Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 November 2021 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.      And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).

Well, well mih bredrin, can you believe it’s Sunday already? The last seven days have indeed passed quickly, but it’s all to the good, because we get another chance to gather on the Lord’s Day to praise, worship and give Him thanks, while He refreshes our souls and spirits, rebuilds our faith, and strengthens us to go back out and face the evil, ungodly world in the upcoming week. All praise and honour be to His holy name my people, for He richly deserves it! 

So let’s get the show on the road with our opening song, one most appropriately titled ‘God Answers Prayer,’ and sung by the Washington born young lady of Jamaican heritage, who originally went by the name of Lady Flame, but is now known as Da Flame. And as always, in scintillating, harmonious, heartfelt, soulful voice let’s raise our sacrificial praise to high heaven. 

‘Oh, If you’re ever feeling down and like you have nowhere to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. (Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) 

You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. (He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. 

Oh, He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer. Yes, let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ And of that we are very sure my faithful brethren! Our great and good God answers prayer all the time, otherwise so many of us wouldn’t still be believers. 

And all God’s people said a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ Now, if we are wise, we will do exactly as the song says, take all our problems, needs and wants to God in prayer. Hopefully, He will answer most of those that fall within His will and plan for our lives, but we will never know until we try. And there are so many scriptures that extol the power of prayer that I don’t know which ones to choose. So, let’s turn to the Lord in prayer and ask Him which ones He favours today. (smile) 

And the first one He directed me came from His wonderful Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Good Book tells us: ‘And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ (Luke 18:1) And that’s something Jesus did daily. Although He was the Son of God, He did not do anything without first consulting the Father. He still needed the Father’s help and guidance down here on earth. Jesus began His day with prayer. The scriptures record it thus. ‘And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary (deserted) place, and there prayed.’ (Mark 1:35) 

So let me ask us this nuh mih people, if the Son of God made prayer an important part of His life, who are we, a sinful creation to do otherwise eh? Nothing but a bunch of proud, arrogant and foolish men! Jesus Himself preached in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7:7-8) 

And the scholars wisely inform us that ‘Prayer includes asking and getting answers from God. But it is more than just asking; it is confession, adoration, thanksgiving, and fellowship with God. By its nature, prayer is talking with God. It is the basis of the successful Christian life, and is so important that not praying is considered a sin (1 Sam. 12:23). When we pray, we should follow the model prayer Jesus gave His disciples and address it to our heavenly Father – beginning with adoration, including thanksgiving and confession of sins, making reconciliation with others, praying for our needs and the needs of others, and concluding in Jesus’ name.’ 

Yes friends, that’s how we ought to pray. And the model prayer referred to above is obviously what we now call the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ found in Matt. 6:9-15) And the part about ending in Jesus’ name comes from John 14:13-14, where He told the disciples: ‘And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ That means acting as Jesus’ agent or ambassador, doing stuff to uplift His name and church, not merely for our selfish worldly desires. 

And by the way, here’s that verse from Samuel which the scholars claim that not praying is sin. In asking Israel to serve God, Samuel said to them: ‘Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.’ (1 Sam. 12:23) And the scholars explain: ‘12:23. Despite Israel’s sin, Samuel LOVED Israel and Saul and pledged his continued help, especially in praying for them and teaching them the Lord’s standards.’ So friends, you see that not praying is not a good thing. (smile) 

Now let’s wrap up with a couple of popular scriptures on prayer that we all know but don’t practice enough. Jeremiah said on the Lord’s behalf: ‘Then shall ye call upon me, and you shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto (listen to) you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.’ (Jer. 29:12-13) Now that’s a very important condition of prayer friends, seeking the Lord with all our heart, sincerely calling upon Him. For remember He checks our hearts before He makes any response to see if our motives are right. 

And we’ll end with this popular and all-inclusive scripture from Bruh Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi. ‘Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 4:6-7) And that’s my prayer for all of this Sunday morning my faithful brethren. Much LOVE!

…pray…without ceasing… (1 Thess. 5:17)                                                                                                                         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   10 October 2021 Matthew 25:13.

Matthew 25:13.     Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

One more time friends, one more time, to celebrate the Lord’s day with praise and worship! It doesn’t matter how or where, because prayer and praise are spiritually lifted up to our heavenly Father. So our physical positions are not all that important, be it in the sanctuary together, or home alone, joined by technology. The most important thing then, is that we agree on our purpose for coming together; that is to give the Lord thanks and praise for His wonderful kindness to the children of men. 

And as always, we begin our proceedings with a song of praise. Today’s song is a favourite old Christian ditty that has provided yeoman’s service to believers down through the years, and has been a useful tool for teaching children about Christ. It’s titled ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ I don’t know who wrote it, but it sure gets my spirit going, makes me want to offer up sacrificial praise. So let’s sing it from the heart nuh, in a bright, up-tempo riddim, because it’s a song of joy and reassurance. 

‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning. Keep me burning till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!) Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Give me love in my heart, I pray. Give me love in my heart, keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Give me joy in my heart, I pray. Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing. Keep me singing till the break of day. (Refrain) Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Give me faith in my heart, I pray. Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying. Keep me praying till the break of day. (Refrain: Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King of kings! Sing hosanna, sing hosanna, sing hosanna to the King!).’ 

Awright friends, that was awesome! You could feel it coming straight from our hearts! And it had to be good, when all of heaven joined in the singing and dancing with us. (smile) They say it’s based on, or alludes to the parable of the ten virgins going to the bridal feast that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wise and five were foolish. The first ones took extra oil, just in case the bridegroom was late, but the latter five took none. 

