Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 February 2018 Psalm 33:1.

Psalm 33:1.   Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely (beautiful) for the upright.

And as the first day of the week rolls around again, let us gladly make our weekly pilgrimage to the House of God! There to meet in joyful fellowship, with praise and thanksgiving flowing from our lips and hearts, as we listen to His holy word and renew His Spirit within us. As I said the other day, there’s nothing as moving and monumental as a group of true believers gathering to offer up thanks and praise to our heavenly Father. 

Now please don’t allow the snow, rain, or other physical circumstances to stop you from going to the Lord’s sanctuary, for you will miss a great time, where believers encourage each other and the Spirit of the Lord is in the house rejuvenating everyone. So let’s get the praise and worship going by singing another old faithful, ‘Abide with Me.’ 

Apparently it was written by an eccentric curate, Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847) ‘haunted by the phrase, repeatedly muttered by his close friend, William Le Hunte, as he lay dying.’ Lyte wrote the hymn to its own tune, but it is now sung to the tune of ‘Eventide,’ a composition of the organist William Monk. 

It’s supposedly based on the scripture Luke 24:29, where the two disciples met Jesus on the road to Emmaus but did not recognize Him, and as the daylight was drawing to a close, and they came to where they would spend the night, they constrained, petitioned, Jesus: ‘Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.’ 

Now let us, in our own way, invite Jesus to stay with us until time everlasting. In strong voice and humble hearts let’s offer up the sacrifice of praise that our Lord enjoys hearing so much. ‘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 Lord who changes not, abide with me. I need your presence every passing hour. What but your grace can foil the tempter’s power? Who like yourself my guide and strength can be? Through cloud and sunshine, O abide with me. 

I fear no foe with you at hand to bless, though ills have weight, and tears their bitterness. Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, your victory? I triumph still, if you abide with me. Hold now your Word 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.’ 

And there is no one better to undertake that task than our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Now here are a couple of interesting comments on the hymn. One Erik Routley calls it a hymn that “looks death in the face” and embodies the human craving for companionship in extremis.’ So what of that eh? Though we know that all of us must face death, it’s till the hardest thing for us to come to terms with. 

So if we have something that gives us comfort under the circumstances, why not cling to it? And besides, God made man to fellowship with Him and each other, so there is a built in need for companionship. (smile)  

It’s also been noted that ‘the change to the singular pronoun is what gives the hymn its comforting emotional intimacy.’ That means the change from the disciples ‘abide with US,’ to the hymn’s ‘abide with ME.’ Whatever makes it more comforting yes! 

And all of the above dovetails very nicely with our Bit. ‘Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely (beautiful) for the upright.’ Ah friends, that is exactly what our Sunday gatherings are about: rejoicing in the Lord, giving Him beautiful and comely praise in His house.  

Now that doesn’t mean to say that it’s only in a building with several people is rejoicing and praise possible. Shoot no! Praise can be done anywhere, at any time, by at least one person! Our God doesn’t care so much about when, where and by how many He gets His praise, once He gets it on a regular basis from His children. 

That’s why Bruh Paul warned the Ephesians, and by extension modern day believers: ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (dissipation), but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph.5:18-21) 

Yeh mih people, as true believers, we ought always to have a song of joy in our hearts towards our wonderful heavenly Father! And it’s only fitting that we end with some more of the Psalm from which our Bit is taken. ‘Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise (shout of joy). The word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth. He LOVETH righteousness and judgement (justice): the earth is full of the goodness (LOVING-kindness) of the Lord.’ (Ps.33:2-5) 

And isn’t that the gospel truth my brethren! Wow! That’s why we ought to rejoice and give thanks as much as possible! So as we go to the sanctuary today, or worship wherever, let’s try and keep that joy, that rejoicing in the Lord’s goodness actively bubbling in our hearts nuh. For remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Much LOVE!

…if you’re not giving God regular and sincere praise and thanks…then you’re not a true believer…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 February 2018 1 Peter 1:3.

