Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 November 2018 Matthew 7:20.

Matthew 7:20.   Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
 
Well friends let me begin by apologizing for the fiasco that was yesterday’s Bit. I don’t know how and why it really happened but it did, and consequently, in the header, I made the mistake of quoting the Bit as being from Job 17 instead of Job 27. But I do know that you, my astute and well-versed readers would have known exactly where it came from. (smile)

Please excuse the ole fella for that. But I just hate to make mistakes when writing about the Lord’s word. Oh I know He’s forgiven me, so in your godliness, I hope you will too. (smile) 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s turn to some quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he nobly aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Here is the first one, which says: ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.’ And that’s oh so true. 

And it’s well encapsulated in a quote from a Rasta breddren who taught me history in High School eons ago. As he thoughtfully scratched his scraggly beard, with his brogued feet up on the desk, he would ask: ‘What is History? And why do we learn History?’ And His answers were: ‘History is a record of the past, and we learn it so we can understand the present and predict the future.’ 

And especially if you are child of God, you need to be continually questioning and learning and growing in the faith; hopefully moving from glory to glory, becoming more Christ-like everyday! 

And the second quote is like unto the first: (smile) ‘Everybody wants to be famous, but nobody wants to do the work. I live by that. You grind hard so you can play hard. At the end of the day, you put all the work in, and eventually it’ll pay off. It could be in a year, it could be in 30 years. Eventually, your hard work will pay of.’ 

Yeah friends, there are no serious rewards without serious work. As the Good Book says, you reap what you sow. And that’s gospel truth. You can’t put in a little work, or only plant a small crop and expect to reap huge rewards and harvest.

And it doesn’t matter how long you have to work hard before you reap those rewards and harvests either, for as the Lord said to the people of Judah through the prophet Azariah, when they were going through tough times: ‘Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.’ (2 Chr.15:7) 

And if you don’t believe that, then listen to Bruh David from Psalm 31: ‘O LOVE the Lord, all ye his saints: for the Lord preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth (fully repays) the proud doer.’ (Ps.31:23)

And if you still don’t believe that, (smile) then listen to Bruh Paul to Timothy: ‘For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn, and the labourer is worthy of his reward (wages).’ (1 Tim.5:17) So friends, whatever effort we put into our work, that is what we will gain from it. 

And all of that runs smoothly into our third and last quote: ‘The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live.’ And wiser words were never spoken in that regard my people! 

Listen to this discourse of Jesus on the subject. ‘Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening (ravenous) wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil (bad) fruit.

A good tree cannot bring forth evil (bad) fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’ (Matt.7:15-20) 

Yes my brethren, it’s ever so important how you live, not so much how long you live. And the longer you live, the more good fruit you are expected to bear in Jesus’ realm. And that good fruit must be exposed to the unbelievers so that they can see it and accept Christ themselves.

That’s why Christ also said that we are the salt and light of the earth, and we’re not supposed to hide our lights under a bushel, for what good is flavourless salt or a hidden light eh? None whatsoever! (Matt.5:13-15) 

And we’ll end with this oh so important admonishing of Jesus on that subject. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:16) Now that friends, is what all we supposed Christians, believers and whatever we call ourselves are supposed to be about. 

But I don’t think we’re doing such a good job; we’re not bearing as much good fruit as we should, or being as flavourful and bright shining to the heathen world! And that’s why Jesus’ LOVE Revolution is faltering; why more people are seemingly leaving it, than joining it. And we just can’t have that my people! 

So today, I implore us to take a good look at ourselves and truly ruminate on the role we are playing in Jesus’ body, where we are falling down, because all of us have faults and foibles, and sincerely make the effort to do better. Let’s take it to God in prayer and ask for His help, for with God’s help, we can all do better! Much LOVE!

…truly living for Jesus means…being flavourful…a bright shining light…and producing good fruit…in this evil, corrupt world…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 October 2018 Matthew 5:13a &14a.

