Midweek Reflections

This is Love!

Read: 1 John 4:7-21

The word “love” gets used in many different ways, but 1 John 4 has what we might call the “root word” of love. Verse 10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

John goes on to say that it is this love that inspires, encourages, and empowers us to love others in the same way. I think we would all agree that there are times in our lives when it is not so easy to love others. They wrong us, they gossip about us, and they do numerous other things that are far from what we might consider love.

When we face those times, we need to stop and think about what God has done for us. There are times that we are disobedient toward God, there are times we sin and times in which we choose other things over the things of Christ. And yet, this passage reminds us that God’s love in and through Jesus Christ is grace filled and forgiving to us.

Why do we love? Because God first loved us and showed us the recipe, the pattern, the road, to loving others in the way that he loves us, forgives us, and restores us. Verse 20 says it very clearly, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates his brother or sister is a liar.”

Let’s focus on God’s love for us today through Jesus Christ. Let’s allow that focus to be the pattern of how we treat others and life in general. Perfect love drives out all fear, and much more than that. This is true love, let’s live it!

Make it personal: Try to think of someone that has been hard to love recently. Think about this passage and the way that Christ has shown you love. Take time to pray to Christ and ask him to help you love this other person in the same way that he loves you. If everyone practiced this we would live in a much better world!

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minster of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

I Will

Read: Genesis 12 and Hebrews 11:8-10

In Genesis 12 when Abram is called by God to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household he is not told where it is he is going. But God does make promises to him. God says, “I Will” do these things for you if you have faith and follow my leading.

What are those promises? Verses 2 and 3 say, “I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, I will bless those who bless you, and then it also says that the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

If you read on in Genesis you understand that Abram had many opportunities to doubt those promises. Things did not always work out as he thought they should. Some things did not make any sense. (Sound familiar?) How was Sarai going to bear children at her old age? The truth is, Abram had many opportunities to fear and doubt what God was promising.

Perhaps we have been in his shoes? I’m sure we have all been through times like that. But the promises continue to come. In Genesis 15 the Lord once again says, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Several verses later it says, “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.”

When we get to Hebrews 11 in the New Testament we see that Abraham’s trust and faith in God led him to receive all that God had promised to him. The same can be true for us when we believe that God will come through for us. This Sunday I am preaching a message from 1 Kings 18 which has another great example of that.

I appreciate what pastor Ron Adams writes in today’s Rejoice devotional and I wanted to share it with you. He writes, “We may sometimes feel lost along the way. We may wonder if we’re ever going to arrive. In those moments let’s remember our ancestor Abraham. He did not know where he was going. He did not know how to get there. But he knew that the One calling him onward was with him, and was faithful. The One calling us onward is with us, and is faithful.”

I hope Ron’s words of encouragement were as uplifting for you this week as they were for me. When things get tough, when things look bleak, God’s Word always has an example of why we should not despair. God Will Deliver Us! His Son Jesus Christ has already delivered us from sin and despair, the other stuff should be no problem.

Make it personal: Take time to pray right now. Reconfirm your faith and your trust to God. Speak of the things that are weighing heavy on you right now and then have faith that Jesus Christ will see you through it all.

Have a faith filled week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

She was… He was…

Read: Psalm 103

What kind of Legacy will we leave when our lives on this earth
are over and we enter into eternity? It’s a question that we
all want to think about, but how often do we think about it as
we are making daily decisions? Too often one bad decision
leads to another, and another, and you get the point.

The flip side of that however is that good Godly decisions can
also compound. Not only do they compound in our own lives but
they tend to leave that positive legacy that we desire. At
your funeral or memorial service how do you want people to
think about you? When they complete the sentence “She was…”
or “He was…” what will those periods stand for?

Two stories in the news this week give us examples of the good
and the bad. Let’s start with the bad and end with the good.
Perhaps you have heard about the children of a lady in Reno,
Nevada who wrote a very sad and disheartening obituary for
their mother this past month. It was published in the paper,
online, and has since gone viral on the internet.

The obituary speaks only of the bad this lady left for her
legacy. It speaks of abuse, hatred, abandonment, and much
more. It’s hard to read! It’s hard to imagine that this
woman is now gone and this is the legacy that is left. I
didn’t know her, I don’t know her children, but it saddens me
to think that this is all they could think of when writing her

The good story comes from the sports world. I have never been
a fan of the New York Yankees. I don’t like the word “hate”
so I will just say that I have very much “disliked” the
Yankees for a long time. But their closer Mariano Rivera I
have long been a fan of.

Rivera is retiring from baseball this year, possibly this
week, after a stellar 23 year career. He is been lights out
on the baseball field but his legacy as a player and a person
is going to outlast his career by far. In a recent Sports
Illustrated article written by Tom Verducci, 17 former
coaches, players, and friends shared seven pages about the
legacy that he has created.

One co-worker commented, “Most of us have deployed all of our
attention to ourselves and to our own needs, with little left
over for the needs of others. Mo has a presence that creates
an atmosphere of teamwork, of an impossibly high regard for
the integrity and worth of the people around him.”

In Psalm 103 David encourages us to think about our legacy
from generation to generation. It’s a daily thing, not
something that only gets thought of at the end of our lives
here on earth. Each day affords us the opportunity to leave a
Godly legacy.

Make it personal: God’s grace and forgiveness is available to
anyone who feels like they have failed at this endeavor of
legacy. If you are still breathing it’s not too late to seek
that grace and create the new and improved legacy that you
desire. Start Today and seek God’s help!

