Today’s Scrip-Bit   4 May 2022 Matthew 21:22.

Matthew 21:22.       And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Oh, it’s been a very persistent drizzle; right from yesterday afternoon, through the night…and believe it or not, (smile) it’s still happening in my neighbourhood! So, this middle day of the week, Wednesday is wet and cloudy. It’s the kind of day we expected in April, you know, April showers that bring May flowers. But it hasn’t worked out that way. It’s May, and we still haven’t seen any flowers. What’s with that eh? But after a somewhat colder than normal April, the trees are now venturing to bud. 

And we’re laying it all at the feet of climate change. Now isn’t it strange that we always find something or someone else to blame for our problems rather than the usual cause, that’s ourselves? For sure! We don’t like to accept blame, even when it’s staring us full in the face. And our society is daily getting worse in that respect. But I’m not going to go any further into that topic, because it’s one fraught with all kinds of pitfalls. (smile) But rather, I’m going to revisit our Bit of yesterday, the reassuring and uplifting words of Jesus on prayer. ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt. 21:22) 

And why is that you ask? Simply because some of the scriptures I had planned to share yesterday never got shared, and I believe they are important enough for us to consider on the subject of prayer. And the first scripture we want to address is this one that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion, when His heart was heavy and His spirit pretty low. ‘And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.’ (Mark 14:36) 

Yes friends, we need to note there, that although Jesus would have liked to be spared the ‘sufferation’ of the cross, He was willing to bow to the Father’s will. We saw the same thing with Bruh Paul yesterday, when the Lord refused to remove the thorn from his flesh because it showed the Lord’s power more in his weakness. And that’s the same thing we must understand. God will not always answer our prayers, the way we want them, when our problems serve for His greater good. You can see that instead of taking away the ‘sufferation’ of the cross, He gave Jesus the wherewithal to handle it, and likewise with Bruh Paul, He gave him the strength to handle whatever was the annoying thorn in his flesh. 

So please don’t be dismayed if we ask for relief in some way and the Lord provides it in a different way. Remember, whatever we ask for, must be in line with the Lord’s will, and there will be times, when we truly believe we need genuine relief from problems, but facing those problems will accentuate His glory and raise our maturity level, so He might just give us the strength to face them, instead of removing them completely. 

Then there is this very interesting and true statement from Jesus to the disciples, after He came and found them sleeping, instead of watching and praying with Him. He said to them: ‘Watch ye and pray, lest ye fall into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.’ (Mark 14:38) And that’s the indisputable truth my people! Our flesh is easily ruled by our sinful nature, and we need to be in a state of spiritual perception to be able to resist the wiles and evil schemes which the enemy constantly throws at us. 

And the best way to do that is through prayer. For when we are praying, temptation cannot overcome us. Now listen to Jesus again to the disciples after telling them that He was the vine and they the branches. (John 15:5) ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto (for) you.’ (John 15:8) And that relates directly to the fact that we ask for whatever in Jesus’ name, because it’s only through His work on the cross and His name, that we have access to the Father. So only if we are His true agents and ambassadors, living His Word, will using His name work. 

And these words of James, Jesus’ brother, on the topic of prayer, really tell us how important it is in the believer’s life. He says: ‘Is any among you afflicted (suffering)? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults (trespasses) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual (effective) fervent prayer (supplication) of a righteous man availeth much.’ (James 5:13-16) 

Yes my fellow saints, prayer should be our number ONE response to everything! As Bruh Paul said to the Thessalonians: ‘Pray without ceasing.’ (2 Thess. 5:17) The Lord our God ought to be the first person we tell about any problem. Then He will direct us to the best road to take. As Cousin Sol so wisely and rightly says in Proverbs. ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct (make straight) thy paths.’ (Prov. 3:5-6) 

Truer words were never spoken or written my friends! That’s why we can turn to the first epistle of John to read and hopefully learn these most valuable lessons. ‘Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.’ (1 John 3:21-22) 

Now the scholars give us a very good warning about those passages of scripture. ‘We have confidence toward God if our lives are in line with the standard of Christian living set forth by John in the earlier passages. John is not saying that whether a person is right or wrong is simply a matter of how he subjectively feels about himself. That is why John has given so many indicators and commands for Christians to take note of and assess themselves by. And one of the great results of a life lived in purity before God is a life where there is effective prayer. Right living is an important part of successful praying.’ 

And that hits the nail right on the head my brethren! Prayer is non-functional unless we are living right. In other words, right living determines the successfulness of our prayers! And for those of us who are endeavouring to live right, let’s go home declaring (yesss!!!) our Wednesday Wail, letting all and sundry know of our most wonderful position in Christ Jesus! 

Altogether now: ‘Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: I’m so glad to be alive on this Wednesday! Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday: Thank God the breath of life is still flowing through me on this Wednesday! I am halfway home. My hands are fixed securely on the plough, and I’m not turning back. I’m not looking back at the past, not focusing on what has gone before. But my eyes are fixed straight ahead; straight ahead to a glorious future with Jesus. Glory Hallelujah!’ 