Matthew 5:13a & 14a.    Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world…

So now it’s Saturday…. But don’t quote me on that nuh! (smile) Oh isn’t it nice when you don’t have to know what day of the week it really is, and they can just freely flow into each other, and all you’re concerned about is whether it’s night or day?  I’m certainly enjoying it! 

And I finally got home from Kingston around 8.pm last night, after a long and unsatisfying four hour bus ride. The youngster driving figured he was handling a toy bus, just twirling away round the corners. However, on arrival in Mo Bay, some good goat belly soup at a family member’s yard, revived my sagging energy and spirit, (smile) then I came home and just rested quietly. 

But on a more serious note, here is a prayer that I found in my mother’s Bible after she died, and I’ve shared it before, but I’ve been moved to share it again today. It’s simple but all-encompassing, and it has become one of my favourites over the last few years. Please pray with me: ‘The light of God surrounds me. The LOVE of God enfolds me. The power of God protects me. The presence of God watches over me. Wherever I am, God is… And ALL is WELL!’ 

Oh friends, if all those things are true, then ALL must be WELL with us! And if you’re a true believer in Christ, then all those things ARE true, so you can draw the logical conclusion. But since it’s Saturday, we need to turn to some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. 

Hear this first one: ‘Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet.’ And is that ever true! Only you, and you alone can truly make your life sweet…Sorry, I forgot to say in conjunction with Jesus, because if He is not in your life, then try as you want, your life will NEVER be truly sweet. Jesus is the key, the honey that sweetens life! 

And this next quote complements that last one. ‘The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.’ No my brethren, we certainly don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and though life’s not always a crazy ride, for sure nothing is guaranteed, except salvation and eternal life if Jesus dwells sincerely in your soul. 

Then there’s: ‘I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.’ Oh isn’t life truly complex! But the best way to live it is with an optimistic outlook. As they say, hope for the best, but come what may. That’s all we can do, though with Jesus as the guiding light of our life lots of sunshine will surely filter in to it. 

And this next quote tells us: ‘Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best.’ Gospel truth my fellow believers! Our Lord and Saviour knows that we are not perfect specimens, and knows our weaknesses better than us, so He doesn’t expect perfection, just that we try to be diligent and excellent representatives of His, by always putting our best foot forward. 

And finally the last quote: ‘Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.’ And that’s more gospel truth friends! Positive, Christ-like thinking is the best way to live this earthly life. And when you do so, obviously some of your good attitude will rub off on others. 

That’s what Jesus is all about. That’s why He highlighted our Bit in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth…Ye are the light of the world…’ Yes my fellow believers, when we behave like salt and light, then we exude the properties of Jesus. And we can’t hope to be Christ-like, raised from glory to glory, unless we give off the same properties. 

We need to be worthy citizens of our society, involved in worthwhile causes, setting a good example, shining our lights, so that others can see the true way, that hard to find hidden path that leads through Jesus to the Father. But unfortunately I don’t think that we’re really doing our best in that respect, else the world would not have been overtaken by the evil enemy and his evil cohorts.  

If we were showing up our salty flavour and shining our bright light in the darkness of this evil world, Jesus’ LOVE Revolution would have had the upper hand on the world stage by now! But since we apparently have lost our salty, tasty flavour, we don’t seem to be good for anything now, and are just being trampled underfoot. 

It’s the same thing with our light. It seems like we’re hiding it under a bushel or basket, and no light’s getting out to those around us. Remember what Jesus said: ‘A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket), but on a candlestick (lampstand); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt.5:14b-15) 

Oh friends, I know some of us are tired of hearing this sermon, but we need to hear it until we get it right! The evil enemy is running away with the world, and we are the only ones who can take it back. So let’s get serious and become true ambassadors of Christ nuh, and truly exemplify the diligence and excellence He expects of us, by making His wish come true. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:16) 

That, in a nutshell is our earthly job my people. Please, I implore us, let’s go out and do it nuh, so that Jesus and the Father can be glorified. Much LOVE!

