Midweek Reflections


Read: Matthew 5:33-37

A recent Bloomberg Business Week article shared a Cornell University professor’s survey of 30 undergraduates and their communications with others. He found that lies were told in 37% of their phone calls, 25% of face to face conversations, and only 14% of emails. He went on to share the reason for this by saying that it is because emails leave a permanent trail and the other forms of communication do not.

Honestly!!!! In other words, students were afraid of being found out about their lies. I would assume this study would translate into our broader culture with close to the same percentages, which means one thing, people are much more willing to be dishonest or to lie if they know that it won’t come back to bite them in the future.

In Matthew 5 Jesus says that we are to be so honest that we shouldn’t even have to swear to someone that we are being truthful. In other words, our lives are to be a testimony of honesty so that others do not doubt for even one minute whether we are telling them the truth or not. And when we think that we are the only one that knows about a lie that we have told we are forgetting about the “all knowing” power of God.

This coming weekend is the U.S Open Golf Championship. Earlier this week I read an article on GolfChannel.com that shows how much dishonesty and truthfulness can affect the rest of our comings and goings. Here is what the article said….

“Five days after earning a spot in the U.S. Open, Jason Millard disqualified himself after he admitted to grounding his club in a bunker during a sectional qualifier.

Millard carded rounds of 68-68 Monday at Colonial Country Club in Memphis, Tenn., and qualified by a shot. Saturday he admitted that on the 27th hole of his 36-hole qualifier he grounded his club in a greenside bunker on the 18th hole of Colonial’s North Course.

“I’m pretty sure I grounded my club in the bunker,” Millard told the USGA. “I didn’t see anything for sure, but I felt something and I saw a small indentation. It happened so fast, I really don’t know 100 percent but deep down, I believe I did.

“I couldn’t find peace about it. For five days, I practiced and I couldn’t get it off my mind.”

You see, Millard was the only person who knew that he violated this rule, but he could not find peace until he came forward and told the truth about it. He won’t be playing at the U.S. Open this weekend but his example is a great reminder for all of us about how honesty can truly bring us peace in life.

Jesus says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no.” Be sure of yourself, be honest and truthful, and live your life with those character traits being evident to all those around you. When people describe us may they say, “She is a woman of her word” or “He is a man of his word.”

Make it personal: As you go about this week think about the temptations that come from Satan about lying. When you sense them coming, ask Jesus to help you be honest even if you and Jesus are the only ones that know about it. In the long run this will allow you live a much more peaceful life.

Honesty, Have a great week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Let Go

Psalm 23

This Psalm is one of the most favorite scriptures in our Bibles. When we go through valleys and situations in our life it is a comfort for us to remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is our Shepherd. That he is there for us, cares for us, and will lead us through whatever we are going through.

Two years ago when I was in Israel I was reminded of this Psalm as we drove by many shepherds in the fields. Yes, this image still holds true today in the Israel. Young boys were out watching over the herd and staying close to them as they traveled across the countryside. It might not be as prominent today as it was in the time of David but it is still a part of many families daily lifestyle.

One thing that strikes us about the sheep is how they must trust the shepherd. If they go off on their own they lose the care and protection the shepherd provides. Sometimes we do that in life and it takes a certain circumstance to make us realize that we have taken over control of things instead of following Christ’s leading.

A story is told about a college student who once took some post cards and wrote letters on each card to spell out the phrase “L-E-T G-O-D” He put them up on his wall where he could see them each day. As his life went on he began to live life by his own preferences without giving God or his faith in Christ a second thought. He made decisions by holding on to his own ideas instead of praying about them and letting the Lord lead him.

One day as he went into his room he noticed that a breeze from his open window had blown one of the letters off of the wall. Interestingly enough it was the letter D. His cards now read “L-E-T G-O.” It was a quick reminder to him that he was the one in control and he was not allowing God to be the true shepherd of his life. He took this as a message that he was to let go of some things and allow God to carry out His will in his life.

The same can be true for us. We often like to be in control of things. It takes faith to let things go and trust that Jesus Christ, the good shepherd will lead us. Verse 1 of this Psalm says, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing.” Perhaps we need to put an “if” at the beginning of that verse to make us realize that we need to allow the Lord to be our shepherd instead of being our own. Things definitely will work out better that way.

Make it personal: Name a couple things in your life that you have been obsessed over. Are you trying to control those things? Have you given Jesus the opportunity to control them for you? He will guide you along the right paths for his name’s sake….. if you let him.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Wander to Wonder

Read: Isaiah 55

Two songs that our congregation loves to sing are found in Isaiah 55.  “All Who Are Thirsty” finds its inspiration in the first verses of this chapter and the words for “You Shall Go Out With Joy” come directly from verse 12.  It is a reminder for us of how our singing is not only to praise God but to remind us of his promises and provisions for us.

