Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 January 2020 Philippians 4:19.

Philippians 4:19.    ​But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.
 
And the snow did fall…in copious quantities too, but thankfully my information was wrong, we were only going to get 15 cm of snow, not the 50 I wrote about yesterday. However, the east coast province of Newfoundland and Labrador did receive a solid walloping over the weekend culminating in some 70 cm of the white stuff. Obviously everything was shut down under such a blanket of snow, with power outages and other necessities sadly lacking. 

Apparently even the snow trucks had to be taken off the road, since the blizzard was so bad that visibility was impossible. Friends, please, let’s pray for them and offer any other help that we can, because we never know when it will be our turn to be in such a despairing and disastrous situation. 

So closer to home now, the snow is finished falling but we had some freezing rain overnight and with the drop in temperature, it’s possibly slick and icy out there. So please be careful if you’re venturing out. And please don’t use the weather conditions as a convenient excuse not to go to church, (smile) although some of us will find it extremely difficult, even impossible to get out and about. 

And having said all of that, let’s turn to our multi-purpose in the Lord’s sanctuary today; to worship our great God, give Him much thanks and praise from sincere and overflowing hearts of gratitude, to enjoy sweet and encouraging fellowship with other believers, to hear the awesome Word of God which refreshes and renews us and gives us oodles of confidence and reassurance to face the fallen world in which we live! 

Now how can we get all of that if we don’t go to church eh, or have a gathering of two or three somewhere convenient? For Christ did say that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name, that He would be right there in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20) So if only a small gathering is possible, then so be it, but a big gathering would be nicer. (smile) And today’s opening song of worship is indeed very appropriate for these troubled and disastrous times. It’s aptly titled ‘Lord I Need You’ 

And do we ever need Him friends, so let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony as we call out to our Lord and Saviour for the help that only He can give. ‘(Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Lord, I come, I confess Bowing here I find my rest Without You I fall apart You’re the One that guides my heart (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) 

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more Where grace is found is where You are And where You are, Lord, I am free Holiness is Christ in me (Chorus: Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) Teach my song to rise to You When temptation comes my way And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You Jesus, you’re my hope and stay. Lord, I need You, oh, I need You Every hour I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You. I need You every hour, Oh Lord how I need You…Oh how I need You. yes Lord, I need You, every hour of every day…That’s how much I need you.’  

Ah mih people, from all of that we should see how desperately we need Jesus Christ and all that He stands for. And what is a need you ask? Here’s something from a website that I forgot the name. But it says: ‘A need is something that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. In other words, a need is something required for a safe, stable and healthy life (e.g. food, water, shelter) while a want is a desire, wish or aspiration. 

When needs or wants are backed by purchasing power, they have the potential to become economic demands. Basic needs such as water, air, food and protection from environmental dangers are necessary for an organism to live. In addition to basic needs, humans also have needs of a social or societal nature such as the human need to socialize or belong to a family unit or group. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food, or psychological and subjective, such as the need for self-esteem. Needs and wants are a matter of interest in, and form a common substrate for, the fields of philosophy, biology, psychology, social science, economics, marketing and politics.’ 

And yes we need all of those things, but even more importantly we need things like spiritual protection, the ability to confess our sins and know we’re forgiven, a place of rest to lay down our burdens, someone to guide us, to help us with righteousness, to provide grace and mercy, freedom from worry and anxiety, a strong tower to fall back on, not forgetting strength and faith to stand strong against temptation! Yes friends, we do need a lot, and Jesus is the ONLY ONE who can satisfy it ALL! He is indeed our ‘hope and stay!’ 

And there’s no better verse in the Good Book that guarantees our needs than Bruh Paul’s words to the Philippians, after they sacrificed from their little to send him a gift. ‘But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ.’ 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: 4:19. Because the Lord is aware of the sacrifice (v.18) that the Philippians made in meeting Paul’s needs, God will surely supply all their need. God will meet their need (1) according to his riches, that is in proportion to His unlimited resources: (2) in glory, that is, He will meet their need “gloriously” or “in a splendid manner”; and (3) by Christ Jesus.’ 

