Phil Us Up!
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May 23, 2017, 2:54 PM

We are not worthy


    Monday is Memorial Day! For many of us it marks the official first day of summer. For others it’s an opportunity to remember those who have passed from this life, especially those who gave their lives for others. When I see those who are hurting because they lost loved ones who gave their lives for others, I don’t know what to say. Happy Memorial Day just doesn’t sound or seem right. I sometimes wish I could ask one of the fallen what to say, of course that will never happen. There is a famous Memorial Day speech, often quoted that implores us to think of life and not death on this day. I’m convinced that’s one thing we should do to honor those who gave their lives for us. Their sacrifice follows the example of Jesus laying down his life for all of mankind. Not so that we could morn his death, but that we could live, and live eternally!

    John would write these words long after Jesus died and rose. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. His call for us is to also lay down our lives for our brothers.

    I think I see some similarities between military service and biblical examples. Here is what I mean. The act of laying down one’s life is not dependent on the worthiness of the recipient of this wonderful gift. The giving of a life is a truly honorable act, and in a perfect world the one receiving the freedom and grace would be worthy of such a wonderful gift. We all know that’s just not the way it works in this world. Over and over again we read, the worthy gives of himself to the un-worthy.

"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11

But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8

But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Luke 5:8

    I read the news account and watched a video from last Wednesday of a girl falling onto the subway tracks. The approaching train was less than a minute away. Several jumped down and pulled her to safety. It reminded me of how helpless we can all find ourselves. Anija Lender, who suffered only a sprained ankle had this to say, “I'm so glad people came and helped me.  I know if that was me, I would have been scared to jump on the tracks knowing the train was so close, I believe in God, I feel like God really had my back. He was right there with me," The rescuers didn’t have a discussion to determine if she was worthy of mercy, they just acted. I think she was right, God had her back. It reminds me of what Paul says, “You see, at just the right time, when we helpless, Christ died for us!” I know Anija will never forget, and neither should we.

How memorable is that day to you? Have a great week! I love you all.

Philip




April 11, 2017, 12:00 AM

If it Weren't for Friday


The most anticipated week in the life of Jesus Christ is here. Friday He will be crucified, and buried in a tomb, Sunday He will rise!  For Christians, this week is one that should define how we LIVE. I ran across these quotations and they really helped me stay focused this week.

The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  -- Robert Flatt

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.  -- Clarence W. Hall

The truth of Sunday and the Resurrection is this: none of Sunday would have happened without the suffering on Friday. I know we have all been through some tough situations in our lives, broken relationships, disease or death of a loved one. In my simple thinking, I understand these things, God is faithful, and He will never let me down. He walks with me through the darkest days, even when I wonder if I am all alone.

Early this morning I was drawn to Paul’s words to the church in Philippi.

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection ….

 Jesus was indeed raised from the dead early that Sunday morning. He experienced the “power of the resurrection” because of His suffering and death. This week I can’t help but think about the power of resurrection. How I want it for myself and those whom I know and love.

     Earlier in chapter 3, it seems Paul says things that once he thought were really good things, like having the right ancestors, following the law, were in all ways far less important than knowing Jesus Christ. “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ”.

Like Paul, I’m sure we all want to experience the “power of the resurrection.” What Paul understood is this: Sunday would have never happened….. if it weren’t for Friday.

 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

This Friday is Good Friday and I have  wondered about calling it good. We don’t often ask to experience the suffering of Christ like Paul does here. I think maybe I should do that and even to give thanks for my insignificant suffering, because I now know this truth, if it weren’t for Friday, Sunday would have never happened, and Friday would have never been called good. Have a great week and I love you all.

Philip




March 7, 2017, 12:00 AM

A Place I Need to Go


    I am once again so very thankful to be a small part of this church family. My heart groans this week with the loss of my Dad, Bobby Joe Sims. He would have been 85 on his birthday, so I look at this sudden loss with thanksgiving; he was with us all these years. I am also thankful for the North Davis Church of Christ, where he was a member. My father found forgiveness, acceptance, and grace there. It was only two weeks ago that he was teaching Bible class at North Davis. Dad was a gifted teacher and preacher. I have no doubt I am where I am today because of my Dad. I will miss him very much. Just last week he gave me some insights on the long life of Moses that are now growing into a lesson I will share soon.

    A memorial service will be held April 2 at North Davis Church of Christ. Dad had requested to be cremated and his children will take his ashes back to Texarkana Arkansas.

    In August 2015 I wrote about a trip to Shiloh Arkansas in Phil Us Up. One of the few articles I post that someone commented on. The commenter was B. J. Sims.

