Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 August 2020 Galatians 5:22-23.

Galatians 5:22-23.     ​But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness (kindness), goodness (generosity), faith (faithfulness, dependability), Meekness (courtesy, consideration), temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.
 

Awright, up and at ‘em fellow saints of Christ! Time to get up, go out if necessary and live the gospel; the good news of our Lord and Saviour! Remember some of the last words He spoke to the disciples, and consequently to us, who haven’t seen Him in person, but nonetheless believe? 

‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in the earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28: 18-20) Wow! What a marvellous command; one thoroughly laced with divine assurance! We call it the ‘Great Commission!’ 

And I like how the scholars describe it: ‘28:18-20. Christianity is not represented here as the mere reverential devotion of disappointed men who honour their martyred leader. Here is a far different scene. The triumphant, living Lord sends forth His ambassadors to proclaim His gospel throughout all the world. The Great Commission is not just an order but a pronouncement of victory (mundus regium Christi) by the risen Saviour through His disciples.’ 

Yes friends on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection, His victory over the evil one, He was given power and authority over both heaven and earth, and it’s on that same power and authority that we, His ambassadors, His disciples, are able to carry our His Great Commission to all the world through His body, the church. Glory be, mih bredrin! 

So our major purpose this Monday morning is to display the wonderful characteristics of Jesus, what we term the fruit of the Spirit, seeds of those awesome characteristics that have been planted within us, and are prosperously growing therein, as we continually water and nurture them. 

And what better time and place to remember those precious characteristics called the fruit of the Spirit than right now. ‘But the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, long-suffering (patience), gentleness (kindness), goodness (generosity), faith (faithfulness, dependability), Meekness (courtesy, consideration), temperance (self-control): against such there is no law.’ (Gal. 5:22-23) No my people, against that marvellous fruit, there can be no law! 

However, as Bruh Paul continues to the Galatians: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections (its passions) and lusts.’ (Gal. 5:24). That means when we receive Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes to live in us, we become new creatures, giving up our sinful past and evil passions. Which further means: ‘If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.’ (Gal. 5:25) That should be understood. If the Spirit gave us new life when we received Christ, then we ought to continue following His leading and guidance for the rest of our lives if we want the spiritual seeds within us to grow and produce much good fruit, and thus we move from glory to glory in Christ Jesus. 

And we have one last, but oh so important warning from Bruh Paul to the church at Galatia. ‘Let us not be desirous of vain glory (be conceited), provoking one another, envying one another.’ (Gal. 5:26) Now that also applies to us, but unfortunately, both in the church and society at large that is not being practiced. In fact those very emotions of conceitedness, provocation and envy are running rampant throughout our entire society. No wonder the fruit of the Spirit is not as abundant as it ought to be. That’s why as ambassadors and disciples of Jesus we have to get out there and spread the message, make a difference, so that His gospel can reach the entire world as He desires and commissioned us to do. 

And the first thing we ought to do each and every day is pray. So let’s do that nuh, by declaring (awright!) our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. In strong and confident voice, but with humble and contrite 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. And our anxieties have been recently deepened because several restrictions have been lifted in the lockdown, so more of us are going out to work now without any guarantees of safety. 

Then to complicate matters Father, suddenly, and unexpectedly, just like the virus, worldwide strife and protests have also struck us in this sad time of pandemic, and we don’t have a clue how to handle either situation properly. Mass confusion is currently prevailing in our world, and we desperately need your help to solve both problems, as You are the ONLY One with the power and insight to successfully handle them. 

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 these scourges that are currently plaguing Your beautiful earth. Please help our leaders to wisely quell the strife and protests, thus bringing unity, peaceful consensus and real improvement in the areas that are now sadly lacking. Please help the scientists to also find a positive solution, a sure antidote to the virus as quickly as possible. And for those who have already contracted the virus, or been injured in the strife, 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 while we wait for God’s help, let’s walk in the Spirit nuh, so that we can produce much good fruit! Much LOVE!

…let your light so shine before men…that they may see your good works…and glorify your Father in heaven… (Matt. 5:16)  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 April 2020 Matthew 28:19.

Matthew 28:19.    Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
 

Aye mih bredrin, we’re back to Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and we still don’t have the option to fellowship together in the Lord’s sanctuary because of the social distancing business, but that’s never stopped us before, and believe me, it won’t stop us today either because we have technology! Technology, the wizardry that allows us to communicate live and in person across major distances, so though we can’t hug and kiss and shake hands, we can still celebrate the Lord’s Day with thanks and praise and reading of His Word and getting His assurance and confidence to successfully handle our difficult circumstances. 

