Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 November 2019 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.    ​That men ought always to pray and not faint.​

 

Dress warm, leave a little earlier than usual, be extra careful, because the white stuff is supposed to be swirling around during today’s commute. Yeh, we’ve been promised a fair amount of snow this Monday, when we celebrate Veteran’s Day (U.S) and Remembrance Day (Can.), keeping in mind all those who fought in the great wars to help preserve our  democratic way of life.

So please do as our Tuesday Mantra advises, don’t worry or hurry. (smile) And since so many spirits are usually on the low side on a normal Monday morning, you can imagine what they’ll be like when we introduce the snow factor. But, as we just said, there’s no need to hurry or worry, because we have the ‘rightest’ solution to whatever ails you this morning, a simple prayer. 

Yes friends, we’re talking about prayer; the most powerful medium in God’s great universe; the method He designed for us to communicate with Him. So let’s do just that nuh; communicate with our heavenly Father, through a prayer we call our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, because it takes our Monday morning problems to God asking for His awesome and generous help.

All together now: ‘Oh Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe and all therein! We, your humble servants, praise your Holy Name and thank you that this Monday morning we have jobs to go to; jobs we don’t like, jobs that are unfair, difficult and even dangerous, but which serve a useful purpose here on earth; keeping lives and families together. 

We also thank you Father for the renewed vitality and enthusiasm you’ve wrought in our weary souls over the last two days. It’s that rejuvenation of Spirit which allows us now to sally forth with confidence into the evil, ungodly world that surrounds us, to begin a new week of work, constantly buffeted and bombarded by the enemy’s wicked taunts, wiles and lies. But heavenly Father, we’re not afraid, for we know we’re invincible, sure conquerors, once we’re wearing your powerful, protective spiritual armour. 

We surrender our all to you, and humbly ask that you let your incredible aura of LOVE, the Holy Spirit, lead and guide all your servants as we go out to meet the enemy in battle. Fill us with steadfast faith, so that we can make worthwhile inroads into the enemy’s ranks, and thereby further your glorious kingdom. We pray this in the Holy Name of your Son, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. AMEN!’ 

Awright, that sounded sincere! And we know our heavenly Father thought so too, because He has already responded in a positive and productive manner. Our spirits have suddenly risen, and now we feeling strong like a lion, ready to take on the whole world single-handedly in Jesus’ name! (smile) Yes mih people, only our mighty, magnificent and magnanimous Creator could have made those quick and sudden changes in us, in response to our heartfelt prayer. And I believe one reason our lives can become somewhat wishy-washy, is because our prayer-lives are not up to scratch. 

That brings to mind some rather relevant words of Christ on the subject of prayer: ‘That men ought always to pray and not faint.’ He conveyed this, as was His won’t, through a parable, that of the wronged widow continually seeking justice from the unjust judge, until, fed up with her nagging, he finally gave her the justice she deserved. (Luke 18:2-8) And the scholars explain: ‘18:1. To faint means to “lose heart.” Precisely when tempted to give up, men ought to be strong in their resolve to pray.’  And is that ever so true my fellow believers. Prayer needs to be persistent and persevering. 

Hear Bruh Paul to the Romans, re aspects of a true believer’s life: ‘Rejoicing in hope; patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfast) in prayer.’ (Rom. 12:12) Prayer must therefore be a constant in our lives, if we truly want to connect, to communicate with God. And please remember that He is interested in all aspects of our lives, so that means we ought to communicate on all matters. No wonder Bruh Paul told the Thessalonians to ‘Pray without ceasing.’ (1 Thess.5:17) That means we should be always be talking to God. And remember too that prayer doesn’t have to be long like our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, it can be as short as ‘Help me God!” but it has to be sincere. 

And prayer is such an important part of our lives that even when Bruh Paul talks about putting on the armour of God and all that it entails, the last thing he mentioned was: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph.6:18) 

And the scholars explain: ‘6:18. Praying is grammatically linked to “stand” in verse 14. Without prayer God’s armour is inadequate to achieve victory. Prayer is indispensable. Always means “on every occasion,” that is, when Satan attacks. In the Spirit signifies that with the Spirit’s help such prayer for divine aid is to be made. Watching thereunto means “being vigilant in this very matter” of prayer. They are to pray not just for themselves but also for all saints; spiritual combat is both an individual and corporate matter.’ 

