Thursday, March 5, 2015


I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now. For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-6)
A significant number of people in the west (and presumably anywhere) have something called a “bucket list”. The term even made the Webster’s dictionary and literally means “a list of things one wishes to do before dying (or “kick the bucket”). There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of that unless it consumes your thinking, planning, family and walk with Jesus. To tell you the truth, the ultimate bucket list top item is – Eternity with Jesus Christ. That is one thrill that never expires, unlike the passing pleasures of parachuting or parasailing or purple Porches.  Most of our brethren in other lands are unable to seek (and find) that kind of excitement as almost every waking moment is consumed with attempting to breathe and get one step ahead of their persecutors, or even a morsel to eat.While there is nothing wrong with wishing you could drive a fast red Corvette or a scale half the front-range of the Rockies, most people may never get around to that sort of thing. 

What Christ is actually calling His followers/disciples and those who are on life’s journey with Him,  is something more rewarding, permanent, helpful and fruitful that these things. This mission of excellence, peace, joy and contentment can only be found through communication – with our Heavenly Father. The Apostle Paul knew how to live as Christ taught us in the greatest sermon ever given – the Sermon On The Mount.  While we must certainly plan, save and prepare for the future, may we never lose sight of today. Today – now – is where we currently live. As the old saying goes “wherever you go – there you are”.

Philippi was a Roman city founded by Philip – father of Alexander the Great and like most of the ancient world, was full of idolatry and worldly conduct – not unlike the wealthy nations today’s world.  Like everywhere else, the brand new Christian church was under some form of persecution and for the most part, met in private homes. In most of the current persecuted church, meetings to glorify King Jesus and fellowship in His Mighty Name, are still done in homes and basements. The Apostle loved these Philippians and one can feel this love and heart for his (and our) brethren in the opening verses of Philippians 1. The opening greetings are always ignored by most preachers and/or bible readers. However, they tell us a lot about the kind of relationship the God-inspired author has with those, to whom, he writes.

Look at what Paul says here in essence, in love and with a kind heart – even as he writes this Scripture to the brethren in Philippi:
-    I think of you and give thanks to God (verse 3). When we think of others in our families, fellowships and far away countries, our immediate task is to pray for them as the Lord brings them to mind. We pray for them by thanking the Father for their faithfulness to the Gospel and the Truth. We pray for them by thanking the Lord as well for their perseverance and standing strong in the face of fire. We pray for the Father for a special dispensation of Grace, Mercy and Compassion to get through their next few hours, days and weeks ahead.
-     You are always in my prayers (verse 4a). As we pray for all the things mentioned above, we never cease praying …or as Paul says in Thessalonians 5 “pray without ceasing”.
-     I intercede enthusiastically and with great joy (verse 4b). It takes a special man to pray with passion and joy for others while in a Roman prison. Therefore, it should be a special privilege for us, with the freedom to worship and practice Christianity, to press in and lift up someone else with a smile in our eyes and a praise in our hearts.
-   For your fellowship in the Gospel from Day One (verse 5). There is a reason the Lord said in His Word that His people should not neglect the “fellowship of the saints”. In a world, where podcasts, live streaming and just plain laziness have removed the urgency AND necessity of getting dressed to walk into a church building to praise God with fellow believers. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not forsake “our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”.

Hebrews 10:25 mentioned “the Day drawing near”. Philippians 1:6 brings the encouragement in anticipation of that “Day”!  Verse 6 gives us the best evidence of fruits of a real “bucket list” – He says “Being confident of this very thing that He Who has begun a good work in you, will complete it until the Day of Jesus Christ”. That Day is coming closer with each breath, Within 50 years, each of us will be standing with or before Jesus, either through the natural process of passing from this life to the next, or via the Rapture and Return of Jesus Christ.  

Therefore, draw near to these facts in this REAL "Bucket List":
1. Be full of Faith and fellowship with, because of and having Faith (con- with, fide – faith: confident).
2. This very thing – the certainty of your salvation and maturity into a joyful saint is underwritten by the Precious Blood of Jesus. This is your ironclad guarantee.
3. He (Jesus) started, authored, perfected and executed this amazing divine plan and He never goes back on His Word and His promises. What He says, He does.  We can never lose our salvation unless we never had it to begin with. So rest in this Truth regardless of circumstances and rely on this with supreme confidence.
4. The Author of Life will complete His Master Plan….until He comes. This includes our sanctification built on obedience and submission, buttressed by the discipline of prayer and supplication.
5. Be prepared, because even though certain events have to occur before the Return of Jesus Christ (as noted in Revelation 19:11-16), our Day of Jesus Christ could occur at any time, since no one knows the day or hour when He shall call us home. So then, let us be fully assured of the solid payment forward we have made by investing Biblical truth in the life (or lives) of another and may we always be fully confident of our future home with our Lord and Savior, Who once told us, that He will never leave or forsake us.

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