Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 June 2020 Matthew 5:14a.

Matthew 5:14a.     ​Ye are the light of the world… 
 

Yes, we’re disappointed because there’s still no corporate worship on this Sabbath Sunday, but since we’re true and faithful followers of the great, powerful and imaginative Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we will find a way to worship and celebrate the Sabbath while physically distancing! (smile) No doubt about that my people! And we’re not worried, because we know that some day, as soon as the Lord is good and ready, all these present troubles will pass. And all God’s children gave a loud and positive shout of ‘Glory Hallelujah! This too shall end!’ 

But until it does, we have to keep worshipping through technological means, and to tell the truth we still get to do most things, except the physical gathering and touching. But enough talk…we come here to worship not engage in idle chatter. (smile) And as always, we open with a sacrifice of praise, today’s hymn being titled, ‘Give Me Oil in My Lamp.’ And to tell the truth, I didn’t even know that was the correct name until I looked it up yesterday. I always knew it as a local spiritual ditty called, ‘A li’l more Oil in My Lamp,’ sung in some of the more evangelical churches, that got the spirit moving and the feet dancing. 

And so, in honour of that ‘Ole Time Religion,’ we going to sing it that way. I hope you like this one, mih pardner Scotty… hope it brings back memories. (smile) So let’s get the hands a clapping and the feet a dancing and voices in full, harmonious throat, as we sing praises to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords! 

‘A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. A li’l more oil in my lamp, I pray. A li’l more oil in my lamp, to keep it burning. Keep it 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!) A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, I pray. A li’l more LOVE in my heart, to keep me sharing. Keep me sharing till the break of day. (Refrain) 

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

Ah mih people, that was indeed a rousing rendition. It reminded me of how the Pentecostal Church where I grew up would be humming and jumping when they gave praise. But I guess to each his own, and I don’t think the Lord refuses any kind of praise, once it’s sincere. And I have one person’s view point on the benefit of the song. ‘For the religious, one interpretation is that it signifies a thirst for spiritual food—spiritual food to get one through the darkest of times in hopes of a brighter day, a clearer vision of one’s path or until one gains their salvation.’ 

And believe me friends, it certainly gives us spiritual food for dark and tough times! When we seek to have more, light, LOVE, joy and faith in our hearts and souls, it does inspire us to rise above our earthly problems and also receive divine guidance and wisdom to do the work that Christ desires of us. And right now I’m seeking some of that divine guidance and wisdom to know where to go from here. (smile) And I believe this is where I’m being guided. 

The first place is to the parable of the ten virgins; five who were wise enough to take extra oil for their lamps, and five who were foolish not to do so. We are expected to be like the first five; wise and take oil with us when we go to wait for the bridegroom at the wedding feast, so that our lights don’t go out if He takes a long time to come. Remember, Jesus expects us to be bright, shining beacons to the world: As He clearly says: ‘Ye are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’ (Matt. 5:14a; 16) 

And to do that in an excellent and diligent manner, as the song says, we need other things; like LOVE. And hear Jesus on the subject: ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye LOVE one another, as I have LOVED you, that ye also LOVE one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have LOVE one to another.’ (John 13:34-35) Oh friends, that seems clear and straightforward! But does our behaviour tell that story? Not nearly enough as it ought to! 

And would you believe that if we truly followed Jesus’ advice, our lives would be filled with that unsurpassable blessing called joy? And not the joy of this world, but Jesus’ special kind. ‘These things have I spoken unto you; that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’ (John 13:11) And later on, He again told the disciples: ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) And let’s not forget ‘that the joy of the Lord is our strength.’ (Neh. 8:10) So without it, we’re weak, fragile and unable to do His work properly. 

That brings us to the last piece of the puzzle, but the first one we need to acquire, and the one that keeps us keeping on; faith. That ‘substance (realization) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.’ (Heb.11:1) Yes friends, buoyed by hope, we achieve faith; assurance in the New Testament, and this brings us to a certain and sure conviction in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Obviously we can get deeper into all of those topics, but hopefully this will suffice for now, will serve as a catalyst to keep us strong and steadfast in prayer, with LOVE for each other, like shining lights filled with joy, and doing the best we can in these turbulent times. Much LOVE!

…to know Christ’s joy…and LOVE…and peace…is to accept Him forever…as Lord and Saviour…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 1 October 2018 Philippians 2:9.

Philippians 2:9.    Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every other name.

 

Aye mih breddren, is Monday, that great day of the week that causes us so many problems. But since we can’t get rid of it or get around it, we need to learn to live with it. And we better had learn to do that early in life because we’re going to be bombarded by a whole lifetime of Mondays. (smile) 

And one of the best ways to do that is to prepare for it by fellowshipping with other believers on Sundays to raise our level of peace and joy, for remember the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Neh.8:10) And then on Monday, begin the day by acclaiming this wonderful acclamation: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:24)  That ought to set you on the right path. 

But just in case it doesn’t, then you can join with us in singing our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, which I’m sure will get you going, because it’s the antidote for whatever ails you on Monday mornings. (smile) So without further ado, let’s get with the programme and sing; sing in unison with whatever enthusiasm you can muster. 

