Midweek Reflections

Addicted To Convenience

Read: Romans 8:18-30

A year or so in the past I read an article that said “Americans are addicted to convenience.”  At the time I questioned how true that statement was but this current pandemic has revealed that in Western culture we don’t do very well when it comes to doing without or being uncomfortable.  None of us would choose this current situation if we had a choice, but when we are going through something uncomfortable we always wait eagerly for future change and redemption.

In Romans 8, Paul, who suffered greatly and gave up much convenience for the sake of Christ, reminds us that our life of faith is like this too.  Before Jesus saved us by dying on the cross for us we were “groaning inwardly as we waited eagerly for our adoption” by God to be redeemed.  Earlier in verse 18 Paul says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  That glory is revealed in Jesus Christ.

There is no doubt that we like our conveniences here in the United States.  In some respects our choices are endless and our lives are pretty comfortable.  But what will we learn during this pandemic about suffering, loss, being uncomfortable, and doing without?  Perhaps we will realize that life in this world is sometimes imperfect.  Like Paul says, “the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

But here is the good news.  In the midst of an imperfect world the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (v.26).  In the truth that we are imperfect people Jesus has come to redeem us and save us (v. 22-25).  And in spite of all our suffering and addictions God will work for the good of those who love him (v.28).  If this time of inconvenience draws us closer to God and causes us to rely more on Jesus then perhaps we will look back on 2020 differently than how we see it now.

Make it Personal:  Most of the time we are able to choose between shelves and shelves of toothpaste, toilet paper, and meat items.  Most of the time we can pick and choose what events we want to buy tickets to.  Most of the time we can go sit down and eat at our favorite restaurant.  In some sense we are quite blessed by those conveniences.  Perhaps this is a time for us to think about the Bibles many verses about patience and perseverance.

 Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

Each Spring, I Stand In Awe

Read: Psalm 48

Each year when the Spring season begins its greening and blooming I have to take time to marvel at how incredible this world is that God created.  Things that were totally dead spring to new life.  Grass that was totally brown turns to lush shades of green.  Flowers that faded in the Fall once again Spring to life.  These things make me want to proclaim with Psalm 48, “Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise.”

One of my favorite worship songs through the years has been “I Stand in Awe.”  It truly proclaims how I feel when I think of creation, when I think of what God has done, when I consider the stars, the thunder, and the incredible power that God displays throughout the universe.  I stand in awe and in awesome wonder when I think of human life and how our bodies work to provide life one generation after another.  Despite living in a sinful world full of natural disasters, disease, and global change, our God’s sovereignty is truly incredible.

And then to consider what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ.  He did not spare his Son but gave him up in order to bear our sin and burden’s on the cross of Calvary.  He bled and died that day to take away our sins.  One day Jesus is coming back with shouts of acclamation to take us home, and that day will truly be a day that we stand in awe and proclaim “My God, how great Thou art!”

You probably recognized some of the words I have used in this week’s meditation.  I have combined the worship song “I Stand in Awe” and the hymn “How Great Thou Art” to proclaim the greatness of God.  And yet as the worship song proclaims, “You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard.”  I guess I will just stop trying to describe it and stand in awe of how great God truly is.  I hope that you will stand with me this week and be reminded of our awesome God.

Make it Personal:  Find a way this week to get outside and enjoy the warming weather.  As you do take in the wonder of creation and the new life that is springing forth around you.  Praise God for what he has done and continues to do in your life and in this world.  The Lord is in control of this world that He has created and He is in control of everything you are facing in your life.  Allow God to be your source of praise and strength this week.  Then step back and stand in awe!

 Have an awesome week,  Glen Rhodes


Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:11-24

There has been a lot of appreciation going around recently, and rightly so.  We appreciate doctors, nurses, first responders, truckers, food workers, teachers, parents, and all those jobs or service areas that are deemed essential during this time of social distancing and stay at home orders.  Really, there are so many to mention that even one paragraph could not cover them all. 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:11 Paul encourages us to “encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  It has been great to see all the appreciation being shared on social media feeds these days.  It has been great to see commercials on television showing appreciation.  It has been great to see individuals and families building each other up with encouraging words and hope-filled sentiments.  It has been great to see the church family looking out for each other and asking what each other needs…. just as in fact you are doing.

Several other verses in chapter 5 also stand out during this time.  Verses 16-18 say, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances…”  Undoubtedly, this time of being limited in our activities and not being able to be together will also make us appreciate those things even more when we can once again participate in them and actually be with others.  

Hopefully we will have an even greater appreciation for worshiping together, gathering in groups, having coffee with friends, watching and attending sporting events, going out to eat at a restaurant, going to school, and wow, the list could go on and on.  It may be hard sometimes to give thanks in all circumstances but we will surely give thanks in the future for many things we might have taken for granted in the past.

Make it Personal:  What would your list look like if you had to list all of the things you are thankful for and appreciate during this time of not having them?  Continue to show your appreciation to others during this time and think about how much you appreciate all those things you aren’t able to do right now. 

