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 16 January 2016 Psalm 78:11

Psalm 78:11.       And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them.

Well my fellow believers, it’s Saturday morning in the depths of winter, though it’s been raining instead of snowing, (thank the Lord!) and the ole fella doesn’t have a clue as to what to write about. (smile) 

But I’m not worried, because I know the Good Lord in His tender mercy and LOVING-kindness will eventually look down on me and bless me with whatever subject(s) He desires me to write on today. 

This is the ninth year that He’s been doing it, so why should He stop now eh? Brother, I really can’t believe that I’ve been writing the Bit for so long. It seems like just yesterday (2007) that the Lord broached the idea, and like Sara, I laughed and declared I couldn’t do it because I wasn’t sufficiently versed in His Word and my lifestyle, though not terrible, did not suit such undertaking. 

Hn, hn! But little did I know that Lord very seldom, if ever, takes no for an answer. And tenaciously, He kept coming back with the same idea, until I finally gave in. And what a ride, what a journey it has been my people! It hasn’t been all wine and roses, but it has certainly been very interesting!  

I remember the first Bits in early 2007 being simply a verse or two from the Bible. But as time went on, and I got more confident and knowledgeable, and felt the leading of the Holy Spirit more, I began to add some words and explanations of my own. Until now, many of you think I write too much. (smile) But I simply write what and how much I believe I’m led by the Spirit to write.  

Now look at that eh! A few minutes ago I didn’t know what to write, but through the Lord’s mysterious workings, I’ve written something, and an idea is forming in my mind. 

All of that leads me to point out one of the major problems many of us Christians have today; in times of trouble, we simply forget, or choose not to remember what the Lord did for us in the past. Now that doesn’t make any sense friends. If the Lord helped us out before, especially when our faith wasn’t as strong as it is now, why would He not continue helping us eh? 

And the best example of that is the Israelites, when the Lord brought them out of Egypt. Back in Egypt, when Pharaoh refused to let them go, the Lord brought several plagues upon the Egyptians. (Ex. Chaps.7-10) Finally Pharaoh agreed to let them go and they left with much wealth. (Ex. 11-12) Then He parted the Red Sea so they could walk over dry land, and afterwards consumed the Egyptian army by drowning them. 

Let’s listen though to the voice of Asaph the psalmist as he describes their foolhardiness in Psalm 78 – A reminder of God’s goodness to Israel. ‘The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law; And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had showed them.’ (Ps.78:9-11) 

Oh friends, our Bit says it all. I believe that many of us behave like those Israelites; we forget all the good things that the Lord has done for us in the past, and consequently our faith suffers, it doesn’t grow as it should. When times get hard and problems abound, the first thing we need to do is remember how the Lord helped us in the past. 

Hear the sad story as Asaph continues: ‘Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan. He divided the sea and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as a heap. In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. 

He clave (split) the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.’ (Ps.78:12-16) 

Now after 400 hundred years of slavery and hard labour in Egypt, one would think that any sensible people would recognize the Lord’s goodness and power and thus obey His commands. But unfortunately, not so the Israelites. 

‘And they sinned yet more against him by provoking (rebelling against) the Most High in the wilderness. And they tempted (tested) God in their heart by asking meat for their lust (for food according to their desires). Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish (prepare) a table in the wilderness? Behold he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? Can he provide flesh for his people?’ (Ps.78:17-20)  

Can you believe it my brethren? After all the Lord had done for them, they still doubted His power and His LOVING-kindness to them. Chuh! 

But we shouldn’t cry down the Israelites too much, because we are not very faithful either. Most of our Western Societies were built on the Christian belief and faith, and the Lord caused them to prosper. But look at us now nuh, we’re in the stranglehold of the prince of darkness because we have forgotten who brought us to the dance. 

We definitely didn’t come by ourselves. It was the Lord God Almighty who caused us to prosper and to gain wealth because we were walking in His will. But once that prosperity set in, we conveniently ‘forgat his works and his wonders,’ just like the Israelites. And now we’re trying our best to remove Him completely from our society. 

