Today’s Scrip-Bit   18 September 2022 Proverbs 18:10.

Proverbs 18:10.       The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe (or set on high).

And another glorious Sunday is upon us my fellow believers! That means it’s time once more for praise and worship as one group of faithful saints, be we physically gathered in the Lord’s sanctuary or by technological means, for there is no distance in prayer and worship. So let’s begin, as we always do, with a song of thanks and praise. 

And today’s song is another most aptly titled group of exceedingly praiseful words, ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.’ Wow! And does the name of Jesus ever sound sweet to believers? It certainly does! For there’s no sweeter nor more important name than His in all the wide world! And what is particularly amazing about this song is that it was written by none other than John Newton, the same man who wrote one of our most favourite hymns, ‘Amazing Grace.’ 

Can you imagine that a former slave trader and unbeliever, although he grew up in a Christian home, could write two of Christendom’s most LOVED hymns? Yes, because with God ALL things are possible, and He usually looks for those at the bottom of the heap to raise up so that His great name can be glorified. He takes pleasure in using the weak to confound the strong, and the foolish to confound the wise. Thus, with the Lord’s miraculous intervention, John Newton turned from the slave trade and became a sincere abolitionist and eventually a minster. 

Only But God, you say! Yes, only but for God! Anyway, nuff talking, let’s sing, let’s offer up our weekly sacrifices of praise in a sweet, harmonious, mid-tempo version of the song, obviously in sincere, heart-felt voices. (smile) Singing: ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary, rest. 

Dear name! the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place, My never-failing treasury, filled, With boundless stores of grace. O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring. How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought; but when I see you as you are, I’ll praise you as I ought. 

Till then I would your LOVE proclaim with every fleeting breath; and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death…And triumph in that blessed name, which quells the power of death…And triumph in the that blessed name, which quells the power of death…’ 

Oh friends, as always, that was marvellous! There was absolutely no doubt in heaven about our sincerity and awesome LOVE for Jesus! And these simple, but oh so precious words of Cousin Sol in Proverbs 18:10 prove why our LOVE for Jesus is so strong. He declares (yesss!!!): ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe (or set on high).’ 

Yes my brethren, it is an indisputable fact that the righteous find protection in the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Just look at how Newton describes all the things that the name of Jesus does for a believer when He hears it spoken nuh. ‘It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary, rest.’ 

Wow! Is there any other name in the universe that can produce such an avalanche of good and safe feelings? Obviously not! Remember what Jesus said in His Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Now can anyone else seriously and sincerely make that marvellous offer! Of course not! That’s why Jesus’ name sounds so sweet in our ears!  And listen up again, as He tells it like it is: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ (John 14:6) So why shouldn’t we LOVE to hear the name of Jesus eh, when He’s the BE ALL and END ALL of everything? 

And these words of Bruh Paul to the church at Philippi, explains why Jesus is so revered. He writes: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 

And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every other name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil. 2:5-11) 

That says it all friends. Jesus became man for our sakes and was humble and obedient to the wishes of the Father, even to His death on the cross. No wonder the Father glorified Him with the name above every other name and insists that every knee should bow to him and call him Lord! And by the way, John tells us of the mighty name given to Jesus in the Book of Revelation, when He finally comes out to wage war against His enemies, riding on His white charger. John says: ‘And he hath on his vesture (robe) and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’ (Rev. 19:16) 

And if you want to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus, you’d better believe that and be humble and obedient to His dictates, as best you can. (smile) Ah mih people, as I keep reminding us, there are only two options, two ways to live this earthly life; the way Satan desires, or the way Jesus desires. And believe me the smart money is on Jesus, because he has already defeated Satan by dying, going to hell and back, and thus taking away Satan’s keys, his hold over death, hell and the grave. 

That means the devil is now a toothless lion, and has no power over us, except what we give him. And in the long run, Satan and all his evil minions will be cast into the lake of fire and destroyed. Is that the way you want to end your life? I certainly hope not! Then the only logical conclusion is for you to follow Jesus and spend everlasting life with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit in eternal bliss in heaven. Much LOVE!

…only heaven will be left standing…after Jesus wages the last war… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   3 October 2021   John 6:35. 

John 6:35.     I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

It’s that beautiful day of the Lord again friends – Sunday! And all God’s children shouted a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Glory Hallelujah! All thanks, praise and honour be unto our wonderful heavenly Father, who created us in His marvellous image and blesses us with all we need to see life through, here on earth! We LOVE You and bless Your holy name on this Your day, as we gather to worship You, either physically in your sanctuary or by technological means. 

