Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 January 2020 Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19.    ​But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.
 
And the snow did fall…in copious quantities too, but thankfully my information was wrong, we were only going to get 15 cm of snow, not the 50 I wrote about yesterday. However, the east coast province of Newfoundland and Labrador did receive a solid walloping over the weekend culminating in some 70 cm of the white stuff. Obviously everything was shut down under such a blanket of snow, with power outages and other necessities sadly lacking. 

Apparently even the snow trucks had to be taken off the road, since the blizzard was so bad that visibility was impossible. Friends, please, let’s pray for them and offer any other help that we can, because we never know when it will be our turn to be in such a despairing and disastrous situation. 

So closer to home now, the snow is finished falling but we had some freezing rain overnight and with the drop in temperature, it’s possibly slick and icy out there. So please be careful if you’re venturing out. And please don’t use the weather conditions as a convenient excuse not to go to church, (smile) although some of us will find it extremely difficult, even impossible to get out and about. 

And having said all of that, let’s turn to our multi-purpose in the Lord’s sanctuary today; to worship our great God, give Him much thanks and praise from sincere and overflowing hearts of gratitude, to enjoy sweet and encouraging fellowship with other believers, to hear the awesome Word of God which refreshes and renews us and gives us oodles of confidence and reassurance to face the fallen world in which we live! 

Now how can we get all of that if we don’t go to church eh, or have a gathering of two or three somewhere convenient? For Christ did say that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, that He would be right there in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20) So if only a small gathering is possible, then so be it, but a big gathering would be nicer. (smile) And today’s opening song of worship is indeed very appropriate for these troubled and disastrous times. It’s aptly titled ‘Lord I Need You’ 

And do we ever need Him friends, so let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony as we call out to our Lord and Saviour for the help that only He can give. ‘(Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here I find my rest Without You I fall apart You’re the One that guides my heart (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) 

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more Where grace is found is where You are And where You are, Lord, I am free Holiness is Christ in me (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Teach my song to rise to You When temptation comes my way And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You Jesus, you’re my hope and stay. Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You. I need You every hour, Oh Lord how I need You…Oh how I need You. yes Lord, I need You, every hour of every day…That’s how much I need you.’  

Ah mih people, from all of that we should see how desperately we need Jesus Christ and all that He stands for. And what is a need you ask? Here’s something from a website that I forgot the name. But it says: ‘A need is something that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. In other words, a need is something required for a safe, stable and healthy life (e.g. food, water, shelter) while a want is a desire, wish or aspiration. 

When needs or wants are backed by purchasing power, they have the potential to become economic demands. Basic needs such as water, air, food and protection from environmental dangers are necessary for an organism to live. In addition to basic needs, humans also have needs of a social or societal nature such as the human need to socialize or belong to a family unit or group. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food, or psychological and subjective, such as the need for self-esteem. Needs and wants are a matter of interest in, and form a common substrate for, the fields of philosophy, biology, psychology, social science, economics, marketing and politics.’ 

And yes we need all of those things, but even more importantly we need things like spiritual protection, the ability to confess our sins and know we’re forgiven, a place of rest to lay down our burdens, someone to guide us, to help us with righteousness, to provide grace and mercy, freedom from worry and anxiety, a strong tower to fall back on, not forgetting strength and faith to stand strong against temptation! Yes friends, we do need a lot, and Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can satisfy it ALL! He is indeed our ‘hope and stay!’ 

And there’s no better verse in the Good Book that guarantees our needs than Bruh Paul’s words to the Philippians, after they sacrificed from their little to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.’ 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: 4:19. Because the Lord is aware of the sacrifice (v.18) that the Philippians made in meeting Paul’s needs, God will surely supply all their need. God will meet their need (1) according to his riches, that is in proportion to His unlimited resources: (2) in glory, that is, He will meet their need “gloriously” or “in a splendid manner”; and (3) by Christ Jesus.’ 

Ah friends, once we have Jesus, we don’t need anything, or anybody else! Let’s remember that and put our whole faith and trust in Him nuh, because He will see us faithfully through this live unto the next one, and long thereafter. Much LOVE!…

so let us come boldly (confidently)…to the throne of grace…that we may obtain mercy…and find grace…to help…in time of need… (Hebs. 4:16)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 December 2019 Matthew 4:19.

