Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 December 2020 Mark 8:34.

Mark 8:34.     ​Whosoever will come after me (follow me), let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.

Oh mih people, you’ll be so proud of the ole fella! Yes, yesterday afternoon, despite the inclement weather, I decided to go out in it. And yuh know what? Our God is so great and wonderful that just before I went out, all the precipitate that was precipitating stopped precipitating (smile) and the sun peeked out of the clouds! So I went out in much better weather and got all I wanted to do, some of which glorified Him, with no problems or complications whatsoever. Even in the beer store, where I accidentally dropped a six-pack of Guinness stout, the clerks cleaned it up for me and gave me another one! Glory be to His most holy name! 

That is what you get from sacrifice and obedience. And it wasn’t really a big sacrifice or anything of momentous obedience, just simple everyday stuff…so you can imagine what our wonderful God would do for us if we were to sacrifice big and be much more obedient? And even in the times when God’s people were supposed to offer animal sacrifices to Him, what did He say to them? 

The psalmist Asaph puts it this way in Psalm 50 – God is the judge: ‘If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving: and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps. 50:12-15) 

Meanwhile the prophet Hosea says it thus on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For I desired mercy (faithfulness), and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.’ (Hos. 6:6) And Cousin Sol wrote it thus in Proverbs: ‘To do justice and judgement (righteousness and justice) is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.’ (Prov. 21:3)

 So although sacrifice, in the form of burnt offerings were an important part of their worship, what the Lord really wanted was their faithfulness and knowledge of Him and their thanksgiving! It was more a personal sacrifice He desired; the effort they put out to know, to LOVE, to thank Him and to live obedient to His laws. And although today we don’t need any burnt offering sacrifices for Jesus has paid the whole debt with the sacrifice of His life, the Lord still needs personal commitment from His followers if His kingdom is going to survive and prosper. 

That’s why Jesus called the people and disciples unto Him and said to them. ‘Whosoever will come after me (follow me), let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ (Mark 8:34) And that includes us as well my brethren. And that simply means we have to die to ourselves, stop being selfish, surrender our lives to Christ and be willing to undergo anything that comes across our path, knowing that He won’t allow us to bear more than we can tolerate, and will eventually work everything out for our good. 

But we have to be prepared to bear some ‘sufferation’ for living for Jesus is usually not a Sunday evening stroll in the park. For as He so rightly warned: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) So a life following Jesus will most likely have troubles and disappointments, but He has promised to take care of all who serve Him faithfully. Hear him after telling them about taking up their cross and following Him nuh. 

‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ (Mark 8:35-38) 

Ah friends, as usual, Jesus spells it out clearly and simply: If you want to follow Him, then you need to stop worrying about your own desires and worry about His work. And if you are ashamed of Him and His words, then when He comes in His glory, He will also be ashamed of you and leave you out. Oh my brethren, our bodies and the things of this earth are not the most important in our lives, for those things perish and are eventually destroyed by means of rot and moth, but our souls, that is the biggest treasure we have, so we need to look after them very carefully, for they live on through eternity. 

So we need to take Jesus’ advice very seriously. ‘And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.’ (Matt. 10:28) That means we should be more afraid of God than men! But it doesn’t seem like we are, because we keep doing what men want us to do and not what God requires of us, and for that there WILL BE consequences, like being left on the outside looking into heaven during the long days of eternity. And believe me, that won’t be fun. 

Then let’s wake up and do what’s required of us nuh as supposed followers of Jesus; let’s sincerely walk the talk, so we don’t get left out of heaven. And to do that we need to first acknowledge God’s divine blessings on our lives, then put them into action. So let’s declare (steups!) our Thursday Blessings with much gusto. Altogether now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! 

I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now it’s time to be as magnanimous and generous to others as God has been to us! Much LOVE!

…why kill your soul…when it can live on forever…in heaven with Christ… 

P.S. The lateness isn’t all my fault. Had to spend half an hour outside with a gentleman fixing my garage door opener. Oh, the joys of comfortable modern day living eh…but are the headaches and costs worth it when they break down…? Who knows eh? (smile) Much LOVE! 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 November 2020 Isaiah 43:19.

Isaiah 43:19.     ​Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Well it’s another bright and sunshiny day out there, but probably the last warm one in this long run of Indian summer days! But yuh better believe that we in the north country up here are very thankful for them, for it’s been a long time since we’ve seen so many consecutive warm days in November! Thank You Lord! 

And today is Remembrance Day, where we stand and acknowledge and remember the many who fell in the crazy wars of the last century. ‘Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate the armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.’ Yes, that was supposed to be the war to end all wars. 

Hn! What a joke! For twenty something years later, another mighty world war broke out! What a waste of human life eh? And sadly, nothing much has changed. There are still way too many strife-filled countries in our world, and still way too much religious, economic and political differences that only lead right back to warring words and the modern term ‘terrorism,’ cowardly attacks on innocent, unsuspecting people. But I guess from the first killing, that of Cain on his brother Abel, man’s lust for blood has taken centre stage. 