Ah friends, once we have Jesus, we don’t need anything, or anybody else! Let’s remember that and put our whole faith and trust in Him nuh, because He will see us faithfully through this live unto the next one, and long thereafter. Much LOVE!…

so let us come boldly (confidently)…to the throne of grace…that we may obtain mercy…and find grace…to help…in time of need… (Hebs. 4:16)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 January 2020 Hebrews 12:1.

Hebrews 12:1.    ​Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.
 

Greetings and salutations this dreary looking Tuesday morning my Scrip-Bit friends and families! And as Bruh Paul liked to say in his letters to the New Testament churches: ‘Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ. who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen!’ (Gal. 1:3-5) Yes my faithful brethren, EVERY DAY, we ought to remember the Father and the wonderful things He’s done for us through Christ Jesus and give Him the necessary praise and thanksgiving! 

And please don’t tell me it’s too difficult, or you’re too busy and you don’t have time…Make time! You make time for other not so important stuff, but you can’t make time for God, the most important thing, being and element in your life? Steups! Just take a moment and consider your state if He had not shown His amazing LOVE and compassion through the incomparable gift of His Son! You’d be headed straight for hell and the eternal company of Lucifer, the fallen angel and now the deceitful, lying devil! 

But through Christ, He’s offered us another option, much better than what we had – eternal life with Him and Christ in heaven – and yuh boldfaced enough to tell me that you can’t make time to spend a few minutes with Him every day! Chuh! Pure foolishness that mih breddren! Anyway, here’s a most appropriate writing for this time of year and our current winter affliction; SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder – from our One Year Book of Bible Promises, with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. And it’s also appropriately titled ‘January.’ 

Please pray with me: ‘It’s January, Lord – The drab, dreary middle – And my thoughts are as drab As the miserable month. Does everybody hit a January slump Or am I the only one? The first week wasn’t too bad: There were Christmas thank-yous to write A few resolutions to store away The huddle of year-end sales. But thank-you notes bring no returns And resolutions are quickly broken and marked-down trinkets fast lose appeal. When You said “Behold I make all things new” Did You forget January, Lord? Or in January do I sometimes forget You?’ 

Ah friends, I think the correct answer is more like the last one – we forget the Lord, because He’s promised NEVER to leave nor forsake us, and He always keep His promises. That we know for a fact. So if any forgetting goes on, it’s most surely on our side of the equation. And the strange thing is that the drearier and more downcast the weather and our souls are, the more we need to find consolation in God, not forget or move further away from Him. It’s like when you’re sick, that’s when you certainly need a doctor, and the worse you get, the more you need the medic! You run to Him more than ever then, not away from him. 

And it’s the same with our great God; we need Him more than ever when things are not going so good. So let’s think on that some today nuh, and see if we’re falling into that common rut. And we should also think on the Bible Promise from the poem, which is our Bit for today. ‘Wherefore seeing (since) we also are compassed about with (surrounded by) so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset (ensnare) us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us.’ 

Yes friends, we have so many heavenly witnesses looking on at our race of faith, who earlier ran the same race and testified to the LOVE and faithfulness of God, that we need to get serious and put aside any and everything that will hinder us in our own faith walk. And please remember that our race of faith is not a sprint, but a long-distance race, a marathon; one that requires lots of endurance and energy, not merely simple patience. As Bruh Paul said to the Roman church: ‘Rejoicing in hope; patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfastly) in prayer.’ (Rom.12:12) 

That’s the kind of belly and backbone we need to run our race friends! And though we have plenty of other believers to look at as examples, the best and brightest is as the Good Book says: ‘Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher (originator and perfector) of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ (Heb. 12:2) 

Oh my people, how can there ever be a better example than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ eh? NEVER! For He is the One who blazed the trail, made the way, didn’t consider the shame or rejection or all the other negative stuff thrown at Him, and finished the race in steadfast and enduring faith! Wow! What a giant is our Jesus! That’s why the Father exalted Him to sit at His right hand of His throne ‘and given Him a name which is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:9-11) 

And likewise my brethren, if we are faithful and run our race with an abundance of the necessary Christian elements, then we too will also be rewarded at the end. As Peter calls it: ‘a crown of glory that fadeth not away.’ (1 Pet. 5:4) So let’s up the ante this cold and dreary-looking winter’s day nuh – and even if you’re in the blazing sunshine too! (smile) Let’s raise the level of our faith so that we can witness for Jesus, like the true salt and light we’re meant to be. 

