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…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 July 2019 Proverbs 3:5.

Proverbs 3:5.    ​Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 

Aye mih people, it’s a beautiful day in my neighbourhood! We’re alive…Glory to God! Yes, we’ve been granted another day on God’s great earth…Give Him thanks and praise for such generosity! And even better…the ole fella’s up early to write you encouraging words…and the icing on the cake is that my trusty desktop behaved perfectly this morning, no rebellion whatsoever. 

Wow! Would the Lord ever be mighty thankful if we could be that obedient! My spelling seems to be somewhat atrocious this morning though, for I made about five mistakes in that last sentence. (smile) And make no doubt about it, the evil one and his cronies are also up and about early, for I just received a phone call purporting to be from my Credit Card Company, warning me that they had stopped some unauthorized payment on my card and I should call such and such a number. 

I don’t know why I even answered the phone because I don’t usually answer numbers that I don’t know. But to be on the safe side, I did check out my Credit Card Company and they did not call me. Just goes to show we have to be on our p’s and q’s each moment of every day, because the master of deceit, falsehood and thievery is always on the lookout for a chance to creep into our souls and our business. 

Anyway, with our Lord and Saviour constantly riding shotgun with us, there’s no need to worry! Give Him some more thanks and praise, exalt His mighty name! And since it’s Saturday, let’s look at what words of wisdom our friend Anselm had to offer this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Hear this one: ‘People will always have an opinion, but you have to live life the way you want to.’ And that’s no lie, especially in these crazy and dangerous times of social media. But you indeed have to live your life the way you see it, though in line with the way our heavenly Father wants us to live our earthly lives. That is the supreme opinion to which you ought to pay constant and faithful attention. 

And then there’s this: ‘Success is a process that continues, not a status that you reach. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned and things you can do.’ Ah mih people, in the first place success from the world’s viewpoint, is definitely not the same as God’s. But in both instances, we have to work towards that successful point, it doesn’t just happen, and once we’re alive, we are supposed to keep on learning, for that’s the whole purpose of being alive! (smile) 

What’s the purpose of being alive and not learning anything eh? None whatsoever! It’s ever so important to keep on learning, both what the phony, evil world is really about, and what God’s righteousness calls for. And the next quote highlights that in spades: ‘Saying good words to people will never go out of style. The truth is everybody likes encouragement; everybody likes somebody cheering them on.’ Now that we can all attest to! 

And it is the duty of Christians to cheer each other on, as well as non-believers! Cousin Sol says it thus: ‘A word fitly spoken (spoken at the right time) is like apples of gold in pictures (settings) of silver.’ (Prov.25:11) and the scholars explain: ’25:11. A timely and fitting word is precious and pleasing.’ And Jesus was all about encouragement, just read His words, and so should His followers be. 

But unfortunately there’s way more discouraging words being spoken in this confused and strife-filled world than encouraging ones, and it is the Christian’s job, to get out there and shine, shine, shine, bring light and encouragement to a dark and tumultuous humanity! As Jesus so desperately desires of us: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven’ (Matt.5:16) 

And this next quote gives some indication of how we’re doing, re maturing faith. ‘A good sign of how secure you are, is what it takes to “offend” you. The more secure you are, the less offended you get.’ And that’s gospel truth! The more secure we are in Jesus, the more it takes to get us offended. And brother, are we ever easily offended these days! 

But just look at Jesus’ example nuh. They said all kinds of rotten and blasphemous things about Him, but He went about His Father’s business nonetheless. He just let it all roll of like water off a duck’s back. He knew whom and whose He was, and His purpose here on earth, so He did not allow the naysayers to get Him off track with their evil words and deeds. And we’ll add this scripture here as a lagniappe. (smile) ‘Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.’ (2 Cor. 3:5) Let’s remember that friends, it’s all about our dependence on God Almighty! 

Now hear this last quote: ‘As you keep your mind and heart focused in the right direction, approaching each day with faith and gratitude, I believe you will be empowered to live life to the fullest and enjoy the abundant life He has promised you.’ Yes my faithful brethren, Christ did come that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10b) But the important thing, as our quote says, is to be focused in the right direction. 

And what is the right direction, you ask? Well I believe that right direction is found in these wonderful and wise words of Cousin Sol. ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel (body), and marrow (strength) to thy bones. Honour the Lord with thy substance (possessions), and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses (vats) shall burst out with new wine.’ (Prov.3:5-10) 

Oh my people, my people, no better direction can be found in all the world than those given there by Cousin Sol! Obviously the Lord inspired them, and if we’d just do those few but all-important things, our lives would be ever so wonderful! Not that we won’t have problems, because this world has natural problems coming out of its kazoo, but we’ll be able to prosper and stand strong in Christ despite them all. So please let’s take those words of Cousin Sol to heart this Saturday morning in July of 2019 nuh, so that our lives will manifest the Saviour to this lost and darkened world! Much LOVE!

