Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 May 2020 2 Chronicles 7:15.

2 Chronicles 7:15.    ​Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.
 
Chuh! One more Sunday without physical corporate worship friends. But don’t worry, we’re drawing close to the day when the Lord’s sanctuaries will again be opened, and we’ll greet each other with hugs and kisses and handshakes and other physical greetings, as we sing and dance and enjoy physical fellowship together under one roof. (smile) As children of the Most High God Jehovah we must resonate with hope. And the restrictions are being slowly loosened, so it’s not like I’m totally talking out of my hat. 

Anyway, we’re still restricted from gathering physically to worship, but not through all the handy technological means we have today. So let’s get on with it nuh, let’s sing and dance and listen to the Word and gain confidence and enthusiasm and strength from it through our technological interaction, in our own personal spaces, adhering to the restrictions of physical distancing, but enjoying the social and spiritual closeness that we so badly need. And in these pandemic times, times of much anxiety and uncertainty, when our world is caught between a rock and a hard place with this Coronavirus that’s overwhelming us, we need a song of praise and worship that encourages and strengthens us and gives us hope for the future. 

And today we have one such song, most appropriately titled ‘God answers Prayer,’ sung by a young Jamaican lady who calls herself Da Flame. It’s a medium tempo soulful song, that details our many problems, but gives us hope, because we have someone who looks after us in our time of need. So in soulful harmony, let’s raise our sacrifice of praise and pleading to high heaven, drawing every emotion from deep down in our hurting and anxious hearts. ‘If you’re ever feeling down and like you have no where to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. Oh He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for us. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ 

Oh yes friends, that’s an indisputable fact: our great and faithful, merciful and gracious, forgiving and ever-LOVING God answers each and every prayer we offer up to Him with a sincere heart. He might not give us what we want when we want it, but He does answer our requests, with either an outright no, because it’s not in His will, a wait, not yet, or a definite yes.

And the one good thing that this Covid-19 disease is doing is turning more people than ever to prayer, because we realize that man made answers are not being quickly forthcoming, and when the chips are finally down, when we have no where else to turn, many of us turn to God, as our last resort, our final hope. 

And nothing’s wrong with that, although He should be our first avenue of help. The problem though is when we finally turn to Him and He doesn’t respond as quickly as we like, we get annoyed and go back to blaspheming and bad talking Him. But that’s another sermon for another day. (smile) Today we’re talking about Him answering our prayers. And that He certainly does, though not necessarily in our time. Remember He says that His thoughts and ways and timing are higher than ours, so one of the things we have to do is learn to wait on Him. He might take a while, but I can assure you, He’s NEVER late. 

And if you don’t believe me that He answers prayer, let’s look at a couple of scriptures that reassure us of it. Remember when Cousin Sol dedicated the majestic temple in Israel? Well he asked the Lord for one basic thing; if His children faltered in their obedience, but then returned and prayed at the temple, His house: ‘Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.’ (2 Chr. 6:35) 

And what was the Lord’s reply? ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) And we see it happen all the way through the Good Book, where the Israelites turned away from God, then turned back, and He heard their prayer and forgave them. The same thing goes for us today my brethren. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ 

Yes friends, God answers prayer, but our hearts, our motives must be right. Now are our hearts and motives right, are we being truly repentant in these pandemic times, or are we just mouthing platitudes, and as soon as He heals our land, we’ll go back to our old, wicked ways?  I don’t know, but He will certainly check it out first. 

And Bruh David verified that the Lord answers prayer, when he declared: ‘In the day when I cried thou answeredst (answered) me, and strengthenedst (strengthened) me with strength in my soul.’ (Ps. 138:3) And Jesus faithfully promised the disciples: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:22) Meanwhile, John says it thus: ‘And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ (John 14:13-14) 

Ah mih people, our God does answer prayer, but there are indeed some requirements for us to meet. Much LOVE!

…answered prayer…calls for…sincere hearts…and true belief in Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 March 2020 Philippians 3:7.

Philippians 3:7.    ​But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ.
 
Well here it is at last; the churches have been shut down! What’s next? The hospitals! Can you believe it? The scare of the Covid-19 virus, in conjunction with the Government’s directives has caused the Church Leaders to finally pull the plug on church worship. Hn! Did you ever think it possible that one day, most, if not all of the churches would be closed to public gathering? Certainly not! And though it’s not as good as actually gathering in the sanctuary,  there are enough other outlets; radio, t.v. and computer streaming for us to keep in touch with our corporate worship. 

