Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 August 2019 Matthew 6:9.

Matthew 6:9.    ​After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers in Christ, that’s exactly the invitation I’m offering us this Sunday morning, the Lord’s Day! Yes, it is good and right that we venture into His house on His day to acknowledge His sovereignty, holiness, grace, compassion and mercy towards us, miserable sinning saints that we are. In fellowship with other believers, we are expected to lift our voices in songs of praise and thanksgiving and receive encouragement from listening to His holy Word. 

And since there is strength in numbers, it means when we gather together, we are a powerful group, able to move mountains with our faith, but we also spread the joy of the Lord amongst each other, encouraging each other as needed. So please don’t refuse this invitation today, because you never know what wondrous blessings or opportunities the Lord has in store for you in His sanctuary today. 

And even if there is nothing special, you leave there like a preening peacock, (smile) full of confidence and joy in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And believe me nothing is better than that in this cruel and oppressive world! Glory to the Most High God Jehovah! Ah mih people, like the ole fella getting excited…And why not eh, since Christ is the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind. And if I have to tell you that, then something wrong with yuh faith yes! (smile)

Anyway, putting all of that aside, let’s begin the proceedings with praise and worship. And since we sang the second most popular Bible scripture last week; the Lord is My shepherd, I figured it’s only right to sing the most popular one today, The Lord’s Prayer. So let’s get to it nuh, in strong, sweet, sincere and solemn harmony, so that the Father has no choice but to look down on us with favour. 

‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever…for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!’ 

Yeh friends, short but sweet! And we all know it as the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. Luke describes the scene thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ (Luke 11:1) And the scholars offer this footnote: ‘11:1. Religious communities of the time customarily had their own distinctive prayers. Perhaps the disciples wanted theirs.’ 

And we know what Jesus told them: ‘After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.’ And He went on to tell them the awesome, far-reaching words that we just sang. It’s amazing how it seems to cover all that our earthly life calls for. But if it comes from Jesus, what else would we expect eh? 

Now the scholars offer some interesting explanations on the prayer, and I’m going to share them. Let’s hope we have enough space. (smile) ‘6:9. The beginning phrase, Our Father, is completely uncommon to the prayers of the Old Testament. The two major elements of the prayer are adoration and petition. Hallowed be thy name addresses the attention of the prayer toward God and reverence for His name and His person. Hallowed (Gr. hagiazo) means to be held in reverence and holy awe.’ 

‘6:10. The phrase Thy kingdom come refers to the eschatological (study of end times) nature of this prayer. Notice that the kingdom is to be prayed for, implying that it has not yet arrived. The kingdom represents the full and effective reign of God through the mediatorial office of the Messiah. The recognition of Thy will be done emphasizes the idea that prayer is to bring about the conformity of the will of the believer to the will of God. Prayer is an act of spiritual expression that brings us into conformity to the very nature and purpose of God.’ 

‘6:11. The section of petitions begins with the request to give us this day our daily bread. Bread (Gr. artos) may be applied to the provision of food in general. The term ‘daily’ (Gr. epiousios) denotes “indispensable.” The concept of daily provision of bread fits perfectly with the Old Testament example of the daily provision of manna to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness. (Ex.16:14-15).’ 

‘6:12. Forgive us our trespasses refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God’s righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.’ ‘6:13-15. Lead us not into temptation is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. God does not tempt us to do evil, but we are tempted by our own lusts (James 1:13-14). 

However, God does test us in order to give us the opportunity to prove our faithfulness to Him. He never desires to lead us into evil itself. Therefore if we resist the Devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. The prayer closes with a doxology of praise (expression of praise to God): For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, which is a liturgical (pattern for worship) ending similar to 1 Chronicles 29:11) Though omitted in some manuscripts, these words constitute a fitting and climactic affirmation of faith.’  

And so it does my fellow believers! I also hope that those explanations give you a better understanding of what our most beloved prayer is all about. I certainly learned a lot from them. And neither did it take up as much space as I expected. (smile) So let’s get ourselves to church sometime today nuh and enjoy fellowship with other believers in the holy presence of Almighty God! That’s my prayer and wish for all of us today! Much LOVE!

…in humble prayer…praise ought always…to come before petition…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 January 2017 Psalm 27:13.

