Midweek Reflections

I See The Evidence

Read: Psalm 36:5-9

During this very difficult year of 2020 it has been easy to look around and see the evidence of things we don’t like, things we don’t agree with, or things we wish were different.  David in the Psalms can relate to these feelings as well.  But one thing we notice in the many Psalms that David wrote is that in the midst of trial and turmoil he also sees evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness.  That’s important for us to remember during this season of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I recently heard a wonderful new song on the radio that gives testimony to this.  The song “Evidence” by Josh Baldwin encourages us to look for and see the evidence of God’s goodness and faithfulness all over our lives.  I will just let his lyrics speak the rest of the message….

“All throughout my history your faithfulness has walked beside me, the winter storms made way for spring in every season.  From where I’m standing I see the evidence of your goodness all over my life.  I see your promises in fulfillment all over my life.”

The second and third verses continue… “Help me remember when I’m weak, fear may come but fear will leave.  You lead my heart to victory, you are my strength, and you will always be.  See the cross, the empty grave, the evidence is endless.  All my sin rolled away, because of you, Oh Jesus.  Why should I fear, the evidence is here.”  And then the chorus one more time… “I see the evidence of your goodness, all over my life.  I see your promises in fulfillment, all over my life.”

In Psalm 36 David says, “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”  What wonderful lyrics and words of scripture to encourage us during this wonderful season of gratitude and rejoicing.  Look to Jesus this week and see the evidence of Christ all over your life.

Make it Personal:  Take out your Bible this week and turn to the Psalms.  You will find many of these uplighting words to bring light and hope to your day.  Look up Josh Baldwin’s new song “Evidence” on your favorite streaming site this week as well.  I promise, both of these will bring a wonderful new perspective to things in your life.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

The Gift of Patience

Read: Matthew 7:7-11; Proverbs 14:29

Are you a patient person?  Most people would probably answer “no” to that question, but I have known and do know some very patient people in my life.  Whether you consider yourself a patient person or not God has promised to give us this gift of patience if we ask for it.  In his short book “Patience, A Hidden Treasure” Calvin L. Emerson writes this about this gift from the Lord….

“Patience is one of His precious gifts and it has great value.  It is a gift that helps us endure trials without questioning whether God really loves us or not.  It is a gift that keeps us from being irate because we don’t get what we perceive will make our lives easier.  It is a gift that helps us work through the hurdles of life without giving up or becoming depressed.  The gift of patience will bring us great peace.”

He goes on to write… “Patience is a precious, life-giving gift from God.  When we are able to walk in patience our lives will automatically become sweeter.  We will experience more joy and laughter.  We will experience far less stress and anger when we receive the gift of patience.”  Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”

In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus says that our Father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask Him.  Patience is one of those gifts.  We need to ask for it, especially at times in our life when it is needed most.  Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find…”  Patience is just one of the many gifts that Jesus wants to bless us with.  Ask for it, seek after it, and find the peace that it can bring to your life.

Make it Personal:  The next time you find yourself becoming impatient stop and remember this gift that God offers to you.  You have help in these matters of life and it comes from your Father in heaven.  Receive that gift and allow it to bring the calm, peace, and joy that Jesus wants you to have.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

Hope Rooted In Jesus

Read: John 16:16-33

Following yesterday’s election in the United States I thought I would share this from my message this past Sunday. In the message I referred to a book that I recently read by Luke Goodrich titled “Free to Believe.” This is a book about the recent religious freedom challenges in our country.  Mr. Goodrich is a Christian lawyer that has been defending many Christians in court who are trying to live out their faith in their daily lives but are being taken to court over those beliefs.  Even though he is in the midst of all those struggles, this is what he writes about where our hope as followers of Jesus ultimately lies.

He writes, “As Americans we can tempted to place our hope in human institutions. Compared with the rest of the world, we have a stable legal system with broad constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.  We have laws that protect our freedom to worship, to evangelize, to found Christian ministries, and to run businesses in accordance with our faith.  Our Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled in favor of religious freedom.  We think if we can just preserve those institutions… win the next election… get the right Supreme Court justices appointed… then we have hope.  But that kind of hope is hollow.  As soon as we lose an election or lose a big case, that hope is replaced by fear.”

And then he writes this, “Christians throughout history have suffered terrible persecution. Yet scripture calls all of us to ‘rejoice in hope’ whether we live in North America or North Africa.  That hope is not rooted in any human institution.  It is not rooted in fair laws, favorable election results, or friendly Supreme Court justices.  It is rooted in a person: Jesus Christ.  He has already conquered every enemy we’ll ever face, and He has promised us an imperishable inheritance in heaven.”

In John 16:33 Jesus told us that we would face some trouble in this world.  He also reminded us to take heart, because he has already overcome the world for us.  Our hope is rooted in our salvation in and through Jesus Christ.  He is preparing an eternal home in heaven for those who believe and follow him.  An imperishable inheritance that is better than anything in this world.

