Today’s Scrip-Bit   17 January 2023 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.       And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).

Ah well, they say good things never last forever, and who am I to doubt them eh? (smile) It seems like the dry and brilliant sunlit scene we’ve been experiencing for the last few days is now over. Sadly, we’ve gone back to the wet, gloomy, cloudy days of yore. (smile) But we won’t allow it to kill our spirits, because we have the Master of all goodness and encouragement living within us, His august and holy name is Jesus Christ! The name that’s above every other name, and to which every knee will eventually bow. And the sooner we believe and bow, the better off we’ll be. 

Now, as I was sitting here wondering what to write, while skimming through the Good Library, I came upon this most apropos passage of scriptures, where Bruh Paul is praying for the Ephesians not to worry about him and his tribulations. ‘Wherefore I desire (ask) that ye faint not (not lose heart) at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.’ (Eph. 3:13) 

Now only Bruh Paul could pen a verse like that. And the scholars tell us it means that ‘God will use Paul’s tribulations and sufferings in the ministry to spiritually benefit his recipients. Such edification will then bring about glory on their part in that they praise and honour God.’ Yes friends, that’s the benefit of the testimony of other saints; it teaches and encourages us. 

Thus, all the suffering and tribulation that Bruh Paul went through for Christ’s sake should be an eye-opening education and enlightenment also to us in these exceedingly tough and ungodly times. Just like he plowed through the ungodly times in which he lived, we too should be plowing through our times, using him as an example. But what I really want to highlight today, is Bruh Paul’s actual prayer for the church. 

He says: ‘For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in LOVE, May be able to comprehend (understand) with all saints what is the breadth (width), and length, and depth, and height; And to know the LOVE of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 3:14-19) 

Wow! What an empowering and heart felt prayer. It’s not about material riches, but rather spiritual enlightenment and understanding! Let’s check it our verse by verse nuh, so we can better understand it. In verse 14, Bruh Paul is resuming his prayer begun in verse one, but delayed by all the other stuff in verses 2-12. Meanwhile verse 15 illuminates us to the fact that ALL the saints, both past and present are named by God, in other words, they, and subsequently us, derive our spiritual life from God. 

Then In verses 16-19, Bruh Paul prays for three things. (1) ‘That they would be strengthened with might by his Spirit; that is, they be divinely enabled to successfully live the Christian life. (2) That the readers be able to comprehend…the LOVE of Christ; that is, to better understand the enormous LOVE Christ has for them, (as well as for us). And (3) that they might be filled with all the fullness of God; that is, that the life, character and virtues of God Himself may be fully developed in them.’ 

Ah my brethren, that’s the kind of prayer Bruh Paul made for most of the churches that he wrote to; for spiritual enlightenment rather than material advancement. And it’s something we should also consider doing, because it falls into line with Jesus’ command: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt. 6:34) Yes my people, when we are spiritually inspired, our material wants then naturally fall into place, through God’s grace and mercy, we don’t have to strive to achieve them. 

But wait, Bruh Paul’s not done with his prayer as yet. He continues: ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’ (Eph. 3:20-21) 

And that’s possibly the most important part of the prayer. Why? The scholars tell us that ‘in making the three petitions above in vs. 16-19, Paul has not asked for too much. For he prays unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that he can ask or think.’ Yes, he’s praying to Almighty God, the One who can do any and everything! So it’s not an empty, futile prayer to a deity that cannot fulfill it, but to the God who created the universe and still controls it! 

And on the point of prayer, I do believe that our lives lack the proper stimulation because we don’t pray enough, and when we do pray, we don’t ask for the right things, things that are in God’s will. Remember this oh so important Bible verse. ‘And he (Jesus) spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ (Luke 18:1) Then James tells us: ‘Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (desires for pleasure).’ (James 4:3) 

And that’s the gospel truth! Most of the time we go to God in prayer is to ask for stuff, stuff that doesn’t fall into His will, stuff that is mainly for our carnal pleasure. So obviously we won’t get it. Then we get displeased with God and foolishly declare that He doesn’t answer prayer. But it’s the same way when our children come to us for things that we don’t think they should have, we tell them no. I guess though, it’s all right for us to say no to them, but not for God to say no to us. (smile) That’s our typical selfish human behaviour, so wonderfully encapsulated in the cliché: ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ 

Anyway, we’ve said enough for today, (smile) so let’s go home now declaring (yesss!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock, stock and barrel. In strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with my immediate neighbours, as well as with the whole wide world! Glory be!’ 

Now my fellow believers, let’s go out and do just that nuh; share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…the Spirit-filled life…can bring about the material-filled life…but not vice versa… 

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ    

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   27 March 2022 Mark 10:15.