…salt and light…the major qualifications for a Jesus ambassadorship…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 October 2018 1 Peter 5:10.

​1 Peter 5:10.    But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm) strengthen, settle you.

 

Oh friends, oh friends, a reprieve, a reprieve! Yes the ole fella’s been granted a reprieve! He’s not going home today as originally planned! Glory be! The good Lord looked down from His throne on high and apparently saw that I was not doing, recuperating as well or as fast as expected, and in His infinite wisdom and abundant goodness and LOVING-kindness granted me a few more days in this paradise called Jamdown (Jamaica)! 

Wow! Praise His holy name my people because He is such a wonderful deity who comes through for you when you least expect it. Ah friends, it’s like Jesus said, all you need is a grain of faith as small as a mustard seed and you’ll be able to move mighty mountains. (Matt.17:20) 

And  it was indeed a small seed that was planted. A few days ago the idea of extending our stay suddenly flitted into my thoughts and I shared it with the duchess. Then unbeknownst to me, she picked up the baton and ran with it. Between her and our two daughters they made it a reality.

Oh my people, the Lord’s been so good to me, how can I not LOVE Him with all my heart, mind and body, be eternally grateful, testify to His amazing faithfulness, help spread His Word and seek to maximize His LOVE Revolution?  I would be exceedingly ungrateful if I did anything less, and He would be quite right to cut me off. 

And if you’re wondering why and how come the Bit is so early today, as always, with the ole fella the answers are invariably simple. (smile) I got up around five to go to the bathroom, then went back to bed. However, after an unsuccessful half an hour of trying to find a comfortable position for back, knees and elbows to coexist so I could fall asleep again, I just decided to get up and begin the day earlier than expected. 

Ah Lord eh friends! The things we are asked to go through in our later years! (smile) But I’ll gladly put up with them in return for the many blessings I’m currently enjoying. 

And my faithful brethren, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate Bit for today than these most reassuring words of Peter to the scattered diaspora of Christians in the early days of our faith. ‘But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish (confirm) strengthen, settle you.’ 

What a wonderful God we serve my fellow believers! After allowing us to go through the fire, the flood and whatever adversity He might deem appropriate to move us from glory to glory, to mature us and make us more Christlike, He will eventually settle us down, strengthen and establish us. 

Mama Mia! Let’s hope that’s what He is doing with me right now yes, because I really don’t feel up to any more sickness and suffering at the present time. I need a break from it, so I can recuperate properly and thus be able to handle the next round with a good attitude. But I’m not really worried because I know the Lord doesn’t give us more than we can handle, so whatever He allows to come against me, He will help me to overcome. 

Remember friends, we are covenant partners with the Lord, and whatever we can’t handle, He’ll step in and control. That’s the awesome benefit of partnering; what one can’t do the other will. But remember too that we first have to do OUR part, or the Lord will not step in to help. 

Now listen to these majestic and most reassuring words of Bruh Paul to the Corinthians on the subject of grace and being called and confirmed by Christ. ‘Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf (concerning you), for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 

Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind (short) in no (spiritual) gift; waiting for the coming (revelation) of our Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (1 Cor.13-9) 

Oh my people, we are like those Corinthians; granted grace and peace through Christ, brought into and everlasting union with Him and strong communion with each other. So let us enjoy it all and work diligently and excellently to preserve and spread it nuh, so that at Jesus’ return we might be found blameless. For whatever God has promised to those who believe in His Son, He will fulfill. 

Now let’s go home declaring (Steups! Spelt it wrong again!) our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our exact position in Christ Jesus.  In true sincerity and strong sense of purpose: ‘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 that’s a future we can’t even begin to imagine! Much LOVE!

