Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.        I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.

Once again friends, it’s time to gather round and lift up our voices and hearts in praise, worship and thanksgiving to our wonderful God! It’s Sunday, the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, that makes it the most important day of the week! Let us not forget His warning, in no uncertain terms: ‘Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) 

And that’s exactly what we’ll be doing today, beginning, as we always do, with a song of praise. Today’s song is a li’l ditty we all know and LOVE, titled ‘Crying in the Chapel.’ Most of us might know the Elvis Presley version, but there have been numerous versions down through the years since Artie Glenn wrote it in 1951 for his son Darrell to sing. However, it apparently languished in a desk drawer for two years until Darrell, while still in High School, finally recorded it in 1953 with Artie’s Band, the Rhythm Riders. 

From the time it was released it became a favourite, possibly because of the deep sense of peace and contentment it radiates. I believe Elvis’ version in 1965 was the biggest chart topper, but today we’re going to do a version by the First Lady of song, Miss Ella Fitzgerald. It’s a more light and airy, bluesy, mid-tempo, but still very soulful treatment, not as dark and dirge-like as some of the other versions. (smile) So let’s open our hearts and voices and lift sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord. Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day I searched (I searched) and I searched (I searched) but I couldn’t find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord (One accord) Yes, we gather in the chapel Just to sing and praise the Lord – 

Meet your neighbors in the chapel, Join with them in tears of joy, You’ll be happy with the Lord – You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way (and you’ll surely find the way) Yes, you’ll surely find the way.’ 

Oh my fellow believers that’s exactly why we are gathered here today in the Lord’s sanctuary; so that we can get down on our knees and pray, have our burdens lightened and find the way, which leads directly through Christ Jesus. Remember His fateful words. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:8) 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! No one can enter into the Father’s presence unless they first go through the Son, Jesus, for He’s the Father’s gate keeper. As the psalmist says of children in Psalm 127: ‘Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.) (Ps. 127:5) Yes, friends, that’s what Jesus does for His Father; speaks with the enemies that come to the gate and drives them off, unless they bow to His wishes. 

Now that’s where we come in. We were once enemies of the Father, but once Jesus arrived on the scene, His sacrificial death on the cross killed all enmity, brought reconciliation and forgiveness, and now we’re LOVING Jesus and bowing to His every wish. (smile) But on a more serious note my people, the words in today’s song ring oh so true that we can’t help but pay attention. Listen to them nuh: ‘You’ll search and you’ll search but you’ll never find No way on earth to gain peace of mind.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth! But when you turn to Jesus, then you’ll find the peace that passeth all understanding. That’s His peace. As He so clearly defines it. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) Wow! There’s no peace on earth like Jesus’! 

And the good thing about it is that you don’t have to stand on no ceremony to receive it. As the song says: ‘ Take your troubles to the chapel Get down on your knees and pray Then your burdens will be lighter And you’ll surely find the way.’ Yes friends, it’s that true and easy. Why yuh think Bruh David said in Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) 

And furthermore, it doesn’t have to be no fancy chapel, but ‘Just a plain and simple chapel Where humble people go to pray.’ Oh my, my! And what happened there eh? ‘I prayed the Lord that I’ll grow stronger As I live from day to day.’ Plain and simple, straightforward, heartfelt communication. And what was the result of that communication? ‘You saw me crying in the chapel. The tears I shed were tears of joy I know the meaning of contentment Now I am happy with the Lord.’ 

Ah mih people, there are no tears like tears of joy, because they just refresh our souls, wash them clean, and bring contentment. But all of that can only be achieved when one is in strong league with Jesus Christ. Please remember that. The world and its evil sinful self cannot offer it. And before we end, I want to point out one very important fact in the song. ‘Now I’m happy in the chapel Where people are of one accord.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, being of one accord, of one spirit, mind and agreement is ever so important in the Christian life. Bruh Paul thought it so important that he noted it in several of his missives to the churches. Like this one to the Philippians. ‘If there be therefore any consolation (encouragement) in Christ, if any comfort (consolation, solace) of LOVE, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (affection) and mercies (sympathy). 

Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same LOVE (showing no partiality), being of one accord (united in spirit), of one mind (the whole church with the same values and goals). Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory (selfish ambition or conceit): but in lowliness of mind (humility) let each esteem other better than themselves (regard his fellow Christian as more important than himself). Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others (be just as concerned for the needs and problems of one’s brother believer as for one’s own affairs).’ (Phil. 2:1-4) 

Yes friends, that’s how Christianity ought to work. It seems the church at Philippi overall wasn’t bad, but there was some disunity and lack of harmony, which Bruh Paul needed fixed for his joy to be complete in them. And oh, is there ever a great deal of disunity and disharmony in the current church of Christ, that He desperately needs fixed for His joy to be complete. So please, I implore us, for our children and their children’s sake, let’s get together seriously and sincerely nuh, and start working on narrowing our differences and divisions, many of which are selfish and petty and can be easily corrected if we truly want to be sincere saints of Christ. Much LOVE!