…to the true believer…Jesus is our BE ALL…and our END ALL…our EVERYTHING…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 May 2019 Luke 9:23.

Luke 9:23.    ​If any man will  (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
 
Oh isn’t it great to be alive on a sunshiny morning my faithful brethren in Christ? It surely is! And though it’s still somewhat chilly in my area, life gets even better when we realize the treasure we have in Jesus Christ being our Lord and Saviour, our Leader and Guide, etc. etc! That’s just the cat’s pajamas; (smile) the best it can get, both in this world and the next! 

So let’s not murmur and complain about the problems we have nuh, instead, let’s give thanks and praise and glory to Almighty God for the great blessings He’s bestowed on us, especially that of His Son, Jesus Christ! And since it’s Saturday, let’s get right to the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Hear this first one: ‘Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.’ And is that ever so true. This earthly life is chocked full of problems, but we can’t allow them to get us down, otherwise we’d just lead a negative and depressed life. 

And remember Jesus said that He had overcome the world and we should cheer up, be glad, in spite of the tribulations we encounter. (John 16:33) So please, let’s not allow problems to ruin our happiness. With Jesus help, they are all conquerable! 

And listen to this quote: ‘Make improvements, not excuses. Seek respect, not attention.’ More truth there friends! Our society nowadays is one of excuses and casting blame everywhere else but on ourselves, where more often than not, it truly belongs! But let’s not play the blame game nuh, because it doesn’t help, just causes more confusion and bitterness and disunity. And above all, it doesn’t show the kind of people we ought to be as followers of Jesus. 

And I like this quote: ‘The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence; the past is a place of learning, not a place of living.’ Oh is that truth in spades my people! The past is very useful, but only as a guide to the future, to show you what mistakes you should not make again. But unfortunately too many of us live in the past, that’s why we’re so unhappy and unfulfilled. We let the past colour our present and future lives too much. 

Living in the past is the worst thing we can do to our present day lives. Therefore: ‘Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind!’ So true friends so true! All the past does is limit our future and hold us back from the awesome life that God has prepared for us. So please, let’s just learn from the past nuh, but not live there in squalor and hopelessness. (smile) 

And this last quote also aligns nicely with those gone before, sort of paraphrasing them. ‘Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.’ And before we even talk about the challenges, let’s remember that life is a journey, one we ought to enjoy, one in which we grow from glory to glory, meeting the challenges that this evil and ungodly world constantly throws at us with the help of the Holy Spirit of God that dwells within us. 

Some of us believe that life is just something to muddle through and be constantly depressed and negative. But remember what Jesus said, that He came that we might have life, and have it in abundance! (John 10:10) Now does that sound like we should always be down in the dumps, beaten by the challenges of life? No! Exactly the opposite! 

We talk about how Jesus has conquered, hell, death and the grave, so if He’s conquered the evil forces of this world, why should we be mired in depression and negativity, anxiety and fear eh? The victory is already ours, we just have to live it out in confidence and assurance, if we truly believe in Jesus and all that He’s said. 

But yuh know what friends, for us to successfully do all that we’ve talked about above, we have to do one basic thing, sincerely take up our cross and follow Jesus! That’s the ONLY way our lives will ever be truly worthwhile! Jesus didn’t mince words when He said it. ‘If any man will  (desires to) come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.’ 

Oh my people, I know that many of us believe that taking up our cross and following Jesus is extremely difficult. And at times it is yes; like giving up our selfish desires to help others, facing up to challenges that we want to shy away from, going the extra mile and turning the other cheek, like Jesus desires of His followers. Yes, we are not supposed to be like the world, but show the world a different style. 

And I bypassed the most important word in Jesus’ statement on purpose; ‘daily.’ Now that’s the magic word friends. We don’t pick up our cross when we feel like, or when it’s convenient for us, but each and every day of our earthly lives, if we are truly sincere believers in Jesus! Yes, it’s hard. But nobody ever said that life would be easy. And just look at what Jesus suffered for us nuh. The least we can do is to show a li’l gratitude and gratefulness by picking up our cross and following Him daily. 