1 Peter 1:3.   Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Well my faithful brethren, it’s Sunday once again, the Lord’s Day, and with it come certain commitments: namely to gather in the Lord’s sanctuary in true fellowship to praise and worship Him with humble and sincere hearts.  And though we are scheduled to get a bundle of snow in the Toronto area today, we must not let that stop us from gathering in the Lord’s sanctuary to exalt and glorify His holy name and receive His strength, confidence and assurance for the upcoming week. 

Glory to God my people! When believers get together to worship the Lord…Chuh! There’s nothing on earth like it. We sing and dance and pray and praise and listen to His awesome word that’s indisputable truth! Wow! How could any other gathering beat that eh? 

And as always, we shall open today’s proceedings with song. The Lord likes prayer, but I believe He is partial and sentimental to getting His glory and praise delivered in song. (smile) And that’s exactly how all the elders and other heavenly populace constantly praise Him. So let’s do just that by offering up a sacrifice of praise with our lips as we sincerely belt out the old Isaacs Watts favourite, ‘Our God, our Help in ages past.’ 

And please note, it seems like Isaac wrote it as ‘Our God,’ and not ‘O,’ or ‘Oh God,’ as has become popular. And as our voices rise to heaven in sweet song, let’s consider each word and sentiment we sing and realize, admit that they are gospel truth. 

As one earthly host now: ‘Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, our Shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal Home. Under the shadow of Thy throne Thy saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure. Before the hills in order stood or earth received its frame, from everlasting Thou art God, to endless years the same. 

A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an ev’ning gone, short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun. Time, like an ever-rolling stream, bears all its sons away; they fly forgotten, as a dream dies at the op’ning day. Our God, our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come, be Thou our Guide while life shall last, and our eternal Home!’ 

Yes friends, EVERY sentiment we just sang there is the living truth, and I hope it just melted our hearts, but simultaneously had it bursting with joy and LOVE for our wonderful God! 

No wonder Peter could so confidently declare in our Bit and following: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us unto a lively (living, constant) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ (1 Pet.1:3-5) 

Oh friends, if there is one thing we’re certain of is hope of salvation because of Jesus’ resurrection! Glory Be! Now listen to the scholars: ‘1:3-5. The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (vs.3-5) is described as to its effect. 

Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation. This lively hope has no element of uncertainty, for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s inheritance is described as incorruptible, imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e., morally untainted). 

That fadeth not away, means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved, that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is in heaven. Kept is a present passive participle – we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. Salvation here refers to final salvation, that is, deliverance from the presence of sin, and into the presence of God.’ 

How could it get any better than that eh my people? When we place our sincere trust in Jesus we end up in a new stage of life, salvation, with an assured inheritance that cannot be corrupted, does not deteriorate, is morally untainted, and is specially reserved for us in heaven! And on top of all that, we are guarded night and day by an omnipotent Deity, who never sleeps. 

Mama Mia! Now I don’t know about anybody else nuh, but to me, that’s an offer I cannot refuse! And I do hope that ALL of you reading today’s Bit will feel the same way, because the other option is a terrible one; separation from God, and companionship with the evil Lucifer and his legion of evil cohorts.  

But to get that lively hope friends, we need to be born again. As Jesus explained to Nicodemus: ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ (John 3:3) 

And when Nicodemus looked puzzled and asked about physically entering again into one’s mother’s womb, and being born again, Jesus clarified it for him. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’ (John 3:5-6) 

So friends, if we are not born of the Spirit, have a supernatural spiritual birth in the name of Jesus, most likely we will be excluded  from heaven. And that is certainly the worst thing that could ever happen to a human being. So please be warned, and wisely take the necessary steps to assure that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, for therein lies salvation and eternal life. Much LOVE!

…as for me and mine…brother…we are definitely riding shotgun with Jesus…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2018 Isaiah 25:4.

Isaiah 25:4.   For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall. 

Ah friends, we’re sailing on the good ship Sunday, towards the sanctuary of God, where we will fall on our knees and praise and worship Him, give Him innumerable thanks, exalt His holy name and glorify Him without ceasing! 

