Today’s Scrip-Bit 25 June 2020 Luke 18:1.

Luke 18:1.     ​And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).
 

One more morning, one more beautiful day! Another beautiful morning, has come our way!’ Yes friends, it is a beautiful, sunshiny, cool day in my neighbourhood! Glory to God! Oh yes, we ought to give Him much thanks and praise for every new day we see, especially if it’s a beautiful day, because that simply reinforces the promise we hold of His great and unconditional LOVE for us! And all God’s people declared (steups! – couldn’t wait until the end to misspell it – smile) a loud and grateful ‘Amen!’ 

And it also means that regardless of whatever situations or circumstances we face today, we will have His invaluable help to successfully solve them, as He has also promised never to leave nor forsake us! Wow! What a wonderful God we serve and worship my brethren! And before we go on, let me apologize for a mistake yesterday, re ‘inciteful explanation of the scholars.’ I don’t know if it was just a typo or a brain cramp, (smile) but I really meant ‘insightful,’ to give you greater insight and understanding into the matter – although, come to think about it now, rousing your spirits and stirring you up wasn’t a bad idea either. (smile) 

And if you think our God isn’t a responsive and considerate God, but also one with a sense of purpose and of humour, then listen to this testimony. Yesterday evening I was somewhat under the weather, and I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so lousy and my spirits were at a low ebb, so obviously I went to the Father seeking some understanding. And after communing for a while, you won’t believe the scripture He led me to. The opening verse of Luke 18. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I read it. ‘And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint (lose heart).’ 

Then Jesus told them of the unjust judge who refused to listen to the hurt widow, but for her continually bothering him. (Luke 18:2-8) And then he followed that up with the tale of the Pharisee and publican (tax collector) who went into the temple to pray and how the hypocritical Pharisee beat his chest and extolled his religious efforts, while the publican would not even lift up his head but sincerely acknowledged his faults. (Luke 18:9-14) Now here are some ‘insightful’ explanations from the scholars on those passages, which I expect us to read. (smile) 

‘18:1-14. These verses teach on prayer, a prominent emphasis in Luke.’ ’18:1. To faint “means to lose heart.” Precisely when tempted to give up, men ought to be strong in their resolve to pray.’ ‘18:6-8. If an unjust judge acts in this way, how much more hope may God’s children place in God? However, the issue is not God’s faithfulness. It is whether believers will persist in supplication (vs.7), or whether their patience and perseverance will give out by the time Christ finally returns (vs. 8; see also vs.1).’ 

‘18:9-14. Here is a parable with special application to ancient or modern Pharisees. Jesus teaching method was generally direct rather than evasive.’ Yes friends, Jesus didn’t mince words, or pussy-foot around the problem. He came straight to the point. And for this next explanation, I think I should spell out the verse. As the Pharisee beats his chest, he declares: ‘I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.’ (Luke 18:12) And the scholars explain. ‘18:12. This is not an exaggeration, but an example of how Pharisees truly exceeded the letter of the law in their piety. But their pride and contempt for others reveals their state of heart.’ 

Oh friends, unfortunately that sad picture resembles so many of us believers today! We have this pious and righteous outlook, but our hearts are filled with envy and pride and contempt for our fellow man because we think we’re so holy and righteous, which is the wrong attitude for true believers to have. 

But coming back to our focal point; the perseverance of believers in prayer, Jesus also spoke of it earlier on when He tells about the friend coming to another friend’s door late at night looking for food to feed an unexpected late arriving guest. And the friend doesn’t get up and give him because he is a friend, ‘yet because of his importunity (perseverance) he will rise and give him as many ae he needeth.’ (Luke 11:8) 

And the scholars explain. ‘11:8. The word translated importunity probably describes the man’s persistence. Jesus is, then, giving an example of prevailing prayer. (see 18:1) The same word does lend itself to a second interpretation. It may refer, not to the petitioner, but to the one being petitioned. In this case the lesson would be that God, because of His desire to uphold His good name, grants the requests of those who seek Him, as a means of bearing witness to his own character and power.’ Yeh friends, however you look at it, once we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, persistent prayer ought to become the mainstay of our lives from then on! 

Several other Bible verses maintain that, many of them from Bruh Paul. For instance: ‘Rejoicing in hope, patient (persevering) in tribulation; continuing instant (steadfastly) in prayer.’ (Rom. 12:12) And hear this to the Ephesians: ‘Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ (Eph. 6:18) Yes mih people, even with God’s armour on, (Eph. 6:13-17) we still need to pray for us to achieve victory! And we’ll end with this well known verse to the Thessalonians: ‘Pray without ceasing!’ (1 Thess. 5:17) Short and to the point. 

