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 31 October 2018 Proverbs 26:12.

Proverbs 26:12.    Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit (eyes)? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
 

Ah mih breddren, unfortunately at 8 o’clock on this Wednesday morning, the last day of October 2018, my neighbourhood is dark, dismal and cold…it’s also raining. To tell the truth, I don’t even remember what rain looks or feels like, for the past two weeks that I spent in Jamaica, I never experienced a drop of heavenly blessing. Yes, a few times the sky darkened, but nary a drop of water fell wherever I happened to be. Hn! 

But I’d better get accustomed to this new state of affairs…and quickly too, because that’s going to be the new norm now. Oh to be in Jamdown once again, experiencing sea, sand, surf and salt, with the occasional bit of rum! (smile) Yes friends, that’s what dream are made of! But here is a taste of reality from the Swedish U.N Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold (1905-1961). 

He piloted the United Nations from 1953 to 1961, when his plane, under mysterious circumstances, crashed in Africa, on his way to try and quell a dispute over there. These are some of the words he left us: ‘Maturity: among other things – not to hide one’s strength out of fear and consequently live below one’s best.’ Words of great wisdom my people! 

And as Christians we have to stop living in fear and proclaim our strengths, strengths which we all have. As they say: ‘healthy thinking requires us to develop and use our many strengths.’

That’s never been truer of Christ’s church than right now, because instead of exhibiting strength, too many of us are embracing weakness and compromising our Christian beliefs and situations. We can’t afford to hide our strengths my people, because that’s when we enjoy our best life. 

And to help us do that, here is a li’l prayer from Gramps Schuller (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. Please pray with me: ‘Thank you, Lord, for bringing me to the place where LOVE can knock at the door of my heart. O Father, do not let me be afraid. I shall not resist your affectionate touch. Let me, O Lord, have the spirit of a little child and dare to respond and run with open arms to your call of LOVE. Amen.’  

Oh friends, it amazes me that we can even contemplate resisting the Lord’s affectionate touch, much less do it! We must be mad, crazy, or stupid… or all three! But unfortunately a lot of believers do it every day.

No wonder their lives are so confused, strife-filled and unfulfilling. This action reminds me of Cousin Sol’s words in our Bit: ‘Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit (eyes)? There is more hope of a fool than of him.’ 

Yes friends, when we are so conceited that we turn away from God’s affectionate touch, there is more hope for even a fool, than for us. And in chapter 29, Cousin Sol says the same thing though somewhat differently: ‘Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.’ (Prov.29:20) 

And he reiterates his point in Ecclesiastes as the Preacher: ‘Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon the earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business (effort or activity); and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.’ (Eccl.5:2-3) 

Oh friends, I doubt there have been ever been more fools than in this present age! Why? Simply because of the rampant technology that allows us to connect so easily to each other, which unfortunately we are using to talk a whole lot of nonsense, drivel and petty stuff, instead of real and serious matters. 

We’ve become a low standards, low level society in all aspects. That new, but oh so foolish phenomenon called ‘Selfies’ are driving us even further into narcissism and ungodliness, because we’re so focused on ourselves, not on God and others.

Everybody’s walking around with their smart phone – except me- thank the Lord –  (smile) paying more attention to it than what’s happening around them. Sometimes I just have to shake my head and steups at how technology has invaded and taken over our lives. 

But here is the ultimate word on our foolish and selfish, conceited behaviour. This from Jesus two thousand years ago, as he spoke to his disciples about the differences between the praying publican (sinner) and the supposedly devout Pharisee.

‘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. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 

And the publican (tax collector), standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon (beat) his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 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.’ (Luke 18:11-14) 

Oh my people, in these end times there are too many of us like the Pharisee and not like the publican. Please, let’s try and turn it around nuh, for our sake, as well as our children’s.

Remember the Lord doesn’t need anything from us, but we need a whole lot from Him, and we’ll only get it by being obedient to His word. Now let’s go home declaring our Wednesday Wail, letting the world know our sincere and secure positions in Jesus. 

All together now…lets wail! ‘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 will that future ever be more glorious than we can ask or imagine! Much LOVE!

