Today’s Scrip-Bit 11 August 2019 Matthew 6:9.

Matthew 6:9.    ​After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
 

‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Ps.122:1) Oh my fellow believers in Christ, that’s exactly the invitation I’m offering us this Sunday morning, the Lord’s Day! Yes, it is good and right that we venture into His house on His day to acknowledge His sovereignty, holiness, grace, compassion and mercy towards us, miserable sinning saints that we are. In fellowship with other believers, we are expected to lift our voices in songs of praise and thanksgiving and receive encouragement from listening to His holy Word. 

And since there is strength in numbers, it means when we gather together, we are a powerful group, able to move mountains with our faith, but we also spread the joy of the Lord amongst each other, encouraging each other as needed. So please don’t refuse this invitation today, because you never know what wondrous blessings or opportunities the Lord has in store for you in His sanctuary today. 

And even if there is nothing special, you leave there like a preening peacock, (smile) full of confidence and joy in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! And believe me nothing is better than that in this cruel and oppressive world! Glory to the Most High God Jehovah! Ah mih people, like the ole fella getting excited…And why not eh, since Christ is the greatest thing to ever happen to mankind. And if I have to tell you that, then something wrong with yuh faith yes! (smile)

Anyway, putting all of that aside, let’s begin the proceedings with praise and worship. And since we sang the second most popular Bible scripture last week; the Lord is My shepherd, I figured it’s only right to sing the most popular one today, The Lord’s Prayer. So let’s get to it nuh, in strong, sweet, sincere and solemn harmony, so that the Father has no choice but to look down on us with favour. 

‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever…for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!’ 

Yeh friends, short but sweet! And we all know it as the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples. Luke describes the scene thus: ‘And it came to pass, that as he (Jesus) was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.’ (Luke 11:1) And the scholars offer this footnote: ‘11:1. Religious communities of the time customarily had their own distinctive prayers. Perhaps the disciples wanted theirs.’ 

And we know what Jesus told them: ‘After this manner pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.’ And He went on to tell them the awesome, far-reaching words that we just sang. It’s amazing how it seems to cover all that our earthly life calls for. But if it comes from Jesus, what else would we expect eh? 

Now the scholars offer some interesting explanations on the prayer, and I’m going to share them. Let’s hope we have enough space. (smile) ‘6:9. The beginning phrase, Our Father, is completely uncommon to the prayers of the Old Testament. The two major elements of the prayer are adoration and petition. Hallowed be thy name addresses the attention of the prayer toward God and reverence for His name and His person. Hallowed (Gr. hagiazo) means to be held in reverence and holy awe.’ 

‘6:10. The phrase Thy kingdom come refers to the eschatological (study of end times) nature of this prayer. Notice that the kingdom is to be prayed for, implying that it has not yet arrived. The kingdom represents the full and effective reign of God through the mediatorial office of the Messiah. The recognition of Thy will be done emphasizes the idea that prayer is to bring about the conformity of the will of the believer to the will of God. Prayer is an act of spiritual expression that brings us into conformity to the very nature and purpose of God.’ 

‘6:11. The section of petitions begins with the request to give us this day our daily bread. Bread (Gr. artos) may be applied to the provision of food in general. The term ‘daily’ (Gr. epiousios) denotes “indispensable.” The concept of daily provision of bread fits perfectly with the Old Testament example of the daily provision of manna to the Israelites while they were wandering in the wilderness. (Ex.16:14-15).’ 

‘6:12. Forgive us our trespasses refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God’s righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.’ ‘6:13-15. Lead us not into temptation is a plea for the providential help of God in our daily confrontation with the temptation of sin. God does not tempt us to do evil, but we are tempted by our own lusts (James 1:13-14). 

However, God does test us in order to give us the opportunity to prove our faithfulness to Him. He never desires to lead us into evil itself. Therefore if we resist the Devil, we are promised that he will flee from us. The prayer closes with a doxology of praise (expression of praise to God): For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen, which is a liturgical (pattern for worship) ending similar to 1 Chronicles 29:11) Though omitted in some manuscripts, these words constitute a fitting and climactic affirmation of faith.’  

And so it does my fellow believers! I also hope that those explanations give you a better understanding of what our most beloved prayer is all about. I certainly learned a lot from them. And neither did it take up as much space as I expected. (smile) So let’s get ourselves to church sometime today nuh and enjoy fellowship with other believers in the holy presence of Almighty God! That’s my prayer and wish for all of us today! Much LOVE!

