Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 February 2020 Romans 8:28.

Romans 8:28.    ​And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
Come Sunday morning, me and my friends are heading for the Lord’s sanctuary, to celebrate His day, to give Him thanks and praise, to call to Him for help, and receive said help through the hearing of His Word, the supernatural moving of His Holy Spirit and encouragement from our fellow believers! That’s what me and my friends are going to do this Sunday morning – or evening – come hell or high water! 

Oh my people, a li’l cold or inclement weather shouldn’t stop us from getting out to the celebrations at some time of the day. Just think what our lives would be like if Jesus didn’t feel like coming to earth and going to the cross nuh? Remember the Father didn’t force Him, but He agreed to do it after He pointed out that Jesus was the only choice the bunch of sinful ingrates He created had of bypassing the consuming fires of hell. So having to make a bit of a sacrifice to go out one day a week and praise and give Him the glory He so assuredly deserves, should not be a big thing. 

Anyway, as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with some worship. And today’s hymn is an old one we all know and LOVE. It’s titled, ‘It is Well with my Soul.’ It highlights the incredible story of faith of one Horatio Spafford (1828-1888), who at the height of success and prosperity, like Job, suffered much tragedy. A prominent and prosperous Christian Chicago lawyer, he first suffered the loss of his son, then the Great Chicago Fire destroyed his real estate investments, then in 1873, he sent his wife and four daughters on a boat trip to Europe. 

However, a few days later, he received a telegram from his wife that said: ‘Saved alone…’ The boat had been shipwrecked and all four daughters lost. And ostensibly this oldie but goldie was created a short time later when Spafford on his way to meet his wife, was passing over the area where his daughters lost their lives. Now having heard that background, let’s open our hearts and voices to high heaven in a soulful and harmonious rendition of this testament to faith, and the resilience that can be found in Christ when it’s called for. 

As one now: ‘When peace like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say It is well, it is well, with my soul (Chorus: It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.) Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Chorus) My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul (Chorus) 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Chorus) But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Chorus) And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. It is well (it is well) With my soul (with my soul) It is well, it is well with my soul.’ 

Oh my people, what strong, incredible faith, what inordinate trust what herculean courage was called for to pen those awesome, but oh so true words! I doubt many believers (steups!) would have been able to do it, because not many of us have those magnanimous parts. Many of us would have been cursing God, even turned away from Him. But Mr. Spafford, in his tragic circumstance probably remembered Job’s story, possibly even read it, and like Job, concluded that ranting and raving against God would not help the situation. 

He obviously rejected Job’s wife’s advice in favour of Job’s wisdom: ‘Then said his (Job’s) wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive (accept) good at the hand of God, and shall nor receive (accept) evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:9-10) Friends, that’s one of the most interesting and enlightening conversations in the Good Book. 

And the scholars explain it thus: ‘2:9-10. Job’s wife suggested that Job do what Satan had predicted: curse God. After all she had been through, it was no wonder she was ready to give up all hope. But Job recognized that both good and evil come from God’s hand, though one by His active will and the other by His permissive will. God can permit evil things to happen for good ends (cf. Gen. 50:19-20; Bruh Joseph’s story). In all this did not Job sin is proof enough that Satan was wrong and was sorely defeated. Satan does not appear again in the book.’ 

And I guess Horatio Spafford also proved Satan wrong, because instead of cursing God, he wrote a touching testimonial to His awesome comfort and consolation in times of heartbreak and severe tragedy. And the only thing we can really do in those cases, unless we want to drive ourselves crazy, is hang on to this awesome scripture verse of hope: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ No other scripture can give us a supposedly comforting reason for why bad things happen to good people, and vice versa. 

Friends, we just have to put our total trust in Almighty God and remember what He’s done for us in the past, and lean on His promise that He will never leave or forsake us. Remember His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and He knows the end from the beginning, so we just have to surrender our all to Him, regardless of the circumstances. That’s what true faith is all about! Much LOVE!

…ours is not to question…just to trust and obey…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2017 Acts 1:5.

Acts 1:5.   For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Welcome friends to Pentecost Sunday; that great day in our faith, fifty days after Jesus rose from the dead, when the Holy Spirit made its miraculous entry into the lives of each and every believer at the time, in Jerusalem, the city of God! 

Wow! What a momentous and memorable day that was my fellow believers! Before His ascension, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem so that they could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. ‘For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.’ And as loyal followers they obeyed His command and stayed in Jerusalem, and were they ever amazed by the happenings on that fateful day. 

Hear how the Good Book puts it nuh. ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord (purpose of mind) in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven (divided) tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.’ (Acts 2:1-4) 

Can you imagine that scene on that fateful Sunday friends? It must have been literally and figuratively mind blowing with the sudden appearance of a mighty rushing wind, the cloven tongues of fire and all of a sudden their ability to speak in other languages! Glory to God for His omnipotence and His awesome generosity to His people! 

Now let’s clarify a couple of things. Jesus said in our Bit that the disciples would be ‘baptized’ with the Holy Ghost, but on Pentecost Day the Good Book says they were ‘filled’ with the Holy Ghost. I’ll try to paraphrase a long explanation that the scholars offer. ‘2:4. The filling and baptism are two different works performed by the Holy Spirit. 

Note their contrasts: (1) Following Pentecost every believer receives the baptism of the Spirit (1 Cor.12:13), hence the New Testament never commands the Christian to receive it. But the filling of the Spirit is not experienced by all believers, and so is commanded (Eph.5:18). 