And we can begin doing that by declaring (yeah!) our Tuesday Mantra with strong voice and sincere hearts. As one now: ‘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!’ 

Then the next move is to actually go out and share Jesus’ wonderful LOVE and amazing friendship! Much LOVE!

…the race of life…the hardest to run…but the most rewarding to win…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 January 2020 Psalm 71:23.​

Psalm 71:23.    My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.
 
And another Sunday has dawned; wet and icy and dark in the Greater Toronto Area! We did get that rain storm that was promised, and sincerely hope that it soon peters out to dry weather, because it has caused some damage in several areas. Unfortunately, I know that the inclement weather is going to be used as a convenient excuse not to attend the Lord’s sanctuary today and fellowship with other believers. 

But friends, we’re only doing ourselves a serious injustice when we stay away from church, unless it’s for a very good reason. That’s because we miss the camaraderie, the encouragement, the praise and thanksgiving, and the hearing of the Lord’s uplifting and guiding Word that such fellowship entails, and which allows us to leave the proceedings filled with trust and confidence in our omnipotent God! But to each his own. And as always, we’ll get the celebrations going with a song of praise. 

And today’s song is a wonderful one, officially titled ‘Hymn of Joy,’ but which most of us know as ‘Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,’ from its first line. Apparently it was a poem written by minister Henry van Dyke in 1907, inspired by the beauty of the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, with the intention of musically setting it to the famous “Ode to Joy” melody of the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s final symphony, Symphony No. 9. 

Van Dyke explained the hymn thus: ‘These verses are simple expressions of common Christian feelings and desires in this present time—hymns of today that may be sung together by people who know the thought of the age, and are not afraid that any truth of science will destroy religion, or any revolution on earth overthrow the kingdom of heaven. Therefore this is a hymn of trust and joy and hope.’ And therefore rather appropriate for today’s gathering! So let’s raise our voices in sweet harmony to heaven, with joy, hope, trust and overwhelming sacrifices of praise in our mouths and our hearts. 

As one awesome choir now: ‘Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love; Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day! All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee. 

Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in LOVE are Thine; Teach us how to LOVE each other, Lift us to the joy divine. Mortals, join the happy chorus, Which the morning stars began; Father LOVE is reigning o’er us, Brother LOVE binds man to man. Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife, Joyful music leads us Sunward In the triumph song of life. You bring us joy, joy, joy, We adore thee…You bring us joy, joy, joy, We adore Thee, Lord of mercy and of grace…We adore thee…You bring us joy, joy, joy…’ 

And does our great and wonderful God ever bring us joy by the bucketful my faithful brethren! You also see the amazing sentiments we can glean from merely admiring God’s handwork in nature, making the hymn one of the most joyful in our English language hymnal! Oh, friends, our God is indeed exceptional; exuding trust, LOVE, hope and faithfulness in miraculous and enormous quantities! There is none other like Him in this universe precious people! 

That’s why the psalmist who penned Psalm 71 – A prayer for help in old age – could confidently declare: ‘I will praise thee with the psaltery (lute or lyre), even thy truth (faithfulness), O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed. My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they (mine enemies) are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.’ (Ps. 71: 22-24) 

Yeh friends, the old man had seen enough of God’s goodness and mercy in his younger days that he had ho hesitation in placing his utmost trust in Him during the winter of his days! Can we say the same thing? I certainly hope so! And just to stir us up some more, (smile) listen to Bruh David as he offers thanksgiving for God’s mercy. 

‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with LOVING-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Ps.103:1-5) 

Oh friends, it couldn’t be put any simpler and more straightforward than that! God’s goodness to the children of men is so wonderful, and the truth is, we don’t deserve any of it. But that’s the kind of magnanimous God He is! So please, I implore us, today, let’s spend some time pondering on His individual goodness and mercy and grace and forgiveness etc. etc. to us nuh, so that our spirits will be refreshed and our trust renewed, and thus give us the courage and confidence to go out and work diligently and excellently for Christ in this upcoming week. Much LOVE!

…remembering God’s goodness in our lives…raises our trust and faith in Him…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 December 2019 John 1:14.

