Phil Us Up!
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June 3, 2014, 2:06 PM

HELP!


I admit I was so optimistic when the weather men a couple of weeks ago called for rain, maybe a big rain. I am also thankful for those in south and east who really did get a nice rain. For us, well not so much. I measured 1.2 inches at my house, which I am thankful for. But as for the drought, well it continues. This week we may reach a 100, again. Not much relief in sight.  What do we do? Well the first thing I do is find joy in what we did receive, and do have.

     I know it’s dry, I also know many of us are experiencing what might be considered a dry season in our lives. Death, sickness, troubled relationships; it seems to go on and on. I know, from my own experience its tough not to give in, many times I have said I don’t know if I can hold on.

     I sat down this morning to try to write something that would encourage everyone. I read a devotional from the greatest Christian writer of our modern era, C. S. Lewis. He wrote, “The prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please God best.” I thought about that, sickness, troubled relationships, death, and drought. I see it’s dry in a lot of places. I am reminded life is not always fun and games, there will be times when we go dry, in our relationships and in our world. I also know what we do when it is dry out there, reveals who we really are.

     I think I understand the writer in Psalm 42 more and more.  “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

     My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you.

     My hope is the writer of this song survived his dry season and found renewal. I think he did. Later in Psalm 121 we read; “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Now that’s pretty good help!  Hold on and have a great week.

Philip

  




May 6, 2014, 2:51 PM

Name change??


     I was told recently by a friend of mine that he laughed at the title of my weekly bulletin article and blog, “Phil Us Up”.  Of course it got me to thinking.  Jesus wonderfully said in His sermon on the mount, “Blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty, they will be filled.”

   It seems to me that being thirsty and hungry is something most of us are not. I wonder if somewhere along the road we thought we were satisfied and simply pushed back from the table. A book I read a few years ago said that we all are given a craving from God, a hunger that will be satisfied by something. The only question is, what will we “Phil” ourselves up with? When we try to do it with possessions, power or success, well sooner or later we figure out this truth.  Those things will never fill us up! When we try to fill up on those things, we are answering our own call. I know because I have been guilty often of being full of myself, full of my ideas, full of what I want. When Jesus promises, “they shall be filled” it is those who are answering the clear call of our awesome God, not their own voice.

     Maybe the problem is most of us are not in want for much. Maybe the problem is not that we are full, but we are never empty. I think the idea is we need to fill up, so that God can pour us out. Only then will He fill us up again, if we are dining from the right menu.  It’s only after we are empty we will ever be hungry or thirsty.

     One of the reasons the Dead Sea is dead is because fresh water runs into the sea, to the tune of 6 ½ tons a day but has no outlet. (Catholic encyclopedia) The only way water leaves is by evaporation, the salts and minerals stay. Always filling up, never emptying.

     Maybe that’s the reason behind the spiritual discipline of fasting. To remind us what it means to be hungry, to thirst for a righteousness that only comes from God and His Son. Maybe if I spent less time at the table eating, and more time emptying myself…….who knows how God would fill me up!

Have a great……hungry and thirsty week!

Philip

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March 25, 2014, 11:29 AM

Rain or Reign?


 

     I am reminded almost daily to pray for rain; we all know we are in the middle of a drought. I just hope we are way past the middle.  I mean we need rain, not just a shower; we need a RAIN, the kind that not only fills up the creeks and tanks, but also washes them out.

     We all understand we are at the mercy of God when it comes to rain, He sends it or He withholds it. It’s been that way for a long time. There is a kind of rain that I do have control of.

     Jesus tells us in Luke 17:21, “... the kingdom of God is within you.”  Jesus is answering a question, “When is the Kingdom coming? His answer is that you won’t see signs or look and see it.  It’s in our hearts that God reigns — our hearts. The question for me, and those of us praying for rain, is when we look into our hearts do we see God reigning there? As much as I want to see it raining out there, it is so much more important that I see it reigning in here!

