Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 September 2018 Ephesians 6:11.

And once again it’s Sunday friends: our day of rest from mortal toil. A day where we are expected to spend time in worship and fellowship with other believers in the house of God, so that our souls and spirits can be renewed and refreshed and our Creator praised and exalted. 

And as always, each Sunday we begin the proceedings with a song of praise and worship, because there’s nothing the Lord likes more than hearing His praises sung, and it also softens our hearts, enabling them to be more receptive to His Word. And the song we’re going to sing is an ole favourite, the American Christian Hymn, ‘Stand up, Stand up for Jesus.’ 

But before we get into it, let’s look at its supposed history, a rather interesting one. Apparently it was written by a Presbyterian Minister, George Duffield Jr. in 1858, who at that time was an associate of one Dudley Atkins Tyng; a Pastor recently ‘removed from his local Episcopalian community for speaking against slavery. Duffield assisted Tyng in supporting an evangelical revival in Pennsylvania. 

In March 1858, Tyng gave a sermon at a YMCA meeting of over 5,000 men on Exodus 10:11, “Go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord”, converting over 1,000 men listening in the crowd. The following month, Tyng was maimed in a farming accident. Before he died a few days after the accident he told his father “Tell my brethren of the ministry, wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus.”  

Duffield then wrote the hymn based on those words. At a memorial service for Tyng, Duffield gave a sermon based on Ephesians 6:14, “Stand firm, wearing the whole armour of God”, and ended it by reciting the new hymn he had written as a tribute. After first publication, the hymn was popular and was sung by both the Union and Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. 

The hymn also became popular among British revivalists and within public schools in England. As a result of the images of Christian militarism in the hymn, some people object to the hymn, and some people do not stand to sing it’  With such a colourful and controversial history, it’s no wonder it’s so popular. 

And furthermore, ‘Several melodies have been written for “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”. The one used most often now was written by George James Webb, who had originally composed it in 1837 for “Tis Dawn, the Lark is Singing”, a song in a secular musical show performed on a ship travelling across the Atlantic Ocean.’ 

Now let’s belt it out like we truly mean it. ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross! Lift high his royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory his army he shall lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear; if while ye sleep he suffers, away with shame and fear. Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without, charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout. 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in his strength alone; the arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own. Put on the gospel armour, each piece put on with prayer; when duty calls or danger be never wanting there. Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long; this day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song. To him that overcometh a crown of life shall be; he with the King of glory shall reign eternally.’ 

Yeah friends, that’s exactly what is required of us as followers of Jesus. We’re in a battle against the spiritual forces of evil and we must acquit ourselves as brave, courageous and loyal soldiers of Jesus. And the best words in the Good Book to describe our situation comes from the pen of Bruh Paul in his missive to the church at Ephesus, re putting on the whole armour of God. So let’s read and inwardly digest those fighting words nuh. 

‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual (spiritual hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph.6:10-12) 

Oh my people, you might not see our enemy, but believe me, he and his cohorts are real, and they reside in many who hold high office in this realm. And as loyal Christians, we need to battle them to the death, or until Jesus returns. But like any soldier going into battle, we have to take serious precautions: ‘Wherefore take unto you (take up, put on), the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.’ (Eph.6:13) 

Fellow believers, only when we’re wearing God’s armour are we able to withstand the powerful foe that will keep on coming against us with evil schemes and demonic attacks. But we need to ‘Stand therefore, having your loins girt about (girded your waist) with truth, (the knowledge of God’s Word), and having on the breastplate of righteousness (holy character and moral conduct). And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (a sense of eagerness or willingness to advance against the devil and take the fight to him). 

Above all, taking the shield of faith, (trusting God and believing His promises), wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of (dispel all doubts induced by) the wicked (one). And take the helmet of salvation (the assurance of salvation), and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (rhema; selected verses of Scripture): Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:14-18)  

Yes my brethren, we need to have all the accoutrements of war, but without prayer, it’s all in vain. Prayer is indispensable to our cause, and we must be vigilant in praying for all our fellow believers. ‘Spiritual combat is both an individual and corporate matter.’ There you have it friends, a quick discourse, or hopefully, to some of us, a jolting reminder on Spiritual Warfare 101.  Now let’s go out and put it into action! Much LOVE!