…and am I ever glad…in fact ecstatic…to be alive…on this bright and sunny day…hope you are too…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 October 2018 Proverbs 24:30.

Proverbs 24:30.    I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

 

Well hello there you beautiful believers in Christ Jesus! It’s a beautiful day here in Mo Bay; the sun’s shining brightly, the cool sea breeze is washing over me while I write and listen to the sounds of the surf rushing up on the shore intermixed with friendly talk, laughter and a cool, drum-filled, easy riddim chanting, floating up from four floors down. I’m rocking slightly as I listen to it and try to concentrate on what I’m doing…li’l bit hard though. (smile) 

Well I’ve had breakfast, and my after-breakfast nap too, so I’m rearing to go. Now hear the news…I’ll tell it quietly (smile) ‘It’s Monday!’ And I’m sure that when many of us got up this morning and realized that the workday merry go round was about to begin again, a lot of ‘Chuhs!’ and ‘Steups’!’ and language not fit to print here, emanated from the mouths of many Christians. 

Oh mih people, what can I do to get us to venerate Mondays eh? Because, even with good planning, we still seem to come up on a short and testy rein on Monday mornings. But please remember that when your Monday blues come upon you, all you have to do is join us for the sure-fire antidote; our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. Glory Be! How wonderful it is to have an antidote for whatever ails us on Mondays. 

Oh, and I’ll just like to extend a hearty welcome to some folks who recently joined our Scrip-Bit Family. Hope you enjoy it, as we’re all about enjoying life in Jesus, while learning His Word and spreading His LOVE Revolution all around the globe as He desires of us. But please remember that the Bit is no excuse to not read your Bible and learn the Word for yourself; it’s just a catalyst to help you keep the Lord first and foremost in our minds. 

And having preambled so much, let’s get to our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. Let’s pray up such a storm in Jesus name, so that the father can only grant our requests. All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. 

But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Wow! I know for sure that had a good and positive impact on you! Once it invokes the name of Jesus it will have such and impact! And I’m here rocking to the music, trying to figure out what they’re chanting, but the voices are not strong enough. But that’s probably a good thing, because it might just distract me even more. And I don’t have much to say this morning – Hn! 

I’ll just let Cousin Sol warn us with some wise words that might be particularly appropriate to our behaviour on a Monday morning. Listen up, and let these wise words of warning flood our hearts, minds, souls and bodies as they were intended to. Cousin Sol declares: ‘I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face (surface) thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.’ (Prov.24:30-31) 

Oh friends, doesn’t that sound like so many of us today? It surely does, because we’re becoming a more slothful society each and every day. Diligence and excellence are slowly disappearing from our vocabulary and the work ethic has completely gone down the drain! Steups! What a sad say eh when you can’t depend anymore on someone to do a good job. But please remember that as members of Jesus’ posse, diligence and excellence are major watchwords of His, and you can’t be a good follower unless you strive for those qualities. 

Now hear Cousin Sol continue his warning. ‘Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.’ (Prov.24:32) Yes my brethren, Cousin Sol wisely considered the vineyard of the slothful man…and what happened? He was given instruction! Glory be! And I sincerely hope that we too can pay close attention to the affairs of the slothful, lazy and indigent person and learn from their mistakes. 

And what instruction was Cousin Sol given? ‘Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep (rest): So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth (a prowler); and thy want as an armed man.’ (Prov.24:33-34) 

And I’ll let the scholars explain it all. ‘24:30-34. The slothful is too lazy to keep thorns and nettles out of his vineyard or to keep his stone wall repaired (v.31). His laziness is further exhibited in sleeping late when he should be working (v.33). Therefore, his poverty will come as one that travelleth; that is, a bandit or vagabond. Small surrenders lead to great disasters.’ 

Oh friends, I couldn’t put it any better myself, so please let’s learn that lesson as quickly as possible, so that we can keep away the vagabond called poverty. Got to hurry and go and meet the duchess down by the beach now, so that she doesn’t get tired of waiting on me. Remember, a happy wife, usually leads to a happy life! (smile) Much LOVE!

