Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 July 2019 Revelation 1:18.

Revelation 1:18.    ​I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.

Now just in case you did not realize it, I’m here to inform you that the weekly cycle of life has come full circle again! (smile) This is the Lord’s Day, the Sabbath, the day on which He rested after spending the entire week creating the universe and all therein. It’s also the day that we ought to rest from our labour and journey to His sanctuary to fellowship with other believers, praising and exalting His Holy Name, giving Him exceeding thanks for all that He’s done for us. 

And last, but definitely not least, to hear His Holy Word, so that our spiritual selves can be refreshed and renewed, to enable us to rebuke and repel the evil enemy as we venture back into the ungodly working world tomorrow. And all of God’s children said a loud, proud and sincere: ‘Praise the Lord! Magnify His Holy Name!’ 

So let’s get right into the praise section by singing this old but much LOVED ‘Christian hymn, ‘Abide with Me,’ written by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.’ And was it ever a fitting going away present to leave to posterity, as he indeed wrote a telling, thoughtful and true hymn! So, in one accord, let’s sing it like we really mean it nuh. 

‘Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless, O abide with me. Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day; earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away; change and decay in all around I see; O thou who changest not, abide with me. I need thy presence every passing hour. What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be? 

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me. I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless; ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory? I triumph still, if thou abide with me. Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes; shine through the gloom and point me to the skies. Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee; in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.’ 

Oh friends, those are such powerful, moving and gospel true words! Nobody else can help us in this life like Jesus can! And I like the descriptions: ‘Help of the helpless.’ That’s exactly what Jesus came to do! ‘O thou who changest not…’ More glorious truth! ‘I need thy presence every passing hour…’ And do we ever my believing brethren! Without it, we’d quickly be toast against the enemy. ‘What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?’ Exactly what we were just saying: only with Jesus in our lives can we ever hope to overcome the evil and diabolical enemy called Satan! 

Consequently, ‘I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless.’ Oh my people, living with and for Christ, certainly raises our level of courage to great heights, because we know that with Him in our corner we can conquer any and every foe! And when he asks? ‘Where is death’s sting? Where, grave thy victory?’ The thrilling, victorious answer comes: ‘I triumph still, if thou abide with me.’ 

And that’s for certain sure friends, because Christ defeated hell, death and the grave by His sacrificial death and His awesome resurrection! Note His words to John in the vision on the isle of Patmos: ‘I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades) and of death.’ 

Oh friends and fellow believers, the victory is indeed ours through Christ Jesus! Never forget that! Isaiah prophesied it: ‘He will swallow up death in victory (forever); and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. ‘ (Is.25:8) And we all know that our great and faithful God doesn’t make idle promises, His word doesn’t return to Him void, but accomplishes all its purposes. 

And Jesus certainly made mincemeat of Satan!  That’s why Bruh Paul could be so exuberant and cocksure when he wrote to the Corinthians: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave (Hades), where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (2 Cor. 15:54a-57) Oh mih people, shout and jump for joy, for victory is ours! Sing ‘Glory Hallelujah!’ Praise the wonderful name of the Lord for He has indeed done marvellous things on our behalf! 

And Bruh David said it too in Psalm 68 – God has gone before his people. ‘Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation.   Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation: and unto God the Lord belong the issues (escapes) from death.’ (Ps.68:19-20) But my people, all that good and wonderful news of victory through Christ, doesn’t mean we can just sit on our laurels and don’t do anything to help our cause. 

That’s why Bruh Paul at the end of his victory speech, warned the Corinthians:  ‘Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain (futile) in the Lord.’ (2 Cor.15:58) And it most definitely is not, for all good work will eventually be rewarded in God’s time.

Friends, I sincerely recommend then, that we all take that warning to heart and get down to brass tacks right now, standing steadfast in Christ, rebuking and repelling the enemy who is trying to be a spoilsport and curdle our victory! Please don’t let him! Much LOVE!