Oh my people, let’s ponder all of that today nuh, taking serious stock of our prayer lives. Let’s remember that prayer ought to be a constant in our lives; in fact it’s INDISPENSABLE; meaning we can’t do without it, like oxygen to our bodies, we need it to survive spiritually. And with the Lord’s help, through prayer (smile) we can always improve. Much LOVE!

…prayer is the basis of…ALL miracles…that’s how powerful it is…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 November 2019 Romans 8:35.

Romans 8:35.    ​Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 

It’s that day friends, Sunday, when all roads lead to the Lord’s sanctuary, to praise, give thanks and glorify His holy name, with a humble attitude and penitent heart! Yes, it’s time to refuel our hearts, souls, bodies and minds with His word and the encouragement and confidence that the faithful fellowship of like believers brings. And as always, we begin our worship with a song of praise.

Today’s praise offering is simply titled ‘The Promise,’ a wonderful song of contemporary Christian music, as sung by the Martins, that popular Christian Family Trio out of the Southern U.S. So let’s get soulful and sincere as we raise our voices to heaven, letting our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ know how much we LOVE and adore Him, and how grateful we are for all that He’s done for us through His sacrifice on the cross, but also faithfully keeping the promises He made while down here on earth. 

In strong voice and sweet harmony, let’s sing: ‘I never said that I would give you silver or gold, Or that you will never feel the fire or shiver in the cold. But I did say you’d never, walk through this world alone… Hnnnn! And I did say, don’t make this world your home. I never said that fear wouldn’t find you in the night, Or that loneliness was something, you’d never have to fight. But I did say, I’d be right there by your side… Thank You sweet Jesus! And I did say, I’d always help you fight. ‘Cause you know I made a promise, that I intend to keep…My grace will be sufficient in every time of need…My LOVE will be the anchor, that you can hold on to. This is the promise…This is the promise, I’ve made to you. 

I never said that friends will never turn their backs on you, Or that the world around you wouldn’t see you as a fool. But I did say, like me, you’ll surely be despised. And I did say, my ways confound the wise. I didn’t say you’d never taste the bitter kiss of death, Or have to walk through chilly Jordan to enter into rest, But I did say, I’d be waiting, right on the other side… (yeah, yeah…He is waiting!) And I did say, I’ll dry every tear you cry. ‘Cause you know I made a promise that I’ve prepared a place, and someday, sooner than you think, you’ll see me face to face… And you’ll sing with the angels and the countless multitude. This is the promise…This is the promise, I’ve made to you. 

(Talk – I don’t know where you’ve been walking, but I know in life’s devastation, He will pursue you forever. You’ve picked the One who will never let you go! He’s able to do above and beyond anything we can ever ask or think. Hallelujah!) So just keep on walking, don’t turn to the left or right, And in the midst of darkness, let this be your light, That hell can’t separate us, and you’re gonna make it thru… This is the promise…This is the promise, I’ve made to you. ooooooh, this is the promise, I’ve made to you…this is the promise, I’ve made to you…’ 

Ah mih people, where to begin eh? I really don’t know. Originally I’d thought of finding a scripture for every promise, but when I came to do it, I realized that it would be a humongous task, taking up much more space and time than I have. Anyway, I’ve found a passage of scripture, one that we know really well, that somewhat encompasses all our hopes, dreams, faith and assurance in Christ. Listen to Bruh Paul as he expatiates to the church at Rome. 

‘Who shall separate us from the LOVE of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that LOVED us. 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.’ (Rom. 8:35-39) 

Yeh friends, if we truly believe and trust and surrender our lives to Christ, NOTHING can, or will ever separate us from His eternal and unconditional LOVE! Now check out this explanation from the scholars: ‘8:38-39. We cannot be separated from God’s LOVE, because it is set forth in a person who is God Himself, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. God’s desire to redeem believers cannot be frustrated, because He is infinitely greater than any potential enemy. His plan will be realized because it is his purpose (cf. v.28).’ Who can thwart the well laid plans of the Creator eh? Nobody! 