…those who have ears to hear…let them hear…a word to the wise is sufficient…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 October 2018 Matthew 5:13a & 14a.

Matthew 5:13a & 14a.     Ye are the salt of the earth… Ye are the light of the world…
 
And Saturday has dawned somewhat cloudy, chilly and damp from early evening drizzle. And in Mother Nature’s eccentric way, a lot of the trees that only two days ago I said were surprisingly still green, are now almost all golden yellow. She’s delivered the final message; it’s time to buckle down for the cold winter months ahead. And we, people of God, should also be heeding Mother Nature’s missive, because I believe we’ll be in for some rather tough times in the near future. 

And talking about tough times, I was negligent in mentioning Hurricane Michael that devastated parts of Florida a couple days ago. It came up suddenly, did, it’s dirty work and was gone again. Please let’s pray for those unfortunate people, and do whatever else we can to help them. But that might just be the pattern of natural disasters, or really any kind of disaster that might soon befall us. 

You’ll notice how disasters of all kinds have happened all over the world this year with surprising regularity. I don’t want to read too much into it, but friends, if we are wise, we will at least suspect the hand of our omnipotent God somewhere about in them, sending us a warning, to repent from our sinful ways. 

I don’t know if the world has ever been this evil, adding to the fact that we’re trying so desperately to oust God from our society. Do you think He’ll just sit quietly by and let it happen? I doubt it. But that’s just a word of warning to the wise. 

And since today is Saturday, let’s look at some of the quotes that our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And first up is this: ‘All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.’ I’m not so sure about that nuh. 

Yes, life is indeed experimental; you have to try stuff to see if it works for you. But I truly wonder if the more experiments we try, the merrier, or better off we are? I think at some stage, when we find our true calling, that the experimenting must either cease or slow down. 

Then there is this: ‘A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.’ Now that’s basically true, but some will need a definition of wasting time before they agree, since to them doing nothing, is not always a waste of time, sometimes it can be a means of refreshing and renewing oneself. But generally speaking, just letting time fly by, and it does fly by, without doing positive and productive stuff, even if it’s simply regenerating oneself, isn’t a wise way to use it. 

Now hear this quote: ‘All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.’ That makes sense. We can’t afford to be moving too often from top to bottom, because that just saps the energy and spirit of our souls. We need to try and establish a nice balance between the good times and the rough times, plus don’t stay down too long, or fly too high before we develop wings. (smile) 

And the last quote says: ‘My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.’ 

Now that is gospel truth my brethren! We were not placed down here to merely survive, to go about like ‘poor me ones,’ but to be salt and light and magnificent examples to the unbeliever: in other words to be excellent ambassadors of Christ. As Jesus so adamantly stated in His famous Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth… Ye are the light of the world…’ 

Yes friends, that’s what Christ’s followers are expected to be; full of vim and vigour, showing their excellence in all matters, leading the parade in His name! Now are we leading the parade in Jesus’ name, my fellow believers? I don’t think so nuh, otherwise the evil-doers would not be having the upper hand in the world today, and we’d not be trying like hell to kick Christ out of our society. 

That just shows we’re not on top of things. We seem to be more like how Christ described flavourless salt: ‘but if the salt has lost his savour (flavour), wherewith (by what) shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men’ (Matt.5:13b) Likewise: ‘A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle (lamp), and put it under a bushel (basket); and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.’ (Matt.5:14b-15)  

Now if those two negative situations Jesus describes are true of us in these trying times, then it doesn’t speak well of us my believing brethren. And sadly, there is a whole lot of truth to it! Our efforts for Christ are simply not up to scratch; there are too many divisions, too much petty resentment and feuding between so-called believers, plus too much compromise with the heathen, and too much of just sitting on our laurels and figuring everything will just work itself out for good. 