So, as is often the case, the bridegroom was late and the lamps of the last five ran out of oil, and obviously the wise five refused to share theirs. That meant the foolish five had to go and get oil for their lamps, but by the time they returned, the bridegroom had come and the doors were closed and they were refused entry. And the corollary to all that were these simple words from Jesus. ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ (Matt. 25:13) 

Yes my people, it’s a serious warning that we are to be on constant watch for the bridegroom of the church – Jesus Christ, for He can come at any time. And if He doesn’t find us ready and waiting to come to the bridal feast, then we’ll be left out of all the festivities, headed for eternal separation from the bridegroom, the Saviour. And I can’t emphasize strongly enough how sad such a fate will be. It therefore behooves us to get our act together, right now, to get extra oil for our lamps, that we can wait in the light and not in darkness, and be there ready and waiting, full of joy when our Saviour returns, as He has faithfully promised to do. 

And I like how Jerry L. Ogles, the Presiding Bishop of the Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide Communion, breaks down the verses in an article on their website. For instance, re the first verse, ‘Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning…’ he says: ‘Certainly, we must ask for the right fuel to light our lamps. Lamps filled with water will avail nothing – it must be the kind of oil that BURNS. 

That oil, to the Christian, is the Holy Spirit. He, the Holy Spirit, is like that oil of the widow woman in 1 Kings 17 whose oil and meal never ran out. We need light for our path, and we have no light if we have no Spirit to guide our feet. Our Lamps must not only contain oil for fuel, but be lit with the fire of faith. The break of day comes with the Sun of Righteousness rising for our final victory in the Lord.’ Glory be my fellow saints! I could not put it any better. 

And per the second verse, ‘Give me LOVE in my heart, keep me sharing…’ he comments thus: ‘The legs by which the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts are those of LOVE. LOVE is the most invincible force known on earth. In fact, Paul tells us that there is one thing that survives death complete, and that is LOVE. “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (KJV) 

There is only one kind of truly pure LOVE, and that is of God. LOVE unshared dies in the vessel – we must give it out and see how wonderfully it replenishes itself.’ Mama, oh Mama! Isn’t that the gospel truth! There is nothing that replenishes itself like LOVE! 

Then for the third verse, ‘Give me joy in my heart, keep me singing…’ he declares (steups!): ‘One characteristic that distinguishes the Christian from the common of humanity is JOY expressed under every hardship and trial. This mystifies the world, and they cannot comprehend it. Joy comes through LOVE and prayer. One language of joy is that of song. In my most sorrowful moments, I may sing an old hymn of the Church and suddenly, even without realizing it, find myself as happy as can be in a personal revival of the soul. I never see tears in the eye of the singer of hymns unless they are formed in joy.’ That’s ever so true! 

And for the fourth verse, ‘Give me faith in my heart, keep me praying…’ he explains: ‘Though a child’s song, there is strong doctrinal perspective expressed. Faith is a gift of grace from God. It is the engendering nurture of the Holy Spirit that draws us ever closer to our Lord and inspires our Godly actions and thoughts. Faith is given by God. He sustains our physical being as well as our spiritual souls. We do not dictate the rate our hearts beat any more than we, through our own good intentions, cause our faith to build. 

The Light of Christ is a shared Light from Him. If our lamps are extinguished by winds of doubt, we may share a light from another; however, the original fire comes from God. It is good that our young children are taught the beginning principles of the Gospel through song; and we as adults also benefit in the same way from the singing of the biblical and classical hymns of the Church.’ 

More gospel truth friends. And I do hope that as we enjoy our Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend, we will indeed spend some time pondering on the Lord’s Word and His awesome goodness to our undeserving souls, and give real and sincere thanks for all the wonderful things we enjoy in this good land of Canada! Much LOVE!

…a heart filled with God…is one filled with joy and thanksgiving…                                                                                                         

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   26 September 2021 Psalm 18:2.

Psalm 18:2.     The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). 

Oh my fellow believers, once again it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day! So please, let’s heed the call to worship nuh, be it in the newfound freedom of His sanctuary, (smile) as some of the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted, or through the miracle of modern technology. But come Sunday, worship is a must! And as always, we begin each Sunday session of worship with a song of praise. 

Today’s song is a favourite Christian hymn authored by the Reverend Augustus Toplady in the latter half of the 18th century. And though there is no evidence to back up what’s since become a legend, the story goes that the Reverend ‘drew his inspiration from an incident in the gorge of Burrington Combe in the Mendip Hills in Somerset, England. Toplady, a preacher in the nearby village of Blagdon, was travelling along the gorge when he was caught in a storm. 

Finding shelter in a gap in the gorge, he was struck by the title and scribbled down the initial lyrics. The fissure that is believed to have sheltered Toplady is now marked as the “Rock of Ages”, both on the rock itself and on some maps, and is also reflected in the name of a nearby tea shop.’ By now you must know that today we are singing the definitive Christian hymn ‘Rock of Ages.’ And such a moving and powerful song does need such a miraculous background to help us keep the faith. 

So, let’s sing it in harmony and sincerity, in a soulful, up-tempo riddim, because it’s not a sad song, but one of encouragement and safety, one that brings joy to the human soul and spirit. As one strong voice raised to heaven in sacrificial praise: ‘Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee; let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure; save from wrath and make me pure. Not the labours of my hands can fulfill thy law’s demands; could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow, all for sin could not atone; thou must save, and thou alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling; naked, come to thee for dress; helpless, look to thee for grace; foul, I to the fountain fly; wash me, Saviour, or I die. Wash me, Saviour or I die. While I draw this fleeting breath, when mine eyes shall close in death, when I soar to worlds unknown, see thee on thy judgment throne, Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee…Let me hide myself in thee…let me hide myself in thee….’ 

