Midweek Reflections

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



Daily Charge

Read: John 6

 Where do you get your daily dose of encouragement, hope, peace, energy, and strength?  Some people think of coffee, energy drinks, and other forms of caffeine when they need a boost of energy and an extra charge added to their day.  Others are willing to accept only 5 hours of energy.  In John 6 Jesus told his disciples that it was the Spirit that gives life.  The Holy Spirit and the power of Jesus Christ can provide you with joy-filled energy each and every day if you seek after it.

I recently read that Stanford University scientists have figured out how to transmit electricity wirelessly to a moving object, using an electromagnetic process.  This could drastically change how far the new electric vehicles could travel in the future.  Professor and lead researcher Shanui Fan said, “The hope is that you’ll be able to charge your electric vehicle while you are driving down the highway.”  This process however would require a series of coils that are connected to an electric current embedded in the roads.  In other words, this may not be available in the near future.

However, there is a daily ongoing charge that is available through faith in Jesus Christ.  When Jesus was talking to the twelve disciples about this Peter responded by saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life.”  In Philippians 4:13 Paul says, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”  In the Psalm 119:28 it says, “My soul is weary with sorrow, strengthen me according to your word.”  In Ephesians 6 some of the final words to the church in Ephesus are, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”

I love a good cup of coffee in the morning as much as anyone, but I don’t want to lean on that cup of java to get me through the day.  I need the strength, hope, power, and encouragement of Christ for that daily charge.  Yes, Jesus can provide us with the energy to make it through each day, and he can also give us the charge of a call and purpose for our lives.  That is something everyone needs.  Before you set out for your day be sure to turn to Jesus!

Make it Personal:  What does your morning routine look like?  Does it include a time of prayer, Bible reading, and connecting with your source of power in Jesus?  Find some time, short or long, to pray, seek after the Lord, and request his presence throughout your day.  You won’t be sorry and you won’t have to stop by the convenience store for that extra 5 hours of energy to get you through the day.

Have a great week, Glen Rhodes



An Event For Everyone

 For this week’s reflection we have the Christmas story as paraphrased from the Message Bible…

“An Event For Everyone” 
Luke 2:1-20 (The Message)

The Birth of Jesus

2 1-5 About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant.

6-7 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.

An Event for Everyone

8-12 There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

13-14 At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:  Glory to God in the heavenly heights,  Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

15-18 As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

19-20 Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

Make It Personal:  Be sure to share and celebrate this scripture this Saturday as you celebrate Christmas.  Make the reason for the season come alive in some creative or meaningful way as you gather with family and friends.

Merry Christmas Everyone,  Glen Rhodes



The Power Of Christmas Music

Read: Psalm 150:1-5

Why do you enjoy the Christmas season?  Sometimes we think about the hustle and bustle of Christmas and we don’t stop to appreciate the things we really enjoy about this time of the year.  The music of Christmas is something that is powerful.  It has always blessed, inspired, and brought forth memories of the past for me as well as inspiration for the current season..  From the favorite carols to the traditional classics the sounds, the music, and the words of the Christmas season are different than any other time of the year.

In a recent article by Jen Wilkin in Christianity Today magazine I was struck by a question she asked.  She wrote, “Does our sacred music merely move us in the moment or form us for a lifetime of faithfulness?”  Jen was writing about hymns and worship songs in general but this same question can be asked about the music of Christmas.  Does it help to form our faith in Jesus and the Christmas story or is it just nice music to set a mood or moment?

This is an encouragement for us to think about the words of these Christmas songs, carols, and hymns that we sing in the month of December.  Many of them we can sing by heart and memory because we have heard them for so long, but what if we thought deeper about what they are saying or proclaiming in our world and in our lives.  Think about that this year when you sing “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night,” or “O, Come All Ye Faithful.”  

Make It Personal:  Think about these things when you sing the songs of Christmas this year.  What are you singing?   What does it mean?  How does it form your faith and testimony of Christmas?  How can they help you to share the good news of Jesus?   

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes  




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