Matthew 4:19.    ​And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
 
Welcome to another glorious day friends…! And we talking here about the overall day, not just the physical weather pattern, which by me, for the last few days, have been dark and damp and dreary. It’s just great to be alive and kicking and enjoying all the benefits of living for Christ, like the new mercies and compassions that are new every single day! 

Wow! What a magnificent and magnanimous God we serve my faithful brethren! I know some of you tired hearing me say that, but it’s the gospel truth, and if we are indeed true believers, we ought to acknowledge it with pleasure, each and every day, because it’s the same wonderful God, who breathed His awesome breath into our nostrils at birth and keeps us alive and kicking every day and provides ALL of our benefits, both earthly and heavenly. So how can we not be grateful eh? Gratitude friends…gratitude. The next best thing after LOVE! Matter fix! (smile) 

Anyway, it’s Friday, so let’s hear what the ordinary workingman has to say for himself nuh. And he expounds: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday…the weekend cometh, and no work until Monday! Have been on holidays all week though. And it’s certainly been a great Christmas week! Forgot how good it is to spend time at home with the family and have friends drop over to celebrate Christmas. The old bod is well rested…but satiated with food and drink though. The children liked their presents and so didn’t behave like spoiled brats, as they can do when they’re not happy. 

Oh, the wife was also thrilled with her presents…even got a nice big hug and sweet, long kiss from her. Mama! Could certainly use some more of those yes. But life so busy, we don’t find that much time to enjoy ourselves together. But I promised her, and mihself too, that this coming year of 2020, we going to make time to get away to some romantic place, just the two of us…can’t wait for it to happen. Yes, life ain’t bad at all! It ain’t always easy, but you just have to take it with a grain of salt, else it surely going to drive you crazy. Thank God for Fridays and weekends oui!’ 

And isn’t that the living truth. Life isn’t easy, but if you face it with the right attitude, it will surely turn out all right. So what’s the right attitude, you ask? Well it starts by having Jesus Christ in your life as El Numero Uno; Number ONE! And then sticking to stuff like what’s contained in our Friday Chant. Let’s chant it loud and proud now nuh. 

‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Yes my fellow believers, that’s our basic job; to help unbelievers come to Christ! And the verse that I was led to for today’s Bit is ever so appropriate in conjunction with out Friday Chant. Hear these immortal words of Jesus as He called Peter and his brother Andrew to work for Him. ‘And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ Now that’s the same call Christ has issued to each one of us who claim to be His follower. And we all know that He doesn’t lie, He keeps every promise He makes! 

So why are so many of us so reluctant and hesitant to truly follow Christ eh? Is it that we don’t truly believe, or simply think it will interfere with our carnal or earthly lives? Oh yes, I think we need to take a moment’s thought before doing it, and I’ve always been amazed at how the first disciples didn’t even seem to contemplate it, just got up and followed Jesus when He called. The Good Book puts it this way: ‘And they (Peter and Andrew) straightway left their nets, and followed him.’ (Matt.4:20) 

Wow! They simply left all their equipment and their livelihood and followed this poor, itinerant Rabbi, whom they didn’t even know. And if you think that was amazing, then listen to this next part. ‘And going on from thence, he (Jesus) saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.’ (Matt.4:21-22) Wonder of wonders! James and John just upped and left their poor father Zebedee and followed Jesus. How many of us would ever do that eh? Not many. 

But the scholars make this rather true and appropriate statement as to the situation in verse 22 above. ‘The statement in verse 22 that they immediately responded to His call gives us a perfect picture of true obedience to the Lordship of Christ.’ And does it ever! No hesitation or reluctance to His call is what the Lord would prefer from us, but knowing our frailties and weaknesses and fears, He ofttimes gives us a li’l leeway, but He doesn’t relent or reverse the call. And the longer you take to accept it, the more difficult He makes your life. 

And I can tell you that from personal experience. When He first approached me about writing the Bit, I laughed and said I couldn’t because I didn’t know enough scripture. But He kept up the call, and suddenly I found some obstacles in my way that seemed rather strange and unnecessary. He eventually wore me down and I began writing a verse or a few lines every day. And over the last thirteen years, I’ve certainly learned of His amazing faithfulness, in that whatever He gives you to do, He also gives you the tools to do it and helps you too. Do you think I write all the stuff in the Bit every day in my own strength? Not on your life! The Lord helps me everyday! 