And believe me friends, there is no better place to hide in this universe than in Christ Jesus! For He is indeed our refuge and place of safety. Bruh David says it best in Psalm 18 – His prayer of Thanksgiving for deliverance from all his enemies. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust, my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) 

And that’s exactly what the song ‘Rock of Ages’ is saying to us. Jesus is our strength, our Saviour, the one to whom we can turn in any situation and receive comfort and safety, encouragement and resuscitation. And the Hymnary.org website lends a valuable insight into the song. It says: ‘While evidence to support that story (of Reverend Toplady’s adventure) is lacking, it does provide a vivid image through which to understand the hymn. Christ and His redemptive work on the cross are like that cleft in the rock, where we can find shelter from the deluge of sin’s guilt and power.’ 

Wow mih bredrin! What gospel truth that is! And not only Bruh David uses the rock as a metaphor for God; His strength, staying power and comfort, but listen to Moses in his song to the children of Israel. ‘Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine (teaching) shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: because I will publish (proclaim) the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.’ (Deut. 32:1-4) 

And if any human being should know of God’s strength, truth and righteousness it’s surely Moses who had so many miraculous dealings with the Lord! The prophet Isaiah, another great man of God, also described the Lord in rock-like terms. In his hymn of praise, he declares: ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on (sustained by) thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength (the Rock of Ages).’ (Is. 26:3-4) 

Now friends, if godly men like Moses, Isaiah and Bruh David could consider the Lord as being the Rock of Ages, who are we to say them nay eh? We should be shouting it even louder than them, because we now have Jesus fulfilling the Lord’s promises of safety, succour, refuge and comfort! 

And we’ll close with these uplifting words from the website Godtube, which say: ‘Even when we may feel like we are all alone, remember that God is always by our side and will never abandon us. He is truly our light in the dark and our rock that we can stand upon always. What an amazing feeling to be LOVED by such a kind Father and to give praise to His name with the beautiful hymn ‘Rock Of Ages.’ Hearing the story behind the hymn made this classic song even more powerful. What a way to worship!’ 

Yes my people, it is indeed a wonderful way to worship! So please, let’s allow all the good things we’ve said today to stir us up nuh, to raise the level of our passion for Christ, so that we can do justice to His name and bring glory to the Father as we ought to. Much LOVE!

…to God the Father be the glory…through Jesus Christ, the Son…                                                                                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8      

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 August 2021 Hebrews 4:16.

Hebrews 4:16.     Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Sunday, Sunday, glorious summer Sunday! Another day for coming together to sing and praise and dance before our marvellous God! Now why would we refuse to do that when He’s been so good to us down through the years eh? There’s no reason whatsoever not to come together on a Sunday, the Lord’s Day and worship Him. So let’s do that right now by opening with this wonderful Christian contemporary song of praise written by a group of young people including the singer, Matt Maher, who first made it popular. The song is aptly titled ‘Lord I Need You.’ 

And do we ever! But today we are going to do the version by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, because it’s more lively and uplifting with a full congregation like ours singing. So, in a moderate tempo, in full soulful gospel mode, let’s raise our sacrifice of praise to heaven. ‘Lord I come, I confess Bowing here, I find my rest Without You, I fall apart You’re the one that guides my heart (Chorus) Lord, I need You, oh I need You Every hour, I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You) 

Where sin runs deep, Your grace is more Where grace is found is where You are And where You are, Lord I am free Holiness is Christ in me (Chorus) So teach my song to rise to You When temptation comes my way And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You Jesus, You’re my hope and stay (Chorus. Lord, I need You, oh I need You Every hour, I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You You’re my one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You My one defense, my righteousness Oh God, how I need You.’ 

Yes my fellow believers, without a doubt, we do need our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And this song brings that need home to us in spades. As one commentator explains: ‘A need is something that is necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: a dysfunction or death. In other words, a need is something required for a safe, stable and healthy life (e.g. food, water, shelter) while a want is a desire, wish or aspiration.’ 

And from that definition of a need, we certainly do need Jesus. Just look at the first verse, where we are singing about finding rest in Him, and otherwise falling apart. It takes us right to that magnificent invitation Jesus offered during His sojourn here on earth. ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn (of) from me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) 

Oh my brethren, nothing can be better than that invitation to one who is in desperate need of rest, comfort and succour! And this is not a one and done thing, but a continual need. As the website Godtube tells us: ‘This song confesses our need for the Lord every hour as our “one defense, my righteousness.’ Yes people, the Lord is our major point of defense. 

As Bruh David so vividly and confidently notes in Psalm 18 -Thanksgiving for deliverance. ‘I will LOVE thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength (rock), in whom I will trust; my buckler (shield), and the horn (strength) of my salvation, and my high tower (stronghold). I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ (Ps. 18:1-3) And if it’s one thing Bruh David never spoke from is hearsay; he always had personal experience to back him up. So, if he says it’s so, then it is so! (smile) 

And if you don’t believe Bruh David, then let’s turn to the New Testament, where the author of Hebrews encourages believers. ‘For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched (sympathize) with the feeling of our infirmities (weaknesses); but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ (Heb. 4:15) That means Jesus knows all about out earthly problems and can appreciate our hardships, because He also experienced them down here, but was without sin. 

And with that knowledge, the author of Hebrews continues thus: ‘Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:16) Please note those last few words friends –‘in time of need.’ Yes, it’s by going to the throne of grace, where Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand advocating on our behalf, that our needs can best be met! Please let’s keep that uppermost in our minds nuh, because it’s for our benefit, not Christ’s. 

And Bruh Paul acknowledges that fact when he wrote to the Ephesians. ‘For through him (Jesus) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.’ (Eph. 2:18-19) So, if you belong to the household of God the Father, where is the best place to go for help in time of need eh? We willingly go to our earthly fathers, who can only help us so much, why not go to our heavenly Father, to whom ALL things are possible. 

And we’ll close with this beautiful testimony regarding our song today. One lady says: ‘God has used this song so much in my life over the past couple months. There are moments when we feel desperate, when we wonder why, we feel alone, we are so joyful, we feel so blessed…or we ask that God would show us what He wants from us and how to live. 