Wow! What a time we will have in the sanctuary as we fellowship with each other, encourage each other, hear God’s word and bury it deep in our hearts, and souls, and eventually leave the sanctuary fortified with His strength and confidence, able to withstand whatever comes against us. And please remember the immortal words of the psalmist; this is the day the Lord hath made, let us all rejoice and be glad in it! That’s both wisdom and common sense friends! 

And as always, we’ll open the proceedings with worship in sweet song. This morning we’ll sing a Christian Gospel tune titled ‘The Anchor Holds.’ It was originally written by a pastor, songwriter called Lawrence Chewning. Apparently the year of 1992 became known as the year of sorrows for him and his family. 

One sorrow after another hit them and finally Lawrence, depressed and discouraged, was left burnt out, so he took a six month sabbatical from his pastoring duties and during that time began playing the piano more, in an attempt to get closer to God. In this sorrowful time he read stuff about the long dark night of the soul, when it seems you just can’t find God anywhere, and also experienced that emptiness for a while. 

Then, one day, in his many hours of playing the piano, he discovered that he was writing a song, a song that was coming from deep down in his soul. It was so touching that it provided him with therapeutic help in his depression and discouragement. But the song was some ten minutes long. However, a couple of years later, he offered the song to his friend, Christian singer songwriter, Ray Boltz, who edited and recorded it and made it a hit. 

Ah friends, ‘The Anchor Holds’ is one of my favourite Gospel songs because I can testify to the truth of those immortal words. And if you’re a true believer, so too can you. So let’s offer it up through the sacrifice of our lips now nuh, with appropriate reverence and heartfelt sincerity. In glorious harmony: ‘I have journeyed Through the long dark night Out on the open sea By faith alone Sight unknown And yet His eyes were watching me (Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn) 

I have fallen on my knees As I faced the raging seas The anchor holds In spite of the storm I’ve had visions I’ve had dreams I’ve even held them in my hand But I never knew They would slip right through Like they were only grains of sand (Chorus) I have been young But I am older now And there has been beauty these eyes have seen But it was in the night Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved His LOVE to me. 

(Chorus: The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn. Ohhh yes, The anchor holds Though the ship is battered The anchor holds Though the sails are torn).’ 

Ah mih people what words of truth and encouragement! And it’s only when we are going through a stormy period in life that we can write such heartfelt words. You’ll notice too, that it’s during the storm that God proves His wonderful and unconditional LOVE to us, more so than when the seas are calm and quiet. 

Because that’s when we need Him the most, when we discover that our efforts are too puny to withstand the storm that’s bruising and battering us. And only when we take refuge in His safe harbour, when we allow Him to anchor our hearts and souls in the sheltered bay that’s His awesome LOVE and grace that we truly find rest and rejuvenation for our troubled, storm-filled lives. 

Oh what a wonderful God is our God! No wonder in Isaiah’s song of praise by the redeemed the survivors of the Great Tribulation exalt the Lord, lift their voices in praise to God for His protection. ‘O Lord, thou art my God: I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. For thou hast made of a city an heap (a ruin); of a defensed (fortified) city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built (rebuilt). 

Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible (ruthless) nations shall fear thee. For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.’ (Is.25:1-4) 

Yeh friends, our God runs things; He controls it all. So in your time of need, who are you going to call eh, who are you going to run to for refuge? Almighty God, if you are wise! As the old reggae song says, ‘You’ll run to the rock for rescue, but there will be no rock.’ But if you run to the Creator of the universe, you’ll find Him ready, willing and able to offer help. 

As Isaiah prophesies about Jerusalem’s glorious future. ‘And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow (shade) in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert (shelter) from the storm and from rain.’ (Is.4:6) 

Oh friends, there’s no better place to hunker down in stormy times than under the wings of our heavenly Father, just like chicks hide under the mother hen’s wings when it rains, for under there we are guaranteed safe passage through the storms of life. Much LOVE!