John 1:14.    ​And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us. (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
 

And since there are only seven days in a week, it is expected that we’d come back to the first one, Sunday, in a mere seven days time. (smile) Yeh, I know it seems to come around too quickly for our liking, but that’s the way our wise and wonderful God made it, so we had better learn to accept it with a good attitude. I think that the Lord, since He created us, also knew that our batteries would only stay charged for that long, so we’d not be of much use to Him unless we were recharged every week. And that’s why He chose Sunday as a day of rest, for us to come and fellowship and worship, and praise and give thanks and be refreshed and recharged so that we can go out in the following week with restored confidence and enthusiasm. 

Anyway, enough palaver, (smile) let’s get the show on the road. And today we’re going to open with one of our favourite Christmas hymns: ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing,’ that rousing number from the pen of the master hymnist, Charles Wesley (1707-1788). So what we waiting for eh? Let’s belt it out nuh, with strong harmonious voices and sincere hearts, as we think on Jesus’ First Coming at Christmas time. 

‘Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King: peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise, join the triumph of the skies; with the angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (Refrain: Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King”) Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, late in time behold him come, offspring of the Virgin’s womb: veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the ‘incarnate Deity, pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus, our Immanuel. 

[Refrain] Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings. Mild he lays his glory by, born that we no more may die, born to raise us from the earth, born to give us second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King” Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King” 

Ah friends, that was indeed a rousing rendition of that ageless ditty! Now I’m going to strive to show Wesley’s mastery of the scriptures by pointing out some of the timeless and important verses he used to cobble the whole thing together. We’ll take it stanza by stanza. In stanza one he relies on the words of Luke and 2 Corinthians. ‘And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. ‘ (Luke 2:13-14) 

‘And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. To wit (that is), that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them (forgiving them): and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.’ (2 Cor.5:18-19)  And was that ever a wonderful day when Christ was born and the Lord removed all hostility caused by sin, between Himself and mankind and thus allowed a renewed and right relationship! 

And for the second stanza, he uses verses like this one: ‘Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under elements of the world (the rudimentary teachings of the law). But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.’ (Gal. 4:3-5) In God’s time, He sent His Son, born of a woman, under the law, to die for our sins. 

And the second verse also reflects this potent scripture in John. ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us. (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ (John 1:14) Yes Friends, through Christ’s incarnation (miracle birth), the world saw the Father in all His glory, through the Son, who was both human and God at the same time! 

And we all know where the beginning of verse three hails from; the mighty prophecy of Isaiah: ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.’ (Is. 9:6) And Malachi is also in there: ‘But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall (grow fat like stall fed calves).’ (Mal. 4:2) 

Then these words from Philippians also play a part in Wesley’s thinking. ‘Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made of himself no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ (Phil. 2:6-8) And this verse from 1 Peter also seems to have some bearing on the last stanza. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.’ (1 Pet. 1:3) 

So my Christian brethren, you see that a good knowledge of God’s word is an invaluable tool in our lives! If Wesley didn’t know the Good Book as well as he did, he’d never be able to write such a marvellous and all-embracing hymn. That’s why we have to strive diligently to learn the Word, for only when it’s safely ensconced in our hearts, souls, bodies and minds, are we able to work wonders on God’s behalf. Much LOVE!

…Christmas is only the beginning…of our heavenly journey…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 23 November 2019 John 14:2.

John 14:2.    ​In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
 

Yes mih people…we’ve been granted one more day of God’s tender mercies and inexhaustible compassions! And though we may not know why, we can be assured that there’s an important reason, because the Lord does have a plan and a purpose for every life He creates and leaves breathing here on earth. 

So let’s accept His largesse with a good attitude nuh, and joyfully declare like the psalmist did so long: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) And that is wisdom personified, for as the ole people would say, you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and we all know that our God would never grant us bad stuff. So let’s get out there and enjoy the day, be it rain, sun, sleet, or shine! 

And you’ll also notice that although it’s Saturday, the ole fella is up rather early. Chuh! I went to bed late but got up a couple hours later and could not go back to sleep, so after turning and tossing for about forty-five minutes, I decided to just get up and begin enjoying the day. (smile) And a part of that is reviewing the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better and brighter tomorrow. 

