Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 January 2021 Philippians 4:13.

Philippians 4:13.     ​I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

Monday’s on the board friends! How are we going to greet it eh? I hope it’s with plenty hope, LOVE, joy and peace, as our Christian tenets teach us, rather than with fear, anxiety and a whole lot of negativity based on our present troubled circumstances. Yes, we will have trouble, persecution, tribulation and what not in this sinful world, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said that, but then He went on to conquer the negative stuff, like hell, death and the grave by His crucifixion and resurrection so that we would not have to worry about all the negative stuff that came our way. 

Here’s how He put it: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) What wonderful news that is my brethren! Jesus has already overcome the world, so we just have get ourselves together and maintain that victory! Maintain it with good cheer; that is LOVE, assurance, hope, faith and the promise of eternal life if we endure to the end. 

And no, living the Christian life in this sinful and ofttimes godless world is not easy, but with Christ’s divine help we can do it. Remember how Bruh Paul characterized it? ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.’ (Phil. 4:13) Now that’s quite true, but there’s something more we must learn, and that’s the context in which he said it. He was referring to a gift from the church at Philippi. And though he appreciated their care and consideration and gift very much, he told them: ‘Not that I speak in respect of want (in regard of need): for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.’ (Phil. 4:11) 

And that my fellow believers is something that we all need to learn in these troubled times and times of expected entitlement. Bruh Paul was grateful for their financial gift, but he could also have done without it, because he had learned how to be content whether he had a lot or a little. And the scholars add an interesting message. ‘The Greek here suggests that contentment is a lesson learned neither in a classroom nor overnight, but through many practical experiences in life.’ 

Oh my people, that is a truth that so many believers need to learn. Yes, we ought to be contented in any state in which we find ourselves, with Jesus’ help of course, but it doesn’t happen overnight, and like all other growth it comes with hardship and adversity. So if you’re having trouble in that area, like so many of us in this pandemic time, just remember that you can do all you need to handle the situation with Christ in your corner, but it will take time and also some effort from you. 

As Bruh Paul continues: ‘I know both how to be abased (live humbly), and I know how to abound (live in prosperity): every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and suffer need.’ (Phil. 4:12) Yes friends, it’s something that many of us are learning in these Covid times, when work is scarce and the essentials of life are difficult to come by. 

But we do need to learn how to discipline ourselves in times of prosperity and in times of want, to learn the secret of how to be well fed even in the rough going. So let’s not beat up ourselves if we’re not doing as well as we ought to or want to in these troubled days, remember Jesus is just a prayer away with help. 

Yes, I know it might not come right away, but our faith teaches us to wait and be patient and expectant. No wonder Bruh Paul could promise the Philippians: ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:19) He is aware of their sacrifice on Bruh Paul’s behalf, and thus will generously meet their needs. 

My fellow believers, that’s what God is about; providing, meeting our needs when we sincerely call on Him. That’s His ever-faithful promise. So why don’t we do that right now nuh through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. Let’s bare our very hearts and souls to our Creator, as He desires of us. 

Altogether 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 standing in faith despite the mass confusion that’s currently prevailing in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems; the pandemic of Covid -19, the racial, political, and religious strife that’s ignited worldwide, plus the natural disasters like storms, famine, drought, plagues, climate change, wildfires, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes that suddenly seem to be blossoming more and more as time goes by. 

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 to bring our problems under control. 

And for those who are currently suffering from the many negative situations, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please 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 we have to do our part; wait with eager and sincere expectation, that’s faith, and stay repentant and be obedient so the Lord can see that we’re truly sorry for turning away from Him. Much LOVE!

…life’s not easy in this sinful world…but God is good…Glory Hallelujah… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 December 2020 Acts 12:5.

Acts 12:5.     ​Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Aye mih people, sing it with me nuh this winter Tuesday morn with a dusting of snow on the ground: ‘What a good God we serve, what a great God we serve, what a faithful God we serve!’ One more time: ‘What a good God we serve, what a great God we serve, what a faithful God we serve!’ And isn’t that the God-awesome and gospel truth! Jehovah God: He of many parts and names, is indisputably El Numero Uno, Number One! No doubt about it, for there’s none else like Him! Bless His most holy name! 

And you all must be wondering why the ole fella so enthusiastic and praiseful eh? Well it’s quite simple. Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, acted faithfully on two people very near and dear to my heart who had surgery yesterday. Yes, they both seem to have come out of it successfully… Give God all the praise and glory, because He’s promised to look after His people, and that’s what he does as faithfully as ever! 

And that’s also why we say and know that prayer is the most powerful and potent tool and force in God’s universe! Yes, prayers were made for them, just like the Good Book talks about how prayers were made on Peter’s behalf when he was in jail facing certain death. ‘Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.’ (Acts 12:5) 

Well just like the Lord divinely released Peter, (Acts 12:6-11) the same way He divinely brought my people through surgery. Praise His holy name! The big difference there though is that when my people knocked on our door after they were relieved and released, we didn’t think that the messenger who brought the news was crazy, as the early church did when Peter showed up at the door of John Mark’s mother’s house where they were praying for him. 