But since this is Remembrance Day, let’s remember; first with as someone puts it: ‘The most sacrosanct and central element in Remembrance is the Two Minutes of Silence.’ – Silence  

And now, let’s really remember through the immortal poem‘In Flanders Fields’ written by Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres.  

Read with me: ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,LOVEDand wereLOVED, and now we lie,  In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw  The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.’ 

What can I say eh? Not a whole lot nuh! But here’s this tidbit of info. ‘The symbol of Remembrance Day is the red poppy, which grows on the First World War battlefields of Flanders (in Belgium) and northern France. As the artillery barrages began to churn the earth in late 1914, the fields of Flanders and northern France saw scores of red poppies appear.’ 

Now is that symbolic or what? Death and Birth at the same time! Only an amazing and awesome God like ours could frame such a situation. And with our world currently in a state of pandemic and strife, we need that awesome and amazing God even more than ever, for without His grace, mercy,LOVEand forgiveness, our world willNEVERreturn to some sort of calm. It willNEVERbe like it was before, but some form of peace with less anxiety and frustration and uncertainty won’t return until we make peace with Jehovah God, until we return to His fold, until we give up our sinful, evil, wicked ways and start being obedient and obeisant to Him! 

That brings to mind this awesome scripture from the prophet Isaiah to his people, Israel, on behalf of the Lord their Redeemer, in one of their times of ‘sufferation’ for gross disobedience. ‘Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.’(Is. 43:18-19) 

Oh friends, that was always God’s desire for Israel, and He showed them it as He moved them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. But all along they stumbled and turned away from Him and were subsequently afflicted. Now we are in the same godless, sinful position, and the Lord is putting forth that same standing promise for true believers and obedient nations. He is willing to do a new thing in our lives and countries if we are willing to turn back to Him and truly live in obedience and obeisance to His will and word! 

And I never thought it was possible for people to be more foolish than the Israelites of old nuh, but I’m ashamed to say that this generation is so. In times of prosperity, the Israelites often turned away from God, but when they found themselves between a rock and a hard place, they quickly turned back to Him and were received with opened with arms. But we, this proud, knowledgeable, know it all, but yet illiterate generation, refuse to do that, even though nothing we try in our own strength is working! 

As Bruh Paul prayed for the Colossians: ‘we desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his (God’s) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.’ (Col. 1:9b) Yeh friends, that’s how Bruh Paul usually prayed for the churches he dealt with. Not that they had less problems or such stuff, but that they would be filled with wisdom and knowledge of God. That His will would be revealed in their lives. And that is exactly what we need to pray for in these turbulent and uncertain times: ‘That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge.’ (1 Cor. 1:5) 

Oh my people simply praying for God to heal us and our land is not enough, will never be enough! We need to pray that we know Him, the One and Only True God more and more, both personally and societally! That will lead us to better, more godly behaviour: ‘That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.’ (Col. 1:10) 

Friends, we need to seek God very deeply and very sincerely RIGHT NOW, if we want our world to improve. That’s just the simple truth! And for those of us, the relative few, who are endeavouring to do so, let’s go home now declaring (awright!) our wonderful position in Christ through our Wednesday Wail! 

All together now: ‘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!’  

Now let’s see that through the eyes of faith and endure till the end, because our future will indeed be more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…only when we sincerely seek the Lord…will a new thing spring forth… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 May 2020 Proverbs 2:6.

Proverbs 2:6.    ​For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 
 
So here we go again…another Monday morning still held hostage by the pandemic! But at last there is some good news in my province of Ontario – there’s been some easing up in the lockdown situation, with some places being allowed to open…Whoopee! At least it’s a step in the right direction, although some of the businesses can only do curbside pick up. And most of the parks will also be reopened today. But that doesn’t remove the necessity for physical distancing since we still don’t have a proper handle on the virus, and no way of stopping it from spreading but by keeping a safe distance away from others. 

So a lot of us who were clamouring for the lockdown to be lifted, have now gotten a window of opportunity, let’s see what kind of responsibility we show moving forward. Too many of us still think the virus is a joke, or not as serious as made out, but if we don’t show serious social responsibility then we’ll just be hit by a second wave of the virus, which threatens to be worse than the first one. 

Friends, our leaders are trying to balance the price of staying home and saving lives physically, but possibly having the quality further deteriorate, and reopening the economy and running the risk of losing many more lives to a further spread of the virus. They don’t know the right answers, so they are trying to do what they think is best for us all in the long run. That’s means they are depending on us to help them, be responsible and don’t go overboard in our actions, but use wisdom and common sense, so that we can eventually defeat this Covid-19 virus that’s causing us so many problems. 