…through the heartache…through the storm…take my hand precious Lord…lead me on…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 January 2018 Titus 2:11.

Titus 2:11.    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.

Sunday, oh Sunday! It’s Sunday my brethren! That means all roads lead to the Lord‘s sanctuary for some special time of prayer and praise, worship and fellowship! What a glorious morning it will be as we gather to give thanks and get strength and mercy in return! The Lord will be just bubbling over with joy this morning as we come to exalt His holy name, show humility and reverence to His majestic Being and renew our faithfulness by believing His promises. 

And there is no more appropriate hymn to open our worship session than the old faithful, ‘Standing on the Promises of God.’ It’s a wonder how these old hymns just seem to last forever, but that’s because they are based on the infallible truth of God’s word. So without further ado, let’s offer up the sacrifice of praise with our lips, strong lungs and sincere hearts. 

All together now: ‘Standing on the promises of Christ my king, through eternal ages let his praises ring; glory in the highest, I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God. (Refrain: Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior; standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.)  Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain] 

Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to him eternally by LOVE’S strong cord, overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain] Standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God. [Refrain: Standing, standing, standing on the promises of God my Savior; standing, standing, I’m standing on the promises of God.]’ 

And isn’t that the best place to stand my fellow believers? Yes sir, right there on the faithful and everlasting promises of God, for there is none as faithful as Him! He never makes promises unless He intends to keep them. So any promise you see written in His word, will most definitely be kept. Yuh see how He promised to send the Jewish people a Messiah, a Saviour, and He did! 

They just misunderstood the circumstances. They were looking for a warrior king, to lift the heavy burden of servitude from their shoulders under harsh Roman rule. However, the Lord had a peaceful, LOVE touting rabbi in mind; one to save their sinful souls from eternal damnation. 

And today we’re going to listen to Bruh Paul’s words to his protégé Titus on the subject of Christian living, how we can prevent the loss of our souls  to Lucifer, through accepting the faithful promise of Christ. It starts out with our Bit: ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.’ 

Yes friends, God LOVED His human creation so much that He could not exclude any from His plan for salvation. And Bruh Paul continues: ‘Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world (age). Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself, a peculiar (his own special) people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.’ (Titus 2:12-15) 

Absolutely nothing has changed down through the ages friends. It is still the way we ought to live if we consider ourselves believers in, and followers of Christ. Hear the scholars’ explanations on that passage. ‘2:11-15. The salvation that appeared to all men is based on God’s grace that has provided salvation universally for all mankind through the unlimited atonement of Christ. 

That blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ refers to His second coming. The use of the definite article “the” with the first noun “God” and the connecting “and” indicates that the first and second “Saviour” (nouns) are one and the same person. Our “great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” is thus one and the same person, clearly proving the deity of Christ.’ 

Ah mih people, I guess the scholars’ are referring to the Greek text in that last sentence. But we don’t need any evidence or reassurance that our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was deity. It’s evident from all that He did while He was here on earth. Only someone with divine power could have done His miracles, and endured the ‘sufferation’ He did on our behalf without going out of His mind. 

But all of that aside, let’s listen to Jesus’ promise to come back for us. ‘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) 

So my friends, if we sang about standing on the promises of God earlier on, and then declared that Christ was deity, then simple logic would conclude that we should believe and stand on the promises Christ made in those verses. (smile) So let’s stand strong on them nuh, for He is coming back again, sometime soon, this time in all His glory and splendour, the warrior King that the Israelites first dreamed of. 

And He is going to take us home to heaven to dwell there with Him until eternity, if we believe in Him, obey His words and live the lifestyle He desires. So what’s it to be eh friends? Let’s hope we all vote for Jesus, for that’s wisdom at its zenith. Much LOVE!

…there’s nothing as beautiful…as living for Jesus…

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 January 2018 Hebrews 10:22.

Hebrews 10:22.   Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 

And the days of 2018 are passing by so quickly, with such topsy-turvy weather, we don’t know whether we are coming or going. We’ve already used up two weeks of the new year already, and gone from snow to rain and back again.  