And the corollary to that is this: if we endure to the very end, then the future will be even more glorious and marvellous than we can ever ask or imagine! Now doesn’t that give us good reason to endure right down to the very end? It surely does! Much LOVE!

…and this is the confidence that we have in him…that if we ask anything…according to his will…he heareth us… (1 John 5:14) 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 12 November 2015 Psalm 95:1‏

Psalm 95:1.   O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) to the rock of our salvation.

Ah Friends, these late nights and early mornings going to be the death of the ole fella yes! But I’m just naturally a night owl! (smile) I awoke earlier on, looked at the clock and decided it was time to get up, but then thought I’d just roll over and soak for a while. 

Hn! But it seems that I fell asleep again, and it was almost an hour later that I finally finished soaking. Hn, hn! What a life eh! 

Then I discovered that today, Thursday, was another British type weather day; constant drizzle. Yesterday afternoon turned out beautifully though, with bright sunshine. Let’s hope that today will do the same. 

But regardless of how the day turns out, it is still the day that our great and wonderful God has made, filled with plenty new blessings and mercies, so let us rejoice and be glad in it, as we were meant to do. 

Now here is something I’ve been trying to share for about three days now, but was thwarted by the Holy Spirit every time. I guess I wasn’t meant to share it until today. So here it is, something from Gramps Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional titled ‘LEARN TO KNOW GOD.’  

That’s something we all need to do my people! So please pray with me. ‘Dear Jesus, I’ve got to know you better. Please help me! I can feel my spiritual and emotional walls crack. I can hear old chains break. I can feel my heart opening like a heavy old door whose ancient seals have just begun to break. 

I can sense the footsteps of Jesus walking into my life. I am beginning to experience the joy of a soul that is being saved, a life that is being born again. Thank You, Lord! Life’s not fair, but God is good. Amen.’ 

Yes Friends, our God is definitely good, no doubt about it! So hopefully, if we prayed that prayer sincerely, at whatever level of maturity in Christ that we are currently at, we will soon hear new doors opening and feel Jesus beginning to move at a higher level in our lives. 

For remember, it’s all a lifetime process, and we never finish learning and maturing until we take our final earthly breath. And to help us do that, in terms of the praise and thanksgiving aspect, we’ll continue our series of messages along those lines. 

And our Bit once again wisely invites us: ‘O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise (shout joyfully) to the rock of our salvation.’ 

Oh Friends, there’s nothing better in this life than giving thanks and praise to our most wonderful and ever-LOVING God! Why? Because that’s one of the main things we were created for! 

But unfortunately we have relegated it to the back parts of our Christian walk. You don’t hear believers singing as often and as joyfully as we once did, because we have been caught up in, entangled by the tentacles of the evil world and all its false and deceptive deeds and teachings. 

But today my brethren, we’re going to attempt to correct that with some joyful scripture. Here is Bruh Paul’s prescription to the Ephesians ‘And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess (dissipation); but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ (Eph.5:18-21) 

Yes my people, we should always be in thanksgiving and praising mode, regardless of our circumstances. Remember how Bruh Paul and Silas reacted during their imprisonment in Philippi? The Good Book tells it thus: ‘And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard.’ (Acts 16:25) 

Yes Friends, even in one the darkest hours of their lives, they were praying and singing hymns, giving glory to God. And you know what happened; an earthquake came and broke down the prison gates, but none of the prisoners fled, which all led to the saving of the jailer and his family, and no doubt some of the other prisoners also. (Acts 16:26-34) 

So you see my fellow believers in Jesus Christ, there is no telling what our God will do when we praise and glorify Him, even in our saddest times. James says it quite right. ‘Is any among you afflicted (suffering)? let him pray. Is any merry (cheerful)? let him sing psalms.’ (James 5:13) 

And Asaph, in Psalm 50 – God is the judge – tells us what our God desires of us. ‘Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the Most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.’ (Ps.50:14-15) 

Yes Friends, whenever we sincerely and faithfully call upon our God, we give Him a chance to deliver us, and thus glorify His Holy Name. And we’ll end with these beautiful and most assuring words from Psalm 92 – Praises for the Lord’s goodness. 

‘It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To show forth (declare) thy LOVING-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery (lute or lyre); upon the harp with a solemn (harmonious or melodic) sound. For thou Lord, hast made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands.’ (Ps.92:1-4) 

Oh my people, my people, please, I’m imploring us to ramp up our acts of praise and thanksgiving to our God and Creator, regardless of our circumstances. 

Why? Because when we come to Him in praise and thanksgiving, it gives Him an opportunity to work miracles in our lives and thus raise the level of our faith and trust. It’s wisdom at its best! Much LOVE!

…O sing unto the Lord a new song…sing unto the Lord…all the earth… sing unto the Lord…bless his name…show forth (proclaim the good news of) his salvation…from day to day… (Ps.96:1-2)