Today’s Scrip-Bit 7 February 2019 James 4:3.

James 4:3.   ​Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (pleasures).

 

Different day, friends, but the same khaki pants! Hn! Ah have to laugh yes, because it seems like more inclement weather is forecasted for today. Steups! Yuh just can’t win with this weather nuh! But you can’t let it keep you locked up indoors forever either. So if you have to go out, just go out and be damned the consequences! 

Just take Jesus’ hand and let Him guide you! He’ll take you out and back safely; that’s His promise! But then again, if you don’t have to go, don’t just go for the sake of going! (smile)  

And today we’re going to talk a li’l about the most powerful tool of communication in our world…it’s called prayer! We know of it, talk a lot about it, but for whatever reason, don’t use it sufficiently. And the first words on it come from the celebrated German writer, philosopher, dramatist and art critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781), one of the bright lights of the German Enlightenment era. 

And he said way back then: ‘A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.’ And so it is my brethren. We don’t have to have long, gushing, ornate prayers to be praying right, but just a heartfelt thank you and request is sufficient. And not only that, it’s possibly more quickly answered than the long, overflowing, flowery words prayer. 

The important thing though my Christian brethren is that we pray, and pray sincerely, whether they be long or short, they must be constant and sincere, because remember, God looks at state of our obedience and the motives of our hearts and not our outward show, before He replies to our prayers. 

Now hear these awesome words from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) on the subject of prayer, from His Hour of Power Devotional. He starts out by making this true and most incredible claim: ‘The greatest power in the world today is the power of people to communicate with Almighty God. 

Prayer is not a scheme whereby we can move God into our lives, but rather a spiritual exercise through which we draw ourselves toward God until we are a part of His plan and His purpose. The purpose of prayer is not to give you what you want when you want it, but to make you the kind of person God wanted you to be when He put you on the planet earth.’ 

There you have it friends, the true purpose of prayer; to draw closer to God and to become what He wants us to be! Not to merely be asking Him for stuff that we desire, most of the time to be applied to our fleshly lusts and desires. Now it’s not wrong to ask for stuff that we need, and even our hearts desires, but they must fall under the will of God, be somewhere in His plan for our lives. 

As James castigates us when he talks about worldliness and pride: ‘Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (pleasures).’ And most of us can’t find fault with that statement, especially in today’s sinful and ungodly world! 

But listen to Job’s discourse on the hypocrite’s hopelessness: ‘For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God?’ The most likely answer to all of that is a simple ‘NO!’ 

For as the psalmist declares (right ho) plain and straight: ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’ (Ps.66:18) And that’s the gospel truth; anytime the Lord discovers improper motives in our hearts, He won’t answer our prayers!

That brings us to these most important questions of Jesus: ‘For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ (Matt.17:26) And the answer to the first question is ‘ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!’

And the psalmist answers the second one this way: ‘They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious (costly), and it ceaseth for ever.’ (Ps.49:6-8) That ought to teach us friends to trust absolutely in God, and not in wealth! 

And Job’s supposed friend, Elihu, adds his two cents worth, as he talks about the results of Job’s sins: ‘Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee. Will he esteem thy riches? No, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.’ 

Again we see my people, that nothing that the world possess is sufficient to ransom our immortal souls, only the word of God and belief in His Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ can keep us from the hell fires of death and destruction! 

Now, enough of all that negative talk (smile), let’s go home declaring (right ho) our Thursday Blessings that the Lord has so magnanimously poured down on us nuh, for being such good followers of His Son Jesus Christ! (smile) 

All together now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline!

I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life!

I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and everyday! Amen!’ 

And He didn’t grant us all that because we were so sweet and obedient, but also to share it with others less fortunate. So let’s go out now and do just that nuh! Much LOVE!

…as Jesus shared the Father’s LOVE and benefits with us…so must we share His LOVE and benefits with others…

 

 

 

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 28 January 2019 Matthew 21:22.

Matthew 21:22.   ​And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
 

Well my Scrip-Bit brethren, in these northern climes, it’s a chilly Monday morning out there! Yes, it’s winter, so what else do you expect eh? ‘Oh we tired with it!’ comes the sullen reply. ‘Chuh! We tired with the snow and the ice…and the cold…and all the other problems that winter bring!’ But that’s nothing new eh? It’s something you ought to be accustomed to by now… 

‘Foolishness!’ is the angry reply. ‘Who could ever get accustomed to that nonsense eh, much less like it? That’s why they call it the winter of our discontent! Every blooming time it comes around we discontented, so much so that we get sad and miserable and develop the winter blues, what they now call some big name…can’t even remember the blooming thing…Oh…Seasonal Affective Disorder! Yes, it happens every winter season, so how you could tell me about being accustomed and contented eh?’ 

And there is a point to be made there my people. When the dark, gloomy, often sunless, snowy and slippery days get into your blood, it’s hard to be enthused about the weather, especially if you have to be getting around on P2 (on foot). But as believers in Jesus Christ we have a somewhat different take on the situation (smile). 

We are encouraged to believe the best, even when we experience the worst. Now that’s not easy to do, or even comprehend, but with the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, if we’re serious, we can overcome all odds. 

And for those of us who are shaking it rough this Monday morning, let’s apply some salve to our wounds nuh; let’s declare our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, call upon the omnipotence and mercy of our heavenly Father to give us some succour down here on a turbulent and ungodly earth. 

All together 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!’ 

And yuh see friends, our prayer has barely reached up to heaven when it’s quickly answered! Note the smiles on our faces now; the lifting up of our spirits, and the desire to get out there and work diligently and excellently for Jesus! That’s what we call the awesome power of prayer! With sincere heart, right motives and strong belief, any and everything is possible in Jesus’ realm! 