And I’ll spoon feed us, though we know v.28 better than most other verses. (smile) ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those that LOVE God, to them who are the called (the elect, the saints) according to his purpose.’ (Rom. 8:28) Oh faithful saints, as the scholars say, God is working out all things for good, but we who LOVE Him can appreciate it best, because we LOVE Him come what may. Whatever happens doesn’t change our LOVE for Him one iota! And that’s certainly how it ought to be! So let’s go out and show that to a disbelieving  the world nuh! Much LOVE!

…and, lo…I am with you always…even unto the end of the world… (Matt.28:20b)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 October 2019 Matthew 16:24.

Matthew 16:24.     If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
 

It’s a somewhat damp and foggy Tuesday morning in my neck of the woods, so please be careful all you who have to get out on the road, because you know the kind of craziness that exists on our roadways these days. If you can wait until the fog lifts, please do so. And today we’re going to look at a very interesting quote from one of the leading Protestant Theologians of our age, Jurgen Moltman (1926) of the German Reformed Church. And the quote says: ‘The more passionately we LOVE life, the more intensely we experience the joy of life.’ 

And isn’t that the gospel truth friends! When we’re passionate about life, or anything really, we enjoy the experience that thing brings more than if we’re not passionate about it. And there’s nothing to be more passionate about than the LOVE of God and the LOVE of life! Unfortunately though, too many of us have lost the passion we once had for real life and for God, and instead have embraced the unrealistic, soul destroying, short-lasting and unproductive passion for worldly stuff. We have to remember that life is not, and will never be completely smooth sailing, but a combination of storms and calms, highs and lows, and ‘choosing to live life on its terms brings enthusiasm and passion into our experiences. Our decision to LOVE life – despite the highs and lows – allows us to delight in the highs and to accept the lows as unavoidable, but momentary setbacks.’ 

Yeh friends, as someone once said, ‘setbacks are only opportunities in disguise.’ Therefore, though we may not like them, and they may prove to be difficult and frustrating, we still need to embrace them as important aspects of our lives, because we know that it is only through setbacks and adversity that we truly grow. We can’t hide from the difficult things, or those we don’t like, else we’ll never know or experience the true fullness and joy of life. Those who are passionate and enthusiastic about life, despite its many shortcomings, are the ones who rise to the top of the enjoyment heap. (smile) 

And the BEST way to handle life’s ups and downs is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ in our everyday lives! If you didn’t know that before, then you know it now! (smile) Oh my people, with Jesus as the mainstay, the mainmast, the pilot of our lives, we can remain calm through every storm, and handle every high and low with equanimity. But only the LOVE and acceptance of Jesus enables us to have those wonderful qualities! And why is that eh? Because when Jesus enters into our hearts and lives He puts the power of His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and it’s that Holy Spirit that leads and guides, teaches and convicts, comforts and LOVES us, so that we can handle whatever comes against us with a good and sane attitude. 

Now, before we go any further, let’s make one thing real clear; following Jesus is wonderful, but it’s not always easy! And unless you’re ready to truly hunker down and do what He asks, then you’ll find yourself frustrated and unhappy from the very get go. So let’s look at some of the important but difficult stuff that Jesus laid out for His followers. The first and most important, but also most difficult requirement is laid down in these words of our Lord and Saviour to the disciples. ‘If any man will come after (follow) me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.’ That statement there usually stops many of us right in our tracks! The idea of denying ourselves and taking up a cross doesn’t sit well with any of us, but to follow Jesus they are necessary prerogatives. 

And here’s what the scholars have to say about it. ‘16:22-28. Deny himself, that is, refuse his own claims upon himself. Take up: The meaning is “lift up.” It is a stronger word than that used in 10:38, and implies a lifting up of the cross on high, so that all may see it. This is the strongest statement in the New Testament about the disciple’s need to crucify himself, by yielding to the claims of Christ’s lordship over him.’ Ah mih people, although it seems like we’re asked to give up so much for Christ, the reality is that we get back much much more than we give up when we’re steadfast and sincere. 