Make it Personal:  While the news is full of predictions, proclamations, and despair; Christians need to be full with the hope of Jesus.  Let’s keep our focus in the right place in the days that lie ahead of us.  As we also heard in the message this past Sunday, “Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand!”

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

Fowl Mouths

Read: Ephesians 4:25-32

A British Wildlife Park recently removed five African Grey parrots from public view because they were cursing at the visitors and calling them names.  Where these parrots learned to be potty-mouthed fowls is still a mystery.  Chances are they did not learn their habit by themselves.  Our world today is filled with similar words that are offensive, un-loving, hateful, demeaning, and vile.  Birds are not to blame for most of the divisive words and cursing that we hear these days.

During a recent PGA Tour golf tournament on television I heard a very popular golfer ask for the mercy of God on one shot, and then he turned around and used God’s name as a curse word on the very next shot.  Besides cursing, other uses of foul words have recently been dividing us and causing all kinds of trouble in our families and neighborhoods due to differing opinions.  We need to be better with our words than this and we can be.

In Ephesians 4:29-32 the Bible says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  A couple verses later it says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  As we move past the contentious election in our country this next week, may these words encourage us to be better.

Make it Personal:  Just like the parrots in England learned their words from someone, our children are learning their words and their attitudes from watching and listening to us adults.  This should encourage all of us to keep it clean, keep it civil, keep it compassionate, and use our words for good instead of evil.  I hope you will join me in this endeavor.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

God & Money

Read: Matthew 6:19-24

I recently ran across this definition of stewardship… “The proper management of ones resources for the glory of God.”  Stewardship can be related to many different things.  There is the stewardship of time, work, talents and gifting’s, raising of children, our influence, and our money and possessions.  This last one concerning money and possessions can sometimes be a complex issue.  We understand why Jesus spoke about it so often and offered many spiritual connections.  Ultimately it shows where our allegiance and devotion is truly rooted.

Steve Granger writes this about stewardship and money, “Jesus knew that the allure of money would challenge the hearts of God’s people. That certainly has not changed.  And in our culture today – the wealthiest society in the history of humankind – money’s allure challenges us ever more frequently and on increasingly deeper levels than we have ever known before.  We have so much.  Yet, we often think we have so little.  A missionary commenting on America’s unprecedented wealth, once said that “America’s greatest need is she has no need.”

Granger goes on the say, “The truth of that assertion is convicting, isn’t it?  Yet, it’s not entirely true.  Because America does have one great overriding need – the need to be faithful to God.  As Jesus warned on the Sermon on the Mount, we cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:24).  We must choose which god will receive our allegiance and devotion.  How we steward the money given us speaks more clearly than any of our words about which god we choose.  Money is not a financial issue. It is a spiritual issue. Money is not about your bank account, it is about your heart for God and others.”  Good words to remember as we think about managing our resources properly for the glory of God.

Make it Personal:  Here is a prayer that can help us bring focus to our stewardship…
Most generous Lord, we come before you with our lives open in all all ways.  We look around us and see all that you have provided, and we are grateful!  Help us, God, to give first back to you, reflecting the generosity we see in you.  Be with us as we contemplate the significant difference between our wants and our needs, and help us to recognize those differences. Bless our decision to be responsible with the gifts you have given.  Amen.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

Light After Dark

Read: Isaiah 9:1-7

Recently as I was walking around the track at the high school a moment of emotion swept over me.  I am not usually a very emotional person but as I was walking along that evening I was thinking about how empty the seats of the football stadium have been this fall due to the current pandemic.  During that time of reflection the song “Six Feet Apart” by country singer Luke Combs came on my headphones.

The lyrics to the song say, “I miss my mom, I miss my dad, I miss the road, I miss my band, given’ hugs and shaking hands.  Well, it’s a mystery I suppose, just how long this thing goes.  But there’ll be crowds and there’ll be shows, there will be light after dark, someday when we aren’t six feet apart.”  I knew that the Bible makes numerous mentions of light after dark or light replacing darkness, so upon the return home from my walk I started looking for those verses.

It turns out (according to Biblegateway.com) that light and darkness are mentioned together over 55 times throughout scripture.  Isaiah 9:2 says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”  Isaiah 42:16 says, “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.”  In the New Testament John (John 1:5) says, “The light shines in the darkness.”  And then of course the wonderful words of Jesus himself in John 8:12 where he says, “I am the Light of the world, those who follow me will not walk in the Darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  Look some of the others up for yourself.

I guess what I realized on my walk that night is that times of darkness are followed by times of light (sunset/dawn).  God will see us through this difficult time and we will once again see those high school football stands filled again with cheering fans.  We will once again be able to give hugs and shake hands, and someday when we are not encouraged to stand six feet apart, we will see the light after the dark.  May the Lord be with us and bring that day soon!

Make it Personal:  What are some references to light and dark that you can think of?  What dark time are you experiencing in your life right now?  We are all going through a pandemic together but other difficulties in life are still there as well.  Take your darkness to Jesus who is the light of the world.  There will be light after dark!

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

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