I don’t know how our forefathers managed during their time of plagues and pandemic problems. But they still managed to hand down the gospel to us. Yet we, with all our technology, can’t get it into our children’s heads. But that’s another story for another day. So let’s get to some praise and worship to open the proceedings. And today’s song is of the contemporary Christian genre, titled ‘I’m just a Nobody.’ 

Now there seems to be at least two versions, each with different lyrics in the verses, one a soulful version by the Williams Brothers, but we’re going to follow the Casting Crowns version featuring Matthew West; a rocking, raunchy, good times one, with lots of clapping, dancing, and of course singing! (smile) We’ll begin with some hand clapping, in three fourths time, then sing the first line of the chorus three times acapella, then get into the full chorus as the music comes up. So here goes: clap, clap: ‘I’m just a nobody…clap, clap: I’m just a nobody…clap, clap: I’m just a nobody…’ and then music and everybody going crazy! 

‘Chorus: I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody, who saved my soul. Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!)  Why you ever chose me, has always been a mystery. All my life, I’ve been told I belong, at the end of the line. With all the other “Not Quites” with all the “Never-Get-it Rights” But it turns out, they’re the ones you’ve been looking for all this time, (Chorus:  Cause I’m just a nobody… living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!) 

Moses had stage fright, and David brought a rock to a sword fight, You picked twelve outsiders, nobody would have ever chosen, and you changed the world. Well the moral of the story is, Everybody’s got a purpose. So when I hear that devil start talking to me saying, “Who do you think you are?” (Chorus: I say, I’m just a nobody… living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!) So let me go down, down, down in history, as another blood-bought faithful member of the family. And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus… 

So let me go down, down, down in history, as another blood-bought faithful member of the family…That’s all I ever want to be… And if they all forget my name, well, that’s fine with me. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus… Cause I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody, who saved my soul. Ever since You rescued me, You gave my heart a song to sing. I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus! I’m living for the world to see…Nobody but Jesus!’ 

Oh yes friends, that was indeed a happily sung ditty; one of hope, faith and rejoicing! And I like what one web site says about the song: ‘The lyrics describe how God uses ordinary people to spread the Gospel of Jesus! We are all flawed, yet the Lord has a purpose for us. In our joy of having been forgiven, we excitedly point to the forgiver, Jesus Christ!’ And all God’s people said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ And that’s indeed our main purpose in this life my brethren; to ‘excitedly point to the forgiver;’ to spread the gospel of Christ with unyielding zest and holy enthusiasm. 

As Jesus declared to His disciples: ‘All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ (Matt. 28:18-20) And that my people is what we refer to as ‘the Great Commission!’ And moreover, against all odds, the disciples were indeed able to do that seemingly impossible task; twelve poor, uneducated men charged with proselytizing the entire world! 

And they certainly laid a good foundation for us to further build onLet’s not forget that we are Christ’s arms, legs, head, hands and body in this dark and sinful world, and that He’s depending on us to show the lost the light of His gospel and lead them to Him so they can be saved; forgiven, granted salvation through grace, which leads to eternal life. Remember Jesus memorable words about why He came into the world: ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11) And that philosophy hasn’t changed down through the ages friends, which means we still need to show interest in and help those lost in the darkness of Satan’s world. 

Jesus also made His Father’s intentions quite clear in these momentous and memorable words that we all know: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’ (John 3:16-17) 

Let’s remember that this Sunday friends, as we are unable to worship in physical proximity, and realize in that sense, we are still the lost, and that we still need saving from the Coronavirus, and that Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can do it! Much LOVE!

…without Jesus…we’re all hopelessly lost…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 January 2020 Psalm 107:8.

Psalm 107:8.    Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
 
Yes, we’re somewhat tardy this morning, but through no fault of mine. Let me make that abundantly clear! (smile) I went to bed early…well yes and no…but I was up early, had to go and do some blood work though, that’s why we’re running a tad behind. (smile) 

And we’re going to begin today with a prayer, one of my favourites, something I’ve shared before, doubt you’ll remember it though. (smile) But it’s one done by the Life-Study Fellowship Group in Noroton, Connecticut, some years back. It’s titled, ‘Lord, Please Accept My Heartfelt Thanks!’ And the prayer has as it’s Bible promise: ‘Praise the Lord for His Goodness.” (Ps.107:8) And do we ever need to do that my fellow believers in these sad and trying  times. So please pray with me. 