Now here’s what I LOVE about Jesus; He can give you comfort at the same time as promising adversity. Listen to Him to the disciples, and consequently to all His future followers. ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Oh glory be my faithful brethren! What a mighty promise! The world is full of trials and tribulation, but when we embrace Jesus, we can have His peace! And what kind of peace is that? Listen to Jesus again: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

And hear how Bruh Paul describes that peace to the Philippians nuh. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep (guard) your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Phil.4:7) And what kind of peace is all of that? The scholars explain: ‘4:7. The peace of God is that tranquility of mind freeing the believer from fear and worry. “Peace” which passeth all understanding means (1) peace divinely bestowed in times of anxiety, so wonderful that it exceeds one’s ability to understand it; and (2) God’s peace far surpassing one’s own understanding of the problem, and his ability to cope with and solve it.’ 

Yeh friends, when you walk sincerely with Jesus, ALL bases are covered! That’s not say you won’t have problems and face adversity, but you will be able to handle them with the awesome help of the Holy Spirit! Wow! Now, for those of us who truly believe and try to be faithful, let’s go home lifting up our crosses high, so the whole world can know who and whose we are. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, 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!’ 

So let’s go out and do exactly that nuh my faithful brethren, as it behooves us as true followers of Christ. Much LOVE!

…to walk with Christ…is to walk in true peace…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 October 2019 Job 19:25.

Job 19:25.    ​For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.

 

Well how shall we put it this morning eh? It’s not raining…the roads seem fairly dry…and the sun seems to be valiantly fighting to push out above the eastern horizon…but in my area it’s still somewhat cloudy and overcast, which means any number can play! But after two days of steady rain we do deserve a short break from all that heavenly blessing. (smile) 

Nonetheless with the omnipotent Lord God in our corner, we are well able to handle anything that comes against us. As the Good Book so wisely and truthfully says: ‘If God be for us, who can be against us eh? (Rom.8:31) Not a single, solitary soul my faithful brethren! So with that most important bit of information in mind, let’s move on this Friday morning to hear what the ordinary workingman has to say for himself. 

And as always, he puts it plainly. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday and the weekend is on the horizon. Hallelujah! But rain, rain, rain, please go away to Spain – or wherever you come from nuh…give us a break…and come back some other time when we badly need you! As they say, too much of anything is good for nothing! 

And…Chuh man! Though it’s been fairly warm, these past few days has just been too much rain, which meant I couldn’t go outside and do anything, and even worse, it kept the children in the house and underfoot all the bloody time! 

Let’s hope though that this stoppage is for real, and we’ll get a rain free weekend, because after being cooped up in work and the house whole week, I want to get outside for my free time and do things with my buddies, and the children also need to get out too, else they’ll soon drive their mother bonkers. Thank you Lord for Fridays and weekends, and please, keep it warm, but make this weekend rain free!’ 

I’m sure that many of us believers also share the sentiments of the ordinary workingman, but we know that we have to keep a good attitude, for Jesus’ sake, re anything that comes against us. So it could rain everlasting, or be dry, warm and sunny, we still need to handle it all with a certain aplomb; that’s self-confidence, coolness, poise, and unwavering stability. (smile) Yeh, it’s not easy to not react like the world does, but that’s why we have the Holy Spirit of Christ dwelling in us – to raise us up to His level of strength and obedience. Glory be mih people! 

Now let’s turn to our weekend song, our Friday Chant, which isn’t as worldly as the workingman’s, but it does suit our needs admirably. Let’s chant: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen!’ 

Ah mih people, I know it’s somewhat frustrating to always be on the lookout for the enemy, but that’s what we signed up for when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. He didn’t have it easy, and neither shall we. He promised tribulation in the world, but that we should also be of good cheer, because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) That’s not easy to do either, but if we sincerely believe, we will be able to do it, with His help. 

