote that appears to throw a spanner in our wheel: ‘Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’ So true, so true my people! Whatever we try to do, be it good, bad, or indifferent, things rarely run as smoothly as they should, or as we expect them to. 

But that’s just life! Life that seems to take pleasure in mucking up our best efforts! But that’s where things like patience, perseverance, ‘stick-to-it tiveness,’ and don’t give up come in! And as true believers in Christ, we all know that giving up is not in our vocabulary.

Remember Jesus said that we’d have problems in this evil and ungodly world, but we can handle them with grace and a smile, because He’s already overcome the world. (John 16:33) 

Now here is the last quote: ‘We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one.’ And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? We have one life when we’re born of our mother’s womb, and then a second when we’re born of the Holy Spirit which brings us into serious communication and an intimate relationship with Almighty God! 

Jesus said it quite plainly to the Pharisee Nicodemus who came by night to enquire about Jesus’ awesome power and works. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (or from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 

Yes friends, to be included in the heavenly realm we all need to be born again of the Spirit as Jesus also told Nicodemus, when, in his confusion, he asked about entering his mother’s womb a second time.

‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.’ (John 3:5-7) 

And the scholars provide this interesting explanation: ‘3:3. Verily, verily (lit. “amen, amen”) occurs only in John’s gospel, and then always for emphasis. Born again may be translated either “again” or “from above.”

Perhaps both ideas should be combined here, to indicate the repetition of an act from another source. John might have said “again” had he wished to indicate repetition of an act from the same source. Only John uses this expression in the gospels. 

This concept of the New Birth includes these implications: (1) It undercuts Jewish dependence on being sons of Abraham (cf. 8:39). (2) It reveals that there must be a work of God “from above” since the Jews considered children (new births) to be God’s blessing. (3) It teaches the necessity of a new beginning.’ 

Yes my brethren, to be able to enter God’s kingdom a spiritual rebirth is absolutely necessary. But it’s also very simple. All we have to do is to believe that Christ died for us on Good Friday, as we commemorated yesterday. And then that He rose triumphantly from the dead and the grave, as we will celebrate tomorrow on Easter Sunday! 

Oh my people, there’s no better time to give our lives to Christ than RIGHT NOW! So let’s BE BORN AGAIN nuh, at this most exciting and emotional time of Easter, as we celebrate Christ’s total victory, His complete annihilation of the evil enemy Satan, ruler of hell, death and the grave! All Heaven will rejoice if we do! Much LOVE!

…eternal spiritual life…calls for spiritual rebirth today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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