And how do we find that controversial thing called wisdom? By diligently seeking it as silver and gold, and searching for it as for hidden treasure. (Prov. 2:4) And where do we seek it from? From the Lord God Jehovah! As the supposed wisest man who ever lived, Cousin Sol so wisely and plainly says: ‘For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth (stores) up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler (shield) to them that walk uprightly.’ (Prov. 2:6-7) 

And Cousin Sol personally proved that theory when, on ascending to Israel’s throne after Bruh David died, The Lord asked him in a vision what he desired? After claiming that he was a child (inexperienced) and did not know how to go out or come in, and the responsibility of governing so many people was tough, (1 Kin. 3:7-8) he finally said. ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.’ (1 Kin. 3:9-10) 

Yuh see friends, God was thrilled that Cousin Sol didn’t ask for riches or honour or glory, but for understanding and knowledge and guidance to rule His people. Thus God said: ‘Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any (anyone) among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen (prolong) thy days.’ (1 Kin. 12-13) 

Oh my people, you see the magnanimity and the magnificence of our God! Cousin Sol asked for wisdom and guidance, but He also gave him honour and glory and riches and long life, if he walked in his father’s footsteps! That’s the way our Lord operates! He’s generous to a fault if we walk in tandem with Him and are obedient to His will. So having taken in all of that, let’s now go to God in humble but confident prayer that we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, and ask for wisdom and guidance to handle the current storm that’s just blowing us away. 

Altogether now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. And now, with the easing up of the lockdown, more people than those previously considered essential also have to go to work, and understandably, we’re all somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Oh precious people, our God is a faithful God, and if our hearts were sincere in that prayer, then you know He’ll answer it in the affirmative and give us wisdom and guidance and strength and courage to face the adversity we’re now experiencing. So let’s go about our business today nuh, the Lord’s business, carefully, but also with sure faith and strong trust in His faithfulness. That’s how we’ll conquer this Coronavirus! Much LOVE!

…wisdom in our hearts…brings discretion to preserve us…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 27 April 2020 Psalm 63:3.

Psalm 63:3.    Because thy LOVING-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
 

And then it was Monday… a new day and a new week, but the world was still in panic and pandemic mode. However, true believers in Almighty God were calm and peaceful, as they faithfully declared like Bruh David did when he was running in the wilderness of Judah from his many enemies: ‘O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.’ (Ps. 63:1) Ah friends, many of us figuratively feel like we’re in a wilderness without water today because of our many unsolvable problems, some of us might even be literally in a dry desert. 

But please take heart, the Lord knows our situations, and He’s in the process of fixing them, we just have to remain faithful and stick close to Him, as Jesus so powerfully and truthfully declared: ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) He couldn’t have put it any plainer than that. So there are two basic things we need to do this early Monday morning, in fact every morning. The first thing is to stick close to our great God, then the next is to seek His face early with prayer; hopefully as soon as we are consciously awake. 

Yes, we don’t even have to get out of bed, before we offer some thanks and praise, and asking for health and wisdom to have a good day while being obedient to His will. And that will usually set the tone for our day; allowing the Lord to get into our soul and spirit first, rather than give Beelzebub the first chance to corrupt our fragile and tender souls. For as Bruh David continued, two verses down: ‘Because thy LOVING-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.’ 

Wow mih people! What a powerful, and oh so truthful statement! The Lord’s mercy is indeed better than life…in fact it is life giving, in the sense that without His abundant mercy, we wouldn’t have any life at all, since we have all sinned and come short of His glory, and the penalty for sin is death. But because mercy is not receiving what we deserve, He’s been merciful to a fault and allowed us to have salvation and eternal life! And yes, I did digress a tad there, (smile) but I thought it was important to point out that small matter. Hn, hn! 

So where were we? Oh yeh! We were talking about sticking to Jesus like white on rice, and seeking His face in prayer early everyday. Now assuming that we’ve already stuck to Him, let’s seek His face in prayer through our Monday Morning Covid-19 Battle Hymn nuh. As one body now, with sincere hearts: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. 

Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. 

Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them. Father, please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

And yuh know what friends, because the Lord judges us by the state of our hearts and not our mouths, and our hearts just now were truly sincere, we know that the Lord will answer our prayer, just in His own time! And that’s the part that gives us trouble; the waiting for His timing. But as He says, His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, so if we’re smart, we’ll just wait with a good attitude, until He achieves whatever He desired to achieve when He allowed the deadly virus to proliferate in such a worldwide manner. 

Consequently, wisdom decrees that we declare and behave like Bruh David continues after our Bit. ‘Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow (the best; lit. fat) and fatness (abundance); and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips; When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after (close behind) thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.’ (Ps. 63:4-8) 

And that last clause is the gospel truth my fellow saints in Christ – the Lord’s strong right hand is what upholds us in this earthly pilgrimage. And when we remember all that the Lord’s already done for us, is now doing, and has promised to do in the future, then ought our mouths to loudly sing His praises through joyful lips, and our attachment to Him, never falter, as we constantly seek His face, early in the morning, during the day, and late at night. That’s how true saints, true believers ought to live my brethren! Much LOVE!

…to know, know, know Him…is to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Him…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 April 2020 Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8.    ​ But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 
Oh friends, they might close down the physical buildings we call the church, but they can’t stop the real church; the people, the faithful followers of Christ Jesus! That’s why we continue having church by whatever means possible, for with Jesus as our Lord and Leader anything is possible. So on this the Lord’s Day, in the time of the Coronavirus, let’s get together and have church nuh; sing praises, pray, give thanks, listen to the Word and be energized and encouraged, as our motto for this rough season, Bruh Paul’s marvellous words to Timothy remind us: ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound mind (self-control, discipline).’ (2 Tim. 1:7) 

Oh my people, now is the time that the church, those who truly believe in Jesus, has to stand up strong and LOVE and pray the world back to safety, bring it out of it’s current dark spell into the miraculous light of Jesus. So, as always, we’ll begin with song, giving praise and worship to the Most High God Jehovah with a beautiful hymn from way back when, one of the many composed by the great Irish hymn writer, Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895). It was possibly my most favourite Easter time hymn when I was growing up in Tobago, some sixty years ago. It’s titled ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away.’ 