…Christ won the victory…but we have to keep it alive…

 

 
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Today​’s Scrip-Bit 21 April 2019 John 3:16.

John 3:16.   ​For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
 

Happy Easter my people! Well at long last the endless rain seems to have ceased! Glory Be! Oh it’s nice having rain but not for days on end. Even too much of the most valuable things can become annoying when you have them in too large a quantity. Yes, even too much money and too much LOVE are annoying! (smile) 

What I could use more of though is better health. Oh I’m feeling much better today than I did yesterday, but still not up to scratch. But we’re working on it. And today being Easter Sunday, probably the most important day in our Christian faith, when our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ rose triumphantly from the grave, conquering the foolish foe Satan, once and for all time! 

Oh what joy that brings to believers! And I know that all the places of worship will be filled today, as even the worst church-goers fill the pews on this most memorable day! I don’t understand why they only chose to attend on Christmas and Easter, but we’ll just be thankful that they are there. (smile) 

And as always we begin the real proceedings with a song of praise and worship, and this morning there’s no better hymn to open with than the Charles Wesley composition of ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today!’ As one commentary so appropriately concludes: ‘It has been considered by many Christian hymnologists as being the most definitive church anthem for Easter. Each verse of “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” features a focus on the Resurrection of Jesus. Learn more from the lyrics and story below!’ 

Yes friends, let’s do so as we belt out those words of victory which show the awesome power of our magnificent Lord and Saviour. All together now, in full voice with hearts seething with joy as the day demands. ‘Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia! Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia! Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia! Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia! 

LOVE’S redeeming work is done, Alleluia! Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia! Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia! Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia! Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia! Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia! Where’s thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia! Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia! Following our exalted Head, Alleluia! Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia! 

Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia! Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia! Praise to thee by both be given, Alleluia! Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia! Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia! King of glory, soul of bliss, Alleluia! Everlasting life is this, Alleluia! Thee to know, thy power to prove, Alleluia! Thus to sing, and thus to LOVE, Alleluia!’ 

Oh my fellow believers that’s really a lesson on Christ’s Easter Sunday resurrection! Every line spells out a significant aspect of the resurrection story. But the line I think that brings the truth home most powerfully and significantly is ‘LOVE’S redeeming work is done!’ 

And to that we can all shout a most glorious ‘Alleluia!’ because that is what the whole exercise was, is and shall always be about; the unconditional, overwhelming LOVE of God for His wonderful, but oh so disobedient and rebellious creation called mankind! 

As Bruh Paul put it so simply, but powerfully to the church at Rome: ‘But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom.5:8) Yes friends, God didn’t wait for us to change from our rebellious ways, but showed us what true LOVE is really like, so that we can follow His example and forgive and LOVE each other, the same way he forgave and LOVED us without any conditions tied to it. 

That just brings to mind the most powerful verse in the Good Book, the one that says it all, and also appropriately spoken by Jesus, who should know what He’s talking about. ‘For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ 

Oh my fellow believers, it couldn’t get any better than that! Imagine that nuh? God LOVED us so much that He sacrificed His only Son so that we could be saved from hellfire and damnation! As Jesus said: ‘For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:17) 

Truly my faithful brethren, I don’t know what else to say that will help us believe the awesome and heart-rending LOVE that our heavenly Father feels for us, and what made Him go through all the pain He endured, so we can come to this great day of Jesus’ triumphant resurrection and the wonderful option that all who believe in Him, will also one day rise from the dead! 

As Bruh Paul told the Corinthians: ‘For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.’ (1 Cor.15:21-22) Yes friends, this is the day, the day of Christ’s amazing resurrection that sets the tone for our faith, for our salvation and eventual resurrection too. 

So please enjoy it and give much thanks and praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, as well as our heavenly Father, who planned the whole thing, and saw it through to completion, all for our sake! Much LOVE!

…without Easter…we would all be condemned to Hades…