…turning away from God…that’s the most foolish thing man can ever do…

 

 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 16 February 2014 Luke 19:10

Luke 19:10.    For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
 
Well a good Sunday morning to all you Friends and fellow believers out there in Christendom! It is the Lord’s Day, so please let’s treat it as such; with reverence and awe, with praise and thanksgiving, with worship and fellowship. 
 
Let’s get out and fellowship with those of like persuasion… and even with those of a different persuasion, for once Jesus is the focus of our attention, we simply cannot go wrong. Remember He specifically said that wherever two or three are gathered in His Name, that He would certainly grace us with His wonderful presence. (Matt.18:20)
 
And if by chance, or design, you can’t get out to fellowship with other believers and hear the Word, then turn on your television set and tune in to one of the many Christian programmes where  the Word is boldly preached and listen to it attentively. Because to know the Word, you must hear it, and how can you hear it without a preacher? (Rom.10:14-15) For as Bruh Paul proudly proclaims: ‘So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ (Rom.10:17) 
 
And just supposing you don’t have a T.V… Well then get out your Bible and read it aloud to yourself, for there’s plenty of power in the spoken Word. Note that God SPOKE the world and all therein into existence. It wasn’t any abracadabra, simi-dimi stuff. The important thing though my brethren, is that the Word of God comes into contact with your very soul, on this, His day.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.’
 
And all God’s children gave out a loud and joyous shout of “Glory Hallelujah! All praise to the Lord for His goodness to us undeserving sinners.’ And well we should all be grateful and offer the sacrifice of praise my brethren, for without Jesus coming to search for and save us, we’d still be lost.
 
And I like how the scholars explain it. ’19:10. The words, seek, save, and lost all appear elsewhere in Scripture in a shepherd context. This verse may be taken as a kernel statement of the central theme of Luke. Jesus is the compassionate, searching Herdsman who seeks to save those who can by no means save themselves.’
 
We surely can’t my brethren! Now today I want to share some scriptures where Jesus states His avowed purpose in coming to earth. And He does it several times, in several different ways.
 
Let’s begin with when He talks about lost sheep. ‘For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.’ (Matt.18:11) Then He goes on to explain about a shepherd having an hundred sheep, but one gets lost and he leaves the ninety-nine and goes searching long and hard for the ONE LOST SHEEP, and rejoices greatly when he finds it.  (Matt.18:12-13) ‘Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.’ (Matt.18:14)
 
Oh Friends, yuh see the great importance the Lord attaches to even ONE LOST SINNER! Consequently, if there had only been one single sinner in the entire world, the Father would still have sent Jesus to save him.
 
Now let’s turn to a time after Jesus had eaten with a publican (tax collector) called Levi. (Luke 5:27-29) The scribes and Pharisees are questioning Jesus as to: ‘Why do ye eat and drink with publicans (tax collectors) and sinners? (Luke 5:30) That’s because the Pharisees thought it was beneath them, defiling to have business dealings with tax collectors like Levi, much less to eat with them.
 
‘And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole (healthy) need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’ (Luke 5:31-32)
 
As the scholars explain: ‘5:32. Jesus is of course not dealing with the question of whether there are in fact righteous people who need no repentance. By ‘righteous’ He refers to the Pharisees, who thought they were righteous, and thus felt they had no need to repent. They were truly self-righteous.’ 
 
In any case, if you came to save sinners, then you obviously need to hang out with them, otherwise how would you teach and testify and bring them to repentance eh?
 
And we’ll close with this instance where Jesus is headed for Jerusalem, but while passing through Samaria is rejected by the people there. At this perceived slight, James and John want to call down fire and brimstone on the heads of the Samaritans. (Luke 9:51-54)
 
‘But he (Jesus) turned and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.’ (Luke 9:55-56)
 
Ah mih breddren, that’s enough stuff for us to ponder today, to meditate on and write indelibly in our hearts. Please, let’s allow the Word of God to dwell richly in our souls, for ‘it is the power of God unto salvation.’ (Rom.1:16) 
 
And here’s a parting blessing I got from my church in Tobago.  ‘Go now in Peace – Never be Afraid. God will go with you each hour of every day. Go now in faith steadfast and strong and true. Know He will guide you in all you do. Go now in LOVE, and show you believe. Reach out to others, so all the world can see. God will be there watching from above. Go now in Peace, in Faith and in LOVE.’ Much LOVE, my fellow believers!
 