So friends, my best advice is, whenever the Lord calls, our best and wisest reaction is to immediately ask, ‘how high do you want me to jump Lord?’ (smile) Because, He’ll just keep upping the bar every time you refuse His offer, until you have no choice but to eventually accept it. (smile) Much LOVE!

…when the Lord wants you…He will get you…come what may…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 December 2019 Proverbs 13:17.

Proverbs 13:17.    ​A wicked messenger falleth into mischief (trouble): but a faithful ambassador is (brings) health.
 
Well I hope we all had a good and pleasant weekend, filled with God’s mercy and compassion, and were not too traumatized by the inclement weather a lot of us had to undergo. (smile) But be that as it may, today’s that great day we call Monday, where we get our acts together and get out and face the music! So what we waiting for eh? Let’s do it nuh! Yeh, I know, there will always be some laggards, some of us who are just not up to it, for whatever reason. But don’t despair because we have you covered. 

Our great God has taken all possibilities into consideration and has designed this one specially for our Monday morning ills. It’s titled our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, because it gets us fighting ready for battle with the devious and deceitful enemy. So as one pleading, but humbly hopeful and expectant voice, let’s take our problem to the halls of heaven nuh, where our Advocate, Jesus Christ, is there waiting to take our case to the Father. 

‘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!’ 

And with a wonderful Advocate like Christ on the case, what else can we expect but VICTORY! Yes friends, almost immediately, we all feel the renewing of our spirits and the overwhelming enthusiasm filling our souls through the miraculous working of God’s Holy Spirit! And now we’re just bursting with a flaming desire and seemingly inexhaustible energy to get out into the evil world and knock some sense into some foolish heads on Christ’s behalf! 

But the truth of the matter is that Jesus doesn’t really want us to physically knock sense into the heads of those who refuse to accept Him as their Lord and Saviour, but rather to teach them, by the quality of our lives, our own LOVE, care and compassion for them in this rough and tumble world. For remember, as the man said so long ago, (smile) … Oh brother, now I can’t remember the rather appropriate quote from the 18th century novel, ‘Joseph Andrews’ by Henry Fielding. Steups!  But in today’s parlance it boils down to something like actions speak louder than words. And indeed they do. 

Thank God for computers yes, they do serve some useful purposes sometimes! (smile) I got the bright idea to google the book and author’s name, and lo and behold, much to my surprise, there it was; the whole book. But all I needed was the first line of the first page: ‘It is a trite but true observation, that examples work more forcibly on the mind than precepts: and if this be just in what is odious and blameable, it is more strongly so in what is amiable and praiseworthy.’ Wow! It’s amazing how that passage has stuck with me, having read it fifty something years ago in High School. 

That means our lives, as living examples for Christ, will touch others much more than what we say to them. It’s like people will forget what we say, but not how we treat them. That’s why Jesus encourages us to be good salt and bright lights in the world, leading exemplary lives. Note, not perfect ones, but as close as we can get. Remember we’re supposed to be ambassadors for Christ, His earthly  messengers, and in the wise words of Cousin Sol: ‘A wicked messenger falleth into mischief (trouble): but a faithful ambassador is (brings) health’ 

That’s why in this world ambassadors are carefully chosen and have to know a fair amount of the culture and laws and mores of the places where they are sent, so they don’t bring shame and disgrace or trouble to their country or government. Likewise friends, we can only be good ambassadors for Christ if we read and study and inculcate His Word, so that we know what to do and how to live in this evil world, so that we don’t bring disgrace to His name and His kingdom. For as Cousin Sol also says: ‘For as the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.’ (Prov.25:13) 

Are we refreshing Christ’s soul with our earthly lives friends? No wonder Bruh Paul told the Corinthians: ‘Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray (implore) you in Christ’s stead (on Christ’s behalf), be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’ (2 Cor. 5:20-21) Yes my people, it’s all for Christ’s sake! How can we not settle down and be good ambassadors for Him eh, after the Lord put our sins on Him, and His righteousness on us? 

So this Monday morning, as we’re in the process of celebrating Christ’s birth, please, I implore us, let’s take a serious look at our ambassadorship in His name and with God’s help try to make it better. We can all come up higher for Christ, that’s a fact! Much LOVE!