…soldiers of Christ…be well armed…stand strong…and pray always…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 December 2017 Romans 13:12.

Romans 13:12.   The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 

Oh friends of mine, it’s a beautiful white Tuesday morning in my area. Hn! Yes, we’ve finally registered our first significant snowfall of the season! It’s not too big a snowfall, and as always, it looks beautiful when unsullied by human passage through it. But trudging through it is something else…and so is shovelling it. Good thing I won’t be doing either of those activities today! (smile) 

Anyway, there’s lot’s of stuff I want to share this morning, so let’s get right to it nuh. And the first one is something called ‘The Tyranny of Things,’ from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. I don’t remember if I’ve ever shared this before, but it’s ever so appropriate for these secular and selfish times, especially this time of year. 

Please read with me: ‘Materialism does not satisfy because it is tyrannical, and the human being was born to be free! We all know about the tyranny of things. We find that we don’t own a house – the house owns us. We are married to a mortgage. We become slaves to gadgets and garments. 

After we have all our “things” purchased, delivered, and installed, and have enjoyed a fleeting sense of pleasure, we find that they are still dominating, dictating, and demanding. “Press me, polish me, patch me, paint me, prune me, plaster me, repair me,” they shout. 

So we spend the best years of our lives and the bulk of our money working for the “things,” until, discouraged and depressed, we discover that we have no time left to pursue life’s really enjoyable avocations: visiting friends, having fun, and, yes, even going to church regularly. Thus mastered by materialism, tyrannized by things, we have no time left to do the deeds, or see the places, or visit the people, that would really give us great inner joy.’  

And isn’t all of that the living truth friends? It certainly is! In this materialistic, highly commercialized society, it’s all about things and stuff, especially at this season of Christmas. And in a couple weeks time, we’ve forgotten about all the stuff we bought – on credit; even get annoyed when we see some of the stuff, as we struggle to pay for them. Hn! Hn! 

So please, let’s take this advice to heart this Christmas season nuh, and not go overboard with the material stuff. Instead, let’s focus on the human relationships and spiritual processes that truly are the reason for the season, with Jesus being the main focus. 

That brings us to our Bit: ‘The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.’ More words of truth and wisdom, my brethren, whether you take them literally or figuratively! 

Time is flying by, and none of us knows how much we have left, so we need to use each second economically, purposefully and usefully, both in the human and spiritual realms. Darkness and evil have taken a stranglehold on our world, and as true believers in Christ, we can’t afford to let that happen. We need to push back…and push back hard too, if we want to make a difference in this crucial fight. 

And we have a quote ascribed to Antoine de St. Expury (1900-1944) the French author, poet and aviator. It says: ‘In these times one must write with one’s life. This is the challenge to all of us.’ 

And is that ever so true friends, especially for us Christians! We need to show the dark, evil and cruel world what true Christianity is like through the way we live our lives, rather than the way we talk. For one doesn’t always reflect the other. As the saying goes; ‘examples work more forcibly than precepts.’ 

So please let’s concentrate on living our lives as good examples of Christ’s LOVE Revolution nuh, so that the unbeliever will see our sincerity and want to follow Jesus too. That’s the whole point for our being here yes friends. 

Now let us take a quick look at the second part of our Bit; putting on ‘the armour of light.’ And all we have time for is Bruh Paul’s notable warning and brief description of God’s spiritual armour to the Ephesians. ‘Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 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 (rulers), against powers (authorities), against the rulers of darkness of this world (world rulers), against spiritual wickedness (wicked spiritual beings) in high places. Wherefore take unto you (take up, put on) 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) 

Yeh friends, only when we’re dressed in God’s armour, can we stand strong and resist the evil one, for He will attack again and again. That means we have to be continually ensconced in our ‘girdle of truth, and breastplate of righteousness, shod with the gospel of peace, bearing the shield of faith, having on our heads the helmet of salvation, and waving the sword of the Spirit in our right hand, with prayer and supplication’ driving us ever onward and forward! That’s our spiritual armour, and how we defeat the enemy. 

Now let’s go home declaring as we do on Tuesdays, our Tuesday Mantra, singing out loud and clear to the evil world who and whose we are. In full voice and sincere heart now: 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!’ 

