Midweek Reflections

Love Your Neighbor

Read: Luke 10:25-37

The parable of Jesus often referred to as “The Good Samaritan” has become a favorite of many for obvious reasons.  In Luke 10 when Jesus answers the question “Who is my neighbor?” he tells the story of a man who stopped to help someone in need.  After a Priest and a Jew walked by on the other side and offered no help, here comes a Samaritan man who helps the needy man and even pays for his ongoing care.  The point Jesus was making with this parable is that those who show mercy to others, despite inconvenience, cultural perceptions, and political disagreements are those who truly love their neighbors.

This is a parable we need to be reminded of today in the divisive world we live in.  This Samaritan man looked past the differences and saw someone in need.  He didn’t ask about his religion, political party, race, or family background.  He saw him hurting and in need, he took pity on him, and helped.  He bandaged his wounds and took him to a place that he could be cared for.  When he left he paid two days wages for his ongoing care.

Jen Wilson from Compassion International says, “Our neighbor isn’t just the person next door.  Our neighbor is the person God has placed in front of us.  And no matter how different, how inconvenient or how unexpected, we’re asked to love our neighbor well.”  In parables like this we realize that Jesus lived and taught a counter-culture type of life when he walked this earth.  He is asking us as his followers to do the same.

This counter-culture life means we remember what the Bible says.  Love is patient, love is kind, it is not proud, it does not dishonor others, it keeps no record of wrongs, and it always protects.  Perhaps Janie B. Cheaney said said it best when she said, “God put it this way: “Love your neighbor” – not your cause, your pet peeve, or your tribe.  This is where we can all do better, and we must.”  Amen!  Let’s be watchful for those in need as we walk the road of life.

Make it Personal:  Who is God placing in front of you right now that is in need of help?  Can you look past all of the things that might keep you from helping that person and be a good Samaritan to them?  Let’s love all of our neighbors!

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

A God Who Can

Read: Psalm 121

Where does your help come from?  When things are tough, when life throws you a curve, when the storm is raging, where do you turn to find help, peace, and calm?  In Psalm 121 the Psalmist proclaims or asks, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?”  He then answers his own question by stating, “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  He turns to the Lord; how about us?

In his book “Shelter in God: Your refuge in times of trouble” Pastor David Jeremiah makes a good point about these verses and many others in scripture.  Not only do we look to the Lord for help, but when we do we are looking to the one who is the creator of all that is.  Where does our help come from?  It comes from the one who is “The Maker of heaven and earth.”

This phrase or proclamation is used in other Psalms as well as in Colossians 1:16 in the New Testament. (Ps. 115:15; Ps. 134:3; Ps. 146:5-6; Col. 1:16-17)  It is a reminder for us that no other option in this world holds the promise of help like the Lord our God.  Self-help books, YouTube videos, Google searches, and even helpful advice from a friend will always fall short of the help that comes from the creator of the universe.

David Jeremiah writes this, “The power of this statement is wrapped up in the idea that since God is the Creator of all things, and since all things are His handiwork, His power is not to be questioned.  The Creator has made everything we can see or touch or imagine; when we cast our hopes on Him, we’re not only coming to a God who cares, but a God who can.”

Make it Personal:  What do you need help with right now?  Go to the Lord in prayer and make it known to God.  Jesus already knows, but he wants us to ask for his help and welcome him into our situation.  There is no better source to turn to than the Maker of heaven and earth.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

Whatever The News…

Read: Job 40-42

Where do you get your news about the things that are happening in our community, country, and world?  I hope you get them from a variety of sources so that you have a well-rounded view.  More importantly, I hope that you are getting some of your news from a Christian world-view perspective.  I have found a great resource on Facebook and YouTube called World Watch News.  This is a short 3 minute summary of the news that will be expanded to 10 minutes in August.  It is put out by World Magazine (another great source of news from a Christian world-view perspective) and is a very well done presentation.  Check it out.

At the end of each World Watch News report Brian Basham says, “Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand!”  I love that perspective because sometimes when we watch the news we forget about the sovereignty of our Lord.  No one, no event, and no news item in this world can thwart the purpose of the Lord.  While sin, violence, and divisive attitudes seem to rule over our news, the Lord continues to rule over our world as a whole.  God’s purposes cannot be changed or altered by those whom God has created.

The book of Job gives us a great glimpse of this.  The back and forth conversations between Job and God come to a final result in the last three chapters when the Lord reminds him that the Lord is over all.  In the second verse of chapter 42 Job acknowledges this and says, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  The news in our world can often lead us to think differently than that.  Be sure to judge your news and your sources from the perspective that God is still Lord of all and his purposes will always remain true.  This is good news for a world that is in need of some good news these days.

Make it Personal:  What news sources are you watching, reading, or believing?  Be careful to give yourself a well-rounded view of things and be sure to include a Christian world-view in that mix.  I would highly recommend you check out World Magazine (In print and online), World Watch News (Facebook & YouTube), and other valuable God-centered resources.  Whatever the news, the purpose of the Lord will stand!

