Today’s Scrip-Bit   28 July 2022 Philippians 3:14.

Philippians 3:14.      I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

And then it was Thursday, the penultimate day in our workweek, but around here in the Greater Toronto area, not many people are thinking of work, but of the upcoming Caribana weekend and the Simcoe holiday on Monday. Yes friends, this is T.O’s big weekend, where it’s parties galore and the big street parade on Saturday. Oh, sorry, I believe I called the celebration by the wrong name. It’s now something like Toronto Caribbean Carnival, or some such moniker, because of the legal dispute over the ownership of the ‘Caribana’ name. But call it what they will, it will always be popularly known as ‘Caribana.’ End of story! (smile) 

Now, today we are going to consider an interesting writing from our One Year Book of Bible Promises authored by Ruth Harms Calkin, titled ‘It Takes a Lifetime.’ Please read with me. ‘How I LOVE the words of the apostle Paul. ‘I don’t mean to say…that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. 

No, dear brothers and sisters. I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.’ (And it’s noted there that that passage comes from the New Living Translation of Phil. 3:12-14.) 

But then the writing continues: ‘What tremendous encouragement! Paul, who knew Jesus Christ so intimately, whose consuming desire was to please Him, who endured illness, imprisonment, shipwreck, beatings, mockery, and heartache all for the sake of Christ – this very same Paul confessed he hadn’t “arrived.” God was still growing him! I see again, while my conversion took but a moment, my growth takes an entire lifetime. In God’s great wisdom and knowledge He anticipates the finished product while He LOVINGLY takes me through the long, long process.’ 

And is that ever the glorious though difficult truth my fellow believers! It certainly is! Yes, coming to Christ takes but a moment, but becoming like Christ takes an entire lifetime because it is not an easy process. And that is what a lot of us don’t seem to understand. God’s eventual purpose is to make us all over in the image of Christ, as the Good Book says: ‘For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.’ (Rom. 8:29) 

And to be made over into anything at all doesn’t happen overnight, and to be made like Christ…brother! That will obviously take ages! And, as the writing intimates, if Bruh Paul was so closely involved with Christ, knew Him so intimately and still didn’t consider himself ‘arrived,’ then it’s obvious that those of us who are not as intimate still have a long way to go. As Bruh Paul says in 2 Corinthians. ‘But we all, with open (unveiled) face beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (transformed) into the same image (that of Christ) from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ (2 Cor. 3:18) 

Yes, it’s the Lord’s Spirit that transforms us into Christ’s likeness from glory to glory or step by step, not all at once. And Bruh Paul assures us earlier on in his missive to the Philippians: ‘Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it (complete it) until the day of Jesus Christ.’ (Phil. 1:6) Oh isn’t that wonderful to know my brethren! God will not stop transforming us into the image of His Son, until his Son comes back to take over His kingdom! Glory Hallelujah! 

That’s why these words of Bruh Paul are so important. And we’ll read them in the more powerful King James version. (smile) ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (arrived): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

And all of that simply means that he has given up all his earlier accolades, like his great education and position as a powerful Pharisee, in his determined pursuit to know the risen Christ. As he also said earlier on the same letter: ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ….and do count them but dung (rubbish) that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) So knowing and winning Christ, and the divine prize, that’s ‘the joyful and personal satisfaction of having attained it,’ is all that he was then focused on. 

And it’s all that we should also be focused on, truly knowing Christ should be our life’s goal. So much so that when we come to the end of this earthly stage of life, we can say like Bruh Paul did to Timothy. ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course (race), I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto them also that LOVE his appearing (eagerly await His second coming).’ (2 Tim. 4:7-8) 

Now that’s what we ought to be working towards! And let’s hope that those scriptures we’ve considered this morning will light, or relight the flame in our souls and spirits for Christ, so that we can sincerely put our best foot forward and do His divine bidding with excellence, diligence and a true sense of purpose. And to help us do that, let’s go home now declaring (awright!!!) our Thursday Blessings, which have been so generously bestowed on us to enable us to do our earthly work. 

Altogether now: ‘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!’ 

And having activated those blessings by declaring (steups!!!) them aloud, we must now go out and generously use them in winning souls for Christ! Much LOVE!

…we can’t sincerely press toward the heavenly prize…unless the flame of Christ burns brightly in us… 

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 June 2021 Jeremiah 17:10.

Jeremiah 17:10.     I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (deeds).