They claim that Mrs. Alexander wrote the hymn when she was only 20 years old. That’s why it could be described as ‘a work of exquisite purity and tenderness of youth.’ And that’s possibly why it appealed to me at a tender age. (smile) The inspiration for the hymn is said to have been drawn from a couple of places. First from the Apostles Creed, especially the line: ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.’ And secondly from ‘a large grass-covered mound outside of her home town of Londonderry which put her in mind of the hill in the Holy Land, beyond Jerusalem’s gates ‘where our dear Lord was crucified.’ Who knows which one is right, though both could be? 

But with all of that info, let’s get down to some sweet, soulful and sincere singing that will make Jesus blush. (smile) Let’s heap the praise on Him! ‘There is a green hill far away, outside a city wall, where our dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, what pains he had to bear, but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there. He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood. There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, he only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in. O dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, and trust in his redeeming blood, and try his works to do.’ 

Oh, was that ever harmonious and praise worthy! And did Jesus ever blush! But every word we sang was true! And I like what one web site said about the hymn. ‘The writer gives substance and answer to those who inquire why Jesus died. She talks about God’s forgiveness. She speaks of how man can reclaim his original close relationship with God and suggests the only possible response is the total giving of LOVING self. The event was for us.’ And was it ever for us friends! Jesus’ sacrificial death on that old rugged cross at Calvary was ALL about and ONLY for us! As the hymn so rightly says: ‘He died to save us all!’ 

There’s no doubt about why He underwent such horrific suffering…that we might be forgiven, to make us good, so that we could receive salvation and eventually go to heaven and enjoy eternal life with Him. That’s it in a nutshell my brethren! It so happens that He was the ONLY one who could pay the high price the Father needed to forgive our sins; an unblemished, sinless sacrifice. And yes it required blood, because sins can only be atoned for with the shedding of blood, since the wages of sin is non other than death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:23) And that’s exactly what Christ’s death on the cross accomplished. 

That brings us to this amazing scripture, Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Rome. ‘For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.’ (Rom. 5:19) Wow friends! When I think of all that Christ’s death and resurrection did, I’m totally amazed! It paid our sin death in full, for all time, giving us an option to obtain individual forgiveness, where before we were staring eternal damnation with Satan straight in the face. For as Hebrews says: ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness). (Heb. 9:22) That states it loud and clear! 

It also reconciled us to the Father, with whom we were estranged from since Adam and Eve sinned. It justified us, making us righteous in God’s eyes. It sanctified us, causing us to be set apart for God’s good purpose and work. And the life blood that flowed from His bruised and beaten body cleanses us. Mama Mia! And He did all that simply because of His obedience to the Father, who LOVED us so much that He was willing to pay the high price He Himself set in His righteousness and justice! And there are no better words of scripture to end with this morning than these momentous words of Bruh Paul again to the church at Rome: 

‘For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now (having been) justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being (having been) reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation).’ (Rom. 5:6-11) 

Ah mih people, Christ’s death was vicarious, meaning He died in our place, and His shed blood brought us salvation, but His resurrection, His life, sustains that salvation. And it all happened because of the Father’s great LOVE, and Christ’s exemplary obedience and selflessness. That’s why ‘we must LOVE him too, and trust in his redeeming blood, and try his works to do!’ Much LOVE!

…without Christ’s death and resurrection…there’d be no heaven…nothing but hell…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 April 2020 Deuteronomy 5:29.

Deuteronomy 5:29.    ​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.
 
And then it was Friday – late on Friday! Due to certain circumstances beyond my control I could not get an earlier start. And yes mih young daughter, you contributed to it, so please don’t tell me that I’m always making excuses for the lateness of the Bit. (smile) Anyway, the ordinary workingman is bugging me to sing his song, so let’s hear what he has to say this week nuh. 

‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday oui! But to what avail really eh, since I haven’t been working for so long now. Steups! Don’t even remember what the work was all about! And since nothing’s been happening, nothing’s been changing –  everyday is like the one before. That means the weekend is no longer that important. I don’t have a break from the slave master work… 

Chuh! What I blooming-well need is a break from this constant boredom of doing nothing! Too much free time on mih hands! Don’t know how much longer I can handle it without going crazy nuh! This Covid-19 thing grating on people’s nerves now, and if it continue much longer, going to cause even more mad people in the world than we had before it began! And after all this time, all they still telling we is how much people still catching it and how many still dying from it! And the sad part is that everybody telling yuh something different, so yuh doh really know what to believe! 

Brother! Ah wish they could get deh act together yes! But leh we hope and pray that they soon find a cure yes, a vaccine or something to stop it spreading, so people could go back out to work and play, else the world might just implode on itself and cause even more problems. Right now ah simply  thanking the Lord for getting me through each and everyday without going stark raving mad!’ 