And that’s where these words touch my heart so much… “Lord, I need You, oh I need You. Every hour I need You. My one defense, my righteousness, oh God how I need You.” He is ALL that we need. That’s what He wants from us. For us to run to Him, cling to Him and trust Him with everything we’re going through. Whether it’s painful and hard, or joy filled and exciting! We need Him!’ 

And that’s no lie my fellow saints! So please, let’s take our need for Jesus seriously, and make hay while the sun shines nuh. (smile) Much LOVE!

…in need or in want…heaven is the best place to look for help…                                                                                                              

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8           

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 June 2021 1 Peter 1:9.

1 Peter 1:9.    Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Come on friends and fellow believers, it’s time once again to celebrate the Lord’s Day! Boy, does it ever come around quickly! But we never regret it being Sunday, because there’s no better state to be in than praising and worshipping our great and wonderful God! And there’s no better way to begin than with a song of praise, which today is one of the best known African American spirituals in Christian History – ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot.’ 

But before we get into it, let’s hear from the website Hymnary.org . They say: ‘On any given day, reading any newspaper or watching any daily news show, it is not hard to become despondent about the state of the world. When our friends die of disease, or our children are bullied, we cry out with the psalmist, “How long, O Lord, how long?” And yet (for the believer, there is always a “yet”), we make this cry knowing that we have a God who hears us and responds. We are able to call out the evils of this world for what they are, because we know something better is coming. 

We have hope in our own salvation, and in the renewal of God’s creation. Thus, when we sing this great spiritual, it is important that we do so not in an escapist mentality. While we eagerly await the day we see God face to face, we must trust that until that day comes, God is fulfilling His purpose on the earth through us. We can’t sing this hymn in order to run away from the hardship and the pain. Rather, we sing this hymn as an assurance that hardship and pain is not the end. Amidst all of our trials, we know what is yet to come, both in heaven and in the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God, and we wait for that day expectantly.’ 

Great words of comfort and encouragement my faithful brethren!And after listening to several versions, I again considered that of Eric Clapton, a rousing reggae riddim recorded way back in 1975, to be the best one for us to sing, because it’s a song of hope and promise and thus needs to be sung as though one is happy for such hope and promise. (smile)So let’s get into some rocking reggae, with joyful hearts and voices, filled with much hope and strong faith, as well as strong background vocals and a tough bass line, with the chorus jumping us off us. 

‘(Refrain: Swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home; swing low, sweet chariot, coming for to carry me home.) I looked over Jordan, and what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] If you get there before I do, coming for to carry me home; tell all my friends I’m coming too, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain] I’m sometimes up, I’m sometimes down, coming for to carry me home; but still my soul feels heavenly bound, coming for to carry me home. [Refrain]’ 

Oh mih people, that was indeed a rocking version! And you could see that heaven enjoyed it too, because they were all up dancing and singing with us. The Father was tapping His toes and clapping along to the music, while Jesus stood to one side rocking quietly, still shy and not wanting to draw too much attention to Himself. (smile) 

Wow! There’s nothing that heaven likes better than praiseful worship, because music is the food of heaven! Remember all that the four beasts and twenty-four elders do all day and night is to sing the praises of God, (Rev. 4:8-11), so heaven is continually filled with music. And as it did for so many of our enslaved forefathers, ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot should also be an emblem of hope for us. As one commentator says: ‘it welcomes death as the occasion “to carry me home to glory.” 

And we know that the imagery is associated with Elijah’s being taken up to heaven in a flaming chariot, over the river Jordan. The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And it came to pass as they (Elijah and Elisha) still went on, and talked, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder (separated the two of them), and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.’ (2 Kin.2:11) And the scholars remind us that ‘Elijah followed Enoch in being taken into heaven without dying (cf. Gen. 5:24).’ 

Now, I believe this scripture from Peter’s first epistle is one that’s very appropriate for this song. Please read with me: ‘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. 

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye LOVE; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-9) 

Oh my fellow believers, that’s a crucial explanation of our faith right there. We have a living hope in Christ, who rose from the dead and lives forever more! And I like how this commentary puts it: ‘In spite of the “ups” and “downs” of earthly life (vs. 3), it is comforting for Christians to know with certainty that their final destination is the glory of a new heaven and earth.’ 

Yeh friends, as Jesus said to Thomas: ‘ because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen me, and yet have believed.’ (John 20:29) That’s us my people! We have believed, and thus like Zechariah says, we have become prisoners of hope. (Zech. 9:12) Yes, life on earth can be difficult with all its temptations and tribulations, but because we have Jesus, we have living hope, a certainty that things will turn out right in the end. 

So please praise His holy name and give Him much thanks, for without Him, we’d be nothing, but with Him, we are everything! Much LOVE!

…never forget or give up on the Big Three…Faith, Hope and LOVE…                                                                   

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                  

Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 June 2021 Mark 1:11.

Mark 1:11.     And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And the heat wave is on this Sunday morning in Southern Ontario! Hope your A/C units are working well, otherwise you are liable to burn up in the heat – a small preview of what hell is like. (smile) And come to think of it, that might just motivate us to turn to Christ! For if we can’t stand this minor earthly heat, then how we going to stand the blazing heat that’s supposed to exist in Hades eh? But since we not going there, we don’t have to concern ourselves about how hot it is, just think about getting through this earthly summer weather in good stead with Christ, our Lord and Saviour. 

And as is our custom when we gather to worship on the Lord’s Day, be it in person in His sanctuary, or through technological means, we open with a song of praise and worship. And today’s hymn titled ‘I Need Thee Every Hour’ is a magnificent anthem to how much we do need Jesus Christ. The song was written by Anne Hawks, an American poet and gospel hymnist, in 1872, with the music annotated by Pastor Robert Lowry. 

