Midweek Meditations

Committed

Read: Psalm 63

It seems like I have been bombarded with statistics lately. Maybe it is the election season we are in or maybe there is a renewed fascination with surveys. But whatever the reason, many of the stats I have come across have been very interesting, especially those relating to Christian Discipleship.

Survey after survey is finding that Christians who are fully committed to Christ, their faith, their church, and the Word of God are more fulfilled, happy, tend to find more purpose and strength in their lives and families. While this is not a news flash, it is a reminder about how important our commitment to God is and how it drastically affects our lives.

In Psalm 63 David is proclaiming that. “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.” Does that sound like the kind of commitment we are showing to God?

The rest of that Psalm goes on to proclaim that God will help us through the good times and the difficult times if we are committed to his upholding hand. In verse 5 David says, “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

It’s easy to say that we are Christians and followers of Christ, but is our life committed to Jesus in a way that it is obvious to others without us even telling them? Does that commitment proclaim, “You, God, are my God!”?

The Bible says that even Christians will have difficult things to work through in their lives, yet those who show great commitment to the ways of God are often given extra strength to work through those and come out even stronger on the other end.

I may not know what you are celebrating this week or what you are struggling with, but Jesus knows, and he wants to help those who proclaim him as the Lord of their lives. May we all make that renewed commitment to Christ this week!

Make it personal: Commitment usually has to start somewhere. Choose something this week that will help you strengthen your thirsting and seeking after God. Hopefully that one thing will lead to many others.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church



The Great Debate

Read: Romans 10:1-13

I am sure many of you have heard about the big Presidential debate that is taking place tonight in Denver at 8 pm Central time. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will debate the many issues, challenges, and hopes that face our country and the future of the United States.

It’s called a debate because most likely (or surely) the two candidates will disagree on most points that are raised. Why else would they show up in Denver, they are not interested in what they might agree on, they are interested in what makes them more electable than the other.

Romans 13 is a reminder for Christians and followers of Jesus Christ that there is no debate on our salvation in Christ. Verse 13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We don’t have to debate it or wonder about it, we can be sure!

A story is told about a time when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. “I’ve looked through the rule book,” he said, “You don’t have to go.”

Praise the Lord that we have been saved. The Bible is clear that God sent his Son Jesus to the earth to provide this salvation and this gift for all of those who repent of their sins and proclaim Jesus as the Lord of their lives. This great debate is not even a debate, it is settled!

As the politicians go about their final weeks leading up to the election we will hear many promises. Many of us will be suspicious as to if those promises will ever come to pass. But there is a promise that is true and everlasting, and that is found in Romans 10 and throughout our Bibles. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”

Make it personal: If you watch the debate tonight try to imagine them being asked the question, “What is the one true hope that you have for the people of this country.” As Christians how would we answer that? It probably would be different than how they would answer it tonight.

Have a wonderful week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church



10 to 45 Minutes

Read: Proverbs 2:1-11

This Proverb is a great reminder of how valuable and applicable the Word of God is for our lives. Many of the things mentioned in these eleven verses are things we all desire; Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, discretion, and so on.

I realize that this is nothing new to most people. We know that the Bible holds these wonderful truths, promises, and guidance, but how often do we turn to them? I think one of the main excuses we use these days is “there’s not enough time.”

I ran across something recently that said that half of the books in the Bible can be read in ten to forty-five minutes each, and many of them can be read in less than twenty. That’s shorter than most T.V. shows last. In fact, it went on to say that the Old and New Testaments together can be read aloud slowly with expression in less than seventy-one hours.

I realize that 71 hours might wear someone out, but the reason I share that is that people often think of the Bible as this big, large, overwhelming book to open. But it doesn’t have to be viewed in that way or read in that way.

A little time here and there in God’s Word can be an invaluable help to get you through your day and week; and when you have more time you can enjoy studying deeper about the wonderful story of God and how it applies to your life.

In his book from the 1960’s “Profitable Bible Study” Wilber M. Smith writes, “It will probably astonish many to know that one single, normal issue of “The Saturday Evening Post” contains as much reading matter as the entire New Testament. Thousands of people read the Post through every week. The number of Christians who read the New Testament through every week, or even one whole book of the New Testament every week, are so few that we need not talk about it.”

Smith’s word’s are convicting. I imagine the same thing could be said about the daily newspapers we read today. The bottom line is that we need our Bibles and we need to be sowing the wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and discretion of the Lord into our lives on a daily basis. May each of us find that 10 to 45 minutes each day!

Make it personal: Sometimes it helps to find different ways to encounter God’s Word. Sometimes various translations can help or even using a commentary to see how the Spirit has spoken to others through that passage can help us. The Lord will use his own way to get his Word into your heart, you just have to be receptive.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church



“THINK”

Read: James 3:1-12

Homer was once quoted as saying, “The tongue of man is a twisty thing.”  And how twisty it can sometimes be!

It’s not too often I continue a Sunday message in my midweek email but this week I felt the Holy Spirit leading in that way. Sunday I said, “controlling our tongue is one of the toughest battles we face in our spiritual lives.”  As this week has gone on and I have heard from several of you “thinking” about your words, I’ve come to realize why this is.