…in humble prayer…praise ought always…to come before petition…

 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 March 2018 Matthew 6:12.

Matthew 6:12.    And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Awright friends and faithful followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve been blessed with another day on God’s great earth! So let’s take advantage of it nuh, because we don’t know how many more we will be blessed with, if any, and let’s open today by declaring like the psalmist did so long ago: ‘This is the day the Lord has made, we WILL rejoice and be glad in it!’ (Ps.118:24) 

Wow! What a positive opening statement friends! That sets the tone for the rest of our day. We have the opportunity now to go out and enjoy God’s favour; His mercy, grace, LOVE and forgiveness as we work with diligence and excellence to do His awesome, holy will. 

Mama Mia! It couldn’t get any better than that in this sinful and wicked world nuh mih people! Living under Christ’s umbrella is the best antidote for all that ails the world and us. 

And I have a li’l something to share from C.S. Lewis that describes our Christian walk. He says: ‘To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.’ And isn’t that the gospel truth! God has forgiven us so greatly that it’s only reasonable and to be expected that we forgive others. 

And you know what friends? That isn’t even an individual choice we have, because our Lord and Saviour, Our Leader and heavenly King, Jesus Christ enshrined it as a decree in what is commonly known as the Lord’s Prayer, as our Bit declares: ‘And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.’ 

Now what does that mean? The scholar’s offer this explanation: ‘6:12. Forgive us our debts refers to sins, which are our moral and spiritual debts to God’s righteousness. The request for forgiveness of sin is made here by the believer. In order to be saved one need not necessarily name all of his sins, but he must confess that he is a sinner.’  

A good thing too, else some of us would still be confessing. (smile) And why is forgiveness so important you wonder? Well Jesus explains a couple of verses later. ‘For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ (Matt.12:14-15) 

It’s as simple as that my brethren! Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Don’t forgive, and you won’t be forgiven. As the old people would say, ‘tit for tat.’ And would you believe, that in spite of Christ’s serious warning, forgiveness is currently one of the world’s biggest problems? And not only on the small, individual scale, but also on the large national stage. 

What do you think is causing so many small wars and skirmishes to continue to flower and flourish all over the world eh? Memories of wars and other atrocities committed by long ago descendants. But the current ones have not forgotten or forgiven, so the anger, bitterness and hatred continue, unfortunately festering the souls of legions of people who had nothing to do with the initial atrocities. 

Just look at the distrust and angst between the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese that now plays out in international affairs because of the way the Japanese ravaged the Chinese and Koreans in the recent wars. It’s the same thing in the Middle East. Thousands of years have passed and old wounds are still festering. Look at Britain, with Wales, Scotland and Ireland; the same thing is happening. 

Old injuries and slights are still playing a vibrant part in today’s scenarios. And we won’t even talk about what’s happening with the individual members of our society. Forgiveness is anathema; repugnant and odious to so many of us, as we scurry through the rat race, the dog eat dog scene that’s today’s world. 

We’re only interested in our own aggrandizement, and anyone that gets in our way, too bad for them. We want to be forgiven, but we refuse to forgive. And if yuh think that forgiving is a one-time deal, you better had think again. For when Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother ‘till seven times?’ Jesus replied: ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but until seventy times seven.’ (Matt.18:21-22) 

So friends, forgiveness is an ongoing action. It never stops. Once there has been an infraction, there needs to be forgiveness. And the sad part of the matter is that forgiveness isn’t so much for the other person, but for you the forgiver. It releases your spirit from anger and bitterness and all the other negative emotions that clutter up your soul when you refuse to forgive. 

Oftimes the person who you think has done you wrong, doesn’t even know it, or care, and goes on about their business regardless, while you hold all the unforgiveness in your heart. You are the one who’s suffering because you refuse to let go of the wrong. That’s not a very wise way to live my brethren. So please, let’s raise our level of forgiveness, and see how it raises the level of the remainder of our life nuh. 

Now let’s go home shouting out to the world, our position in Jesus Christ through our Wednesday Wail. 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 oh, how glorious indeed, will be that future with Jesus! I cant wait to experience it! Much LOVE!

…to forgive, forgive…and yet to forgive…that’s the message of Christ…and His cross…