Midweek Reflections

Christ’s Closet: Kindness

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10

A couple weeks ago I shared about the Colossians 3:12-17 passage in which Paul talks about the various things we are to “put on” or “clothe” ourselves with. The first one was compassion, and the one following that is kindness. As you walk out of your home each morning this week are you putting on kindness?

William Penn once said, “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow-being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”

This quote is a wonderful reminder that each day we live is one less day we have to be kind to someone else. Why would we want to fill it with being hateful, crude, demanding, and inconsiderate? Sometimes our uncontrolled anger takes us to those lowly places and nobody ever feels good about it afterward.

A spirit of kindness and consideration can go so far in blessing someone and making their day better. Jesus gives us so many examples of that in the gospels. His heart is full of kindness and his compassions never fail those in need.

I heard a story one time about Gandhi when he was boarding a train in India and one of his shoes slipped off. He was unable to retrieve it and so he took the other shoe off and threw it alongside the other one. When a fellow traveler saw this and asked him why he did that, Gandhi smiled and said, “the poor man who finds the shoe lying on the track will now have a pair he can use.”

In Colossians 3:12 Paul said, “clothe yourselves with kindness.” In other words, put it on with the rest of your wardrobe as you head out into the world each day. Put others before yourself. In Ephesians 2:7 he reminds us that this type of kindness has been shown to us through Christ Jesus.

Are we showing it to others? Kindness? Or are we letting anger, revenge, and discontent be the clothing that others see? Jesus has healed so many people and that kindness is what he wants to see in our daily lives as we interact with others.

Make it personal: As you pick out your shoes to wear this week think of Jesus and his kindness, think of what Gandhi did with his shoes, and then decide to walk in kindness toward those whom God will place in your path.

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



A Vote with Confidence

Read: Ephesians 3:14-21

I recently wrote an article for our local newspaper which comes out this week. Since the election is next week I thought I would share that in my midweek meditation this week. Here it is……

Next Tuesday our country will be having a Presidential election in case you haven’t heard by now. Many of us will be glad when all of the ads, emails, and facebook posts about the election finally calm down and allow our blood pressure to level out. But as Christians in a free country we should be thankful that we have the privilege to vote, even if it doesn’t always turn out the way we had hoped for.

I recently read how many things in history would have been different if it had not been for just one vote. One vote made Oliver Cromwell Lord Protector of the Commonwealth and gave him control of England in 1645. One vote caused Charles I to be executed in 1649. One vote kept Aaron Burr – later charged with treason – from becoming President in 1800. One vote elected Marcus Morton governor of Massachusetts in 1839. One vote made Texas part of the United States in 1845. One vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment in 1868, and one vote made Adolf Hitler head of the Nazi Party in 1923. Despite your passion or lack of it for politics it is important to exercise your right and your freedom to vote next Tuesday. Many people in the world still wish that they had that freedom.

With that said, we must also keep things in perspective. God is still in control no matter who wins any of the elections! In Ephesians 3:20-21 the apostle Paul reminds us of this when he writes, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

God is the one who can do what is immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, and it is to him that we should pray and make our hopes and desires known! When we vote it should be bathed in prayer, in our faith, in God’s Word, and in the example that Jesus taught in the New Testament. That way when we leave the voting booth we can be confident that despite the “choice of the people” our choice as Christians will always be to proclaim that God is in control and Jesus is Lord.

The prophet Jeremiah gives us great council in the Old Testament when it comes to these types of things. He was remembering the big picture as he saw Jerusalem under attack and the people being exiled. He says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) And to that we can all say, Amen!

Make it personal: First of all, get out and vote next Tuesday in the way that you feel God leading you to vote. Second, place your trust in him, that no matter what the results he is still in control. Third, pray for our leaders, our country and all the people of our world. Pray for peace, justice, and love to reign supreme.

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



Spiritual Clothing: Compassion

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

Each morning when we awake we head to the closet to figure out what we are going to wear for the day ahead. For some people this can be a short and easy process and for others it can be quite long and drawn out. Other factors like weather, schedule, and activities also factor into that decision.

In this third chapter of Colossians Paul is encouraging us to think about a different type of clothing. One that is more about who we are than what we look like on the outside. He says that “as God’s chosen people” we are to carry ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

This week I would like to write a little about the first one (compassion) and in the weeks ahead I will touch on these other spiritual characteristics that are good and healthy for the Christian to put on each and every day.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “If we could only read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Truly, compassion is one of the most powerful ways to diffuse so much of the hatred and bitterness in our world.

It’s amazing to look at the life of Jesus and see how this was so true. In the story of the woman who was caught in adultery (John 8) Jesus uses compassion to make those about to stone her think about their own life and their own situation. Is this how they would want to be treated if they were in her fallen state?

Jesus picked her up and sent her off by saying, “Go now and leave your life of sin.” As we interact with people throughout our day we encounter all kinds of attitudes, failures, and missteps. It is often easy to be judgmental and course in our responses, but our Christian life in Christ should remind us to put on compassion and put ourselves in their shoes.

