Today’s Scrip-Bit 9 May 2021 Philippians 3:10.

Philippians 3:10.     ​That I may know him (Jesus), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Gather round friends, gather round, it’s Sunday, which means time for song and dance, praise and worship in honour of our wonderful God! This is His special day; the day He rested after a week’s work of creating the universe, then admired it and said: ‘It is good!’ And so it was my brethren, though down through the ages through our abuse and mismanagement, it has begun falling apart, until now we’re suffering from serious environmental issues. 

But be that as it may, we still need to gather at least once a week, on God’s special day to honour and glorify Him. And in these times of worldwide pandemic, most of us are doing that through technological means, no personal gatherings in our sanctuaries, and we’ll go on doing so for as long as it is necessary. Giving up on worship is not in the cards at all. 

And today is also a special day in the life of mothers, when we celebrate their mammoth contribution to our society, especially the family unit. Without mothers, there would be no offspring since they bear that awesome privilege, although some might beg to differ. (smile) And down through the ages, they are the ones who have literally and figuratively kept the family together, with LOVE and compassion, caring for husbands and children, and working their fingers to the bone with whatever needs doing in the home. Nowadays, they are even going to work outside the home, while still bearing most of the household burdens. 

Without them, mankind would be lost, would have gone under long ago. And yet we still insist on treating them like second class citizens, using and abusing them, behaving like they were less than human. In many areas of the world, they still have no rights or privileges, and female babies are even killed at birth in certain cultures because they are not considered important. But one day though, the tables will turn against those societies, when they suddenly discover there are not enough females to satisfy their insatiable greed and lust. 

And hopefully, women will also begin standing up for themselves in greater numbers to get the rights and benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. Yes ladies, unless as a body, there is a groundswell of emotion, determination and refusal to accept the status quo any longer, mankind will continue taking serious disadvantage of the fairer sex. To a great extent, your fate is in your own hands. So please rise up and claim your rightful heritage. With all of that in mind, I do wish all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day! Let’s hope the people in your life will treat you right royally today, as so many of you indeed deserve, although the options for real celebrations might be severely limited by the pandemic lockdown. 

And a word to the men; please, please, let’s begin treating the female of our species better nuh, for in the long run, we also suffer from their abuse and disenfranchisement. Now let’s offer up sacrifices of praise through this popular song, created from a woman’s vision, a mother’s concern for her unborn offspring. And are not women the writers of some of the best songs in our society? Certainly! And the mother we’re talking about is Gloria Gaither, and the song of praise is ‘Because He Lives!’ 

So let’s sing it now in a sweet, harmonious and up-tempo riddim, sincerely showing how grateful we are because Jesus lives. And to show how truly joyful we are, let’s begin with the rousing chorus: ‘(Chorus: Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives.) (Repeat) God sent His son they called Him, Jesus He came to LOVE, heal and forgive He lived and died to buy my pardon An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives. 

(Chorus) How sweet to hold a newborn baby And feel the pride and joy he gives But greater still that calm assurance This child can face uncertain days because He lives And then one day I’ll cross the river I’ll fight life’s final war with pain And then, as death gives way to vict’ry I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives Because He lives, I can face tomorrow Because He lives, all fear is gone Because I know He holds my future And life is worth the living Just because He lives And life is worth the living Just because He lives Yes, life is worth the living Just because He lives.’ 

Oh my, my! What beautiful words of praise and worship…and sung so sweetly too! (smile) Don’t you just LOVE those words friends, and greatly rejoice that they are true? Because Christ lives…and He does, for on that long ago Easter morn, He arose from the grave, having unceremoniously destroyed all the trappings of hell and death! That means those who believein Him, will also live when our bodies die. But in the meantime, we can live this earthly life without fear, and face this evil world mano-a-mano…why? Because He Lives! Glory be mih bredrin! 

What a mighty Being is our friend, our Lord and Saviour Jesus! Now life is worth living, for He holds our future in His omnipotent hands. And what about that wonderful assurance that our children can dwell in peace and LOVE, even in uncertain times like these, just because Jesus lives. And then, the crowning glory, the eternal victory, when we see the lights of glory, and we’ll know without a doubt that He lives, because we’ll see Him face to face! Give our great Lord and Saviour some praise and thanks nuh my people, for He truly deserves more than we can ever lavish on Him! 

Now here is a synopsis of how this song reputedly came about. Apparently, in the chaotic times of the 1960’s, this young couple, Bill and Gloria Gaither, had become disenchanted with the way the world was going, becoming more godless, ruthless and lawless. Then, in the winter of 69, when they were having an extremely rough time, with Bill being sick with mononucleosis and Gloria having problems with her church family, she discovered she was pregnant. That apparently lead to thoughts about the wisdom of bringing a baby into that chaotic world. 

However, in the early spring of the following year, as they were walking across the paved parking lot in front of their office with Bill’s father George, he drew their attention to a tiny blade of grass that had pushed its way up through the layers of dirt, rock and concrete ‘to reach the sunshine of the world above. It had such a strong will to live; it had overcome all the odds to fulfill its destiny. That blade of grass became a symbol to the Gaithers of how God works in His creation. And it inspired Gloria to write a song expressing the hope that was shaped by the resurrection of Jesus, as well as that blade of grass and the birth of her son.’ 

Now isn’t that a beautiful, heartwarming story friends, typical of how our great God works in our lives? And though we’re getting on in length (smile) we can’t finish without some refreshing scripture to polish it all off. Hear Bruh Paul to the church at Philippi: ‘That I may know him (Jesus), and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.’ (Phil. 3:10) What a powerful verse of scripture precious people of God! It means getting to know Christ intimately, personally, and experiencing sufferings like He did, and which Jesus said we would all experience in this world. (John 16:33) 

Oh friends, it’s all about experiencing the righteousness of God in daily living, meeting needs, solving problems and then being conformed to Him in death, not necessarily martyrdom, but ‘to die to the world of sin and temptation,’ like Christ did. That’s our purpose and destiny my fellow believers, to be transformed into the image of Christ, and like that tiny blade of grass in the Gaither’s story, which overcame all the odds to fulfill its destiny, so we must also rise above mediocrity, pushing forward with Jesus, looking to heaven and thus fulfilling our God-given destiny. Much LOVE!

…you can’t conform to the image of Jesus…without living like He did… 

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