Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 December 2019 Ephesians 5:20.

Ephesians 5:20.    ​Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

Rest my people, rest! It’s Saturday and after a hard week of work we need to rest before we begin anything else. But no doubt many of us will be already up and doing, busy with the Christmas shopping and decorating and planning and what have you! Bless all you fine souls! (smile) Thankfully the ole fella is into none of that. The duchess doesn’t need my help in doing her business. In fact, she considers me a hindrance in her path…and I’m quite happy with that, although some of the decorations she puts up around the house tend to be inconvenient in doing things like climbing the stairs. (smile) 

Anyway, let’s get positive on this dreary looking Saturday morning and check out the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And I do hope that like the last two days, the afternoon will turn out to be bright and sunshiny. And here is the first quote: ‘Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.’ Now that first part is of the utmost importance, especially for believers! Sadly, in this current world the word commitment doesn’t exist. Very few of us are serious about doing what we say we will do. 

And it’s not only the worldly who don’t keep commitments, but lots of believers too. Just think what would happen to us if Jesus decided on some whim and fancy, that He simply could not be bothered any longer and was tired and fed up with us, and refused to keep His commitments eh? We would all send up a storm of outrage, of shock and disappointment! Well it’s the same thing that happens when we don’t keep our commitments; people bank on them and are disappointed when we renege on them, especially without any warning. Yeh, we do need to be somewhat flexible in our approach, but the decision to commit to something must first be made with serious consideration, not a wishy-washy attitude, thinking we can easily get out of them. 

And I like this next quote: ‘Be so busy LOVING your life that you have no time for hate, regret or fear.’ Oh friends, what wonderful advice that is! When you consider and concentrate on the positive aspects of your life, there’s no room left for the negative ones to infiltrate and sour up your situation! Granted, life won’t be always rosy, but it’s up to you to bring a good attitude to it, because life itself is basically a negative force and a bully-boy to boot! So therefore this situation will present itself: ‘We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.’ 

Oh yes my people, we have an opportunity at the start of every year to begin a new chapter in our book of life with a new attitude toward the numerous opportunities that will come our way. But here’s a li’l ‘secrat’, as my young daughter used to say: The first words on that bright clean new page of opportunity ought to read: ‘LOVE Jesus more than ever this year!’ And why is that you ask? Because when we hobnob with Jesus, we get more and better opportunities! As simple as that! No rocket science education is needed to decipher that. So let’s promise ourselves that those words will open our new book and chapter for 2020 nuh, because 2020 will be the most important year ever, in many of our lives, and the life of this whole confused and turbulent world! 

And as always, we try to keep the best for last: ‘Gratitude can transform common days into Thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.’ Oh my people, those are indeed awesome and amazing words; words of gospel truth! There’s nothing that can transform our lives and attitudes like gratitude, like being thankful, like having a heart that’s bursting with thankfulness! Yes friends, when we’re truly thankful, our ordinary, mundane days become days of thanksgiving; we don’t dread them, or complain about their same old, same old nature. 

And on top of that whatever job(s) we need to do, they morph into things of joy, instead of routine or difficult tasks. And better still, simple, ordinary opportunities become blessings in our enlightened and thankful eyes! Oh mih people, there’s nothing like thanks and gratitude to help us endure the vicissitudes of life! No wonder the Good Book is chock full of scriptures on giving thanks and being grateful. Let’s look at a few as time and space permit. And  it’s ever important to notice that Jesus though he was God, ALWAYS gave thanks to the Father. 

 Note His words in Matthew 11: ‘At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.’ (Matt. 11:25) And please notice too that when He fed the five thousand, His first act was thanksgiving: ‘and looking up to heaven, he blessed and brake, and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.’ (Matt.14:19) And likewise, when Jesus fed the four thousand, His first act was to give thanks. ‘And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them…’ (Matt.15: 36) Even at the Last Supper, thanks was uppermost. ‘Jesus took bread and blessed it… And He took the cup, and gave thanks…’ (Matt. 26:26-27) 

Consequently Bruh Paul filled his writings with the giving of thanks. ‘But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (1 Cor. 16:57) ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph.5:20) ‘Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ (Phil. 4:6) 

And check out this last scripture when Bruh Paul was on his way to Rome to be tried and most likely killed. ‘And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as the Appii Forum, and The Three Taverns (Inns): whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.’ (Acts. 28:15) Yuh see friends, thanks and gratitude can even bring you courage in rough times. So let’s decide today to live the life of thanksgiving that as believers we’re required to live nuh. Our lives would be ever so much more abundant, prosperous and filled with joy! Much LOVE!