Listen to this first one: ‘Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way, if you let it.’ Now I accept the first part without reservations, but not the second, because like many of us, I’ve learned from personal experience, that if you leave life to do its own thing, then it will more often take you downhill than up. And that’s because life in this fallen world is basically a negative implication rather than a positive one. Simply notice how hard you have to try and formulate and keep positive thoughts and actions, whereas the negative aspects come in droves, completely unbidden. And if the evil and negative Satan is the prince of this world, then that’s to be expected! 

But hear this: ‘Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.’ Now that I have to chuckle at, because I’ve found that happiness more often sneaks out of the door you’ve left open than it sneaks in. In the first place, happiness is such an ephemeral and intangible thing that it’s here today and gone tomorrow. And when you’re happy, you tend to leave doors open, rather than close them, because life is so wonderful…and that’s when happiness escapes, like a thief in the night! 

And that leads us to this quote: ‘Happiness is not by chance, but by choice.’ Now that’s more like the truth! You certainly can’t leave happiness to the whim of chance, or it will have you up and down like a yo-yo! You have to grab happiness by the horns and keep it under heavy manners, because as soon as you’re not looking, it’s liable to slip away unnoticed. So happiness is a state of mind you consciously acknowledge that you will embrace. 

And this next one tells us: ‘We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’ And is that ever true my faithful brethren! That’s because, as we said at the beginning, God has a plan and a purpose for every life He creates, and usually that doesn’t mesh with the one we desire to have. And I can personally testify to that. 

Yuh think the Bit you’re reading now is my idea? Definitely not! I never envisioned myself as a writer of scriptural stuff, but apparently that was the Lord’s plan, and though I fought it, He eventually won the battle. And here’s a li’l secret; He’ll always win, if He really desires to. 

So please, don’t do like I did. When He comes to you with some idea that you don’t like, don’t laugh because you consider it implausible, or fight it too hard, because He won’t give up, but will make life so miserable and unbearable that you will eventually give in. But the wonderful thing about our God is that He’s faithful to a fault. Anything He asks you to do, He WILL enable you to do it. Just look at my example; when I began writing the Bit, I didn’t know anything, now I know too much. (smile) 

And I always try to leave the best for last. ‘Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! That’s also how it ought to be with followers of Christ? And there’s no more beautiful promise in the scripture than that found in these wonderful words of Jesus. ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) 

Jesus was there comforting His disciples, assuring them that all He said would come to pass, and He would be back to take them with Him some day to a beautiful place, an eternal home, He called heaven. Now hear the scholars’ thoughts on that marvellous place: ‘14:2. Heaven is a place and the eternal hope of the saved. Scripture describes it as a beautiful city where the redeemed will live for eternity. The activities in heaven include singing (Rev.15:3), worship (Rev.5:9), serving (Rev.2:17), ruling (2 Tim.2:12; Rev.22:5), fellowship with others (Matt.17:3), and eating (Rev.2:17). 

Illustration: The quality of existence in heaven is a life of fellowship with God (Rev.22:4), a life of rest (Rev.14:13), a life of service (Rev.22:3), a life of growth (Rev.22:2), and a life of worship (Rev.19:1). Application: The glories of heaven belong only to those who have personally trusted Christ for their salvation. Christians who work to win souls are gathering friends who will spend eternity with them in heaven. (First Ref. Gen.1:1; Primary Ref. Rev.21:1-5; cf. Matt.24:33.)’ 

Oh friends, in light of all that wonderful info, please, let’s make a serious and solemn pact, that we’ll all meet in heaven one day to celebrate with, praise and worship our great and Triune God. Much LOVE!

…only two options in eternity…heaven…or hell…you choose…by whom you believe in…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 October 2019 Matthew 14:33.

Matthew 14:33.    ​And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

 

And then it was Sunday…Oh beautiful Sunday! Time to join fellow believers in praise, worship and thanksgiving at the Lord’s house on His special day. What a wonderful privilege to come into His presence with others of like mind, to hear His Word, exalt His holy name and receive His awesome confidence, LOVE, mercy, grace and strength that enable us to keep on fighting the good fight in His name! So, without further ado, let’s do as we always do nuh, (smile) begin with a song of praise. And today’s song is aptly titled: ‘LOVE LIFTED ME!’ And so it did friends; Christ’s great LOVE for us, lifted us out of the mire of sin, through His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary that paid the price of sin for all time. 

