Midweek Reflections

Giving It All

Read: Luke 6:37-42

The current inflation problem in the United States has eaten its way into your bag of chips.  Recent news reports have said that Frito-Lay and other companies admit to reducing the amount of product in their bags in order to keep from raising their prices.  While this may not be good for getting value out of your purchase it just might help us shed a little more weight.

When reading this news report I thought of what Jesus said in Luke 6:38.  He said, “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  Jesus was speaking about forgiveness in these verses not chips.  He is encouraging us to forgive others in the way that God forgives us.  But this also can be applied to other things in our life.

When time is short, schedules are full, and we are weighing our options of what to do and what not do what gets our vote?  Do we pull back from things of God and reduce our commitment to church and other acts of kindness and outreach to do what we want, or do we give God our all and let other things fall where they may?  God blesses us in so many ways, we need to give back in any way that we can.

Make It Personal:  Where have you been cutting back lately?  Are you cutting out the most important things?  Remember the words of Jesus this week, “Give, and it will be given to you.”  That holds true for forgiveness and many other things in life.

Be blessed this week,  Glen Rhodes

Greater Far

Read: 1 John 4:9-16

Do you know how many words are in the English language?  Do you know how much water is in the oceans of the world?  I think of these things every time I sing the hymn “The Love of God.”  It says, “The Love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell… To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry.”  If you have ever wondered about God’s love for you the words of that song sum it up.  It is greater than you can imagine and it extends further than the highest star in the sky.  That is a great love and it will last forever.

Frederick M Lehman wrote that hymn in 1917 after he lost everything in some businesses that went wrong.  He then began working in a packing house in Pasadena, California packing oranges to try and get back on his feet. One Sunday he was moved by a sermon on the love of God and could not sleep that night.  The next morning he penned the lyrics to this hymn on some scrap pieces of paper and broken crates as he worked.  He later put it together with the melody as he sat by his piano.

In 1 John 4:9 the Bible says that God showed us his love by sending his one and only Son Jesus into the world so that we might live through him.  He sent him to show us how to live this life but he also sent him as a sacrifice for our sins.  Those verses go on to say that since God loves us this much, and continues to love us this much that we should also love one another.  If we do that it says that God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  God loves you far greater than you could ever imagine, I hope you will accept his immeasurable and unending love for you today.  By the way, according to Google and the Oxford dictionary there are currently 171,146 words in use in the English language.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey there is 321,000,000 cubic miles of water volume in the worlds oceans, seas, and bays.

Make It Personal:  These scripture verses and this hymn share about God’s love for us but in verse 19 of 1 John 4 it says, “We love because he first loved us.”  Let’s go out and love others in the way that God loves us.  This will make the world a much better place to live.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

Much More

Read: Mark 6:1-13

We know from the gospel accounts in the New Testament that Jesus was a Carpenter and most likely worked alongside his father and others around the town of Nazareth.  Can you imagine having Jesus come to do some carpentry work in your home.  Scripture says that he was perfect so his handy work would have been perfect as well.  But Jesus was much more than a Carpenter.

In Mark 6 we see that the people had a hard time seeing Jesus for who he really was.  Along with his daily work he was also about the work of God.  Most likely the two went together.  Jesus was just as concerned about the people as he was the work he might have been doing for them.  Perhaps this is a good example for us to apply to our daily work.

Pastor David Jeremiah shares a story about a furniture store in Indiana named Purposeful Design.  David Palmer is the owner and he sees his company as more than a place to create custom furniture.  He sees his business as a way to help employees rebuild their lives from addiction, homelessness, and much more.  David shares Jesus with his employees and helps them to see how Jesus can bring change, restoration, and hope to their lives along with a paycheck.

Yes, Jesus was much more than a Carpenter.  He is our Messiah!  Our Lord and Savior!  In our daily work and relationships may we find ways to introduce Jesus and be an example of Jesus to those we employ or work alongside.  We are called to do much more than show up for work, we are called be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need him in their life.

Make It Personal:  Think about your weekly schedule.  Whether you have a job, a family, or are retired you have been called and sent out to make a difference in the name of Jesus.  Who is God calling on you to reach out to this week?  In verses 7-13 of Mark 6 Jesus sends out his followers to share the good news.  Let’s go out and do the same.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes

Worthwhile Wisdom

Read: Proverbs 10

A man once asked God, “What does a billion dollars mean to you who are all powerful?”