Ah friends, when is not one thing is another yes! Yesterday morning we were talking about showers of blessings, well last night about one o’clock, we had a granddaddy of thunderstorms, with flashing lightning, pounding rain and Thor’s hammer hammering like crazy! I was standing at my opened bedroom window when it began, and admired it for a while, then went to bed leaving the window open. But shortly thereafter I had to get up and close it because the lightning scene got sort of crazy and scary. 

And the storm went on for a good half an hour or more, and as it calmed down, you could hear the thunder rolling in the distance as it approached another area. Now who says our God isn’t great eh? One moment He can show gentleness, which we saw with the early morning showers, while the next He can show His awesome power with thunder, lightning and pouring rain. So please don’t take our God lightly! (smile) That’s the watchword for today! 

Anyway, since it’s Saturday, let’s look at the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. And the first one declares: ‘All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.’ That is true more often than not! For we don’t usually make progress unless we come upon something difficult for us to overcome. 

That’s why we read about God testing us as we walk our earthly journey. Listen to Moses as he talks to the Israelites. ‘And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove (test) thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep my commandments, or no.’ (Deut. 8:2) Meanwhile Jeremiah puts it thus: ‘I the Lord search the heart, I try (test) the reins (mind), even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (deeds).’ (Jer. 17:10) 

Yeh friends, the Lord took the Israelites the long way to the promised land to try, to test them, and they failed miserably. It’s the same with ordinary life, we usually can’t improve unless we put out a special, or bigger effort. And that’s why we can only be changed from glory to glory, become more Christ-like in small increments; at every level, we need to put out a bigger effort to rise up higher. Consequently, the next quote is very true. ‘If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.’ 

If you want to achieve more than the ordinary stuff, then you must put out more than the ordinary effort, take some risks, climb out on a shaky limb or two, for only those who dare to step out from their comfort zone, ever win the first prize. No wonder there are so many under-achievers in our current society. Too many of us are simply willing to accept the status quo and live the lazy, entitled life, than to make an effort, to put a foot forward and improve ourselves and our world. 

Then we have this interesting quote: ‘The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.’ And that’s the gospel truth yes my people. Most of the people who have caused worldwide changes in our universe had a screw or two slightly loose, (smile) or rather a big vision that most of us cannot even comprehend, and also a monumental passion to achieve it. 

When you consider people like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Lenin and Stalin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, as well as inventors like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, they were driven by a different mental attitude and passion than most. And that’s how one needs to be, if you desire to make worldwide changes. Your efforts, imagination and steadfastness must be bigger than ordinary. 

That brings us to our last quote: ‘One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.’ And there is a lot of truth to that statement, which is best exemplified by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Just look at the impact His birth had on the world nuh. Wise men came many miles from distant lands just to praise and worship Him, offering priceless gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 

In his home area He also made a big splash, after the angels announced it to the shepherds and they noised it about, even so badly scaring King Herod, that he went about killing all the children around two years of age. And then worldwide, His birth is now celebrated by the wonderful festival of Christmas; a time of giving, sharing and LOVING, even if you are not a Christian. 

Jesus is also the epitome of how one teacher can change the world. He gathered twelve young men, taught them His ways and desires for three years then sent them out to evangelize the world. And although it took some time and much effort, including serious persecution, they set the ball rolling, until now, it’s almost done. In another few years, with the wonderful tools we now have, the whole earth would have heard of Christ and His wonderful message of salvation and eternal life, even if they choose not to accept him. Now how is that for one teacher starting from humble beginnings eh? 

And when we talk about one book changing the world, there’s none like the Bible, the Holy Word of God! Wow! It’s been in existence for thousands of years. Numerous wars and arguments have blossomed from it. It’s been banned, burned, vilified, blasphemed, called all sorts of names, but today it is still the bestselling book in the universe! 

Mamacita! How is that possible eh? Because of its author, Jesus Christ! One pen might not have done the actual writing, but it was the thought process of just One Person, Almighty God. He inspired the words of the prophets and writers, and thus it’s all His doing! 

So friends, please, let’s never believe that ONE of anything is not sufficient or enough to make big changes, for if that ONE thing or person is valiant and willing enough to go to the ends of the earth to succeed, they can, especially if they have the awesome power of Christ Jesus, His Holy Spirit dwelling in them and leading and guiding them to their divine destiny! Much LOVE!

…all things are possible with God…and those who sincerely reverence Him…                                                                          

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