Midweek Meditations

Believe!

Read: John 20:24-31

Easter is always a great celebration! We gather as a church
to celebrate the truth that Christ rose from the dead and
defeated death by granting eternal life in heaven for those
who believe. Belief is a key part of that. It is also the part that Jesus’ disciple Thomas struggled with in our scripture text this week.

Thomas had to see the nail marks before he would believe.
Jesus showed up, showed him, and then said, “Blessed are those
who have not seen and yet have believed.” In an article last
week Pastor John Piper shared eight reasons that he believes
Jesus rose from the dead.

1. Jesus testified to his coming resurrection from the dead.
2. The tomb was empty on Easter.
3. The disciples were transformed from fear to boldness.
4. Paul said that over 500 people saw Jesus after the
resurrection.
5. The early Christian church thrived and overcame many things
which supported the Resurrection claim.
6. The Apostle Paul’s conversion is a testimony to
Resurrection power.
7. The New Testament witnesses are very credible.
8. There is a self authenticating glory in the Gospel of
Christ’s death and resurrection as narrated by the Biblical
witnesses.

Of course there could be even more than this. But the point is there is great evidence of this truth both then and now. Each and every day we awake to the opportunity of living our day in the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. We need to believe that and testify that we believe that!

Henry Morris once said, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”

The apostle Paul agrees with Mr. Morris. In 1 Corinthians 15:14 he says, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” As Jesus said to Thomas, today we must rely on faith and our belief in God’s Word to be our guide. We have not physically seen the nail marks but we have definitely seen Christ’s resurrection power at work in our lives and in our world.

As you move forward in your life my prayer is that you would remember Jesus’ words in this passage. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” If you were to tell someone the reasons that you believe in the resurrection what would they be?

Make it personal: Look for visible evidence of Christ’s resurrection power in your life and in those around you. You may not see Jesus walking through your house, but I am sure you can see him evident in your life, if you believe.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



This doesn’t make sense!

Read: Psalm 46

In the past month or two many things have happened to people close to us that cause us to ask the question “WHY?” The Psalms remind us that we are not alone in those feelings. Many Psalms are written from that exact perspective of wondering why different things are happening and why God is allowing them to happen. The book of Job is another example of this in the Bible.

Many of the Psalms and Job continue to hold out hope and strength in the midst of their extreme trials. Psalm 46 and 34 are great examples of this. It is hard to answer the many questions we have in one short midweek meditation. In fact, some questions that we ask may not have answers that are immediately available to us.

Along with the power of scripture and the encouragement of the Psalms I would like to suggest another book to you that may help you work through some of these questions. It is a book written by Dr. James Dobson entitled, “Holding on to your faith even… When God Doesn’t Make Sense.” Perhaps the description of this book on the inside cover can be of some help today. Here is what it says….

“When we are young and health is good and we have not yet encountered disease, disappointment, and sorrow, it is easy to believe that life will always be rather carefree and happy. But every person who lives long enough will eventually experience difficulties that are not easy to understand. At those times the pieces simply will not fit, and God just doesn’t make sense.

Most of us are inclined in those moments to struggle with the most troubling question in human experience: “Why did God let this happen to me?” When we are entangled in life’s crisis, it is common to feel great frustration with God. Our inability to figure out what He is doing creates the greatest agitation. The “Why?” question, which even Jesus asked from the cross, is often left unanswered for years or perhaps for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, some believers are so shaken by their inability to understand that they feel a profound sense of abandonment by God. This “betrayal barrier” is a dangerous weapon used against us. Satan wants each of us to feel that our compassionate Lord has actually singled us out for abuse!

“When God Doesn’t Make Sense” is addressed lovingly to those who have been left confused and disillusioned by life’s difficulties. It is intended to nurture the faith of the wounded and downhearted, and to prevent disillusionment in those who have not fallen into the clutches of despair.

In this book Dr. Dobson weaves together personal experiences with the wisdom of Scripture, which offers great insight into the trails of life and how to cope with them. A proper understanding of these biblical principles can expose false expectations that inevitably collide with reality in a sinful and fallen world.

The Lord has assured us that we are in His constant care. We can trust Him even when our difficult circumstances are beyond human comprehension. We can rest in his promise: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)”

I would recommend this book to anyone who is feeling or experiencing what this is describing!  You can find the book and order it on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com as well as other sites.  It also available for checkout in our church library.

My prayer is that the Lord will guide us through these times of difficulty and struggle. That we will feel his presence with us and gain encouragement from the Bible and other books such as this one by Dr. James Dobson. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

Make it personal: Prayer is one of the most powerful things to help us through difficult times. I would encourage you to take your needs, your questions, your despair, to the Lord in prayer. Pray as often as you need to! God hears your prayers!

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



The meaning of Maundy

Read: John 13:1-15

During Holy Week each year many people of the Christian Faith observe Maundy Thursday in different ways. On that Thursday before Good Friday some have services, some have meals, and others find private ways to remember the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples before he was betrayed and led away to be crucified. I would encourage you to find a way to remember that tomorrow.

The word Maundy is actually from the Latin word “Mandatum” which means “Washing of Feet.” Many people think it has to do with the bread and the cup that Jesus shared with the disciples as a way to remember his broken body and shed blood, but it actually signifies another event that happened that evening of the Last Supper.