…once you know Jesus…you can’t help but LOVE and glorify and exalt Him…
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 August 2013 Job 22:2

Job 22:2.    Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?
 
Oh Friends, the weather forecasters predict another glorious day in the offing in my neck of the woods! But in truth, everyday on God’s beautiful and bountiful earth is a glorious one for all believers!
 
That’s because we have the LOVE of Jesus buried deep in our hearts. A LOVE made manifest by His sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary to pay our sin debt once and for all time.
 
And all God’s people gave a mighty joy-filled shout: ‘Praise the Lord and magnify the Holy Name of Jesus, for He was obedient to the Father’s will; obedient even unto death on the cross!’
 
Yes Friends, although Jesus was a part of the triune God-head, He humbled Himself and became a servant, not putting on the foolish airs and graces that so many of us like to put on to feel important, to impress our fellow man. Let’s sincerely hope and pray that we don’t fall into that pattern of pride and futility, otherwise, in the long run, we’ll be very sorry.
 
That brings us to our Bit: ‘Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?’
 
That is Job’s supposed friend Eliphaz, getting ready to blast him with serious accusations of sin, that he believes ultimately caused Job’s downfall. And he continues into the next verse: ‘Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? Or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect (blameless)?’ (Job 22:3)
 
Technically speaking Friends, the answer to Eliphaz’s questions are all NO. For though the Lord wants us to be upright, all our righteousness, wisdom and otherwise make absolutely no difference to God’s status or stature. All those things are provided for our benefit, not God’s.  He’s Jehovah Jireh, the Provider! He needs nothing from us to keep on being who He is.
 
Now listen to how Jesus puts it, when talking to the disciples about the duties of a servant. ‘But which of you, having a servant ploughing or feeding cattle (tending sheep), will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat (eat)? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup (something for me to eat), and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?
 
Doth he thank the servant because he did those things that were commanded him? I trow (think) not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded of you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.’ (Luke 17:7-10) 
 
Yes my brethren, a servant’s duty is to do his master’s bidding. And since Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, we ought to do as He commands, otherwise we’re not true followers of His.
 
And I like how the scholars explain those verses. ’17:7-10: Contrary to folk wisdom of the day (and now), Jesus is clear that human obedience to God does not put God in debt to man. Jesus here gives a succinct picture of the attitude that should underlie our service to God. Otherwise we’re mere hirelings. Contrast Jesus’ teaching with the reasoning in 18:12.’ 
 
Oh Friends, ours is to do the will of God, not to be proud and haughty as we see in chapter 18, where Jesus tells the parable of two men, a Pharisee and a publican praying in the temple.
 
‘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 (tax collector). I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican (tax collector), standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon (beat) his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
 
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ (Luke 18:10-14)  
 
And my people, we see that eternal truth in the last verse totally confirmed in the person of Jesus, as Bruh Paul so eloquently writes to the Philippians. ‘Let this mind be in you (constantly maintain this attitude), which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
 
And being found in the fashion  (appearance) as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things (those) in heaven, and things (those) in earth, and things (those) under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ (Phil.2:5-11) 
 
Ah mih people, please let that be a lesson to us, to be humble, unto serving Almighty God, and not be carried away by the pomp, pride and prejudice of this foolish, evil, ungodly world. Because in due time, if we faint not, but remain steadfast and true, our heavenly Father will raise us up, just like He did Jesus, and exalt us much much more than our fellow earthlings are able to do.
 
As heirs with Christ, thus children of God, only the best will be laid out for us on that fateful day, when we see the Father face to face. That’s His promise to all faithful servants. And we know that He keeps ALL His promises. So take care, stand strong and tall in His name, but don’t let foolish pride drive us away from Him. That’s wisdom at its highest. Much LOVE!
 
…a man can only come to the Father through Jesus…and then he needs a humble and contrite heart to get an audience…