Some battles in life are faced yearly or as they come along in life. Health concerns, family issues, work problems, school relationships, and the list can go on.  But each and every day that we awake and start a new day, we can be assured that our tongue and our words are going to come into play that day.

Sometimes it is our words, and at other times it can be our attitude or our tone of voice.  Francois de la Rochefoucauld (same that name really fast five times) once said, “Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.”  Very interesting thing to think about.

I shared an acrostic Sunday that helps us to think about our words and our tone before we speak, it went like this….

T …. is it True
H …. is it Helpful
I …. is it Inspiring
N …. is it Necessary
K …. is it Kind

Not that all of our communication has to be totally necessary or inspiring, but by asking these questions we can think about how our words and our tone will affect our family, our friends, our co-workers, our classmates, and …….. ourselves.  Yes, the words coming out of our mouths can drastically affect us as well.  They can give us a good feeling about ourselves or a not so good feeling about ourselves.

I’m not sure how you have applied James 3 to your interactions this week but I would encourage you to read it again sometime in your devotions.  And then pray and ask the Lord to help you in this area.  We can never be reminded enough about the power of our words…. spoken, written, or texted.

Make it personal:  On Sunday it was mentioned that someone at work has this acrostic posted in front of them throughout their day.  I am doing that here at my desk and I would encourage you to do the same.  Put it in a place that you will see it often.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church



The weary find rest

Read: Matthew 11:28-30

The Christian music group “Mercy Me” is probably best known for the most popular Christian song ever recorded. “I can only Imagine” topped Christian charts for weeks and weeks and even made it’s way up the secular charts some years ago when it was released.

It is a great song, and it introduced me to this wonderful group and the many songs they have released since; But one song that they recorded before people even knew about them may be one of their most powerful. “In You” speaks to what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11:28-30. In Jesus there is hope for the weary, the blind, the hungry, and the defeated. Here is a link to one of the YouTube video’s of this song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-86VTOuZWQ

One of the personal comments below that song on YouTube says,

“My life has been filled with more pain and disappointments than words can express! You Jesus refuse to give up on me and continue to soften and heal all the broken areas in my heart. You sing songs of love reminding me of how you feel! I find myself falling in love with you and having hope restored!”

Maybe you can relate? Or maybe you just need a fresh reminder this week of what Jesus said in verse 28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

We can continue to rely on ourselves and be burdened and weary, or we can release it to Jesus. Whatever it is, I hope that you will release it to Christ this week. often in life we are faced with that decision of self-reliance or reliance on God.

In his book “Believe and Belong” Bruce Larson shares a story of when he counseled people in New York City. He said that he would often walk them down to the RCA building on Fifth Avenue and show them the large statue of Atlantis carrying the world on his shoulders.

He then would walk them across the street to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take them behind the alter where there was a small statue of Jesus as a young boy holding the world in his outstretched hand.

The point was obvious, you can decide to carry the world on your own shoulders or you can give your life to Christ who will carry it for you. Jesus promises us that we will find rest in him, no matter what we are facing in life.

Make it personal: Stop what you are doing right now and take a minute or two to pray. Name what you need to release to Jesus right now and ask him to give you the rest that you need. He promises “you will find rest for your souls.”

Have a blessed week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church



Strong and Courageous

Read: Joshua 1:1-11

In many Mennonite Church libraries you can find a very large and heavy book that is entitled “Martyr’s Mirror.” This book records the many stories of Anabaptists who were persecuted and killed during the reformation period in the 1500’s.

It is often hard to read those stories and to grasp how cruel and hateful our human race can be to each other. It is even more disappointing to realize that many of those doing the killing were fellow Christians. But despite those hateful and violent actions so many early Anabaptists stayed strong and courageous in their faith and beliefs.

The Lord spoke that phrase many times in this first chapter of Joshua. He encourages Joshua and the Israelites to “be strong and courageous” as they enter into the promised land. They will need this encouragement for the many battles and struggles that they will encounter.

The truth is, many people are still persecuted for their faith today. They know what it means to have to be strong and courageous in the midst of life. Even today there are many stories of people who choose to respond in peaceful ways despite the hate and the persecution that they encounter.

I recently heard that there is a new updated version of Martyr’s Mirror that is now in the works. It will tell the new stories of our day when people around the world have stayed strong in their faith when faced with persecution and even death at times.

Jesus can help us be strong and have courage during those times of trial. Sometimes it is persecution for our faith, other times it is a trial that we are going through with our family, friends, or co-workers. When we face those various challenges we need to hear these words of the Lord spoken for us as well as Joshua.

In verse 9 it says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Remember those words this week as you face those people and things that are trying to defeat you. Respond in love and peace, and allow the strength of Christ to be your defense.

Make it personal: In this first chapter of Joshua there is one instance when Joshua says, “Go through the camp and tell the people!” Maybe that is our call this week. To hear these words of encouragement for ourselves, but then to also share them with others who may need to hear them.

Have a courageous week everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church




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