…for what Christ has done for us…a worthy ambassadorship is…the best gratitude we can show…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 December 2019 Ephesians 5:20.

Ephesians 5:20.    ​Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

Rest my people, rest! It’s Saturday and after a hard week of work we need to rest before we begin anything else. But no doubt many of us will be already up and doing, busy with the Christmas shopping and decorating and planning and what have you! Bless all you fine souls! (smile) Thankfully the ole fella is into none of that. The duchess doesn’t need my help in doing her business. In fact, she considers me a hindrance in her path…and I’m quite happy with that, although some of the decorations she puts up around the house tend to be inconvenient in doing things like climbing the stairs. (smile) 

Anyway, let’s get positive on this dreary looking Saturday morning and check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And I do hope that like the last two days, the afternoon will turn out to be bright and sunshiny. And here is the first quote: ‘Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.’ Now that first part is of the utmost importance, especially for believers! Sadly, in this current world the word commitment doesn’t exist. Very few of us are serious about doing what we say we will do. 

And it’s not only the worldly who don’t keep commitments, but lots of believers too. Just think what would happen to us if Jesus decided on some whim and fancy, that He simply could not be bothered any longer and was tired and fed up with us, and refused to keep His commitments eh? We would all send up a storm of outrage, of shock and disappointment! Well it’s the same thing that happens when we don’t keep our commitments; people bank on them and are disappointed when we renege on them, especially without any warning. Yeh, we do need to be somewhat flexible in our approach, but the decision to commit to something must first be made with serious consideration, not a wishy-washy attitude, thinking we can easily get out of them. 

And I like this next quote: ‘Be so busy LOVING your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.’ Oh friends, what wonderful advice that is! When you consider and concentrate on the positive aspects of your life, there’s no room left for the negative ones to infiltrate and sour up your situation! Granted, life won’t be always rosy, but it’s up to you to bring a good attitude to it, because life itself is basically a negative force and a bully-boy to boot! So therefore this situation will present itself: ‘We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.’ 

Oh yes my people, we have an opportunity at the start of every year to begin a new chapter in our book of life with a new attitude toward the numerous opportunities that will come our way. But here’s a li’l ‘secrat’, as my young daughter used to say: The first words on that bright clean new page of opportunity ought to read: ‘LOVE Jesus more than ever this year!’ And why is that you ask? Because when we hobnob with Jesus, we get more and better opportunities! As simple as that! No rocket science education is needed to decipher that. So let’s promise ourselves that those words will open our new book and chapter for 2020 nuh, because 2020 will be the most important year ever, in many of our lives, and the life of this whole confused and turbulent world! 

And as always, we try to keep the best for last: ‘Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.’ Oh my people, those are indeed awesome and amazing words; words of gospel truth! There’s nothing that can transform our lives and attitudes like gratitude, like being thankful, like having a heart that’s bursting with thankfulness! Yes friends, when we’re truly thankful, our ordinary, mundane days become days of thanksgiving; we don’t dread them, or complain about their same old, same old nature. 

And on top of that whatever job(s) we need to do, they morph into things of joy, instead of routine or difficult tasks. And better still, simple, ordinary opportunities become blessings in our enlightened and thankful eyes! Oh mih people, there’s nothing like thanks and gratitude to help us endure the vicissitudes of life! No wonder the Good Book is chock full of scriptures on giving thanks and being grateful. Let’s look at a few as time and space permit. And  it’s ever important to notice that Jesus though he was God, ALWAYS gave thanks to the Father. 

 Note His words in Matthew 11: ‘At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.’ (Matt. 11:25) And please notice too that when He fed the five thousand, His first act was thanksgiving: ‘and looking up to heaven, he blessed and brake, and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.’ (Matt.14:19) And likewise, when Jesus fed the four thousand, His first act was to give thanks. ‘And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them…’ (Matt.15: 36) Even at the Last Supper, thanks was uppermost. ‘Jesus took bread and blessed it… And He took the cup, and gave thanks…’ (Matt. 26:26-27) 

Consequently Bruh Paul filled his writings with the giving of thanks. ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 16:57) ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph.5:20) ‘Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ (Phil. 4:6) 

And check out this last scripture when Bruh Paul was on his way to Rome to be tried and most likely killed. ‘And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as the Appii Forum, and The Three Taverns (Inns): whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.’ (Acts. 28:15) Yuh see friends, thanks and gratitude can even bring you courage in rough times. So let’s decide today to live the life of thanksgiving that as believers we’re required to live nuh. Our lives would be ever so much more abundant, prosperous and filled with joy! Much LOVE!