Then we can calmly, steadfastly and truthfully declare like Job did, in spite of his overwhelming calamity: ‘For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter (last) day upon the earth.’ And all God’s children gave a loud shout of thanks and praise: ‘Bless His Holy Name! Bless the name of Jesus Christ! That name that’s above every other name in the universe!’ 

Yeh friends, we need to do that, because that’s exactly what Jesus promised; to be with us to the very end, to include us in His latter day kingdom, to rule and reign with Him! What could be better eh? AbsolutelyNOTHING! And listen to how Job continues with absolute certainty in God’s deliverance and LOVING-kindness: ‘And though, after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me (how my heart yearns). (Job 19:26-27) 

And to boost that vision of Job, listen to John from his first epistle. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons (children) of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’ (1 John 3:2) So we can be assured that when Jesus returns, in whatever form, we shall see Him and be like Him. All praise and glory to God my people! Jesus also promised that the pure in heart shall see God. (Matt.5:8) So it’s not a matter of if, but when? 

Now here is a paraphrased version of the scholars’ explanation of Job’s speech and problems.‘19:23-27. Although God has humiliated Job, and his friends and relatives have abandoned him, so he’s reduced to pleading for pity, still, from the very depths of degradation he expresses the confidence that if his case could only be recorded for posterity, future generations would judge him favourably.’ And it has been recorded, and we have judged him favourably. 

‘Furthermore, he knows confidently that he has a Redeemer, (Heb. go’el) One who will champion his cause and vindicate him. The Redeemer is more than an arbiter (9:33) or a witness (16:19) but a Kinsman-Redeemer who will avenge him. Clearly Job viewed God Himself as the Redeemer, and the Hebrew word is in fact used often of God (Ps.19:14; Is.41:14) 

In my flesh (vs.26) speaks of a resurrected body . Though it may also be translated “apart from my flesh,” as a spirit being, the emphasis of the original means “from the standpoint of my flesh,” in my resurrected body. Here then is clear evidence of the Old Testament belief in the resurrection of the human body.’ 

Ah friends, everyday we learn something new – at least we’re supposed to.  (smile) And all who have been saved know one thing for certain sure: that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has redeemed us, paid for our sins through His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary, thus gloriously reconciling us to the Lord God Almighty, and we are now His justified, sanctified and righteous children! Glory Hallelujah! Much LOVE!

…let the words of my mouth…and the meditation of my heart…be acceptable in thy sight…O Lord…my strength…and my redeemer… (Ps.19:14) 

P.S. Sorry it’s somewhat long and late, but I got up late, then I had several important e-mails to answer before I could get started. Hope it’s informative, and you like it. Much LOVE!

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 September 2019 Luke 12:32.

Luke 12:32.    Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Saturday, oh Saturday, how do I LOVE thee! Let me count the ways: I don’t have to wake up panicky to an alarm and rush out to take children to a babysitter and school, then to a job that I dislike, while sitting in traffic and getting there tired and disgruntled. I don’t have to spend 8 hours working with people who are mostly jerks. I suppose they think I’m one too, but that’s okay. 

 

I don’t have to clean the house, do laundry or take the children out, if I don’t want to. And if the children aren’t happy with that state of affairs, then I can drop them off at their grandparents who will just LOVE to entertain them for the day, since they seldom see them during the week. Then I can spend the whole day on the couch eating junk food, or in bed with my hubby! And yuh tell me I won’t LOVE you Saturday! No way Jose! (smile) 

And since it’s Saturday, let’s see what quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he sincerely aspires to inspire us to a better tomorrow. And I particularly like this one: ‘Always have something beautiful in sight, even if it’s just a daisy in a jelly glass.’ 

Why? Because it’s just about admiring beautiful things; things that the Lord made just for us to admire, like the beauty of nature and all therein. There’s nothing better than to be able to feast one’s eyes on something beautiful, whatever it may be, because it just lifts our spirits and reminds us of God’s greatness and helps us to truly appreciate His LOVING-kindness towards mankind! 

And these next two seem to go together: ‘There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.’… ‘Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.’ 

