Today’s Scrip-Bit   14 March 2023 Philippians 3:10.

Philippians 3:10. That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death.

And when Tuesday opens bright and sunshiny, though somewhat cold and windy, we just forget all the difficulties we experienced on Monday! Yes, we do. We move on to this new day filled with God’s new mercies and compassions, giving Him grateful thanks and praise for all the undeserved goodness and LOVING-kindness He’s wrought in our lives through His awesome Son, Jesus Christ and the amazing work, direction and guidance of His Holy Spirit! 

Wow! What a most wonderful God we serve my fellow believers! And I do hope we truly appreciate Him and do show our appreciation and gratitude by the way we live our lives; that’s in keeping with His Word and His Will. And that sentiment about moving forward reminds me of Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Philippi, where in talking to them about perfection in Christ, that’s maturing in the things of Christ, which is his stated goal, and should also be ours, he says: ‘That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; being made conformable to his death. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.’ (Phil. 3:10-11) 

Yes friends, Bruh Paul is desirous of attaining a literal as well as figurative resemblance to Christ. He wants to personally know Him, to share in His sufferings as well as His death. The scholars explain it thus: ‘Paul is eager to become more like Jesus in His death (vs. 10) so that he can (1) progressively experience more of the believer’s resurrection life to be enjoyed now (“newness of life,” Rom:6:4), and (2) some day undergo physical resurrection from the grave, thus experiencing God’s power in one of its greatest aspects.’ 

And that certainly is a most worthwhile objective for all believers. One though that is not very easy to attain. But Bruh Paul recognizes this when he says: ‘Not as though I had already attained (obtained it), either were already perfect: but I follow after (press on), if that I may apprehend (lay hold of) that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:12) Bruh Paul denies that he’s already obtained the goal of fully knowing Christ and all that’s included in that knowledge. 

The scholars tell us: ‘At this point in his life the apostle does know Christ, but not to the full extent possible. He has experienced His power, but not to the degree he desires. He has been made like Jesus in His death, but he can still die more to sin and self. He does walk “in newness of life,” but there is room for improvement. And he is in hot pursuit of his goal.’ 

Oh, how I wish that could be said of many more of us believers; that we’re in hot pursuit of Christ and the things which pertain to Him. Unfortunately though, His church is filled with too many lacklustre Christians. Too many of us lack the salt and light Jesus desires us to have so that we can pursue His agenda of spreading the good news of His gospel of salvation and eternal life.  

Anyway, Bruh Paul, as always, with his practical mind, offers us a practical avenue to help us accomplish our spiritual goal of knowing Christ. He continues in his letter to the Philippians.: ‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended (laid hold of perfection): but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth (forward) unto those things which are before (ahead). I press toward the mark (goal) for the prize of the high (upward) calling of God in Jesus Christ.’ (Phil. 3:13-14) 

Now, that’s how we should also be in the fight to know Christ. None of us are perfect, have attained maturity in the things of Christ, but we cannot move forward unless and until we let go of the baggage we’ve accumulated in our past life. According to the scholars, when Bruh Paul talks about ‘Those things which are behind,’ he’s referring to both his religious credentials (vs.5-6), now counted as “loss” (vs. 7), and to his past Christian achievements and successes. In ever pursuing his goal to know Christ (vs. 10), he refuses to let past guilt put him down, or to rest on past laurels. Either could spell spiritual disaster.’ 

And the same goes for us to day friends. Hanging on to our past guilt, or resting on our laurels from past achievements will inhibit us from moving forward in our objective or the ‘mark’ of getting to know Christ more fully. So those are things we desperately need to work on, especially in these turbulent times when we need our faith to be strong, and to grow stronger as the days seem to get progressively more evil and lawless. 

And when we press on towards that ‘mark,’ with conscious purpose and perseverance, we will eventually win the ‘prize.’ The scholars tell us that’s ‘the joyful personal satisfaction of having attained it, as well as the divine commendation and reward to be granted in heaven for having reached this goal on earth. And The high calling of God is the divine summons extended to the believer for salvation.’ 

Oh my fellow saints, that is a major purpose of our earthly life, to become like Christ. Remember God’s intention as written by Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘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) 

Yes friends, from the very beginning, the Father dreamed of, imagined a household of children that all resembled His first-born Son, Jesus Christ! But that doesn’t come automatically, we have to work at it, seriously and with perseverance, for the enemy is always there nipping at our heels, playing games and tricks with our minds, trying to divert us from that awesome goal of becoming like Christ. But we do have the tools to fight him off, we just have to learn how to use them, then put that knowledge into action. 

And for those of us who are sincerely moving along those lines, let’s go home now declaring, (wow!!!) our Tuesday Mantra, letting the whole world know to whom we belong, lock stock and barrel. As one strong and sincere voice: ‘In God’s eyes, I’m not what I do. I’m not what I have. I’m not what people say about me. I am the beloved of God, that’s who I am. No one can take that from me. I don’t have to worry. I don’t have to hurry. I can trust my friend Jesus and share His LOVE with my immediate neighbours, as well as with the whole wide world! Glory be!’ 

Now, let’s go out and action those words, share the amazing LOVE and friendship of Christ with others, so that they too can come to know and LOVE Him like we do! Much LOVE!

…there’s no better commendation…than to hear Christ say…well done my good and faithful servant… 

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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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