“Hardly a penny.”  God said.

The man then asked God, “And what are a thousand centuries to you?”

God answered “Hardly a second!”

Thinking he had God backed into a corner, the man then said, “If that’s the case, O Lord, then give me a penny!”  God replied, “Sure, just give me a minute.”

Perhaps you have heard that before?  I ran across it again recently online.  The idea behind that is that wisdom is not outsmarting God, wisdom is living in and with God.  Wisdom is being in Christ and surrounded by Christ.  Wisdom is eating and drinking from the feast God has prepared for us.  God’s Word is full of wisdom and the book of Proverbs has an abundance of it for us.

It’s hard to pick just one chapter of Proverbs because there is so much in each chapter.  These Proverbs of Solomon are short, one or two verse bursts of Godly wisdom. One verse will talk about how hatred stirs up conflict, but love conquers all wrongs.  The next might speak of how the fear (reverence) of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked come to nothing. Nothing in this world compares to the knowledge and wisdom of God.  Proverbs has it if you will open to its pages.

Make It Personal:  Spend some time this week in Proverbs and ask for the wisdom of God to be real to you and known to you.  Take these great nuggets of wisdom and apply them to your life as you head out the door.  Like this one, “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

Be blessed this week,  Glen Rhodes

Stories of the Bible

Read: Deuteronomy 4:9-14

The past 6 months I have had the privilege and opportunity to teach a third and fourth grade class in our church primary department.  I love the way the children ask questions about the various Bible Stories we talk about.  Sometimes they are questions that I had not even thought about myself.  At the end of each class we spend some time doing Bible trivia and I’m confident this has helped them learn the many wonderful stories of the Bible and remember them for the future.

In Deuteronomy 4 the Lord leads Moses to encourage parents and the church to be sure to pass these many stories of God’s work and God’s truth in our world on to our children and grandchildren. In chapter 6 it says, “Take to heart these words that I give you today.  Repeat them to your children.  Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up.”  Parent’s and Church how are we doing with this?

In a culture where Biblical literacy is falling fast we need to be extra vigilant at making sure we are reading, sharing, and talking about the stories of the Bible and the truth they hold for us.  There are many ways to do this but we must be sure that it’s being done.  Our culture is sending many mixed messages to our children these days and if parents and the church are not ready and willing to teach and talk about these things with their kids then they could be led astray.  Our church vision says that “we will guide our children to learn God’s Word and know Jesus personally.”  Parent’s and Church how are we doing with this?

Make It Personal:  When children are young they love to have Bible stories read to them.  Be sure you are doing that if you have very young ones at home.  As they grow older you will need to find other creative ways through media, video, and events to keep these stories alive for them.  The most important thing parents and grandparents can do is talk to them about these things and bring them to church.  Let them hear and see from you and the church how God works, what God does, and how Jesus is our Savior.

My prayers will be with you,  Glen Rhodes

It Changed Everything!

Read: Luke 22-24

There are various events in our lives in which we look back and say, “It changed everything!”  A marriage, the birth of a child, overcoming an addiction, a restored relationship, a commitment to Jesus as your Savior, and you add whatever else it might be for you.  As we look back we realize how a change sometimes caused life to look different, go different, and give us a different outlook.

What happened during Holy Week and at the end of that week some 2,000 years ago was the ultimate “It Changed Everything!” for our world.  Luke 22-24 captures the whole story from Jesus sharing the last supper with the disciples and washing their feet, to his betrayal by Judas Iscariot and the trial that followed, to his crucifixion where he died for the sins of the world, to his resurrection 3 days later in which he conquered death once and for all.

Lives are changed and transformed forever for those who receive Jesus and all that he has done for them.  Sin no longer has to grip us and keep us in bondage, guilt can be released, fear can be dispelled, and the joy and peace of God can fully be realized because of these events of Holy Week. How can we not remember, celebrate, and give thanks for these immeasurable blessings?

Make It Personal:  If some things in your life need changed right now I encourage you to look to the one who has the power to change them.  Jesus can help you to overcome what may look bleak, dark, and depressing in your life.  If you turn to him and allow his resurrection life to shing into those situations you too may look back and say, “It Changed Everything!”

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes

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