(2) The baptism is permanent, happening but once for all. The filling is ongoing, occurring continuously as seen in the present tense imperative of Ephesians 5:18, that is, “Keep on being filled.” The verse commands: “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (riotousness), but be filled with the Spirit.” 

Since Paul compares the influences of wine and the filling of the Spirit, the word ‘control’ can aptly express the idea of either. The filling of the Spirit is the controlling influence of the Spirit within the believer. Such control is neither universal nor unending, thus it must be commanded and does recur within the believers… 

The baptism is the act by which Jesus, through the Spirit, at conversion brings the believer into relation with Himself and makes the believer a part of God’s people, the church. The filling is the continuous experience within the Christian whereby the Spirit, who already indwells him, keeps control over his life.’

Phew! Hope you all understand that friends. I guess we can compare it somewhat to God breathing life into us ONE time, but then we have to keep on refilling our lungs with air, if we want to stay alive. 

Yes my brethren, Jesus’ words certainly came true, as just before He ascended to heaven, He told them: ‘But ye shall receive power, after that (when) the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’ (Acts 1:8) 

And they certainly made mas (smile) in Jerusalem that day, (read the rest of Acts 2) and around the country later on, and we are now spreading the gospel of Jesus to all parts of the world with the aid of technology! Glory Hallelujah! 

Oh friends, I know it’s our custom to begin each Sunday with some praise and worship, but today I was filled with, controlled by the Holy Spirit to do it differently. (smile) I was so enthused by the Spirit’s working in me, that I had to get to the heart of the matter right away. (smile) 

And Oh, our church held a wonderful Pentecost Prayer Breakfast yesterday morning, with plenty good food, music, and fellowship from several other churches and denominations, plus a couple of Muslim leaders. And it was all rounded out by a moving address on ‘Prayer,’ by our new Bishop, Jennifer Anderson. As usual, a fine time was had by all. And I’m sure Jesus was delighted by that little bit of unity shown by His church, instead of the disunity we are so prone to show. 

Now let’s go home singing one of the songs we sang yesterday. And how appropriate it is eh on this Pentecost Day! So let’s raise out voices in song, and pour forth, the peace, joy, and LOVE that fills our Spirit. 

‘I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul. I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean, I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul. I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain, I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.’ 

And that’s the way it ought to be my people! So let’s go out now and faithfully spread that peace, LOVE and joy the way Jesus desires of us nuh. Much LOVE!

…when the Spirit moves you…you’re helpless to resist…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 January 2017 Philippians 4:4.

Philippians 4:4.   Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Ah friends, it’s just been one of those days. I got up early, but could not decide whether to write the Bit or go to the early morning church service. Hn! Consequently I did neither. 

Then I hem and hawed about whether to write the Bit or go to the later church service. I finally went to the ten o’clock service and did not get back home till after twelve, so that’s why I’m only now writing the Bit. 

Steups! What a good day for indecisiveness and laziness! Let’s be thankful that that doesn’t happen every day. 

And the church service was refreshing. Everybody was glad to see me back out, though they didn’t notice that at one stage during the pre communion prayers, I had to sit down because a bout of tiredness suddenly hit me. That’s because I purposely sat at the very back of the church. All in all though, it was a good time, and I hope it just gets better every week. 

Now let’s get in some praise and worship with this old hymn which accurately describes my situation right now. My physical state might not be the greatest, but certainly, ‘It is well with my soul.’ 

‘When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. (Refrain) It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Refrain) 

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! — My sin, not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain) 

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll, No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Refrain) 

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal; Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul! (Refrain) 

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll; The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul…’ 

Yeh my people, I do hope it is well with all of our souls, for that’s where it really counts. That brings us to our Bit, a serious clarion call from Bruh Paul. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.’ 

Oh fellow believers, that might sound somewhat difficult to do, what with all the difficulties we have in our current lives. But as a believer, it is essential for us to have continual joy, a steady spate of rejoicing, otherwise we won’t be able to handle our individual circumstances. 

Now we don’t necessarily mean constant jumping and shouting, but more a quiet thankfulness that makes the heart and soul feel satisfied, regardless of the situation. 

Listen to this explanation from the scholars. ‘4:4. The mention of believers’ names being recorded in heaven (v.3) causes the author to write rejoice in the Lord always. 

Harmony among church members, as Paul assumes will be the result of his plea in verses 2 and 3, is another reason to “rejoice.” In adding and again I say, Rejoice, it is though the apostle looks into the future, considers all possibilities of sorrow, and in spite of them all repeats “the command.” 

This command to rejoice at all times and in all circumstances is nothing less than a call to faith. For if the Christian believes that his life and all its circumstances are in the hands of a sovereign, wise, and LOVING God who is always working to accomplish good for him, then he can indeed “rejoice always.” 

And Romans 8:28, tells us just that: ‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that LOVE God, to them that who are called according to his purpose.’ 

So there is good reason to rejoice always. Why do you think I’m keeping my peace and hanging in there despite my numerous ailments? Because I’m believing on God’s promises to make everything right in His own time. 

Friends, that’s the only way to find some peace in this crazy, strife filled world, especially in the uncertain and apparently divisive era of Donald Trump’s presidency. 

Let’s pray that he will soon wake up and smell the roses and not simply make matters worse than they already are. Remember, as the U.S. goes, most of the world goes, thus we are also praying for ourselves. Much LOVE!

…if heaven is your future home…then there’s no need to be sad on earth…