Mama Mia! How blessed we are eh! Now let’s go out and put it all into action; share the LOVE of Jesus! Much LOVE!

…dark and evil times…call for Christians…showing their light…the light of Jesus…and leading the way…out of the darkness…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 20 June 2017 Ephesians 6:11.

Ephesians 6:11.   Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.

Aye mih people, what a blessed joy it is to be able to sit down on my porch at minutes to four in the morning, without much clothes on, munching a corn on the cob and sipping a ting! 

Hn! And I see the furrowed brows on some of you, wondering, ‘what’s a ting, how can you sip a ting? Well friends, a ting is just the name of a carbonated, grapefruit based drink from T&T. 

Oh, I know some of you have the joy of doing that sort of thing all year round, but we in the north country don’t, so when we do have the opportunity, to us it’s a big deal. And the morning was nice and quiet and cool; just right for silently communicating with God and nature. 

That, to me, is the best time of the day; when most of the world is sleeping, and you can even hear yourself think. We’re talking about those quiet moments before the macho cock stridently crows ‘cock-a doodle-do, cock-a-doodle-do,’ and awakens the universe to another loud and stressful day. 

And believe you me, the days are getting louder and more stressful, as the strife and hatred and anger proliferate around our world. But here’s a li’l something from my ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU Poster that will help us defeat some of the negativity on our planet. 

It says: ‘Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.’ And surprisingly, my faithful brethren, there is a whole lot more truth in that statement than some of us are willing to believe. 

That’s because we’ve become such sour and negative people, and refuse to share even a simple pleasantry with another human being, and not only because of their race, creed, colour or class, but simply because of the stern, serious, keep away from me look that so many of us present to the world today, a lot of it simply rooted in fear. 

And all of that is simply the work of the enemy. That’s why, today, I believe it’s ever so necessary for us to consider the words of our Bit. ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles (evil schemes) of the devil.’ 

Yeh mih people, as we read yesterday, without God’s strength and His protective armour, we are unable to resist the enemy’s negative fear-mongering schemes. Now it’s time we have a refresher course in what God’s armour consists of, and how to use it successfully. 

Firstly, let’s remember that as Christians, we are engaged in serious warfare, warfare of the spiritual kind. As Bruh Paul informed the Ephesians. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world (age), against spiritual wickedness (spiritual hosts of wickedness) in high places.’ (Eph.6:12) 

Yes friends, you’d be amazed to know the amount of spiritual wickedness that resides in the upper echelons of power in this world. And the scholars offer this explanation on that verse. 

‘6:12. Wrestle, used of hand-to-hand combat, emphasizes the personal and individual nature of spiritual warfare waged against each local church and Christian. Flesh and blood refers to humanity. Such is not the church’s adversary. 

Instead she opposes principalities (rulers), powers (authorities), rulers (world rulers), spiritual wickedness (wicked spiritual beings), that is, fallen angels, demons, and Lucifer himself.’ 

So you see, precious people of God, it’s a mighty force of evil that is lined up against us, and it will take an even mightier force to defeat them. And that mightier force is our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Glory to God! 

But friends, just like it would be foolish to go into flesh and blood warfare without some protective clothing or amour, likewise, we need protection in this spiritual war in which we’re currently engaged. 

Consequently, Bruh Paul has wisely advised us: ‘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.6:13) 

And what does all of that mean? Listen to the scholars. ‘6:13. Wherefore means “because of this,” that is, because we face such a formidable foe, we must avail ourselves of God’s provision lest the enemy destroy our Christian witness and ministry. 

The evil day refers to the periodic demonic onslaughts and Satanic assaults. Having done all includes both dressing oneself in God’s armour and resisting Satan. Having done all these, be ready, for the Devil will attack again and again.’ 

Of that we can be sure my brethren! Lucifer will keep attacking us until Jesus returns and completely obliterates him. In the meanwhile though, we definitely need to be prepared; clothed in God’s protective armour and filled with His fighting strength so that we can STAND! 

And having decided to do just that, let’s go home now with joyful hearts and spirits, joyfully and sincerely declaring our Tuesday Mantra. 

‘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 if we truly meant it, then let’s go out and share the beautiful, awesome, soul inspiring LOVE of Jesus with others, as He expects of us. Much LOVE!

…sharing the good news of Jesus’ LOVE…is what the Christian is all about…