…nothing will warm the cockles of Christ’s heart…like His church truly being of one accord…                                                                                                                                

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   6 November 2022 Psalm 122:1.

Psalm 122:1.         I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. 

It’s the Lord’s Day my fellow believers! Time to gather in worship to celebrate and give praiseful thanks to the Lord our Creator and Provider, either by our physical presence in His sanctuary, or through technological means. Let’s not forget the Lord’s commandment re this day: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ (Ex. 20:8) We break enough of them, and this one is fairly easy to keep, compared to some of the others. And Bruh David puts it ever so nicely when he writes in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) 

Yes friends, it ought to be a pleasure, a privilege, a duty to enter into God’s house to praise and worship Him with other believers. And there are several other passages of scripture that invoke the same sentiment, as Isaiah 2:3, Micah 4:2, and Zechariah 8:21. That means going to the Lord’s house to worship is extremely important. And so, as the ole people would say: ‘Matter fix!’ (smile) We’ve proved our point. But many around the country will be late and inconvenienced with the turning back of the clocks one hour last night to be in sync with the unnecessary daylight saving time ritual. 

Now, let’s turn to today’s song of worship, one titled ‘Heaven Help Us All, originally written as a soulful ditty, but with a gospel-infused sound, by Ron Miller in 1970 and made popular by Stevie Wonder. Today though, we’re going to do the Ray Charles/ Gladys Knight version. So it’s time to open up our harmonious vocal pipes in soulful sacrificial praise and let heaven know of our earthly plight. 

Singing: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys – monologue: ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep. Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah mih people, we were so serious and sincere that I’m sure heaven heard our call! And do we ever need plenty of heaven’s help to handle the numerous heart-breaking and gut-wrenching problems we have down here on earth. But since it takes two to tango, it means that heaven alone can’t fix our many problems, we also have to be a major part of the solutions, just as we are a major part of the problems. That entails first of all getting ourselves right with God through prayer, repentance and thanksgiving, then LOVING each other as Christ said when He detailed the two greatest commandments. 

‘Thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’ (Matt. 22:37-40) 

And that’s the gospel truth people! Until we start showing a li’l more reverence and LOVE to our great God, and also to our fellow human beings, none of the problems listed above will ever go away. Our world will always be filled with lots of strife, envy, greed, advantage, poverty, sickness, oppression and evil doing; all deeds espoused by our enemy Satan. And it’s not like we don’t know it, because many more of us are suffering from the negative effects of those things than are prospering from them. But it seems like the lure of sin in these disaster-filled times is greater than the appeal of godliness. 

So the majority of us continue to wallow in Satan’s mire of sin and evil, while only a relative handful fight the good fight on God’s behalf. The sad part is that there are many supposed believers who are not doing their part, either through fear or simple apathy, and thus are allowing the enemy to have his way with their lives. But if the billons, or even millions of us who call ourselves Christian were to truly stand up for Christ, get some belly and backbone, and fight the good fight, our world would never be in the shameful, evil state it’s now in. 

Ah friends, as I keep reminding us, the evil-doers, the iniquity workers are not going to improve our world because they have a vested interest in seeing it fall apart and sink into the devil’s quicksand. It’s only through us supposed believers that our world will ever get a chance to improve. Our generation has already made a mess of it, we can’t allow things to get any worse, otherwise our descendants will certainly end up living in a veritable hell right here on earth. If you think it’s bad now, just wait and see. 

In any case, many of us won’t be around to experience it, we might just be experiencing the real thing, like Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar, found in Luke 16:19-31. While here on earth the rich man enjoyed the good life but Lazarus sat poverty-stricken at the rich man’s gate. However, in the after-life, the rich man is in hell feeling the heat, begging Abraham to send Lazarus, now up in heaven, to dip his finger in some water and wet his tongue. But Abraham informs him that there is a great chasm or gulf between the two worlds, so no one can get from one place to the other. 

Then the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to his five brothers, for maybe they would listen to one who rose from the dead and change their ways. But Abraham also nixed that request telling him that they have Moses and the prophets and if they would not listen to them, then they wouldn’t listen to one who rose from the dead either. 