But it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the best day of the week, which means a time for fellowship in the Lord’s sanctuary, or wherever two or three are gathered, to give Him praise and thanks, and receive His mercy, forgiveness, grace and confidence in return. In other words, boosting our faith to meet the upcoming week. 

And as always, we’ll begin the proceedings with song; one of Frances Crosby’s old, but ever beautiful hymns, ‘Blessed Assurance.’ So with hearts aglow and spirits sincere, let’s raise our voices in song, offering up the sacrifice of our lips in humility and truth. 

‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. (Refrain: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.’  Perfect submission, perfect delight, Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; Angels, descending, bring from above Echoes of mercy, whispers of LOVE. 

(Refrain) Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest, Watching and waiting, looking above, Filled with His goodness, lost in His LOVE. (Refrain: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long).’ 

Oh friends, what great assurance there is in singing those beautiful words of that hymn! We really couldn’t ask for much more nuh. Just knowing that Jesus is ours, and we are His, makes this troublesome life all worthwhile. Glory to God! Just imagine nuh, which we’ve been purchased by God, through the sacrificial death of Christ! We’ve been washed in His blood and cleansed white as snow! Glory Hallelujah! 

And to add the icing on the cake, we’ve been made heirs of salvation with Christ! Wow mih people! It just couldn’t get any better than that. That’s why we’re so honoured and grateful to sing praises to His name, while we wait, eagerly, patiently and  faithfully for His return, ‘filled with His goodness, lost in His LOVE.’  

Mama Mia! What a fantastic individual is our Jesus! The only problem though is that the whole world doesn’t think of Jesus in such glowing terms. Even some of His own supposed believers don’t think that highly of Him, that’s why the author of Hebrews issued the plea to the early believers to hold to the new faith, and I am reissuing it to us in these modern times. 

Listen to this heartfelt plea. ‘Having therefore, brethren, boldness (confidence) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having a high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession (confession) of faith (hope) without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised); (Heb.10:19-23) 

Yeh friends, by Jesus destroying the veil in the temple covering the Holy of Holies, with the sacrifice of His sinless life, where only the high priest could go at certain times of the year, we are now able to go to God personally with confidence that He will hear and answer us. That’s why we are encouraged to stand strong in the faith, be assured that all that Jesus said and did and promised are true. 

As believers we can’t afford to waiver back and forth. We must keep hope alive and flourishing, because our God has promised us good things like salvation and everlasting life, and He is ever-faithful to His word. That I can personally testify to, because I couldn’t write this Bit everyday now for some eleven years without His faithful help. He proposed the idea, and He NEVER gives us projects to do without giving us the wherewithal to do them. So any time He calls you, just jump to it, for though it might seem difficult, even impossible, God will always help you. 

And having stood strong in faith and confidence, the author of Hebrews continues. ‘And let us consider one another to provoke (stir up) unto LOVE and to good works. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.’ (Heb.10:24-25) 

Oh friends, yuh see how important it is, especially as the Second Coming approaches, to fellowship, to gather, to assemble with each other so that we can stir up and encourage each other to spread LOVE and do good works. As the scholars say: ‘It is easy to stir up hatred and godless deeds; it takes much more to stir up another to LOVE and good works.’ And that’s the gospel truth my brethren. 

And the scholars further explain: ’10:25. Not forsaking the assembling: This admonition involves far more than erratic attendance. It involves the entire worship of Christ and is an outward indication of an inner condition. The assembling of God’s people provides opportunity for reciprocal encouragement, strengthening, and the stirring up that can be gained from one another (cf. Col.3:12-16). It consists of participation in worship and fellowship. The church is a body interacting (1 Cor.12:14-27); it is not merely a dispensary of spiritual food.’ 

So friends, that means we don’t just go to church at Easter and Christmas or once in a blue moon and believe we’ve done our duty. Our duty is to attend church regularly, so that we can encourage and strengthen each other. So let’s seriously consider our church attendance this year nuh mih breddren, and with God’s help try and do better. It will be a boon for all of us individually, and above all, Christ’s body, the church. Much LOVE!