Creation is a marvelous thing.  It is beyond human comprehension of how nature truly works.  We can figure some of it out through science and chemistry but that still leaves many things that truly cannot be explained with an easy answer.  Sometimes it would do us good to wander out into nature with the sole purpose of praising God for the magnificence of this place he has given us to live.

Stuart K. Hine wrote the words that say it so well in the great hymn “How Great Thou Art.”  “O Lord, My God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the world Thy hands have made….”  When Jim Elliot was a missionary in the remote parts of the Ecuador Amazon River Basin he wrote a letter back to his wife that said these words,

“Amy Carmichael write of little joys, like flowers springing up by the path unnoticed except by those who are looking for them…. Little things like a quietly sinking sun, a friendly dog, a ready smile.  We sang a little song in kindergarten which I’ve never forgotten: “The world is so full of a number of things / I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.”  Simple, but such a devastating rebuke to the complaining heart.  I am impressed with the joy that is ours in Christ, so that heaven above and earth below become brighter and fairer.”

This Sunday our church is holding the worship service outside in a remote park with wooded trails, various birds, and animals of many types.  There probably will even be some insects, that’s a part of God’s creation I am still learning to appreciate.  But I plan to take it all in.  I plan to wander around in the woods, fellowship with God’s people, and just wonder “How did God do all of this.”

Verse 9 in this weeks scripture text says, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  That seems like a good thing to remember as we live in a world that tries to have an explanation for everything.  Some things do not require an explanation, they are there just for us to be amazed at what God has done, is doing, and will continue to do in our lives and in our world.

Make it personal:  Find an opportunity this week to wander somewhere.  As you do take time to praise God for the wonder of his magnificent creation.  Go out with joy, be led forth in peace, let the mountains and the hills burst into song before you, let the trees clap their hands, for Great is our God and greatly to be praised!

Have a great week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Prepared for Communion

Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-29

Most of us grew up with different traditions of observing the Lord’s Supper (Communion). Some observed it every Sunday during worship, others shared it once a month, and some shared it only once or twice a year. People have different perspectives and interpretations of scripture as to how often they should have communion and in what manner it should be done.

One thing that most Christians do agree on is how we are to approach this time. 1 Corinthians 11 gives us clear direction on the spirit, attitude, and humility in which we are to approach this time of remembering what Jesus has done for us and what it means for us each day. Apparently in the early Corinth church there were some who were abusing this time and using it for selfish reasons that were more about them than it was about Christ.

In verse 27 Paul says, “So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” He then says, “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat and drink from the cup.” The time leading up to communion should be a time of prayer, reflection, confession, repentance, and restoration.

Jesus himself taught the importance of fostering restored relationships among those who worship together. When he was giving the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 he said, “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the alter and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)

We may not be able to make everything right with every person, but Jesus wants us to work towards that as much as possible. Just because you forgive someone else does not mean they will grant you that same forgiveness and restore the broken relationship, even if that is your deepest desire. In some cases we need to ask for God’s forgiveness and rest in His assurance that we are forgiven, even if others refuse to forgive.

Please understand that you do not need to be perfect to partake in communion. That type of thought process often scares people away from one of the most restoring and incredible observances that Christ has given to us. The bread (body) and the cup (blood) are to represent what Jesus has done for us because we are not perfect. He paid the sacrifice for us so that we could be restored and renewed in him.

Yes, we should approach the table, altar, communion time, with humility and repentance, but it should not be a time for us to rehash the guilt and shame for our sinful past. It should be a time to celebrate what Jesus did for you because of his love and concern for you. Whether you share communion every Sunday or only once or twice a year, my prayer is that it would always be a serious time of reflection as well as a joyful time of celebrating your new life in Jesus Christ.

Make it personal: Spend some time in prayer this week and ask the Lord to reveal something new to you about communion. How might God want you to prepare for communion in the future? Is it different than what you had been doing in the past? Most of all ask the Lord to allow you to truly celebrate his love for you during that time.

Have a blessed week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Parents and Children

Read: Colossians 3:1-17

At some point in life children need to be allowed to make decisions without their parents hovering overhead. But in some cases, especially for those younger children in high school and below, parents need to be in tune with what is going on in their young child or teenagers life. This is a time of learning and growing and our children need us to help them navigate those dangerous waters.