There’s no distance in prayer nor worship, so it doesn’t matter whether we are together or far away, our prayers and worship still come as one to Your waiting ears and excited, expectant heart! That’s because we know Your great LOVE for us, and Your desire for us to only be blessed and not cursed, as You told Moses way back when. ‘O that there were such a heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever.’ (Deut. 5:29) 

Yes Lord, we know that the cockles of Your heart are warmed when we live the way You desire of us, that’s why today we come to give you an earful of praise and worship. So please listen up Lord and accept our thanks and praise which sincerely come from the depths of our hearts. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!’ 

And our opening song of praise is one we know so well, and sincerely LOVE. It was written in the 18th century by that old rapscallion and slave trader turned slave abolitionist by God’s mighty hand. We’re talking about John Newton (1725-1807), the writer of that other masterpiece, ‘Amazing Grace.’ Today though, we’ll raise our voices in sacrificial praise to ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ another of Newton’s beautiful hymns. That’s God’s mysterious working, where He takes pleasure in turning notorious sinners into amazing saints! Think of Bruh Paul. 

So, in soulful harmony, in an up-tempo riddim, because it’s a song that conveys joy, let’s sing. ‘‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds in a believer’s ear! It soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds, and drives away our fear. It makes the wounded spirit whole and calms the troubled breast; ’tis manna to the hungry soul, and to the weary, rest. Dear name! the rock on which I build, My shield and hiding place, My never-failing treasury, filled, With boundless stores of grace.

 O Jesus, shepherd, guardian, friend, my Prophet, Priest, and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring. How weak the effort of my heart, how cold my warmest thought; but when I see you as you are, I’ll praise you as I ought. Till then I would your LOVE proclaim with every fleeting breath; and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death… and may the music of your name refresh my soul in death…’ 

Ah friends, that was wonderful, because it was indeed sincere, and the name of Jesus sounds ever so sweet to our ears, as He is our Everything! As the song says, He’s our ‘Shepherd, Guardian, Friend, Prophet, Priest and King, my Lord, my Life, my Way, my End.’ The only thing that’s probably left out is ‘Brother,’ and some versions do sing ‘Brother’ instead of ‘Guardian.’ So, when we say He is indeed our everything, it’s certainly no lie! 

And though the song is fairly short it is chocked full of biblical references. So let’s check out a few. We’ll begin with Peter’s confident words to the High Priest. ‘This is the stone which was set at nought of (rejected by) you builders, which is become the head of the corner (the chief cornerstone). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:11-12) Wow friends! Under those circumstances, what sweeter name can there be to us believers eh? None whatsoever!  

And when the hymn talks about manna to the hungry soul, it refers to the Lord providing manna for the children of Israel in the wilderness in Exodus 16. But when the people brought their arguments to Jesus about Moses giving their ancestors bread from heaven to eat. He calmly disputed them by saying. ‘Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. Then said they unto him, Lord evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.’ (John 6:31-35) 

Ah mih people, Jesus is indeed manna to our hungry souls, for when we believe in Him, we neither hunger nor thirst spiritually! And we know what Psalm 147:3 says: ‘He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds (sorrows).’ Now, it’s obvious that talking about giving rest to the weary, refers to Matthew 11:28, where Jesus declares His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ 

And when we talking about building on the rock that’s Jesus, nobody says it better than Bruh David in Psalm 18. ‘The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (lit. rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (fortress).’ (Ps. 18:3) You can’t get any more faith and trust than that. 

Now what about Jesus being our priest eh? Listen to the author of Hebrews. ‘Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (confession of faith). For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (our 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) 

What a wonderful person is our Jesus! He can sympathize with all our problems, yet be without sin. Now that’s an exceedingly good thing, otherwise He would not be able to redeem us. And we’ll do one last scripture, that’s where Jesus considers us friends. He clearly says to the disciples: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.’  (John 15:13-15) 

And there are lots more scriptures that we can pluck from the skillfully created masterpiece of John Newton. I would suggest some valuable homework; you look through the song yourself and see what other scripture references you can find. That ought to be an interesting task for a quiet Sunday afternoon (smile). Much LOVE!

…there’s no greater or sweeter sounding name in all the world…than that of…JESUS…                                                                                                                                  

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