Yeh friends, our God didn’t make us to live small, unimportant lives, but to live big ones, with big dreams that will stretch us, dreams that will seem impossible, that will then leads us to partner with Him, to whom nothing is impossible, to make them come true. Remember Jesus came to earth to die, not only to pay for our sins, but also for us to have life, and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) 

And abundant life doesn’t mean living below our capabilities, but trying to reach for the stars, with His help of course! And believe me, too many of us believers are not stretching ourselves to our full potential, merely settling for mediocrity, for merely what life offers, instead of reaching out for what God meant us to have and to be!  

But please remember, we’re also supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world! And you can’t make a marked difference unless your salt is indeed salty and spread out, and your light is shining big and bright! (smile) And dreams will always conquer facts, because facts are static and unchangeable, but dreams can be big, wide, far-reaching, changeable, and with the help of the creator of the universe, possible! 

That brings us to this next quote: ‘There are things that always seem impossible until they are done.’ And is that ever so true my brethren! How many times in our own lives have we figured or claimed that something is impossible, then we simply hunker down, put our best foot forward, ask for some supernatural help…and voila! There it’s done and no longer impossible! 

And I guess here we should note Jesus’ immortal words after making the statement about a camel passing through the eye of a needle to his disciples. (Matt.19:23-25) Obviously they were amazed, as we too are, even now. ‘But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God ALL things are possible.’ (Matt.19:26) 

Please friends, please, let’s never forget that: any and everything is indeed possible with our great God, and if it falls within His will for our lives, He will make it possible for us! That’s why we can’t live small, cloistered, non-dreaming lives, but have to reach up and out for what He’s planned for us. 

That brings us to this last quote: ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.’ Yes my people, in this life there will always be some kind of fear in our lives, so talking about its absence is not reality at all. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t have courage, because as Sister Joyce (Joyce Meyer) likes to say, ‘courage is doing it afraid.’ And that’s oh so true! 

In this crazy, divisive, evil, wicked, strife-filled, war-torn world, fear is the number one emotion in so many of our lives. And there is cause for some fear even when walking in our own neighbourhoods, but remember that some of the most repeated words in the Good Book are these two simple ones: ‘FEAR NOT!’ 

From Genesis to Revelation they are used to encourage us not to be afraid, because God knows that fear is a meaningful emotion in human lives, but when we walk compliantly with Him, there is no need to be afraid, because He is in control of EVERYTHING! Thus Jesus’ affirmation to the people when He told them to seek first the kingdom of God: ‘Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’ 

It’s simple friends, if we make God our Number ONE priority, we need not fear anything in this whole wide world! And if that didn’t touch you, then listen to Jesus again: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) And if you can’t truly believe and trust Jesus’ words, what’s the point of calling yourself a believer eh? 

And we’ll close with this scripture that all of us know, but not enough actually take to heart. Hear these electrifying words of Bruh Paul to Timothy: ‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind.’ (2 Tim.1:7) Therefore my brethren, I implore us, let’s not only remember those powerful and true words, but as of today, let’s action them in our hearts, souls, bodies and minds nuh, for they will certainly stand us in very good stead in this life! Much LOVE!

…believers ought not to be live in fear…but in courage…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 September 2019 1 Timothy 2:3.

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

Sunday’s here again friends! Glory be! It’s the day we cease from our normal labour and instead visit the Lord’s sanctuary and have fellowship with other believers! Yes mih people, it’s time for us to sing and dance and praise the Lord and give Him sincere thanks for the many blessings He’s so magnanimously bestowed on us! Wow! What a wonderful God He is! There’s none other like Him! That’s for certain sure!

That’s why we need to show our true LOVE and sincere gratitude by coming together as the body of Christ, His church, at least once a week! And not only do we offer up praise and thanksgiving, but we are renewed and refreshed in return, through hearing His Word and the encouragement of and communion with our fellow believers, so that we can go out and do His work with vim and vigour this upcoming week.