The Good Book tells it thus: ‘And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken (answer), named Rhoda. And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in and told how Peter stood before the gate. And they said unto her, Thou art mad (out of your mind). But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.’ (Acts 12:13-16) 

Now what does that say of their faith eh? Not a whole lot. But we can’t be too hard on them because unfortunately we still do that same thing fairly often. I don’t know why, but we ofttimes pray for things and people, and when they happen, we refuse to believe, or have difficulty believing it. What’s the point of praying for it then eh? I think it shows a lack of true faith and trust in God. We talk much about His wonderfulness, but when it comes to accepting it by faith, we fall woefully short. Just look at the people who prayed for Peter. 

But please remember these immortal words of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: ‘Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire. When ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ (Mark 11:22-24) 

So yuh see friends, the whole of our faith hinges on the word ‘belief!’ Even Jesus’ most prominent pronouncement requires the ability to believe: ‘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) We need to believe before we see my brethren. But I guess with our human nature and the way of the world so greatly ingrained in us, sometimes that’s difficult to do. Even when we see it first, we often refuse to believe it. 

But we better believe that’s how it is in God’s kingdom. In His economy, you won’t see much of anything until you believe. And that’s just a way to build our faith and trust in Him. If we could do it all in our own strength, then we wouldn’t have any need for God. But the sad truth of the matter is that we are rather feeble without God’s help, that’s why we struggle so much when we stray away from Him. No wonder Jesus castigated those around Him so often with words like ‘O ye of little faith!’ (Matt. 8:26) 

Yes my people, it takes great faith to sincerely follow Christ, and that faith is not easily built either, or in a short time. Just look at the ‘sufferation’ Bruh Paul endured nuh. Most of us would have given up long before we even begun. (smile) But he persevered, and eventually won his race, won the crown of righteousness that the Lord had set aside for him, and for all who LOVE and stand steadfast and strong in His awesome name. (2 Tim. 4:6-8) Now likewise, we modern day believers need to come up over our problems, rather than have them come up over us, especially in these tough and uncertain times. 

We Christians ought to be the salt and light to the unbelievers; truly let the Lord’s word be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path; to lead and guide us in this dark and evil world, shining ever so brightly like a city set on a hill, like a lighthouse on a rocky promontory and giving light and flavour to the whole world! Wow! That’s when the world will know what a real Christian, and the Church, the Body of Christ, truly are. We need to have faith, enthusiasm, positivity, hope, and LOVE to burn! That means improvements and increase all around! 

And because we are so blessed by Christ’s selfless sacrifice on the cross for us, we definitely need to come up higher. And now that Christmas is coming too, when we celebrate Christ’s birth… Brother! We believers ought to be the happiest, the ‘joyfullest,’ the most easy going, cheerful and generous people on God’s great earth, because Christ has overcome the world! And only when we truly and sincerely show those Christian traits and values, only then will the unbelievers take us seriously and want to come to Jesus to get the awesome joy and faith that we possess. 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting this evil world know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘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!’ 

So what we waiting for then eh? Let’s go out and share Christ’s LOVE and friendship! (smile) Much LOVE!

…it’s high time for Christians…to seriously walk their talk… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 November 2020 2 Corinthians 1:3.

2 Corinthians 1:3.     ​Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,

Aye mih people in my area, I think the time has finally come for us to begin experiencing that small white, cold, fluffy substance called snow! (smile) Yes, it’s all a part of living in the northern climes, but yet still when we see it for the first time in a year, it still astonishes us, although we’ve been expecting it all along. So I saw some of the wet stuff yesterday on my way out the street, and this morning I saw some flakes gently dawdling down from the cloudy sky. Don’t think there’s any risk of the real hard stuff falling right now, but just giving us a heads up, because it will come hard and fast eventually. (smile) 

But yuh know what? When it comes we don’t have to worry because we have been assured by our heavenly Father of His awesome comfort and mercy in whatever adversity comes against us. Wow! What a magnificent and magnanimous Deity we serve my brethren! Hear how Bruh Paul puts it to the church at Corinth nuh. 

‘Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble (tribulation), by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.’ (2 Cor, 1:3-4) Oh my fellow saints in Christ, isn’t our God wonderful? He surely is! Comforting us in our troubles so that we can comfort others in theirs. 

And I just want to add a note from the scholars. ‘1:3-4. Blessed (Gr. eulogetos, “well spoken of”) is used in the New Testament of God, (e.g., Eph. 1:3). It is a term of adoration and praise. The Father of mercies: The mercies in view here include everything from deliverance from the world, sin, and Satan, to participation in sonship, light, and life. But the force is even more than this. The stress is that the Father is characterized by mercy (cf. Ps. 86:5: Dan. 9:9, Mic. 7:18).’ 