And if there was ever a time for steadfast and sincere prayer, this time of pandemic and unrest is it! So let’s take all that we’ve read today to heart nuh and keep praying. But today’s last prayer is one of thanksgiving, thanksgiving for all the blessings the Lord has so generously poured out on us to do His earthly work. Let’s declare then, in strong voice with sincere hearts, our Thursday Blessings Prayer. 

‘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 every day! Amen!’ 

Now the onus is on us to go out and share those marvellous blessings with others, just as generously as God has shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…to pray…to pray…and yet still…to pray…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 August 2016 Psalm 66:16.

Psalm 66:16.    Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.

Aye friends, I know that it’s Friday and all that; that you all are shouting out very loudly and enthusiastically: ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! The weekend done come… and the party soon start…and going all weekend long too! Thank God for Fridays and the weekend!’ 

Well mih people, I want us to begin the party right here by singing a wonderful old song that we all know and LOVE. Last night I heard a most stirring rendition of it from Uncle Charles’ (Charles Stanley’s) programme, In Touch, featuring a youngster whose name I believe was William Kemp, leading the First Baptist Church of Atlanta’s choir and congregation. The music was beautiful too… 

Oh friends it sounded so good to me that I knew the Father had to be tapping, two stepping in the aisles of heaven. (smile) He definitely couldn’t sit still with such wonderful praise and worship reaching His heavenly home. And I knew that we just had to begin this morning’s proceedings with a wonderful rendition of it also. 

So please sing with me: ‘Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed. 

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home. The Lord has promised good to me, His Word my hope secures; He will my Shield and Portion be, As long as life endures. 

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, A life of joy and peace. The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine; But God, who called me here below, Will be forever mine. 

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun. Amazing grace…how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me… I once was lost…but now I’m found…was blind…but now I see…’ 

Oh my believing brethren, what beautiful words and sentiments from the old slave trader, John Newton! Yuh see what can happen when Almighty God touches our hearts! So though you may falter in your walk with God, please DON’T GIVE UP, because with just one miraculous thought He can change your whole life! 

That brings us to our Bit, from Psalm 66 – The great works of God. ‘Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.’ And precious people of God, we couldn’t ask for a better testimony of God’s grace and mercy than the words of John Newton that we just sang! 

And the psalmist continues after our Bit with a short testimony of his own. ‘I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled (praised, exalted) with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.’ (Ps.66:17-20) 

Yes my brethren, our merciful and gracious God will not turn away His ear from our prayer if our hearts are contrite and humble. Oh friends, why would He ever do such a thing eh, when He has specifically promised to bless those who come to him in humble repentance eh? 

Listen to the psalmist from Psalm 34 – The Lord hears the righteous. ‘The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit (crushed in spirit).’ (Ps.34:18) 

And Isaiah confidently declares: ‘For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’  (Is.57:15) 

Oh what a beautiful promise my brethren! That’s why a man like John Newton, with such terrible deeds on his conscience, could come to Jehovah God and receive mercy, forgiveness and grace to ease his aching soul. The same options are still open today for each and every human being on planet earth my people. 

We just have to be brave and come to God with whatever is bothering us. He will dispose of our sins as far as the east is from the west, and give us grace and mercy to begin a new life under the protective umbrella of His mighty wings. 

And believe me friends, there is no better place to be in these trying and tempestuous times as under the protection of God, the Creator of the universe and all therein! Now, being cognizant of our short span minds, (smile) we’ll stop here for today, and continue the same trend tomorrow, God willing of course. 

Now let’s go home chanting our Friday Chant, so that we can get a better perspective on how to use the weekend. As one now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. 

Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Please put those words into action my people, because they will certainly benefit us when Monday comes along. Much LOVE!

…without God’s transforming grace and mercy…mankind would certainly have perished a long, long time ago…

 

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 March 2014 Psalm 40:3

Psalm 40:3.   And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
 
Ah mih people, a new day has dawned over half the world, with different kinds of weather in different places; places that are populated with different kinds of flora and fauna, different kinds of people espousing different habits and rituals; but amazingly, all falling under one common denominator, the Creator of it all, Almighty God!
 
Wow! What a giant of a Being our God has to be to create all those differences, as well as all the sameness that we possess and enjoy!
 
No wonder He can rightfully proclaim through His spokesperson Isaiah: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ (Is.55:8)
 
And there is certainly no disputing those words of absolute truth my brethren because we simply cannot comprehend all there is to comprehend about our Creator.
 
