Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2019 1 Timothy 2:3.

1 Timothy 2:3.    ​Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
 

Sunday’s here again friends! Glory be! It’s the day we cease from our normal labour and instead visit the Lord’s sanctuary and have fellowship with other believers! Yes mih people, it’s time for us to sing and dance and praise the Lord and give Him sincere thanks for the many blessings He’s so magnanimously bestowed on us! Wow! What a wonderful God He is! There’s none other like Him! That’s for certain sure!

That’s why we need to show our true LOVE and sincere gratitude by coming together as the body of Christ, His church, at least once a week! And not only do we offer up praise and thanksgiving, but we are renewed and refreshed in return, through hearing His Word and the encouragement of and communion with our fellow believers, so that we can go out and do His work with vim and vigour this upcoming week.

Now let’s get the show on the road by opening, as always, with a song of praise and worship. And today’s number is certainly an old but still very popular number titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ And I hear the excited sigh that rises from our throats as the song registers, because it is one we all LOVE to sing! So let’s sing it nuh, with plenty emotion, strong voice and the sweetest of harmonies!

All together now: ‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!) At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain]

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod; We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain] Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain 2]’

Oh friends, oh friends, what a powerful and emotionally touching rendition! Heaven could see that we truly believed what we were singing, felt it right down in the very depths of our souls! That’s what some of these old English hymns do to us. Now it’s reputed that the words to that song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, while the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. And has it ever stood the test to time! Becoming the Salvation Army’s favoured processional hymn along the way.

Apparently ‘it was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces of the world.’ And it takes its theme from New Testament references of Christians being soldiers for Christ. One example of that is our Bit, Bruh Paul’s famous words to his young protégé Timothy. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:3-4)

Yeh friends as Christians we do need to stand up strong under whatever trials and tribulation comes against us, like a good soldier does. Consequently, that soldier doesn’t get involved with the unnecessary affairs of life, so that he can give his all, his total allegiance and attention to the business of the one who’s chosen him to be a soldier. That means, since Christ has chosen us to be His followers, then we too must endure the tribulation that will certainly come against us, as Christ promised in John 16:33, and neither get involved in the affairs of this world because we are not of it, as He says in John 17:16.

And the analogy of Christians being soldiers in Christ’s army is rather apt, since we are constantly fighting battles of temptation and deceit against Satan and his evil minions. However it’s not a physical battle, although many believers are fighting physical battles in many places in our strife-filled world, but it’s a spiritual battle that most believers face day by day. As Bruh Paul says to the Corinthians: ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after (according to) the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;’ (2 Cor.10:3-5)

And the scholars offer these explanations of those verses. ‘10:3-5. Though we walk (live) in the flesh (in a body), we do not war (fight) after (according to) the flesh (human standards. The first phrase of verse 5 looks back to verse 3 and expresses the manner in which believers conduct spiritual warfare. It is by casting down (destroying) imaginations (false arguments), such as Paul’s opponents have raised.’

That also means refuting all the lies and deceit and the temptations the enemy constantly throws at us. And we do that by taking all those wrong thoughts captive and making them conform to Christ’s Word. Remember, our minds are where the serious spiritual battles take place, so we obviously must have our thoughts conform to Christ’s Word to be victorious. And as I was reading the words of the hymn just now, one verse struck me as being somewhat untrue in these evil, divisive times. ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God;…We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’

I just have to shake my head and sadly chuckle because God’s church is certainly not moving in these ungodly days like a mighty army, more like a stagnant, sluggish, complacent, uninterested band of layabouts. And as to being one body with one hope and one doctrine…What a joke! Christ’s church has never been more divided and fractured and going different ways than now!

But friends, let’s remember that where there’s life there’s also hope, so it’s not too late. If we’re serious about rectifying the ills in the church we still can, if we come together, instead of moving further apart. It will take a lot of hard work and effort, putting our selfish, petty desires aside, and showing the true character of Christ. I know it sounds impossible, but remember too, that ALL things are possible with Christ! Much LOVE!

…to be true soldiers of Christ…Christians must stop seeking and seeing life…the way the world sees it…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 April 2017 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.    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.

Welcome to Wednesday friends! It’s a brand new day with brand new mercies and blessings! Glory to God for providing us with such abundance! 

In return we ought to give Him much thanks and praise, be obedient to His holy will and enjoy the day. That’s why we can all sincerely shout: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ 

And if we don’t follow through with that declaration, then it’s only us losing, foolishly forsaking God’s goodness. The Lord will still be in His high heaven enjoying Himself, but we will be miserable down here on planet earth. 

Consequently, I want to share a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin that’s titled ‘So Profound.’ 

And it says: ‘O God I want to sing and dance I want to shout it from the hilltops: There is absolutely nothing In my wretched past That can hinder You From redeeming my future Except my refusal to let You. Thank You for invading my heart With a truth so refreshing So magnificent So profound!’ 

Yeh mih people, we should be singing and dancing and giving praise each and every day that we’re alive, thankful for our wonderful God’s redeeming and forgiving nature! 