And that’s quite true friends, if something solid isn’t found soon, we might just have a global madhouse to contend with, because people are going stir crazy, and we already having a hard time keeping them from gathering and practicing social distancing. But as the workingman quite wisely said, we need to hope and pray that we have a serious breakthrough soon, because things are getting a tad controversial, with money and food problems, as well as some people wanting things to open up and others wanting them to stay closed. 

So let’s get to the heart of the matter and do the first and most important thing in situations like these nuh, that is pray. And I’m chuckling here when I think that we now have special Covid-19 prayers for Mondays and Fridays. Hn! What next eh? So as one sincere, humble and contrite but confident group, lets call on our heavenly Father for help by declaring (ah ha!) our Covid-19 Friday Chant. 

In strong voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. It’s been pretty rough…though not from work, but from all the confusion and havoc that the Covid -19 virus causing. We not accustomed to that Lord, and it really telling on us. But with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat this virus. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the sure and wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the  least amount of loss to life and property as possible. 

And please use this situation to also bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, and also introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion because of the way we, your faithful believers, handle the situation. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic as a means of restoring faith in You and Your Word, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And now that we’ve prayed; done the first and most important thing, let’s do the second with as much confidence nuh; obey the rules and regulations set up to help stop the spread of the deadly virus! Now yuh know what’s got us into this dreadful situation in the first place is lack of obedience – lack of obedience to God’s Word! From the very beginning man was disobedient – Adam and Eve did not listen to God and thus suffered expulsion from the Garden of Eden and a rough life of sin and sorrow and hard work, that’s been with us ever since. 

The Israelites promised to be obedient to God, but how many times did they turn away from Him to worship idols and other non-gods eh? Several times. But when the heifer dust hit the fan, they quickly repented and came back rejoicing! The Lord even grieved and felt despair for them: ‘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) And so it has been on down through the ages – insolent disobedience to God by man. Until it’s our turn now. 

And we’re so bold-faced and have gotten so big for our britches that we are endeavouring to kick God completely out of society forever. Hn! What a joke, what ‘uppitiness’ on our part, to want to kick the Creator and Controller of the universe out of His creation! Don’t we remember Satan, Lucifer’s story? He was an Archangel, but wanted to be God and rebelled against the Almighty! And where is he now eh? In the raging fires of hell with all the foolish angels who sided with him. 

And friends, our current problem is nothing more than a test to see if we have our heads screwed on right, and are wise enough to pick sense from nonsense, and to stop believing the lies and deceptions of the enemy, and also our own press, but to turn back to the ONLY ONE who can save us in this time of great need, the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of this universe and all therein! Isaiah also said it a long time ago: ‘If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.’ (Is.1:19-20) 

I don’t know why we seem to take the Lord’s ominous declarations as a joke nuh, since there are numerous occasions in His Word where they have been manifested. Oh friends, obedience is the number ONE thing in God’s playbook! You can’t claim to believe and be disobedient! Listen to this telling scripture: ‘And (Jesus) being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’  (Phil. 2:8) 

Yes my brethren, even Jesus as a man, was obedient to His heavenly Father. He said it over and over that He only did what the Father told Him to do. And yuh see how the Father magnified Him by giving Him the highest name and having everyone bow to Him! 

And hear this last scripture: ‘Though he (Jesus) were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him. Called of God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.’ (Heb. 5:8-10) That is obedience at the highest level. And He was again rewarded for His obedience! 

So if Jesus was obedient when He was God in man’s form, who are we to do otherwise eh? We’re foolishly following Satan and attempting to let the created rule the Creator. Friends, though the Lord might give us a lot of leeway, that will NEVER happen in the His universe! Much LOVE!

…to think that the created can overrule the Creator…that’s a fool’s wisdom…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 April 2020 Revelation 3:19.

Revelation 3:19.    ​As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
 

So we’ve rolled into ‘Holy Week’ where we see Jesus go through a rather intense and emotional time, knowing that the occasion He was born for, His essential task, was close at hand. He knew it would all lead to a setta ‘sufferation’ on our behalf, ending with His crucifixion on the old wooden cross on Calvary’s Hill on Good Friday. And it’s struck me as being somewhat symbolic that at the same time Jesus is going through His adversity, this year, we are also going through some of the roughest times we’ve ever experienced in the world, with this Covid-19 virus situation. 

We’re locked down, with our lives in serious jeopardy and essentially in limbo, keeping away from others, no work and no pay, the streets are for the most part empty of both humans and traffic, people are sick and dying, some can’t even get attention for illnesses because the Health System can’t handle it. Panic, anxiety and fear are rampant, and we can’t get any sure and true answers to when and where and how it will all end because no one really knows. It even seems like a more fearful and disastrous time worldwide, than during the two world wars we fought in the early part of the last century. 

At least then we knew our enemy and what weapons it would take to defeat Him, but in this time of ‘germ warfare’ which has hit us so unexpectedly, we have no real knowledge of it, even where it came from, much less a cure for it. And I’ve said all of that, just to ask this question: do we see the mysterious moving of the Father’s hand in it all? I think we should, because I firmly believe that this is a worldwide wake-up call for confession and repentance. And even if it’s not, then the wisest move we can make is still to turn back to God and confess our manifold sins and wickedness, for there’s no doubt that the current state of mankind is possibly at the most evil and sinful level it’s ever been. 