Oh friends, until we fully realize that one of our God’s greatest attributes is His merciful character, we will never fully understand and appreciate how great a God He is! It all begins with His unconditional LOVE, where He simply cannot disregard His most wonderful creation. That then leads Him to be merciful unto us, with forgiveness and redemption and reconciliation through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, all of it is a free gift through His awesome grace! Now after all of that mercy and grace, undeserved goodness and favour, how can we not bless, adore and praise Him eh? 

Hear how Bruh David says it in Psalm 86 – Teach me thy way, O Lord. ‘For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto them that call upon thee. (Ps. 86:5) But it’s all important that we acknowledge the last aspect of Bruh David’s words there: ‘them that call upon thee.’ We do need to sincerely call upon God to receive His blessings and mercies. 

And as Bruh Paul said to the church at Ephesus: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ (Eph. 1:3) Yes friends, our Lord is indeed worthy of much praise because He has bestowed so many heavenly blessings on us through Christ. Things like our citizenship (Phil. 3:20), our high priest (Heb. 4:14), our hope (Col. 1:5), our inheritance (1 Pet. 1:4) our treasure (Matt. 6:20-21). So there is much to be thankful for through Christ. 

But getting back to our major point of comfort from God, let’s hear some relevant scriptures nuh. And the prophet Isaiah had a lot to say about it. In talking about the comfort of the faithful, he says on God’s behalf: ‘I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die (a mortal man), and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgetteh the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundation of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready (as when preparing) to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?’ (Is. 51:12-13) 

Yes my people, down through the ages we have indeed feared man rather than God, but please remember these momentous words of Jesus: ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ And the only person who can do that is God Almighty, so it’s about time we learn to fear Him, rather than mankind which shall perish as the grass in the noonday sun. 

And now this last word on comfort from our Lord God, as spoken through His prophet, Isaiah on the future hope of Zion: ‘As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb (grass): and the hand of the Lord shall be known toward (to) his servants, and his indignation toward (to) his enemies.’ (Is. 66:13-14) 

Oh precious people of God, our heavenly Father has done so much to relieve us of fear, anxiety and tension through the fulfilled promises of His word, I don’t see how we can still be so fearful and anxious about life nuh. From the day He created the world and its life, right through to the day He promises to destroy it, He has ensured safety for those who belief in and look to Him for help and succour. He even sacrificed His only son Jesus for us, so I don’t know what more He needs to or can do to make us believe in Him. 

So the ball is in our court; each of us has to make that fateful decision; to believe, or not to believe. And just a li’l tip, the smart money is on believing. Now for those of us who have chosen the wise way, let’s go home declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know of our most wonderful position in Almighty God and His most wonderful Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And remember, we’re guaranteed that if we endure until the end, our future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine!Much LOVE!

…the comfort of man…begins in the bosom of God… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 August 2020 2 Kings 2:8.

2 Kings 2:8.     ​And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Ah friends, what a wonderful scripture that is, and I wish it could be done without any fear of repercussions, medically and governmentally, (smile) but unfortunately many of us still can’t actually, meaning physically go into God’s house and fellowship together. But when has that ever stopped God’s people from celebrating His magnificence, from worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth eh?  NEVER! Celebrating God’s goodness and mercy doesn’t need a physical place to make it real. So for those of you who can once again gather together, good for you, the rest of us will keep on gathering virtually. (smile) 

And today we’re going to begin our celebration with what the website hymnary.org tells us is ‘one of the best known African American (Negro) Spirituals in Christian history,’ the one titled ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ Hold on to yuh horses a minute mih pardner Scottie, because I know that this one of your favourites. (smile) 

Let’s hear some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. 

Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

I couldn’t have said it better. And would you believe that I listened to several versions by different people, in different genres, but had to come right back to the first one: a raunchy, rocking, reggae version by Eric Clapton done way back in 1975. And if we take the words above seriously, you’ll see that this ditty has got to be sung with passion and tempo and expectancy! So let’s do just that now nuh! As one harmonious choir, after the drum roll… let’s lick it up in scintillating reggae fashion – and remember the call and answer response (smile). 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.)  I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. 

Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home. Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home… swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home… coming for to carry me home.’ 

Oh mih people, mih people, that was tres magnifique! All heaven was singing and dancing with us…including the Father and the Son, because the Father likes nothing better than a rollicking song of praise! Wow! And aye Scottie – I heard you loud and clear brother! (smile) 

And here’s some more good info from hymnary.org. ‘Considered by Erik Routley to be one of the “archetypal” (perfect or typical specimen) of African American spirituals, “Swing Low” welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home” to glory. The text incorporates the imagery of “Jordan” and “chariot” from the Old Testament narratives of Elijah’s ascent into heaven (2 Kings 2). In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3 above), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ Now it couldn’t get any better than that friends! 

And for those of you who don’t know the story, and will not read 2 Kings 2, I’ll spoon feed us a li’l bit of it. (smile). ‘And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.’ (2 Kin.2:1) And it’s amusing that all the way along to Jericho, Elijah kept telling Elisha to tarry here at whatever town they came to. But Elisha refused and went with him all the way, even to the Jordan river. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets, who had told Elisha that his master would be taken away from him that day, which Elisha already knew, stood and watched them on the banks of the Jordan. (2 Kin.2:2-7) 

‘And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither, so that they two went over on dry ground. (2 Kin.2:8) Now after they got to the other side, ‘Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken away from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. 

