Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 July 2020 John 13:34.

John 13:34.     ​A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another.
 

Top o’ the morn my people! And wonderful greetings from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who’s also our Comforter and Provider! And He’s asked me to convey these most faithful and worthy assurances this Tuesday morning at the end of July 2020, when our world is in a most turbulent and unrighteous state. ‘Fear Not: For, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ 

Wow! What reassuring sentiments from the One who sacrificed His sinless life on the cross at Calvary so that we could be reconciled to God, justified, sanctified, made righteous and all the other wonderful things His death and resurrection accomplished. Mama Mia! How can we not LOVE and honour, praise and reverence and sincerely worship such a mighty and faithful entity eh? 

That brings me to these momentous words of His to all who believe in Him. ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another; as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) 

Oh my people, those words are ever so important on at least two levels. The first is that the attribute of LOVE, God’s highest, strongest and most pervasive attribute should also be very strong and pervasive amongst us. But then too, by us showing that wonderful thing called LOVE to each other, mankind will see and know that we are truly disciples of Jesus! 

Yes friends, our showing LOVE to each other is the surest way to point out, to manifest to the world, that we are real and true ambassadors of the Son of God; the One who’s name is above every other in the universe, except the Father’s, and to whom every knee must bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord to the glory of the Father. 

Unfortunately though, that attribute of LOVE is not being displayed enough amongst the supposed followers of Christ, much less amongst those who deny Him. And that’s why our world is in such a divided, disunited, strife-filled and topsy-turvy state! The LOVE of God is almost non-existent in our current society. But then how can we expect it to be when God Himself doesn’t hold much sway in it. He’s been placed on the back burner, or simply kicked out of many of our lives and activities. 

But the truth of the matter is that the LOVE of God is what’s so badly needed in our society to stop it from further crumbling and sinking right down into the evil mire that it’s currently headed towards at break-neck speed. But each of us supposed disciple must get up, get up NOW, and perform the actions of discipleship, particularly the showing of LOVE for each other if we’re to reclaim the world for our Lord and Saviour. 

Listen to these most informative words of Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians on the subject nuh. ‘But as touching (concerning) brotherly LOVE ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to LOVE one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more.’ (1 Thess. 4:9-10) 

Yeh friends, we’ve all been taught by God to LOVE, and many of us are trying our best to do it, but in these most trying and uncertain times, we desperately need to ratchet up that effort so that our world won’t fall apart. It’s as Jackie DeShannon’s popular song of some fifty five years ago, written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach, so rightly says: 

‘What the world needs now is LOVE, sweet LOVE. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is LOVE, sweet LOVE. No not just for some, But for everyone.’ It was appropriate then when we were in the throes of the Vietnam War, and it’s ever so appropriate now when we are in the throes of a pandemic clothed with serious political strife. 

And John explains what the true test of knowledge, of discipleship is. ‘And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the LOVE of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought also to walk, even as he walked.’ (1 John 2:3-6) 

Yes my people, the only way to know if we truly LOVE God and He is in us, is if are walking in His will, keeping His commandments, of which the most important is that we walk in LOVE! So please, let’s check our LOVE walk nuh, and see if it can hold up to close scrutiny. And whether it can or cannot, let’s do as Bruh Paul asks, and improve it, with God’s help obviously. We all have room for improvement, that’s for sure! 

Now let’s; go home telling the world who and whose we are, as we declare (yeahhh!) our Tuesday Mantra. 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!’ 

And that’s what true discipleship is; trusting our friend Jesus and sharing His wonderful, amazing and unconditional LOVE with the world. So let’s show some true discipleship nuh! (smile) Much LOVE!

…LOVE… the ONLY epoxy…the only glue…that can hold our world together… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 March 2020 Philippians 2:9.

Philippians 2:9.    ​Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.
 
