Midweek Reflections

Trusting God

Read: Psalm 9:1-10

“If I can trust in God for eternity, why can’t I trust God for tomorrow or next week?” Those words were spoken by Pastor David Jeremiah. They present a great question for us to consider in light of how we handle our lives from week to week.

Most Christians when asked about their eternal home will quickly answer that it is secured in heaven because of their faith and belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Our trust in that truth and that promise is what sustains us as we consider the brevity of our life here on earth.

So why do we not use that same trust to sustain us from week to week? Some believers do, but too many of us find ourselves letting doubt and fear enter our minds instead of staking our claim in the promises of God.

In Psalm 9, verse 10 David says, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” If you are truly seeking after Christ you can truly trust in his provision for whatever you are facing this week or next.

In a recent article in Purpose magazine Pete Flaming said, “Perseverance, joy, and hope come from knowing that God is in control of my life here on earth, just as God is in the eternal part of my life.”

If your life has been missing the joy, hope, and perseverance that Pete talks about, perhaps your trust level needs some attention. Perhaps you have heard the story about the man who always stopped to pick up coins on the roadside?

He was a very wealthy man who had no need for pocket change, yet he still took the time to bend over and pick up lost pennies and other coins. Whenever the man found a coin he would stop look at it in his hand, then after standing quietly for a moment, he would then put the coin in his pocket and continue walking.

He was once asked about his unusual habit. “Why does a man who has no need for money stand still as though he had just found a gold coin?” The man replied, “When I find a coin I look at the words, ‘In God We Trust,’ and I can hear God asking me, ‘Do you still trust me?’ Once I’m certain that I still trust God more than money I can continue with my day.”

Make it personal: Perhaps we should take the time to hear God ask us the same question, “Do you still trust Me; am I still first in your life?” Take time this week to pray about the trust level in your life. In all things, trust the one who will not forsake those who seek after him. (Psalm 9:10)

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

Your Love Goes On

Read: John 3:1-21

We just came through Valentines Day and this past Sunday my
message was from the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians
13.  It is a reminder of what love is and what love is not.
It helps us to live a life of love towards God and with each
other.  But I hope that we don’t only consider those things in
the month of February.

One of the most popular Christian contemporary songs right now
is the song by Jesus Culture entitled “One Thing Remains.”
Here are the lyrics and also a link to the song on Youtube if
you would like to listen to it.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up
it never runs out on me
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of
your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart
from your great love

What an amazing truth, that God’s love never fails, never runs
out, and can never be separated from us.  It’s a truth that
should encourage us to live for him and keep him the constant
focus of all that we do.

In John 3 Jesus proclaims to Nicodemus that no one can see the
Kingdom of God unless they are born again.  What he means is
that every sinner on this earth (that would be all of us)
needs to repent of their sins and live by the truth he has

God’s love is seen perfectly through Jesus Christ.  His love
does not want us to remain in sin but be changed and
transformed by his grace, love, and forgiveness.  When Jesus
spoke to the woman caught in adultery in John 8 he said that
he did not condemn her, but he also said, “Go now and leave
your life of sin.”

As we move past Valentines Day let us continue to embrace the
love that God has for us.  It will remain as a constant source
for us and never fail us.  As the song above says, “I never
have to be afraid.”

Make it personal: How can you respond to God’s love this week?
Find ways to show your need and your appreciation for this
love that is higher than the mountains that you face.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Change of Course

Read: Romans 12

Watching the Winter Olympics this week reminded me of ABC’s program “The Wide World of Sports” when I was younger. I still remember the opening of that program, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport, The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.”

As you heard those words “the agony of defeat,” it showed a ski jumper crashing down the mountain. But I just recently learned the whole story behind that incident. Apparently the skier was in good form as he headed down the mountain but realized that the slope was way to fast. He knew that if he completed the jump he would land on the level ground that was way beyond the safe landing area, which could have been fatal.

In the end the skier only suffered a headache from that tumble which became familiar to all of America because of that Wide World of Sports intro. If you want to watch that intro you can go to Youtube and type in “Wide World of Sports Intro” to see it. For some of you it will undoubtedly bring back some memories. Here is a link.