But it’s interesting to see how one small, unknown, but apparently powerful virus has brought the world to its knees in just a couple of weeks. Personally, I think we’ve overreacted and caused unnecessary fear and panic. There’s no need to be buying out the stores and stocking up as though we’re going to war, or suffering from a nuclear fallout. But that’s the problem with too much easy and convenient communication and too many fearful and ungodly people in the world. And though it’s a serious matter I still have to chuckle. If we can’t handle a simple virus with all our modern technology and medical prowess, can you imagine the mess Egypt must have been in when the Lord brought those 8 plagues on them to force Pharaoh to set His people free.

 Can you imagine been pestered by lice and flies and blood and frogs and locusts and death and whatever? But before we move on, here’s something to ponder on, a li’l food for thought. Remember Moses’ warning to the Israelites: ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.’ (Ex. 15:26) 

Oh my people, can this be a warning from our God? We certainly are not keeping His commandments and doing as He desires, and all throughout the Good Book, He’s warned of serious penalties for willful sin and disobedience. And since this virus has now become pandemic in nature, all over the world, who knows if it’s the hand of our mighty God moving in one of His many mysterious ways to remind and warn us of our sinful ways? And in these last tumultuous days, that is something we should surely ponder on, but I doubt too many of us will. 

Anyhow, it’s Saturday, so let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘It’s the little things you do that make the big things happen.’ And that’s a fact my people! Unless we do the small things, and do them well, the big things won’t turn out right. That’s why we’re warned to pay particular attention to the small things in our lives, since God, or no man will ever give us big things if they see we can’t take care of the small ones. And remember the Jamaican saying: ‘One one cocoa full basket.’ But unfortunately, in this brave new, but very foolish world of ours we don’t treasure the small stuff, everybody just wants to be on the big stage! 

And the second quote says: ‘He who stops being better stops being good.’ And there is a lot of truth in that also. If we don’t keep getting better but insist on sitting on our laurels, then we’ll eventually rub out, use up, whatever good we have, because we need to keep replenishing our souls and spirits every day. That leads us quite nicely into this next quote. ‘Do not be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.’ Whoa! Is that ever the killing of the human soul! Standing still is definitely not an option, especially if you’re a child of the Most High God Jehovah! And you can’t get truly better overnight; it all takes time. It’s like learning a craft; only with continuous practice and time spent with it will you ever learn it. And that’s what life is really, the craft of living! (smile) 

Now the next quote is like the previous two: ‘Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.’ Now that is basic logic and common sense. But sadly those two very important things are almost nonexistent in our current society, where we value the need for speed, now for now, above all else. But in the words of some wise person, let’s remember ‘that speed kills!’ It certainly does. If you do anything too fast it most likely will end up in a mess. But it’s how our society views life nowadays; we desire and want to have everything right away. The number one technological aspiration these days is how to make everything work quicker and faster. But there are undoubtedly stumbling blocks in that approach, which we’ll discover as time goes by. (smile) 

And the last quote wisely advises: ‘Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ Now that is gospel truth. The only perfect being in our universe is our Creator, and He did not make us to be perfect, but He does expect us to do our best in that direction, being diligent towards it, and thus ending up excellent. Yuh know the two most important things in being ambassadors of Christ is being diligent and excellent in His service. We can’t be wishy-washy, irresponsible and lazy, for that’s not the lifestyle He wants us to portray to the unbelieving world. 

And I think one of the best scriptures in that regard is Bruh Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where after listing all his earthly accomplishments, he sincerely declared. ‘But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish, refuse), that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) 

Oh friends, the most excellent thing we can ever seek in this world is the knowledge of Christ! All of our earthly accomplishments, wealth and power, mean absolutely nothing until we have Jesus securely embedded in our hearts, souls, minds and bodies! That’s the only true and sure way to live this earthly life! So on this controversial Saturday, where the whole world is in an uproar, please let us, the truly faithful, place all of our cares in the Lord’s hands, and just relax our souls and spirits and minds. Incessantly worrying about Covid-19 won’t make it go away, but with God’s Spirit working in us, we can be relaxed and rest in His promise that He is indeed Jehovah Rapha…the God who heals! Much LOVE!

…what’s the purpose of faith…if you don’t use it in times of crisis eh…