No friends, winning souls for Christ, and the world for His LOVE Revolution WILL not happen without our saltiness and light blaring forth, dazzling the entire world! 

Now listen to Jesus final words on the subject. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt.5:16) 

Yes friends, that’s how true believers ought to be behaving, so that God can be glorified! Remember that’s our chief mission here on earth! So let’s pull up our socks and go out and do better for Jesus nuh mih breddren! Don’t you feel bad that we’re letting the world blaspheme His holy name and kick Him around like a bloody football, after all He’s done for us? We ought to! Much LOVE!

…if you’re not flavouring the world with your saltiness…and dazzling them with your light…then you’re a poor ambassador for Christ…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 October 2018 2 Timothy 2:3.

2 Timothy 2:3.    Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

 

So where are all roads leading this Sunday morning eh friends: to church or not to church? I sure hope that the road to the Lord’s sanctuary will indeed be the one more travelled by His children.

That’s because we need to refuel our souls and spirits on a weekly basis, and there’s no better place to do so than in God’s house with other believers; singing and praising, worshipping and receiving His tender mercies, forgiveness, assurance and confidence to keep on keeping on in His name. 

And as always, before we receive the Lord’s Word, we like to engage in some praise and worship, to soften our hearts and make them more receptive to the Holy Scripture. And today’s song of praise is one written way back in 1865 by Sabine Baring-Gould.

However it never became popular until 1871 when Arthur Sullivan composed some music he called “St. Gertrude,” after the wife of his Friend Ernest Clay Ker Seymer, at whose country home he composed the tune. In time, the Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its favoured processional.’ 

But it was never clear sailing for ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ because some religious people considered it too militant and militaristic.  But as all good tunes do, it has weathered the storms of controversy, and is now one of our favourite processional hymns.

So let’s blast it out now nuh, in full voice and sincere hearts. Let out song rise to heaven so mightily and sincerely that it will have them up there marching and singing with us.

‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; forward into battle, see His banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!)

At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee: On, then, Christian soldiers, onto victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! (Refrain) 

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod. We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. (Refrain)

Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honour, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before… (Repeat).’ 

Yeh friends, what better way to describe Christ’s followers than as a victorious army marching forward, subduing all the evil world before it! Unfortunately though, I don’t think Jesus would look at His church right now as a conquering army, but more like a divided, lazy, compromising, bunch of misfits, for all the progress we’re making. 

On our current watch, more people seem to be turning away from God than are turning to Him. So how does that make us victorious eh? Hell’s foundations aren’t quivering, neither is Satan’s host fleeing because our efforts on Christ’s behalf are not powerful or compelling enough to do either. 

My heart hurts when I sing the line, ‘We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’ That’s just not true, because the church of Christ is more divided than it’s ever been, and mostly over petty stuff, that’s why the evil one and his evil minions are having such a heyday in today’s world. 

The theme of the song is apparently based on Bruh Paul’s encouragement to Timothy regarding the Christian being a soldier for Christ. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ 

And remember my fellow believers, it’s not a physical but spiritual war we’re fighting. Thus Bruh Paul continues to Timothy: ‘No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:4) 

And Jesus is the one who has chosen us to lead His LOVE Revolution in these combative and perilous times, so we ought to be about His business more seriously and diligently than we are. I guess what we need is a refresher course in what it takes to be a true soldier in Christ’s army.

Hear Bruh Paul spell it out to the Ephesians, and consequently to us. ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Let yourselves be constantly strengthened by His mighty power.)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness (wicked spiritual beings) in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.6:10-13) 

Yes mih people, the first rule in being a good soldier is to put on protection, in this case God’s armour. And what’s that? ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt (girded) about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:’ (Eph.6:14-17) 

Yuh see friends, just like a soldier has armour, protection to fight a physical war, we believers in Christ’s spiritual army also have protective armour; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and God’s word.

