Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 June 2021 Revelation 1:8a.

Revelation 1:8a.     ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,

On and on we go friends, walking down the road of life with our marvellous Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! You know, every day seems the same, but they are all different when you partner with Jesus, because He makes every day special, unique, in its own way. Now who else can do that for us eh? Nobody! Not a single soul can give us the joy, the hope, the peace, the LOVE, the salvation and friendship that we find with Jesus! 

Wow! No wonder so many of have chosen, and are choosing to follow Him right down to the very end! And that decision is the wisest one we can ever make, for when we live for Jesus, our earthly lives may sometimes be rough, but our end will be great, greater than if we follow any other path. And why is that you ask? Well let’s hear some scriptures that ought to bring the true story to you and help you decide to live for Jesus. 

The Book of Revelation, Jesus’ account of what’s to happen, as He revealed to His disciple John on the isle of Patmos tells us in the early verses: ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’ (Rev. 1:3) And believe me friends, the time is truly at hand. The world is in such an ungodly and unstable mess, that even if God doesn’t put forth His hand to destroy it, it will implode soon, because of the inordinate strife, anger, sickness and inhumanity that’s permeating it right now. 

Then, the terrible way in which we’re treating the earth, continually ravaging it for our greedy, selfish purposes, without any plans for replenishing it, there must come a time when there’s nothing left to be ravaged. And though Bruh Paul wasn’t referring to the physical earth when he proclaimed: ‘For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain (suffers birth pangs) together until now,’ (Rom. 8:22) we can certainly make a point for its continual physical deterioration through all the mining and deforestation and other bad treatment we inflict on it. 

Then look at the number of volcanoes that are currently erupting all over the globe, many of which have been dormant for long periods. I don’t know if we have ever had so many erupting simultaneously as we do today. And when we add the other natural disasters that seem to be occurring more often, with greater intensity, there’s little hope for us, unless we quickly and completely change our attitudes towards God, each other and the earth. 

Now, it doesn’t matter so much what happens to our physical bodies, but it’s of the utmost importance what happens to our spiritual selves when the physical body returns to the earth from whence it came. And I’m here to tell us that following Jesus is the best thing we can do for our spiritual lives, which shall live on for a long, long time after our physical bodies die. 

And John vividly details, some verses later in his revelation: ‘Behold he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds (the tribes) of the earth shall wail (mourn) because of him. Even so, Amen.’ (Rev. 1:7) Those words refer to Christ’s return to earth to establish His kingdom, not to the Rapture. There, everyone will see Him, including all those who rejected Him, and wanted Him dead and participated in His death, will then repent and mourn. 

But hear what Jesus tells John. ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.’ (Rev. 1:8) The scholars tell us that ‘Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and refer to God’s eternality and sovereignty, and possibly to the fullness of God’s self-revelation.’ Now God revealing Himself to us should come as no surprise, for He’s done it right down through the ages through His prophets. 

And I like how from heaven, just like on earth, when Jesus appears to John, who falls down at His feet as though dead. He tells him: ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.’ (Rev. 1:17-18) Yes friends, Christ is alive and well! 

The scholars explain: ‘As God in the Old Testament is called “the living God,” so Christ is he that liveth. He became dead when He humbled Himself to die on the cross (Phil. 2:6-8), but then rose to live for evermore. Three tenses of Christ’s existence are emphasized: (1) His ever-abiding life; (2) his death as God-man; and (3) His resurrection to everlasting and authoritative life. He has authority over death and judgement and therefore has the keys of hell (hades) and of death (cf. 20:14).’ 

Then we come to this most pertinent instruction of Jesus’ to John. ‘Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.’ (Rev. 1:19) According to the scholars ‘This is the key verse of the Book. Revelation has three major sections: (1) the things which thou hast seen – chapter 1, especially the vision of Christ (cf. vs. 11 -: “what thou seest”); (2) the things which are – chapters 2 and 3, the conditions in the churches; and (3) the things which shall be hereafter – chapters 4-22, beginning with the judgements of the Tribulation period (cf. 7:1) – “after these things”). 

Ah mih people, I know many of us don’t like or read, or understand the Book of Revelation, because it can be confusing and has some gory details that turn us off, but in truth, it’s the best Book of the Bible, because it tells us exactly what will happen at the very end to those who follow Jesus sincerely and those who don’t. It doesn’t mince words at all. However, I think we’ll stop here for today, since it will get much too long if I continue with it all at once. Tomorrow, God spare life, we will get into Revelation a little more, and hopefully, by the time we are finished, we’ll all have a better idea of what’s going to happen in the future. 