…a true believer’s life and heart…are clothed with thanks and thanksgiving…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 November 2019 Psalm 95:2.

Psalm 95:2.    ​Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) unto him with psalms (songs).
 

Let me open this dry but windy Thursday morning with sincere Thanksgiving wishes for our Scrip-Bit friends and family in the U.S. of A! Yes, today is their Thanksgiving Holiday, one of their biggest and most celebrated days! And so it should be, for a land that the Lord has blessed so plentifully, although now He’s definitely withdrawing some of that blessing because of their abundant and willful sinfulness. But it’s never a bad idea to give thanks, even when we don’t have a lot to give thanks for. 

Unfortunately though, the weather is not cooperating with the idea of Thanksgiving, for much of the nation is under severe warnings of snow, ice and rain, and many flights have already been cancelled and roads made impassable. So please be careful all of you who have to travel any distance to celebrate the occasion. And for those of you who have already hunkered down, please remember Granny’s warning; ‘Sonny boy, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ And this is the ‘rightest’ time for that warning, because it’s the day all Americans celebrate, and there’s more eating and drinking and general partying than at any other holiday. 

So please don’t allow Beelzebub to get any deeper into your souls than he already is. If possible, use this occasion to try and flush him out. (smile) And what better time is there to get into some thanksgiving scripture than on the day of Thanksgiving eh? (smile) So let’s begin with these most appropriate words of Psalm 95, as the psalmist takes us through words of praise to our great God. ‘O Come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) unto him with psalms (songs). For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.’ (Ps. 95:1-3) 

And is that ever so true my people! Our God is the greatest of all supposed gods. In fact, He is the ONE and ONLY true God there is! And how do we know that? Listen to the psalmist again: ‘In his hand (his possession) are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills (the heights) is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.’ (Ps. 95:4-5) Wow mih breddren! Our God must be the greatest if He did all of that! Consequently, it is only natural for us to do as the psalmist continues: ‘O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand (under his care).’ (Ps.95:6-7a) 

And right there we have our very reason for being, our reason for thanksgiving precious people of God! The One and Only true God, He of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is our Maker and Caretaker, so for that very reason, it is of the utmost importance that we offer up praise and thanksgiving and glorify His holy name! And a further consequence of all that is as the psalmist so wisely advises: ‘Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart, as in the revocation (rebellion), and as in the day of temptation (trial, testing) in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted (tried) me, and saw my work.’ (Ps. 95:7a-9) 

Yes friends, if the Lord should call to us today, please don’t harden our hearts and rebel like the Israelites did way back when, and thus experienced forty long years of ‘sufferation,’ of wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. Our God is indeed a most LOVING and compassionate Deity, but by the same token, He doesn’t take kindly to the rebellion of those whom He blesses abundantly. As a result of that foolish rebellion by the Israelites, only two people, Joshua and Caleb, of all who left bondage in Egypt, ever entered the Promised Land. Not even Moses laid foot thereon, but Lord was nice enough to show it to him from a hill on the other side. (smile) 

So this current widespread attitude we now have of trying to get rid of God from our society is pure and total foolishness…no stupidity! And here is the perfect scripture to address that stupidity, this thanksgiving day. Hear Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of God is. And be not drunk with wine wherein is excess (dissipation); but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph. 5:17-21) 

Oh my people, there couldn’t be wiser advice for us this Thanksgiving Day of 2019! So let’s take it nuh, and recognize the will of God for our lives, go easy on the imbibing, and fill our souls and bodies with the Holy Spirit and not alcohol, simultaneously making melody in our hearts to the Father through Christ Jesus, as we follow the ‘royal law,’ LOVING our neighbours as ourselves.’ 

Mama Yo! Is there ever rejoicing in heaven when we give thanks! And no, I haven’t forgotten our Thursday Blessings, (smile) with which the Lord has so generously blessed us. So let’s declare them right now, in strong voice and sincere belief: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! 

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

However my people, please don’t forget those wonderful blessings were not giving for us to hoard, but to share just as generously with the unfortunate ones around us. Much LOVE!