…a true believer’s life and heart…are clothed with thanks and thanksgiving…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2019 1 Timothy 2:3.

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

Sunday’s here again friends! Glory be! It’s the day we cease from our normal labour and instead visit the Lord’s sanctuary and have fellowship with other believers! Yes mih people, it’s time for us to sing and dance and praise the Lord and give Him sincere thanks for the many blessings He’s so magnanimously bestowed on us! Wow! What a wonderful God He is! There’s none other like Him! That’s for certain sure!

That’s why we need to show our true LOVE and sincere gratitude by coming together as the body of Christ, His church, at least once a week! And not only do we offer up praise and thanksgiving, but we are renewed and refreshed in return, through hearing His Word and the encouragement of and communion with our fellow believers, so that we can go out and do His work with vim and vigour this upcoming week.

Now let’s get the show on the road by opening, as always, with a song of praise and worship. And today’s number is certainly an old but still very popular number titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ And I hear the excited sigh that rises from our throats as the song registers, because it is one we all LOVE to sing! So let’s sing it nuh, with plenty emotion, strong voice and the sweetest of harmonies!

All together now: ‘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 honor, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain 2]’

Oh friends, oh friends, what a powerful and emotionally touching rendition! Heaven could see that we truly believed what we were singing, felt it right down in the very depths of our souls! That’s what some of these old English hymns do to us. Now it’s reputed that the words to that song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, while the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. And has it ever stood the test to time! Becoming the Salvation Army’s favoured processional hymn along the way.

Apparently ‘it was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces of the world.’ And it takes its theme from New Testament references of Christians being soldiers for Christ. One example of that is our Bit, Bruh Paul’s famous words to his young protégé Timothy. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 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.2:3-4)

Yeh friends as Christians we do need to stand up strong under whatever trials and tribulation comes against us, like a good soldier does. Consequently, that soldier doesn’t get involved with the unnecessary affairs of life, so that he can give his all, his total allegiance and attention to the business of the one who’s chosen him to be a soldier. That means, since Christ has chosen us to be His followers, then we too must endure the tribulation that will certainly come against us, as Christ promised in John 16:33, and neither get involved in the affairs of this world because we are not of it, as He says in John 17:16.

And the analogy of Christians being soldiers in Christ’s army is rather apt, since we are constantly fighting battles of temptation and deceit against Satan and his evil minions. However it’s not a physical battle, although many believers are fighting physical battles in many places in our strife-filled world, but it’s a spiritual battle that most believers face day by day. As Bruh Paul says to the Corinthians: ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after (according to) the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;’ (2 Cor.10:3-5)

And the scholars offer these explanations of those verses. ‘10:3-5. Though we walk (live) in the flesh (in a body), we do not war (fight) after (according to) the flesh (human standards. The first phrase of verse 5 looks back to verse 3 and expresses the manner in which believers conduct spiritual warfare. It is by casting down (destroying) imaginations (false arguments), such as Paul’s opponents have raised.’

That also means refuting all the lies and deceit and the temptations the enemy constantly throws at us. And we do that by taking all those wrong thoughts captive and making them conform to Christ’s Word. Remember, our minds are where the serious spiritual battles take place, so we obviously must have our thoughts conform to Christ’s Word to be victorious. And as I was reading the words of the hymn just now, one verse struck me as being somewhat untrue in these evil, divisive times. ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God;…We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’

I just have to shake my head and sadly chuckle because God’s church is certainly not moving in these ungodly days like a mighty army, more like a stagnant, sluggish, complacent, uninterested band of layabouts. And as to being one body with one hope and one doctrine…What a joke! Christ’s church has never been more divided and fractured and going different ways than now!

But friends, let’s remember that where there’s life there’s also hope, so it’s not too late. If we’re serious about rectifying the ills in the church we still can, if we come together, instead of moving further apart. It will take a lot of hard work and effort, putting our selfish, petty desires aside, and showing the true character of Christ. I know it sounds impossible, but remember too, that ALL things are possible with Christ! Much LOVE!