Please friends, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that the omnipotent God, who still sits on His heavenly throne and still controls the world He created, will allow us to get away indefinitely without some kind of chastisement for our blatant disregard of His rules and regulations and foolish, futile attempts to remove Him from our society? Remember the Lord LOVES all whom He has created with a deep and burning, never-ending LOVE, and He doesn’t want to lose even ONE of His most valuable creations to the enemy. So if we step out of His will for too long, it’s only expected that He will try to correct us, to bring us back into line. 

This scripture tells the story of God’s discipline: ‘For consider him (Jesus) that endured such contradiction (hostility) of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds (become discouraged). Ye have not yet resisted unto blood (bloodshed), striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children (sons), My son, despise not thou the chastening (discipline) of the Lord, nor faint (be discouraged) when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord LOVETH he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?’ (Heb. 12:3-7) 

Unfortunately, in this soft and irresponsible world the answer to that question is too many sons are not chastened, and that’s partly why our world is in such a sinful mess. Remember Cousin Sol’s words of wisdom: ‘He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that LOVETH him chasteneth him betimes (promptly)’ (Prov.13:24) Yes friends, LOVE and discipline go together. And not sparing the rod doesn’t necessarily mean child abuse as so many of us preach today, then wonder why our children have turned out the way they are, and hence the behaviour in our society is less that satisfactory. 

So yes, I do believe it’s a warning, and a serious one at that. It could mean that the Lord is just tired with our sinful shenanigans, or that Christ is coming back sooner than we expect, or even both. Anyway friends, please, I implore us, let’s take this next scripture to heart nuh, these immortal words of Jesus to John in his vision of revelation. ‘As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ As always, Jesus puts it as plainly and simply as possible. So let’s take His wise advice and do that right now nuh, by coming to God in sincere prayer, declaring our Covid-19 Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

All together now: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You that this Monday morning we’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Despite the crucial lockdown, those of us considered essential, still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. 

That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as our leaders, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a sure antidote to it as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Now let’s hold true to that promise, for remember Cousin Sol says the worst thing we can ever do is to make a vow to God and not keep it. Better not to have made it at all. (Eccl. 5:4-5) Much LOVE!

…Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts knocking…please, please…let’s open them and let him in nuh…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 March 2020 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.    ​And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).
 
So we starting off the week in panic mode eh, because of the Corona virus… Almost everything shut down…and in many countries too. And on a point of interest, I wonder how the Corona Beer is doing in these times eh? (smile) Is it selling more or less? Are they still producing it? Strange, but I haven’t seen or heard any mention of that in any of the many news reports. 

But seriously though, what’s going to happen now eh? Who knows? Only the Most High God! And very few of us seem to be paying Him any attention at all. What a pity, because He is the One who holds everything in the palms of His hands. In times of panic we’re supposed to run to our Maker, but too many of us seem to be running elsewhere! But, as with most things, when we finally run out of our own solutions, we usually turn to Him as a last resort, instead of the First Resort! 

Anyhow, be that as it may, the situation’s so bad that some of us don’t have any jobs to go to, especially if you’re part of the gig economy and your place of employment is shut down due to government edict, and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Hn! What a bam bam eh! Some of us with full time jobs might be blessed enough to get paid to stay home, but I believe that will most likely be the minority. And for those of us who must go out into the fray… Oh, we can’t call it that any longer, since half the world is locked up inside, (smile) many are frightened because of the possibility of contracting the virus from others we meet. 

So what’s the solution eh? That ought to be obvious. We were just talking about our First Resort in times of trouble…the Lord God Jehovah, call on Him for help, turn to Him in sincere prayer. It’s been the number one resort since our faith was born. And hear the Lord to Cousin Sol nuh, when they dedicated the first temple: ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) 

And that promise still stands firm and faithful to this day. Listen to the scholars. ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ Ah friends, what more can I say eh, especially if, as too many of us think, the Old Testament is no longer of any value to us? 

Then I’ll just have to reinforce it with verses from the New Testament! (smile) The first being from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; ‘And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ And Jesus didn’t only talk the talk, He also walked the walk. ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary (deserted) place, and there prayed.’ (Mark 1:35) And if you still need convincing (smile), then listen to Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18) 

And if you think that’s a bit much, then let the scholars explain. ‘5:18. In every event or circumstance (thing) the Christian is to give thanks to God for the good He can bring out of the event, even should the event be unpleasant. The constant attitude of prayer, mentioned in verse 17, will help the believer to rejoice (vs.16), to pray (vs.17), to give thanks in adversity (vs.18), and by despising prophetic utterances (vs.20) inspired by the Spirit.’ And we won’t worry to get into Bruh Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to pray for all men, and all in power, and that men should pray everywhere (1 Tim. 2:1-8), we’ll just get into some prayer of our own. I’ve sort of rejigged our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. (smile) 

So altogether 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’re alive, and hopefully haven’t contracted the virus that’s causing havoc around our world. Some of us still have go to work, and we’re somewhat fearful, because we have no idea, how, when and where the virus might strike. 

