Today’s Scrip-Bit 6 September 2020 John 14:19b.

John 14:19b.     ​…because I live, ye shall live also.

The last Sunday friends, the last Sunday of purely technological worship! Glory be! Yeh, the Anglican church is finally reopening its doors next week…and about time too. It will certainly be strange and somewhat uncertain entering those portals of the Lord’s sanctuary to worship after such a long time. But as prime believers we’ll handle it very nicely, just as we handled the sudden stop in physical worship some months ago. Now we don’t expect everyone to show up, since many are still timid and uncertain about the Covid-19 scene and don’t trust the arrangements put in place for the resumption of physical worship. But that’s okay because the important thing is for everyone to feel safe and comfortable in what they do. 

So let’s get the show rolling with a magnificent Christian contemporary song nuh. Something titled ‘Because He Lives,’ written by the popular song writing team of Bill and Gloria Gaither. And if you think the Lord doesn’t move in mysterious ways, then think again nuh, for up to Saturday I couldn’t think of a song to sing today. But a couple days ago a friend had shared a version of ‘Because He Lives,’ and later on Saturday I further shared it with some other believers and that was the end of that. I was so touched by it that I knew it was today’s Song. 

Therefore, without further ado, let’s offer up some sacrifice of praise in a soulful, harmonious and passionate manner, meaning truly believing what we sing. ‘(Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.) (Repeat) God sent His Son they called Him, Jesus He came to LOVE, heal and forgive He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. (Chorus) 

How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and joy he gives But greater still that calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He lives And then one day I’ll cross the river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives…’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth my brethren…because Jesus lives, we too will live, and moreover be able to face any and everything that comes against us. As one pastor says, Jesus is alive, and that’s enough! Give Him thanks and praise my people! 

Now most of you don’t know that there’s a rather interesting and touching story behind that song. And here it is, as told by Gloria Gaither to interviewer Lindsay Terry. ‘In the late 1960’s, while expecting their third child, the Gaithers were going through a rather traumatic time in their lives. Bill was recovering from a bout with mononucleosis. It was a special period of anxiety and mental anguish for Gloria. The thought of bringing another child into this world, with all of the “craziness,” was taking its toll on her. 

On New Year’s Eve, she was sitting in their living room, in agony and fear. The educational system was being infiltrated with the God is dead idea, while drug abuse and racial tensions were increasing. Then suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, she was filled with a gentle, calming peace. It was as if her heavenly Father, like an attentive mother bending over her baby, saw his child and came to her rescue. The panic gave way to calmness and an assurance that only the Lord can impart. She was assured that the future would be just fine, left in God’s hands. 

Shortly after the baby was born, both Bill and Gloria remembered that the power of the blessed Holy Spirit seemed to come to their aid. Christ’s resurrection, in all of its power and affirmation in their lives, revitalized their thinking. To Gloria, it was life conquering death in their daily activities. Joy once again dominated the fearful circumstances of the day Those events gave rise to one of the most famous Christian songs of our time, “Because He Lives.” 

In this song, which begins, “God sent His son, they called Him Jesus,” we are reminded that Christ came to this earth. And the purpose for His coming was that we might be able to face tomorrow, with all of the uncertainty that it brings. She also reminds us that God holds the future right in his hands and makes life worth living for all who trust in him.’ 

Ah mih people, what a magnificent, magnanimous and comforting God we serve and worship…and One who moves in such mysterious and unexpected ways His LOVING-kindness to accomplish! So tell me why the world doesn’t gladly and joyfully serve and worship Him eh? Pure pride and stupidity! And that brings us to His simple but yet so important promise: ‘…because I live, ye shall live also.’ (John 14:19b) Glory Hallelujah my faithful friends! 

Oh saints of Christ, His death on the cross of Calvary was important, because there He paid our sin debt in full, but the real crowning glory is His resurrection; His immortal victory over hell, death and grave! Wow! Hades couldn’t hold Him, and because of that it won’t hold those who sincerely believe in Him either! Our faith wouldn’t have been worth anything if Christ had stayed dead, but that miracle of rebirth – for want of a better word –  (smile) makes all the difference. No wonder Bruh Paul’s greatest desire was: ‘That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:10) 

What a powerful scripture! And the scholars explain it thus: ‘3:10. This verse may also be paraphrased: “In order that I may personally know Him, that I might both experience His resurrection power and share in His sufferings, and thus I will be more and more conformed to His death.” Paul wants “the righteousness…of God” (vs.9) so that he can obtain a personal relationship with Jesus in actual day to day experience. This knowledge of Christ is obtained by experiencing in daily problems, needs, ministry, and so forth, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. 

