Midweek Reflections

Red Letters

Read: Matthew 24:30-35

In connection with our current message series “Jesus: Fully Known” this weeks reflection comes from Pastor David Jeremiah….

“J. Oswald Sanders pointed out that the teachings of Jesus were simple, vital, ethical, practical, original, psychologically correct, and, of course, theologically true – in every way.  The teachings of Jesus were true because He is the truth, so we can know Him.  He fulfills the truth, so we can trust Him.  He tells the truth, so we can obey Him.  He models the truth, so we can emulate Him.  He predicts the truth, so we can expect Him.  And He comforts us with the truth, so we can love Him.

Reading through the Gospels in one sitting would take some time, but if you have a Bible with the words of Jesus printed in red, try sitting down to read those words.  Go from passage to passage, simply reading the red-letter words of Jesus.  It’s a wonderful exercise.  As an alternative, spend extra time this week reading the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7.  It’s the greatest speech, sermon, or discourse ever given.”

Make it Personal:  When the red letters of Jesus become the read letter of Jesus, our soul is enriched. The world will one day end but His words will never pass away.

“Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”  – Jerome

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

Be Still & Know

Read: Psalm 46

It’s no whispering secret.  We live in a noisy world.  Even in our own homes we can have televisions, radios, cell phones, and many other noise-makers competing for the same air space.  If you have young children at home there are probably times when you just want to settle them down and bring calmness to the room.  

I read an article once in which a mother was in this kind of a situation.  She said that instead of trying to talk to her children in a loud yelling voice she opted to stand there and whisper her wishes to them.  She said, “It was amazing, it did not take long before the toys hit the ground and their faces turned to try to figure out what I was saying.”  Suddenly, her children wanted to hear her voice and what she was saying.  In order to do that they need to be quiet.

How true that concept can be for us and our relationship with God.  In Psalm 46:10 the Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  In order to hear what God is speaking into our lives we must first be still and quiet.  We must give God our attention.  God loves us and cares deeply about what we are going through in life.  God whispers our name and instructs us on how to get through those difficult times.  Are we listening?

Make it Personal:  Turn down the volume in your life this week.  Take time to calm down, breathe deeply, and listen to God.  The Lord has solutions and help for the problems we face in life, we just need to slow down and listen.  By turning down the volume you will be amazed at what you hear the Lord saying to you.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

A Heavy Dose

Read: Ephesians 4:17-32

How is your dose of encouragement today or this week?  Have you been encouraged by a friend or family member recently?  Also, have you been an encouragement to someone else?  Often times we come in contact with people who have a negative outlook or just don’t have many good things to say.  That is when we have the opportunity to be a good example and give a good heavy dose of encouragement instead. 

Often times in person or online we can add a positive twist to the conversation instead of joining in on the negativity.  Many times the response that we make can be a deciding factor in steering the conversation north (building others up) or south (tearing others down) from where it is headed.  In Ephesians 4:29 it 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.”

Through much of the New Testament Paul encourages people to love, care, build up, and encourage each other on the journey of life.  This is God’s way and we have the opportunity to make it happen.  It all depends on how we will respond when faced with the choice to encourage or discourage.   The next time your are at work, school, or with friends and the conversations heads south, be the one to turn it around.  Take it from negative to positive.  Take it from tearing down to building up.  Not only will the conversation be much more uplifting but the remainder of your day will be as well.  Come on Christians, let’s give out heavy doses of encouragement!

Make it Personal:  Let’s try to catch ourselves when we are adding to the negativity instead of the positivity.  Many times we follow along without realizing where we are heading or where the conversation is taking us.  Step back, then step up and be the one to “help build others up according to their needs.”

Be blessed this week,  Glen Rhodes

The Ultimate Buffet

Read: Matthew 4:1-11

Buffets are harder to find these days due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic.  In most recent days we have just been fortunate to be able to enter a restaurant to enjoy a meal out.  This past Sunday I mentioned the importance of reading and feasting on God’s Word as a daily practice in our lives. Scripture shows us what God desires in us and how Jesus showed us to live.  It also proclaims the promises of God to those who believe.  It is the ultimate buffet for Christians.

