Midweek Reflections

Daily Charge

 

Read: John 6:63-69       

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, Pastor Glen Rhodes
Arthur Mennonite Church
 


Thankful in all Circumstances

 

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28       

Do you consider yourself a thankful person?  Do the circumstances or your situation dictate how thankful you are?  I would imagine that all of us have moments in which we are more thankful than at other times, but what if we could truly be thankful in all circumstances as Paul encourages the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5:18)?  This doesn’t mean that we are thankful for everything that happens in our lives or in our world, but in the midst of those difficult things we can still find many things to be thankful for.

Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Many times this attitude of thankfulness can be accomplished by how we choose to see things.  Do we choose to see the good or look for the negative?  Sheridan Voysey shares a good example of this with a story in “Our Daily Bread” about road trips in Australia.  He says that those trips can often be very long with few towns in between.

During busy vacation seasons rest stops are set up along the way with volunteers offering free coffee and other items for sale.  Sheridan tells about one trip where he and his wife pulled up and walked over to the stand to get their free coffee.  The person in charge handed him two cups of coffee and asked for two dollars.  He thought the coffee was free so he was somewhat confused by this.  At that point his wife pointed to the sign that said only the driver got free coffee.

He went on to inform the lady that he thought this was a case of false advertising.  When they got back to the car his wife pointed something out to him.  He had turned a gift into an entitlement.  In the end it caused him to be ungrateful for the free coffee that he had received.  When I read that story I thought of how many times we find ourselves in that exact situation.  Our unthankfulness often leads us to look past the many things we have to be thankful for.

Life is hard and the world is not always a rose garden.  But no matter what we might face today or tomorrow there are surely many, many things we can be thankful for.  Paul says that God’s will for us is to keep these things we are thankful for always on our mind.  In the end they can help us to move past the difficult and trying times in our life.  As it says in 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

Make it Personal: 

 Make a list of all the things you have to be thankful for.  The next time you are tempted to be ungrateful, pull out that list and remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for.  It’s not always easy to be thankful in all circumstances, but it can sure make the hard times a lot better.  As it says in Colossians 3:17, “Whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father.”
 
Have a grateful heart this week,  
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Looking Up

 
Read: Revelation 1
 
Several weeks ago people traveled many miles, filled football stadiums, campgrounds, and roadways to look up and view the solar eclipse. As I saw pictures on the news and across social media of people looking up to the sky it made me think of how the Bible describes Jesus’ second coming.
 

 
In Revelation 1:7 it says, “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him.” Some day Jesus will return to take believers with him to heaven. The Bible is clear to say that the day and hour of this return is unknown by those living on earth.
 
But when it does happen I picture all eyes looking up to the sky and seeing Jesus coming with the clouds. Will people be anticipating that day with the same kind of enthusiasm and excitement? One thing is sure, we won’t have time to order cardboard glasses for the event.
 
In Matthew 24:36-42 Jesus himself says this about his return, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
 
Jesus encourages us to keep watch and be ready for that day. To be ready means to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and make him the Lord of your life. Receive his gift of saving grace and live each and every day according to his example and God’s Word. Be prepared, it could be tomorrow that everyone is looking up again.
 
Make it Personal: Are you personally prepared for that day? Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Today is a great day to turn to Jesus, connect with other believers, and allow God to help you find his purpose for you in life.
Many blessings, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church


Close to the Brokenhearted

 
Read: Psalm 34       
 
The devastation from Hurricane Harvey this week has been hard to watch. So many people affected in such a life changing way. Undoubtedly many of those people are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit as David speaks of in Psalm 34. David reminds himself and others that the Lord is near to those who experience trouble and difficulties in life.
 
David’s reminder is also a reminder for us that we should show compassion and care to those who are crushed and heart broken. We are seeing that in Texas right now and I saw a great example of it last week as well.  This past Sunday the Little League Baseball World Series concluded with Japan defeating the United States, but earlier in the tournament there was a wonderful scene of compassion and care shown by a team from Venezuela.
 
If you watch the news you know that the country of Venezuela is currently in the midst of a national crisis.  Many people in that country are suffering and the government is close to collapse.  And yet, there in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the Little League coaches and players from Venezuela showed a remarkable display of compassion after one of their baseball games.
 
The team from Venezuela had just defeated the team from the Dominican Republic when the young Dominican pitcher collapsed on the pitcher’s mound and began sobbing.  Pretty soon the adult coaches from Venezuela went out to console his crushed spirit and hug him in his time of disappointment.  It was a true display of sportsmanship, compassion, and care by the winning team.  Here is a link to the video on YouTube if you would like to watch it.
 