…if Christians don’t assemble… don’t fellowship…how can they share Christ eh…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 December 2017 John 1:14.

John 1:14.   And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Well friends, the big day has come and gone; the purists got their white Christmas and I do hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful day with friends and families, keeping Jesus first place in your thoughts as He is the reason for all the celebrations. 

But yuh know what? Christmas Day might be gone, but the Christmas season is not over as yet, there’s still a lot of peace, LOVE and good cheer yet to be spread. And on this Boxing Day, here is something titled ‘It’s Christmas,’ from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin, to bring the Christmas season into true perspective. 

Please read with me: ‘It’s Christmas!  Sing! Rejoice! Celebrate! Let God create in you Colourful explosions Of joy and excitement. Smile away fears, push away tears. Out with pretense, in with praise. It’s Christmas! Open your heart to light To trust, to LOVE, to hope. Awaken slumbering memories Stir up stupendous dreams Anticipate surprises Open your arms wide.  

It’s Christmas!  Time for candles and cards For carols and cookies For brightly lit trees With the fragrance of pine. Time to hug and hold To think and thank Time to greet the world With the Good News.  It’s Christmas!  Thank God for life Thank Him for the manger For the splintered cross For the empty tomb. Thank Him for His only Son The Saviour of the world.  Shout! Laugh! Share! Care! And say to God On Christmas morning: “I entrust myself anew To You.” 

Oh friends, doesn’t that picture of Christmas sound wonderful? It surely does! And though we may not be in a position to do all that’s suggested there, we can ALL do the most important things, like give God thanks and praise for all that He’s done for us through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and pledge our LOVE and allegiance anew to Him EVERY day! 

Ah mih people, the Lord God Almighty certainly went out on a limb for us when in His awesome LOVING-kindness He decided to save us from our sinful selves. The least we can now do is to show some sincere appreciation and gratitude as we enjoy all of the blessings and mercies that He’s poured down on us, especially in this season of Christmas, when we celebrate Christ’s birth, the beginning of the whole beautiful, heartwarming and revolutionary drama. 

And all God’s people declared a loud, proud and grateful: ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill to men!’ 

And the Bible Promise for that poem is also our Bit for today. ‘And the Word was made (became) flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.’ How majestic and marvellous for the Son of God to become human and dwell amongst us! 

And the scholars offer these explanations: ‘1:14. Made flesh indicated the incarnation (the miracle) of God the Son becoming human yet remaining God, and bringing us into full conviction of Christ’s humanity. The use of flesh contradicts the Gnostic heresy that God could not be united with human flesh, which was seen as evil. 

Dwelt among us: John uses the word for “tabernacled,” here translated “dwelt.” The Old Testament tabernacle was where God dwelt among the Jews in the wilderness. In this context, God is dwelling in the person of Jesus Christ. We beheld his glory: Perhaps John refers to the Shekinah glory which appeared in the tabernacle of the Old Testament. The expression signifies the visible manifestation of God. John later uses glory to refer to Jesus’ life (2:11), death, and resurrection (12:23).’ 

So my people, we could not ask for a greater gift, especially at this time of gift giving. We need to remember that God the Father gave us the greatest gift ever, God the Son, in our veritable time of need; a time when we were headed directly for eternal damnation and darkness. Not that we aren’t still heading for it, but at least now we have an option to avoid it. 

Before Jesus came and sacrificed his sinless life on our behalf, we had no option but to go straight to Hades with Lucifer and his evil band. But all praise to Jesus for giving the option of believing in Him and thus having reconciliation with the Father and eventual salvation and eternal life! Wow! If that isn’t the GREATEST my brethren, then I don’t know what is! 

Now let’s go home this Tuesday morning, letting the world know whom and whose we are by declaring our Tuesday Mantra with much gumption and truth. As one now: ‘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!’ 

