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!