Knowing Christ also entails participating in His sufferings. Paul desires to share in the Lord’s sufferings because they bring him into a deeper and more meaningful relation with Him, companionship in sorrow establishes the most intimate and lasting of ties, as afflicted hearts cling to each other. The result of participating in Christ’s sufferings is that Paul is made like Him in death. This word “death” has a double meaning here, including inward and outward, ethical and physical death. As Jesus died in regard to sin on the cross, so Paul is doing more and more in his daily life. As Jesus was bodily slain, so the apostle, should Caesar’s verdict go against him, is prepared to be slain.’ 

Wow! Now that is the height of discipleship and faith! It’s doubtful though that many of us can attain it, but it’s nonetheless a good standard to aspire to. Let’s see how close we can come to it nuh. (smile) Much LOVE!

…Christ’s death and resurrection…the best news ever… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 March 2019 Philippians 2:8.

Philippians 2:8.   And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Well it’s here right early again! And no, I’m not talking about Sunday, but Daylight Savings Time where we push our clocks ahead one hour and screw up everybody’s timetable. So at some time this morning it was two o’clock, then all of a sudden it became three o’clock! Wonder how many people remembered to do that before they went to bed and are going to get up late for church and work? 

Then somewhere down in November we revert to Standard Time, setting the clocks back an hour, and again screwing up everybody’s timetable! One minute it’s two o’clock, then the next it’s one o’clock! Steups! I’ve yet to see anyone who likes the inconvenience, but the powers that be say they think it helps, so we do it. 

We are one of a number of fewer and fewer areas who are doing it still. You then have to unnecessarily readjust to the time difference in different parts of the world. Even in Canada, not all the provinces do it. And they don’t suffer because of it! Chuh! 

But let’s not get too worked up about that this Sunday morning nuh, let’s go to the Lord’s house and fellowship; have a good time as we give Him praise and thanks, cleanse our souls, renew a right spirit within our hearts and say the Lord be praised! And as always, we begin our praise and worship with a heartfelt song. Today’s song is one we all know, titled ‘Because He Lives,’ written by the Christian writing tandem of Gloria and William Gaither. 

And since the lyrics are ever so true my fellow believers, let’s do them justice nuh, let’s allow our voices to ring out powerfully and in sweet sincerity as we joyfully declare (wrong again): ‘(Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.) (Repeat) 

God sent His Son they called Him, Jesus He came to LOVE, heal and forgive He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. (Chorus) How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and joy he gives But greater still that calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He lives And then one day I’ll cross the river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain 

And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives.’ 

Ah mih people what truthful words of solace, joy and assurance! And it’s all possible just because our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ lives! Glory Hallelujah! Just imagine that nuh; because He is alive and well we can face tomorrow without any fear, and knowing that He holds our future in His mighty hands, life is worth living again! 

Oh friends, give Him much thanks and praise nuh, because He didn’t have to do what He did for us, He could have even gone against the Father’s wishes. But no, as the Good Book says: ‘And being found in fashion (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’ 

Yes my people, Jesus selflessly sacrificed Himself for us on Calvary’s cross. Imagine that nuh: the Son of God becoming man and giving His life for a bunch of ungrateful sinners, all because His Father asked Him to. Yuh think those nails that pierced Jesus’ body didn’t pierce the Father’s heart too? And believe you me, every lash and awful pain He felt, the Father felt them too. But that was the ONLY way the Father could save us sinners and retain His righteousness and justice. 

The wages of sin is death, which means somebody, some sinless body had to pay to set us free, and Jesus was the only sinless soul besides the Father.  Sacrificing His only Son for us, just goes to show how much the Father LOVED us back then, and still LOVES us even now, even though we are such ingrates! 

Yes friends, it was all based on LOVE! Jesus came to LOVE, to heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon. And an empty grave is now there to prove that my Lord and Saviour Lives! Glory be my people! He won the victory over hell, death and the grave, and rose to everlasting life, so that those of us who believe in Him, will die, but also rise again and experience life eternal with Him! 

And for that unstinting, willingly given obedience, the Good Book tells us: ‘Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of (those) things in heaven, and (those) things in earth, and (those) things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:9-11) 

Mama Yo! Yes people, the Father honoured Jesus with the greatest honours at His disposal! The only thing He didn’t lavish on Him was His own throne! And the Father has promised to also lavish us with honours and rewards if we remain steadfastly obedient to His will. So there you have it, the choice is ours to be obedient or not. And you can’t say you didn’t know. (smile) Much LOVE!

…trust and obey…for there’s no better way…to be happy in Jesus…than to trust and obey…