Midweek Reflections

How To Avoid Temptation

Read: Hebrews 2:5-18

Have you ever struggled with temptation?  Have you ever struggled with trying to break a bad habit that you know is unhealthy?  Portia Nelson has written a very short and interesting piece entitled “Autobiography in Five Short Chapters.”  It reads like this;

Chapter 1 – I walk down the street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I fall in.  I am lost… I am helpless.  It isn’t my fault.  It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2 – I walk down the same street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I pretend I don’t see it.  I fall in again.  I can’t believe I am in the same place, but it isn’t my fault.  It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3 – I walk down the same street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I see it is there.  I still fall in… it’s a habit.  My eyes are open.  I know where I am.  It is my fault.  I get out immediately.
Chapter 4 – I walk down the same street.  There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.  I walk around it.  Chapter 5 – I walk down another street.

My guess is that many of us can relate with this autobiography.  There are times that we have been down that same street.  Times that we have failed to admit our fault, and times that we have made the choice to not avoid that street in the first place.  But as the old adage goes, we can learn from our mistakes.  Chapter 4 and 5 are a great example of that.  As followers of Jesus we can also be forgiven of our mistakes by the grace of Christ.

Make It Personal:  I’m not sure what street you have been down in your life or what street you struggle with, but I do know this:  Jesus Christ is the way out!  If you admit your mistake, your sin, or your giving into temptation, Jesus is there ready to forgive you.  Not only will Jesus forgive you and help you out of the deep hole, He can also help you resist that street, that habit, that temptation, in the future.  He knows what you’re going through.  In Hebrews 2:18 it says, “He himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”  Call out to Jesus.  Help is on the way!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving,  Glen Rhodes  

Purpose Beyond Profit

Read: Colossians 1:15-23

The title for my reflection this week was taken from an article in Time magazine written by Marc Benioff.  Marc was writing about Colin Powell who recently passed away.  The impact that Mr. Powell left on many people was profound and encouraging on many different fronts.  He was a Christian and often empowered people to live for God and serve others instead of self.  He encouraged business leaders to put purpose and people ahead of success and profit.

At a business summit in Philadelphia some years back Colin Powell said, “This is a time for each every one of us to look into our own heart, to look into our own community, find someone who is in need, find someone who is wanting, find someone who is looking up to us, and for each and every one of us to reach down, to reach back, to reach across, to lift up a fellow American and put him on the road to success in this wonderful country of ours.”  Benioff also mentioned that at that summit Powell told the people that business could do more than simply make money.  That they could be a force for good and a platform for change.

As Christians and as followers of Jesus we are encouraged to fulfill our purpose in life as believers.  In Colossians 1 Paul is proclaiming the supremacy of Christ and is imploring us to give and serve with that purpose in mind instead of our own personal needs or gain.  Our purpose in life is not self-focused but is to be God-focused.  This in turn means that we are also focused on others and how we can make a difference in this world for Christ.  In verse 18 Paul writes, “He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy.” 

Make It Personal:  Colin Powell and many others are great examples of what it means to have a servants heart.  A servants heart is where we find purpose in this life.  Purpose will always make you feel better in life than any profit or material things you can gain in this world.  Let’s go out into the world and fulfill the purpose that God has placed on our lives.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes  

I Can’t Help It!

Read: Mark 10:46

I love it when something negative can be turned into something positive.  I thought about that this week when I heard someone use the phrase “I can’t help it!”  Most of the time that phrase is used when someone is speaking of a habit or a negative thing that they can stop doing.  But what if we used it when we think of positive things like….

  • I can’t help it, I just like living with an attitude of prayer all the time.
  • I can’t help it, I love praising God for his creation and goodness.
  • I can’t help it, I just naturally look for the good in other people.
  • I can’t help it, I just can’t turn down an opportunity to help someone.
  • I can’t help it, I will always put God first in my life over everything else.
  • I can’t help it, I just love to tell others about the salvation found in Jesus Christ.