Heavenly Father, we know that we have all sinned and seriously come short in obedience and compliance to your Word, but we know that you are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, and You have faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we humbly come to you now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us, ordinary folks, as well as the politicians, employers and medical personnel, wise guidance and direction. Please show us how to successfully handle this scourge that’s plaguing the earth, and help the scientists to find a positive solution, a masterful antidote to it as quickly as possible. 

And for those who have already contracted the virus, we pray that You will ease their suffering and heal them Father. Show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again we say: Amen!’ 

Well that’s the best I could do on short notice. (smile) But please, I beg us to remember that we’ve promised to turn from our evil ways and be more obedient to God’s Word, and if we don’t keep our promise, He’s liable to just let another plague strike the earth, cause He’s still in control of all that happens down here. And remember too that the Lord looks at our hearts, our motives before moving into action, so mere words without sincere, heartfelt motives won’t move Him. Now let’s hunker down and do our part, whatever that might be, faithfully trusting the Lord to do His. Much LOVE!

…prayer…the most powerful tool in our faith box…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 15 January 2020 Psalm 119:11.

Psalm 119:11.    ​Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
 

And then it was Wednesday – the hump day of the week – but even more importantly, another new day under the Lord’s safe and protective umbrella! Glory Hallelujah! Yeh friends, we’ve been granted another day of life on earth, for which we all ought to be thankful. So let’s do the acclamation thing nuh! 

All together now: ‘This is the day the Lord has made we will rejoice and be glad in it! As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! That’s for sure! If God be for us, who can be against us eh? Not a single soul! God will provide all my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus! I will be a lender and not a borrower! I’m the head and not the tail; above and not beneath; a mighty conqueror through Christ Jesus our awesome Lord and Saviour!’ And finally: ‘Something good is going to happen to me today! Yeah! Something good is also going to happen through me today!’ 

Mama Mia! What a whole lot of positive scripture to reinforce our faith my brethren! With all of that flourishing in our souls how can the evil one ever turn us away from Almighty God eh? No way Jose! Ah mih people, we need to know the Word, so when the enemy comes calling we can turn Him away with what our omnipotent and ever-faithful God says about us. That’s why this second section of Psalm 119 – BETH – with the superscription; ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart’ is so important to a true believer. 

Please read these miraculous, marvelous and momentous words of the psalmist with me. ‘Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgements of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto (contemplate) thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.’ (Ps. 119:9-16) 

Ah mih people, if only more supposed Christians would read those words and take them to heart eh! Chuh! What a wonderful place our world would be! The psalmist lets us know the right way, right up front: by following God’s Word. And what is God’s Word? According to the scholars: ‘Word (dabar) is an all-embracing term for God’s revelation in any form.’ And we have to be serious about seeking God and His Word. It can’t be just a wishy-washy, sometime, half-hearted thing like so many supposed believers engage in. The psalmist said, ‘with my whole heart.’ And that’s the way we need to come to God – with serious intentions! 

And then he pleads that he be assisted in not straying from the Lord’s commandments. Oh friends, all of us need to plead with God for help on that matter! And what are his commandments? Per the scholars: ‘Commandments (mitswot)  is a word assuming the authority of the commander and the inherent necessity of obeying the content of the charge.’ That means in simple terms, the commander is the boss, and we must obey his orders. And in this case, God is our commander and His word is the command we must obey. 

And friends, our Bit says it all: ‘Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.’ That’s the whole purpose of the exercise; not to sin against our heavenly Father! But we can only do that when we have His Word safely ensconced in our hearts, and more importantly, use it to thwart the flaming darts of the enemy that he sends against us. Then the psalmist asks to be taught the Lord’s statutes. And what are statutes? The scholars explain them thus: ‘Statutes (huqim) is related to a verb meaning “to engrave” and thus implies permanent and unchangeable regulations.’ 

That therefore means God’s regulations are permanent and don’t change, like we tend to say and believe rather conveniently in these supposed modern times of the 21st century. Then the psalmist talks about declaring (yeah!) the Lord’s judgements. The scholars describe then thus: ‘Judgments (mispatim) or ordinances refers to decisions God has made as a judge in order to make earthly behaviour conform to His heavenly standard.’ And we all know that above all, our God is a God of justice and sin has no part in His character whatsoever; but much to our benefit, He is a righteous judge! 

And I like the psalmist’s next statement about rejoicing in God’s testimonies as much as in the wealth of the world. Wish many more of us would treasure the Lord’s testimonies that much and not pay so much attention to earthly riches. And the scholars characterize ‘Testimonies (‘edot) emphasizes  the content of the Word as that which God has testified of Himself and His will.’ And should we ever rejoice in the Lord’s testimonies my people, because it tells us of the greatness of our God! 

Then the psalmist promises to meditate, ponder on God’s precepts and contemplate His ways. Now that friends, is the only manner in which God’s Word can be written in our hearts; through meditation, contemplation and ‘ponderation.’ (smile) And according to the scholars ‘Precepts (piqudim) refers to  instructions from a superior regarding the duties of those under him, in this case, from God to man.’ Again, we can only know our duties by learning them and continually thinking about them as we make every effort to put them into action. 

