Be Like Christ

Philippians 2:1-11
1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What a challenge the Bible presents to the believer, to be like Christ. That was certainly part of the reluctance I had back in 1989 “to ask the Lord into my heart”. I had little idea of what that meant, but I did know it would involve changes in my life and lifestyle that were diametrically opposed to my [sinful] personal desires. So in March of that year, when I finally accepted that there was a God, and Heaven and Hell were real (a process that took years of research and resistance), I still refused to ask Him into my life. How fearful, how stubborn I was (we are), even in the face of the acknowledgement of eternal damnation, to turn from sin to Christ. What does that say about the hardness of our own hearts and Satan’s influence, that we would trade freedom in sin for a few fleeting moments on this earth, over everlasting freedom in Christ! Even if we were not totally sure (in March of 1989 I was totally sure), it was all real. Even if maybe we could be good enough to enter Heaven on our own works. To take that chance, to roll the dice on our eternal state, how truly crazy are we? And, in retrospect, how much of a sacrifice does following Christ really put on us when we place our burdens on His shoulders, when we have the Holy Spirit leading us through life, when we have the peace which transcends all understanding on this earth and recognize that we are already (even before we get there) citizens of another place of eternal joy?

It took me a month… I had to “get some stuff at work done”. I had to clean up some things in my life…. not sins, but just stuff….before I “accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior”.  Boy, if He just wanted to be my Savior, things could have gone much faster, but the Lord part… it took a month of believing it (the Bible) was all true, before I took a trip to Bond park in Cary, walked up on a hill, got down on my knees and asked the God of the universe, Who loved me with an everlasting love from eternity past to eternity future, to come into my heart and save my soul.

A month….. how crazy is that!

Jeff Hilles

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Illuminating GOD’S Glory

Lord willing, by this time next week all of us will have witnessed something a little rare……. A Total Eclipse of the Sun.   I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to it because the last one that was visible this area was in 1979 and I can’t really remember much about that one.   But nonetheless, this one seems different, maybe it’s the hype this one is getting that I don’t recall at all for the 79 eclipse.   I mean some schools are releasing kids early, and some are having viewing parties to take it all in and I certainly don’t remember that.  I’ve even noticed the DOT warning signs on the highways are promoting the Eclipse and our need to make plans for the traffic issues that are coming.  And then the internet and media have taken it to the next level as they are full of info on what the Eclipse is, how they happen, when they might happen again, how to watch it, how not to watch it and more, you name it you can find it if you want it.

But one thing I am not seeing in mainstream media and beyond is what even makes an Eclipse possible.  So Let’s back it up all the way to Day 4 of existence and see what GOD did to make 8/21/17 more exciting………

Genesis 1: 14-19

And GOD said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,  and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so.  And GOD made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.  And GOD set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,  to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And GOD saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

As the VBS kids would say……WOW GOD!  That’s Amazing, Thank you for the Sun and Moon that gives us the Light and darkness we need for our daily life, because without it we wouldn’t survive, we couldn’t see the beauty of your creations and we certainly couldn’t see this Total Eclipse.  And the neat part is, when God Created the Sun and Moon on Day 4, he knew they would cross in this unique way next week and we would get to witness it.  Did you know the Sun is 400 times bigger than the Moon?  God does and he also knows when something 400 times smaller can cover something that’s 400 times its size we will take note and we will be amazed.  I just pray we are more amazed at the power of HIS hand than just an Eclipse which pales in comparison to everything else HE has done for us, HIS Children.

So no matter what the media says, or what teachers are forced to tell kids about it, the Word of GOD makes it clear…….  Without GOD the sun and moon wouldn’t exist and without HIS power over them they wouldn’t rotate in their perfect pattern and give us this opportunity to see this amazing work of our GOD on display.

Let’s give GOD the Glory only he deserves for each New day and let’s celebrate his great power as we watch a light show that only HE can create!

Chris Best

Know thyself?

Image result for Robert Murray Mccheyne "If you could hear Jesus praying

The phrase “Know thyself” is attributed to Socrates and is written on the temple of Apollo at Delphi.  Aristotle and Confucius believed this knowledge was the beginning of wisdom.  Yet how do you know when you truly know yourself or just a version you want to believe about yourself? This was the conflict that Peter experienced when he boasted of his loyalty to Jesus as found in Luke 22:31-34.  Peter’s confidence claim about his loyalty was in response to a troubling revelation from Jesus about the spiritual struggle warfare and warnings of Peter’s faith failure.  In response to Peter’s assertion, Jesus bore down on the prophecy with more specific detail.  We learn something important in this dialogue, Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves.

We can learn two other important observations about Jesus in this dialogue.  Note that Jesus said that He was praying for Peter before the crisis hit.  What did Jesus pray? He prayed that Peter’s faith may not fail; “and when once you (Peter) have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Romans 8:34 tells us that Jesus continues to pray for us today. “If I could hear Jesus praying for me in the next room,” How would that make a difference in your day? Lastly, Jesus could look past the betrayal of Peter to the redemption of Peter.  Jesus didn’t just see Peter and us in the dark moments of our lives, He also sees the end result of grace by faith.  He could see the day when Peter would be instrumental to strengthen the discouraged brothers.  In fact, the verdict of Peter’s faith wasn’t given at the fireside of betrayal, but in the days ahead when Peter turns back to Jesus in humility.  If you are finding yourself in the pit of personal failure, pray to see your life from Heaven’s eyes and see that grace is powerful because of personal failure.

Jarrod Scott