And it came to pass as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them); and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes and rent (tore) them in two pieces.’ (2 Kin. 2:9-12) 

Thus Elisha got twice as much of Elijah’s spirit ‘so that Elijah’s God-empowered spiritual activity might continue after his departure through his successor. Obviously only God could grant such a request.’ That means there is still hope for all of us friends. So please, let’s keep looking to heaven, for who knows what we might see there and the resulting consequences thereof! Much LOVE!

…with God…ALL things are possible… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 July 2020 James 1:2.

James 1:2.     ​My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (various trials),
 

‘Everything’s coming up roses…’ Well friends, it’s not really coming up nuh, it has already come up! We talking about the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and all that does and says for us poor sinners! Wow! And yes, we might be going through some rough and trying times now, but those are only here to test our faith, endurance and perseverance, because we already know the end of the story; Jesus has won the victory over the enemy! Glory be! 

James, the half-brother of Jesus puts it quite succinctly when he speaks of faith and humility. ‘My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations (various trials), Knowing this, that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh (produces) patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire (complete), wanting (lacking) nothing.’ (James 1:2-4) 

And the scholars offer these explanations. ‘1:2-3. In this epistle on Christian living, James opens with a most crucial topic: the trials of life. These verses describe the various testings – whether from the world and Satan, or from God – into which godly Christians fall, (Gr. peripipto). These “negative” experiences are to be accepted with great joy, not for the sake of the trial itself but because of the positive work God can accomplish through the testing.’ Then the scholars note, as per ‘1:4: The natural response to adversity is to escape it. But God uses trouble to mature His people.’ 

Yes friends, as a true believer in Christ, we WILL experience testing, and it is NEVER easy to accept trials and tribulations with joy, but if we hold on tightly to Jesus, be the branch that’s seamlessly welded to His vine, we can successfully withstand the rigours of those tests. And remember, He promises not to give us more than we can handle. 

Bruh Paul explains it thus: ‘There hath no temptation taken (overtaken) you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear (endure) it.’ (1 Cor. 10:13) That doesn’t mean we will necessarily escape the temptation, but He will always assist us to land safely on the other side. So as the old people would say: ‘Yuh could run, but yuh can’t hide from temptation and testing!’ (smile) 

And Peter in his first letter to the scattered diaspora of early believers stated it more fully. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that faded not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be relieved in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness (distressed) through manifold temptations.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-6) 

Yes my people, it’s through God’s abundant mercy, whereby Christ was resurrected, and the faith in Him that we manifest that allows us to look forward to the wonderful indestructible inheritance at the time of ultimate salvation. And though life might be hard for a season, that inheritance down the road helps us to bear these tests. 

As Peter continues: ‘That the trial of your faith (the genuineness), being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried (tested) with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing (revelation) of Jesus Christ. Whom having not seen, ye LOVE; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ (1 Pet. 1:7-9) 

Yeh, I know it seems deep and heavy, but remember Christ’s yoke is easy, and His burden light. We not here for child’s play and constant good times, we here to do a job for Jesus which means we have to buckle down and be diligent about it, letting the eventual rewards keep us strong and faithful. Hear what the scholars offer. ‘1:6-9. The problem of salvation looks to the present. Earthly trials constitute a problem of our salvation, but they are only for a season, or temporary. Manifold temptations means diversified trials. True faith cannot be destroyed though God is in the process of refining faith through our trials.’ 

So what can we do? As always, the number one step is prayer. So let’s pray nuh, raise up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn to heaven, in strong voice, with sincere hearts, in true and humble but confident faith. ‘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. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because some restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, just like the virus, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. 

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 these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, thus bringing unity, peaceful consensus and real improvement in the areas that are now sadly lacking. Please help the scientists to also find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. 

Father, please 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 we sit and wait quietly for a while, for God’s wise direction, then we go out and obediently follow it. Much LOVE!

…to endure to the end…we need a combination of…hope, faith, belief and trust…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 June 2020 1 Peter 5:7.

1 Peter 5:7.    ​Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
 

One more Sunday, one more day of technological fellowship and thanksgiving. Hn! And are we ever getting good at it! But it’s never ever going to be the same as worshipping our great God in a physical space together, with hugs and kisses and handshakes and godly greetings, because the Lord made us to be people of physical fellowship, not this over the airwaves stuff. (smile) But since we don’t have much choice right now, let’s enjoy what we have, because the Lord is ALWAYS pleased with praise and worship however, or wherever we perform it. 

So let’s get to some praise with this awesome and oh so appropriate hymn for these turbulent times, written by John W. Peterson (1921-2006) and titled ‘No One Understands Like Jesus.’ And if that isn’t the living truth friends, then I don’t know what is nuh! Therefore, with raised voices, in heartfelt sincerity and soulful harmony let’s thank our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for His unbiased understanding and sincere empathy, because as a man, He experienced the trials and tribulation of earthly life, like we’re currently doing. 

