Midweek Reflections

Opportunity Grasped

Read: Proverbs 11:24-31

This past Sunday in the message I encouraged people to think about times in their life in which they missed a wonderful opportunity. It’s sometimes easy to look back and wish we would have grasped that chance to make a difference or give a testimony for Christ, but what if we anticipated them beforehand? Would we end up with less missed opportunities to help people, invite them to receive Jesus, or bless them, if we are looking for them ahead of time?

This past week Kathie Lee Gifford did just that on NBC’s Today Show. Her husband Frank Gifford recently passed away and this past Monday was her first day back on the show since his death. She took the opportunity on air to share about her husband’s life and the importance of his foundation of faith in Christ. She could have talked most about his Hall of Fame career in the NFL or his years as an announcer on Monday Night Football but she used that opportunity for something even more important.

Kathie testified to the Forgiveness, Grace, and Hope that is found in Jesus Christ. She said of Frank, “He was the happiest, most contented man at this point of his life.” She then went on to take that opportunity to let others know how they could find that peace and contentment in life. Kathie said to the audience, “I know it’s the answer for you!” If you haven’t seen it on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube yet here is a link to see and hear what else she said.

The one line that keeps sticking with me is when she said, “Those of you who are hurting today, I know it’s the answer for you!” That is exactly the message I want to live, preach, and testify to. Jesus can make this life so much more wonderful for anyone and everyone. It does not mean that we will not face difficult times or hard circumstances in life, but it does mean that Jesus will give us peace and contentment for the journey here on earth and into eternity in heaven.

My prayer is that we all will continue to grasp the opportunities to share this with others. Through helping those in need, through sharing this good news, through encouraging someone to give Jesus a try. As Kathie said, “This is not about religion, this is about a living God.”

I remember Frank Gifford as being one of the best Monday Night Football broadcasters of all time. I was too young to remember him as a player. But now I will remember him for an even better reason, as a fellow believer and follower of Jesus Christ. Just as Frank encouraged his children to do with the stones that he brought home from the Holy Land, I would like to encourage you this week to ask, “what am I going to do with my stone, what can I do to make a difference in this world?”

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Don’t miss your opportunity to live that verse out and in turn be blessed by God.

Make it personal: In the message this past Sunday I encouraged us to awake each morning and ask Jesus to help us with something. Maybe you can make this prayer personal this week. It goes like this, “Jesus, help me to notice how I can make a difference in someone’s life today.”

Have a blessed week and be a blessing, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Time to Grow

Read: 2 Peter 3:14-18

August is a difficult time for things to grow. It is hot, dry, and usually brown. It reminds me of times in our lives when our spiritual growth seems to resemble those characteristics. If we are not careful those dry times can become the norm instead of the exception. Remember, the brown grass was green not to long ago. It will not always be brown.

Our church has a vision statement that encourages us to grow and mature in God’s Word and our spiritual lives. This is something that we have to be intentional about. It requires us to give time, attention, and care to our spiritual lives and our relationship with Christ and others.

In his book “First Things First”, A. Roger Merrill tells of a business consultant who decided to landscape his grounds. He hired a woman with a doctorate in horticulture who was extremely knowledgeable. Because the business consultant was very busy and traveled a lot, he kept emphasizing to her the need to create his garden in a way that would require little or no maintenance on his part.

He insisted on automatic sprinklers and other labor-saving devices. Finally she stopped and said, “There’s one thing you need to deal with before we go any further. If there is no gardener, there’s no garden!” In this same way, there are no labor-saving devices for growing a garden of spiritual virtue. Becoming a person of spiritual fruitfulness requires time, attention, and care.

Peter encourages us in this passage to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We need to take time as Christians to do that. We need to be intentional about staying well grounded in God’s Word and becoming more like him instead of more like the world. This will take some time in our busy schedules, but it will be well worth it now and for all of eternity.

Make it personal: Some years ago the Nike shoe company coined the slogan “Just Do It.” They were trying to encourage people to be intentional about things. I thought of that slogan as I wrote today’s meditation. When it comes to our spiritual growth we need to block out some time to be with God, pray, and study His Word. In manys ways we just need to do it!

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Running Away

Read: Jonah 1-4

The story of Jonah is one that most people are fairly familiar with. A raging sea, a huge whale, a man overboard, those are the images that come to mind when we think of this story. But there is much more to the story than what the children’s story books often tell. This is a story about a man who was not only running away from God but was also resisting God. Does the story of Jonah remind us of ourselves sometimes?

When we are fearful, proud, and selfish, it becomes much too easy to run away from the things that God is calling us to. In his book “When No One’s Looking” Pastor Bill Hybels writes, “Every single day we make choices that show whether we are courageous or cowardly. We choose between the right thing and the convenient thing, sticking to a conviction or caving in for the sake of comfort, greed or approval. We choose either to take a carefully thought-out risk or to crawl into a shrinking shell of safety, security and inactivity. We choose either to believe in God and trust him, even when we do not always understand his ways, or to second-guess him and cower in the corners of doubt and fear.”