The website Godtube claims that Hawks explained the purpose of the hymn thus:”For myself, the hymn was prophetic rather than expressive of my own experiences, for it was wafted out to the world on the wings of love and joy, instead of under the stress of personal sorrow.” And they report Lowry as saying: “I believe it was the expression of her own experience. It came to me in the form of five simple stanzas, to which I added the chorus to make it more serviceable. It inspired me at its first reading. It first appeared in a small collection of original songs prepared for the National Baptist Sunday-school Association, held in Cincinnati, Ohio in November 1872, and was sung on that occasion.”  

Meanwhile the website umcdiscipleship.org claims ‘to have a personal account of the genesis of the song: Hawks writes, “One day as a young wife and mother of 37 years of age, I was busy with my regular household tasks during a bright June morning [in 1872]. Suddenly, I became so filled with the sense of nearness to the Master that, wondering how one could live without Him, either in joy or pain, these words were ushered into my mind, the thought at once taking full possession of me — ‘I Need Thee Every Hour…'” 

However, ‘Following the death of her husband, Hawks reflected on the power of her song: “I did not understand at first why this hymn had touched the great throbbing heart of humanity. It was not until long after, when the shadow fell over my way, the shadow of a great loss, that I understood something of the comforting power in the words which I had been permitted to give out to others in my hour of sweet serenity and peace.”Ah friends, such is the mysterious working of our great God. He causes us to do stuff that doesn’t take on any serious personal importance until much later on, when something happens in our lives, and that same stuff is there to comfort and help us. 

So, having gotten all that info on the hymn, let’s finally sing it nuh, lifting up our hearts and voices to heaven with sincere need.‘I need thee every hour, Most gracious Lord, No tender voice like thine, Can peace afford. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee.) I need thee every hour, Stay thou near by, Temptations lose their power, When thou art nigh (Chorus) 

I need thee every hour, In joy or pain, Come quickly and abide, or life is vain. (Chorus) I need thee every hour; teach me thy will, and thy rich promises in me fulfill. (Chorus) I need thee every hour, Most holy one, Oh make me thine indeed Thou blessed Son. (Chorus: I need thee oh I need thee, Every hour I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee. I need thee, Oh I need thee, Oh bless me now my Saviour, I come to thee…I come to thee…’

Oh my people, what heartfelt sentiments, sentiments that are all basically about intimacy with God. And today, we’re just going to look at some scriptures that deal with that intimacy. Now it was a hard choice because there are so many, and I therefore chose those that spoke to my heart. And the first one is obviously these words of Moses to the Israelites, which Jesus hailed as the greatest commandment. ‘And thou shalt LOVE the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.’ (Deut. 6:5) If we’re talking about intimacy with God, we must totally give our all to Him. 

Then there are these magnificent words of intimacy written by Bruh David: ‘As the hart panteth after (deer long for) the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before him?’ (Ps. 42:1-2) And if those words of Bruh David didn’t inspire you to intimacy with God, then try these: ‘O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land.’ (Ps. 63:1) How much more intimate can we get than by sincerely longing to be with our Maker, our Provider and our God eh? 

Now hear Jesus to the disciples. ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine: no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ Wow! That’s intimacy personified! One abiding in the other! You couldn’t get any closer than that! 

And we obviously could not leave out this gem from Bruh Paul: ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ…That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:7, 10) Yes friends, Bruh Paul wants to experience the stuff that Christ went through so that he could have a real personal experience, suffering His death, as well as His resurrection. Now that’s what you call hungering for real intimacy! 

Now, let’s close with what I believe is the most intimate scripture, that at Christ’s baptism: Mark describes it thus: ‘And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened (torn open), and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Mark 1:9-11) 

Oh my fellow saints, I think that is the greatest picture of intimacy we can ever get; that wonderful interaction between Father, Son and Holy Ghost, our wonderful Triune Godhead! I’m sure it warmed the cockles of Jesus’ heart, that the Father chose to acknowledge Him before the earthly crowd, and have His Spirit empower Him for His upcoming ministry. 

Now, since we are representatives of Christ, we surely need to have intimacy with Him. And the best way to get it is, as He says, abide in Him, and let Him abide in us, for when we do that, both the Father and the Holy Spirit will also come to abide in us. Then we can show intimacy to those around us. It’s all in a day’s walk with Jesus my people! Much LOVE!

…our God created us…above all else…for intimacy with Him…                                                            

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8           

Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 February 2021 Psalm 23:5.

Psalm 23:5.     ​Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.

Sunday morning, Sunday morning; time for worship, time for giving thanks and praise on the Lord’s Day! And though it’s still only through technological means with no physical gathering, we don’t care, because we can worship our wonderful God through virtual reality just as well as in person…well, it does lack something, (smile) but it serves the purpose. It’s definitely better than no worship at all. So let’s get right to some praiseful singing. And this morning’s song is one we did some time ago, that I find so glorious and true. It’s something done by the artist called Javed, (Javenius Walker) and titled ‘Drinking From My Saucer.’ 

Wow! I wonder how many of you remember when tea was served in cups with saucers to hold the overflow or spillage. And sometimes when the tea was too hot, you’d pour it into to your saucer and drink it from that, as it would cool faster on the broader surface. You couldn’t put out a cup without a matching saucer. But that was many moons ago. Children nowadays don’t even know what’s a saucer. Anyway, that’s where the idea for this song comes from. So in a rich, soulful, sincere voice of sacrificial praise, let’s sing. 

‘Intro: ‘We Worship You Lord, we worship You with all of our hearts souls, bodies and minds. It’s to Your throne we come, with praise and thanksgiving for your many blessings. (Verse: I’ve Never Made A Fortune, And It’s Probably not Too Late Now, Oh, but I Don’t Worry About That Much, Cause I’m Happy Anyhow. And As I Go Along Life’s Journey, I’m Reaping Better Than I Sow. I’m Drinking From My Saucer, Because My Cup Has Overflowed. 