Now let’s unleash our sacrifice of praise which our God LOVES to hear. ‘No one understands like Jesus; He’s a Friend beyond com-pare. Meet Him at the throne of mercy; He is waiting for You there. (Chorus: No one under-stands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; Cast Your every care on Him.) No understands like Jesus; Every woe He sees and feels. Tenderly He whispers comfort, And the broken heart He heals. 

(Chorus ….) No one understands like Jesus When the foes of life assail. You should never be discouraged; Jesus cares and will not fail. (Chorus…) No one understands like Jesus When you falter on the way. Though you fail Him, sadly fail Him, He will pardon You today. (Chorus: No one under-stands like Jesus When the days are dark and grim. No one is so near, so dear as Jesus; Cast Your every care on Him.) 

Ah mih people, in this time of sickness and strife, there’s no better place to cast our care than upon Jesus, for remember He understands what we’re going through, since He also went through dark nights of rejection, discouragement and enormous pain and suffering. So our troubles are nothing new to Him. That’s why Peter tells us so emphatically: ‘Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.’ And that’s gospel truth or God would not have sacrificed Jesus and have Him pay for our sins. 

And Jesus Himself dearly and desperately wants us to come to Him for hope, comfort and succour, peace, LOVE and joy; all the wonderful things that heaven allows. Hear Him in the Great Invitation nuh… and don’t tell me yuh tired hearing it either, because if we’d only listen and accept it, we wouldn’t have half the problems we now have. So please listen up and positively action the invitation, the greatest one that’s ever been offered! ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Oh friends, I don’t understand us nuh; man is supposed to be the wisest creature in the universe, but when we find ourselves in trouble and can’t get out of it on our own accord, we still refuse to turn to Jesus for help. We prefer to suffer in our despair and tribulation. Now is that wisdom? Not in my book! And the sad part is that the scriptures have so many encouraging and comforting words, if we’d only wake up and own them. Let’s check out a couple nuh. Hear this one from the longest chapter in the Good Book, Psalm 119: ‘Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me (given me life).’ (Ps.119:49-50) 

Oh my people, we were created to use the Word as a lifeline; to give us hope and comfort from our afflictions! So why aren’t we using it eh? And hear Bruh David from Psalm 61: ‘Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.’ (Ps. 61:1-3) Oh my fellow saints in Christ, if Bruh David, a man after God’s own heart, could cry unto the Lord when his heart was overwhelmed and find succour, why can’t we eh? 

Now hear Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘For whatsoever things were written aforetime (beforehand) were written for our learning, that we through patience (perseverance) and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.’ (Rom.15:4) Yes mih bredrin, the scriptures were indeed authored so that we could have hope! And if in these disastrous times you don’t have hope, then turn to the scriptures, that’s simple common sense! If there’s one thing we need to live this life successfully it’s hope! Without it, we’re dead in spirit. 

And here’s something I believe I’ve quoted before, but it’s ever so timely right now. It comes from an article titled ‘Prisoners of Hope,’ by one Joshua Ryan Butler. And he unequivocally states: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into now – an explosion of life into a world marked by death. It changes everything.’ 

And that’s the kind of world we’re currently living in; one marked by death, and the only real hope for us to move from death to life, is to embrace Jesus and His wonderful revolution of hope, which ultimately fosters His LOVE Revolution. Yes friends, Jesus is, was, and always will be the ultimate revolutionary! Much LOVE

…want to be in a successful revolution… then join Jesus’…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 May 2020 Hebrews 6:19.

Hebrews 6:19.    ​Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil (the Presence behind the veil). 
 

And yet for another week we are unable to gather physically in the Lord’s sanctuary for fellowship. Who knows when that will end eh? Only the Lord Himself? But though we are discomforted, we are not defeated, we can still fellowship in the virtual realm, through the wonders of modern technology. 

And you know a strange but very possible thought occurred to me a short while ago, that the Lord did not allow this Coronavirus to descend upon us before, or until we had the ability to worship Him sufficiently through technology. All yuh think we God stupid or what eh! Especially when the pandemic was a means to bring us back to Him. (smile) 

But be all of that as it may, it’s Sunday and we getting together to worship in faith through our many technical devices. So let’s get started, as usual with a song of praise and worship that is ever so appropriate for these calamitous times. And this one is for you Scotty mih brother. I know how you like your old time hymns. So I expect to hear your voice loud and clear as we sing the old favourite written by Philadelphia born Septimus Winner (1827-1902) titled ‘Whispering Hope.’ Altogether now, let’s raise our voices to heaven in rich, soulful harmony. 

Soft as the voice of an angel, Breathing a lesson unheard, Hope with a gentle persuasion Whispers her comforting word: Wait till the darkness is over, Wait till the tempest is done, Hope for the sunshine tomorrow, After the shower is gone. (Refrain: Whispering hope, whispering hope, oh, how welcome thy voice, oh how welcome thy voice, Making my heart, making my heart, in its sorrow rejoice.) If, in the dusk of the twilight, Dim be the region afar, Will not the deepening darkness Brighten the glimmering star? 

