Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 October 2018 2 Timothy 2:3.

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

 

So where are all roads leading this Sunday morning eh friends: to church or not to church? I sure hope that the road to the Lord’s sanctuary will indeed be the one more travelled by His children.

That’s because we need to refuel our souls and spirits on a weekly basis, and there’s no better place to do so than in God’s house with other believers; singing and praising, worshipping and receiving His tender mercies, forgiveness, assurance and confidence to keep on keeping on in His name. 

And as always, before we receive the Lord’s Word, we like to engage in some praise and worship, to soften our hearts and make them more receptive to the Holy Scripture. And today’s song of praise is one written way back in 1865 by Sabine Baring-Gould.

However it never became popular until 1871 when Arthur Sullivan composed some music he called “St. Gertrude,” after the wife of his Friend Ernest Clay Ker Seymer, at whose country home he composed the tune. In time, the Salvation Army adopted the hymn as its favoured processional.’ 

But it was never clear sailing for ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ because some religious people considered it too militant and militaristic.  But as all good tunes do, it has weathered the storms of controversy, and is now one of our favourite processional hymns.

So let’s blast it out now nuh, in full voice and sincere hearts. Let out song rise to heaven so mightily and sincerely that it will have them up there marching and singing with us.

‘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, onto 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 honour, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before… (Repeat).’ 

Yeh friends, what better way to describe Christ’s followers than as a victorious army marching forward, subduing all the evil world before it! Unfortunately though, I don’t think Jesus would look at His church right now as a conquering army, but more like a divided, lazy, compromising, bunch of misfits, for all the progress we’re making. 

On our current watch, more people seem to be turning away from God than are turning to Him. So how does that make us victorious eh? Hell’s foundations aren’t quivering, neither is Satan’s host fleeing because our efforts on Christ’s behalf are not powerful or compelling enough to do either. 

My heart hurts when I sing the line, ‘We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’ That’s just not true, because the church of Christ is more divided than it’s ever been, and mostly over petty stuff, that’s why the evil one and his evil minions are having such a heyday in today’s world. 

The theme of the song is apparently based on Bruh Paul’s encouragement to Timothy regarding the Christian being a soldier for Christ. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.’ 

And remember my fellow believers, it’s not a physical but spiritual war we’re fighting. Thus Bruh Paul continues to Timothy: ‘No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:4) 

And Jesus is the one who has chosen us to lead His LOVE Revolution in these combative and perilous times, so we ought to be about His business more seriously and diligently than we are. I guess what we need is a refresher course in what it takes to be a true soldier in Christ’s army.

Hear Bruh Paul spell it out to the Ephesians, and consequently to us. ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Let yourselves be constantly strengthened by His mighty power.)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (schemes) of the devil. 

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (hosts of) wickedness (wicked spiritual beings) in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up) the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.6:10-13) 

Yes mih people, the first rule in being a good soldier is to put on protection, in this case God’s armour. And what’s that? ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt (girded) about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:’ (Eph.6:14-17) 

Yuh see friends, just like a soldier has armour, protection to fight a physical war, we believers in Christ’s spiritual army also have protective armour; truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and God’s word.

But you know that still isn’t enough, Bruh Paul then concludes: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:18) That’s right my brethren, with all that armour, prayer is still a necessity for us to win the fight, and prayer for all of God’s children too. 

So now that we’ve had that refresher course in spiritual soldiering, (smile) let’s buckle down and do better nuh. Look at all Christ has done for us, can’t we just stand up strong for Him? Aw shucks friends, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves with the miserly effort we’re putting forth on His behalf! Much LOVE!

…the word of God is quick (living)…sharper than any two edged sword…piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 May 2014 Luke 21:19

Luke 21:19.        In your patience possess ye your souls.

Oh Friends, oh Friends, on this Sunday morning in the middle of May, in a season we call spring time, when nature is refreshed and rejuvenated with new life and colour, please, oh please, let’s be eternally grateful and give loads of thanks for the fairly free society in which we live!
 