And it’s surprising when we live a thankful and grateful life how interesting and adventurous are our days! We don’t sit around moping and groaning and complaining because things aren’t going our way. 

But it’s surprising how many supposed believers unwisely live that miserable sort of life even with God’s goodness and mercy right at their fingertips. 

And we should be especially thankful and grateful at this most important time of year when Jesus rose from the dead to allow us to have the free, God-given options of salvation and eternal life! Glory to God! 

And the Bible Promises used for that poem are some verses from 1 Peter that we recently looked at, but are certainly worthy of sharing again, the first one being our Bit. 

‘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. 

To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1 Pet.1:3-5) 

Ah mih people, our God is so great that our small, finite minds can’t even truly comprehend His greatness! And don’t talk about His LOVE! Wow! That is so out of sight that it boggles our imagination! 

For before we LOVED Him, He LOVED us and sent His Son to die in our place, so that our sins could be forgiven! Now if that isn’t the ultimate in LOVE, then I don’t know what is!  

Now let’s look at some explanations of our verses from the scholars. ‘1:3-2:10. The Christian’s destiny: salvation. Salvation means “deliverance.” Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation, that is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.’ 

‘1:3-12. The plan of salvation. Peter does not look at time from a Western perspective. The Hebrews regarded the present as so fleeting that in their language they have essentially only two tenses: past and future.’ 

‘1:3-5. The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (vs. 3-5) is described as to its effect. Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation. 

This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible (Gr. aphtharton), imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e. morally untainted). 

That fadeth not away (Gr. amaranton) means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved (Gr. teteremenen, perfect tense), that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. 

Kept is a present passive participle – we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin and into the presence of God.’ 

Yeh friends, the explanations might take some effort to understand, but that’s how we get to know the word. And besides, the most important fact is that it’s all for our good! So please make the effort to grasp it and hang on to it. Hope you enjoyed the lesson in Greek too. (smile) 

Now let’s end by sincerely declaring our Wednesday Wail. ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! 

I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

Now let’s truly live it my brethren! Much LOVE!

…the great gift of salvation…would not be possible without Jesus’ sacrificial death…and His awesome resurrection…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 March 2017 Jeremiah 17:7.

Jeremiah 17:7.   Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

Well friends, it’s Friday, and the weekend looms large around us! That’s why there is so much joyful shouting in the streets around the world; the workingman is free for two big, whole days! 

And who can truly blame him when he joyfully declares: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes people! The weekend is here! The weekend is here! Glory Hallelujah! No more backbreaking labour for a pittance in pay! 

So let’s sing and dance, live it up while we have the chance, for Monday will soon be here, then it’s back to the grindstone again! Oh Thank God for Fridays and the weekends oui!’ 

Now that’s a temptation the enemy throws out at us each weekend; the opportunity to revel in the world’s lust and carnality. But hopefully we believers are able to withstand it, especially in this Lenten Season of prayer and introspection, because it’s not the right thing to do. 

Our Friday Chant is a much better way to use the weekend, so let’s chant it now with sincerity and a true sense of purpose nuh. ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes my people, that’s how we ought to spend our weekends; renewing and refreshing our bodies and spirits so that come Monday we can be refreshed, ready to go out and labour on Christ’s behalf. That’s the only way that makes any sense under our Christian Manifesto. 

And likewise, our Bit falls squarely under that public declaration of policy decreed by Almighty God. ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.’ 

Ah friends and neighbours, there’s absolutely no doubt about that statement! And why is that you ask? Well listen to the verse that follows our Bit. 

‘For he shall be as a tree planted by waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see (fear) when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful (anxious) in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ (Jer.17:8) 

Oh what a beautiful promise my breddren! And we all know that the Sovereign Lord is ever-faithful and keeps all His promises, so why won’t I put my utmost trust in Him eh, especially in these crazy and uncertain times? Hn! 

But unfortunately, more people seem to be running away from God these days, than are running to Him! And that’s such a sad state of affairs, because He is the ONLY ONE who can help us in our times of dire need. 

I really don’t understand people of today nuh, they are all trying to do their own thing, and what mankind says, but look at the mess it has our world in, why not try something else, like returning to seriously worshipping and living for Almighty God eh? 

But that doesn’t seem to enter their consciousness at all! They just keep on trying to rid our society of God, regardless of the serious disasters that are happening, both natural and man-made. 

Now the Jews of early times had their faults, but one thing I admire about them is that when they saw their world falling apart through ungodliness, they were quick to get back to worshipping the God of their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Why friends, can’t we be as smart, or even as logical eh? I guess only the Lord can truthfully answer that question. 

Now let’s check out some scripture that agrees with our Bit. Listen to the psalmist from Psalm 2 – Why do the heathen rage? ‘Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 

Kiss the Son (perform an act of homage and submission), lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.’ (Ps.2:10-12) 

Oh my fellow believers do we even need a better reason than that to trust the Creator of the universe? I don’t think so. Just the fear of His wrath and anger should propel us to trust Him. 