One more Sunday without corporate worship my fellow believers… But that’s okay, just like our overwhelming technological society has driven us away from God, that same technology will now help us come back to Him! Glory to God and the mysterious ways in which He works! So we will worship by radio, TV, internet, telephone, whatever it takes. Believers can be very astute innovators when the time calls for it. (smile) So let’s have church nuh; with praise and worship and thanksgiving and the Word of God to keep us bright and fresh, assured and energized and courageous in these turbulent and unsure times.  And all God’s people said a loud and proud: ‘Praise the Lord!’ 

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do by opening today’s proceedings with a marvellous song. Oh my people, my people, it’s going to be a wonderful day of worship, so let’s get to singing this most appropriate contemporary song written by Brooke Ligertwood and Ben Fielding down under (Australia) back in 2015. It’s elegantly titled: ‘What A Beautiful Name!’ And it’s obvious that they are referring Jesus, for there’s no other name in all the universe as beautiful as His. And if you don’t know the song you can check it out on YouTube, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir or the Times Square Church Choir versions. 

So let’s belt out a harmonious, soulful, rocking version a la Times Square Church Choir, beginning with (Chorus 1: ‘What a beautiful Name it is What a beautiful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a beautiful Name it is Nothing compares to this What a beautiful Name it is The Name of Jesus.) You were the Word at the beginning One with God the Lord Most High Your hidden glory in creation Now revealed in You our Christ. (Chorus 1: What a beautiful name it is…. The Name of Jesus.) You didn’t want heaven without us So Jesus You brought heaven down My sin was great Your LOVE was greater What could separate us now. 

(Chorus 2: What a wonderful Name it is What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a wonderful Name it is Nothing compares to this What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus What a wonderful Name it is The Name of Jesus.) (Bridge: Death could not hold You The veil tore before You, You silence the boast of sin and grave The heavens are roaring The praise of Your glory For You are raised to life again You have no rival You have no equal Now and forever God You reign Yours is the kingdom Yours is the glory Yours is the Name above all names. 

(Chorus 3: What a powerful Name it is What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus Christ my King What a powerful Name it is Nothing can stand against it What a powerful Name it is The Name of Jesus. What a beautiful Name it is What a beautiful Name it is. What a wonderful Name it is What a wonderful Name it is. What a powerful Name it is What a powerful Name it is… The Name of Jesus Christ my King… The Name of Jesus Christ my King…’ 

Mama, Mama! Was that ever moving my brethren! You could hear the sincerity in our voices, rising from the depths of our hearts! And the harmony was truly awesome! Wow! And as usual, Jesus sits at the Father’s side with a shy, boyish smile, acknowledging our praise and gratitude, but not really wanting to be in the limelight. And you know what? I found something written by the composers on the Hillsong Worship site explaining some of their thoughts about the song, and it sounds much better than anything I could write, so I’ll just share it. 

The core scriptures for the song were Hebrews 1:1-4 and Colossians 1:15-20, 26-27. And they go on to say: “To know God and to worship Him (“to enjoy Him forever) is the most fundamental reason for our existence. As Jesus reveals the great mysteries of God, we come to know more of who God is, glimpsing new facets of His beauty, wonder and power. “Beauty” evokes the tenderness of His LOVE and the sweetness of His presence. “Wonder” speaks to our gratitude for salvation, awe at the length of His sacrifice. “Power” affirms His supremacy and Sovereignty – an exhortation to remember our access to the power of God in every situation, as we call upon and declare the Name of Jesus. 

‘What a beautiful name it is What a wonderful name it is What a powerful name it is The Name of Jesus.’ Jesus has the Name above all others. Anything that we can name – from our greatest triumphs to our greatest challenges – comes under the authority of His Name. This song confesses that no greater beauty or source of wonder exists outside of Jesus, “the radiance of God’s glory” (Heb.1:3). The song is also a statement that Jesus has no rival or equal. His power is unmatched and absolute. Perhaps some of us understand God LOVES us through the death and resurrection of Jesus, but haven’t grasped His power, ability and will to move strongly in our present circumstances. 