Once upon a time it was mostly a community based on the Christian faith, but in recent times it has morphed into one of many different, diverse faiths and cultures. However, we are still free to worship and believe in whom or what we choose. Unfortunately though, this is not the case for millions of our Christian brothers and sisters in many places around the world, who live under heinous authoritarian religious regimes.
 
Today I want to highlight the unfortunate plight of one such sister. The newspapers recently reported the awful situation of a 26 year old, eighth months pregnant Sudanese woman, who married a Christian man, and for that she was sentenced to death. Steups! And as always, it’s the women and children who suffer the most.
 
As the hypocritical patriarchal Muslim society in Sudan would have it, it’s okay for a Muslim man to marry outside of his faith, and the children must by law adopt the father’s religion. Chuh! However that largesse of faith does not apply to Muslim women. This unfortunate young woman was convicted of ‘apostasy’ because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. Glory Be!
 
She is paying though a rather hefty price for that refusal since the Sudanese penal code declares that Muslims converting to any other faith is a crime punishable by death. But it doesn’t seem that the young woman was ever Muslim, for although her father, a Muslim, married and Ethiopian Orthodox Christian and the law states that such children must adopt the father’s faith, her mother raised her as a Christian after the father left them.
 
Now she languishes in some sordid jail with her 18 month old son and her unborn child, awaiting her unfair fate. To make matters even more ridiculous and hypocritical, it seems that the court also ordered the young woman to receive a hundred (100) lashes. Why? For having what they considered sexual relations with her husband, a Christian from the new country of South Sudan, which is mostly Christian.
 
Ah Friends, I don’t even want to consider the hypocrisy, because it just makes me so angry that I tend to forget the LOVING-kindness principles of Jesus and desire revenge, or I should say justice (smile) in my heart. Oh I know that we Christians can be very hypocritical too, but hopefully not to that extent.
 
Let’s hope that an appeal is successfully lodged on the young woman’s behalf in the not too distant future. And to help right that wrongful situation, let’s all offer up some heartfelt prayers for her and the millions of other Christians around the world, who are suffering oppression, suppression and loads of injustice, simply because of their sensible and right thinking belief, faith, and trust in Jesus Christ, and the One and Only True and Living Deity, Jehovah God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! 
 
My fellow believers, please believe that there is indeed a very real, a very serious and a very deadly spiritual war that’s currently taking place, and we are at the forefront of it. Thus we need to be on our p’s and q’s; ever-ready to resist and fight back against the evil powers that now control this ungodly world.
 
What Jesus prophesied so long ago, as we saw in yesterday’s scriptures, is now coming to pass. ‘But before all these (signs), they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. And it shall turn to you (be an occasion) for a testimony.’ (Luke 21:12-13)
 
Furthermore ‘And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers (authorities), take ye no thought (do not worry about) how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say. For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.’ (Luke 12:11-12)
 
It’s not going to be easy my people, but if we stand strong, steadfast and immovable on the promises of our wonderful Saviour, then we will eventually be victorious. Listen to this awesome promise of God’s Son. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33)
 
And that’s the gospel truth Friends! Jesus has indeed overcome the world. He’s conquered sin, death and the grave with His Easter Resurrection. So let’s take comfort, derive lasting peace from it, and show the world that we are stronger than anything they can throw at us, because we have the awesome power of the Holy Spirit of Jesus working in, for, and through us!
 
Note though, that despite all our assurances, we can’t afford to let down our guard for even one moment, because the evil one is lurking around, looking for even a toehold in our spiritual armour. But we do need to be patient and persevering as Jesus advises in our Bit. ‘In your patience possess ye your souls.’
 
Yes Friends, if we remain faithful, don’t give up, and keep pressing on, regardless of our adversity, then we shall indeed see ALL the promises of Jesus come to joyful fruition, and His church will be victorious!
 
So today, my fellow believers, let’s all flock to God’s house with joyful souls nuh, to pray, worship and give thanks for our many blessings and freedoms. For that is indeed the wisdom of heaven! Much LOVE!
 
 …the powers of evil and darkness…are no match whatsoever…for those of LOVE and goodness…found in the brilliant light of the world…our Lord and Saviour…Jesus Christ…