My friends, that story ought to give us pause for thought. It came from Jesus’ lips, and He doesn’t make jokes over serious stuff. So, I would strongly advise that we all take it seriously and closely look at our lives in light of that tragic tale. It certainly can’t do us any harm, but it might just do us all a lot of good in the long run. Much LOVE!

…stand up, stand up for Jesus…the trumpet sound obey…till every foe is vanquished…and Christ is Lord indeed… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 August 2022   Ephesians 2:8.

Ephesians 2:8.      For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

My fellow believers, let’s come together right now, to praise, worship and give thanks to our great and wonderful God, for that’s the major reason He created us! Consequently, Bruh David could joyfully declare (chuh!!!) in the opening verse of Psalm 122: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ That’s where we’re supposed to be sometime this last Sunday in August of 2022. 

And besides being made to praise and worship God, the psalmist also declares: (yesss!!!) ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.’ (Ps. 107:8-9) That’s even more reason to praise and worship Him. 

And as always, we have a marvellous song of worship to open the proceedings. Today’s hymn is one of our very ‘favouritest’ (smile) aptly titled ‘Amazing Grace.’ It was supposedly written ‘to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day of 1773.’ by the sailor, slave trader, turned Anglican priest and abolitionist John Newton (1725-1807). The story goes that Newton, who was brought up in a Christian home rejected his mother’s teachings and became a real profane and wicked individual. 

However, during one of his voyages, a wicked storm (smile) enveloped his ship and threatened to drown them, but during the storm, his mind turned to Christ, and later, finding a New Testament he began reading it. And apparently Luke 11:13 changed his mind about being too wicked to be saved. ‘If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?’ 

Now that’s a terribly important question. And the answer is the Lord will give us ever so much more than we can give our children! Obviously, Newton must have asked for the power of the Holy Spirit and the Lord granted it to him. And isn’t that just the way our Lord LOVES to work; take us up, rescue us when we are at our lowest point. It’s a perfect example that we can never fall too low for the Lord’s grace and mercy to reach us and pull us out of the evil mire in which we’re ensconced. 

Anyway, enough talk for now. If you didn’t know the general background of the hymn, now you know it, so let’s sing it in a soulful, harmonious, mid-tempo version. I hate hearing people sing it like a dirge, for it’s not a sad song but a happy one. A song of salvation should never be sad. So, with voices raised to the max, let’s offer up sacrificial praise, singing like we truly feeling the overpowering sentiments of the song. 

‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. 

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.’ 

Ah mih people, that was marvellous! Heaven couldn’t doubt that we were sincere! And I particularly like this comment in an article on the song from the website Godtube. It says: ‘This song isn’t a song of theology – it’s John Newton’s own heartfelt expression of gratitude to God, who helped him turn from his profane and wicked life and eventually fight against the ills he practiced.’ 

Yes friends, it must be amazing when we can go from one end of the spectrum right to the opposite end! And although the song might not be a theological text (smile) it’s only God’s grace can cause that to happen. For as Bruh Paul wrote to the Ephesians: ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.’ (Eph. 2:8-9) 

And I guess Newton full well recognized that fact, having later become and Anglican priest, for in the song, he acknowledged this most important fact: ‘’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far. And grace will lead me home.’ And that’s for certain sure my fellow believers, for as James, Jesus’ brother tells us: ‘Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness (variation), neither shadow of turning. Of his own will he begat us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.’ (James 1:17-18) 

Yes precious saints of Christ, everything good comes from our heavenly Father, who is immutable, doesn’t change. And as we said at the beginning, He made us, His most important creation to have fellowship with Him, to be the first step in His redemption plan for all creation. And as the song concludes: ‘When we’ve been here ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we first begun.’ 

Now isn’t that the glorious truth? It surely is! As long as there’s’ life in our bodies, physical or spiritual, we’ll always have occasion to sing the Lord’s praises, for that’s why we were made!  So, let’s remember that nuh and keep singing God’s most deserved praises each and every day of our lives as the Good Book instructs us to do. ‘O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise (glorify) him, all ye people. For his merciful (LOVING) kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah!)’ (Ps. 117:1-2) 

And that only comes when we truly believe, and thus have the joy, the truth, and the grace of God moving majestically within us! Much LOVE!

…it’s never too late…or one’s never too far gone…to receive God’s grace…

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

Today’s Scrip-Bit   20 March 2022 Hebrews 4:16.

Hebrews 4:16.     Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Ah chuh! It looks like another wet and cloudy day is in the offing…but it’s better than a white and snowy one though! (smile) Anyway it’s Sunday, so we are celebrating the Lord’s Day with praise and thanksgiving in His gates and courts and physically gathering in His sanctuaries to encourage and rejoice with other believers, like we haven’t been able to do for two long years because of the Covid 19 virus! And all God’s people gave a loud and thankful shout of Glory Hallelujah! 