And since we’re truly Christ’s people, then let’s go and truly share His LOVE with the rest of the world nuh! Much LOVE!

…oh…there’s not enough thanks in the world…to truly give to Jesus…for His sacrifice on our behalf…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 24 December 2017 Luke 1:37.

Luke 1:37.     For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And then it was Christmas Eve! Yeh friends, Christmas Eve, the day before Christ’s birth, aren’t you excited? (smile) We should be my people, because it’s around this time two thousand years ago we received the greatest gift ever. The Son of God was born so that He could save sinful man, whom His heavenly Father LOVED with such a great LOVE that He was willing to sacrifice His only Son, so that His human creation could be saved from hell fire and damnation. 

Glory to our Most High God my brethren, for there is no other Deity who would have ever dreamed of doing something like that! So my fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday, as we gather in God’s sanctuary to praise and worship Him, to give Him thanks and exalt His holy name and receive His mercy, grace, forgiveness, strength and confidence to face the upcoming week, let’s show our sincere gratitude and overwhelming LOVE by singing our hearts out with unspeakable joy and supreme gladness. 

And the song we’re going to offer up in our sacrifice of praise is the old but ever true and much liked standard, ‘O Holy Night.’ Apparently it was originally written in French, but was later translated to English, and has the distinction of being the first Christmas Carol to ever be played on the radio in 1906. So with sincere feeling now, as we raise our voices to high heaven. 

‘O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, ‘Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine! Led by the light of faith serenely beaming, With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand. So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming, Here came the wise men from Orient land. 

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger, In all our trials born to be our Friend! He knows our need; to our weakness is no stranger. Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Behold your King; before Him lowly bend! Truly He taught us to LOVE one another; His law is LOVE and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy Name! His power and glory evermore proclaim! His power and glory evermore proclaim!’ 

Oh friends, what beautiful sentiments, filled with eternal truths, while offering loads of assurance for the believer. I sincerely hope that tears of joy were flowing down all our faces as we sang those exquisite words. For how could it be otherwise eh, when we’re celebrating such a joyful occasion? And friends, the whole story of Christ’s birth is so incredible, that only a superior being could have worked it out so efficiently and competently and dramatically. 

That takes us to our Bit:  ‘For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ Those were the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, Christ’s mother, after he informed her that she would bare God’s Son through the auspices of the Holy Spirit, and that her hitherto barren cousin Elisabeth, in her old age, was also pregnant.  And what I LOVE about Mary is that despite her young age, throughout Gabriel’s information session she never got riled or overly excited. Of course she was somewhat concerned and confused as Gabriel appeared out of the blue and began to lay such weighty matters on her. Her only real question was how was she going to get pregnant without knowing a man? 

And once Gabriel explained, she was fine. ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest (Most High) shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing (One) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’ (Luke 1:35) I must say that Mary was pretty mature for her age and background. If an angel suddenly appeared now and told that a teenager, she’d either run away screaming in fright, or hurl vicious and angry words at the messenger. But Mary’s response at the end of the conversation was simply: ‘Behold the handmaid (maidservant) of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.’ (Luke 1:38) 

Ah friends, I’m not sure that Mary would have been so relaxed if she had known the immense heartache she would have to face by being the mother of the Son of God. But nonetheless she held up under all the stress and strain of her position fairly well. Obviously the Lord gave her the wherewithal to stand strong and face the adversity, as He does with us all, when He gives us a job to do. 

So fellow believers, on this Christmas Eve Sunday of 2017, with our world in a complete mess, let’s try and spend some serious time contemplating the mystery and the miracle of Christ’s birth, and how it affects our lives today nuh.  And consequently, what we need to do to improve our lives and the lives of those around us, because if we are to be true followers of Jesus, and for His birth, death and resurrection to truly mean something, then we should always be in the process of becoming more Christ-like and setting a good Christian example to others. That’s Christ’s desire and our bounden duty. Much LOVE!

…ALL things are possible with God…you just have to study Christ’s life to see it…

 

 

 

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