Midweek Meditations

“Wide Awake”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Wide Awake”
Read: Mark 13:32-37

This past week there was much conversation about the rapture and the return of Jesus to take his believers up with him into heaven.  Some of that conversation was healthy and some of it was unfortunately sarcastic.  But the one thing that was good is that it raised awareness of passages like Mark 13:32-37.

Jesus says that no one will know the day or the hour of his return.  In fact in verse 32 he says that he doesn’t even know, only the Father (God) knows.  But in the midst of those who feel like they need to pick dates and hours (Harold Camping, Mayan Calendar, etc.) there is one truth that remains, we must be ready.

In verse 33 Jesus says, “Be on guard! Be Alert!”  In other words, live your life every day as a person prepared and ready for the rapture when it does occur.  Along with that, we must also be prepared to face whatever life in the here and now tries to throw at us, and we do that be relying on Jesus Christ himself.

I am a product of the 1980’s high school scene and I have always enjoyed the music of the Irish group U2.  The words of their songs can often have multiple meanings for a person depending on what they are thinking about or going through at a given time.

Last week as the news was swirling about the rapture I heard a U2 song that had the words, “I’m wide awake, I’m not sleeping.”  I had to think how true that was to what this passage in Mark is saying.  Jesus is asking us to consider if we are awake and ready or if we are dozing off and not paying attention to things that really matter for eternity.

That U2 song was not written about the rapture but yet it spoke to the way I was feeling about things going on in the world.  At the end of the live version of that song (Bad) they say, “Come on down, come on down, come on down.”  Is that how we feel about the rapture?

Are we at the point in our lives where we are ready to say, “Jesus, come on down, I’m wide awake, alert, and ready?” If not, we need to be, because the owner of the house (verse 35) could come back at any time.  Mr. Camping has now changed his date to October 21 but Jesus could come back before that! Be ready!

Make it personal: Along with being prepared yourself for Christ’s return try to use the recent news discussions of the rapture as a way to witness to your family, friends and co-workers.  Perhaps they don’t know what Jesus has said or what the Bible says about this.  This is your opportunity!

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“So Petty”

This Weeks Meditation:  “So Petty”
Read: John 13:31-38

Sometimes in our daily interactions with people we will walk away thinking, “that was so petty.”  Sometimes it is a realization of our own pettiness and at other times it is because of someone else’s.  The truth is we can all be “petty” at times.

In John 13 Jesus talks about a new command he is giving to us.  In verse 34 it says, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  Jesus is saying these words to his disciples and ultimately he is preparing them for the witness of truth that they will carry on with them.

In fact in the next verse he connects our love for each other with that witness.  Verse 35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  In other words, we are to put aside our petty disagreements and preferences in the name of unconditional love.  Since I have a very detail oriented personality I am reminding myself of this first and foremost.

Obviously sometimes our conflicts are more than just petty things.  Sometimes they are huge.  But the new command from Jesus is suppose to cover them all, big or petty.  Our love is to resemble the love that Christ has shown to us.  It forgives, it restores, it goes the extra mile to reconcile, and it is always under no certain conditions that have to be met.  This is how the church is to be a witness in our world.

Businessman Lee Iacocca once asked legendary football coach Vince Lombardi what it took to make a winning team. Lombardi said,  “There are a lot of coaches with good ball clubs who know the fundamentals and have plenty of discipline but still don’t win the game. Then you come to the third ingredient: if you are going to play together as a team, you’ve got to care for one another. You’ve got to love each other. Each player has to be thinking about the next person by saying, ‘I have to do my job well in order that they can do theirs.’ The difference between mediocrity and greatness is the feeling these teammates have for each other.”

Church of Jesus Christ, let’s be great not mediocre!

Make it personal:  Try to think back in the last month and name some periods of pettiness that you have given in to.  Ask Jesus to forgive you for that and also ask him to help you be a witness for him by living with unconditional love as your guiding principle.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church


“You Never Know”

This weeks meditation:  “You Never Know”
Read: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

The story of David intriques me in many ways and probably the most intriquing is his calling at a very young age.  When his father Jesse brought his sons before Samuel to find the next king David wasn’t even in the running.  In fact he was still out tending the sheep. (v.11)

But God knew the heart of David!  Even though his father and others had no idea what the future would hold, God did!  It’s a reminder to all of us that you never know what God has in mind for you.  If you plant the seed and keep it watered God may produce something in you that neither you or anyone else might have expected.

Sometimes it is hard to understand why we go through some of the things we do, but it’s always healthy to keep an outlook on the future.  The difficult time you are in right now may be preparing you for what lies around the next corner.  The extra blessings you are receiving right now may be intended for God’s future plan for you.

When David was watching the flock as a young boy I would imagine that his attitude and his outlook on life played a huge part in what happened soon after.  So often it is easy to get in a complaining mode if things are not just as we drew them up; but maybe, just maybe, God is preparing you for the next thing.