‘For whosoever will (desires to) save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose (loses) his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged (benefited), if he gain the whole world, and lose himself (is destroyed), or be cast away (lost)? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.’ (Luke 9:24-26) 

Oh my people, it couldn’t be any plainer and clearer than that! So please, let’s wake up and smell the roses nuh, because Jesus can return at any time, and if you’re caught napping when He comes, then crapaud smoke yuh pipe! Much LOVE!

…to truly serve Jesus…one must take up one’s cross…DAILY…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 November 2018 Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Ecclesiastes 5:2.   Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.

 

Wow Friends, these Sundays come around so quickly that sometimes you don’t even have time to think! (smile) We just get up and go to church by rote, like robots, without preparing properly for it. And though it’s good to go to the house of the Lord and worship with fellow believers, I believe we should pay careful attention to these words of Cousin Sol writing as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes: 

‘Keep thy foot (walk prudently) when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few.’ (Eccl.5:1-2) 

Yeh friends, we have to be careful when we go to church, not to get too caught up in the moment and make vows and promises we can’t or won’t keep. The scholars offer this explanation on the verses. ‘5:1-7. The emphasis on the passage is on the folly of an empty religious profession before a sovereign God: God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth. God expects sincerity and meaningfulness in worship. He is not impressed with foolish vows.’  

And sadly many of us don’t take worship seriously enough. But please, let’s not do that today. Instead, let’s lose the empty religiosity, and gather together with the sincerity and meaningfulness that our God expects of His faithful followers. And let’s begin by showing it in our song of praise, which today is possibly one of the master hymn writer Charles Wesley’s most popular: ‘LOVE Divine, All LOVES Excelling.’  

As one harmonious and melodious choir, let’s put our hearts and souls into it. ‘LOVE divine, all LOVES excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down, fix in us thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, thou art all compassion; pure, unbounded LOVE Thou art; visit us with Thy salvation; enter ev’ry trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy LOVING Spirit into ev’ry troubled breast! 

Let us all in Thee inherit; let us find the promised rest. Take away the LOVE of sinning; Alpha and Omega be; end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty. Come, Almighty, to deliver; let us all Thy life receive; suddenly return and never, nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above, pray and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect LOVE. 

Finish then Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, LOVE, and praise.’ 

What a marvellous hymn my brethren! And we sang it with much fervour and sincerity too! I’m sure heaven was deeply touched! (smile) Now here is a brief explanation of the hymn from Wikipedia: ‘Like many hymns, LOVE DIVINE, is loosely Trinitarian in organization: Christ is invoked in the first stanza as the expression of Divine LOVE; the Holy Spirit in the second stanza as the agent of sanctification; the Father in the third stanza as the source of life; and the Trinity (presumably) in the final stanza as the joint Creator of the New Creation. 

Like many hymns, too, this one is a tissue of Biblical quotations, including “Alpha and Omega” (st.2) as an epithet of Christ, from Revelation 21:6; the casting of crowns before God’s throne (st.4), from Revelation 4:10; the promise that Christians shall be “changed from glory into glory” (st.2 and 4), from 2 Corinthians 3:18; as well as other, more general allusions.’ 

Whew! That’s what you call a brief, in depth, general explanation! (smile) But it all makes sense. Ah friends, today is also the day we celebrate as ‘Remembrance Day,’ in the British system, and ‘Veteran’s Day’ in the U.S. The day we remember all those who died fighting for our freedom and democracy. And believe me many many gave their lives on our behalf. So today we honour them with marches and speeches and memorials and services at their gravesites, etc. 

And this year it’s the 100 Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty that ended the first Great War. But we never learned from it, and unfortunately the celebrations are somewhat tainted, because those who survived all our wars, and the relatives of those who died, are finding it very difficult to get the monetary benefits, housing and medical attention that they deserve. Our governments talk a good talk on days like these, but when it’s time to get down into the trenches, it’s all hypocrisy. 

Just this past week the Canadian Government finally allocated a hundred and something million dollars that should have been paid to the veterans some time ago. And even with that allocation, who knows how long that will take to filter down to those in need. It’s the same poor attitude in the U.S. However, although we don’t treat the vets and their families as well as we should, at least we remember them in our prayers and ceremonies. 

And we’ll close with that ever-popular poem ‘In Flanders Field,’ written in their honour by Lieutenant Colonel John McRae: ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, LOVED and were LOVED, and now we lie In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.’ 

Ah friends, so many young men died in those unnecessary wars without having even lived life…But we thank them for their sacrifice and today we remember them, with LOVE and gratitude. Much LOVE!

…besides saying…lest we forget…what about saying…we won’t let it happen again eh…

 

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