Midweek Reflections

Who Are You Today?

Read: Ephesians 1:1-14

Identity is a big point of conversation these days.  In all of those conversations we must never forget who we are in Christ Jesus as his children.  In Ephesians 1 Paul proclaims that because we are in Christ we are many things. Redeemed, pardoned, lavished with grace, wise with knowledge, and filled with God’s good pleasure are just some of the definitions of who you are.

Often when we attend a new group or event we have the opportunity to introduce ourselves to others.  How do you usually introduce who you are? Most likely you start with your name, then maybe where you live, then maybe your job or career, how many children you have, what brought you to the group or event.  But do we ever start by saying “My name is… I am a follower of Jesus Christ and in Him I am redeemed, pardoned, lavished with grace…” and so on?

It might seem a bit awkward to start in that way but by the time you get to know those people they should definitely know that is a huge part of who you are. 1 Peter 2:9 is a wonderful verse that describes who we are.  It says, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  There in that verse is another description of who we are in Christ.  People called out of darkness and into the light of Jesus. Now that is good news to share. 

In her commentary on Ephesians Joyce Meyer writes this… “Many Christians spend their lives trying to get something that is already theirs in Christ.  They may try to be right with God through their own good works and behavior, yet they always end up disappointed because they always fail. However, when they see the glorious truth of the gospel and realize that because they are in Christ, God already views them as being in right standing with Him, then their struggle ceases and joy increases.”

 

Make it Personal:  The next time you introduce yourself think about your identity in Christ. Does that identity come through in how you speak, live, and relate to others?  If you are having a tough week take time to read your Bible and read about who God says you are in Him. You matter and you are loved.

Have a great week, Pastor Glen Rhodes



A Parent’s Prayer

This Week’s Midweek Reflection: 
“A Parent’s Prayer”
Read: Various verses below

Last week I started with the question, “Did you pray this morning as you started your day?”  This week I am asking parents, grandparents, and others “Did you pray for the children as you started your day?”  If you are single or do not have children perhaps you can pray these prayers over the children of our church, community, or world.  Here are some powerful ways and verses that I ran across recently from Club 31 Women.

Strength – Pray that God gives them strength to do what they need to do each day.  “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Courage – Pray that they will be brave as they face the challenges that are before them.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

Peace – Ask that their hearts will be calm and peaceful as they go through their day and in their sleep at night.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  Philippians 4:6

Provision – Ask God to provide for all that they need, for stamina, spirit, and finances, for each day.  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Direction – Pray that the Lord will lead them as they begin to make more and more decisions as they get older.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Protection – Ask that God keeps them safe in this increasingly unsafe world.  That He will protect them from harm and wickedness. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2

Love– Pray the your/our children are filled with the love of God.  That they will know how deeply they are loved, and that love will overflow onto others.  “Love is patient, and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way.”  2 Corinthians 13

Make it Personal:  Use these as a guide in your prayers for the children.  Then allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into specific prayers for the children in your family, in your church, in your community, or around the world.

 Have a wonderful week, Pastor Glen Rhodes



Morning Prayer

Read: Romans 8:18-30

Did you pray this morning as you started your day?  In our hurry up world it is easy to get drawn into the rushing around to get to work, school, or wherever we are headed that day and forget to begin the day by asking God to be with us, near us, and in us as we set out for another day.  I recently heard of someone who gets up at 4 am each morning just to have some time in rest, devotions, reflection, and prayer before they begin their day. This person mentioned that their day would be much different if they just jumped out of bed and hit the floor running with their feet going 90 miles an hour.

Jesus himself was an example of this kind of intentional prayer and devotion.  In Luke 5 we hear that he often withdrew to lonely places to pray. Even the Son of God needed this time alone with God the Father, so how much more important might it be for us?  It doesn’t have to be an hour or two, but it could be. It doesn’t even have to be 15 minutes each morning, but we need it in our lives. We need to ask Jesus to walk with us through whatever the day ahead might present.

In Romans 8:26-27 we are told that the Holy Spirit will help us and guide us into what we are to pray for.  This help will surely come when we still our hearts and seek after the help and guidance that God wants to give to us through His Spirit.  Each person will have a different way to approach this but it is important that each of us make it a part of our morning routine.  

Yes, we can pray at other times of the day and we can pray together, but starting your day in this way can only help you to become prepared and focused for what the day might hold.  Andrew Brunson is a Christian pastor who was recently released from prison in Turkey. In a recent Christianity Today interview he shared his short personal prayer to Jesus each morning.  Perhaps his words shared below are a great way to start inviting Jesus into your morning and day.

Make it Personal:  Pastor Brunson says this prayer each morning… “Jesus, the only thing that matters is what you think about me when I stand before you, so I want to live accordingly.  I want all of my efforts today to have your glory in mind.” Start there each morning and let the Holy Spirit guide you further.