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

Don’t You Believe Them

Read: Isaiah 43:16-21

I can’t count the number of times recently that I have heard people say something like, “You just never know what to believe anymore on social media or the news.”  While this is true we must also remind ourselves as followers of Jesus about what we can believe in. 

God promises us new life instead of the old.  God promises us to forget the former things and look towards the new things that the Lord is doing.  The news, social media, and other reports may be biased much of the time, but the promises of the Bible and the words of the Lord speak truth into our lives.

Recently on the radio I heard a song from the 1980’s by Bruce Hornsby and the Range titled “The Way It Is.”  The chorus of that song begins by saying, “That’s just the way it is, some things will never change.”  But then comes the important part.  It says, “Ah, but don’t you believe them.”  One of the verses of that song is very fitting for our current discussions on racism, it says, “Hey little boy you can’t go where the others go, ‘cause you don’t look like they do… Some things will never change, ah, but don’t you believe them.”

Way too often in our world people are treated in ways that they should not be treated.  Way too often in our world people are told hateful things that do not line up with what God says about them.  Way too often in our world people choose violence instead of peace and reconciliation.  Some might say this is the way it is and that is the way it will always be, but we don’t have to believe them. 

We can believe instead in what Isaiah 43 proclaims, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”  God wants to do a new thing in us, in our country, and in our world, let’s believe in his promises and follow his lead.  Love one another, build each other up, support each other, and don’t believe anyone who says this is not possible!

Make it Personal:  What lies or false reports have you believed about yourself?  Don’t you believe them!  God loves you, God has a plan for you, and God will begin something new in your life. When we receive His Son Jesus into our life the new comes and the old passes away (2 Corinthians 5:16-19) .  Now would be a perfect time to give your life to Jesus if you have not.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

Birds of the Air

Read: Matthew 6:25-30

Birds are fascinating creatures to watch.  Our neighbors have close to 40 birdhouses in their backyard so we can often sit out on our back patio and watch different birds at all times of the day.  It is fascinating to watch them fly, build their nests, gather food, balance on tree limbs, and provide food for their young.  The Bible often refers to birds in spiritual, literal, and symbolic ways.  One of the best known references is when Jesus refers to them in Matthew 6:25-30 to teach us about worry.

Jesus says, “Do not worry about your life… look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”  In the past couple of months worry, fear, and panic have too often entered our vocabulary and possibly even our lives as we have dealt with the effects of Covid-19.  In these verses from his Sermon on the Mount Jesus gives us assurance that our Father in Heaven will not leave us without the provisions in life that we need to survive.  If the birds can survive from day to day on God’s watch then surely he will provide for us as well.  Jesus says, “are you not much more valuable then they?”

Worry and fear are an emotion that everyone deals with from time to time.  Jesus shares this encouragement to help us be calm and assured of his love, his care, and his provision for us in every area and every moment of life.  These words also remind us of another bird that is referenced in Isaiah 40:31. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  May these words encourage us in the days ahead to be renewed and not grow weary during this global pandemic that we are living through. God will provide and we will give thanks!

Make it Personal:  What have you been worrying about most lately?  Use these verses about God’s help and provision to help you find calm and assurance during these days.  This will pass, but in the meantime we need to continue to look to our Father in Heaven for calm and peace.  Remember what Jesus says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

That Which Is Seen

Read: Luke 8:16-18

In a recent interview, Dan Bartle, the executive vice-president of Walmart, said that during the recent pandemic they have seen a large increase in sales of clothing tops instead of bottoms.  The company believes this reflects the current trend of online meetings and video conferencing in which people are only seen from the waist up.  Why worry about what you are wearing if no one is going to see that part?

That story reminds us of what Jesus says in Luke 8:17 about our lives.  When it comes to the so called hidden or private areas of life Jesus says, “There is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.  Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”  This verse reminds us of two things.  First, that nothing is truly hidden from God.  And second, as believers we need to shine the light of Jesus in public and not keep it hidden and to ourselves.

If nothing is hidden from God then we need to be open and honest about the sin and struggles in our life.  We need to come to Jesus with repentant hearts and ask for his grace and forgiveness for those things that perhaps only God and us know about.  If there is immorality, racism, envy, materialism, gossip, slander, or misplaced priorities then we need the grace of Jesus so we can be redeemed and set free, leaving those things in our past.

We also need to be open about sharing the good news of Jesus with the world around us.  Jesus can help people with the hurt, division, depression, and brokenness in our world today.  We see it all around us right now.  Jesus can help you with anything that might be bringing you down these days.  He sees and knows about everything you are dealing with in life, and he wants to help.  Allow the light of Jesus to shine and be seen in your life.

Make it Personal:  Name something that has been hidden in your heart for days, weeks, or years.  Remind yourself that Jesus knows about it and wants to help you move past it and free you from it.  He can and he will if you turn to him and give it to him today.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

Reflection Archives