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 22 August 2021 Psalm 37:4.

Psalm 37:4.     Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Oh my fellow believers, it’s Sunday! That means it’s time to come together, once more, to worship Christ in all sincerity and truth! Oh yeah! Nothing can be better, more beautiful or righteous and praiseworthy than that! And as always, we begin our worship with a song of praise and thanksgiving. Today’s song is a Christian contemporary song written in the last century by a couple of American Hit songwriters. It’s titled ‘I asked the Lord.’ 

And what’s interesting about this song is that the writers, Jimmy Duncan, 1927-2011, and Johnny Lange 1905-2006, both had a hand in writing some non-gospel hit songs. Duncan wrote the famous country/western hit ‘My Special Angel’ for Bobby Helms in the late fifties, and Lange wrote the gimmicky song ‘Mule Train,’ made popular by Frankie Laine in 1949. You folks of the younger generation won’t know those songs, but they are classics from your parents’ days. (smile) 

And we are indeed thankful that Duncan and Lange collaborated to give us this wonderful Christian song. I hadn’t heard it in a long time, until a couple of days ago, when someone sent it to me through a WhatsApp video. And I just knew that we had to sing it today because it’s so beautiful and applicable to our lives in these trying and troubled times. Now some people sing it slow, but we’re going to put a medium tempo with a solid, soulful gospel touch to it today. 

So let’s sing: ‘I asked the Lord to comfort me When things weren’t going my way; And He said to me, “I will comfort you And I’ll lift your cares away.” I asked the Lord to walk with me, when darkness was all that I knew; And He said to me “Never be afraid, and I will see you through.” I didn’t ask for riches, but He gave me wealth untold, The moon and the stars, the sun in the sky, and He gave me eyes to behold. 

I thank the Lord for everything, and I count all my blessings each day; For He came to me when I needed Him, I only had to pray. And He will come to you, if you ask Him to, For He’s only a prayer away. I thank the Lord for everything, and I count all my blessings each day; For He came to me when I needed Him, I only had to pray. And He will come to you, if you ask Him to, For He’s only a prayer away.’ 

And is that ever the gospel truth my brethren! God is only a prayer away from us, and all we have to do is ask Him to come and He will gladly come, come running too! Oh friends, Jesus said it several times and several different ways. Let’s hear some of them nuh. This first one He says when He talks about not judging. ‘Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ (Matt. 7-8) 

And after He cursed the fig tree, He told the disciples: ‘And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.’ (Matt. 21:22) Then in John, when Jesus declares that He is the only way to the Father, He tells the disciples: ‘And whatsoever 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) And when He talks about the vine and the branches, He states: ‘If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ (John 15:7) 

Then this final scripture, when Jesus tells the disciples about going back to the Father and leaving them, and seeing their sorrow, He offers comforting words. ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy shall be full.’ (John 16:24) So you see friends, asking is a big part of our relationship with God. However, that asking is not to be frivolous and self-centred, but in the will of God. Hear John explain it in his first epistle. ‘And this is the confidence that we have in Him (Christ), that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.’ (1 John 5:14) 

And remember too that Jesus said we should ask in His name, that means as His agents or ambassadors, to be able to do His work. God always wants to give us good things, but we must ask persistently, unselfishly and in faith. The important thing my brethren is that we get into God’s will, want what He wants. And when that happens then this wonderful verse from Psalm 37 will come into play. ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ (Ps. 37:4) 

As one commentator says: ‘The key here is that the heart of the seeker is changed—when we delight in the Lord, God’s desires begin to become our own. When our desires match God’s, then our prayers are automatically aligned with His will.’ So, asking is good and right, but there are conditions. 

A couple of other important scriptures can be derived from the song. Where it says: ‘And He said to me, “I will comfort you And I’ll lift your cares away.” That points right back the Great Invitation: ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of (from) me; for I am meek and lowly in heart (humble and gentle): and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’ (Matt. 11:28-30) Yes my fellow saints, there is no other place to find rest, comfort and succour than in the arms, or under the umbrella of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 

And I want to close with this other important attitude we can derive from the song, that of counting our blessings and giving thanks. Listen up to these wonderful scriptures on the subject. Bruh Paul to the Ephesians: ‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ (Eph. 5:20) 

To the Philippians. ‘Be careful (anxious) for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.’ (Phil. 4:6) And finally from the psalmist: ‘Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Ps. 100:4-5) 

That says it all my people! Much LOVE!

…when you consider the greatness of our God…it just takes your breath away                                                                                                                      

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