…in everything…GIVE THANKS…for this is the will of God…in Christ Jesus…concerning you… (1 Thess. 5:18)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 October 2019 Psalm 100:5.

Psalm 100:5.    ​For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

 

It’s chilly, dark and cloudy, and also wild and windy…but it’s HOME! Home sweet Home! Yes friends, the ole fella’s back in the cold northern climes. And though the tropical warmth and sunshine of J.A. would be nice, there’s something about home that just draws you in, that you greatly appreciate even if you are coming from a palace to a hovel. 

That’s the power, the heart power of the word HOME. It has something else, a powerful intangible that nowhere else has for us, and that’s why it’s such a big deal in our lives. And today I want to share with us another big deal in our lives, that’s the LOVE of God, through a poem from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. This one is aptly titled ‘YOU LOVE ME!’ 

Please pray with me: ‘Yesterday, God, I was soaring Like a graceful eagle And You LOVED me. Today I feel like a blob And You LOVE me. Tomorrow I may ask “Whatever happened to disturb me yesterday?” And You’ll LOVE me. God, there are innumerable things I cannot begin to comprehend But the one great certainty In all my life is this: I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE ME.’ 

Oh my people, that is one thing we all ought to know for sure; that our heavenly Father LOVES us! And if we don’t, then our faith is not real, or strong, or whatever you want to call it, for how can we not know that God LOVES us with a fierce and undying LOVE after reading scriptures like these eh? 

Listen first to Bruh Paul nuh: ‘For when we were yet without strength, in due (at the right) time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:6-8) 

Now if putting out yourself for others who don’t particularly care for you isn’t a showing of strong LOVE, then I don’t know what is nuh?  And John puts it thus: ‘Beloved, let us LOVE one another: for LOVE is of God; and every one that LOVETH is born of God, and knoweth God. He that LOVETH not knoweth not God; for God isLOVE.  

In this was manifested the LOVE of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. Herein is LOVE, not that we LOVED God, but that he LOVED us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so LOVED us, we ought also to LOVE one another.’ (1 John 4:7-11) 

Ah mih people, what a powerful and true dissertation! But now listen to it straight from the horse’s mouth; from the Son Himself: ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ (John 3:16) Now if the only begotten Son, the One who actually died to pay the enormous price for our sins, says that’s how it was, then it must be so! 

So please friends, if we don’t know anything else, let’s be sure that our heavenly Father LOVES us, because He was willing and able to pay the great price it required to wash away our abominable sins, even the price of a broken heart and forsaking His only Son for our benefit! And we’ll see, that once we accept that most pertinent fact, everything else will flow smoothly, because everything flows from His everlasting LOVE! 

And thus we can sincerely sing these praiseful and adoring words of the psalmist: ‘Make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) unto the Lord, all ye lands (the whole earth): Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.’ (Ps.100.1-5) 

That’s the Bible Promise from our poem, and it’s the gospel truth my people! Oh friends, our God is so good and wonderful that He’s even provided those of us who want to do His bidding with miraculous blessings to enable us to do so. We call them our Thursday Blessings. But they’re not operative until we declare them, so let’s declare them now nuh, in full voice and sincere faith. 

All together: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

Now please remember those wonderful blessings are for us to use, to share generously, not to hoard selfishly.Much LOVE!

…there is no fear in LOVE…perfect LOVE casteth out fear… (1 John 4:18)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 October 2019 Hebrews 12:14.

Hebrews 12:14.    ​Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

 

Welcome to another hot and hazy day in Kingston, Jamaica my dear people! I don’t know if it’s just cloud cover, dust from factory outputs, or a combination of both, but the haze they generate keep preventing me from seeing the nearby harbour and the distant mountains properly! But yuh know what? I’ll take it over the cold weather every time! (smile) And I hear that you all might be having snow, lots of it, for Thanksgiving next week. Hn! Just make sure it’s all gone by the time I get back oui! (smile) 

But it’s Friday all over the world, and what happens on a Friday? Working people sing their weekend song of short freedom. So let’s hear what the workingman has to say today nuh. And as always, he’s quite vocal: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! The weekend, the weekend! Mama Yo! Is party fuh so! From tonight, right back to Monday night! Might’n be even able to go to the slave driver work on Tuesday nuh, cause ah all partied out… 

And so it should be, because is Thanksgiving weekend, so we have to give plenty thanks for all we have…and giving plenty thanks involves having plenty parties. So we can all shout: ‘Party! Party! Party!’ Yeh it’s going to be a hot time in the land this weekend, what with all the gobble gobble (turkey) on the table, the pumpkin pie and what have you! And the drinks going to flow like water too! Yuh better believe that! Brother, the Lord surely not going to be able to say we not thankful nuh! Give Him thanks for Fridays and weekends that we have a li’l freedom to do we own thing!’ 