Now let’s get the show on the road by opening, as always, with a song of praise and worship. And today’s number is certainly an old but still very popular number titled ‘Onward Christian Soldiers.’ And I hear the excited sigh that rises from our throats as the song registers, because it is one we all LOVE to sing! So let’s sing it nuh, with plenty emotion, strong voice and the sweetest of harmonies!

All together now: ‘Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before! Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe; Forward into battle, see his banner go! (Refrain: Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before!) At the sign of triumph Satan’s host doth flee; On, then, Christian soldiers, on to victory! Hell’s foundations quiver at the shout of praise; Brothers, lift your voices, loud your anthems raise! [Refrain]

Like a mighty army moves the church of God; Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod; We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. [Refrain] Onward, then, ye people, join our happy throng, Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song; Glory, laud, and honor, unto Christ the King; This thro’ countless ages men and angels sing. [Refrain 2]’

Oh friends, oh friends, what a powerful and emotionally touching rendition! Heaven could see that we truly believed what we were singing, felt it right down in the very depths of our souls! That’s what some of these old English hymns do to us. Now it’s reputed that the words to that song were written by Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865, while the music was composed by Arthur Sullivan in 1871. And has it ever stood the test to time! Becoming the Salvation Army’s favoured processional hymn along the way.

Apparently ‘it was written to encourage Christians in their ongoing battles with temptations within themselves and the evil forces of the world.’ And it takes its theme from New Testament references of Christians being soldiers for Christ. One example of that is our Bit, Bruh Paul’s famous words to his young protégé Timothy. ‘Thou therefore endure hardness (hardship), as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.’ (2 Tim.2:3-4)

Yeh friends as Christians we do need to stand up strong under whatever trials and tribulation comes against us, like a good soldier does. Consequently, that soldier doesn’t get involved with the unnecessary affairs of life, so that he can give his all, his total allegiance and attention to the business of the one who’s chosen him to be a soldier. That means, since Christ has chosen us to be His followers, then we too must endure the tribulation that will certainly come against us, as Christ promised in John 16:33, and neither get involved in the affairs of this world because we are not of it, as He says in John 17:16.

And the analogy of Christians being soldiers in Christ’s army is rather apt, since we are constantly fighting battles of temptation and deceit against Satan and his evil minions. However it’s not a physical battle, although many believers are fighting physical battles in many places in our strife-filled world, but it’s a spiritual battle that most believers face day by day. As Bruh Paul says to the Corinthians: ‘For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after (according to) the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (of the flesh), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations (arguments), and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;’ (2 Cor.10:3-5)

And the scholars offer these explanations of those verses. ‘10:3-5. Though we walk (live) in the flesh (in a body), we do not war (fight) after (according to) the flesh (human standards. The first phrase of verse 5 looks back to verse 3 and expresses the manner in which believers conduct spiritual warfare. It is by casting down (destroying) imaginations (false arguments), such as Paul’s opponents have raised.’

That also means refuting all the lies and deceit and the temptations the enemy constantly throws at us. And we do that by taking all those wrong thoughts captive and making them conform to Christ’s Word. Remember, our minds are where the serious spiritual battles take place, so we obviously must have our thoughts conform to Christ’s Word to be victorious. And as I was reading the words of the hymn just now, one verse struck me as being somewhat untrue in these evil, divisive times. ‘Like a mighty army moves the church of God;…We are not divided; all one body we, One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.’

I just have to shake my head and sadly chuckle because God’s church is certainly not moving in these ungodly days like a mighty army, more like a stagnant, sluggish, complacent, uninterested band of layabouts. And as to being one body with one hope and one doctrine…What a joke! Christ’s church has never been more divided and fractured and going different ways than now!

But friends, let’s remember that where there’s life there’s also hope, so it’s not too late. If we’re serious about rectifying the ills in the church we still can, if we come together, instead of moving further apart. It will take a lot of hard work and effort, putting our selfish, petty desires aside, and showing the true character of Christ. I know it sounds impossible, but remember too, that ALL things are possible with Christ! Much LOVE!

…to be true soldiers of Christ…Christians must stop seeking and seeing life…the way the world sees it…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 August 2019 John 14:1.