Then when the night is upon us, Why should the heart sink away? When the dark midnight is over, Watch for the breaking of day. [Refrain] Hope, as an anchor so steadfast, Rends the dark veil for the soul, Whither the Master has entered, Robbing the grave of its goal; Come then, oh, come, glad fruition, Come to my sad weary heart; Come, O Thou blest hope of glory, Never, oh, never depart. [Refrain]’ 

Oh my people, I’m sure that touched heaven’s heart, because when we talking of hope, there’s nowhere else to get a strong and sure and steadfast brand of it than from heaven itself.  And it seems that Septimus used words from Hebrews as his reference for the hymn. ‘Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil (the Presence behind the veil). Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made (having become) a high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.’ (Heb. 6:19-20) 

And the scholars offer these explanations: ‘6:19-20. Starting at the end of verse 18, the author uses three pictures to demonstrate the security of being in Christ. First, it is described as a safe retreat for the believer, as were the six cities of refuge in the Old Testament to those allowed their protection (Num. 35:6-32). Second, our hope is sure and steadfast as is a well-placed, unbending anchor. Our anchor is not located in the deepest sea but in the highest heaven. 

The third figure is that of a forerunner. Though the figure changes, the location does not. Our forerunner is likewise positioned in the sanctuary of heaven. As our forerunner, Jesus is far different from the Old Testament priests. In the sanctuary they could intercede for the people, but they could not lead the people in themselves. As our forerunner, Jesus has opened the way before us, that eventually (and certainly) we might enter in with Him.’ 

And yes friends, most of understand that Jesus tore down the veil that separated man from God when He died and became the official sacrificial lamb for all time, making it possible for us to now go directly to God than merely through the Old testament priests. He is now our high priest! But listen to this dissertation (smile) from the Hymnary.org website on the way Septimus uses the scripture verse nuh. 

‘19. As an anchor, etc. It is a striking likeness when he compares faith leaning on God’s word to an anchor; for doubtless, as long as we sojourn in this world, we stand not on firm ground, but are tossed here and there as it were in the midst of the sea, and that indeed very turbulent; for Satan is incessantly stirring up innumerable storms, which would immediately upset and sink our vessel, were we not to cast our anchor fast in the deep. 

For nowhere a haven appears to our eyes, but wherever we look water alone is in view; yea, waves also arise and threaten us; but as the anchor is cast through the waters into a dark and unseen place, and while it lies hid there, keeps the vessel beaten by the waves from being overwhelmed; so must our hope be fixed on the invisible God. There is this difference, — the anchor is cast downwards into the sea, for it has the earth as its bottom; but our hope rises upwards and soars aloft, for in the world it finds nothing on which it can stand, nor ought it to cleave to created things, but to rest on God alone. 

As the cable also by which the anchor is suspended joins the vessel with the earth through a long and dark intermediate space, so the truth of God is a bond to connect us with himself, so that no distance of place and no darkness can prevent us from cleaving to him. Thus when united to God, though we must struggle with continual storms, we are yet beyond the peril of shipwreck. Hence he says, that this anchor is sure and steadfast, or safe and firm. 

It may indeed be that by the violence of the waves the anchor may be plucked off, or the cable be broken, or the beaten ship be torn to pieces. This happens on the sea; but the power of God to sustain us is wholly different, and so also is the strength of hope and the firmness of his word.’ 

Oh Mama Mia! How beautiful and reassuring are those words eh my fellow believers in Christ! And I won’t spoil it by trying to add anything more to it…that is if I have anything more to add. (smile) So today, please, I implore us to keep on standing strong and sure and steadfast in the eternal hope that only Christ and heaven provide! Much LOVE!

…when hope diminishes here on earth…raise thy voice to Christ in heaven…so it can be replenished…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 April 2020 Matthew 4:4.

Matthew 4:4.    ​It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
 

Aye mih people, it’s another day in the life; another uncomfortable and unpredictable day in the sojourn, the pandemic and panic of Covid-19, with no end really in sight as yet, just more confusion, so let’s do the wise and smart thing and begin our day with some age old encouragement nuh, some acclamations that have been tried and tested and found rather useful down through the ages of time! And if that isn’t a Bruh Paulian sentence, I don’t know what is! (smile) 

So please declare out loud with me: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps. 118:24) And on top of that: ‘God will supply ALL of my needs according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus, our wonderful Lord and Saviour!’ (Phil. 4:19) Mama Yo! What could be more encouraging than that eh? Well this: ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) And yuh feel that divine and supernatural strength just flowing through your veins now mih people? I know you do! Because we just know that ‘If God is for us, who the hell can be against us eh? (Rom. 8:31) Not a single, bloody soul my faithful brethren! 