Yeh friends, it’s all meet and right to celebrate and give thanks for our many blessings, but as believers in Christ Jesus, we can’t be like the ordinary workingman and go way out on the limb, we have to remember Granny’s warning: ‘Sonny boy, ah beg yuh, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business!’ And yuh better believe if we don’t mind our p’s and q’s the devil going to mind them for us, getting into our business and screwing them up even more than we already doing. That’s why our Friday Chant is not as ebullient and effusive as the workingman’s song. We take a somewhat more serious look at the situation. 

So please chant with me now nuh in all sincerity: ‘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.’ Yeh friends, let us enjoy ourselves, but with a modicum of circumspection, as butler Jeeves would say. 

And following on from that, we come to where we left off in the scriptures yesterday, re Hebrews warning against disobedience. The author wisely tells us: ‘Follow (pursue) peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail (fall short) of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane (godless) person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat (food) sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited (wanted to inherit) the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.’ (Heb.12:14-17) 

And what does all of that mean? Hear the scholars: ‘12:15. Root of bitterness accurately portrays the nature of bitterness. First it is hidden, but when it is discovered its noxious roots have spread and it springs up as something much bigger and more destructive (cf. Deut.29:18).’ That’s gospel truth friends; the roots of bitterness spread far and wide and fast like a cancer! ‘12:16-17.Profane person: This profanity (Gr. bebelos) involves far more than one’s speech; it is a quality of one’s life. The author sees this quality exemplified in Esau, even though Esau was not a vile man. In fact, he was less of a crook than his brother Jacob. 

The author accurately focuses on the one area that revealed Esau as profane – the selling of his birthright. To “profane” is to regard something as unhallowed, to treat something sacred as common. Being totally concerned with his temporary and material needs, Esau gave them priority over his rights as the firstborn son and his responsibilities as the heir to the blessing of the Abrahamic covenant. (Gen.25:29-34). The result in Esau’s life was that afterward, when he wanted the blessing, he was rejected. He repented with tears, but the situation was irrevocable.’ 

Ah mih people, many of us like to take the easy way out, then regret it, and try to turn it around, but unsuccessfully. It’s like burning a bridge behind you, then wanting to go back the same way you came. That’s ofttimes impossible. So please let’s think before we act nuh, and thus not get ourselves in those untenable and often irreversible situations. 

As Bruh Paul said to the church at Rome: ‘Be not wise in your own conceits (estimation). Recompense (repay) to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest (have regard for good things) in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in (depends on) you, live peaceably with all men… Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.’ (Rom. 12:16c-18, 21) 

And if you don’t believe Bruh Paul, then listen to Bruh David from way back when: ‘What man is he that desireth life, and LOVETH many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile (deceit). Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.’ (Ps.34:12-15) 

What more can I say eh mih people? Not a whole lot. Bruh David and Bruh Paul said it, so who am I to say them nay eh? So let’s be wise and sensible and godly and do like they advise us nuh, because anything else will just bring disaster. Much LOVE!

…blessed are the peacemakers…for they shall be called…the children of God… 

P.S. The first of the big parties, the Gala, is tonight. So as the man said…Party fuh so! But with Granny’s warning in mind. (smile) Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 September 2019 Revelation 20:15.

Revelation 20:15.    ​And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

Come Sunday morning…I will be going to church! Come Sunday morning…to fellowship with other believers…to hear God’s word…sing His praises…give Him thanks…and receive strength and guidance for the upcoming week! That’s what I’m going to do, come Sunday morning! Yeh friends, Sunday is the day most believers set aside for going to church, so let’s do just that this morning nuh. 

