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 12 July 2021 John 15:5b.

John 15:5b.        …for without me ye can do nothing.

Don’t look now friends, but it’s that big day, Monday, the first day of the new work week! (smile) And since some of those pandemic restrictions have been lifted, I guess more of us will be going back out to work today – some joyfully, others sadly, as their extended holiday is over. But let’s remember that whatever the circumstances, we can handle them successfully if we have the Holy Spirt of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ dwelling within us. That’s one of the many differences and improvements between believers and the infidel; with Jesus, we can do any and everything, through Him who strengthens us. Give Him thanks and praise my people! 

And how do we get and stay strong in Christ? Listen to His immortal words on the subject, to the disciples. ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.’ (John 15:4) How sweet is that eh mih bredrin! That’s how we get and stay strong in Christ. And if you didn’t get it the first time, He goes on to further explain. ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) 

Wow! How direct and to the point is Jesus eh! Unless we stick with Him, we cannot do anything! And that’s the gospel truth my people! It’s only with Christ as the catalyst and moving agent in our life that we are able to do anything truly worthwhile down here on planet earth. 

And the scholars give us some useful info on that verse, re the Union with Christ.‘15:5. The uniqueness of the Christian experience results from the union of Christ and the believer. This is expressed in Scripture as Christ being in the believer and the believer in Christ. Ten times Paul uses the Greek preposition sun (“together”) to describe this relationship. Believers were crucified (Gal. 2:20), dead (Col. 2:20), buried (Rom. 6:4), quickened or made alive (Eph. 2:1-5; Col. 2:13), raised (Col. 3:1; Eph. 2:6), seated (Eph. 2:6), and glorified (Rom. 8:17) together with Christ. 

Illustration: Jesus used the image of the vine and its branches to describe His union with the believer. Application: On the basis of this union, the apostle Paul showed how the successful Christian life can be opened with four key words in Romans 6: know (vs. 6), reckon (vs. 11), yield (vs. 13), and obey (vs. 17). The Christian can conquer sin because Christ lives in him (Gal. 2:20). (First Ref. John 7:37-38; Primary Ref. John 15:1-5; cf. 1 John 5:13).’ 

Well, there you have it friends, our Bible Study for today! (smile) Lots of Scriptures for us to look up. And please do look them up, for it will be to our benefit, as they will only enhance our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. It’s all about inner growth or spiritual maturity my people. And that takes us to Bruh Paul’s prayer for just that in his missive to the church at Ephesus. 

‘That He (Christ) 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. 3:16-19) 

Oh Mama, Mama! What a powerful prayer! And the scholars explain it all thus: ‘3:16-19. In these verses Paul makes three prayer requests for the addressees: (1) That they would be strengthened with might by His Spirit (vs. 16), that is, that 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. 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.’ 

Now that does sound like a big programme for believers to undertake, but Bruh Paul knew what he was doing. Listen to how he ends that passage nuh. ‘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, Bruh Paul was not making those prayer requests for too much, because he was asking the One who could do ever so much more than we can ask or think; that’s Almighty God. 

So please don’t think that you can’t do anything because it’s too big for you. It might seem so, but it is definitely not too big for our God; the One who created us and still LOVES us dearly, despite all our faults and failures. That means we can go to Him right now with our problems and ask for His awesome help. So as one strong, confident, but humble voice, let’s offer up our Monday Morning Battle Hymn. 

‘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!’ 

But let me warn us, that we won’t get our desires unless we sincerely turn away from our evil ways and seek God with right motives in our hearts! Much LOVE!

…we can never sell God short…for He is bigger than anything we can ask or imagine…                                                                                          

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 21 March 2021 Ephesians 3:17.

Ephesians 3:17.     ​ That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye be rooted and grounded in LOVE,

Gather round friends, gather round your technological devices let’s have worship! Let there be praise and singing, adulation and exultation of God’s holy name throughout His universe! For it is the right thing to do on the Lord’s Sabbath! And the Lord looked down from His high heaven and saw that His people were being obedient to His word, and He said: ‘It is good!’ And God is especially grateful when we make the necessary effort, despite the pandemic lockdowns, to praise and worship Him, because it means that our hearts are in the right place, our motives are sincere, and that’s what He most desires of us. 

So let’s begin by singing one of our favourite songs of worship nuh, Jesus LOVES Me. Yes mih bredrin, we going to mash that up today. Glory be! But before we do, here is some background info on the song, from the Wikipedia website.”Jesus LOVES Me” is a Christian hymn written by Anna Bartlett Warner (1827–1915). The lyrics first appeared as a poem in the context of an 1860 novel called Say and Seal, written by her older sister Susan Warner (1819–1885), in which the words were spoken as a comforting poem to a dying child. 

The tune was added in 1862 by William Batchelder Bradbury (1816–1868). Along with his tune, Bradbury added his own chorus “Yes, Jesus LOVES me, Yes, Jesus LOVES me…” After publication as a song it became one of the most popular Christian hymns in churches around the world, especially among children.So let’s belt it out in a nice, sparkling, scintillating, harmonious, up-tempo version nuh. 

As one sweet voice: ‘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.” (Refrain) – Jesus LOVES me still today, Walking with me on my way, Wanting as a friend to give Light and LOVE to all who live. 

(Refrain) – Jesus LOVES me! He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. (Refrain) – 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. Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! The Bible tells me so. Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! Yes, Jesus LOVES me! The Bible tells me so.’ 

And isn’t that the awesome truth friends? Why else would Jesus sacrifice Himself for us on the cross at Calvary, taking such brutal punishment for sins He had not committed eh? There could only be one reason: LOVE! True compassion for us, not wanting us to end up in eternal damnation with the evil Satan. 

And the website God Tube gives us this comforting explanation. ‘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.’ Now that ought to boost our trust and faith and strength in Him! 

Oh friends, it all comes down to that marvellous and wonderful word LOVE! Hear Jesus when He spoke to the disciples re the promise of the Holy Spirit. ‘He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that LOVETH me: and he that LOVETH me shall be LOVED of my Father, and I will LOVE him, and will manifest (reveal) myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man LOVE me, he will keep my words: and my Father will LOVE him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode (home) with him.’ (John 14:21-23) 

And the scholars tell us that ‘the divine indwelling of verse 23, is conditional on LOVE, and obedience to Jesus’ words. The Word of the gospel is primarily (though not exclusively) in view here.’ Try as we want friends, to be true believers, we can’t get away from LOVE, or obedience to Jesus words; one leads naturally to the other, they are inseparable. 

And that’s why Bruh Paul prayed thus for the Ephesians, and we also ought to pray for ourselves and others. ‘That he (God) 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 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 the fullness of God.’ (Eph. 3:16-19) 

Oh my people, Christ’s LOVE for us is so big, so enormous, so wide, deep, long, and high, that it’s only through the help of His Holy Spirit dwelling in us, that we can ever come close to understanding it! Yes, we need divine enablement to successfully live the Christian life. That’s the only way that the characteristics and virtues of God will ever develop in us. So as we go about our business today, let’s concentrate on those two immortal words nuh; LOVE and obedience, for they are the basic foundation of our very lives in Christ Jesus. Much LOVE!

…as Uncle Charles (Charles Stanley) likes to say…obey God…and leave all the consequences to Him…that’s divine wisdom… 

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