Midweek Reflections

Meeting Each Others Needs

Read: 1 Corinthians 16:1-18

There have been many stories recently of people helping others and looking out for each other’s needs.  These are wonderful to hear.  One of those stories includes Ireland and some Native American people.  It starts back in 1847 when some 60,000 Native Americans heard about the Great Famine that was taking place in the country of Ireland across the Atlantic Ocean.  Even though they had recently undergone forced relocation along the Trail of Tears, they joined together to raise around $5,000 to send to the Irish people.

Now, 173 years later during this world pandemic, World digital news reports that the Irish people are returning the favor.  They originally setup a GoFundMe page for the Navajo and Hopi reservations in hopes of raising $2 million to help them with food, water, and personal protective equipment.  The goal has recently been raised to $5 million, and almost $4 million has already been raised.  Not even a vast ocean can stop people from helping to meet each others needs.

In 1st Corinthians 16 the apostle Paul encourages similar generosity for the needy people in Jerusalem.  He encourages the Galatian churches to set aside a sum of money each week to send as a gift to the people of Jerusalem.  There was no GoFundMe page to give to but Paul collected their gifts and later delivered them to the believers in Jerusalem.  Another great example of meeting each other’s needs.  Let’s continue to do that ourselves during this difficult time for many.

Make it Personal:  Who, how, and in what way is the Lord speaking to you this week about reaching out to others and meeting their needs?  The options and opportunities are endless but with a caring spirit and the example of Jesus we all can make a difference in our church, community, and world.

 Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes



Now Is The Time

Read: 2 Peter 3:8-18

Recently in World magazine a story was shared about a Louisiana man who was pulled over for having an expired license plate sticker.  Most likely that happens to people quite often because they just forget to renew their sticker, but this story was a bit different than others.  This man had an expired sticker from 1997.  When the officer came up to the vehicle the man said, “Sorry officer.  I’ve been busy lately and totally forgot to renew my vehicle registration.  I will take care of it as soon as I get home.”

Some people are more prone to put things off than others but all of us have the tendency to think that we will just take care of that tomorrow.  For some things in life that is no big deal but for others it is a huge deal.  Repentance and salvation through Jesus, forgiveness of others, and eternal life in heaven are matters that need to be addressed now instead of later.  These are not things to “put off” because they have implications for the rest of eternity.

In 2 Peter 3:10 the Bible says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.”  In verse 14 it says, “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.”  That doesn’t mean perfect, it just means saved and redeemed.  It is reminding us that now is the time to make sure we are right with God, have received his Son Jesus into our life, and are living a life of peace, grace, and service in his name.  These are things that should always be at the top of our list.  Someone once said, “You cannot repent of your sins and receive Jesus into your life too soon because you do not know how soon will be too late.” 

Make it Personal:  Receiving Jesus into your heart and life and making him your Lord and Savior is not an everyday decision.  That is a decision you make and it then remains.  Living that decision out however is a daily discipline as well as a daily blessing.  Every morning and every day is the time to consider your life, your example, and your calling as a follower of Jesus.  Jesus needs to be the center.  You don’t necessarily need to know where you are going each day provided you know who you are following.  With that said, it would probably be a good idea to make sure you update your vehicle registration sticker each year as well.

 Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes



Addicted To Convenience

Read: Romans 8:18-30

A year or so in the past I read an article that said “Americans are addicted to convenience.”  At the time I questioned how true that statement was but this current pandemic has revealed that in Western culture we don’t do very well when it comes to doing without or being uncomfortable.  None of us would choose this current situation if we had a choice, but when we are going through something uncomfortable we always wait eagerly for future change and redemption.

In Romans 8, Paul, who suffered greatly and gave up much convenience for the sake of Christ, reminds us that our life of faith is like this too.  Before Jesus saved us by dying on the cross for us we were “groaning inwardly as we waited eagerly for our adoption” by God to be redeemed.  Earlier in verse 18 Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  That glory is revealed in Jesus Christ.

There is no doubt that we like our conveniences here in the United States.  In some respects our choices are endless and our lives are pretty comfortable.  But what will we learn during this pandemic about suffering, loss, being uncomfortable, and doing without?  Perhaps we will realize that life in this world is sometimes imperfect.  Like Paul says, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

But here is the good news.  In the midst of an imperfect world the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (v.26).  In the truth that we are imperfect people Jesus has come to redeem us and save us (v. 22-25).  And in spite of all our suffering and addictions God will work for the good of those who love him (v.28).  If this time of inconvenience draws us closer to God and causes us to rely more on Jesus then perhaps we will look back on 2020 differently than how we see it now.

Make it Personal:  Most of the time we are able to choose between shelves and shelves of toothpaste, toilet paper, and meat items.  Most of the time we can pick and choose what events we want to buy tickets to.  Most of the time we can go sit down and eat at our favorite restaurant.  In some sense we are quite blessed by those conveniences.  Perhaps this is a time for us to think about the Bibles many verses about patience and perseverance.

 Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes



Each Spring, I Stand In Awe

Read: Psalm 48

Each year when the Spring season begins its greening and blooming I have to take time to marvel at how incredible this world is that God created.  Things that were totally dead spring to new life.  Grass that was totally brown turns to lush shades of green.  Flowers that faded in the Fall once again Spring to life.  These things make me want to proclaim with Psalm 48, “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise.”

One of my favorite worship songs through the years has been “I Stand in Awe.”  It truly proclaims how I feel when I think of creation, when I think of what God has done, when I consider the stars, the thunder, and the incredible power that God displays throughout the universe.  I stand in awe and in awesome wonder when I think of human life and how our bodies work to provide life one generation after another.  Despite living in a sinful world full of natural disasters, disease, and global change, our God’s sovereignty is truly incredible.

And then to consider what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ.  He did not spare his Son but gave him up in order to bear our sin and burden’s on the cross of Calvary.  He bled and died that day to take away our sins.  One day Jesus is coming back with shouts of acclamation to take us home, and that day will truly be a day that we stand in awe and proclaim “My God, how great Thou art!”

You probably recognized some of the words I have used in this week’s meditation.  I have combined the worship song “I Stand in Awe” and the hymn “How Great Thou Art” to proclaim the greatness of God.  And yet as the worship song proclaims, “You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard.”  I guess I will just stop trying to describe it and stand in awe of how great God truly is.  I hope that you will stand with me this week and be reminded of our awesome God.

Make it Personal:  Find a way this week to get outside and enjoy the warming weather.  As you do take in the wonder of creation and the new life that is springing forth around you.  Praise God for what he has done and continues to do in your life and in this world.  The Lord is in control of this world that He has created and He is in control of everything you are facing in your life.  Allow God to be your source of praise and strength this week.  Then step back and stand in awe!

 Have an awesome week,  Glen Rhodes



Appreciation

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-24

There has been a lot of appreciation going around recently, and rightly so.  We appreciate doctors, nurses, first responders, truckers, food workers, teachers, parents, and all those jobs or service areas that are deemed essential during this time of social distancing and stay at home orders.  Really, there are so many to mention that even one paragraph could not cover them all. 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul encourages us to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  It has been great to see all the appreciation being shared on social media feeds these days.  It has been great to see commercials on television showing appreciation.  It has been great to see individuals and families building each other up with encouraging words and hope-filled sentiments.  It has been great to see the church family looking out for each other and asking what each other needs…. just as in fact you are doing.

Several other verses in chapter 5 also stand out during this time.  Verses 16-18 say, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances…”  Undoubtedly, this time of being limited in our activities and not being able to be together will also make us appreciate those things even more when we can once again participate in them and actually be with others.  

Hopefully we will have an even greater appreciation for worshiping together, gathering in groups, having coffee with friends, watching and attending sporting events, going out to eat at a restaurant, going to school, and wow, the list could go on and on.  It may be hard sometimes to give thanks in all circumstances but we will surely give thanks in the future for many things we might have taken for granted in the past.

Make it Personal:  What would your list look like if you had to list all of the things you are thankful for and appreciate during this time of not having them?  Continue to show your appreciation to others during this time and think about how much you appreciate all those things you aren’t able to do right now. 

Be blessed and stay safe, Glen Rhodes



Better Over Bitter

Read: Ezekiel 36-37

One metaphor that is used often in the Bible is that of refining metals or burning off dross.  That is one of the oldest methods of removing impurities from certain metals. Even in ancient times people would sit next to a hot fire so as to skim the dross or impurities as they would rise to the top. The Bible uses this example in relationship to our life and our relationship with God. In Ezekiel 36:25 the prophet says, “I will cleanse your from all your impurities…”

Often it is in difficult times that God refines us, restores us, and renews us.  We can either let those difficult times make us bitter about what we are going through and what we are experiencing, or we can pray about how God can make us better by going through them.  What can we learn from this current pandemic that we are living through? How can we grow closer in our relationship with Christ and our depending on him? What impurities may need to be removed during this season?  What might we need to repent of?

In Ezekiel 36-37 the prophet talks about restoration.  Chapter 36 moves from verses about cleansing to chapter 37 which speaks of dry bones coming to life.  Right now we may feel like we are in a time of extraordinary change and challenge. Nothing is as it was even several months ago.  Life is different, life is changed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

The question is what are we going to be like when we reach the end of this tunnel?  Will we become better because of what we have been through or will we become bitter because of what we had to go through?  Hopefully there will be proof of our faith in God and surely the Lord will help us to become better followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul is a great example for us in this. Through all his trials and afflictions in the New Testament he pressed on and allowed those trials to make him a better person and servant of Jesus.  He chose better over bitter. 

Make it Personal:  I’ll be the first to admit that this season of life has been a challenge.  No church gatherings, no school, no family get togethers, no sports or concerts, the list could go on.  But in the midst of our frustrations we must use this time to better ourselves and develop a closer walk with God.  You will get to that light at the end of the tunnel and the Lord will renew your spirit.

Have a blessed and safe week,  Pastor Glen Rhodes




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