Or perhaps, we understand God as the supreme, omnipotent Deity He is, but have never known Him close and tender, as a friend acquainted with the depths of our humanity, knowing our flaws cannot perturb His LOVE. Our prayer for this song is that we can all enter into a deeper, more lateral, revelation of the person of Jesus Christ – the epitome of beauty!” 

Wow! How is that for a sermon in these troubled times eh? I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments of the writers. This is the time for ALL of us to come to a strong understanding and appreciation of the wonderful, powerful and beautiful Lord and Saviour that we have dwelling in us, with us, and around us! Whose abounding and everlasting LOVE caused Him to selflessly sacrifice His holy life for us on the cross at Calvary, so that we could be redeemed! 

No wonder the Good Book excitedly declares: ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every 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) That seals the case friends! Matter fix! Put that in yuh pipe and smoke it! (smile) Much LOVE!

…Jesus is…El Numero Uno…no ifs, ands or buts about it…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 22 March 2020 Isaiah 55:7.

Isaiah 55:7.    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
 

And it’s the Lord’s Day once again, meaning it’s church time… Glory be! But since we can’t participate in corporate fellowship because the physical sanctuaries have been closed on account of the rapidly spreading and dangerous Coronavirus, we just have to make do with our li’l internet-based worship. (smile) Oh, you might think it silly, but the fact of the matter is that any which way you can communicate God’s Word and have praise and worship and thanksgiving, it will be considered worthy and appreciated by our heavenly Father. 

So enough talk, (smile) let’s get to today’s song of praise. And it’s a most appropriate soul song composed way back when, by one Ron Miller and first recorded by Stevie Wonder in 1970. But today we going to sing a churchier version, (smile) one done by Ray Charles and Gladys Knight. And by the way, the name of the song is ‘Heaven Help Us All.’ Yes friends, in these scary, dangerous and uncharted times, all of us do need all the help we can get from heaven above. So let’s raise our voices in harmonious praise and thanksgiving, but also in a sincere plea for help in these most trying times. 

Let’s get soulful with Ray and Gladys: ‘Heaven help the boy who never had a home Heaven help the girl who walks the street alone And Heaven help the roses if the bombs begin to fall Lord, won’t you help us all? Heaven help the black man if he struggles one more day Heaven help the white man if he turns his back away Heaven help the man who kicks the man who has to crawl Heaven help us all. (Chorus: Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call) 

Oh, yeah Heaven help the boy who won’t reach twenty-one And Heaven help the man who gave that child a gun And Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall Lord, won’t you help us all? (Chorus: Heaven help us all…when we call) Gladys monologue – ‘I want everybody within the sound of my voice this evening to fall down on their knees and say a prayer; asking for His guidance, His grace, His mercy. You might want to say: Lord, Lord, Lord, have mercy! – 

Now I lay me down before I go to sleep In a troubled world, I pray the Lord, the Lord to keep Keep hatred from the mighty and the mighty from the small Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call. We need You Jesus so won’t you hear us when we call. We can’t do without You, so please hear us when we call. Heaven help us all, Heaven help us all, help us all Heaven help us, Lord, hear our call when we call.’ 

Ah friends, I do hope our plea was sincere so that the Lord will act on it. Because, as the song says, our backs are against the wall, both literally and figuratively. This generation has never dealt with a problem of this type and magnitude, so we don’t really know how to handle it. We can deal with war and economic disaster, but we certainly aren’t prepared for an unknown germ on a worldwide scale. And more than ever before, we do need to fall on our  knees and pray; offer a pray of sincere repentance first, just in case this tragedy has befallen us because of our very sinful and disobedient condition. Then pray for guidance, grace and mercy to handle it successfully. 

I might be wrong, but I do think this is the Lord’s way of reminding us of how small and truly insignificant we are, and how little control we have over His universe. But that’s just my opinion, though it certainly won’t do any harm for us to come to our senses and repent. Yuh know we always think that the Israelites were foolish, for having experienced God’s mercy and miracles in bringing them out of bondage from Egypt, they still turned away and worshipped pagan gods and man-made idols. 

