Today’s Scrip-Bit 17 May 2020 2 Chronicles 7:15.

2 Chronicles 7:15.    ​Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.
 
Chuh! One more Sunday without physical corporate worship friends. But don’t worry, we’re drawing close to the day when the Lord’s sanctuaries will again be opened, and we’ll greet each other with hugs and kisses and handshakes and other physical greetings, as we sing and dance and enjoy physical fellowship together under one roof. (smile) As children of the Most High God Jehovah we must resonate with hope. And the restrictions are being slowly loosened, so it’s not like I’m totally talking out of my hat. 

Anyway, we’re still restricted from gathering physically to worship, but not through all the handy technological means we have today. So let’s get on with it nuh, let’s sing and dance and listen to the Word and gain confidence and enthusiasm and strength from it through our technological interaction, in our own personal spaces, adhering to the restrictions of physical distancing, but enjoying the social and spiritual closeness that we so badly need. And in these pandemic times, times of much anxiety and uncertainty, when our world is caught between a rock and a hard place with this Coronavirus that’s overwhelming us, we need a song of praise and worship that encourages and strengthens us and gives us hope for the future. 

And today we have one such song, most appropriately titled ‘God answers Prayer,’ sung by a young Jamaican lady who calls herself Da Flame. It’s a medium tempo soulful song, that details our many problems, but gives us hope, because we have someone who looks after us in our time of need. So in soulful harmony, let’s raise our sacrifice of praise and pleading to high heaven, drawing every emotion from deep down in our hurting and anxious hearts. ‘If you’re ever feeling down and like you have no where to go. If you’re feeling like an outcast as your problems overflow, just remember there is someone, and all it takes is for you to know, is that God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(Chorus: He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer) You may be broken and feel battered, but your strength will surely come, in the midst of all your heartache. Your battles are already won. Just remember in the hard times, don’t give up, don’t say you’re done, because God is the answer, and God answers prayer. 

(He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for me. I get down on my knees, and I say Saviour help me please. Because one thing is for certain, is my God answers prayer. Oh He sees every weakness, every trial, every mountain and sea, and He sees every tear drop, and He wipes them for us. So let’s get down on our knees, and say, Saviour, help us please. Because one thing is for certain…our God answers prayer.’ 

Oh yes friends, that’s an indisputable fact: our great and faithful, merciful and gracious, forgiving and ever-LOVING God answers each and every prayer we offer up to Him with a sincere heart. He might not give us what we want when we want it, but He does answer our requests, with either an outright no, because it’s not in His will, a wait, not yet, or a definite yes.

And the one good thing that this Covid-19 disease is doing is turning more people than ever to prayer, because we realize that man made answers are not being quickly forthcoming, and when the chips are finally down, when we have no where else to turn, many of us turn to God, as our last resort, our final hope. 

And nothing’s wrong with that, although He should be our first avenue of help. The problem though is when we finally turn to Him and He doesn’t respond as quickly as we like, we get annoyed and go back to blaspheming and bad talking Him. But that’s another sermon for another day. (smile) Today we’re talking about Him answering our prayers. And that He certainly does, though not necessarily in our time. Remember He says that His thoughts and ways and timing are higher than ours, so one of the things we have to do is learn to wait on Him. He might take a while, but I can assure you, He’s NEVER late. 

And if you don’t believe me that He answers prayer, let’s look at a couple of scriptures that reassure us of it. Remember when Cousin Sol dedicated the majestic temple in Israel? Well he asked the Lord for one basic thing; if His children faltered in their obedience, but then returned and prayed at the temple, His house: ‘Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.’ (2 Chr. 6:35) 

And what was the Lord’s reply? ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent (attentive) unto the prayer that is made in this place.’ (2 Chr. 7:14-15) And we see it happen all the way through the Good Book, where the Israelites turned away from God, then turned back, and He heard their prayer and forgave them. The same thing goes for us today my brethren. 

As the scholars tell us: ‘7:14-15. While this promise was originally given to Solomon regarding the people of Israel, it is certainly applicable to all who will call on the Lord in repentance and faith. These verses stand as a high expression of God’s LOVING readiness to hear the prayers of a repentant people (cf. 6:37-39; James 4:8-10).’ 

Yes friends, God answers prayer, but our hearts, our motives must be right. Now are our hearts and motives right, are we being truly repentant in these pandemic times, or are we just mouthing platitudes, and as soon as He heals our land, we’ll go back to our old, wicked ways?  I don’t know, but He will certainly check it out first. 