This past week I ran across a graphic that said, “The phrase “Do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times.” I have not personally gone through my Bible and counted those but I believe it. It seems like you read that phrase so often as you read through the Scriptures. It reminds us that each and every day (365) God will be with us in what he calls us to do.

When we run away from those things we find ourselves in danger. It may not include a whale in the sea but it could be a place we don’t want to be. The best path is to run with God and not away from Him. He will be with us and He will protect us, we do not need to be afraid. The amazing thing about the God who created us is that He loves us so much he wants to pursue us and find us even when we run the other way.

In the end Jonah was partly responsible for the repentance of the huge city of Nineveh. You never know what God may be ready to use you for in His kingdom. Be ready, Be willing, and Be available! You won’t regret running with the Lord!

Make it personal: What things have you been running away from recently? Are they things that God has been wanting you to do, say, or change? Listen to His voice and follow him instead of running in the other direction. Running away from God only puts your further from Him, that is a place we don’t want to be.

Have a wonderful week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church
Do Not Be Afraid


Heaven

Watch: Video 

This week instead of leading you to scripture I would like to lead you to a wonderful video by Billy Graham entitled “Heaven.”  This video is very well done and focuses on the words of Billy Graham and the stories of Cheyane Caldwell and Laurie Coombs.  It is well worth the 28 minutes that it will take you to watch it.  The video speaks for itself so I will let it be the meditation for this week.  Think about how you can make it’s message personal for your own life and then share it with others.  Here is the link….

https://myhopewithbillygraham.org/program/heaven/

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Going, Going, GONE!

Read: Romans 5 and 6

This past Monday night I spent some time watching Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby. When it comes to baseball nothing is quite as thrilling as watching a baseball soar through the air, into the night sky, into the outfield bleachers, and hearing the announcers proclaim, “It’s going, going, GONE!”

In God’s Word the book of Romans proclaims that about our sin. Chapters 5 and 6 are full of testimony and truth about Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. Not just others sin, but our sin. Chapter 5 begins by saying, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” A little bit later in verse 8 it says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

The wonderful British pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) once said, “Jesus came to take away sin in three ways: to remove the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and, at last, the presence of sin.” To me that sounds like the home run call. Jesus removes the penalty of sin from our lives when we repent of that sin (going). Jesus removes the power of sin and temptation in our lives when receive this gift from God (going). And finally, Jesus removes the presence of that sin from existence in our life forever (GONE!).

In Romans 6 the apostle Paul talks about us becoming dead to sin and alive in Christ. That holds true in our daily lives today, but it also holds true for our past. We aim to live righteous and Godly lives for Jesus. In order to do that we must proclaim and believe that our repented of sins of the past are gone forever.

My prayer this week is that we can live in that truth. I hope that we can truly live in the freedom, grace, and forgiveness that Jesus has bought for us on the cross of Calvary. If you have repented of sin in your life you can believe and trust that it is gone in the eyes of God. You can live with that freedom and the weight off of your shoulders. It also leads us to ask ourselves if there is any sin in our life right now that needs to be repented of. The freedom of Christ’s forgiveness awaits!

Make it personal: As you live in Christ’s forgiveness this week give thanks to God for what he has done for you and for how much he loves you. The Message Bible paraphrases Romans 6:23 and says, “Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” And to that we say, AMEN!

Have a grace filled week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church



Listening and Doing

Read: James 1:19-25

In last week’s meditation I shared about being who we say we are as Christians.  As our church van was being driven around Kansas City last week at our church convention this thought came to my mind.  On Friday night I went with our youth group to a Royals baseball game and I offered to drive the church van.  Our church van has the church’s name on three sides of the van.

As I weaved in and out of traffic and tried to go from line to line of cars to get where we need to be I had to remember that every move was a representation of our church and perhaps even Christianity.  I wondered how often we think about that in our daily lives.  If we had our church name or “Follower of Jesus” tattooed on our forehead how might that change how we respond to certain things?

In this first chapter of James, the brother of Jesus is encouraging us to not only listen to the ways of Jesus, but to apply them in our daily lives.  In verse 22 he says, “Do not merely listen to the word…. Do what it says.”

Here is another example that a friend shared with me this week.  Perhaps you have heard this story?  An honest man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard. Suddenly, the light turned yellow, just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman hit the roof, and the horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection. As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up!

He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell. After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal items.

He said, “I’m very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. “I noticed the ‘Choose Life’ license plate holder, the ‘What Would Jesus Do’ bumper sticker, the ‘Follow Me to Sunday-School’ bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car.

As we live, work, drive, and give witness to Jesus in this world may we remember to “do” life as Jesus would have us “do” life.  May we live out our faith as we interact with those around us, even when they might test us.  And may the Lord forgive us for those times that we fail him in these things.

Make it personal:  Think about this past week. Can you think of times that you did not react in a Christ-like manner to others.  Can you think of times that your example did not give testimony to the Christian faith you proclaim?  Christ will forgive us for the the times we fail but let’s ask him to help us make those times less frequent.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church




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