Yes friends, it’s oh so good to be able to go into God’s sanctuary again, reminiscent of the opening words of Psalm 122 titled – Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem – where Bruh David declares: ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go up into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps. 122:1) Oh there’s nothing better than gathering in God’s house to sing and praise His holy name, to give thanks and receive in return His refreshing renewal of all our energy; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual! 

And that’s why this Sunday morning, the first day of spring, we are going to take a leap of faith and sing this re-energizing song “Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace” written by Daniel Herbert (1751 – 1833), a congregational minister who served at Sudbury in Suffolk, England. Why? Because, as one commentator wisely opines: ‘It is a passionate and comforting call to all who feel the weight of their sin to come and find mercy at the feet of Christ.’ Oh my people, I couldn’t put it any better! 

So, with sincere hearts and voices let’s go boldly to the throne of grace, offering up our sacrifices of praise in a mid-tempo but ever so soulful and heartfelt version of this marvellous song. ‘Come boldly to the throne of grace, Ye wretched sinners come, and lay your load at Jesus feet, And plead what He has done. How can I come? Some soul may say, I’m lame and cannot walk; My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth, I sigh, but dare not talk. 

Come boldly to the throne of grace, Though lost, and blind, and lame; Jehovah is the sinner’s friend, And ever was the same. He makes the dead to hear His voice; He makes the blind to see, The sinner lost, He came to save, And set the prisoner free. Come boldly to the throne of grace, For Jesus fills the throne; and those He kills, He makes alive; He hears the sigh or groan; Poor bankrupt souls, Who feel and know, the hell of sin within; 

Come Boldly to the throne of grace; The Lord will take you in. Come Boldly to the throne of grace; The Lord will take you in…the Lord will take you in…Yes the Lord will take you in…take you in’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, of that fact you can be totally assured; the Lord will NEVER turn away anyone who comes to Him in sincerity and truth! He sent His only begotten Son to earth to save us miserable sinners, so why then would He turn away any of that ilk who come to Him for rescue eh? No reason whatsoever! Remember He doesn’t want to lose even one soul to the enemy, so He will not refuse the sinner’s plea for mercy and grace. And there’s this magnificent and reassuring passage of scripture which tells it all, all about the sympathetic Christ. 

The author of Hebrews explains it thus: ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our profession (confession of faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:14-16) 

Oh my fellow saints, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the best thing that’s ever happened to us! Wow! In His earthly sojourn He suffered all the temptation that we are currently experiencing, but without committing any sin, thus, He can now empathize with what we are going through and doesn’t have to point fingers at us in condemnation, but instead offers us reconciliation and righteousness. As Bruh Paul says in the opening verse of that marvellous Chapter 8 of Romans: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ (Rom. 8:1) 

So, once we recognize our frailties, our weaknesses and sins and come to Christ for forgiveness, He doesn’t condemn us, but cleanses us and clothes us in His Holy Spirit to enable us to walk a better walk with Him as our steadfast focus. And please remember that it’s only through Christ’s death and resurrection, and in His holy name that we are even able to go to God’s throne, because God cannot stand sin. And Bruh Paul says it in Ephesians: ‘According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of (in) him.’ (Eph. 3:11-12) 

Yes, it was God’s eternal purpose to redeem our sinful souls through Christ Jesus and thus give us bold and confident access to His holy presence. But please, let’s not forget that it’s only through Christ, and in His name that we can enter God’s throne room. That reminds us of Jesus words to Thomas, the doubting disciple: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.’ (John 14:6) And Hebrews corroborates it: ‘But Christ as a son over his own house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of hope firm unto the end.’ (Heb. 3:6) 

Oh my people, all we are talking about is only possible if we hold on tightly to the hope and faith we profess, that we boast of in Christ Jesus. For as they say, Faith doesn’t make it easy, faith makes it possible. Yes, it’s only with sure faith that we can ever hold firm and endure unto the end. And there is no better way to end today’s proceedings than with this wonderful verse of scripture from Hebrews. ‘But without faith it is impossible to please him (God): for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’ (Heb. 11:6) 

That’s it my fellow saints! There’s no use talking about God unless we sincerely and strongly believe that He exists and also bountifully rewards those who actively seek Him. And hopefully, that’s why we are gathered here today…in faith, to seek His awesome presence! Much LOVE!

…if you know of Christ…and don’t sincerely LOVE Him…then something’s seriously wrong with you… 

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