I haven’t Got A Lot Of Riches, And Sometimes The Going’s Rough, But I’ve Got a friend in Jesus, And That Makes Me Rich Enough. I Thank God For all His Blessings on me, And The Mercies He’s Bestowed. I’m Drinking From My Saucer Because My Cup Has Overflowed. 

I Remember Times When Things went Wrong, And my Faith Wore Somewhat Thin, But All At Once The Dark Clouds Broke, And the Sun Peeped Through Again, So Lord, Help Me Not To Grumble and complain About The Tough Rows That I’ve Hoed. I’m Drinking From My Saucer Because My Cup Has Overflowed.’ 

(Monologue: ‘You know, right now you may be going through some rough times in your life, but I’m here to encourage you today, not to give up. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP!I pronounce a blessing upon your life, upon your family. You must prosper and be in good health in the name of Jesus. I believe it with all my heart.’ 

(Verse: And If God Gives Me Strength And Courage to go on living, When The Way Grows Steep And Rough, I’ll Not Ask For Other Blessings Jesus, For I’m Already Blessed Enough, And May I Never Be Too Busy, To Help Others Bear Their Loads, Then I’ll Keep Drinking From My Saucer Lord, Because My Cup Has Overflowed! Yes, I’ll keep drinking from my saucer Lord, Cause my cup has overflowed, Oh my cup has overflowed…. Yes My cup has overflowed… ‘ 

Oh friends, indeed our cups have overflowed with the many blessings that the Lord has showered down on us His children! And if we refuse to acknowledge that, then we’re unworthy to be called children of God! I know I’ve been so blessed, that if I only open my mouth to complain the Lord will just take them away, because I have no reason whatsoever for complaining, although complaining is something we do so well in our wealthy society. 

And I just LOVE the words of the song. They are simple, but truthful and right to the point. So even if I’m not wealthy in personal possessions, that doesn’t bother me, because I’m still happy. And as believers, we don’t need worldly riches to make us happy, at least we ought not to. (smile) And anyway, as we go along the sometimes rough paths of life, with Jesus as our friend, we usually reap more and better than we sow. 

That’s why Bruh David could write so emphatically in Psalm 23 – The Lord is my shepherd. ‘Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over.’ (Ps, 23:5) Yes mih people, when we walk sincerely with Jesus, that’s the kind of life we enjoy. It’s not easy, but it’s oh so rewarding and adventurous! 

I’m also reminded there of these awesome verses in Psalm 92, where it talks about the righteous man: ‘The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing (plump and green); To show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.’ (Ps. 92:12-15) 

Now why would we want to be anything other than righteous eh? And as the song further states, when things go wrong and our faith ebbs, as we pray and remember the promises of our wonderful God and all that He’s done for us in the past, suddenly the dark clouds break and the sun peeps through and our lives once more return to some semblance of normalcy, but with a stronger anointing of faith! 

And this magnificent and reassuring scripture from Jeremiah, says it in spades. ‘Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the 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. 17:7-8) Even more reason to be righteous and trust in the Lord! 

So my fellow saints, in these tough and trying times, let’s promise to seek after righteousness nuh, like Jesus desires of us; put out trust in God, help others bear their load in His name, and not grumble and complain when things get a li’l tough, as they will occasionally do. That way we will always be assured of drinking from our saucers, because our cups are overflowing with divine blessings. That’s divine wisdom! Much LOVE!

…God’s children don’t run down blessings…blessings run them down… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 January 2021 Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:28.     ​Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Come all ye saints of Christ, come from far and wide, let us gather in the virtual reality of His tabernacle so that we can praise and worship Him, on this His special day! And all God’s children declared a loud and proud: ‘Praise the Lord God Almighty for His goodness to the children of men! Bless His holy name!’ 

Yes friends, it’s the Lord’s Day again, and that calls for celebration and exaltation, while seeking wisdom, guidance and encouragement for the next seven days. We can’t meet in person, but they certainly can’t stop us from meeting by technological means. So let’s fire up those pieces of technological wonder, as well as our hearts, souls, bodies and minds and open the proceedings with a soulful piece of worship written by Fernando Ortega, titled ‘Give Me Jesus.’ But we’re going to do the live, soulful rendition by Danny Gokey. 

Ah mih people, this song has become one of my favourites since I first heard it last year. And yuh know, earlier this past week, when I began thinking about what we’d sing today, that just flashed into my mind, and obviously it was game over! (smile) So let’s get with it; let our sacrifice of praise rise to high heaven as the black youngster on the rich sounding piano leads us into soulful, scintillating song. And please don’t forget the sweet background vocals from the diversified choir. 

‘Ohhh ohhh, Give me Jesus… In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise In the morning, when I rise Give me Jesus. (Chorus: Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus.) When I am alone, Oh When I am alone, When I am alone, Give me Jesus. (Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. For He is all that I need. Just give me Jesus) When I come to die, Oh, When I come to die, When I come to die, Give me Jesus. 

(Ohhhh Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Oh it’s all I need, all I need is Jesus. So Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus. You can have all this world, You can have all this world, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus, He’s all I need. He’s all I need. 

Give me Jesus…in the morning when I rise…when I lay my head down… when I wake up, when I lay my head down, said I need him, said I need you… said I only want Jesus…when I wake up… Yeahh! Just give me Jesus. All I need is him. We worship you, we worship you, say we worship you Lord. You’re the answer to my prayers, you’re the calm in the storm, you’re my rest and my refuge…oh yeahhh…’ 

Yes mih bredrin, yes! Who says worship ain’t sweet and uplifting eh? Tell them they don’t know what they talking about, especially when yuh worshipping Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, the One who sacrificed His sinless life on the cross at Calvary to pay for our abominable sins and thus established reconciliation with our heavenly Father, our Creator and Provider! Wow! Worship must be sweet when yuh worshipping the Light of the World; the Way the Truth and the Life! How could it not be eh, when Jesus is ALL anyone ever needs! 