However, whenever the Lord made them pay for their disobedience, they were quick to run back to Him. They wisely remembered on which side their bread was buttered. But my people, we have been behaving just as foolishly as they did, by trying to push God out of our society, blaspheming His holy name and considering Him of no account. Now, I believe it’s time for us to do the same wise thing they did on so many occasions; return to the ONE, TRUE and LIVING GOD, He of Abraham, Issacs and Jacob, who created us in His wonderful image and still scrutinizes and macro-manages all of our goings and comings, though we don’t seem to think so. 

And what amazes me is that despite all the promises of our God, we still stubbornly refuse to repent and return to Him. Listen to a few of them. Nehemiah says it all: When the Israelites refused to obey and wanted to rebel against Moses and go back to Egypt, the Lord didn’t punish them: ‘for thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.’ (Neh. 9:17) 

And even when they made a molten calf to worship, despite such provocation: ‘Yet thou in thy manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness: the pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the way; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.’  (Neh. 9:19-20) 

And Isaiah said it straight up on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.’ Wow! Friends, if we can’t accept and believe that scripture in light of all the other faithful promises God has made, then I don’t know what else to say. I can certainly try to persuade you with more promises of pardons for repentance, like in Jeremiah 33:6-9, but I won’t because it will make the Bit too long, and furthermore, at this level of our faith, we shouldn’t need a whole lot of scripture to convince us of God’s awesome promises. Much LOVE!

…what’s the point of having promises…if you don’t believe them eh…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 March 2020 Revelation 21:6.

Revelation 21:6.    ​It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst (who thirsts) of the fountain of the water of life freely.
 
Well it will be good to darken the church doors once again today, after a two week hiatus. Watching service on the tube is fine, but definitely not the same as actually being there in body and soul. The former lacks the personal touch where fellowship is concerned. And since I am an 18th century man, the technological aspect with television worship doesn’t thrill me as much as the personal interaction in a physical sanctuary. (smile) But be that as it may, it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, and we all ought to find our way to His sanctuary sometime today to personally interact with fellow believers to praise and sing and worship Him and receive the awesome power of His Word in return. 

What a moving time that can be in a believer’s life, bringing him ever closer in His relationship to His Lord and His God! So let’s begin the proceedings as usual with a song of praise and worship. And today’s sacrifice of praise is an old but highly favoured one by the master of hymn writers, Charles Wesley, titled ‘LOVE Divine All LOVES Excelling.’ We all know it so let’s get serious and soulful, and in strong, harmonious and melodious voice (smile) offer up our song of praise. 

‘LOVE divine, all LOVES excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down, fix in us Thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion; pure, unbounded LOVE Thou art; visit us with Thy salvation; enter ev’ry trembling heart. Breathe, O breathe Thy LOVING Spirit into ev’ry troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; let us find the promised rest. Take away the LOVE of sinning; Alpha and Omega be; end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty. 

Come, Almighty, to deliver; let us all Thy life receive; suddenly return and never, nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above, pray and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect LOVE. Finish then Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be. Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, LOVE, and praise.’ 

Oh friends, that was indeed a great rendition and heaven received it with great joy. Jesus, as always, blushes when we sing His praise, the Father smiles, and the Holy Spirit is the One working so astutely in us to get us singing with the right motives. And the song itself is like a compendium of Biblical quotes and attributes to our Three in One Godhead. Let’s see if we can pick out a few of each. It opens with Jesus being referred to as the ‘expression of divine LOVE.’ Then it talks about His compassion, His salvation, and the urgent need for His Second Coming so that our change to a new creation can be completed, and at last be sinless and finding the promised rest in Him. 

That possibly alludes to Jesus Great Invitation in Matt. 11:28. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ The new creation obviously refers to Bruh Paul’s words to the Corinthians. ‘Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (creation): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ (2 Cor. 5:17) Yes friends, when we come to Christ we have to become new, changed, and give up some of the old things in our lives which don’t fit into Christ’s will. 