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

Take it Away!

Read: James 4:1-12

This past week I was listening to Christian Radio and I heard a newer song by Toby Mac entitled “Steal My Show.” The words are about Toby inviting God into his concerts. The words to the first verse go like this….

“Another cold night, Another Late Flight, It’s almost show time, and diverse city is waitin’ on me. We got a packed house, the crowd is callin’ out, They want the beat to drop, but what we really need is you
If you wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch you go
If you got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need you to steal my show, can’t wait to watch you go-o-o-o
So take it away”

That attitude is what James is encouraging in all of our lives. In chapter 4 he says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God… Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Do we do that? Do we do it often enough? Imagine the difference it can make when we face a tough day, a difficult circumstance, or a time of confusion.

I remember watching T.V. shows in the past where the Master of Ceremonies introduces the main act. When it is time for them to come on stage the MC will say, “Take it Away!” You see, Jesus wants to do that for us, he wants to step into our life and everything that comes along with our life, but we have to give up the control and invite him in.

Perhaps that is a good approach to take this week with whatever you happen to be dealing with. God wants to be a part of everything we are a part of. Work, school, family, you name it, he would like to be a part of it.

In the last verse of Toby’s song he mentions that. He sings…
“Every day we can chose to say
(Chorus)My Life, my friends, my heart, It’s all yours, God, take it away, my dreams, my fears, my family, my career, take it away, It’s all yours, God. Take it away, take it away, It’s you I wanna live for.”

Are we ready to say that to Christ? It’s all yours! If we do we will realize how much lighter our lives become. With Almighty God at our right hand we not only have a wise and compassionate friend, we have the one who created us, the one who is ready to be the main attraction in our life again.

Make it personal: Pick one of those things in Toby’s last verse above and decide to commit it to the Lord this week. Say a prayer and specifically ask the Lord to take it and run with it. He can do more than you could ever ask or imagine!

Have a great week everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

Praying for the Persecuted

Read: 2 Timothy 3:10-17

The Apostle Paul was very familiar with persecution. Everywhere he went in what is today Turkey, Greece, and Israel, he ran into people who were trying to stop the spread of the Gospel message of Jesus. The interesting thing about Paul is that before Jesus transformed his life he was the one who was trying to persecute and kill the followers of Jesus.

In this passage of scripture Paul realizes that following Jesus will usually bring about some form of persecution. For many of us in the U.S. it is hard to imagine what Paul or some others in the world today suffer for their simple proclamation of faith.

I have recently read of Christians in Syria being persecuted during the ongoing civil war there. In fact, one town that is heavily Christian and still speaks the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke has recently been attacked time and time again by both sides in the conflict.

I have heard about numerous Christians in Nigeria that continue to have their churches burned and houses raided. Many Christians in Iraq have fled since the U.S. invasion because of being persecuted for their faith. Some in Iran continue to be imprisoned for their faith in Christ.

At times it seems like there is little we can do when radical governments and other radical groups choose to persecute people because they disagree with their beliefs. It is probably hard for us to truly understand what some of these Christians deal with on a daily basis.

But we can pray! We can pray for their release, their stamina, their courage, and their deliverance from what we often take for granted in parts of the world that have freedom from these kind of things. Let’s pray together that the Lord will protect them, but most of all that they will remain strong in their faith. Someday we will all be free from the evil and persecution of this world.

Make it personal: Go online or to youtube this week to read and watch stories about how some people around the world are being persecuted for their faith. Stories about this are easy to find and will encourage you to be a prayer warrior for many people around the world.

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

Get Wisdom

Read: Proverbs 4

People spend a lot of money these days to get an education. College education’s continue to rise in price and students continue to go into debt in order to attain their degree’s. Learning and gaining knowledge is always a good thing. But too often people seek worldly knowledge while allowing Godly knowledge to take a back seat.

Proverbs is a book in the Bible in which Solomon shares the importance of gaining wisdom and knowledge from above. In the entire 4th Proverb he does not mention God once, and yet if you go back to Proverbs 1 you realize that all of his Proverbs assume that Godly wisdom is the most important.

In Proverbs 1:7 he says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” All of Proverbs confirms the wisdom and guidance of God throughout the Bible. Solomon is speaking as a father speaks to his son whom he cares about deeply.

We are truly blessed to have God’s Word passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. No other book is like it in age or in its power to transform life. We would do well to read it, study it, apply it, and allow it to shape us into wise Godly followers of Jesus Christ.

Bill Gothard once said, “Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view.” Vance Havner once noted that many college professors are searching for wisdom while the janitors that clean their offices may have discovered it years ago.

That is a testimony that this wisdom that comes from God is for all people and sometimes we would do good to see that wisdom in people whom the world may overlook. I recently read a book entitled “Lead, For God’s Sake” by Todd Gongwer, in which the janitor of the school shared his Godly wisdom on leadership with the struggling and frustrated high school basketball coach.

That was his calling and ministry, not only to be the janitor of the school but to help lead others to find God’s will and God’s direction for their life. Proverbs is only the beginning of this heavenly wisdom. I hope you will find time in your busy schedules to seek out the true wisdom of God in his word. It’s free and it’s more valuable in life than all of the wisdom we go into debt to attain.

Make it personal: Did you know that there are 31 Proverbs? That means that you can read one Proverb each day and finish the book in a month. Get Wisdom!

Have a great week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church

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