Because He is the most powerful being in the universe, and if He’s got our back, then we’re safe like nobody or nothing else can make us! Therefore, with ALL of that wonderful stuff going for us from and through our omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Creator, we can truly and faithfully declare these marvellous words that Joshua declared so long ago: ‘As for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord!’ (Josh. 24:15) Yes, precious people, as long as we draw breath on this earth, regardless of whatever trials and tribulations may come against us, let us not stray from that tried and true path that leads through Jesus Christ, right to the throne room of Almighty God in the high heavens! Amen! 

And I don’t know about you all, but that has certainly energized me! (smile) So, since it’s Friday, let’s hear what the ordinary, most likely out of work, workingman has to say nuh. And as always, he opens with: ‘TGIF! Thank God it’s Friday!’ (but not with his usual enthusiasm and expectant tone.) ‘Chuh! But that sounds so hollow though, since there’s nothing to look forward to. Friday’s become just like any other day, not the prelude to the weekend, like it was when I was working. Doh even remember when last I worked. This Covid-19 nonsense been going on for so long now. 

Thankfully though, I’m now getting a few dollars from the government that helps to pay the mortgage and put some food on the table…but it’s definitely not enough to do everything. I can’t even work a li’l overtime to get me over the top. Ah Lord eh! When it all going to end eh? Like we all in jail yes! Can’t even go outside and talk to nobody…got to keep this social distancing foolishness…oh I know it’s necessary, but it’s still seems foolish…staying six feet from people when yuh see them, even though yuh ent see nobody in a long time! Steups! But ah guess we still have to give God thanks that we still alive and kicking some, and as they say, this too shall pass…just hope it don’t take too much longer to pass nuh…’ 

Yes my fellow saints in Christ Jesus, that’s how this lonely, anxious and unpredictable time is affecting a lot of us, believers included. That’s why it’s ever so necessary for us to delve into God’s Word and find encouragement to keep us going strong in faith and courage. Remember Jesus’ rebuke to Satan when he tempted Him in the first time in the wilderness about making bread from stone. Now that would have been a piece of cake for Jesus to accomplish, but then He would have been bowing to Satan’s request, which as the Son of God, He could not do; therefore He replied: ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ 

He was referring there to Moses earlier warning to the Israelites way back when they came out of bondage from Egypt and the Lord was teaching them how He wanted them to live as His Chosen People. (Deut. 8:3) And that provision still stands today my people. In the Word of God is where we find ALL that we need to successfully live this life! It’s our Guidebook for earthly living! And the Lord specifically said it to Joshua when He made him the leader of the Israelites after Moses’ death. 

‘This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou have good success.’ (Josh. 1:8) Oh my people, my fellow saints in Christ, what more has the Lord God Almighty has to say to us to make us listen and get into His most marvellous Word eh? He’s stated it as clearly as possible: when you read it consistently and study it, then put it into practice, then you’ll be successful and prosperous! That’s a no-brainer! 

But we’ve become so blooming full of ourselves and figure the li’l knowledge we have is so great, that we refuse to follow the simple, but tried and trusted way set out in the Lord’s guidebook. That’s foolish friends, especially in these disturbing and scary times. So let’s get wise and return to the Good Book nuh, where we can find enormous encouragement, assurance, grace, mercy, forgiveness, salvation and eternal life! It’s the ONLY answer to ALL our problems! Now let’s go home doing what we’ve also been encouraged to do, communicate with Holy God through prayer; our rejigged Friday Chant. 

As one sincere voice now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. It’s been pretty rough…though not from work, but from all the confusion and havoc that the Covid -19 virus causing. We not accustomed to that Lord, and it really telling on us. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. 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 use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also 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 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!’ 

And then we do what the Good Book says: wait expectantly, displaying hope and faith; keep on reading and praying, and doing good and not evil. Much LOVE!

…without bread…the body dies…but the spirit lives by…the Word…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 April 2020 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
 

And life goes on one way or the other through this Coronavirus time. But these calamitous times will end one day, when the Lord so desires. Yes friends, this too will undoubtedly pass, when the Lord achieves the purpose(s) for which He allowed it. However, in the mean time, we have two options of living life, as author Daniel Darling proposes in an article I recently read. ‘We can spend the rest of our years angry at what we think we’ve lost, or we can spend them in sweet dependence on God.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! We can either get angry and be miserable about all the negative things that have happened and are still happening, or simply do like our leader, Jesus Christ advises; put our total trust and dependence in Him; the One who has moved us from death and eternal separation from God, to salvation and eternal life with Him. Just consider His Great Invitation nuh: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Wow! Is anybody else offering, or have ever offered such a glorious invitation? No sir! And as author Darling continues in his article: ‘This is the difference, I think, between those whose lives are marked by grace and those whose lives are filled with frustration and anger.’ And that’s the gospel truth! Grace and peace come through association with Jesus, but anger and frustration are the product of a constantly dissatisfied and negative spirit, like that of Satan. And with the free will God granted us, we must now choose our preferred or desired course of action: doing life with Him, or death with the prince of demons. 