But we all know that, so let’s check out something that we might not know, namely the story behind today’s hymn. According to the web site GodTube, it was written and published in 1912 by Arthur James Rowe (1865-1933), a copper miner’s son, an immigrant to the U.S from Ireland in 1889. He worked for ten years on the New York railroads, then became an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society. The hymn was inspired by two biblical stories, both about Jesus and His disciples on the stormy seas of Galilee. (Matt.14:22-33) & (Matt.8:23-27). ‘Rowe masterfully incorporates both stories, using sinking or being swamped into the sea as an illustration for “sinking deep in sin…sinking to rise no more.” Jesus, “Master of the sea,” hears our pleas for help, reaches out to us in LOVE, and lifts us up into the well being of grace.’ Oh what a beautiful description! 

So now that we have some idea of what the hymn is all about, let’s sing it nuh, in strong, soulful voice, with exquisite harmony, and much sincere thanks and gratitude appropriately flowing from our hearts. Altogether now: ‘I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more; But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry, From the waters lifted me, now safe am I. (Refrain: LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me. LOVE lifted me! LOVE lifted me! When nothing else could help, LOVE lifted me.) 

All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In his blessed presence live, ever his praises sing. LOVE so mighty and so true merits my soul’s best songs; Faithful LOVING service, too, to Him belongs. [Refrain] Souls in danger, look above, Jesus completely saves; He will lift you by His LOVE out of the angry waves; He’s the master of the sea, billows His will obey, He, your Saviour wants to be, be saved today. [Refrain: LOVE lifted me…When nothing could help…LOVE lifted me…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my fellow believers? It’s only something as powerful as LOVE that could have ever lifted us out of the depths of sin! The amazing LOVE of Jesus is the only thing ‘that can lift us out of despair to salvation.’ Now let’s refresh our memories about those two stories on which today’s hymn was based. The first one tells us about Jesus entering a ship with His disciples. ‘And behold there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he (Jesus) was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us, we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?’ (Matt.8:24-27) 

Ah friends, as the hymn says, Jesus is the ‘Master of the sea.’ He was intimately involved in making it, therefore, it must do as He directs it. The second story happens after Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist was beheaded by Herod. When Jesus heard of it, He was saddened, and took a ship to a deserted place to be alone. But the crowds followed Him, and Jesus being Jesus, was filled with compassion and He taught them and healed their sick, then later on He fed them; five thousand men, beside women and children. (Matt.14:1-14) After that, He sent the disciples away in a ship, dispersed the multitude, then went up into a mountain by himself to pray. However, while Jesus was up on the mountain praying, the disciples were having an extremely hard time crossing the sea of Galilee because of a severe storm, brewed up by a contrary wind. 

By the fourth watch (3-6 a.m.) they were obviously tired from rowing all night and not making much progress. Then suddenly this apparition appeared unto them walking on the water. They claimed it was a ghost and cried out in fear. ‘But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer (take courage); it is I, be not afraid. Then Peter with his impulsive self blurted out: ‘Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee  on the water. And he said,  Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous (violent) he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.’ (Matt.14:27-33) 

Ah mih people, please note Jesus response in both situations: ‘O ye of little faith.’ He challenged them on the substance of their faith. They had seen Him do all sorts of miracles, yet still they were scared of their own shadows. When He walked on water to them, a few hours earlier they had seen him feed over five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two small fishes, and still pick up twelve full baskets of left overs. So why should they be so afraid seeing Him walk and water and calm the stormy seas eh? The sad part of the story though is that unfortunately, we are in the same boat as the disciples. We talk a good talk, but when adversity strikes, we forget all the wonderful miracles that Jesus has done in our lives, and we too cry out in faithless fear. 

But the long and short of the story is that we know much more about Jesus and how He works, than the disciples did, so we ought not to be as afraid as so many of us are. Each adversity we undergo, and He brings us through successfully, ought to build our faith and make us stronger. So please, let’s ponder on all that we’ve said today nuh, and promise ourselves to try and do better, faith wise, with God’s help of course. Jesus needs us to show strong faith to the unbelievers, so that they too will want to share His salvation! Much LOVE!