The song tells the gospel truth! In the morning when I rise, all I need to do is turn to Jesus, surrender my day to Him and He will lead and guide me in wisdom and truth. He is the answer to ALL our prayers, our calm in the storm, our refuge and strong tower. Then when I am alone, feeling lonely…oh mih people, NO ONE provides comfort like our Sacrificial Lamb, because He can empathize with our problems since He also experienced rejection, dejection, disappointment, ‘sufferation’ and all the negative things that this world throws at us. 

And there are no better, more comforting words in the Good Book than those of His Great Invitation. ‘Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (gentle and humble): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Now who in their right minds would ever want to turn down such an inviting and comforting invitation eh? A lot of people turn it down though. That means we have plenty people in our world who aren’t in their right minds. (smile) 

So while we’re here on earth, Jesus is ALL we need. And when we die, He’s still ALL we need because He’s our Saviour, who paid our sin debt in full, so that we can enter paradise with Him and enjoy eternal life. Brother! What a magnificent and magnanimous Deity is our Jesus: LOVING, merciful, compassionate, graceful, forgiving, faithful…etc. etc.! 

So why would we need anyone else in this life, or the hereafter eh? When we wake up, when go to sleep, when we need comfort, when we need forgiving, mercy, grace, compassion, strength to face the day, He’s the ONLY One who can provide it all! That’s why we can refuse ALL that this world has to offer, once we have JESUS! Keep the wealth and the power, the social and celebrity status of this evil world. We’ll settle for JESUS! 

And besides, He’s promised that if we put His Father and Him first, seek the kingdom of God and its righteousness, all that we need will be given to us, because the Father knows what we need, and He won’t let us go lacking anything! (Matt. 6:33) No wonder Bruh David could proclaim, and so too can we: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.’ (Ps.23:1) 

And even when it comes to earthly riches, who was the richest man ever eh? Solomon! The Lord made him that because he asked for wisdom and understanding to rule His people. So if the Lord thinks we need earthly wealth, He can also give us that, for He owns it ALL! So why bother with this wicked world and their worthless stuff eh? We can’t carry any of it with us. 

And anyway, where we saints are going we don’t need it, for heaven is richer and more priceless and beautiful than earth ever will be – mansions and streets paved with gold…and JESUS, our shining star! So let’s keep leaning on Him nuh, holding tightly to His hand, and when He comes knocking at the doors of our hearts, let’s open quickly and receive Him with a hearty ‘Welcome my Lord and Saviour! Welcome!’ Much LOVE!

…Jesus made us…saved us…and will look after us for ever…Glory be… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 January 2021 2 Timothy 2:3.

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

The Lord’s Day is here again friends, so please let’s do what we ought to; gather in worship, to pray and give thanks, even though it may be technologically driven, due to the pandemic lockdown of our physical sanctuaries. Prayer and worship are the same, however they are done, although actual physical togetherness does lend it a special atmosphere. 

And since the times they are rather rough and unrelenting, with our Christian actions and beliefs becoming more important every day, I figured that today we’d sing a song sure to boost our awareness and reassure us of God’s continuing dependence on our earthly work. It’s a 19thcentury hymn with words written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, and music composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. But it remains one of our popular hymns to this day. We’re talking about the ole favourite ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ 

And the website Godtube explains: ‘It was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces throughout the world.’ And oh my people, do we ever need encouragement right now, because the battles are certainly long and hard, but if we stand strong like good soldiers of Christ, we will eventually overcome. In fact, Christ has already won the victory, we just need to maintain it. So, let’s do as the author of Hebrews instructs us nuh: ‘By him (through Jesus) therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name (openly confessing His name.’ (Heb. 13:15) 

And today we doing a Sally Anne (Salvation Army) processional rendition, for they have adopted it as their favoured processional. In full voice, and soldierly marching tone: ‘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. And so we sing: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before…With the cross of Jesus going on before…’ 

Yes friends, that was tough and strong, like real soldiers marching out to battle with Christ, our Field General, with His cross at the front of the battle line! And please believe that we are in a war, sometimes physical, but most of the time it’s spiritual. As Bruh Paul said to 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 (hosts of) wickedness in high places.’ (Eph. 6:12) 

Ah mih people, the enemy and his evil forces are all over the spiritual world trying to wrest us from the hands of Christ. And though they have some power, they have no real authority over us, unless we allow them to invade our space. But to successfully withstand the enemy, we need to do as Bruh Paul says: ‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ (Eph. 6:10) This spiritual war will last until Christ returns, therefore we need to be continuously and constantly strengthened by the Lord’s mighty power. 

And as soldiers we also need physical accessories. That means we also need to ‘Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.’ (Eph. 6:11) A sense of urgency is noted there my brethren, and it demands immediate attention. No good soldier would go into battle without armour, and we have God’s spiritual armour to fight this one and stand strong against the evil schemes of the enemy. 

In short, it consists of our loins girded about with truth, topped by the breastplate of righteousness, while our feet are comfortably shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and we are holding forth the shield of faith to reject the fiery arrows of the wicked enemy. On our heads lie the helmet of salvation, and in our strong right hands we wield the mighty sword of the Spirit, which is the word of our omnipotent God! (Eph. 6:14-17) 

Glory be mih brethren! What mighty armour we have! But despite the great armour, one more thing is essential, that’s prayer! We can’t win without prayer! Please let’s remember that, cause prayer is the lifeblood between the Father and us. (Eph. 6:18) However, now that we have the protection, we still need something else. And I guess you’re wondering what that is nuh? Oh fellow Christians, it’s the one thing that all soldiers ought to have: bravery! You can’t go into battle in a cowardly manner and expect to win. 