We often don’t know what people are going through when they act in a certain way that may offend us or hurt us. But maybe a compassionate response is just what they need to turn their day around or perhaps it will allow them to open up and share what is weighing on their heart that day.

Paul is basically encouraging us to be like the one we follow in Jesus Christ. Put on compassion as you walk out the door this week and allow it to be your ministry.

Make it personal: Pray each and every morning that Jesus would help you to be a compassionate and caring person that day to the people he puts in your path. They just might see Jesus in your response.

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



Up Yonder

Read: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

This past week it was pretty incredible to see Austrian sky jumper Felix Baumgartner amaze the world when he went supersonic during a record-smashing 24-mile skydive above the New Mexico desert. But I have a feeling it will be even more amazing to go the other way.

In verse 17 of this passage it says, “We who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” What a glorious day that will be for those who are ready!

When I was growing up in church one of my favorite hymns was “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” It doesn’t get sung as much these days but it still holds a wonderful reminder for us of this promise in 1 Thessalonians 4.

The first verse of the hymn goes like this…..
“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more, and the morning breaks eternal, bright and fair, when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, and the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”

In this passage this week Paul is reminding us about the coming of the Lord. He reminds us that there is hope beyond the grave for those who believe in Jesus and have received him as the Lord of their life. As the song says, “the saved of earth shall gather.”

What a reassuring promise that someday either our life on this earth will turn into our life in eternity with Jesus or he may just return to take us before that. The truth is we don’t know when our last day on earth will be and we don’t know when Jesus will come again.

But the promise of eternal life in heaven is what gives believers hope for the here and now. In verse 18 Paul says, “encourage each other with these words.” We are to remind each other of this wonderful hope when things are tough and the world seems to be caving in around us.

Let’s do that for each other, and let’s be sure that we are ready when that roll is called up yonder. I hope we all can make the proclamation that this hymn makes. “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there!”

Make it personal: If someone were to ask you what your favorite hymn is what would you say? Think about that and then think about how that hymn or those hymns or songs give testimony to your hope and the promises of Jesus.

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



Committed

Read: Psalm 63

It seems like I have been bombarded with statistics lately. Maybe it is the election season we are in or maybe there is a renewed fascination with surveys. But whatever the reason, many of the stats I have come across have been very interesting, especially those relating to Christian Discipleship.

Survey after survey is finding that Christians who are fully committed to Christ, their faith, their church, and the Word of God are more fulfilled, happy, tend to find more purpose and strength in their lives and families. While this is not a news flash, it is a reminder about how important our commitment to God is and how it drastically affects our lives.

In Psalm 63 David is proclaiming that. “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.” Does that sound like the kind of commitment we are showing to God?

The rest of that Psalm goes on to proclaim that God will help us through the good times and the difficult times if we are committed to his upholding hand. In verse 5 David says, “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.”

It’s easy to say that we are Christians and followers of Christ, but is our life committed to Jesus in a way that it is obvious to others without us even telling them? Does that commitment proclaim, “You, God, are my God!”?

The Bible says that even Christians will have difficult things to work through in their lives, yet those who show great commitment to the ways of God are often given extra strength to work through those and come out even stronger on the other end.

I may not know what you are celebrating this week or what you are struggling with, but Jesus knows, and he wants to help those who proclaim him as the Lord of their lives. May we all make that renewed commitment to Christ this week!

Make it personal: Commitment usually has to start somewhere. Choose something this week that will help you strengthen your thirsting and seeking after God. Hopefully that one thing will lead to many others.

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



The Great Debate

Read: Romans 10:1-13

I am sure many of you have heard about the big Presidential debate that is taking place tonight in Denver at 8 pm Central time. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will debate the many issues, challenges, and hopes that face our country and the future of the United States.

It’s called a debate because most likely (or surely) the two candidates will disagree on most points that are raised. Why else would they show up in Denver, they are not interested in what they might agree on, they are interested in what makes them more electable than the other.

Romans 13 is a reminder for Christians and followers of Jesus Christ that there is no debate on our salvation in Christ. Verse 13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” We don’t have to debate it or wonder about it, we can be sure!

A story is told about a time when Vice-President Calvin Coolidge was presiding over the Senate, one senator angrily told another to go “straight to hell.” The offended Senator complained to Coolidge as presiding officer, and Coolidge looked up from the book he had been leafing through while listening to the debate and wittily replied. “I’ve looked through the rule book,” he said, “You don’t have to go.”

Praise the Lord that we have been saved. The Bible is clear that God sent his Son Jesus to the earth to provide this salvation and this gift for all of those who repent of their sins and proclaim Jesus as the Lord of their lives. This great debate is not even a debate, it is settled!

As the politicians go about their final weeks leading up to the election we will hear many promises. Many of us will be suspicious as to if those promises will ever come to pass. But there is a promise that is true and everlasting, and that is found in Romans 10 and throughout our Bibles. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”

Make it personal: If you watch the debate tonight try to imagine them being asked the question, “What is the one true hope that you have for the people of this country.” As Christians how would we answer that? It probably would be different than how they would answer it tonight.

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




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