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…

 

Advertisements

Today’s Scrip-Bit 10 July 2018 Lamentations 3:22-23.

Lamentations 3:22-23.   It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Well friends, here we are again on another beautiful Tuesday morning in the land of the living, blessed to the gills; filled to the brim with all the innate goodness and mercy of Jesus, just waiting to be brought forth in truthful words and LOVING actions! 

Hn, hn! A good mouthful that! But it’s ALL true! Yes my brethren, all the goodness and mercy of Jesus has been planted in us, like seeds in the ground, since the day we accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour! Now it’s our responsibility to let those seeds grow in us and blossom forth with much good fruit. 

Remember, Jesus said: ‘Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them.’ (Matt.7:20) So the world will know whether we are true disciples of Jesus or not, by the fruit we bear. So let’s be diligent to bear good fruit in His name nuh. 

And today we’ll continue with our Bit on compassions, because it’s such an important aspect of our God, and consequently our Christian lives. Moreover, compassionate behaviour is one of the ways that we are indeed able to bear good fruit. 

‘It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.’ 

Oh my people, every time I read that passage, thankfulness and gratitude just wells up within me! Let’s hope it does in you too, because it’s only through God’s exceptional LOVING-kindness that we have hope of eternal life and not everlasting darkness and damnation! 

And finally I get to do what I wanted to from the beginning; show the compassion of our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ as recorded in the Good Book. (smile) Oh friends, if nothing else, Jesus was filled with compassion for the lost, the sick, the sorrowful; anyone who had a need, and to be true disciples of His, we also ought to have that compassionate mentality. 

Hear the Good Book tell it: ‘And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted (were weary), and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.’ (Matt.9:35-36) 

Ah friends, sadly, that same condition still exists in our time today. There are numerous needy sheep scattered around our world, our individual countries and individual neighbourhoods with no shepherd. What are we doing, or going to do about them eh? 

Listen to Jesus when He saw that sad situation. ‘Then saith he (Jesus) unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.’ (Matt.9:37-38) 

Oh my people are we so moved when we see the poverty and sickness and great need that exist in this supposed prosperous society? Do we pray to the Lord to send forth more harvesters; missionaries, evangelists, doctors, nurses, philanthropists, etc. etc. to help those in need? And do we ourselves try to up our contributions to the betterment of the situation in some form or the other? 

That’s what we as Christians, as true believers and followers of Christ ought to be doing! But obviously we are not doing it as well as we should, else the mass of needy humanity in our society would not be as great as it currently is. 

Now here is another instance of Jesus’ compassion from the Good Book. This was after Herod killed John the Baptist and his head given to his (Herod’s wife). ‘And his (John’s) disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. 

When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart (by himself): and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.’ (Matt.14:12-14) 

Ah mih breddren, yuh think Jesus didn’t feel sorrow and emotional pain too? Remember He was fully human, so He certainly did, as indicated by His going away by Himself after hearing about John the Baptist’s death. Remember too that John was His cousin, His forerunner. And though they did not associate much, He was still moved, because He knew that it was basically on His account that John lost his life. 

But even then, when He saw the multitudes of poor, needy and sick people, He could not avoid having compassion on them. Oh my fellow believers that’s how we ought to be too! Obviously we’ll not be able to alleviate all the suffering in the world, but come the judgement day it will be very beneficial to us, if the Lord could point out many acts of compassion which we did on His behalf, while here on earth. 

Now let’s go home, declaring who and whose we are through our Tuesday Mantra, which has compassion as a central theme. In strong voice, with sincere hearts: ‘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 the world.  Amen!’ 

Yeh friends, sharing Jesus’ LOVE with the world is compassion. So let’s go out and do it nuh! Much LOVE!

…when Christians show true compassion…they are being truly Christ-like…