And Bruh David verified that the Lord answers prayer, when he declared: ‘In the day when I cried thou answeredst (answered) me, and strengthenedst (strengthened) me with strength in my soul.’ (Ps. 138:3) And Jesus faithfully promised the disciples: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt.21:22) Meanwhile, John says it thus: ‘And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.’ (John 14:13-14) 

Ah mih people, our God does answer prayer, but there are indeed some requirements for us to meet. Much LOVE!

…answered prayer…calls for…sincere hearts…and true belief in Jesus…

Today’s Scrip-Bit 29 June 2018 1 Samuel 30:6b.

1 Samuel 30:6b.   …but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Well who would have thought it eh? That in these supposedly modern times the days of the Wild Wild West would reappear again, when killing each other was a more or less normal way of life. 

But it has resurfaced with numerous shootings all over, especially in the U.S. including the latest in Maryland where a man rampaged through a newspaper yesterday with a shotgun, killing five journalists. Apparently he had a feud with the newspaper, sued them in court and lost, so that was his way of getting even. 

Ah Lord eh! When are we going to learn eh, that if you live by the gun, you’ll most likely die by the gun? And unfortunately guns are proliferating all over the world now! No wonder there’s so much killing and mayhem. 

But as Christians we cannot afford to allow this negative state of affairs to bring us down. In fact we should be trying even harder to spread the word of God and His awesome LOVE, which mitigates such situations, bringing more togetherness, rather than the current separation we’re seeing in our turbulent world. 

And to bolster that fact, let’s remember that it’s Friday, a long weekend in Canada, where we celebrate Canada’s birthday on Monday, so celebrations are in the air everywhere, including the freed workingman’s song. ‘TGIF! Thank God is Friday yes! I don’t know if I could have made it another day nuh! And thank God especially that this is the Canada Day long weekend! 

Mama Yo! Even though ah tired, I’m going to be celebrating we country birthday in fine fashion! How could I not eh, when I live in such a fine country! And who don’t like we celebrations…. yuh know where they could go eh…straight to where Lucifer and his boys live yes! Thank God for Fridays and weekends, especially the long ones and them!’ 

Yes friends, this is the Canada Day long weekend and obviously the celebrations will be plentiful, uproarious and somewhat overboard, but please let’s remember Granny’s words of wisdom as we celebrate: ‘Sonny boy, please, ah beg you, drunk or sober, please mind yuh business.’ 

And all we believers will do well to adhere to that bit of wise advice this long weekend. For, unlike the workingman, we can’t afford to let the enemy get even one toehold in our business. So let’s chant our Friday Chant and remind ourselves of our responsibilities this weekend. 

Altogether now: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through another week of work! It hasn’t been easy, but with your generous help, I made it through. Now, please help me to get sufficient fun, fellowship, rest and relaxation in these two short days off, so that I can be renewed and refreshed in soul, body and mind, to go back out and do it all over again next week, furthering your glorious kingdom with each step I take. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen.’ 

Yes precious people, serving Jehovah, improving His kingdom must always be at the forefront of our minds, though not in a severe and overly religious way. And I know that that is not always easy to do, what with the normal pressures of life and the constant bombardment of ungodly things and situations that the world enjoys firing at us. And it gets even more disheartening when we are alone to face the calamities coming against us. 

As Bruh Paul told Timothy: ‘At my first answer (defense) no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’ (2 Tim.4:16-18) 

Ah mih breddren, we need to remember that we’re never alone, for even when no one is with us, God is always there. That brings us to another solitary situation, when Bruh David was living in Philistia, running from his enemies, and returned to his town of Ziklag and found it burned to the ground by the Amalekites, and all the women and children taken away captive, including his wives and children. 

But the Good Book says: ‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people were grieved (bitter), every man for his sons and daughters:’ (1 Sam.30a) Yuh see how we can be selfish and peeved when we’re suffering, and want to do others harm, even when they are suffering like us. 

Bruh David’s men apparently couldn’t care less that he had also lost his wives, his sons and daughters. They just wanted someone to blame, to take out their anger and grief on, and he was the most appropriate one at the time. They forgot all the times that they had endangered their lives for him, and how he had treated them well. But yuh know what friends, the Good Book continues: ‘…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ 

Yeh mih people, when there’s no one around to encourage us, we have to find the necessary strength and energy to encourage ourselves in our God, who is always there for us. It’s not easy, but we know that when we call on Him with a sincere heart, He will answer and come to our rescue. That’s His promise, and He ALWAYS keeps them. 

So right now, if you’re in a situation somewhat like Bruh David’s, I encourage you to call out to your heavenly Father, and receive His divine encouragement, which no human’s can even approximate! Much LOVE!