As the scholars note on those verses above: ‘ 55:8-13. God’s sovereignty and omniscience are extolled by the statement that His thoughts (i.e. purposes or intentions) and ways (derakim, or “directions”) are higher than ours.
 
While God may certainly be known by men, He is still incomprehensible in the totality of His person and purposes. Therefore He reveals Himself to men by His word, which shall not return to Him void (in vain). The Word of God, therefore, accomplishes His purpose in announcing salvation to all mankind.’
 
And that’s why, with our small brains, we tend to gravitate to small, petty things; things that we can see and which can fit into our relatively small comprehension space. (smile) But however we cut it Friends, undoubtedly there is a Spirit Being afloat in the universe out there that is immensely and immeasurably greater than us!
 
And until mankind comes to truly recognize and believe the fact that we are not the real rulers of our lives, nor are we controllers of the happenings in the universe, and stop thinking so highly, god-like, of ourselves, but instead be humble before the great Spirit of God, we will forever be plagued with all kinds of insecurities and human failings, ranging from total insecurity and lack of self-confidence to overblown pride and self-importance.
 
Now if that isn’t a Bruh Paulian sentence, I don’t know what is! (smile)
 
Yes Friends, until we come to truly realize that we’re not ‘cock of the walk,’ rulers of all we survey, then we’ll never be truly happy or contented. And how can we be rulers of all we survey, when we don’t control our destiny and our lives; meaning the things we try to accomplish, the length of our earthly days and our general well-being.
 
And Jesus pointed out that lack of control so admirably when talking about oaths in the Sermon on the Mount. ‘Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.’ (Matt.5:36)
 
We also see our inability to control our length of days, when Jesus spoke the parable of the rich fool, who had so much he decided to pull down the old barns and build new, bigger ones to store his goods and lead a leisurely, pleasurable life.
 
‘But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ (Luke 12:20) More words of indisputable truth my brethren!
 
And I guess it must be in one of those moments of elucidation, of really understanding his total inability to live a successful life devoid of God’s presence, heavenly guidance and LOVING -kindness that Bruh David must have penned Psalm 40 and the encouraging words of our Bit. ‘And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.’
 
Oh Friends, likewise, it’s only when we realize our inability to successfully exist down here on this wicked earth without God that we also can attain to a greater understanding of ourselves, our universe and our Most High Creator!
 
Now that awakening would most certainly cause us to sing songs, both old and new, to the Supreme Being, for that’s how truly understanding His Supremacy works.
 
Earlier on in Psalm 32, the blessedness of forgiveness, Bruh David also wrote: ‘Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about (surround me) with songs of deliverance.   Selah. (Ps.32:7)
 
For sure my people, when we’re facing some catastrophic situation, songs of deliverance from earlier times ought to flow steadily from our lips. And when the Lord delivers us from the catastrophe, new songs of deliverance are always born from the grace, the mercy, forgiveness and LOVING-kindness showered down upon us!
 
And today we’re going to look at two of those songs of deliverance born of God’s bountiful mercy and faithfulness to Israel. The first one is the Song of Moses, which celebrates Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt and their successful escape across the Red Sea from Pharaoh’s army.
 
‘Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song (possibly defence), and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation (praise Him); my father’s God, and I will exalt his name.’ (Ex.15:1-2)
 
Powerful words of praise, thanks and acknowledgement my people! And you can read the rest of it for yourselves from Exodus 15:3-21.
 
And the second song of deliverance comes from Deborah and Barak. Deborah was a prophetess, the judge Israel at the time, and Barak, the army general when they defeated the much larger and better equipped Canaanite invaders – with God’s miraculous help of course.
 
‘Then sang Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam on that day, saying, Praise ye the Lord for the avenging of Israel (when leaders lead in Israel), when the people willingly offered themselves (volunteered). Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel.’ (Judg.5:1-3)
 
Yes Friends, it’s that kind of song that ought to come out of our mouths when the Lord God Jehovah blesses us!
 
And you can read the remainder of Deborah and Barak’s song in Judges 5: 4-31. It’s much longer than Moses, but just as beautiful!
 
Well mih people, that’s it for today. The Bit’s longer than I intended and somewhat late – but what else is new eh? (smile) I surely hope though that we all learned something, if not from my ramblings, (smile) then surely from the scriptures we’ve highlighted.
 
And since today’s the celebration of the Sabbath for many of us, what better way is there to proclaim it than in fellowship with other believers, in full-throated song eh? NONE! Much LOVE!
 