That’s why Bruh Paul warned Timothy, re the toughness needed to win our spiritual battle.‘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 soldier.’ (2 Tim. 2:3-4) And that’s oh so true! Soldiers must be able to withstand tough times, and not get entangled in the affairs of the world, so they can give their all to the one who chose them. And in our case, that’s Jesus Christ. 

Oh friends, if there’s one thing we can’t say about our Leader, Lord and Saviour is that He was a weakling! He was strong like an ox; physically, emotionally and mentally. He had to be to withstand the ‘sufferation’ He endured on our behalf. Now are we going to cry and whimper when He needs us to stand strong on His behalf now, especially after He’s given us all the tools to do so? God forbid that we chicken out on Him now, although that’s what many of us are doing. 

This pandemic though is making a lot of people have second thoughts because they see that nothing we’re doing is working to stem the deadly tide, and God is the only avenue left to turn to. So there’s yet hope. Let’s build on that hope nuh my fellow saints and soldiers in Christ, starting today,RIGHT NOW! Let’s show the enemy that we have the parts, the backbone and belly to stand up as one, united, faithful, steadfast and strong for Christ!Much LOVE!

…none of us alone…is as good as…all of us together… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 November 2020 John 10:11.

John 10:11.     ​I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Oh friends, the Lord’s Day has rolled around once again, but sadly, this time His house, His sanctuary is desolate because of the Coronavirus lockdown. Thankfully though, that doesn’t mean He can’t bless us and make His face to shine upon us, because we’ll still be gathering to sing and praise and worship Him, though through virtual means, through the wonders of technology. 

And because of all the strife, confusion, upheaval and discontent that’s currently running rampant in our world, I decided that we needed a real thankful and joyful song to open our worship today, something to lift our spirits and remind us of our God’s goodness and LOVING-kindness. And I’m sure you’ll all agree that there could not be a better song than this one to do it. I’m talking about ‘Oh Happy Day!’ 

Yes mih people, up on point today is that 1967 gospel music arrangement by the Edwin Hawkins Singers of the 18thcentury hymn written by clergyman Philip Doddridge, which in the intervening years has certainly become a gospel music standard. Just check out YouTube and you’ll see the many different versions. And today we’re really going to get into it, giving it the full gospel treatment, with lots of hand clapping, the music rich and soulful and scintillating, with the tambourines jangling and the call and answer response right up front, for that’s what really lends the song its verve and chutzpah. (smile) 

So altogether now, in full voice, letting heaven know that we’re serious and sincere: ‘Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) (Repeat) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) Oh, when He washed (When Jesus washed) When Jesus washed (When Jesus washed) He washed my sins away (Oh, happy day) Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) 

He taught me how (He taught me how) To watch and fight and pray Watch and pray And live rejoicing every day (Good God) Every day Oh, happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, it’s a happy day (Oh, happy day) Oh, Lord (Oh, happy day) Mmm, good God (Oh, happy day) Oh yeah (Oh, happy day) Mmm, oh (Oh, happy day).’ 

Yes mih bredrin, that was an awesome version! Heaven had no doubt that we were sincere! And this time, Jesus couldn’t just sit smiling shyly by the Father’s side…how could He when all heaven was dancing, singing and clapping too eh…including the Father? Jesus had to get up and do a li’l two step to acknowledge the praise and worship. And believe me precious people, Jesus deserves all of that adoration and reverence for the willing sacrifice; crucifixion on the old rugged cross at Calvary, that He made on our behalf! 

Wow! What a day it truly was when He washed our sins away, when He paid the Father’s steep price to cleanse and save us from hellfire and damnation! It was indeed the happiest day that mankind had ever experienced, and the best gift ever given to us after the Lord breathed His breath of life into our forefather Adam’s nostrils! As Jesus so rightly said of Himself: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.’ (John 10:11) And that’s exactly what He did; gave His life for us on the cross, so that we could be reconciled to the Father and live…live forever! Glory be people! 

How amazing and sacrificial is that eh! And hear Him later on nuh: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck (snatch) them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck (snatch) them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.’ (John 10:27-30) Mama Mia! What beautiful words of reassurance? 

And the scholars express it thus: ‘10:27-29. Never perish: These verses declare the assurance that all believers will be utterly safe from any creature that might wish to destroy them.’ Can any other faith sincerely promise that? Absolutely not! And what’s so great about Jesus is not that He just washed our sins away, but He also taught us to how to watch and fight and pray! Glory Hallelujah! What a giant He is! 

And to add to all that, He taught us how to live rejoicing every day too! So why wouldn’t we proud of Him eh? And revere and adore and worship Him; as well as call Him Lord and Saviour? No reason whatsoever to do otherwise my fellow saints in Christ! 

But unfortunately I have to muddy the waters here, cause not all of His followers walk the talk that they talk. Too many of us don’t watch and fight and pray, nor live rejoicing every day, although our sins have been washed away and we’ve been guaranteed eternal life. Now isn’t that a crying shame, because it just makes Jesus’ sacrifice of no account if we keep on living that joyless, ungodly life. Remember what He also said: ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) That means we’re supposed to enjoy our earthly lives if we’re true believers, not live downtrodden and dismal existences. 

Oh my people, heaven begins here on earth if you’re a follower of Jesus, and we ought to be the happiest and most joyful group of people on the planet because of all that He’s done and promised to do in the future. So let’s get with the programme nuh, let’s change our attitudes, lift our heads and give God the glory through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, for that’s why He sacrificed His sinless life! Much LOVE!

…if you’re a true believer…then you ought to be joyful…for the joy of the Lord is your strength… 

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