In Romans 12 Paul says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

In our world there are many things that can lead us off the course of God’s perfect will for us. By staying in a close relationship with Jesus Christ we are able to sense when we are headed into a dangerous situation and change course in order to avoid disaster.

Paul says that when our minds are renewed in Christ we are able to discern those things. However, when our minds are on the things of the world, we tend to gravitate down that worldly path instead of the one paved with God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

At times, depending on how far down that course we have gone, it may cause us some difficulty and even some headaches when we actually do change our course. But just as that skier realized, a few headaches is much better than a fatal ending.

The most wonderful thing about Jesus is that he offers that “change of course” option without any strings attached. If we come to him with a repentant and changed heart, Jesus will not constantly remind us of our mistakes, instead he will constantly remind us that he has forgiven us of them.

If you are headed down a slope that could be fatal right now I hope that you will bail out and change your course. Turn to Christ and allow his love, acceptance, and perfect will to steer you back to where you need to be. In the final verse of Romans 12 it says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Very true for our world, but especially true in our own lives.

Make it personal: Take time to pray this week and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal some things to you. What dangerous path are you heading down? In what situations are you allowing your perfect will to override God’s perfect will for your life? Make that change!

Have a wonderful week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Served, not Ruled

Read: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

“I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it.” This was a statement made by Pope Francis recently to business and political leaders that were gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The statement was a plea for leaders to care for the poor but it also was a statement that speaks volumes to all of us about how we approach wealth, money, and the blessings the God has bestowed upon us.

Wealth and money only become gods to us when we allow our lives to be ruled by them. In other words, if our focus is all about the accumulation of things, we soon lose sight of why God may have blessed us with those things in the first place. Paul reminds us of that in 2 Corinthians 9.

He writes that each of us should give and share of those things not reluctantly or under compulsion, but with a cheerful heart and attitude. (v.7) He then quotes a verse from Psalm 112:9 that says, “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

Beryl Jantzi, the Everence Director of Stewardship Education recently wrote some great thoughts about this. He wrote about a verse in Exodus 34:20b that says, “No one shall appear before me empty-handed.” He went on to say…

“Moses was clear in his expectation regarding giving. Generosity was considered an expression of worship to God and a way of reaching out to meet the needs of the community. Rules about giving, whether it was for religious sacrifice or for building materials needed for the tabernacle, were specific and clear. In Exodus 36, we read:

“Every skillful one to whom the Lord has given a skill and understanding to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 36:1

Whether it was giving gold or other precious stones or special skills of construction or weaving or artistry – you were expected to offer your first and your best to God. Here’s how the people responded to the challenge placed before them.

“The people are bringing much more than enough for doing the work that the Lord has commanded us to do. So Moses gave the command and word was proclaimed throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” So the people were restrained from bringing; for what they had already brought was more than enough to do all the work.” Exodus 36:5-7

Jantzi goes on to ask… “Can you imagine such a problem happening today?”

It got me to thinking, what if churches and organizations like MCC and World Vision had to say, “Stop giving, your giving is more than what is needed.” It seems like an impossibility and yet most likely it is not. It goes back to people, especially Christians, viewing and giving their money and wealth as a way to serve humanity instead of letting it rule our lives.

Byler concludes by writing, “There’s something about modeling generosity as a delight rather than a duty that can bring the spirit of Exodus 36 back among the people of God. Generosity is a spiritual discipline that can be expressed as an act of worship to God, as well as mutual aid to others. If this idea would grab hold, maybe one day we could say, like Moses, “Enough already! Your generosity has exceeded our needs!!” Might it be so.”

Make it personal: Consider your own attitude toward money, possessions, and wealth. What changes might God want to make in that attitude. Then think about the use of your own money. Do you give out of reluctance or under compulsion, or do you give out of the cheerful attitude that God desires? A good question for all of us to consider.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Super Bowl: “Jesus is Better!”