Mark 10:15.      Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

And sadly friends, I must inform you, that on this the Lord’s day, some of heaven’s white precipitate, has precipitated down to earth! (smile) Yes, there’s a light covering of snow on the ground this Sunday morning that began sometime after six thirty, because I looked outside at that time and the place was clean. But now, a couple hours later, it’s white. And who knows what will eventually happen, although the good news is that a short while ago, I saw the sun valiantly shining through up in the eastern skies. So anything is still possible. 

And as we gather for worship, either physically in the Lord’s sanctuary, or by some electronic means, let’s banish all anxiety and worry from our souls and spirits, because the Creator of the universe and all therein dwells within us, through the power of His Holy Spirit and has unlimited compassion and LOVE for us. That’s why we’ll open today’s proceedings with this marvellous and very popular Christian hymn written by American hymnwriter and novelist Anna B. Warner, around 1859, that demonstrates that amazing LOVE. It’s aptly titled ‘JESUS LOVES ME!’ 

Wow! What an honour and a privilege to be LOVED by the Creator and Saviour of the world! So let’s cut the talk and offer up our sacrifices of praise in a joyful, soulful, heartfelt, up-tempo version, letting all earth and heaven know that we are truly blessed by, and are sincerely grateful for the LOVE of Christ!  

Altogether now: ‘Jesus LOVES me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. (Refrain: Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! The Bible tells me so.) Jesus LOVES me! This I know, As He LOVED so long ago, Taking children on His knee, Saying, “Let them come to Me.” (Ref ) – Jesus LOVES me still today, Walking with me on my way, Wanting as a friend to give Light and LOVE to all who live. – (Ref.) 

Jesus LOVES me! He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. –  (Ref.) Jesus LOVES me! He will stay Close beside me all the way; Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee. (Ref.) Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! For the Bible tells me so.’ 

And friends, if we can’t believe the Bible, the unalterable truth of God’s Word, then I don’t know what we can believe nuh! And according to the website Godtube: ‘The Bible tells us that God LOVES each and every one of us, despite our sins and faults. Be comforted by the simple lyrics of ‘JESUS LOVES ME’ and remember that our Creator is Almighty and ALL-LOVING. He is with us each step of the day and will never leave our side. We may be weak, but He is our strength.’ 

Oh my Christian brethren, that’s the gospel truth, and we need to believe it so badly in these tough and very trying times, if we are to live a successful life in and for Christ! And we do need to come to Jesus like little children in total trust and faith if we want to receive His grace and mercy. Remember His comparisons to the kingdom of heaven and children? 

When talking about greatness to the disciples, the Good Book tells us: ‘And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such child in my name, receiveth me.’ (Matt. 18:2-5) That tells us in no uncertain terms that if we want to be great in God’s kingdom, we have to be humble and trusting like a young child, not the way the world considers greatness, with arrogance and self-importance. 

Then there’s this testimony from the gospel of Mark, where parents brought their children to be blessed by Jesus, but the disciples rebuked and turned them away. ‘But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer (allow) the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them. And blessed them.’ (Mark 10:14-16) 

Wow mih people! Hearing that, how can you not be enamoured of Jesus eh?  And I want to share two very interesting explanations of the scholars on those verses. As per 10:14, they say ‘Mark often stresses Jesus showing of strong feeling.’ Now that’s the attitude of a truly caring person. And they cite these references for that conclusion. (1;41, 43; 3:5; 7:34; 8:34; 9:19). Then for 10:16, they write. ‘Every parent knows that no child is perfect. But Jesus sees their refreshing openness to new things, their eagerness to learn and follow, a welcome contrast to adult self-dependence and cynicism.’ 

And that hit’s the nail right on the very head! You can’t accept Jesus unless you’re open and eager to learn. And all Jesus desires to teach us is based on the principle of LOVE – LOVE for God, for oneself and for one’s neighbour, as He emphasizes in Matt. 22:37-40, when asked about the greatest commandments. Now, listen to how Bruh Paul puts it all together when he writes to the Ephesians re a prayer for inner growth. 

He asks that God, ‘the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named (from whom the Christian spiritual life is derived). That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye be rooted and grounded in LOVE, May be able to comprehend (understand) with all the saints what is the breadth (width), and length, and depth, and height, And to know the LOVE of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 3:14-19) 

Yes my fellow saints, Bruh Paul prays there that we would be divinely enabled to live a successful Christian life filled with the virtues and character of God, and truly come to know and understand all the various aspects of Christ’s magnificent and unmatchable LOVE! Then he ends by stating: ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church of Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’ (Eph. 3:20-21) 

And yes friends, Bruh Paul knew that the Lord God Jehovah had the power and interest to do all that He asked for in the Ephesian church. Now, the important question is, do we truly believe that God can do those same things in our lives today? And until we do, we will not be able to live the successful Christian life that Christ sacrificed Himself for us to have. As they say, a word to the wise is sufficient. Much LOVE!