     John the Baptist marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with these words. “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Repentance is the first key in accepting God’s reign here on earth. That’s the kind of reign, I have control of. That kind of reign comes only to those willing to receive. Jesus says rain is sent to those who are just and are unjust, (Matthew 5:45). It really doesn’t really matter if you are willing or not, when the rain comes, it falls on everyone, willing or not.

     When we are ready and willing to receive reign, things grow in us. Paul describes them as fruit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That is the nature of reign.

     We are in two kind’s drought, one we have to wait on God to take care, the other we simply have to receive the reign. The one thing I am sure of is this, as much as we want to receive rain, God wants us to receive reign, His. Then the drought will really be over!

 

Have a great week.

Philip

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March 18, 2014, 11:31 AM

Bracketology


     Well it’s that time of year again, March Madness. I admit it is fun for those of us who love basketball, two weeks ago the high school state tournament and this week the NCAA tournament. The odds, and they are not good, in fact I heard a number I have never heard of, quintillion, that’s 1 million times 1 trillion!  Now that gives new meaning to the phrase, “may the odds be ever in your favor”. Even though the odds are like that I am still filling out my bracket.

     Sometimes I feel like the odds are never in my favor, that’s why I don’t buy lottery tickets or play other games of chance. Often we are reminded by the world, there are no sure things.

     There are some things I need to be reminded of that are in my favor. I am sure about this church, my family, and I am positively confident in my Father, and His Son in heaven. One of the ways Satan attacks our faith is he wants us to be reminded there is a contest going on and the odds are not always in our favor. That’s a lie, and every lie has a purpose. Satan’s purpose is to chip away our faith in God, so we will place it somewhere else. When it feels like I won’t win, I have to stop trusting my feelings and start trusting my God. After all, God tells us who is going to win the fight, the only question is do we trust His word? Take your eyes off your feelings and failures and put them on Christ, His word, and His sacrifice. Trust Him and Him alone.... not what you feel, not at what you fail or succeed at. He didn't save you because of your works or your "goodness."  He did not save you because of what is or is not in you. He saved you because of what is in Him: love and truth.

     Jesus says in John 5, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”

   Jesus says if we hear His word, trust him, the odds are not just in my favor, we have already won! Now I like those numbers! Have a great week.            Philip

If any of you would like to help me fill out my bracket……….




February 10, 2014, 3:28 PM

I can't stop singing!


        If you were here this past Sunday morning, you know. Maybe you just now read the news on the front of the bulletin. After 48 wonderful years, Haskell Singing School has come to an end. It has been a blessing for me to have been a small part of the last six. I will cherish the relationships born out of singing school. I spoke to both Tom and Gene Chapin, John Connel,Randy Daw and Joe Chase this morning; I cherish my relationships with them. If you would, please pray for Gene, more cancer was found, he is looking at radiation treatments for the next six weeks. I am so thankful for their words of encouragement. They all spoke of how humbled and thankful they were, for the work and dedication of the Haskell Church of Christ.

     The writer of Ecclesiastes writes, “There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven.”  I believe those words are for everyone, in everyplace, in every circumstance.  God has appointed the times and seasons, the events of our lives, the happy and the sad, the easy and the difficult. For many of us, the ending of Singing School is sad. Now we can react in many ways, but the question is how does God call us to react? Times like these actually give me hope and remind me of some very important truths. First of all, God is still in control. God raises things up, and God brings them down. Even the day of our own death is set by God. God has a purpose in whatever He does, even if I have a hard time seeing it at the time. Paul would write, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Good came through Singing School, and good will come of this too.

    I also know we live in a world of change, and for that I am thankful. I’m glad for the warmer weather coming later this week!

    I also know God does not change, and for that I am thankful. We can always count on Him, to be there and to always do the right thing in the right time. Thank you God for your unchangeable nature we will not stop singing your praises.

     There is an endless song, echoes in my soul

I hear the music ring. And though the storms may come, I am holding on, to the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise?

How can I ever say enough, how amazing is Your love. How can I keep from shouting Your name I know I am loved by the King and it makes my heart want to sing

(Chris Tomlin - How Can I Keep From Singing)

Our hearts will never stop singing! I love you all!                                                        Philip

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