Read: Romans 10:8-13

Because this is the week of the Super Bowl there has been a lot of talk and interviews leading up to the big game. One particular interview seemed to get a lot negative attention after the last game that was played, but most of them this week have been far less controversial.

I was especially interested by an interview that pastor Mark Driscoll (from Seattle) did with some of the Seattle Seahawks players that are strong Christians. Their main message was, “The Super Bowl is great, but knowing Jesus is much better.” Here is a youtube link to a short 3:00 minute clip of that interview.

Since my days of growing up in New Mexico I have always been a Denver Broncos fan. So, I will be cheering for the Broncos when it comes to the game on Sunday. But I definitely support the Christian witness of all those on the field. Here is another short youtube link to a clip about Peyton Manning’s Christian faith. This was from his days with the Colts.

In Romans 10 Paul talks about declaring with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord!” These men are not only doing that, they are saying that Jesus is even more important to them than playing in the Super Bowl or anything else in life.

That only makes sense. For Romans 10:11 says that believers will never be put to shame. In verse 13 it says that believers who call on the name of the Lord will always be saved. That is a promise that is near and dear to every Christian.

I am thankful this week for Christians who are on the “Big Stage” of the world and yet are still persistent in living out their faith and testimony for Jesus. It’s a reminder for us to do the same on whatever stage God has given to us. Does our life speak the message “Jesus is Better!”?

Enjoy the big game this Sunday with family and friends and remember the testimony of both quarterbacks in the game. They believe in Jesus and follow Christ just like you and I. I support Russell Wilson 100%, but Go Peyton and Go Broncos!

Make it personal: As you watch the game this Sunday share the testimony of these players with those you are watching with. If you are not going to watch the game, share your own testimony with someone at your work or school this week. Remember, Jesus is better than anything this world has to offer us!

Have a Super week,
Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

A Permanent Attitude

Read: Matthew 18:21-35

This week our nation is celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and his unwavering dream that some day all people would be free from racism and ready to embrace forgiveness. I tweeted out one of my favorite MLK quotes on Monday that says, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”

Our brother Martin Luther King Jr. stood for so much. It is hard to put just one title or label on what he did and what he stood for. Most importantly he encouraged people to walk in the shoes of someone else and ask, “How does it feel?”

In Matthew 18 Jesus gives us a perfect example of that in his parable about the unmerciful servant. He is forgiven of all his great debts by the master, and then he still goes out and demands someone to pay him back for a debt that was much less than what his master had forgiven him for.

It doesn’t seem right to anyone who reads the story and yet I wonder how many times in our world that same situation plays itself out. We often desire to be forgiven, but we are much less willing to forgive ourselves. MLK encouraged us to make forgiveness a lifestyle, and do what Jesus told us to do by forgiving not only seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Pastor Brent Eelman once shared about a story from Philip Yancy’s book entitled “What’s So Amazing About Grace.” “Yancey tells the story of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway grew up in a very devout evangelical family, and yet there he never experienced the grace of Christ. He lived a libertine life that most of us would call “dissolute”… but there was no father, no parent waiting for him and he sank into the mire of a graceless depression.

A short story he wrote perhaps reveals the grace that he hoped for. It is the story of a Spanish father who decided to reconcile with his son who had run away to Madrid. The father, in a moment of remorse, takes out this ad in El Libro, a newspaper. “Paco, meet me at Hotel Montana, Noon, Tuesday… All is forgiven… Papa.”

When the father arrived at the square in hopes of meeting his son, he found eight hundred Paco’s waiting to be reunited with their father. Was Paco such a popular name? Or is a father’s forgiveness the salve for every soul?”

The ability to forgive someone is not only salve for the relationship between a father and son, it can heal and restore any relationship. As Jesus encourages in this passage from Matthew 18 lets make it a lifestyle, lets make it a permanent attitude, lets make it make a difference in our lives and in those we need to forgive. The results will never disappoint when we choose to live a life of forgiveness.

Make it personal: Think about who you may be holding back forgiveness from today. Pray about it and ask the Lord to reveal to you what needs to happen to heal that wound and bring forth restoration.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes

Reflection Archives