Then the Holy Spirit is cast as ‘the agent of sanctification,’ in the second verse. And the Father, the ‘source of life’ in the third verse. Meanwhile the casting of the crowns before God’s throne comes from Revelation 4:10-11 ‘The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns down before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created (for your will and pleasure they exist.’ And isn’t that the living truth! The Lord created the universe and all therein for His pleasure and purpose! 

So then we are gradually changed from glory to glory: ‘But we all, with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 3:18) ‘The believer himself “reflects” the glory of the Lord, just as the face of Moses reflected the glory of the Lord. For Moses the glory eventually faded away, but under the New Covenant  the believer is changed into the same image. This transformation takes place by the abiding presence of the Spirit of God.’ 

And then we come to Alpha and Omega. As Christ says to John in Revelation: ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst (who thirsts) of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful (cowardly), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers (sexually immoral), and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.’ (Rev. 21:6-8) 

And the scholars offer some interesting explanations. ‘21: 6-8) It is done: The eternal purpose of God to gather a holy, devoted people for Himself has now been accomplished. Alpha and Omega: (see 1:8; 22:13. Beginning: God is the origin and source of all things (cf. Is. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12). End: He is also the goal or aim of all things. (cf. Rom.10:4).The water of life represents eternal sustenance and provision (cf. 22:1; Ps. 36:9; Is. 55:1; Jer. 2:13; John 4:14), available freely  by faith (22:17). 

He that overcometh is the one who has genuine, saving, persevering faith (cf. 2:11; 3:5; 1 John 5:4-5). He will inherit all that belongs to him as a son of God (cf. John 1:12; Rom. 8:16-17; Gal. 3:29; 4:7). But sinners, who have shown their rebellion against God by their lifestyle of sin, have already been cast into the lake of fire (20:12; cf. 22:15). The second death is eternal death (cf. 20:14).’ 

Brother was that ever hard to copy, but I did not want to deprive you of the references which can be an important part of understanding the scriptures. And now that we’ve all got it straight, it’s time to put it into serious operation, so that we’re not cast in the lake of fire to eternal death, obviously with the Lord’s help. Much LOVE!

…The Holy Trinity was there long before us…and will be there long after us…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 March 2020 1 Timothy 2:4.

1 Timothy 2:4.    ​Who will have (desires) all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of truth.
 
Well a fine Sunday morning to you my friends and neighbours! I do hope the Lord has blessed you mightily….and you better believe He has if you are reading this missive! (smile) He has indeed blessed us with the wonderful breath of life and clear eyesight to see the words I write. So for just that we ought to be eternally grateful. And if you add all the other blessings, then I don’t think we have the capacity for enough gratitude, (smile) but we’ll certainly try. 

And one of the ways we’ll do it is by gathering today, on His special day, in His holy sanctuary, or wherever we can, to praise and give thanks and hear His mighty Word. Oh my people, there’s nothing more moving and momentous that a group of believers fellowshipping with sincere praise and thanksgiving! 

So as always, let’s begin our proceedings with this old favourite by Isaac Watts, titled ‘At the Cross.’ And was that ever a turning point in the annals of man! So let’s convince heaven of our heartfelt thanks for Jesus’ death on the cross, and all that it accomplished in our sinful lives. 

As one, in strong, soulful and harmonious voice: ‘Alas! and did my Savior bleed And did my Sov’reign die? Would He devote that sacred head For such a worm as I? (Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!) Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree? Amazing pity! grace unknown! And love beyond degree! 

(Refrain) Well might the sun in darkness hide And shut his glories in, When Christ, the mighty Maker died, For man the creature’s sin. (Refrain) Thus might I hide my blushing face While His dear cross appears, Dissolve my heart in thankfulness, And melt my eyes to tears. (Refrain) But drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe: Here, Lord, I give myself away, ’Tis all that I can do. 

(Refrain: At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day! At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!’