In Matthew 4 when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness the Word of God is what Jesus used to refute the lies and temptations of the evil one. Over and over he said, “It is written….” as a way to disprove the temptations that were being presented to him.  The same can hold true for us as well.  If we feast on the Word of God daily (over and over) it can help to lead us away from the tempter and remind us of what God promises and how Jesus showed us to live.

Jon Bloom once said, “When our body needs energy, we eat food.  But when our soul needs hope, what do we feed it?  Promises… Our souls are designed to be nourished by God’s precious and very great promises (2 Peter 1:4).”  When we sit down or take the time to read the Bible Psalm 19 says that we are feasting on something that is more desired than gold and sweeter than honey.  It’s time for us to take the time in our busy lives and learn from the one who can help us find direction, find purpose, find peace, and help us to handle the things the world throws at us.  God’s ultimate buffet is always open.

Make it Personal:  How has your time in God’s Word been recently?  Have you taken the time to be in God’s Word recently?  We must not let our Bibles collect dust and become nice pieces of decor around the house. It must be a vital, important, and daily part of our Christian lives.

Be blessed this week,  Glen Rhodes

Land of Milk & Honey

Read: Exodus 3:1-10

A recent news story out of Pennsylvania caught my attention recently.  On July 10 during a rainstorm, a couple who lived in a century old home heard water running down between their walls. When they investigated this peculiar noise closer they realized that what sounded like water was really fresh honey.  A colony of 30,000 bees had formed a hive in their attic and walls and the honey was flowing.  As one report said, “the only sting they have received so far is the estimated repair cost of $3,000 to move the bees out.

In Exodus 3 we read about the call of Moses from the burning bush at Mount Horeb.  God told him to lead the people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land that was flowing with milk and honey. Many other times in scripture we see reference to this concept of milk and honey which communicates a better place, a more prosperous place, and a place of blessing.  I’m not sure this year of 2020 would be on most people’s list of places flowing with milk and honey.

It has been a hard year. It has been a challenging year.  It has been a year like none other. But somewhere in the future is our promise of milk and honey.  Somewhere in the future is a place where we can see each other’s faces again in public places, where family members can hug without asking questions, and where good friends can shake hands again without wondering if it is socially acceptable.  Somewhere in the future we can attend ball games and concerts again and have fellowship meals with our church family.

We are all anxiously awaiting this new 21st century milk and honey reality. In the meantime we will continue to look to Jesus and learn how we can grow through these trials and tribulations that we now face. On the way to the Promised Land the Isrealites had many challenges along the way. Many of them were brought on themselves due to their disobedience and lack of trust in God. Let’s learn from their mistakes and stay obedient and trusting as we journey this difficult road together.

Make it Personal:  What has been the hardest thing for you on this Covid-19 journey? Have you been obedient, trusting, patient, and hopeful?  The Lord will see us through this just like the Isrealites through the wilderness. On the other side we will find fresh milk and sweet honey!

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

Construction Zones

Read: Hebrews 13

What is one thing that is constant when traveling the highways and interstates of our country?  Road construction zones.  We often complain about these construction zones that cause us to slow down and form one lane of traffic.  We sometimes will say, “when are they ever going to be done with all of this construction?”  Well, the answer is…. Never.  As soon as one section of highway is done there is always another that is in need of repair.

We can think of our lives in this way as well.  Adam Holz writes this, “Something similar is true in my spiritual life. Early in my faith, I imagined reaching a moment of maturity when I’d have it all figured out, when I’d be “smoothly paved.” Thirty years later, I confess I’m still “under construction.” Just like the perpetually potholed roads I drive, I never seem to be “finished” either. Sometimes that can feel equally frustrating.”

We understand what Adam is saying.  Our faith, our spiritual lives, our trust and reliance on God, are an ongoing work in progress.  We are under construction because we want to become better, we want to become more like Jesus.  In Hebrews 13:20-21 it says, “Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.”

God is not finished with us yet.  The Lord will continue to equip us with everything we need to grow in him and become more like Jesus.  We are a work in progress and that work will continue for the rest of our lives.  Let us not be frustrated that we are under construction but let it encourage us to continually become better followers of Christ.

Make it Personal:  What area of your life right now is under construction?  How are you using that to become a better person, better spouse, better parent, and better follower of Jesus?

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

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