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… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 June 2022   2 Corinthians 13:14.

2 Corinthians 13:14.      The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the LOVE of God and the communion (fellowship) of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.

Oh friends, Monday, as it has a nasty habit of doing, (smile) has shown its intimidating face once again. But yuh know what? As always, we will not be intimidated by it because we have been refilled, been regenerated by the Holy Spirit yesterday as we celebrated Trinity Sunday in honour of our Three in One Godhead – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Yes, there is no God like our God Jehovah… three separate persons, three different identities, but ONE GOD! 

And some people, even believers, find that difficult to fathom. But it’s really quite simple: Although they are all equally God in their own right, we can possibly say that the Father runs the show, makes the big decisions, while the Son acts as His right-hand man, and the Holy Spirit does the hard work, or puts the decisions in to action. I guess we could give the example that the Father LOVED us, His sinful and rebellious creation so much that He didn’t want to lose even a single one to the satanic forces, so He concocted a marvellous, but heartbreaking plan to give us an opportunity to change from our evil ways and be reconciled to Him. 

That’s because, with the disobedience of our forefathers, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, our sinful nature had become anathema, meaning repugnant and odious to Him, and consequently we had been consigned to eternal damnation. Now, that outstanding plan we just spoke of, involved sending His Son, Jesus Christ to earth in human form, to die a substitutionary sacrificial death in our place, giving us the option of receiving forgiveness for our sins, salvation and eternal life with the Father, when we believe in Christ as our Lord and Saviour. 

But then, after Jesus did His mighty work here on earth, He had to return to heaven. However, our God is so caring and compassionate that the Holy Spirit was dispatched to earth on that fateful Pentecost Sunday, which we celebrated last weekend, to indwell all believers, as our Helper, Comforter, Guide and heaven-sent Companion. And that’s the beauty of our Triune God: they are three distinct, equal though separate entities, but operate as One well-oiled and magnificently functioning machine! Please give our wonderful God some much deserved thanks and praise! 

And although the Bible does not mention the word ‘Trinity,’ the idea is scattered throughout it. Let’s look at a few of them to give us some idea of how they work together, are amazingly intertwined three in one. And the first scripture comes from Matthew 3:13-17, which features the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. The Good Book describes it thus: ‘And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Matt. 3:16-17) 

Right there you have the Son baptized, the Holy Spirit coming down to sit on Him like a dove, and the Father’s voice saying that He’s proud of the Son. And later on in Matthew, Jesus talks to the disciples about Christian Baptism thus: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ (Matt. 28:19) There we have baptism in one name, but of three persons. 

Then, if we turn to 1 Peter 1:2, we see him writing to the elect, those chosen by God for salvation. ‘Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.’ (1 Pet. 1:2) 

The scholars describe ‘Elect’ as ‘God’s determination in eternity past to bring certain people into a special relationship with Himself. The Spirit sets apart (sanctifies) for salvation from destruction those whom God has foreknown. Sprinkling is an allusion to Exodus 24:1-11 in which the blood was sprinkled on the altar as a symbol of the people’s obedience and also on the people as a symbol of Jehovah’s acceptance.’ So there, in salvation, we have people chosen by the Father, set apart or sanctified by the Holy Spirit and sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. Another example of how our Triune God works so wonderfully well together as One. 

Meanwhile in 2 Corinthians Bruh Paul offers this benediction to his readers. ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the LOVE of God and the communion (fellowship) of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen.’  (2 Cor. 13:14) And the scholars explain it thus. ‘13:14. In his concluding benediction, Paul provides one of the clearest expressions in the New Testament on the doctrine of the Trinity. The deity of the Son, of the Father, and of the Holy Spirit are affirmed by virtue of their relation to one another. The distinctive personalities of each are implied by the independent activity denoted in the threefold operation of grace (from Jesus), LOVE (of the Father) and communion or fellowship (of the Holy Spirit.).’ 

Now doesn’t that make it all a little clearer, as well as tantalizing and interesting! (smile) And we’ll just summarize this last passage of scripture where Bruh Paul prays for inner growth for the Ephesians in Chapter 2:14-21. He prayed that they might be ‘strengthened with might by his (Christ’s) Spirit in the inner man… to know the LOVE of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 2:16, 19) So there we have more scripture that’s representative of the Triune God we serve, and there’s still more in the Good Book that we don’t have time nor space to consider today. 

And as one commentator says of those scriptures: ‘ It simply shows how easily the writers of Scripture passed from one Person of the Trinity to another, doing so in a way that assumes their equality of nature while preserving their distinct personhood. If the doctrine of the Trinity is not true, it would seem to be blasphemy to speak so freely of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one and the same breath.’ 

And I do hope that with the above scriptures and explanations we’ve made the doctrine of the ‘Trinity’ somewhat easier to understand and accept. Now, let’s go to our Triune God, through our Monday Morning Battle Hymn, asking for His help in our earthly problems. Altogether now. ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, we, Your humble servants, praise Your Holy Name and thank You this Monday morning for life and strong faith in Christ, despite the mass confusion in our world. We desperately need Your divine help, for You are the ONLY ONE with the power to solve our many problems. 

Heavenly Father, we admit that we have all sinned and seriously disobeyed Your Word, but we know that You are a merciful, forgiving and gracious God, who has faithfully promised to hear and answer our prayers when we humble ourselves, pray, and sincerely seek Your face. That’s why we come to You now, with sincere repentance in our hearts, pleading with You to give us wise guidance and direction to alleviate our problems.  

And Father, we pray that you will ease the pain of the many who are suffering from negative situations. Please show them Your awesome grace and mercy, and keep Your promise that You’ll hear our prayer, forgive us, and heal our land if we turn from our evil ways. Show this evil world that You are indeed Jehovah Rapha; the God who heals! We pray this in the holy and blessed name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen! And again, we say: Amen!’ 

It’s up to us now my people, to keep our promises if we want God to keep His. Much LOVE!

…the Holy Trinity works in marvellous tandem…just like the universe they created…  

P.S. Please excuse the lateness of the Bit, but the ole fella was somewhat under the weather this morning and didn’t get started until later than usual. And I know it’s long, but good. (smile) And as they say, better late than never. Much LOVE! 

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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… 

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