‘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!’ 

Yes, fellow children of God, yuh see how that has brought a whole different outlook to the Monday morning! I told you it would. Now you’re feeling ready and able to go out and do battle with entire world with Jesus as your Field General! All glory to His holy name! For that’s how His Holy Spirit works wonders in our lives! 

Remember too that there is awesome power in the awesome name of Jesus as Bruh Paul informs us in our Bit.  ‘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) 

 Ah mih people, you couldn’t get any better than that! What an honour the Father bestowed on Him for His obedience and humility and selfless sacrifice for going to the cross on our behalf! Yes friends, the name that is above all others is ‘JESUS!’ Please remember that, for your eternal life depends on it! Because if you don’t call out to Him for help, for mercy, forgiveness and saving grace before you depart this earthly life, then sorry…crapaud smoke yuh pipe! 

You’ll be sadly headed for eternal damnation with Lucifer and his evil minions. And as I keep saying, that’s the worst fate than can ever befall a human soul! So please look to Jesus. I plead with you to get truly acquainted with Him so that you can call on Him in times of trouble and need, because His name is definitely the most powerful in God’s magnificent universe! 

And if you don’t believe Bruh Paul or me, then listen to what Jesus says about His name. ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20) Who else can make such a statement and live up to it eh? NOBODY! 

Now hear this: ‘And everyone that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.’ (Matt.19:29)Again, who can make such dazzling and daring promises and keep them eh? ONLY JESUS! 

For as Peter said before the High Priest: ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ (Acts 4:12) And that’s the gospel truth! 

And if you still don’t believe (smile), then check out this statement of Jesus. ‘And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:23-24) 

There you have it friends, right from Jesus’ mouth, and He does not lie. So it’s all up to you now, to seek earthly joy and eternal life by calling on the most powerful name in the universe. But as for me and mine, we will be calling on Him in true faith. Please let wisdom be your guide, and do the same. Much LOVE!

…I am the WAY…the TRUTH…and the LIFE…no man comes to the Father but by ME… (John 14:6)

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 November 2017 John 16:24.

John 16:24.   Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Welcome once again friends, to the merry go round that’s our workweek. We’ve got get back on that train, the gravy train, (smile) and ride the rails again, because it’s Monday; the day that stirs up so much negative emotion in us. So if we want to eat, and have a roof over our heads, then it’s simple, we have to work, and it makes much more sense working with a joyful feeling than with a miserable, unhappy one. 

But just in case this morning you are not feeling up to scratch, we have the perfect antidote for whatever is ailing you. We call it our Monday Morning Battle Hymn! Yeh friends, it drives away the blues and gets our spirits up and running in fine form. So let’s just sit back, relax and sing it out with as much spunk and gusto as we can muster nuh. 

As one 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!’ 

Ah mih people, I hear you sigh, like a breath of fresh air wafted over you and raised you up from your misery. (smile) I told you, our Battle Hymn will fix whatever is wrong. Consequently, it’s time for us to get out on the road and run our race with excellence, diligence, humility, forgiveness, grace, mercy and LOVE as our Lord and Saviour, our fearless Leader, Jesus Christ expects of us. 

Remember, it’s all about Him friends, about His LOVE Revolution, not about us. We’re just His servants, His friends, His brethren, His saints, His warriors, here to do His awesome bidding. And according to our Bit, He wants us to do His bidding with joy. ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ 

Oh my people, contrary to a popular opinion, Jesus did not come to earth to be sad and miserable and make sad, miserable followers out of us.  We all know His famous pronouncement: ‘The thief cometh not, but (except) to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ (John 10:10) 

What part of that says that Christians ought to walk around as though they were suffering so much and on their last breath eh? None of it! So why do so many of us supposed Christians go around like a bunch of ‘poe (poor) me ones’, like we’re struggling so much, with no real joy in our souls. Chuh man! That’s not why Jesus died. Hear what He told the disciples when talking about the vine and the branches. ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11) 

Yeh mih breddren, Jesus had joy in His soul, and wherever he went others felt and experienced it. And John in his second set of writings, his epistles, penned the same message to the believers. ‘And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.’ (1 John 1:4) 

And the scholars tell us: ‘1:4. The major purpose of 1 John is stated in 5:13 (tell of salvation and eternal life), but another purpose is stated here: for the recipients, and no doubt John as well, to enjoy and share in the deep sense of satisfaction and purpose that knowing Christ and walking with Him brings.’  

Why then are so many of us believers joyless eh? If we are to be truly His followers, we must cultivate a reasonable amount of joy in our souls too. Remember what they say in Nehemiah: ‘for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Neh. 8:10b) That means, if you don’t have any joy, then you won’t have any strength either. 