…to come to Christ…one must possess a child-like spirit… 

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8          

Today’s Scrip-Bit 13 October 2020 Ephesians 3:20.

Ephesians 3:20.     ​Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

Aloha mih bredrin! Welcome to a bright, fresh, sunshiny Tuesday morning, washed clean by some blessings of water during the early morning hours! And yes, Thanksgiving Day finish now, but not the giving of thanks! The giving of thanks must be a continual thing, for without the continual giving of thanks, eventually, there will be nothing to give thanks for! Wow! What words of wisdom! 

But seriously though, there is nothing like giving thanks to the Lord our God since there’s nothing that pleases Him more than His most important creation being grateful for life and all that He has provided for them. He also hopes that that gratefulness will consequently lead them to want to know Him better. And how do we do that you wonder? 

Well here are the basics in black and white, taken from our One Year Book of Bible Promises with writings by Ruth Harms Calkin. This poem is appropriately titled ‘ Knowing God Intimately.’ And that’s how we ALL ought to know Him – through the auspices of His Son Jesus Christ! That’s His greatest desire! 

So please read with me. ‘How do we learn to know God so intimately that all of life takes on a new freshness? We acknowledge that God is the instigator. We would not be wanting Him if He did not first want us. Even a glimmer of spiritual desire is HIS desire planted in us. We resign from our self-appointed office as president of the “Me First Club,” which gives God the privilege of saying. “Good! Now I’ll promote you.” 

We focus on Jesus Christ, God’s Son. It is never a matter of how conspicuous we are. It only matters that He is conspicuous in us. We make no promise of perfection. All the perfection we’ll ever have is the perfection of Jesus living in us. We let God’s Word saturate our hearts. Five or ten minutes a day is far more helpful than three hours once a week. We trust God to do within us what we cannot do, knowing that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work in us.’ 

Yeahhhh friends! That’s how we get intimate with God! And it’s not a one time, one and done thing either, but is just like the giving of thanks, a continual, continuous life-long thing, that over time turns into a wonderful personal relationship between Creator and created. Mama Mia! There’s no relation more important or more beneficial that that one my people! For when you have such a close and intimate relationship with your heavenly Father, your august Creator, then the whole world is your oyster! 

The devil will come against you in various guises, but he won’t be able to harm you, because you’ll be protected by the Most High God Jehovah and His majestic army of angels; your everlasting fortress and place of refuge. You will be able to say with supreme confidence, like Bruh David did: ‘I laid me down and slept: I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that have set them themselves against me round about.’ (Ps. 3:5-6) That’s the kind of faith and belief that wells up in our souls and spirits when we know our Lord and Saviour on an intimate basis. 

And by the way, that’s why He sacrificed His sinless self on the cross at Calvary…not to just have a religion called Christianity, but for each one within that awesome group to get to know Him intimately and personally. In other words, being a Christian means having a personally intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. And is that ever a whole lot of personal and intimate relationships! It surely is. 

But that’s how great and how LOVING and wonderful our Lord and Saviour is, that He could have so many intimate relationships at the same time and give His best to each and every one of them! Wow! Give Him some much-deserved thanks and praise my fellow believers! 

And the Bible verse associated with today’s poem is also very appropriate. Hear Bruh Paul in his missive to the church at Ephesus as he talks about prayer for inner growth. ‘Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.’ (Eph. 3:20-21) 

Yes friends, through Christ and His church, glory must be given to God who has the amazing power to do more than our puny finite minds and imaginations can ever conceive. And just to add some biblical heft (smile) to our earlier contentions, listen to these marvellous words of Bruh David that also tell us how to achieve personal intimacy with our Creator. 

‘Fret not thyself because of evil doers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed (you shall feed on His faithfulness). Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgement (justice) as the noonday. 

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices (schemes) to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil (for it only causes harm). For evil doers shall be cut off (destroyed): but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.’ (Ps. 37: 1-9) 

Oh my people, it couldn’t get any clearer or more basic than that! So let’s hope that we’ve all received the message – once again nuh (smile), and will keep on doing just what it dictates, so we can keep that wonderful personal relationship with the Almighty going strong and fervent. And as we go home, let’s bravely tell the world who and whose we are. 

In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with the world. Amen!’  

So what we waiting for then eh? Let’s go out and show that trust and share that wonderful LOVE nuh! Much LOVE!

…fret not…trust…delight…commit…rest …cease…wait…and thou shall inherit…