Now hear the psalmist from Psalm 146 – The blessedness of trusting God. ‘Praise ye the Lord (Hallelujah). Praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praise unto my God while I have any being. 

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man (human being), in who there is no help (salvation). His breath goeth forth (spirit departs), he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. 

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is the Lord his God: which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever.’ (Ps.146:1-6) 

Oh friends, I can’t think of a better argument than that for worshipping the Lord God Jehovah! Let’s hope that you agree and will continue to do so steadfastly, because that’s the only source of true wisdom in these trying times. Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…or he will certainly feel…

 

 

 

Psalm 9:1.  I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth (tell of) all thy marvelous works.

And then it was Sunday… And all the people joyfully sang: ‘Sunday, oh Sunday; time to go to the sanctuary; time to give praise and thanks; time to let the Lord know how much we LOVE Him; time to worship in true and grateful fellowship with my brethren, partaking of the cup of Christ’s blood, and the sacrificial flesh of His body, to let Him know that we remember Him in faith and truth, and also honour and glorify His holy name, for ever and ever. Amen!’
 
Oh Friends, at the rate we’re going, we’ll soon have a song of praise for every day! (smile) And that’s definitely not a bad thing, but rather it’s wonderful! For waking up each and every day and singing praises to our awesome God is just what the doctor, and God Himself have ordered.
 
And believe you me, we can never praise and glorify our omnipotent Creator too much. So let’s get ready to go to His house and worship Him this Sunday morning nuh, with plenty passion and truth.
 
However Friends, one of the unfortunate things I’ve discovered about us Christians; is that we’re not as passionate and convincing about Jesus as we should be. Most other faiths seem to continually extol, exalt and adore the object of their veneration, but we seem to be merely lukewarm about our Lord and Saviour, who has done so much for us.
 
Oftimes we seem even ashamed to call His name in public, or let others know that we believe in the Mighty King and Warrior known as Jesus Christ; King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, to whom all knees will eventually bow, and all tongues confess and acknowledge Him as Lord.
 
Yes, in the church buildings we sing and dance and praise His holy name, but once we’re out of the buildings we seem to adopt a stodgy, embarrassed and even apologetic attitude.
 
Oh my people, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about or to apologize for in exalting Jesus! For He is indeed the author and finisher of our faith! The one who selflessly and willingly gave up His ease and comfort in heaven to come to this mish-mash earth and die for our abominable sins, so that we could be granted salvation and eternal life.
 
Now isn’t that something to jump for joy about, and shout from the rooftops and mountains to all the world? It certainly is my brethren! For what other supposed deity has done anything even closely resembling Jesus’ sacrifice for his followers eh? NONE WHATSOEVER!  
 
Oh Friends, please remember what Jesus said to the church at Laodicea: ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would (wish) thou wert (were) cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (spit or vomit) thee out of my mouth.’ (Rev.3:15-16)
 
Yes my people, we either have to be red hot, meaning passionate, or ice-cold, not merely so-so in our acceptance and following of the greatest teacher who ever lived, Christ Jesus!
 
Oh my fellow believers, it’s time we all rose up and passionately do like Bruh David says in our Bit and the verse following: ‘I will praise thee, O Lord with my whole heart; I will show forth (tell of) all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High.’ (Ps.9:1-2)
 
And my people, we ought to do that not only in the churches or wherever we officially worship Almighty God, but in all our doings, wherever we go; at home, at school, at work, at play, the thanks and praise to our wonderful Creator ought always to be on our lips.
 
How did Bruh Paul put it? ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.’ (Phil.4:4)
 
And remember too how Bruh David danced before the Lord when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem. (2 Sam.6:14) He wasn’t ashamed to exalt and extol His ever-faithful and ever-LOVING God in public, like so many of us sadly are.
 
But we shouldn’t be ashamed of our Saviour, my brethren. Jesus said that He came to earth to give us life and joy, and give them in great abundance. (John 10:10) And joy is such a wonderful feeling in our souls that it usually just comes pouring out of us and we are glad to share it.
 
Therefore Friends, if we have joy in Jesus, then why aren’t we sharing it passionately with all and sundry eh, instead of foolishly and selfishly keeping it locked up inside of us? We should be exceedingly glad to share it with everybody, to noise it all over the world!
 
So today my people, when we’re finished joyfully worshipping in church, let’s come outside and continue that joyful worship nuh. Joyful worship does nothing for the inanimate buildings; it’s meant to be partaken of, to be spread amongst people. And how can we expect believers to come to Jesus through our witness, when we are only lukewarm in our walk of faith, in our exuberance, our manifestation of joy eh? That won’t ever happen!
 
It’s time we step boldly up to the plate and witness with true joy, so that others may belief. It’s what we’ve been placed here to do, therefore let’s do our duty with relish and verve and fervour nuh! It’s the ONLY way to go! Much LOVE!
 
…merely talking in hushed tones about the good news and deeds of Christ…and not showing real enjoyment in, and passion for them…will never endear Him to others…