…it should not be as hard for us…as it was for the disciples…to truly believe…that Jesus is the Son of God…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 September 2019 John 14:6.

John 14:6.    ​I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.
 

Sunday, oh Sunday…the day of the Lord! Time for our weekly fellowship friends, where we meet in the Lord’s house and renew our spiritual strength by giving Him thanks and praise, listening to His holy Word while encouraging and exhorting each other to LOVE and good deeds on Christ’s behalf! Blessed be His holy name, and we His beloved children! 

And today, as we do each Sunday, we’ll open the proceedings with a song of praise and thanksgiving; an 18th century hymn written by English clergyman, Philip Doddridge. In 1967 it was given a gospel arrangement and recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers…and the next thing you knew, it was an international hit! We know it as ‘Oh Happy Day!’ So let’s belt it out with the appropriate enthusiasm and ecstatic feeling, because when you’re a true believer in Christ, every day is a happy day, especially Sundays, when we gather and fellowship together in the Lord’s sanctuary, be it a majestic cathedral or a humble hovel. 

The important thing is not our physical surroundings but our spiritual togetherness, for as Christ so faithfully promised: ‘For wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20) That means He’s right here in the midst of us this Sunday morning as we sing His praises and give Him exceeding thanks! So altogether now, as though we really mean it, with all the call and answers and everything. Let’s make it truly lively and happy. 

‘Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) (Repeat) He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day Every day 

Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day (Good God) Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, it’s a happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, Lord (Oh, happy day) Mmm, good God (Oh, happy day) Oh yeah (Oh, happy day) Mmm, oh (Oh, happy day)!’ 

Oh friends, you better believe that it was the happiest day of mankind’s history when Jesus washed our abominable sins away! There’s nothing in this evil world to compare to that, because it means reconciliation with our heavenly Father, salvation and eternal life…Glory to God my faithful brethren! And on top of all that, Jesus taught us some real important things; like how to watch, to fight and pray, and live rejoicing every live long day! Bless His holy name my people! That’s why He’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! 

No one’s ever done anything greater for mankind in the annals of history. Wow! His selfless, sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary turned the whole world upside down, and His teachings have brought life and light to millions of lost and persecuted people. How can we ever thank Him eh? In truth, we can NEVER fully repay His awesome gesture, but we can satisfy His simple desires by surrendering our souls to Him, obeying His teachings, and believing in Him sufficiently to place our trust and the outcome of our eternal lives in His nail pierced hands. 

No wonder He could tell doubting Thomas in no uncertain terms: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.’ And that was no idle boast my people, for as the scholars point out: ’14:6. Jesus does not tell them about the way, nor does He show them the way. He does not even guide them along the way. He says He IS the way.’ And so indeed He is friends! If you don’t believe and trust and obey Him, then you’ll never see the Father’s face, or dwell with Him throughout eternity. That’s just a natural fact, for there are only two options in this life, the Beelzebub way, or the Jesus way. And believe me, you don’t want to go the way of the former. 

Oh sorry my brethren, how could I forget that Jesus was also the Light eh? Steups! John said it thus: ‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended (apprehended) it not.’ (John 1:4-5). And the scholars tell us: ‘1:4-5. Life…light: See also 8:12; 9:5; 11:25; 14:6. In John’s writings, life represents salvation and deliverance through Christ, and light denotes Jesus’ revelation of God which calls men to accountability.’ 

And Jesus Himself said it thus: ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.’ (John 12:35-36) Yes friends, we all know that we cannot walk safely or purposefully in darkness, but when there’s light…oh we can do so much!  And if Jesus is light, then it’s only logical to follow Him, if we want to walk in light. 

The long and short of the story then precious people, is that Jesus is the End All and Be All of this world! In fact He is the Way, the Truth, the Life and the Light! Glory be! So how can you not follow Him eh? That would be rather foolish of you; the height of stupidity…and I know that you’re neither foolish nor stupid! Much LOVE!

…the way to eternal life…can only be found by walking in the true Light…Jesus… 

P.S. Don’t worry about Friday and Saturday, we won’t lose any days. I just didn’t have the energy to write them yet, and I didn’t want to miss out on Sunday. (smile) Much LOVE!

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