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 28 November 2020 Matthew 7:12.

Matthew 7:12.     ​Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophet.

Well finally some decent sunshine in my area! Brother! We haven’t really seen the sun in my neck of the woods this past week, just mere dark, cloudy, dreary, wet days, with the occasional ray of tarnished sunshine. Let’s hope this bright flood will last for at a least a couple of days, I’m tired with what they consider the English type weather. (smile) And yes, I know I have Jesus to warm me up and brighten my day, but that doesn’t mean some physical sunshine isn’t nice every once in a while too! 

So since it’s that lazy day called Saturday, let’s turn to the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this past week, as he aspires to inspire us for a brighter tomorrow. And as the new style persists, they are all prefaced by: ‘Positive affirmation you should tell yourself to remind yourself just how awesome you are. I’m calm, happy, and content,’ but I will only reference it this one time. And a gentle reminder that all of that is only possible if you’re in cahoots with Jesus! (smile) And the first quote is an ever so important one: ‘I will not compare myself to strangers on the Internet.’ 

And do we ever need to stop doing that, because it is driving us crazy, especially when the images shown on social media are often outright lies and/or doctored images. We are allowing the practice of body shaming, amongst other negative habits, to destroy our self-esteem and make us dislike ourselves; the way we look, think and behave. That’s utterly foolish my brethren, for who says we need to look like or behave like others eh? If the Lord wanted us to be all alike, He would have made us so. But He wanted us all to be different, to be unique in our own selves, that’s why He created us like we are. 

So it’s a sin against Him, our trying to look like others, most of whom are fakers anyway. Right now, social media is the biggest expletive deleted satanic thing we have in our society. It’s being used for more negative stuff than positive. No wonder our society is in the disgusting state it’s in! Nuff said on that! 

Then there’s this quote that’s contrary to the first one: ‘I LOVE myself fully, including the way I look.’ Now that’s a li’l more like it! But we must also be on guard that we don’t over LOVE ourselves, or in a manner that’s more narcissistic than godly. It’s necessary that we like ourselves because we take ourselves with us wherever we go, and it’s not wise to have a constant travelling companion you don’t like. (smile) 

Remember the premium Jesus placed on true LOVE? He broke down all the commandments to just two: LOVE the Lord God, and LOVE your neighbour as yourself. (Matt. 22:37) That means respecting and caring for your neighbour as you respect and care for yourself. I guess it could be best described by what we call the Golden Rule, more sensitive and commanding words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount. ‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophet.’ (Matt. 7:12) 

Yes precious people, that ought to be the rule that we live by; do unto others as we want them to do unto us. But unfortunately that doesn’t hold true in today’s society, we practice the other side of the coin, doing to others what we don’t want them to do to us. Or as the ole people would say: ‘Do so ent like so!’ We obviously don’t like others throwing back to us what we first threw to them! Now why does that surprise us eh? 

That leads us to this next quote: ‘I am enough.’ Now that I believe is a rather disturbing thought and sentence. Why? Because in the first place we by ourselves are never enough! The saying that no man is an island is ever so true. We can’t stand alone and be as productive and useful as God desires of us. Remember why and what He said when He created Eve in the Garden of Eden? ‘And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him (a helper comparable to him).’ (Gen. 2:18) 

Then He formed Eve out of Adam’s rib. If He thought that man was sufficient alone, He would never have made woman to help him. So why do we think that we are sufficient unto ourselves eh? Remember Jesus’ words too about the vine and the branches: ‘…for without me ye can do nothing.’ (John 15:5b) And that’s the gospel truth! And until we all understand that and act wisely upon it, we won’t ever amount to what we were made to amount to! Matter fix! 

And again we have another somewhat troubling quote: ‘I choose to be proud of myself and the things I choose to do.’ Now hopefully all those things are not within the ungodly realm of Satan, but within the godly realm of Jesus! If they are within Satan’s realm, then you should not be proud of them, for why should we ever be proud of evil doing eh? 

But if they are within the realm of Jesus, you can be proud of them, but not to the exclusion of the one who gave you the strength and grace to do them; meaning Christ, through whom we can do ALL things. And in our pride, please, let’s remember these notable words of Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.’ (Rom. 12:3) 

And the scholars offer this interesting explanation of that verse. ‘12:3. The righteousness of God will cause the believer to conduct himself in humility in the local church (vs. 3-8). Paul meets two dangers that the individual faced in the exercise of his spiritual gifts. He might overestimate himself and try to exercise a gift God never gave him. Or he might underestimate himself and fail to exercise the gift God has given to him. Paul shows that God has given each believer specific gifts to enable him to do what God wants him to do. No one is excluded.’ And that’s the indisputable truth! 

However, we must be careful to remember that it’s only through God’s underserved grace that we do all that we do, and not get too big for our britches, like our world has recently gotten, else the Lord will cut us down to size, just like He’s doing right now with all the strife and disasters and sickness He’s allowing in our oh so wonderful, but oh so sinful world! 

And the last quote says: ‘I let go of all that no longer serves me.’ And that’s what we all need to do! And I’ll give us just two scriptures on that subject. The first is this, more words of Bruh Paul to the church at Rome. ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.’ (Rom. 12:2) Yes friends, if we intend to live for Jesus, then we need to give up all that the world holds highly, and seek God’s righteousness first of all, by first transforming our minds, because that’s where all the major battles are fought. 

And lastly, let’s remember Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Philippi! ‘But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish), that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) Yeh friends, Bruh Paul gave up all his many educational and religious credentials to know Christ! He even considered them rubbish in the end. 