‘Dear Lord, You are so good to me! And I thank You sincerely for the many blessings You send me! I’m very glad to have You in my life day in and day out – whatever I do and wherever I go! You are the One who always does what is best for my happiness! How grateful I am to be able to turn to You for guidance and comfort when troubles come my way! If any situation arises that makes me feel discouraged, You let me know I can lean on You for support! And because of Your LOVE for me, somehow I seem to find the strength to keep going – even through the most difficult times! 

I’m grateful, too, for peaceful moments like these when I’m all alone with You in prayer! Talking with You never fails to reassure and uplift me! Nothing I say to You goes unheard. You listen with great concern to everything I confide in You! For You truly care about me! As I look to 2020 I pray that You will continue to watch over me – and grant me even more of Your wonderful blessings! And may I serve You well in my every word, my every deed! Be my Guide hour by hour, I pray! Amen!’ 

Oh friends, what a marvellous prayer! I think it covers all the bases: gratefulness for guidance and comfort in times of trouble; encouragement and support when necessary. As the old Bill Wither’s song says, ‘Lean on me when you’re not strong. And I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on!’ Now that’s exactly what our God does! And we can surely do that with all confidence because He is an omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present God! And because of His LOVE…oh my people, my people, because of God’s unending, unconditional and unsurpassed LOVE, we find the strength to keep going even in the most difficult of times! Glory Hallelujah! 

As the Good Book says: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!’ (Phil. 4:13) Mamma Yo! With a God like that, who else do we need eh? Not a single soul! For our God is more than enough to meet our needs. Again, as He promised: ‘God will meet all of my needs according to his riches in glory through Christ Jesus!’ (Phil.4:19) Wow! But yuh know the best part of that prayer is the peaceful moments experienced when we’re all alone with our Maker in prayer. 

Oh friends, there’s something we experience when we’re communing with Almighty God, our heavenly Father, that cannot be truly defined or put into words. I guess the best we can do is call it peace, or the all encompassing Jewish word ‘Shalom!’ And when you’re talking to him, and know for a fact that He’s listening to you closely, and sincerely cares for you…why wouldn’t He eh, when He made you? A feeling of utmost quiet and stillness and calm, even when it’s rough, comes over you. 

Remember too, the Lord is also the Best Confidante we can ever have. He doesn’t tell our ‘secrats’ to anyone, and we can bring EVERYTHING, yes EVERYTHING to Him in prayer, because He’s interested in EVERYTHING that concerns us, be it big, small or intermediate! That’s the kind of caring and considerate God we serve and worship my people! I know some of us wrongly think that we can’t bother God with small, supposedly unimportant stuff, but He’s truly interested in it all! Just as we like our children to bring even their most personal problems to us, so does our heavenly Father want us to bring ALL our problems to Him. 

Remember, He’s not only our God, our Creator, our Judge and Saviour, but also our Father…and Friend, and He does desire to perform fatherly and friendly duties for and with us! Give Him much thanks and praise my breddren, for He so worthily deserves it! As the psalmist so rightly declares: (steups!) ‘Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness (LOVING-kindness), and for his wonderful works to the children of men!’  And do we ever need to thank the Lord for all the blessings He bestows on us, especially the most important one; our Lord and  Saviour Jesus Christ! 

Oh we can never give Him enough thanks and praise for that nuh, because there isn’t enough in all the world to ever make up for Jesus! Bless His holy name! That’s why I’m encouraging us to really get with the programme this year of 2020 my fellow believers, for it’s a watershed year, a year that will make or break us, a year that will set the tone for all the other ones to come! That’s why Christians have to seriously and truly come together in these perilous times, because everything depends on us; the fate of our children and our world rests solely in our hands; placed there by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ when He gave us the Great Commission: 

‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the very end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20) And yuh see how kind and caring our Jesus is? Although He’s given us a big and important job to do, He’s also given us the tools to do it, through his Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and by whom He also keeps His promise to be always with us. 

So friends, on this first Tuesday of our new year, let’s sincerely declare (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the world know in no uncertain terms, just who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts! ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world.  Amen!’ Now, as we’ve just promised, let’s go out and tell them about our Lord and Saviour, His undying LOVE and amazing friendship! Much LOVE!

…the Lord…He satisfieth the longing soul…and filleth the hungry soul with goodness… (Ps.107:9)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 April 2015 Psalm 40:9

Psalm 40:9.     I have preached righteousness (proclaimed the good news of righteousness) in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained (restrained) my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

Well hello there you beautiful believers in Jesus Christ! How goes it this Sunday morning in mid-April eh? I hope that it meets you all safe and sound, and also up and about, preparing to go to church and praise and worship our wonderful God with other believers. For you know that’s the number one priority of a Christian on a Sunday morning.