…you’re NEVER alone…for the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit are ALWAYS with you…wherever you go…

 

 1 Samuel 30:6b.     ‘…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’

And then it was Saturday; the day for household chores and grocery shopping for some, while for others it’s just a lazy, lying around day, doing nothing much of anything. For those blessed to be living in tropical climes, it might be a picnic or some outdoor sport or just lying in a hammock below a shade tree.  

Or if you’re in Tobago, you might just be getting ready to go up Calder Hall and get some of Brother Kirby’s rich, tantalizing and nutritious soups. That would certainly go down well on this chilly Saturday morning. How lucky can some people get eh? (smile) 

But not so in these northern parts, since it’s too cold for the usual outdoor sports and picnics, while it’s not cold enough to go skiing or outdoor skating. But to his each his own; all of us have different agendas and timelines, so let us do whatever we need to do, with God uppermost in our hearts and minds. 

And on that note, let me share with you a rather wise offering this past week from our friend Anselm, who always aspires to inspire us. Listen up, as he advises: ‘Compare yourself with yourself. Not with others. Comparing what you have and your results to what other people have and have accomplished can really kill your motivation. There are always people ahead of you. Most likely quite a bit of people. And a few of them are miles ahead. So focus on you. On your results. And how you can and have improved them.’ 

Words of absolute wisdom my people! The worse thing we can ever do is compare ourselves with others. We all know about keeping up with the Joneses, which is a real killer in terms of physical wealth and material lifestyle. But it’s even worse when we try to compare our personal accomplishments with those of others, even those in like fields and professions because the playing fields are never level, are never the same. 

Some start out with a gold spoon in their mouths, some with silver, others with brass, and many with no spoon at all. So comparisons are seldom ever oranges with oranges, but oranges with different fruit. It never pays to measure your accomplishment with others, because more often than not we fall short of the other person’s attainment and then get discouraged, jealous and even angry, which doesn’t help us any. 

Then on the odd occasion when our accomplishment is better than others, we’re liable to look down on them with pride, conceit and contempt. That doesn’t help us either friends. The truth is that others will always be both ahead and behind us in accomplishments, and comparisons on either end will only bring us negative results. 

So as Anselm advises, if we so badly want to compare, let’s compare ourselves with our selves; take stock of our own accomplishments as we grow and mature. We have all the right tools at hand to measure ourselves against ourselves, but not against other people.  

That finally brings us to our Bit: ‘but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ Oh friends, what a potent piece of scripture in only a few words. 

Hear the story: Bruh David is running from Saul, whose avowed intention is to kill him. On this particular instance he’s living in Philistine territory in a place called Ziklag. The Philistines are preparing to make war against Saul and Israel and Bruh David goes with his rag tag band of men to help. But the Philistine counsellors distrust him, so they send him back to Ziklag. (1 Sam.29) 

Lo and behold though, three days later when they get to Ziklag, they discover that during their absence the Amalekites have invaded the city and burned it to the ground. The really sad part though was that all their families had been taken away captive. The Good Book tells us that ‘Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep.’ (1 Sam.30:4) 

Then, though it didn’t seem possible, things got even worse: ‘And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved (bitter), every man for his sons and for his daughters.’ (1 Sam.30:6a) It didn’t matter to them that Bruh David’s two wives had also been taken captive; they were just concerned about their own families. At those times the innate selfishness of man usually comes to the fore. 

And that’s where our Bit comes in: ‘but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.’ Ah friends, what a moving and powerful scripture. It’s something that we should all remember and keep deep in our hearts, for when circumstances come against us and there’s no man to stand with us, then we need to encourage ourselves in our God, for He has promised never to leave nor forsake us even when things hit rock bottom. 

That brings to mind another instance of the Lord’s providence, this one with Bruh Paul. As he says to Timothy: ‘At my first answer (defense) no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.’ (2 Tim.4:16-17) 

Yes friends, there will be times when everything and everyone will seem to be against us, but that is not the time to give up. Instead, that’s the time for us to encourage ourselves in the Lord, to remember all His promises and the good things He’s done for us in the past and call upon Him with strong, expectant faith and hungry hope, knowing that He will not disappoint us, will never leave us in the lurch. 

Now I know it all sounds fine in theory, and looks good on paper in black and white, but when push really comes to shove, it’s a horse of a different colour. That’s why we need to do our utmost to build our faith in Almighty God, because it’s only with real strong faith can we handle those situations, and not be totally overwhelmed by them. 

More on this tomorrow friends, the Lord in favour. Till then let’s stand strong in our faith and keep looking to Christ for all our needs. He will meet them all. Much LOVE!

…only the powerful arms of Christ…can lift us from the very depths of despair…