Give Careful Thought

Read: Haggai 1-2

When was the last time you read the two chapters of Haggai?  Never?  It is not an often turned to book in our Bibles but I would encourage you to read it’s two chapters (38 verses total) this week.  Haggai was a prophet who called the people to turn to God at a time in which they were consumed with themselves. He says, “Give careful thought to your ways…”  Perhaps this is a prophetic voice that we need to hear again today.

When the Isrealies returned to Jerusalem from exile they started to rebuild the temple but failed to finish the work once they got consumed by their own lives and personal desires.  In verse 4 of chapter 1 he says, “Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”  Haggai’s encouragement goes beyond just a physical building plan though.  He asked them to give careful thought to all of their priorities in life.

We have many pressures in life.  People place demands on our schedules and have expectations they want us to fulfill.  It seems like someone is always wanting something from us or else we find other things we want to do to fill our time.  The most important things in life are sometimes left behind.  Haggai reminds us that God, our faith, and how we use our resources such as time, money, and talents are really the most important things in life.  His encouragement and challenge in these 38 verses is to be about the things of God first and foremost.  Perhaps we should give careful thought to how this prophet’s words apply to our own lives.

Make It Personal:  What is God telling you about your priorities, time, money, and values?  Pray and ask Jesus to help you do some realigning if that needs to take place.  Ask God to help you be about his priorities in this world and then ask him to help you with all of the other things that follow after that.  Through the encouragement of Haggai the temple was finally completed in 520 B.C..  It appears that the people listened and got their priorities in order.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes



Weather The Storm

Read: Mark 4:35-41

The first of this week I was blessed to take part in an LMC Great Lakes West prayer retreat at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Indiana.  What a wonderful time of gathering with other church leaders to study God’s Word, spend time in silence, and pray together.  We all need more opportunities for times like this in our lives.  I would encourage you to jump at the chance to do something like this if it comes along sometime.

Our focus passage for the day was the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4.  We also studied Rembrandt’s painting of this story which is titled “The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee.”  A picture of that painting is attached.  We were asked to think about which disciple we would be in this painting, what phrase in the story spoke to us, which verses or thoughts grabbed our focus or attention, and what our response to all of this was.

I would encourage you to do the same this week.  Read Mark 4:35-41 this week, study this painting, study the words of the text and reflect on these questions above.  When we take time with scripture and stories like this the Lord can bring calm and hope to help us weather the storms of life just like he calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee for the disciples.  As things calmed down on the sea the disciples said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Make It Personal:  I will share a portion of a prayer I wrote during this retreat.  Perhaps you can use this prayer in your own times of devotion… “Jesus, my Lord and Savior, I come to you today and ask you to calm me, calm my heart, calm my fears and concerns, and calm my inner soul.  Help me to give these things, ALL of the things that trouble me to your mighty and trusting hand.”

Be Blessed this week,  Glen Rhodes
 



Strong & Courageous

Read: Joshua 1-7

The first seven chapters of Joshua share the dramatic transfer of leadership from Moses to Joshua and the long awaited entry into the promised land after 40 years of wandering around the desert.  Joshua encourages the people to be strong and courageous as they cross the Jordan River, march around the walls of Jericho, and enter the long awaited land that God had promised them.

There are so many things these days that tend to chip away at our faith, the truth, and the promises that God has made to we his people.  We have so many questions about the pandemic we continue to struggle through, we see pillars of truth being torn down by the world around us, and the news channels continue to lead us down paths of untruth, partisanship, and despair.  With all of that said, we are not without hope. 

As Christians and followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be strong and courageous as we face these challenges in our day to day lives.  God will guide us, Christ will sustain us, and the Holy Spirit will direct us in these difficult days of questions, doubt, and fear.  The Lord will part the waters, knock down the walls, and help us to navigate our way through if we will seek his help.  Hope of the promised land is right around the next corner so keep trusting, stay strong, and find your courage through Jesus Christ.

Make It Personal:  Maybe it is not something going on in our world right now that has you afraid or dismayed.  Maybe it is something in your life personally or in your family that no one else knows about.  God does know and God cares about what you are going through.  The Lord wants to help you through this time and give you courage and strength to get through it.  Your hope and your deliverance through Christ is there for your taking.  Take hold of it!

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes



10-10-10

Read: Matthew 6:19-24

Most likely many of you have made New Year’s resolutions to begin 2022.  I always find it very interesting to hear what people have set forth to “do better in” in the year that lies ahead.  Perhaps it is a diet, an attitude, time management, spiritual related,  or material related.  Money and possessions seems to be a difficult one for most people as they come out of the Christmas season and begin a new year.

In Matthew 6:19-24 Jesus teaches us about storing up our spiritual treasures in heaven instead of storing them up for earthly things that can be stolen and will someday rot and rust away.  Jesus reminds us that we cannot serve both God and money.  As we come out of the most expensive time of the year for most people, it would be good to ask ourselves when enough is truly enough.  The truth is, if we are looking for things to bring us happiness we will always be let down.  When we have that attitude we can be assured that someone will always have something better or something that makes us feel discontented.

I once heard a suggestion that people use a 10-10-10 rule as a way of deciding if you are spending your money effectively.  Often people will end up spending money accidentally instead of spending their money with a purpose.  The article suggested that before making any purchase we ask ourselves three questions.  How will this affect my life in 10 minutes, how will it affect my life in 10 months, and then how will it affect my life 10 years from now.  By using this as a guide we can bring more thought and purpose into our spending.

The article went on to point out that we often create more happiness in our lives when we spend money on experiences with other people instead of on things.  I might also add that using our money to help other people is a way that can truly bring us happiness and joy.  Money can become a god in our lives if we are not careful.  

Make It Personal:  No matter what your New Year’s resolution is for 2022 I hope that we will all choose to serve the one true God instead of money.  As Jesus says in Matthew 6:21, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  

Have a great 2022 everyone!  Glen Rhodes