Oh my people, my people, the wonder of the cross…words cannot truly describe it. Because it was there that the whole world was turned upside down and a new era in mankind’s story began! The story of salvation, of reconciliation, of total forgiveness, of redemption, justification, sanctification…and all the other good things that flowed…and are still flowing from Jesus’ selfless sacrifice on the cross at Calvary! 

And as the song so rightly says: ‘Drops of grief can ne’er repay The debt of LOVE I owe.’ And is that ever the gospel truth friends! No amount of tears, of heartfelt eyes water can ever repay the debt of LOVE that we owe our heavenly Father. I’m sure our puny and finite minds can’t even begin to understand the heartbreak He felt in having to crucify His one and only, so amazing Son, so that a bunch of stubborn, hard-hearted sinners could have the option to be set free. 

But such was His LOVE for us, that He took the one holy, just and righteous avenue open to Him. And it wasn’t by chance He did that either nuh, but by conscious design. Why yuh think? Listen to Bruh Paul in his first letter to Timothy, as he exhorts him to constant prayer. ‘For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have (desires) all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of truth.’ (1 Tim. 2:3-4) 

Yes friends, that has been the Lord’s desire ever since the day He kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden. He doesn’t want to lose even one single soul of His most precious creation to the evil fool Satan. That’s why He went to such awesome lengths to get us back into right standing with Him. And He’s been saying it all the time. 

Listen to Him speak through the prophet Ezekiel: ‘Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God; and not that he should return from his ways, and live?… For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.’ (Ezek. 18:23; 32) 

Yes my breddren, our magnanimous and magnificent God doesn’t want even those who want eternal death to die! How much more does He have to so to convince us to change from our wicked ways and live eh? I really don’t know if there’s any more He can do, except strip us of our free will and make us come to Him automatically. But He’s not going to do that, because He promised us free will and He doesn’t renege on His promises. 

And yuh know the second part of our Bit which talks about coming to the knowledge of the truth? Well here is what the Lord said through Jeremiah on the subject. ‘Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercises LOVING-kindness, judgement (justice) and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.’ (Jer. 9:23-24) 

For sure, my fellow believers, the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD IS MAN’S GLORY! And until we know that, accept it, and live it we’ll keep on being lost! And it’s only fitting to close with the words of Jesus on the topic. He said this when He prayed for His own. ‘And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.’ (John 17:3) 

Yeh friends, knowing the ONE true God, through His Son Jesus Christ, is the ONLY WAY to eternal life! So let’s get smart and get to know Him nuh, so that come the last day, we will not find ourselves on the outside looking in, for that’s the worst thing that can happen to a human soul. Much LOVE!

…to know God…is to know the glorious truth…and be set free… 

P.S. Didn’t do anything yesterday because of the stormy weather. They wouldn’t even allow to me get a dip in the salt since it was so rough. I did get a burger and some jerk pork over at the beach hut though, and washed it down with two nameless exotic pink cocktails. (smile) Today is sunny, so let’s see what the Lord will bring to pass in my life. Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 2 February 2020 John 15:13.

John 15:13.   ​Greater LOVE hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
 
Sunday morning…time for church! Don’t let the inclement weather we have going in the G.T.A, or for that matter, good weather wherever you are, keep you away from darkening the doors of the Lord’s sanctuary this morning. (smile) Yes, good weather ofttimes can deceive us into not going to worship with our fellow believers, makes us feel we’d be better off doing something supposedly more enjoyable. 

But pray tell me people, what can be more enjoyable than meeting with a number of people who share our beliefs, who encourage us, then join with us to sing, praise, and dance before the Lord our God, to hear His magnificent and uplifting Word, and consequently leave His sanctuary refreshed, renewed, and full of the joy, peace and confidence that only He can give! Nothing friends…Nothing! So let’s get the show on the road nuh, beginning as usual with the singing and praising and dancing. 