As Moses, on God’s behalf said to the Israelites: ‘I call heaven and earth to record (as witnesses) this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.’ (Deut.31:19) The Lord’s saying the same thing to us today my people. And if that didn’t resonate with you, (smile) then listen to this other invitation that Joshua, Moses’ replacement as the Israelite leader, gave them. 

‘Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood (the Euphrates River), and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ (Josh. 24:14-15) 

There it is friends, plainly set out in black and white! Now it’s up to us to choose. And since I know that most of us have obviously chosen ‘life, blessing, and the Lord God of Israel,’ then it now behooves us to communicate with Him and follow His rules and regulations, which can sometimes be onerous, but are always for our benefit. (smile) Okay, some of us doubt that, but if you keep the faith and grow in it, you will eventually realize that it’s oh so true. So let’s communicate with our Creator nuh, in the manner that He set out; purposeful, confident and humble prayer. 

And this Monday morning the most stressful and discouraging thing on our minds is the Covid-19 disease, therefore let’s address that matter uppermost in our prayer, the one we call our Monday Morning Covid-19 Battle Hymn. Altogether 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!’ 

Ah friends, if that didn’t get God’s attention, I don’t know what will nuh. (smile) But He is the Boss and it’s His decision! So now we wait with patience, meaning perseverance, faith and hope, eager anticipation, and a trusting heart, because as we said at the beginning, all will be revealed and come to pass in His time, not ours. And yes, unfortunately our great God doesn’t see, or perceive time in the same simple way that we do, but on a more lofty level. 

And to reinforce our differences, He has said through His prophet Isaiah: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways may ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ (Is. 55:8-9) Now that certainly puts us in our place. And it’s rather sad that so many of us don’t seem to believe it, one of the major reasons why our world is in such a disastrous state. I don’t know what else we need to truly understand that we are not masters of our own fate! Much LOVE!

…to the Creator…belongs…the life and times of the created…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 April 2020​ 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
 
And the Easter Celebrations continue, though somewhat muted because of the Coronavirus pandemic. But do you think anything at all can stop we believers from celebrating Christ’s revolutionary resurrection that assures us of life after earthly death? No way Jose! Yes, we couldn’t get together physically like we are accustomed doing at such a joyful time, but it in no way lessens the importance and awesome promise of the amazing event and consequently celebrations and church services were held in all forms and fashions, with the help of our modern technology. 

But unfortunately, so far, that modern technology has not been able to come up with an answer for the virus that’s causing us so much devastation, grief and heartache. But also, as true believers and followers of Christ, whom we believe can do anything, we keep hoping and praying and believing that a cure, an antidote, will soon be found. Yes friends, we are indeed ‘prisoners of hope.’ (Zech. 9:12) And speaking about ‘prisoners of hope,’ I recently read an article by one Joshua Ryan Butler with that exact title, and he had a rather interesting characterization of ‘hope.’ 

He says: ‘Hope is a revolution, a powerful presence that breaks in from the future and transforms today. Jesus’ arrival has brought God’s destiny for humanity crashing into the now – an explosion of life into a world marked by the death. It changes everything.’ And is that ever so true! Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection certainly catapulted us into the future, showing us God’s great, preordained plan for our lives. And there is no better verse of scripture that describes that situation than these words of Peter: 

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ And has Jesus’ resurrection ever given us hope for the future, for salvation! The scholars explain: ‘1:3-2:10. The Christian’s destiny: salvation. Salvation means “deliverance.” Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation, that is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.’ 

But remember what Joshua said in his definition of ‘hope’ above? It ‘breaks in from the future and transforms today.’ That means we don’t have to wait till we die to enjoy the benefits that Jesus died for us to have, but can begin enjoying heaven down here on earth right now! As Jesus said: ‘The thief cometh not but (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) And that’s the beauty of the Christian faith and life! We also have a now, as well as a then. 

The only problem is all of that doesn’t just happen automatically; there are some requirements, the first one being Jesus’ directive to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God…. 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.’ (John 3:3, 5) So if we don’t meet that requirement, then we can forget about salvation through Jesus. Then we have to believe in Jesus as the Way, the Truth, the Light and the Life. All of which gives us hope that leads and morphs into faith, which makes us strong and keeps us going. Glory to God, my fellow believers! 

And now that we’ve said all that, let’s turn to the operating system of the situation; the real work horse of the Christian life, the ultimate means of communication with our Saviour and Father; prayer! Yes friends, prayer is our very life blood! Without it we’re just lost and alone; but with it, in God’s company, we’re powerful and NEVER alone! So let’s talk to our Father right now about our greatest need at this current time nuh; relief from the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, in strong voice, with confident humility (smile) let’s cry out to Him for help through our 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 Easter 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!’ 

And now that we’ve fulfilled one aspect of our role in our covenant, our partnership with God, let’s go out and do the rest, basically living for Jesus, with supreme hope and faith in our hearts. And as He has faithfully promised, the Father will do the parts we can’t do. Much LOVE!

…without living hope…and strong faith…one can’t live for Jesus…

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