Psalm 27:13.   I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Oh friends, oh friends, it’s Sunday, the Lord’s Day, so let’s have church like we’re supposed to nuh! And as always, let’s begin with some praise and worship to open up our hearts to receive the word of our magnificent God. 

So in full voice and strong belief, let’s sing, let’s cause our souls and voices to soar heavenward. ‘Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of LOVE; Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Op’ning to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; Drive the dark of doubt away; Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day! 

All Thy works with joy surround Thee, Earth and heav’n reflect Thy rays, Stars and angels sing around Thee, Center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, Flow’ry meadow, flashing sea, Singing bird and flowing fountain Call us to rejoice in Thee. 

Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean depth of happy rest! Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, All who live in love are Thine; Teach us how to love each other, Lift us to the joy divine. 

Mortals, join the happy chorus, Which the morning stars began; Father LOVE is reigning o’er us, Brother LOVE binds man to man. Ever singing, march we onward, Victors in the midst of strife, Joyful music leads us Sunward In the triumph song of life.’ 

Now that was certainly a rousing rendition my people, heaven couldn’t help but pay attention! 

And today’s sermon is based on our Bit, which exudes one of God’s great promises. ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.’ 

Yes friends, God’s goodness is a primary function of our earthly existence, else why would He make it as beautiful and provident as He did eh? A lot of us talk about seeing hell on earth, but as the Belinda Carlisle song declares: ‘They say in heaven, LOVE comes first We’ll make heaven a place on earth Ooh, heaven is a place on earth!’ 

And that is exactly what our God intends it to be, else why would He send His Son to earth to die for our sake and say: ‘The thief cometh not but for to (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) 

If we were not meant to have a decent life down here on earth, Jesus’ life, words and death would be meaningless. 

Oh, Jesus certainly did not mean that everything on earth would be hunky dory, but even when it wasn’t we would be okay. Listen to Him: ‘These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33) 

He couldn’t be any clearer. Life on earth will have its problems, but even then, when we sincerely believe and trust Him, we will be able to handle those problems because He has already overcome the world’s nonsense. 

And yuh know what friends, when those problems confront us and we stand strong in His name, we come through them ever more mature in our Christian faith, for good times don’t increase faith, it’s the rough times that do. 

Just take me now as a good example. A couple weeks ago I figured I was hale and hearty, but all of a sudden I discover that I have heart problems and the whole tenor of my life changes. 

So what should my reaction be eh? Should I bang my head on the wall and blame God? Absolutely not! Because that won’t help my problem, just cause it to get worse. My reaction is to believe that God has a purpose for my problem, and wait and pray and hang in until He is ready to divulge the solution to His plan. 

Now I don’t know when that is going to happen, but in the meantime I’m expected to be faithful and relax in the peace that He gives me. Oh, it’s not easy, but with God’s help, it is possible. 

All I’m trying to say friends, is that though life can be rough down here on it, it can also be a heavenly place. The problem is that we don’t count our blessings, we count our problems and magnify them. However if we put our troubles and blessings side by side, the majority of us will discover that our blessings far outweigh our problems. 

As somebody said: ‘Count your blessings, while others are adding up their troubles.’ It’s basically a problem of attitude. We allow the world system to influence us too much, when the certain and faithful promises of Jesus ought to be our mainstay. 

And we’ll end with some more strategic and encouraging words of our wonderful Lord and Saviour. When He taught the disciples to pray, this is the basic outline He gave them. ‘After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven…’ (Matt.6:9-10)

Yes friends, we ought to seek God’s kingdom and through our prayers and consequently our actions, the will of the Father must also be done here on earth as it is in heaven. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘The recognition of Thy will be done emphasizes the idea that prayer is to bring about the conformity of the will of the believer to the will of God. Prayer is an act of spiritual expression that brings us into conformity to the very nature and purpose of God.’ 

So my fellow believers, let’s stop thinking of our lives as being hell on earth nuh, and instead consider them as the Lord desires – heaven on earth. That’s wisdom at its zenith! Much LOVE!

…Jesus came to earth to set us free…show us a slice of heaven…not to keep us in bondage…which hell is all about… 

P.S. We’re getting a li’l earlier each day. (smile) Much LOVE!