But yuh know friends, we will never get it right until we learn to take true pleasure in our God and all that He’s said and done, all on our behalf! We all know that we comprehend and understand stuff quicker and more deeply when we enjoy it. And that’s why so many supposed believers have problems understanding and adhering to God’s Word; they don’t take pleasure in it. But if we want to have a clean heart and a right spirit, then we must learn to enjoy God and all that He is! And He’s such a multi-faceted character that unless we spend real time with Him and His Word, we’ll never truly come to appreciate and LOVE and obey Him like we ought to. End of sermon! (smile) 

Now let’s go home declaring (yeah!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our wonderful and ecstatic position in our great God. In full voice and strong sense of purpose now: ‘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 when the joy of Jesus is securely planted in our hearts, then we’re assured that our future with Him will indeed be glorious…Mama Yo…more than we can ever ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…our Christian character will show out…in direct proportion to our knowledge of…and obedience to God’s Word…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 December 2019 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.    ​Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.
 

Well friends, it’s the first Sunday in Advent! And why is that important eh? Because in the church’s calendar, this is the time of year we begin preparing for Christ’s coming! Originally it seems like it was a time to think of Christ’s Second Coming, a cry for the Messiah to come back and take over the evil world. But apparently down through the years it got intertwined with the First Coming of the Messiah, what we call Christmas, so now we celebrate Advent by looking back nostalgically at the First Coming, while excitedly and expectantly looking forward to the Second One! Only in the Christian faith can we have such double celebrations my people! (smile) 

Anyway, as we gather today in joyful fellowship in the Lord’s sanctuary, to give thanks and praise and worship His Holy Name, we not going to open with an Advent hymn because I got a zeppo intimating that the Lord wanted to hear this particular tune, ‘Stand up for Jesus!’ I guess He’s feeling that believers are not being strong and steadfast enough in the faith. We’re being too fearful and wishy-washy, sitting on the fence, wavering like a leaf in the wind, and too ready to compromise so that we can go on with our comfortable lives! 

Consequently, He wants us to get our acts together, get really serious about our cause, and like true warriors come out fighting valiantly under Jesus’ banner, even to the death, if needs be! So let’s raise our voices in strong and solemn song, as we sing these most excellent sentiments, but also truly fighting words, written in 1858 by George Duffield (1818-1888) in honour of his dear departed friend and leader, Dudley Atkins Tyng (1825-1858) in a tragic farm accident. It’s reputed that Tyng’s last message to his associates was for them to, ‘Stand up for Jesus,’ and this became the theme of Duffield’s song. 

And to make it even more powerful, we going to do a scintillating, rocking Reggae version, a la Miss Carlene Davis. Wow! Rockers time mih people! (smile) So altogether now: ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross! Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory his army he shall lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear; if while ye sleep he suffers, away with shame and fear. Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without, charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout. 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in his strength alone; the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer; when duty calls or danger be never wanting there. (Bridge: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up.) 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally. (Extro: Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ my Saviour, standing on the promises of God. Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up, Stand up, stand up, stand up for Jesus, children stand up….!’ 

Aye friends, I hope we truly meant what we just sang, because our world is desperate for somebody, for serious somebodies to stand up to the evil one in Jesus name! And it’s sad that we all know the scripture that characterizes that song, but we’re not putting it into full and proper use. Hear Bruh Paul as he articulates to the Ephesians, re the whole armour of God: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph.6:10) 

As Christians we’re engaged in a spiritual battle from now until Christ’s Second Coming that we’re looking forward to this first Sunday in Advent. And there must be ‘no quarter given, no ceasefire, no temporary truce, no cessation of hostilities.’ But to do that successfully, we have to stand strong, be strengthened in and through the Lord’s might and power. And this next verse is also of the utmost importance: ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes)  of the devil.’ 

Yes my faithful brethren, no soldier worth his salt, goes into battle without armour, without protective gear. And since in this case our battle is not physical but spiritual, we need specialized protection: Our loins must be girded with God’s truth; the knowledge of the truth of God’s Word. Our chests must be protected by a breastplate of righteousness, holy character and moral conduct, through obedience to God’s truth. And then our feet must be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We must be eager and willing to take on the satanic one and his demoniac cohorts, take the fight to him, and we get that from the gospel of peace, that frees us of any anxiety and fear. 

Then we need the shield of faith so we can repulse all the fiery darts of the wicked one. That means taking God at His Word, believing His awesome promises, dispelling all doubt Satan might try to induce. And we must have a helmet; that of salvation; the hope of and assurance of salvation, the surety, that we’re saved. And you can’t fight without a sword, in this case the sword of the Spirit; the powerful and ever-conquering Word of God! 

But along with all of that protective armour friends, we still need to use the most powerful tool in the universe; prayer! Without it, the armour is useless. So let’s hope all of this has lit a fire in our bellies, reignited our passion for Christ, so that we can become better soldiers in His victorious army! Much LOVE!

…Christians…put on your spiritual armour…the time to fight is NOW…

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