Now let’s remember that God prizes humility above pride, but we still need to have a delicate balance between both. So let’s go home with these words of Bruh Paul ringing in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls nuh. ‘I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ (Phil. 3:14) We couldn’t do any better. Much LOVE!

… a good and successful life…all hinges on…being in sync with Jesus… 

Today’s Scrip-Bit 14 March 2020 Philippians 3:7.

Philippians 3:7.    ​But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ.
 
Well here it is at last; the churches have been shut down! What’s next? The hospitals! Can you believe it? The scare of the Covid-19 virus, in conjunction with the Government’s directives has caused the Church Leaders to finally pull the plug on church worship. Hn! Did you ever think it possible that one day, most, if not all of the churches would be closed to public gathering? Certainly not! And though it’s not as good as actually gathering in the sanctuary,  there are enough other outlets; radio, t.v. and computer streaming for us to keep in touch with our corporate worship. 

But it’s interesting to see how one small, unknown, but apparently powerful virus has brought the world to its knees in just a couple of weeks. Personally, I think we’ve overreacted and caused unnecessary fear and panic. There’s no need to be buying out the stores and stocking up as though we’re going to war, or suffering from a nuclear fallout. But that’s the problem with too much easy and convenient communication and too many fearful and ungodly people in the world. And though it’s a serious matter I still have to chuckle. If we can’t handle a simple virus with all our modern technology and medical prowess, can you imagine the mess Egypt must have been in when the Lord brought those 8 plagues on them to force Pharaoh to set His people free.

 Can you imagine been pestered by lice and flies and blood and frogs and locusts and death and whatever? But before we move on, here’s something to ponder on, a li’l food for thought. Remember Moses’ warning to the Israelites: ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.’ (Ex. 15:26) 

Oh my people, can this be a warning from our God? We certainly are not keeping His commandments and doing as He desires, and all throughout the Good Book, He’s warned of serious penalties for willful sin and disobedience. And since this virus has now become pandemic in nature, all over the world, who knows if it’s the hand of our mighty God moving in one of His many mysterious ways to remind and warn us of our sinful ways? And in these last tumultuous days, that is something we should surely ponder on, but I doubt too many of us will. 

Anyhow, it’s Saturday, so let’s look at some of the quotes our friend Anselm sent us this week as he aspires to inspire us for a better tomorrow. Hear this first one: ‘It’s the little things you do that make the big things happen.’ And that’s a fact my people! Unless we do the small things, and do them well, the big things won’t turn out right. That’s why we’re warned to pay particular attention to the small things in our lives, since God, or no man will ever give us big things if they see we can’t take care of the small ones. And remember the Jamaican saying: ‘One one cocoa full basket.’ But unfortunately, in this brave new, but very foolish world of ours we don’t treasure the small stuff, everybody just wants to be on the big stage! 

And the second quote says: ‘He who stops being better stops being good.’ And there is a lot of truth in that also. If we don’t keep getting better but insist on sitting on our laurels, then we’ll eventually rub out, use up, whatever good we have, because we need to keep replenishing our souls and spirits every day. That leads us quite nicely into this next quote. ‘Do not be afraid of improving slowly. Be afraid of standing still.’ Whoa! Is that ever the killing of the human soul! Standing still is definitely not an option, especially if you’re a child of the Most High God Jehovah! And you can’t get truly better overnight; it all takes time. It’s like learning a craft; only with continuous practice and time spent with it will you ever learn it. And that’s what life is really, the craft of living! (smile) 

Now the next quote is like the previous two: ‘Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.’ Now that is basic logic and common sense. But sadly those two very important things are almost nonexistent in our current society, where we value the need for speed, now for now, above all else. But in the words of some wise person, let’s remember ‘that speed kills!’ It certainly does. If you do anything too fast it most likely will end up in a mess. But it’s how our society views life nowadays; we desire and want to have everything right away. The number one technological aspiration these days is how to make everything work quicker and faster. But there are undoubtedly stumbling blocks in that approach, which we’ll discover as time goes by. (smile) 

And the last quote wisely advises: ‘Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.’ Now that is gospel truth. The only perfect being in our universe is our Creator, and He did not make us to be perfect, but He does expect us to do our best in that direction, being diligent towards it, and thus ending up excellent. Yuh know the two most important things in being ambassadors of Christ is being diligent and excellent in His service. We can’t be wishy-washy, irresponsible and lazy, for that’s not the lifestyle He wants us to portray to the unbelieving world. 

And I think one of the best scriptures in that regard is Bruh Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where after listing all his earthly accomplishments, he sincerely declared. ‘But what things were gain to me, those things I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung (rubbish, refuse), that I may win Christ.’ (Phil. 3:7-8) 

Oh friends, the most excellent thing we can ever seek in this world is the knowledge of Christ! All of our earthly accomplishments, wealth and power, mean absolutely nothing until we have Jesus securely embedded in our hearts, souls, minds and bodies! That’s the only true and sure way to live this earthly life! So on this controversial Saturday, where the whole world is in an uproar, please let us, the truly faithful, place all of our cares in the Lord’s hands, and just relax our souls and spirits and minds. Incessantly worrying about Covid-19 won’t make it go away, but with God’s Spirit working in us, we can be relaxed and rest in His promise that He is indeed Jehovah Rapha…the God who heals! Much LOVE!

…what’s the purpose of faith…if you don’t use it in times of crisis eh…