The teenage years are very challenging, there is peer pressure, unfortunate bullying, the temptations of the internet and many other things. Our children need their parents to talk with them about these things and walk with them through the difficult choices that are made. All children will make bad decisions from time to time but how do parents handle them and will they use them as a time of learning and growing or just blow it off and say, “oh well, all the other kids are doing it.”

Colossians 3 gives us encouragement to get rid of things the bring death and defeat to our lives and instead put on things that bring life and the peace of Christ to us. Parents need to help their young children decipher those things and explain why the Bible gives us moral guidelines to live by. We also need to be aware of things that might be sneaking into our children’s lives. Smartphones and the internet are one of the ways that is happening.

In a recent blog post James Emery White wrote, “By definition, parenting is the mature leading and caring for the immature. The role of a parent is not to instantly affirm immature behavior, no matter how widespread it may be manifest in culture, but to “parent” the child in relation to those behaviors.” If you would like to read his entire blog (which has some other revealing statistics) you can read it here.

James Emery White Blog

As parents do we know what is going on in our children’s lives online? The ultimate goal is not to try to block everything (although I do think some blocks are healthy and needed) but to discuss with our kids why some things are not good, healthy, or Godly to be participating in. All parents will be faced with that time or those times when their child makes a bad decision, lets use it as an opportunity to teach them what Colossians 3 is saying to all of us.

In verse 10 it says, “Put on a new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” A good parent is one who is in touch with their child and talking with them about good and bad decisions. Yes, there is also a time to let go and trust that the Godly lessons you have taught them will guide them and lead them on their way.

Make it personal: The best thing you can do for your children is to pray for them. Every Day! The next thing you can do for them is provide them some healthy boundaries to help protect them from the many temptations that are everywhere in our world. If you have smartphones and the internet I would suggest looking into a parental control app or online software to help with that. With Iphones, Android, and other tablet platforms it is hard to find one that works on all of them. One that I have found that does cover all the different platforms is called Qustodio. You can find their app on your smartphone or visit their website at www.qustodio.com to learn more. But remember, the most important thing is to pray for your children and talk with them!

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Guard Your Heart

Read: Proverbs 4

Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll once said, “Wisdom is the ability to see with discernment, to view life as God perceives it.”  Someone has also said, “Wisdom is the ability to apply biblical truths to all life situations.” In Proverbs 1:7 it says, “Respect and obey the Lord! This is the beginning of knowledge. Only a fool rejects wisdom and good advice.” (CEV)

Mother’s Day is upon us and very soon Father’s Day will be here as well. That had me thinking about all of those famous sayings that our parents told us when we were growing up. Many of them are sayings we still repeat today as adults. Sayings like, “Money doesn’t grow on tree’s you know,” “Hold your horses,” or “You’re not made of sugar, you won’t melt.” Probably the most popular of all was… “When I was your age I had to walk (10+) miles to school in all kinds of weather.”

Along with those fairly generic sayings there will also some very wise things that helped us make good decisions and stay on the right path. Things like “Make the hard stuff the fun stuff, don’t complain, embrace the challenge,” or “guard your heart, because everything you do flows from it.” Oh wait, that last one is from the Bible.

The book of Proverbs is full of these wise sayings, many of them are spoken from a parent to a child. They impart wisdom that help us to succeed in life and most importantly help us to stay within God’s will. Proverbs 4 is just the start of those, verse one begins by saying, “My child, listen closely…” and then goes on for chapters describing how to gain wisdom, understanding, and knowledge about Godly living.

In Proverbs 31 we read of the things that King Lemuel’s mother speaks to him about, this chapter is often one that is used around Mother’s Day but it is seldom presented as words coming from a mother to a son. When we read them in that way it perhaps changes our perspective a bit. These are things that this mother wants to impart to her son.

These Proverbs are not just for children though. They hold many truths that we need to hear and be reminded of as adults. Chapter 5 talks about being faithful to your spouse; chapter 11 encourages us to watch what we say and do; chapter 15 reminds us that the Lord sees even the things done in secret; chapter 19 encourages us to be patient. The wisdom seems to be endless in this wonderful book of the Bible.

Proverbs has 31 chapters, this means that you can read one chapter each day of the month (at least on some months). Not only will you be directed in wisdom and understanding but you will be reminded of the Godly life that the Lord desires for you to live. I don’t know about you but I find that I often need those reminders. When temptations come we need to have these words of wisdom at our side, on our lips, and in our minds. Then we need to apply them.

Make it personal: Are you struggling with something right now? A decision, a wrong attitude, a hardship, or a conflicted relationship? Reading a Proverb a day would allow God’s Word to speak into those situations and provide you with the Godly wisdom to move forward. Today is a good day to get started!

Have a blessed week filled with God’s wisdom,

Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church

Reflection Archives