Have a blessed week, Pastor Glen Rhodes



Encouragement Please

Read: Romans 15:1-7

Is it just me or have we all but lost the ability to encourage one another instead of tearing each other down?  Each day it seems that we are faced with another controversy or story about one person or group demeaning or attacking another person or group.  I suppose this has always been a part of sinful human nature but in our instant social media culture it is so easy to share something or type something as quick as your fingers can move.

We need a better way!  We need to focus more on encouraging words instead of critical and hurtful words.  This doesn’t mean that we need to agree on things, in fact we may disagree greatly with some things that people or groups might do or say.  But disagreeing does not mean that we need to demean or attack them. It definitely does not mean that we need to spew hatred out across the social media spectrum.

In Romans 15 Paul encourages Christians to bear with other people whom we might not necessarily like or see things eye to eye with.  That doesn’t mean agreement or affirmation of false teaching and ungodly things, it just means that we are to treat others in the way that we would want to be treated in likewise circumstances.  In fact, verse 4 talks about how scripture itself was written to teach us endurance and encouragement that leads to hope.

A great place to glean some profound insights into life is from Children’s stories.  One from Winnie the Pooh comes to mind when thinking about being an encourager. As Pooh sets out one morning he is trying to think about who he should go visit for lunch. First he considers Tigger, then he thinks about Owl, but he finally decides on Rabbit.  Why? Because he says that Rabbit always has encouraging words to share with him. Let’s be a rabbit to those in this world and be encouragers.

Make it Personal:  Who has been a great encourager in your life?  Think about how others might think of you when it comes to encouraging words?  As coaching legend Lou Holtz once said, “Praise loudly, criticize softly.” Let’s all be known as encouragers! Please!

        Have an encouraging week,
Pastor Glen Rhodes



No More! No More!

Read: Revelation 21:1-5

Recently I was asked the question, “What are you looking forward to the most in eternity?”  That question caused me to think seriously about something I had not considered before. Sure, I have thought about all the great things that eternity in heaven will present to those who believe in and follow Jesus, but what if I had to choose one thing that I am most looking forward to?

In scripture we hear about the streets of gold (Rev. 21:21), the place that has been prepared for us (John 14:2), and the thousands of loud voices that will worship Jesus (Rev. 5:11-12). As the Christian Group Mercy Me sings, “I can only imagine when that day comes, when I find myself standing in the Son.”  But the longer I thought about this question the clearer it became to me.  I know exactly what I am looking forward to the most in eternity.

The answer is found in Isaiah 25:8 and Revelation 21:4-5 when it speaks of the New Heaven and a New Earth.  It says, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away… I am making everything new… Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Yes, I am looking so forward to the wonderful things of heaven that we will enjoy together eternally, but most of all I am looking forward to these “No More’s.”  When these verses say “No More” they are referring to more than just death, mourning, crying, and pain. They are also saying “No More” to every struggle, addiction, wounded relationship, illness, trial, and other dark corner of this fallen world.  Thanks to Jesus we can find deliverance from these things now in this life, but thanks be to God that someday they will all be no more.

Make it Personal:  Jesus came to earth and died on the cross so that we (you) can find redemption from the dark corners of this world in the here and now.  If you take your struggle, addiction, wounded relationship, illness, trial, or anything else to him, Jesus can and will deliver you from it.  Someday in heaven they will all be no more, but why wait, let Jesus take it from you now.

        

Have a great week, Pastor Glen Rhodes



Creative Communication

Read: 1 Timothy 4

Did you hear about the humerous news story recently about a man who threw a party for a pothole near his home?  Apparently Frank Sereno of Kansas City placed a birthday cake on a plate and put it in a pothole near his home. He even put a number 3 candle on the cake since it has been 3 years that the city has not fixed the pothole.  Sereno posted a picture of the cake sitting in the hole on social media and the rest is history. Turns out so is the pothole, because the city came a fixed it soon after. When interviewed about the post Sereno said that sometimes we have to get creative to get the message out.

The Holy Spirit has gifted each human being with various spiritual gifts.  In the New Testament those gifts are referred to in various ways. One spiritual gift that church leaders have encouraged is creative communication.  How can we be creative in worship, in finding times of rest, in telling people the good news about Jesus and other things? There are many other areas in which being creative can lead people to something they had not seen or noticed before.

In 1 Timothy 4 we are encouraged to be diligent in the use of our giftings.  Once we realize what gifts we have been blessed with we need to think about how we can use them to creatively proclaim Jesus and share the truths of scripture with those God has placed in our life.  You see, when we are creative we are more apt to gain the attention of others in a very busy world.

Mr. Sereno wanted that pothole near his home fixed, so he got creative in how he brought attention to it.  And guess what, it worked. Let’s be passionate and creative in the ways that we share Jesus, worship Jesus, and communicate the Christian faith to others.  Perhaps we can use social media in a positive way or talk with friends about other ideas. If you are a creative person let your creative juices flow.

Make it Personal:  1 Timothy 4:15-16 helps us to make it personal this week.  “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

 Have a blessed week, Pastor Glen Rhodes




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