Our God both desires and expects it of us, because He is always there ready to shower down blessings, mercy and forgiveness on us, whenever we gather to worship Him in sincerity and truth. That means that though you may have a personal relationship with Christ, that is not sufficient, you still need to meet with other believers in fellowship, to strengthen your bonds in Christ and to encourage, comfort and edify each other.

That’s why Jesus and Bruh Paul talk about His body, the church. It resembles the human body because it is made up of different parts, but all come together to form one body. No one part can’t do it all by itself. Just like no man is an island, likewise, no Christian is capable of doing it all himself.

And if by chance you’re physically unable to get to a sanctuary, then turn on your radio or your TV, find a church program and let the powerful and ever-faithful Word of God filter into your heart through your ears. That’s why He gave us two ears and only one mouth; so that we can listen more than we talk. (smile)

Remember too the fateful words of Bruh Paul to the Romans:  ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ (Rom.10:17) 

And the scholars offer this important explanation. ’10:17. The word of God: Better, “the word of Christ.”  The reference here is to the oral communication of the gospel. Note that it is not faith in what is heard, but faith that comes about by what is heard. This is what Paul meant in 1:16 when he said the gospel “is the power of God unto salvation.”  

Saving faith is not man doing his part in response to God’s having done His part (synergism). Saving faith can come about only through the gospel. Salvation is God’s work alone (monergism). This also shows that there is no other way to be saved but by the explicit gospel of Christ.’

Yes Friends, faith is born, and then grows in us when we hear the word communicated orally. And I guess I’ll have to spoon feed you all here because very few, if any of you will condescend to check out Romans 1:16, so you can better understand the scripture. So here it is. ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.’ (Rom.1:16)

Please remember my people that the Word of God is the most powerful force in the universe! For as the scholars tell us: ‘1:16. The power of God: The English words dynamite and dynamo are derived from the word “power.” If Paul were writing today he would probably speak of atomic power. The gospel is so powerful that it takes people all the way into heaven.

Every one that believeth: The basis of salvation is God’s gracious provision. (Rom.3:23-26) But the only means by which the sinner can appropriate this gift is faith (10:9-17) The gospel is the essential content of that faith. This is why Paul is so burdened to preach Christ to the world.’

Ah mih people, the power of the gospel of Christ is truly marvellous and miraculous! Without it, our faith would not exist; neither would we enjoy salvation, reconciliation and eternal life! Please keep that front and centre in our lives, as we make our pilgrim’s journey here on earth.

That bring us to our Bit, where Bruh David declares: ‘I have preached righteousness (proclaimed the good news of righteousness) in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained (restrained) my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.’

Yes my brethren, the same way Bruh Paul was enthused to preach the gospel of Christ, that’s exactly how Bruh David felt about God’s Word, and proclaimed it loudly to all and sundry! That job has now fallen to us Friends, but are we expressing it with the great awe, zeal and enthusiasm like we ought to? I doubt it very much. A lot of us are ashamed of Christ, are afraid to talk about Him openly, even to our friends and neighbours, but yet consider ourselves Christians, His followers.  

But that’s not good enough my people. Hear how Bruh David continues after our Bit. ‘I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy LOVING-kindness and thy truth from the great congregation.’ (Ps.40:10)

Now that is what all believers ought to be able to say, and until we each can say that truthfully, then we’re not doing God’s will as we ought! Many of us instead of broadcasting the gospel and salvation boldly and diligently, we selfishly hide it in our hearts.  But Friends, that good news was not meant to be kept a secret; it was meant to be broadcast to all the world.

Remember Jesus Great Commission to the disciples:  ‘Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always(s), even to the end of the world.’ (Matt.28:19-20).

Yes my brethren, that is what all faithful believers in Christ ought to be doing; telling others about His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary; which paid for our sins from now until eternity, plus the free gift of salvation offered to us through God’s grace, and the wonderful promise of eternal life!

Wow!  Oh my people, if you believe that you have all of that, how can you keep it to yourselves eh? It’s a travesty of justice! So please, starting today, right now, let’s up the ante nuh, let’s get more interested and zealous about the cause of Christ, and go out and gladly broadcast it to all the world, for that’s our bounden duty, as well as the zenith of wisdom! Much LOVE!

…the good news of Jesus’ gospel …should not be hidden under a bushel…but brightly exposed for all to see and hear…