Be blessed and stay safe, Glen Rhodes

Better Over Bitter

Read: Ezekiel 36-37

One metaphor that is used often in the Bible is that of refining metals or burning off dross.  That is one of the oldest methods of removing impurities from certain metals. Even in ancient times people would sit next to a hot fire so as to skim the dross or impurities as they would rise to the top. The Bible uses this example in relationship to our life and our relationship with God. In Ezekiel 36:25 the prophet says, “I will cleanse your from all your impurities…”

Often it is in difficult times that God refines us, restores us, and renews us.  We can either let those difficult times make us bitter about what we are going through and what we are experiencing, or we can pray about how God can make us better by going through them.  What can we learn from this current pandemic that we are living through? How can we grow closer in our relationship with Christ and our depending on him? What impurities may need to be removed during this season?  What might we need to repent of?

In Ezekiel 36-37 the prophet talks about restoration.  Chapter 36 moves from verses about cleansing to chapter 37 which speaks of dry bones coming to life.  Right now we may feel like we are in a time of extraordinary change and challenge. Nothing is as it was even several months ago.  Life is different, life is changed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

The question is what are we going to be like when we reach the end of this tunnel?  Will we become better because of what we have been through or will we become bitter because of what we had to go through?  Hopefully there will be proof of our faith in God and surely the Lord will help us to become better followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul is a great example for us in this. Through all his trials and afflictions in the New Testament he pressed on and allowed those trials to make him a better person and servant of Jesus.  He chose better over bitter. 

Make it Personal:  I’ll be the first to admit that this season of life has been a challenge.  No church gatherings, no school, no family get togethers, no sports or concerts, the list could go on.  But in the midst of our frustrations we must use this time to better ourselves and develop a closer walk with God.  You will get to that light at the end of the tunnel and the Lord will renew your spirit.

Have a blessed and safe week,  Pastor Glen Rhodes

Love Over Fear

Read: 1 John 4:7-21

“These days are unlike any we have ever lived through in our lifetime.”  I have heard this from people of all ages in the last several weeks as we go through this time of stay at home orders and quarantine due to the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  People, especially followers of Jesus, were probably saying that during Passion Week as well when he ate the last supper with his disciples, was betrayed, tried before Pontius Pilate, crucified on the cross, and rose three days later.

And yet there is really no comparison.  What happened during that week over 2,000 years ago has forever changed and shaped the world we live in. Yes, things will be different as we move beyond this virus and these very challenging times, but those differences will pale in comparison to what Holy Week means for us and the world.  Holy Week is when love conquered fear. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross shows his love for us in the grace and forgiveness that was paid for us in blood. His resurrection three days later on Easter shows that His true love even conquers death for us.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…”  In a time of fear, anxiety, stress, and unknowns, we need a week like this to focus on the love of God.  While it should be our focus every week this week raises our level of awareness. God loves you! His Son Jesus died for you because of that love!  Jesus rose on Easter so that his love can help you conquer and overcome anything in this world, even death! That is Holy Week, it was and still is unlike anything this world has ever seen.

Make it Personal:  Express your thanks to God this week for His love for you.  Place your trust and hope in Jesus this week who paid the ultimate price on the cross for your salvation.  When fear, worry, and anxiety are weighing you down during these weeks pray to Jesus and ask for his love, comfort, care, and deliverance to be with you.  His love over your fear!

Have a blessed and safe week,  Pastor Glen Rhodes

Staying Positive

Read: Various Scriptures Listed Below

My wife is always great at helping me to see the positive side of things.  The other day we were on a walk and I commented about how uneven and patchy the grass grows at the beginning of each spring.  She then said, “I just love to see the green grass after a long cold winter.” If ever there was a time to stay positive it is right now.  When the announcement was made this week that we would continue to “shelter in place” until the end of April it made us all think about the long road ahead. 

This has been such a disruption to everything we once knew to be normal.  We know it will pass and we know that better days are ahead but how do we stay positive during this next month?  Some suggestions I have seen in various articles suggest to get up at your normal time each morning, take a shower, make your bed, and put on your clothes as if you were going out to work for the day or going to the grocery store.  This will get your blood flowing and allow you to have a more healthy perspective on the day ahead. Others encourage us to get outside on nice days and find ways to reach out to others through phone calls, cards, face to face chats online.

I agree with all of those suggestions.  I would also encourage daily devotions and prayer as well.  Here are some wonderful passages of scripture from God’s Word to read and reflect on.  Look these up and use them to help you focus on the good and positive on days that might not always feel that way.

Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:1-2; Psalm 19:14; Philippians 2:1-2; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-21;  Ephesians 6:18; Proverbs 17:22; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Proverbs 17:22; Philippians 2:5-1; Proverbs 23:18;  Nahum 1:7; Hebrews 11:1. May God’s Word keep you positive and hopeful.

Make it Personal:  Be the positive person that you need to be during this time for yourself, your family, and others.  Rely on the Lord to see you through this time of change, unfamiliarity, challenge, and frustration. As you look at the green grass this spring just focus on the good things in life and stay positive.  I am going to try to do better myself.

Have a blessed and safe week,  Pastor Glen Rhodes

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