Don’t complain, don’t get depressed, instead, press on!  Keep your heart right before Christ and he will use you in ways that you never knew were possible.  In fact, he may bless you in ways that you never saw coming.

You may feel like you are sheperding dirty sheep right now in a barren and remote land but don’t lose heart!  Keep your head up, your heart in tune with God, and your spirit trusting in Jesus.  You never know, tomorrow you may just be a king.

Make it personal:  If you feel worn out, beaten down, and stressed out this week take time to pray to Christ and ask him for strength.  We often struggle to keep our head up on our own when things are tough.  Jesus can help us do that so when the time is right we are ready for his next call on our lives.  Remember, you never know what that might be!

Blessings, Glen Rhodes
Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church


“More than Rubies”

This weeks meditation: “More than Rubies”
Read: Proverbs 31:10-31

A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is M, and I pick up things. What am I?” When the answers were all in the teacher was astounded to find that almost fifty percent had written in, mother.

This Sunday is Mothers Day.  We will honor mothers, celebrate mothers, and thank them for all they do!  But one thing that should not be overlooked is how crucial a mother is to her family and to society in general.  They do so much more than just pick up after the rest of us.  Lord Shaftsbury once said, “Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months.”

In Proverbs 31 we see the importance that scripture gives to wives, mothers, and women in general.  Verse 10 says, “She is worth far more than rubies.”  Unfortunately in much of our world today women are not shown the kind of worth that this verse grants them.  Too often their valuable part in shaping a culture and society is not valued nearly as high as it should be.

Some women may think that the 31st Proverb invokes pressure to be the perfect women, wife, Christian, and mother.  Instead of viewing it as a call for perfection it should be viewed as a statement of value and worth.  It’s hard to imagine what our families, churches, communities, country and world would look like without their love, compassion, and committment.

I love the way this Proverb ends, it says, “Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.  Show her respect, praise her in public for what she has done.”  Don’t miss your opportunity this Sunday!

Make it personal:  Mothers Day can be difficult for some.  Each of us have had different experiences in our families, but one thing is the same for all of us; God’s grace is sufficient!  Perhaps Proverbs 31 can be the start of a new day for you, your family, your church, your community, and the world that God has placed around you.

Blessings on Mother’s Day,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church


“Boundaries”

This weeks Meditation:  “Boundaries”
Read:  Galatians 5:16-26


When our children were younger we had a concrete divider line on our driveway that was about five feet in from the busy street that we lived on.  We had a very strict rule that this line was not to be crossed unless an adult was present.  

If a ball rolled out onto the road they had to come get one of us to retrieve it.  As our children got older this boundary line became less enforced but the lesson had already been engrained in their minds, “be careful when heading out onto the road.”

In Galatians 5:16-18 Paul talks about these boundaries.  He says, “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”  What Paul is encouraging us to do is create boundaries in our lives that will help us stay pure and stay in step with the Spirit.  In fact what Paul is really teaching is that the Holy Spirit can help us with this.  

We have just come through the Easter season and we know that Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  His strength and forgiveness is available to those who come to Him with repentant hearts.  But it’s always best when we show our desire to be obedient to God by setting up boundaries in our lives and then asking the Holy Spirit to help us stay accountable and support us when the road gets tough.
  
Healthy boundaries might include filtering internet connections, monitoring television, movies, and other things as close as possible, considering who we are associating with as friends, and being careful with relationships in the workplace.  So often we think of children when we consider boundaries but we adults need them as well.  

When we go on a physical diet we always have to be careful about what we eat and how much we eat.  It should be no different in our spiritual lives!  As you move past Easter and you live in the life-giving truth of the resurrection, I would like to encourage all of us to heed the words of Paul as he ends this section of scripture in verse 25. He writes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  

Make it personal:  What boundaries do you have set?  Do you need to set some new ones?  Allow Jesus Christ to help you with this and call on His Holy Spirit for support.  Christ is always waiting with open arms for those who come to him for strength, grace and forgiveness!

Blessings,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Maundy Thursday”

This weeks meditation:  “Maundy Thursday”
Read: John 13:1-17

The word Maundy is used to refer to the Thursday before Easter when Jesus had the last supper with his disciples.  While there are many different definitions of this word many scholars agree that the English word comes from the Old French word mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”.)

Those words are spoken by Jesus in this 13th chapter of John when he explaind to the disciples the significance of his action of washing their feet.  In many modern traditions the Last Supper is celebrated but seldomly is the act of washing feet remembered.  In even fewer traditions is “Foot Washing” actually a part of their confession of faith as it is in the Mennonite Church.

Article 13 of our Confession of Faith 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.”

As we remember the Last Supper this week it would be good to remember this act of washing feet as well.  In today’s world we wear shoes and our roads are not near as dusty but the example given to us by Jesus still rings true.  Whose feet can you wash this week by showing them Christ’s love in a tangible way?

Make it personal:  Consider an act of service this week that will celebrate Jesus’ words, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”.  May the Life of Christ shine through our lives this week and the many weeks that lie ahead!

Blessings,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church



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