So, for those of us who are totally interested in walking with Jesus, let’s go home now declaring (steups!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful position in Him. Altogether now: ‘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 to further boost our enthusiasm, let’s remember that if we endure to the end, the future will be even more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…one truth from the Bible…is worth…more than all the wisdom of man…                                                   

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

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

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

Happy Easter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And to bring it all together, hear these marvellous words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians. ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Hades), where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 15:54a-57) Now all of that is gospel truth my people. Death and the grave were defeated. They can’t touch us anymore, because of Christ’s victorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. And we owe it all to the great LOVE that our heavenly Father had, and still has, and will always have for us. 

But in the long run, the crux of the matter is our behaviour, as Bruh Paul said to Timothy above, and as follows to the church at Corinth. ‘Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (1 Cor. 15:58) Oh my fellow believers, not because we achieved victory through Christ’s sacrificial death we can afford to now sit on our laurels and our fat fannies and do nothing. 

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

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 July 2019 Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18.    ​I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Now just in case you did not realize it, I’m here to inform you that the weekly cycle of life has come full circle again! (smile) This is the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath, the day on which He rested after spending the entire week creating the universe and all therein. It’s also the day that we ought to rest from our labour and journey to His sanctuary to fellowship with other believers, praising and exalting His Holy Name, giving Him exceeding thanks for all that He’s done for us. 

And last, but definitely not least, to hear His Holy Word, so that our spiritual selves can be refreshed and renewed, to enable us to rebuke and repel the evil enemy as we venture back into the ungodly working world tomorrow. And all of God’s children said a loud, proud and sincere: ‘Praise the Lord! Magnify His Holy Name!’ 

So let’s get right into the praise section by singing this old but much LOVED ‘Christian hymn, ‘Abide with Me,’ written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.’ And was it ever a fitting going away present to leave to posterity, as he indeed wrote a telling, thoughtful and true hymn! So, in one accord, let’s sing it like we really mean it nuh. 

‘Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? 

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’ 

Oh friends, those are such powerful, moving and gospel true words! Nobody else can help us in this life like Jesus can! And I like the descriptions: ‘Help of the helpless.’ That’s exactly what Jesus came to do! ‘O thou who changest not…’ More glorious truth! ‘I need thy presence every passing hour…’ And do we ever my believing brethren! Without it, we’d quickly be toast against the enemy. ‘What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?’ Exactly what we were just saying: only with Jesus in our lives can we ever hope to overcome the evil and diabolical enemy called Satan! 

Consequently, ‘I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless.’ Oh my people, living with and for Christ, certainly raises our level of courage to great heights, because we know that with Him in our corner we can conquer any and every foe! And when he asks? ‘Where is death’s sting? Where, grave thy victory?’ The thrilling, victorious answer comes: ‘I triumph still, if thou abide with me.’ 

And that’s for certain sure friends, because Christ defeated hell, death and the grave by His sacrificial death and His awesome resurrection! Note His words to John in the vision on the isle of Patmos: ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.’ 

Oh friends and fellow believers, the victory is indeed ours through Christ Jesus! Never forget that! Isaiah prophesied it: ‘He will swallow up death in victory (forever); and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. ‘ (Is.25:8) And we all know that our great and faithful God doesn’t make idle promises, His word doesn’t return to Him void, but accomplishes all its purposes. 

And Jesus certainly made mincemeat of Satan!  That’s why Bruh Paul could be so exuberant and cocksure when he wrote to the Corinthians: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Hades), where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (2 Cor. 15:54a-57) Oh mih people, shout and jump for joy, for victory is ours! Sing ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Praise the wonderful name of the Lord for He has indeed done marvellous things on our behalf! 

And Bruh David said it too in Psalm 68 – God has gone before his people. ‘Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.   Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation: and unto God the Lord belong the issues (escapes) from death.’ (Ps.68:19-20) But my people, all that good and wonderful news of victory through Christ, doesn’t mean we can just sit on our laurels and don’t do anything to help our cause. 

That’s why Bruh Paul at the end of his victory speech, warned the Corinthians:  ‘Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (2 Cor.15:58) And it most definitely is not, for all good work will eventually be rewarded in God’s time.

Friends, I sincerely recommend then, that we all take that warning to heart and get down to brass tacks right now, standing steadfast in Christ, rebuking and repelling the enemy who is trying to be a spoilsport and curdle our victory! Please don’t let him! Much LOVE!

…Christ won the victory…but we have to keep it alive…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 30 July 2016 Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18.     I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Well friends, it’s Saturday; Caribana Saturday in the big T.O! Mama Yo! (smile)

Although it’s now officially known as something like Toronto Caribbean Carnival, brought on by all the litigation and controversy over the name in the last few years. But in most people’s minds it will always be Caribana. 

