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… 

 Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZ    

Advertisement

Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 March 2021 Ephesians 3:20.

Ephesians 3:20.     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,

And then, rather quickly, it was Thursday, the penultimate day of the work week, and our lives are still somewhat confused by the pandemic and racial unrest. However, despite how things may appear, regardless of all the worries and pain, if you believe that your life is in Almighty God’s hands, then those problems will become very surmountable! Yes friends, once you are in God’s hands, problems never seem as worrisome and problematic! 

Oh, you will still have them, because that’s just a part of life on this planet, but once you’re walking with Him, once you are a follower of His wonderful Son, our Sacrificial Lamb, Jesus Christ, He’s always there to help and comfort you through His Holy Spirit that indwells all His followers! 

Wow! What awesome comfort and assurance! No other Deity can provide such emotional relief and trust, because no other Deity is alive and well and powerful like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But the important thing is that we have to embrace all the promises and benefits that the Lord has provided. They don’t come to us automatically. We have to make the decision to come to Christ and accept that He is Lord and Saviour. 

And today, what we’re going to look at is the first act in that action. (smile) It’s called prayer, or talking to God in reverential awe; humbly, but with confidence, as Hebrews tells us: ‘Let us therefore come boldly (confidently) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ (Heb. 4:16) 

Now, prayer is not only asking God for stuff we want, or think we need, it goes much deeper than that. It is in essence a communing of our spirit with that of the Father, who originally breathed His Spirit in us to give us life. And when we accept Christ as Lord and Saviour, His Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us to lead and guide us and to help us commune with the Almighty. Part of the Holy Spirit’s job is also to help us in prayer. 

Bruh Paul puts it like this to the church at Rome. ‘Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities (weaknesses): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts (God) knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.’ (Rom. 8:26-27) 

Yes precious people, the Holy Spirit interprets our innermost feelings that we cannot put into words and aligns them with God’s will. For remember, before the Lord grants our requests, He looks at the motives of our hearts, to see if they’re selfish, greedy and outside of His will. 

But getting back to actual prayer. Let’s look at how Bruh Paul prayed for others. It’s strange, but he didn’t usually pray for people’s troubles to go away and that sort of thing, he mostly prayed that they would have inner growth, and thus be able to handle the problems from a point of greater maturity. Here’s how he prayed for the Ephesians, the church at Ephesus. 

‘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 (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 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) 

Oh, I know that it seems like a long and complicated prayer, but in essence it’s fairly simple. Here are some explanations from the scholars. ‘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, 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.’ 

Oh my people, doesn’t that sound like a complete prayer? It surely does! When we are strengthened by the Spirit, then we can understand Christ’s LOVE, then live the way He desires us to live, through strong and mature faith, ‘rooted and grounded in LOVE.’ And there’s no other way to live the Christian life my friends. 

But Bruh Paul wasn’t done with his prayer. 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 the scholars tell us: ‘3:20. In making the three above petitions (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.’ 

And that’s the gospel truth my brethren! Our God is omnipotent, omniscient and omni-present, that means He can do all things, knows all things and is everywhere at the same time! And that’s why He is GOD! So let’s try to adopt some of those prayer principles that Bruh Paul established nuh. Let’s not just pray for troubles to be over, or success to be gained, but for us to receive what we need to grow and mature in the faith, have our inner man strengthened. We will all end up better off and living a more complete Christian life. 

And now, since it’s Thursday, let’s go home declaring (yeahhh!) our Thursday Blessings, which the Lord has magnanimously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. Altogether now, in strong and sincere voice: ‘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!’ 

Oh friends, it’s time for us to now share those blessings with others, just as generously as the Lord shared them with us! Much LOVE!

…Christ came as a servant…and He expects the same of His followers…