…in the greater scheme of things…it doesn’t really matter whether we sing old or new songs nuh…just as long as we sing songs of…praise, worship, adoration, LOVE and thanksgiving to our wonderful God and Creator…and plenty songs too…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 18 August 2013 Luke 18:14.

Luke 18:14.   I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
 
Oh mih people, is Sunday; fellowship day for most of us! So please let’s get out there and gather with those of like minds, and sing and praise and glorify our great and wonderful God! Wow! What a privilege that is!
 
And all God’s people joyfully declared: ‘Yes, let’s fellowship in the name of the Most High God Jehovah! Let’s sing and dance and rejoice before Him, for His goodness, mercy and LOVING-kindness endures forever!’ And that’s certainly gospel truth!
 
By the way, for those of you who celebrate the Sabbath on Friday or Saturday, I surely hope that you got out and joined your fellow believers in giving thanks and praise and worship to our Creator, because one of His earliest commands was to keep the Sabbath Day holy. (Ex.20:8)
 
And we won’t argue about which day should be rightly considered the Sabbath Day, since that will only bring about more futile arguments and cause more resentment and divisions, of which we already have more than enough. Suffice it to say, that whatever day your denomination has chosen, just make sure you do as the Lord commands.
 
And today Friends, I want to again talk about the parable of the Pharisee and the publican or tax collector, but in a little more detail. I am also going to quote the verses again, because the scholars have some very interesting info on each of them, info I believe can be very useful in our Bible Study.
 
So here we go: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.’ (Luke 18:10)
 
The scholars say thus about that verse. ‘Publicans (tax collectors) were known for being corrupt. Pharisees on the other hand were held in high esteem by most. Listeners here would have expected the Pharisee to be extolled and the tax gatherer condemned.’
 
Yuh see that mih breddren, because we look up to outward religious expression, we’d be quick to condemn the corrupt tax collector, while raising up and praising the hypocrite Pharisee. So please don’t let outward expressions of piety fool us. That’s why God chooses to look at the motives of our heart and not outward actions.
 
Turning to the next verse: ‘The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.’ (vs.11)
 
And the scholars nail this: ‘Standing was a usual position for prayer, but here standing suggests a certain arrogance. (Compare the sinner’s hesitancy in vs.13) A sense of personal superiority is not a good reason for thanking God. It is rather in itself a cause for repentance.’
 
That’s undeniable truth Friends! Please remember that our God totally dislikes pride and arrogance.
 
Meanwhile, the ole hypocrite Pharisee continues: ‘I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all I possess.’ (vs.12)
 
And the scholars declare: ‘This is not exaggeration, but an example of how Pharisees truly exceed the letter of the law in their piety. But their pride and contempt for others reveals the true state of heart.’
 
No wonder Jesus was always on their case.
 
‘And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote (beat) upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.’ (vs.13)
 
To which the scholars note: ‘The heart was regarded as the seat of sin. The publican’s action implies acute contrition and a sense of personal unworthiness. To obtain forgiveness he thinks not of his own works but solely of God’s mercy.’
 
And that’s the way it ought to be my people! For as Jesus tells us in our Bit: ‘I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’
 
And the scholars say of that verse: ‘The publican’s anguished confession would be followed by results in keeping with his repentance. (See 19:8.) But justification by faith comes independently of the works which that justification produces. Such works are the result and not the cause of God’s accepting the sinner.’
 
And we see this all borne out in Luke 19:8, where Zaccheus the tax collector, confesses in repentance after he associates with Jesus. ‘And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.’ (Luke 19:8)
 
To which the scholars add: ‘Zaccheus’s confession reveals a penitent heart. If does not suggest doubt that he is guilty of wrong doing; the only question is to what extent. Leviticus 6:1-5 stipulated that illegally gained money had to be returned, plus one-fifth. A fourfold return was legislated where livestock were concerned. (Ex.22:1, 2 Sam.12:6).’ Please read those scriptures.
 
And what was Jesus’ reply to Zaccheus’ contrition? ‘This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’ (Luke 19:9-10)
 
Oh Friends, let’s hope from all that, we gain the wisdom to do away with foolish pride, arrogance, haughtiness, boastfulness, superiority and all those similar things that the world cherishes, but which the Lord finds totally despicable! For that my brethren, is indeed true, true wisdom! Much LOVE!
 
…in the day of reckoning…he that is first (proud) on earth…shall be last in heaven…and he that is last (humble) on earth…shall be first in heaven…