Anyway, just like a rose by any other name is still as sweet, likewise Caribana by any other name still is a big festival. And you can imagine the city is hopping with all the functions slated for this long holiday Civic weekend. 

Well to cut a long story short, I did my hopping last night at the Pan Alive Steelband Competition. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years that has been my sole Caribana venture, because the big parade on Saturdays is more than I can physically handle, I can’t party like I used to. Chuh! (smile) 

And in any case what passes for mas down there doesn’t thrill me any more. But I’m not complaining. I had a good time at the pan competition, as I usually do. But also, as any of you who has ever been to a pan competition will know, there’s always controversy over the judges decision. 

And there certainly was some of that last night as the judges’ declared Pan Fantasy the winners for the fifth consecutive time. Steups! Now they might have deserved the accolade over the last couple years, but definitely not last night in the minds of most people. 

They looked good and their playing wasn’t bad, but it lacked the little something that makes a winner. A couple of bands like Silhouettes and Afro Pan sounded better. I’m not a big Afro Pan fan, but last night they played well and should have beaten out Pan Fantasy, instead of taking second place. 

One good thing though, this year there were fewer bands than normal, ten, and the Competition was better organized and was more of a show, with one pan side on stage at a time, and the judges no longer moving around. It also began on time and finished before midnight as the city dictated. 

Our own Calypso Monarch, Macoumeh Fifi, as well as a one pan side (one pan in each category) called Pan Elite from Arima in T&T performed during the intermission and after the bands performed. So some kudos go out to the organizing committee. And that’s that for Caribana…

Oh, except to send out Granny’s advice: ‘Sonny boy, please, ah beg yuh, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ Yes friends, we definitely have to be on our p’s and q’s during these big festivals as the enemy excitedly comes out on the prowl, looking for spirits and souls to invade with his evil power. And we definitely can’t allow him to do that. So please be careful this Caribana long weekend. 

Now here are a couple of quotes from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. The first one says: ‘It’s better to have a stiff neck from aiming too high than to have a stiff back from aiming too low.’ 

And that is quite true, especially for Christians, since our Leader, our Lord and Saviour expects excellence from all His followers. His is a not necessarily a high intellect organization, as you can see from some of the people He originally chose as His disciples, and the ole crooks and scamps the Lord used to do His bidding in the Old Testament. 

But you’ll certainly notice that all His choices were high performance and achievement oriented. They did great things through the Lord’s help, even though they came from lowly backgrounds. The Lord takes pleasure in using the world’s castoffs and nonentities to confound the powers that be. 

And the second quote declares: ‘No one can make you jealous, angry, vengeful, or greedy — unless you let them.’ And that’s the gospel truth my people! 

Technically speaking, no one has that sort of power over us, unless we allow them to. So when we say that so and so made us angry, or jealous, or whatever negative sentiment we choose to display, it’s technically incorrect. In truth, we are the ones allowing them to make us whatever. 

It’s the same thing when we declare that the devil made us do something. Of a fact, the devil has absolutely no power over us unless we allow him to. Remember our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ defeated hell, death and the grave, Lucifer’s dominions, when He died, and rose from the grave on the third day. So please, let’s stop allowing people to have such power over us, because it detracts substantially from our witness for Christ. 

And that brings us finally to our Bit. ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.’ 

That says it all my fellow believers! Our Leader Jesus has conquered the forces of evil, which means there is nothing that we need be afraid of from the enemy, because in reality he is like a toothless dog, just barking his foolish head off, with no real power to bite or harm us. Whatever he does to us, is what we allow him to do. 

Yuh don’t see, even when Beelzebub wanted to harm Job, he had to first go to Almighty God for permission. (Job 1:6-12) The same applies to us today my brethren; whatever happens to us, the Lord allows for reasons He alone understands. But the evil one can’t just get up and hurt us because he feels like. 

And we’ll end with these awesome words of Jesus as He says to John after our Bit. ‘Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be (take place) hereafter;’ (Rev.1:19) 

And according to the scholars: 1:19. This is the key verse of the book. Revelation has three major sections: (1) the things which thou hast seen – chapter 1, especially the vision of Christ (c.f. v.11 – “what thou seest”); (2) the things which are – chapters 2 and 3, the conditions in the churches; and (3) the things which shall be hereafter – chapters 4-22, beginning with the judgements of the Tribulation period (cf. 7:1 –“after these things”).’ 

Yes friends, there’s a whole lot to come, and we’ll be wise to be on Jesus ‘s side, for He is indeed the Mighty Conqueror! Much LOVE!

…only fools will bypass the wonders of Jesus…to join the hapless band in Hades… 

P.S. I know it’s long and late, but you have to cut the ole fella some slack as this is Caribana weekend. (smile) Much LOVE!