 
It’s almost impossible to watch that and not feel good about the way those coaches and players reached out to each other after the game.  It’s a great example of how we need to reach out to others and extend the care, love, and compassion of Jesus to those in need.
 
Perhaps it is reaching out to those in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, maybe it’s reaching out to a friend or neighbor, or just maybe it’s reaching out to someone who might not be expecting you to do so.  The Lord hears those who are crushed in spirit and brokenhearted and he wants us to do the same.
 
Make it Personal: Who is God placing on your heart this week to reach out to?  What will you do to share the love, care, and compassion of Christ to that person?  Remember, first you need to receive it for yourself and then you will be able to extend it to others.
 
Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church


Grace and Faith

 

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10      

Do you know Grace and Faith?  Perhaps they are the sisters that live down the road from you or names that you remember from school or college.  But more importantly do you know the grace and faith that Paul talks about in Ephesians 2?  He proclaims, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God…”

There are many things that we would like to be saved from in this world. Some people search for a lifetime trying to find restoration, deliverance, and hope in life.  God offers this saving grace to all who will call on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Paul reminds us that it is not through our works that we are saved but through the grace of Jesus.

God’s grace is truly what the world needs in order to be saved.  It is what we need to accept as his gift to us. Too many people continue to live in guilt and shame when Jesus offers them a way to be free from those things.  Corrie Ten Boom once shared a story about this grace of Jesus and Billy Graham later shared that story in his book “How to be Born Again.”

A little girl broke one of her mother’s very expensive cups one time that had a lot of sentimental value to her.  The girl went crying to her mother telling her she was sorry.  The mother said, “I know you’re sorry, and I forgive you. Now don’t cry anymore.”

The mother swept up the pieces and placed them in the trash can.  Still feeling guilty the little girl tried to pull all of the pieces out of the trash and glue them back together again.  Her mother saw what she was doing and said, “Take those pieces and put them back in the trash can and leave them there.  I told you that I forgave you and I meant it.  Don’t continue to pick up the broken pieces anymore.”

That story leads to the other sister that Paul is talking about.  Faith.  We have to have faith that Jesus has forgiven us.  It is a gift from God in which we place our faith and trust in his saving grace. When we repent of our sins and mistakes Jesus extends to us his grace. In other words, we leave the broken pieces in the trash.  We don’t try to earn his grace or pay for his grace because it is a gift.  What broken pieces do you need to leave in the trash?

Make it Personal:  Have you received this gift of grace from Jesus?  Do you have faith that his saving grace can and will move you past your shame and guilt?  Today is the day to truly make this gift personal!  Grace and Faith in Jesus can bring you Life and Hope!

Have a great week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Sweet & Salty

 

Read: Ephesians 4:20-32 &  James 3:1-12     

Some people prefer sweet snacks, others prefer salty, and some prefer a mix of both together.  What is your preference?  When it comes to our language and speech however, God prefers us to use the sweet and not the salty.  Many verses in the Bible refer to how the tongue can be an encouragement and blessing; but it also warns us that it can lead us down dangerous paths as well.

Most will remember that this advice is even included as one of the Ten Commandments. The third commandment in Exodus 20 says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”  In Ephesians 4: 29 the apostle Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths…”

Branch Rickey is a member of Baseball’s Hall of Fame and was a long-time manager of several major league baseball teams.  He is probably best known for his efforts of giving Jackie Robinson, the first African-American player a promotion to the major leagues.  That story is told in the recent movie entitled “42.” Branch Rickey was a Christian.

One time when he was at a meeting negotiating a player’s contract he threw down his pencil in the middle of the meeting, pushed back his chair, and said, “the deal’s off.”  The other men were astonished. “Why?” they asked. “We’re coming along with these negotiations very nicely.”

Rickey responded to the salty and callous use of language being spewn about in the room.  He said, “You have been talking about a friend of mine, and I don’t like it.”  One man said, “What friend do you mean? I haven’t been talking about anyone, let alone a friend of yours.”

“Yes, you have,” replied Rickey.  “You’ve mentioned him in almost every sentence.”  He was referring to their constant profane use of the name of Jesus Christ.  The men quickly apologized, stopped their profanity and misuse of God’s name, and the negotiations continued.”

More than likely we have been involved in similar situations, or perhaps we have been the one participating in such profanity or mis-use of God’s name. In James 3:10-11 the Bible says, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?”

Make It Personal: 

 Is your language and speech sweet, salty, or a mix of both?  God desires us to use our tongues in ways that encourage, build-up, and inspire people, not in ways that bring people down and spread cursing and profanity.  Try to use language that makes others feel blessed to be around you and honor God with all that you say.

Have a great week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church




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