But you know that still isn’t enough, Bruh Paul then concludes: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:18) That’s right my brethren, with all that armour, prayer is still a necessity for us to win the fight, and prayer for all of God’s children too. 

So now that we’ve had that refresher course in spiritual soldiering, (smile) let’s buckle down and do better nuh. Look at all Christ has done for us, can’t we just stand up strong for Him? Aw shucks friends, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves with the miserly effort we’re putting forth on His behalf! Much LOVE!

…the word of God is quick (living)…sharper than any two edged sword…piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2018 John 16:33.

John 16:33.   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.

‘Shalom friends, Shalom! Peace! Everlasting Peace! May the peace of God, that peace that passes all human understanding, which is instilled in us by the Holy Spirit, be unto you and yours this somewhat cloudy Saturday morning!’ 

And all God’s people said a loud and grateful, ‘Thank You Lord!’ For there is nothing that’s so badly needed right now in our world, than peace, the peace of Almighty God! And though it’s cloudy, the sun is valiantly pushing through, just like our efforts in Jesus Christ to transform this evil world, to have His LOVE Revolution conquer it! Have faith my brethren. If we persevere in Jesus’ name, it will happen. 

Now let’s look at some of our friend Anselm’s quotes for this week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one says: ‘Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.’ Now that’s simply logical. If you look at things differently, then in the majority of cases, they will appear differently to you. I guess it’s all about our perspective. 

And the second one tells us: ‘You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.’ And isn’t that the glorious truth! My people, wherever we are, is where we have decided to be, at least for the time being, otherwise we’d be somewhere else. 

That’s unless we’re living for Jesus, and He has us in a particular position or situation right now that we don’t like, and as far as we’re concerned, He is moving us too slowly from glory to glory. But even then, we can always change it. It might not work out for the best under your terms, but it’s always changeable. 

Now this quote is simple but ever so important in a believer’s life. ‘Spread LOVE wherever you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.’ Yeh friends, that’s what Jesus has called us to do, ‘SPREAD LOVE!’ 

His kind of LOVE; the kind that’s sincere and true and really caring and compassionate, not the empty, insincere, deceitful words that the world utters. That means whoever we interact with, we must leave them with a li’l bit of Jesus, so that their souls and spirits can be lifted through His awesome power. 

That leads us to this last quote: ‘With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.’ That’s also very true my people! We might not be able to always control our situations, but we always have the power to control our attitudes towards them. 

What did Jesus say about such situations? ‘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) 

Wow! What assurance friends! Our Lord and Saviour has already overcome the world, so we should not allow our circumstances to drag us down and keep us down for too long. Through His Holy Spirit that dwells within us, we can have peace in even the most unpleasant and unpalatable situations. 

Bruh Paul told Timothy in no uncertain terms: ‘Persecutions. Afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.’ (2 Tim.3:11-12) 

And that’s indisputable truth! Once we stand up and proclaim the name of Jesus, the enemy WILL come against us. But as the Good Book says, he will come against us one way, but flee seven ways! Glory to God! 

Now let’s end up with some significant scriptures on peace. Hear Bruh Paul to the Ephesians, re Christ: ‘For he (he himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (division) between us.’ (Eph.2:13) Yeh people, by His death and resurrection Christ has broken down all barriers between Jews and Gentiles. We are all one body, one church under His name now. 

Meanwhile to the Colossians, Bruh Paul advised: ‘ And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.’ (Col.3:14-15) Oh friends, LOVE is the crowning grace of a believer, and right behind it is peace! 

And to the Philippians, Bruh Paul wrote: ‘Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard, sustain) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:6-7) 

Now isn’t that wonderful! Though we don’t understand God’s peace, we certainly have it available to us. So let’s use it nuh mih breddren, for it’s wisdom personified. Much LOVE!

…walking with Christ…brings tranquility of mind…frees us from fear and worry…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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