In John 13:3-5 it says, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”

Some churches still practice the washing of feet in different ways. Some literally wash each others feet, some find other ways to serve others, and some use the example of Jesus to teach about our need to serve other believers. However we observe it we should not forget about this very important part of the Last Supper.

The Mennonite Confession of Faith even has a specific article dedicated to this teaching and example of Jesus. This is a part of what article 13 entitled “Foot Washing” says….

“We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Rather than seeking to lord it over others, we are called to follow the example of our Lord, who chose the role of a servant by washing his disciples’ feet.

Just before his death, Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ feet and told them, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

In this act, Jesus showed humility and servanthood, even laying down his life for those he loved. In washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus acted out a parable of his life unto death for them, and of the way his disciples are called to live in the world.

Believers who wash each other’s feet show that they share in the body of Christ. They thus acknowledge their frequent need of cleansing, renew their willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer their lives in humble service and sacrificial love…..”

May those words help us to focus on Jesus’ call to servanthood this week. We no longer need to wash each others feet when we enter each others homes as they did in Galilee, but we definitely need to serve each other in the spirit that Jesus has shown us. Let’s do that this week and beyond!

Make it personal: Who can you serve this week? How can you serve this week? Jesus took the time, went out of his way, and reached out to those in great need. We are called as his followers to do the same.

Have a great Easter everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



The Cross

Read: Matthew 27:27-61

As we enter into what is called “Holy Week” next week it would be beneficial for us to reflect on what the cross of Christ means for us. It is much more than a symbol that hangs in the front of churches or around peoples necks. It is the reason that we are saved from the sins of this world. From our sins.

This week the reading from Matthew has more verses than normal but I would encourage you to read them. In all of history this passage is the most incredible account of God’s ultimate love for each of us. He gave his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. As you remember that in this week ahead here are some other quotes by well known believers about the cross.

“This only we may be assured of, that if tomorrow brings a cross, He who sends it can and will send grace to bear it.”
– J.C. Ryle

“Jesus said on the cross “It is finished.” (Luke 19:30)
What that means is that salvation is “Something outside of
myself. Something with which I had nothing to do. I add nothing to it. I take nothing away. I just receive it as a gift from my Lord. And the rest of my life is spent, not in working for my salvation, but the rest of my life is spent in
praise and gratitude and love for what Jesus has done for me.”
– W.A. Criswell

“There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today.”
— Handley C. G. Moule

Thank You Jesus for what you have done for me! For us! For all those who call on you as their Lord and Savior and believe in you. This gift of love and sacrifice is incredible, let’s celebrate that and be thankful for it!

Make it personal: Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion this next week and allow the accounts of the various Gospel writers to help you reflect on what Jesus has done for you. Then pray and give him thanks!

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



The Fiery Sermon

Read: Acts 2:42-47

The fellowship among the early Christian believers is always a great reminder for us. In this passage it says that they broke bread together, prayed together, and shared so many things in common. They were there for each other! Too often we forget that church is about more than just a place to gather once or twice a week. The church is a group of people who “enjoy the favor of all the people” as verse 47 proclaims.

It reminds me of the sermon illustration entitled “The Fiery Sermon.” It goes like this….

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending Services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire.

Guessing the reason for his preacher’s visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited…

The preacher made himself at home, but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember’s flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more.

Soon it was cold and dead. Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire.

Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it. As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, “Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday…”

Two great reminders for us this week. 1. We should never underestimate the presence of God’s people in our lives and the difference they make. 2. Sometimes we don’t have to say much to get our point across. Object lessons sometime speak the loudest.

Make it personal: Say a prayer of thanksgiving this week for the people that God has placed in your life. Thank him for his church and the support, encouragement, and hope that we can continuously remind each other of.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Warning Signs

Read: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Tom Tripp once shared a chilling story out of the 1991 winter edition of the University of Pacific Review about the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Russia.

There were two electrical engineers in the control room that night, and the best thing that could be said for what they were doing is they were “playing around” with the machine. They were performing what the Soviets later described as an authorized experiment. They were trying to see how long a turbine would “freewheel” when they took the power off it.

Now, taking the power off that kind of a nuclear reactor is a difficult, dangerous thing to do, because these reactors are very unstable in their lower ranges. In order to get the reactors down to that kind of power, where they could perform the test they were interested in performing, they had to override manually six separate computer-driven alarm systems.

One by one the computers would come up and say, “Stop! Dangerous! Go no further!” And one by one, rather than shutting off the experiment, they shut off the alarms and kept going. You know the results: nuclear fallout that was recorded all around the world, from the largest industrial accident ever to occur in the world at that time.

1 Corinthians 10 proclaim warnings from Israel’s history. Times of ignoring God’s direction led them astray and does the same to us today. The instructions and warnings in Scripture are just as clear. We ignore them at our own peril, and tragically, at the peril of innocent others.

When temptation comes at us there are usually warning signs that we can choose to ignore or pay attention to. Our decision to ignore the alarm systems and warnings often lead to unwanted circumstances in our lives.

Verse 13 gives us hope, it says, “God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Make it personal: Don’t ignore the instructions of Scripture and don’t ignore the warning signs in life. God will help us to be vigilant and aware of when Satan is leading us down a wrong and dangerous path if we turn to the Lord for our help.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church




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