And Peter, talking about Christ declares: ‘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. 1:8-9) 

Oh fellow Christians, if we are saved and believe the promise of salvation and eternal life, then that’s the biggest reason to be joyful! And we’ll end with this prayer request of Jesus to His heavenly Father on behalf of the disciples, and consequently to us. ‘And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.’ (John 17:13) 

What more can we ask eh friends? Jesus even prayed to the Father that we might be filled with His joy. So let’s get ourselves together and stop behaving so pitifully, like we’re orphans or something nuh, with no one to LOVE us. We have Jesus…and that’s more than enough! Much LOVE!

…Christians…should be the most joy-filled and joyful people…on God’s good earth…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 June 2015 Nehemiah 8:10b

Nehemiah 8:10b.    …for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Oh Friends, I’ve got such a joy deep down in my soul this Thursday morning in June that I just can’t contain it! Wow! That joy just makes me feel like shouting out to the world what God has done for me! And I surely hope that you’re feeling the same way too, for that’s the beauty and benefit of being a true believer!

Oh my people, I’m talking about His unconditional LOVE, His constantly available grace and never-ending mercy, then the beautiful essence of forgiveness… and don’t even talk about salvation and eternal life! Oh my my! And what shall we say to the biggest blessing of all eh; His wonderful Son, Jesus Christ, our Leader, Lord and Saviour!

Mama Mia! What an awesome Deity we serve and worship my brethren! So how can we ever doubt or believe that the great God who created us, doesn’t LOVE and care for us eh? Steups!

What more has He got to do my brethren before we can comfortably and assuredly put our entire trust in him, to completely surrender our souls, minds and bodies to His superior guidance through the work and presence of His Holy Spirit?

I really don’t know what it will realistically take for the numerous unbelievers and backsliders to truly understand what this life is all about nuh, one controlled by the mighty but magnanimous hand of Almighty God.

Ah Friends, we’re such small-minded doubters and disbelievers that it isn’t funny. So much so that even if God did miracles in our lives every day, we’d still have doubts and refuse to believe. But here’s the good news Friends, we, a relatively small band of true believers are here to change the world, we’re going to make a radical difference.

And the best way to do that is by living lives honouring God, giving Him all the glory. And don’t think that we can’t do it because we’re too few, for if we listen to this quote by Margaret Mead (1901-1978) the famous American cultural anthropologist, we’ll see that it’s very possible.

‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’

Gospel truth that, my people! Whatever serious changes that’s ever been wrought in our world have always been by a relatively small group of its population, and with the awesome power of Jesus riding shotgun with us… Oh my Friends, all and everything is possible!

And believe you me, that’s exactly what Jesus is calling us to do; to bring some radical changes to this wicked and godless world by spreading the good news of His gospel that’s overflowing with the most important elements of PEACE and LOVE, FORGIVENESS, MERCY, GRACE, SALVATION and ETERNAL LIFE!

And all God’s people joyfully shouted out: ‘All praise, honour and glory be to the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God of heaven and earth, Creator and Controller of the universe and all therein!’

Now Friends, joy is something that’s always supposed to be in the spirit of the believer. As such, we therefore need to continually remember the words of our Bit: …for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

Yes my people, without God’s joy coursing through our spirits, we are weaklings. That’s why Lucifer is always trying to steal our joy, because then he knows he can get his evil claws into us without too much effort.  

And if you listen to Jesus when He was talking to the disciples about the vine and the branches, you’d hear Him say to them. ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.’ (John 15:11) It’s obvious my people that we do need the joy found in Jesus to be able to live this earthly life fully and to be obedient to His will.

Then later on He said to the disciples: ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ (John 16:24) Yes my brethren, the joy of God is ever so important in a believer’s life. Without it, we’re powerless to resist the wiles of the enemy.

All through the Bible there are passages which proclaim the importance of godly joy in our lives. Let’s check out a couple of them. Listen to Elihu as he reasons with Job, re God’s calling on men to repent.

‘He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him (delight in him): and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto (restore to) man his righteousness.’ (Job 33:26) Joy in the Lord is ever so important my brethren.

Now hear Bruh David from Psalm 16, where he’s seeking preservation and blessing. He ends it thus: ‘Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.’ (Ps.16:11) And isn’t that absolute truth? It surely is! For once the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding us, there will be joy in our souls.

Meanwhile, Isaiah, in his thanksgiving for God’s mercies, puts it this way. ‘And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings (deeds) among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord, for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout (with joy), thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.’ (Is.12:1-6)

Yes Friends, that’s how a nation, a people behaves when the joy of the Lord is amongst them. And we’ll end with a few words from John, from his first epistle. ‘And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.’ (1 John 1:4)

And the scholars offer this explanation. ‘1:4. The major purpose of 1 John is stated in 5:13 (please look it up), but another purpose is stated here: for the recipients, and no doubt John as well, to enjoy and share in the deep sense of satisfaction and purpose that knowing Christ and walking with Him brings.’

Oh my fellow believers, that is indeed the gospel truth! And we’ll leave us this morning to each ponder our walk with Jesus, to see exactly how it is proceeding, and to strengthen it when and where necessary, with God’s help. Much LOVE!

…one can never fully appreciate the joy of walking with Jesus…until one really and truly walks with Jesus…