Oh my people, that is certainly not wisdom, that is stupidity in the highest! Do we want future generations to look upon us askance and shake their heads in pity, as we now do the Israelites? I doubt it very much, but if we continue the way we’re going, they will certainly have cause to do so. 

More on this tomorrow, God willing. Till then, please let’s consider our society and the godless path it is following, and try to turn it around nuh. Now that is wisdom of the highest order! Much LOVE!

…onward Christian soldiers…marching as to war…with the cross of Jesus…going on before…

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 December 2015 Revelation 1:3‏‏

Revelation 1:3.  Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

‘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 banners go! Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war, With the cross of Jesus going on before.’ 

Oh Yes Friends, we are indeed soldiers of Christ, marching in to war with the enemy in this ungodly civilization in which we now live. And our banner is the mighty cross of Christ! Let us never forget that, for the cross is the difference between life and death for believers. 

It is where Jesus sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins, and it is to it that we owe all that we are as Christians. Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross brought God’s gift of salvation and eternal life to sinful man. 

Therefore let us rise up and faithfully fight the battles in which we are engaged on Christ’s behalf. We cannot just sit idly by and allow life to roll over us, we have to take it by the horns and make it bow to us. 

For as one Peter Marshall supposedly said: ‘Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make things happen.’ 

Now that is quite true my people, but we have to take that with some advisement; namely making sure that what we are doing is God’s will, and also His timing. For if we get out of His will and timing, we will just make an unholy mess of things. 

And the best way to ensure that we are in God’s will and timing is by following the wise advice of our Bit. ‘Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.’ 

Yes my people, God gave us His Holy Word, the Bible as a guidebook for our earthly living, so that we can always be in sync with Him. But to know when we are in or out of sync with the Lord, we have to read and meditate on His Word, and then follow its dictates. Otherwise we’ll just be like lost sheep without a shepherd, liable to go seriously astray in this evil and contentious world. 

I’m sure that when you go on vacation, or anywhere new, and you’re given material describing your surroundings and what happens there, you look at it carefully so you can understand the ramifications of your actions. 

Well the Bible falls into the same category; it explains what will and will not happen in your life, according to the decisions you make. Glory to God for showing us the way! 

Now let’s check out some scripture that corroborates the contentions of our Bit, beginning with the words of Jesus. One day, while Jesus was teaching, the Good Book says: ‘Then came to him his mother and his brethren (brothers), and could not come at him for the press (the crowd). 

And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without (outside), desiring to see thee. And he answered and said, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.’ (Luke 8:19-21)  

Oh friends, I know that sounds somewhat harsh, especially from Jesus, but He is just trying to show that though family ties are important, covenant ties with God are much more important. As the scholars say: ‘Mutual obedience to God comprises a tie that binds more closely than mere bloodlines.’ 

Now here is Mark’s version of the same situation. ‘And he answered them saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren (brothers)? And he looked round about on them which sat about him (in a circle), and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.’ (Mark:3:33-35) 

So Friends, we can clearly see that doing the will of God is our most important goal and action on this earth, because our Lord and Saviour said so! 

Now listen to these words from Psalm 112, which support all that we’ve been speaking about. ‘Praise ye the Lord (shout Hallelujah). Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth; the generation of the upright shall be blessed. 

Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth (stands) forever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.’ (Ps.112:1-4) 

Oh my people, yuh see what happens when we read, meditate on and obey God’s Word! Our lives are blessed! Glory Hallelujah! 

That brings us to the words of Bruh David in Psalm 37 – the true state of the wicked – where he boldly proclaims: ‘The steps of a good man are ordered (established) by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand. 

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed (descendants) begging bread. He is ever (always) merciful, and lendeth; and his seed (descendants) is blessed. Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for ever more.’ ( Ps.37:23-27) 

And what better note to end on my brethren! So as we go about our business today, let us take Bruh David’s wise advice nuh; let us depart from evil, and do good, so that we can live forever. Much LOVE!

…like children obey their earthly fathers…so too should God’s children…obey their heavenly Father…