And today’s song of praise is a fairly new Christian song that’s become quite popular over the years. It’s aptly titled: ‘In Christ Alone.’ The website Godtube tells us that the song was written in 2002, by Christian  songwriters Stuart Townend and Keith Getty. According to Townend “The song came about in an unusual way. Keith and I met in the autumn of 2000 at a worship event, and we resolved to try to work together on some songs. 

A few weeks later Keith sent some melody ideas, and the first one on the CD was a magnificent, haunting melody that I LOVED, and immediately started writing down some lyrical ideas on what I felt should be a timeless theme commensurate with the melody. So the theme of the life, death, resurrection of Christ, and the implications of that for us just began to tumble out, and when we got together later on to fine tune it, we felt we had encapsulated what we wanted to say.” 

And did they ever encapsulate a whole lot of stuff about Jesus! So let’s sing it now like we really mean it nuh, letting heaven know that we’re truly grateful for our wonderful Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Let our voices convey the sacrificial praise our hearts feel, in sweet, soulful harmony. 

‘In Christ alone my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song; This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. What heights of LOVE, what depths of peace, When fears are stilled, when strivings cease! My comforter, my all in all— Here in the LOVE of Christ I stand. In Christ alone, Who took on flesh, Fullness of God in helpless babe! This gift of LOVE and righteousness, Scorned by the ones He came to save. Till on that cross as Jesus died, The wrath of God was satisfied; For ev’ry sin on Him was laid— 

Here in the death of Christ I live. There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain; Then bursting forth in glorious day, Up from the grave He rose again! And as He stands in victory, Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me; For I am His and He is mine— Bought with the precious blood of Christ. No guilt in life, no fear in death— This is the pow’r of Christ in me; From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man, Can ever pluck me from His hand; Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand…Till He returns or calls me home— Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand… Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand….’ 

And that’s for certain sure friends! In the amazing and awesome power of Christ we must ALL stand, because there has never been, and will never be another as magnificent and magnanimous as Him! As I keep saying He is indeed our EVERYTHING! Our hope, our light, our strength, our song, the cornerstone on which our faith is built, the ONE  who walks beside and guides us through the worst times of drought and storm… 

And don’t talk about LOVE…His is the greatest. As He said so simply and sincerely: ‘Greater LOVE hath no man that this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.’  (John 15:13-14) And then He went out and laid down His sinless life, sacrificed it ever so selflessly for us, with the expectancy and anticipation that we would be His friends and do what He commanded us. Yes my fellow believers (steups!), Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, He walked the walk…on our behalf. He died that we could be alive and be reconciled to the Father; took our sins and gave us His righteousness…and so much more. 

That’s why when Bruh Paul talks to us about the ways of the believer (steups!), we ought to listen and obey. ‘Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in LOVE, as Christ also hath LOVED us, and hath given himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor (aroma).’ (Eph. 5:1-2) That’s exactly what He did my people, and as followers of His, He expects us to be obedient to His commands, do our best to adopt His character traits, because you know the Father’s ultimate plan is to have us all become like His Only Son…well as close as our human flesh and nature will allow. (smile) 

And we don’t even have time and space to touch on all the topics the songwriters touch on in our song. So we’ll just look at these last two; peace and comfort. Oh my my, Jesus is the Master of Peace: the peace that passes all human understanding! Here Him to the disciples nuh: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And Bruh Paul describes Him thus: ‘For he (himself) is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition (division) between us;’ (Eph.2:14) No doubt about that! He mashed up the old order and destroyed the enmity between Jews and Gentiles and made them to exist in One body, His church. 

And when yuh talking about comfort friends, there’s no better place to find it than in Jesus! Here these extraordinary words from His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt.11:28, 30) No one else can make that promise and keep it! That’s why I keep saying that Jesus is the ANSWER, for He has everything that you will ever need, both for this life and the hereafter! Please be wise and lean confidently, faithfully and reassuringly on Him! He won’t let you down! Much LOVE!

…The Prince of Peace…of Comfort…and of LOVE…Jesus Christ…

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…

 

 

 

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