And you know we always begin the proceedings with a song of praise and thanksgiving, so let’s belt out this 1893 hymn by James Milton Black that’s still a crowd favourite.  It’s titled: ‘When the roll is called up yonder.’ ‘This hymn’s central theme is being in Heaven when your time has come and not missing out on the eternal salvation of God.’ And since all of us expect to be there, let’s sing it in loud voice, with the appropriate enthusiasm and sincerity and all the background voices that makes it such a sweet hymn. (smile) 

 As one harmonious choir: ‘When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more, And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there (Chorus: When the roll…when the roll… is called up yon-der, When the roll…when the roll…is called up yon-der, When the roll…when the roll…is called up yon-der, When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.) 

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise, And the glory of His resurrection share When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. (Chorus…When the roll…when the roll…I’ll be there) Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there. (Chorus: twice. When the roll…when the roll…is called up yonder, I’ll be there.)’ 

What a joyous day that will be my fellow believers! There’ll be singing and dancing and joyful shouting as each name is read from the Book of Life. Unfortunately though, some of us might be disappointed when we don’t hear the names of some friends and family. But they will only have themselves to blame, as they had every opportunity like we had to come to Jesus and surrender their souls to Him. And before we get into the scriptural aspect of the Bit, let’s get some idea of how the hymn came about, as per the web site God Tube. 

They say it ‘was inspired by the idea of The Book of Life mentioned in the Bible, and by the absence of a child in Black’s Sunday school class when the attendance was taken.  The thought of someone’s being not in attendance in heaven haunted Black, and after visiting the child’s home and calling on a doctor to attend her for pneumonia, he went home and wrote the song after not finding one on a similar topic in his hymn collection.’ Ah mih people, these wonderful old hymns we sing nowadays have such diverse and inspirational backgrounds, and sadly we don’t know the inspiration behind many of them. 

Now let’s check out some relevant scripture. Those of us who get to heaven will have complied with the messages Jesus sent to a couple of the churches in His Revelation to John. In the message to the church at Thyatira, He promises: ‘And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over nations.’ (Rev.2:26) And the scholars explain that thus: ‘3-26-29. The obedient believer will be given a reward of power or authority in the millennial kingdom as he reigns with Christ (12:5; 19:5; 20:4).’  

And to the church at Sardis, the conclusion of the message was: ‘He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment (garments); and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ (Rev.3:5-6) And this is the scholars’ explanation: ‘3:5-6. The one who has genuine faith in Christ has the righteousness of Christ accounted to him through the redeeming blood of the Lamb. This is the white raiment (cf.7:14). 

The book of life is a list of the saved of all ages (cf. Phil.4:3; rev.20:12, 15). The promise not to blot out his name out of the book of life is an emphatic assurance of the eternal security of the true believer. The statement in Greek contains a double negative, which may be translated, “I will be no means blot out his name.” Christ will confess the name only of genuine believers (cf. Matt.10:32-33).’ 

Oh my people, hopefully we will be in the first resurrection (Rev.20:5) which includes the resurrection of Christ, of the Church (the dead in Christ), and of Old Testament and Tribulation saints. The second resurrection though will be for all the unbelieving dead of all ages. ‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.’ (Rev.20:12-13)  

And the scholars explain. ‘20:12-13. The unbelieving dead are judged from two sets of books. The books contain the record of every unsaved person’s life. Each unsaved person is judged in accordance with his works (cf. Rom.2:6; 16), which clearly show that each one is a guilty  sinner (cf. Rom.3:9-19) deserving of eternal death (cf. Rom.3:23; 6:23). The book of life contains the name of every saved person who has received eternal life through faith alone (cf. John 20:31; 1 John 5:11-13). These unsaved people are shown that they did not take advantage of the offer of eternal life through faith (cf. Rom.9:32; 10:3) Death and hell (Hades) are the temporary holding places of unsaved men’s bodies and souls, respectively (cf. Luke 16:19-31).’ 

So what happens after that? ‘And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.’ (Rev.20:14-15) That says it all people! As the scholars explain: ‘20:14-15. The second death is eternal punishment in the lake of fire, experienced only by the unsaved. Once this final judgement occurs, there is no further need for either death or hell (Hades) (cf. 1:18, 6:8; Is.25:8; 1 Cor.15:26, 55). An eternal separation is now made between those who have life, and those who have “death” (cf. Dan.12:2; John 5:29).’ 

Oh friends, there are a lot of scripture references and plenty stuff that will happen when the time comes, but all you need to worry about is basically getting saved through faith in Jesus, obeying His words, and thus having your name written in the Book of Life! Much LOVE!