09-05-2015 at 3:33 PM

I was moved by this bulletin article. I am so proud of Philip and his commitment to the Good News that Christ came not to condemn the world, but to save the world.

     Dad first went to college in Tennessee, at Freed Hardeman. Over the years I heard lots of stories about his college days. When I was a teenager I was not particularly impressed that he was a cheerleader for the Freed Hardeman Lions. I would much rather him been a great athlete, not a cheerleader! Over the years I realized Dad was always cheering others on, especially, his children. I know he preached and taught thousands of lessons during his life, right up to the end. But his greatest service was cheering everyone else on. I realize today how important that has been to me. Thank you so much Dad.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses….

For me, my brothers, sister, and I don’t know how many others, Dad is one in a great cloud of witnesses, cheering us all on.

    I plan very soon to go back to Shiloh, taking the earthly remains of Bobby Joe Sims and placing them in the ground, near where his parents are buried. Shiloh; a place that calls us to remember what God did there a long time ago,  and a call to look forward to what God will do there again someday. Shiloh; a place of rest, a place of peace.

I really need a place like that.

I love you all, I love you Dad.

Philip

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February 6, 2017, 11:04 AM

What are you afraid of?


     When was the last time you were really afraid? Maybe that’s not even the right question. Lots of times, I have found out that I was afraid of the wrong things, or sometimes, there was nothing for me to be afraid of at all. When that happens there is always a feeling of relief.

    There must be some kind of ingrown fear that we as God’s people have missed the mark. Of course, the truth is we all have not been good enough; we all have missed the mark! So we ask God to accept us with all our mistakes as, good enough, Knowing all the time we are never good enough!

    Having fear, being afraid is not always a bad place to be. It is those who are not aware of the dangers that are at greatest risk! If I don’t know and understand the danger then I am only one step from disaster! Here is where the problem is or at least begins. If I had just known, well I would have done something about it! I take Paul’s writing serious to work out my own salvation. Here is our big mistake, instead of working it out with fear and trembling, we work it out with effort and merit.

     It is only when we are aware and convinced of our inevitable short-comings, our own un-righteousness that we will we ever discover the righteousness of God. The question is not am I good enough, but was Jesus made bad enough. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21; God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. The only way any of us get right with God is because Jesus was made bad enough, an exchange of my wrongness for His rightness. He became sin, so we could become the righteousness of God. The great transfer of our sins to Jesus happened at the cross. Not because of some kind of effort on our part, but because of tremendous effort on His part. If you don’t feel like you are good enough, well welcome to the family of God! Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. He paid a debt He didn’t owe; I owed a debt I couldn’t pay. What I am really afraid of is this, living by my righteousness instead of His!  What is it I have to do? Accept and receive the gift of the righteousness of God. Then, live like I have received the greatest gift ever, because I have!

 




January 11, 2017, 2:40 PM

Fly Like an Eagle


    I love the verse in Isaiah that tells me, “They shall mount up with wings as eagles.” I like it especially because it says our strength will be renewed, if our hope is found in Him!

I have to remind myself often that the Bible is loaded with stories about people who were, in themselves, at the bottom of the pile as far as personal strength was concerned. God is honored in showing strength through weakness.

    Moses was such a man. At 80 years old, he is commissioned by God to really get busy and go to work. I sometimes think at my “advanced age” how tired and worn out I feel.  But we know Moses “mounted up like an eagle for the task given him. When we read the whole passage we see the condition necessary for the renewal. Read some more; “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.”

    It’s a matter of where my trust is, where my hope is. It means, look to God for the solution to life’s issues. It’s about patiently waiting, in hope. God responds with renewal to people like that . . . He gives them strength and endurance.

     This renewal takes place first in the heart. God gives strength to those who want to depend on Him. But he also refuses to come to the aid of those who actually have no heart for depending on Him. With God, the heart is always first.

    When Malachi wrote of the priests of his day, he described them as tired, begrudging servants of God. When they offered the sacrifices, they “disdainfully sniffed,” a signal of boring, unmotivated service to God. And God despised them. They didn’t anticipate God’s involvement in their service to Him. They had long ago stopped hoping in God.

Tell me, should God be happy with such service to Him? Serve Him first with the heart fully looking to Him, and He will energize the body. Start with the affections and your body will “mount up like the eagle.”

    Years ago a product called Geritol was advertised on the black and white television screens of the United States. Geritol was a product for “iron poor, tired blood.” Well, a warm confidence in God will energize the body like that. It will “renew your strength.”

So, be encouraged. The task is not too daunting for those who want to serve Him. Your wings are not clipped as you thought, your legs are not wobbly—you can do His will only if you trust Him. Watch for His signals. Trust Him as if it is the most important in life, because it is and then, get ready to fly like an Eagle!

Philip


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