…to be true soldiers of Christ…Christians must stop seeking and seeing life…the way the world sees it…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 August 2019 John 1:5.

John 1:5.    ​And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (apprehended) it not.
 

Welcome to a glorious Friday friends! And it’s all the Lord’s doing on our behalf! All praise and glory to His holy name! So please, let’s make the effort, show the necessary gratitude and rejoice and be glad in it nuh! That’s the only wise and sensible thing to do in light of His wonderful gesture. But yuh know, sometimes it seems that the unbelievers are more grateful for the good days they enjoy than we believers. 

Listen to the ordinary workingman, as he sings his Friday song nuh. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! My most favourite day, because it heralds the start of the weekend, where my time is my own, to do with as I like and please. And I can tell anybody to go jump in the lake if I don’t like their suggestions for how I’m spending, or planning to spend my time! 

And it sure feels good when you can tell some farse or nosy somebody to mind their own business! Too many people in this world today don’t have no business of their own, or just like to mind other people’s business! Chuh! I don’t mind theirs, so why they have to bother with mine eh? But enough about them yes! Today is Friday, and it bright and sunshiny, so me and mine going to enjoy it to the fullest. 

I’m even going to take a half-day off from the slave master work – tough if he doh like it – and go home and spend it with the children. Might even take them down to the Ex; that big country fair down by the CNE grounds on the Lakeshore. They would certainly enjoy that! But let’s see how the day plays out nuh, before we make any firm commitments. We’ll just be thankful that it’s Friday and the start of the weekend! Praise God for that yes!’ 

Ah mih fellow saints, how many of us get so excited about another supposed ordinary day eh? Not too many of us, who are supposed to be the most joyful people in the world. But we not going to preach on the subject (smile), let’s just chant our Friday Chant, sing our weekend song. 

As one, strong voice now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Yeh, it’s not as enthusiastic and colourful as the workingman’s offering, but it sure does keep us on the straight and narrow. And today, I want to share the scriptures I had planned to share yesterday when the Lord guided me in a different direction. It’s the same Bit: ‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (apprehended) it not.’ And unfortunately that hasn’t changed much since John wrote that some two thousand years ago. And why is that eh? 

Possibly because as Jesus explains: ‘And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men LOVED darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth (practices) evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deed should be reproved (exposed).’ (John 3:19-20) And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? We hide what we don’t want others to see in the darkness, behind closed doors. 

But please remember Jesus’ warning: ‘Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets (secretly in inner rooms) shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.’ (Luke 12:1b-3) 

Oh my people, all the things we hide and do in the darkness will one day be revealed publicly! And besides the Lord sees them when we do them now, so what’s the purpose of hiding eh? As they say, our true self is reflected in what we do in darkness, behind closed doors, when no one else is around. So anything else we do differently in the light is pure hypocrisy. 

As the scholars explain: ‘12:1-2. Hypocrisy, piety just for the sake of appearance is futile; for even hidden motives will one day be laid bare by God.’  Please believe that my people, and let’s try our best to only deal with true and godly motives, it will pay big dividends for us in the long run. Now let’s see how many of those original scriptures on light we can get in now, because the Bit’s again gone in a slightly different direction than I had planned. (smile) 

And I guess the best one to begin with is Bruh David’s proclamation in Psalm 27: ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?’ (Ps.27:1) Not a single soul my people! Then in Psalm 119, the psalmist declares: ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ (Ps.119:105) So true friends, the Lord’s Word is our guidebook for earthly living! 

And Isaiah declares: ‘Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.’ (Is.5:20) Yuh better believe it! And what better way to end than with John’s poignant declaration: 

‘This the is the message which we have heard of him (Jesus), and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not (practice) the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ (1 John 1:5-7) 

Please friends, let’s ponder on those oh significant and important words today nuh, and see if we’re truly walking in the light or just fooling ourselves, and actually walking in darkness. But whatever answer we get, please let’s also ask the Lord for His awesome help to truly walk in His Light. That’s wisdom of undeterminable proportions! Much LOVE!

…you can’t truly walk in the Light of Christ…and in the darkness of Satan…at the same time…

 

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