…he who has ears to hear…let him hear…else he will surely feel…

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…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 August 2019 Matthew 6:9.

Matthew 6:9.    ​After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers in Christ, that’s exactly the invitation I’m offering us this Sunday morning, the Lord’s Day! Yes, it is good and right that we venture into His house on His day to acknowledge His sovereignty, holiness, grace, compassion and mercy towards us, miserable sinning saints that we are. In fellowship with other believers, we are expected to lift our voices in songs of praise and thanksgiving and receive encouragement from listening to His holy Word. 

And since there is strength in numbers, it means when we gather together, we are a powerful group, able to move mountains with our faith, but we also spread the joy of the Lord amongst each other, encouraging each other as needed. So please don’t refuse this invitation today, because you never know what wondrous blessings or opportunities the Lord has in store for you in His sanctuary today. 

And even if there is nothing special, you leave there like a preening peacock, (smile) full of confidence and joy in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And believe me nothing is better than that in this cruel and oppressive world! Glory to the Most High God Jehovah! Ah mih people, like the ole fella getting excited…And why not eh, since Christ is the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind. And if I have to tell you that, then something wrong with yuh faith yes! (smile)

Anyway, putting all of that aside, let’s begin the proceedings with praise and worship. And since we sang the second most popular Bible scripture last week; the Lord is My shepherd, I figured it’s only right to sing the most popular one today, The Lord’s Prayer. So let’s get to it nuh, in strong, sweet, sincere and solemn harmony, so that the Father has no choice but to look down on us with favour. 

‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever…for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!’ 

Yeh friends, short but sweet! And we all know it as the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. Luke describes the scene thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ (Luke 11:1) And the scholars offer this footnote: ‘11:1. Religious communities of the time customarily had their own distinctive prayers. Perhaps the disciples wanted theirs.’ 

And we know what Jesus told them: ‘After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.’ And He went on to tell them the awesome, far-reaching words that we just sang. It’s amazing how it seems to cover all that our earthly life calls for. But if it comes from Jesus, what else would we expect eh? 

Now the scholars offer some interesting explanations on the prayer, and I’m going to share them. Let’s hope we have enough space. (smile) ‘6:9. The beginning phrase, Our Father, is completely uncommon to the prayers of the Old Testament. The two major elements of the prayer are adoration and petition. Hallowed be thy name addresses the attention of the prayer toward God and reverence for His name and His person. Hallowed (Gr. hagiazo) means to be held in reverence and holy awe.’ 

‘6:10. The phrase Thy kingdom come refers to the eschatological (study of end times) nature of this prayer. Notice that the kingdom is to be prayed for, implying that it has not yet arrived. The kingdom represents the full and effective reign of God through the mediatorial office of the Messiah. The recognition of Thy will be done emphasizes the idea that prayer is to bring about the conformity of the will of the believer to the will of God. Prayer is an act of spiritual expression that brings us into conformity to the very nature and purpose of God.’ 

‘6:11. The section of petitions begins with the request to give us this day our daily bread. Bread (Gr. artos) may be applied to the provision of food in general. The term ‘daily’ (Gr. epiousios) denotes “indispensable.” The concept of daily provision of bread fits perfectly with the Old Testament example of the daily provision of manna to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness. (Ex.16:14-15).’ 

‘6:12. Forgive us our trespasses refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God’s righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.’ ‘6:13-15. Lead us not into temptation is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. God does not tempt us to do evil, but we are tempted by our own lusts (James 1:13-14). 

However, God does test us in order to give us the opportunity to prove our faithfulness to Him. He never desires to lead us into evil itself. Therefore if we resist the Devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. The prayer closes with a doxology of praise (expression of praise to God): For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, which is a liturgical (pattern for worship) ending similar to 1 Chronicles 29:11) Though omitted in some manuscripts, these words constitute a fitting and climactic affirmation of faith.’  

And so it does my fellow believers! I also hope that those explanations give you a better understanding of what our most beloved prayer is all about. I certainly learned a lot from them. And neither did it take up as much space as I expected. (smile) So let’s get ourselves to church sometime today nuh and enjoy fellowship with other believers in the holy presence of Almighty God! That’s my prayer and wish for all of us today! Much LOVE!

…in humble prayer…praise ought always…to come before petition…

 

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