But the responsibility to call out for help, through prayer, remains solely in our hands. If we don’t ask in prayer, we won’t get. And that needs the power of belief, both to get us to pray, and also for us to expect whatever we’re praying for to happen. And Jesus says it quite plainly in our Bit: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ 

Oh my people, please remember that TWO conditions are necessary there; asking for in prayer, and believing. If those two aren’t present, then all bets are off. As Jesus also said earlier on: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?’ (Matt.7:7-11) What an interesting question my people! And yuh see how Jesus builds up to it, ever the logical philosopher! (smile) 

Now hear these explanations from the scholars: ‘7:7-10. The three imperatives ask, seek, and knock are in the present tense of the original language, suggesting both perseverance and frequent prayer. Fervent and continued prayer is to be made on behalf of those for whom we are concerned. God promises to answer all genuine prayer (vs.8). Everything we need for spiritual success has been promised to us. God leaves no excuse for failure.’ 

Yes friends, we have no excuses if we don’t pray, or if our prayer requests fail. As James, in his two cents worth on the topic declares, (wrong again): ‘Ye lust, and have not: ye kill (murder), and desire to have (covet), and cannot obtain: ye fight and war (battle), yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (earthly pleasures).’ (James 4:2-3) 

It couldn’t be any plainer than that nuh my fellow believers. We either don’t ask, or ask for the wrong things, for the wrong purposes, and ‘instead of wrestling with God in prayer,’ we ‘are striving with one another.’ 

So today, let’s consider our lives nuh, both our earthly relationships as well as our prayer life. Let’s ponder on how we treat others and the things we ask for and the motives behind them. Then as always, let’s ask God for His help to do better. He will NEVER refuse such heartfelt pleas! Much LOVE!

…if the heart and the purpose are not right…then Lord will obviously say NO…

 

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 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.

Aye mih people, there’s been rebellion in the camp this Tuesday morning; a strong sense of mutiny is in the air. My aging, aching and apparently weary body bluntly refused to get up this morning when I commanded it to. 

Steups! It simply stated that it was not well rested enough to get up and perform the duties I desired, then calmly rolled over and went back to sleep. What is our world coming to eh, when our own flesh is rebelling against us eh? (smile) 

I obviously had no choice but to roll over and go back to sleep with it… That is until it felt rested enough to get up and perform its duties in the excellent manner that our Leader, Jesus Christ requires of us. 

Ah mih friends, yesterday was indeed a bit rough on the body, and not because of any great doings nuh, just the simple day-to-day aspects of living, but without the required rest thrown in for good measure. And that’s what’s killing many of us; we try to live life too busily, what with all the amenities we have, multitasking and what not. 

But that’s not how God made us to go about this earthly life. And here is something from our One Year Book of Bible Promises titled ‘The Reason,’ which accentuates what I’m talking about. 

Please pray with me. ‘God, why am I so often defeated? Why am I so full of dread and anxiety? Why am I so lamentably weak – So perilously susceptible to temptation? Why am I so often inhospitable So intolerant of the needs of others? Why am I so undisciplined So restless and dissatisfied? Why do I protest so violently? Above all, God Why do I so frequently lose The sense of your shining Presence? God, why? Why?’ 

Oh my fellow believers, too often, too many of us cry out to the Lord with words and feelings akin to those. But you know what God replies. It’s so simple and true: ‘Because you pray so little.’ Amen! 

Yeh friends, if our souls and spirits are always, or too often in turmoil, then it simply means that we’re not communicating with our heavenly Father enough. 

And the Bible verse for that promise is the middle verse of these simple and basic instructions from Bruh Paul to the Thessalonians. ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess.5:16-18) 

And yuh know my brethren, if we’d simply adhere to those three, simple basic things, ‘rejoicing, praying and giving thanks’ continually, our lives would be amazingly less troublesome and confrontational. 

Now that is exactly what Christ is saying to the disciples, and to us in our Bit. ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.’ 

He’s telling them that up to that time, they hadn’t asked anything of God in His name, but that they should begin doing so, because He is the conduit between mankind and the Creator. You can’t get to the Father except through Him. And if you ask, you’ll receive. 

And isn’t that  the general way things happen? When we want something we ask for it? And hopefully we’ll receive it. Obviously Jesus wasn’t talking about blatantly selfish needs or worldly lusts and sensual pleasures, but stuff that it would please the Father to give us, like our daily bread, and forgiveness of our sins. 

Now yesterday we looked at the ‘joy’ aspect of our Bit, today let’s look a little at the asking and receiving part of it. Jesus said it several times; the most famous being: ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt.7:7-8) As always, simple instructions from our Leader. 

And after He had cursed the fig tree and told the disciples about having faith, He reiterated. ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ Matt.21:22) 

And the last quote from Jesus, after He tells the disciples about His going back to the Father. ‘And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.’ (John 14:13-14) 

The scholars explain: ‘13-14: In my name means “as My agent.” The promise of answered prayer is based on the disciple acting as the agent of Jesus’ will (cf. 16:23-26). It is also linked here especially in the accomplishment of the “greater works,” (vs.12). The promise is for unlimited resources to do the works of God.’ 

However friends, there is one proviso scripture to all of that. Listen to James. ‘Ye lust, and have not: ye kill (murder), and desire to have (covet), and cannot obtain: ye fight and war (battle), yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts (worldly pleasures). (James 4:2-3) 

Yeh mih people, that just shows that a lot of the times we ask for the wrong things for the wrong reasons, and the Lord will not grant them to us. We need to ask for the things of God, so we can do His work. 

That brings us to our Tuesday Mantra. Let’s declare it as though we truly mean it. ‘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!’ 

Now it’s time to walk that talk! Much LOVE!

…if you don’t ask…you won’t get…simple as that…