John 14:1.    ​Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
 

Ah friends, the sun is out, but even more importantly, the Son is out in the ole fella’s soul, body and spirit! Wow! And do I ever need Him this morning as the aches and pains are running somewhat rampant from all the physical activity involved in going down to the Ex last night to check out the David Rudder show. 

And it was a grand show; beautiful lighting and wonderful music from an excellent band composed of mostly local musicians! David is also an excellent performer. He went on at 8.30, and with the obvious encore didn’t finish until 10:15. And the fans LOVED him, because he is a personable and engaging raconteur, does a lot of talking and encouraging in his songs. And though the rain began drizzling around 9:15, it never stopped the Madness of the party! 

And you can imagine the crowd response when he sang some of his many hits like, Hammer, Bahia Girl, Calypso Music, This is Madness, Islands in the Sun, and ended with his anthem, Give Thanks! I never got home until around midnight, and after doing the usual bedtime routing didn’t get to bed until after one. Thus the tardy awakening and consequently the lateness of the Bit. (smile) 

But here is an interesting quote that we can all use, from Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906 – 1945) a Protestant Lutheran Pastor, and theologian, who was active in the German resistance to the policies of Hitler and Nazism. ‘The essence of optimism is that it…enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not abandon it to his enemy.’ 

What an eternal truth that is my people! And more so for Christians than anybody else because we have the best earthly life and eternal heavenly future planned out by our wonderful God for us! Jesus died partly so that we could have life here on earth, and have it abundantly (John 10:10), then He promised that he was going back to heaven to prepare a home for us and would eventually come back and take us with him there. 

And if you don’t believe me, then listen to Jesus Himself. ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings): if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’ (John 14:1-3) 

Oh my faithful brethren, what an awesome promise! And we all know that our Godhead ALWAYS keep their promises! So why are so many of us so negative and unoptimistic eh? Being a follower of Jesus is the best cause for optimism in this evil and ungodly world. Too many of us are fearful, anxious and unsure about our lives and earthly situations, but Jesus has on several occasions told us to be otherwise. 

Remember two of His favourite words were ‘FEAR NOT!’  And in our Bit He tells us quite plainly: ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.’ How much more can He say eh? But He does say more. (smile) Hear Him when He promises the disciples the Holy Spirit. ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.’ (John 14:27) 

That’s why Christians should always be the eternal optimists! And this definition of an optimist is both excellent and true. ‘An optimist, regardless of personal problems, is eager to arise in the morning – to get to work, to be with friends or family, to live the happiness of the day. People are drawn toward optimists, for their joy shines on everyone around them.’ 

And that’s exactly how we believers ought to be! But in actual fact, would that be a good description of our current lives? That’s for each of us to know and work out with God. But please remember Jesus said that we should let our light shine before men, so that they could see our good works, and thus glorify our heavenly Father. (Matt.5:16) Well friends, we can’t do that unless we truly believe in Him and are joyfully optimistic about our future. 

And I’ll quote us one more encouraging scripture from Jesus: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) Oh mih breddren, mih breddren, how else and how often must Jesus say it for us to believe it eh? 

He has already given us the victory by conquering hell, death, the grave and Satan through His sacrificial death and awesome resurrection, we just have to keep the victory going now, and we can only do so by resisting the wiles and taunts of the evil one and being strong and optimistic in Jesus! 

And I certainly hope that what we’ve said today has raised all our optimism levels, and set us on a path where our lights can shine brightly and we can make a true and useful difference in the world as Jesus so greatly desires. And He has shown us His own optimism by not only dying for us, but also by giving us His wonderful Thursday Blessings so that we can do His earthly work. 

And since they don’t work unless we invoke them, let’s declare them all now, in loud, clear, sincere and optimistic voices. As one now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! 

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

Yeh mih people, that’s the way Jesus wants us to declare His word and blessings. Now let’s go out and do the most important part; share them with the less fortunate…Remember now, don’t hoard them, share them as generously as He has shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…‘life is an adventure of choices to be lived…not an ordeal to be survived…I choose…optimism…and joy…’

 

 

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