I think you get the idea.  If you could add a couple more to this list what would you say?  There is so much negative that we are exposed to each day that it often tempts us to think in those same negative ways.  What if we turned the tables?  How about we start thinking about the good things, the blessings, and the goodness of God.

In Mark 10 we read the story of Bartimaeus the blind beggar from Jericho.  When he heard that Jesus was near by he began to shout and ask Jesus to have mercy on him.  Others told him to be quiet but he couldn’t help but continue to call out to one who could have mercy on him. Jesus heard his cry for help and healed him right there on the spot.  After that the formerly blind beggar that could now see started to follow Jesus.  Why?  He couldn’t help but do anything else.  

Make It Personal:  When was the last time you used the phrase “I can’t help it?”  In what manner did you use it?  Think about how that phrase and perhaps others that could be turned around and used in a positive way in the future.  Where this is darkness, spread light!

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes  

For Such A Time As This

Read: Esther 4

When many Christians hear the phrase “For Such A Time As This” they immediately think of the story of Esther.  Why?  Because Esther 4:14 in the Bible is where this phrase comes from.  God called Esther and placed Esther in a position as Queen to help save her people and save a nation.  Did you know that no name, title, or pronoun for God is used in the ten chapters of Esther?  However, God’s sovereign hand and presence is clear throughout this wonderful story in scripture.

Why is this phrase so well known?  I think it’s because it is a testimony to how God works in our world and in our lives.  When the time is right and the call is there we need to respond with willing hearts and commitment to God’s kingdom in this world.  Circumstances don’t usually just happen by chance, often times they point to God’s hand in our day to day lives.

Esther stepped up and made a difference when that time came in her life.  What about us?  How is God arranging things in your life to make a difference, be the difference, or start something new?  Verse 14 of chapter 4 proclaims that God will find a way with or without our participation, but it is always crucial for us to step up and be counted when we are called upon.

Make It Personal:  How does this phrase relate or speak to you right now about your life?  “You have come to this place and time and have been called in this way for such a time as this.”  Be sure to step up and step into whatever God is doing in your life right now.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes  

So Small To So Big

Read: Matthew 13:31-35

Many people know about the large California Redwood trees.  Some of them are over 3,500 years old and grow to be over 200 feet tall.  The tallest one currently is 274 feet tall and has a diameter of 57 feet.  It’s name: “General Sherman.” The General is by volume the largest known living single-stem tree on earth.  These trees are amazing in many ways.  Imagine the fact that some of these trees in California began growing 1,500 years before Jesus Christ walked on the earth.  Truly Amazing!

Here is another amazing fact from The Sequoia National Forest.  The size of the sequoias that are being planted today are no bigger than a very small twig you would find in your yard after a wind storm.  It’s amazing to think that with time, patience, and care this small twig could someday become a mighty Redwood tree that people would drive thousands of miles to see.

That’s also a great way to view our lives.  As we journey though life God wants us to be planting small seeds in other’s lives that can grow to produce large things for God’s Kingdom.  Many times we feel like it needs to make a huge impact right from the start to be a success, but in God’s view a small seed or small twig that is planted can someday develop into a wonderful thing.  Jesus talks about this in Matthew 13 when he shares the parable of the mustard seed.  He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)

Make It Personal:  Remember this, the investment you make for God into someone’s life could develop into something so much bigger than you can imagine now.  It might be a child, or grandchild.  It might be a friend or co-worker.  It might be something that will develop in your own life.  Gather up the twigs and start planting!

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

God’s Chosen People

Read: Colossians 3:12-17

As I have read the headlines recently I have noticed a trend.  One of them asked a question, “Why Is Everyone So Rude Right Now?”  News stories recently have documented how airplane passengers, restaurant patrons, school board meetings, and many other places have seen an increase in people getting bent out of shape and even violent over various situations.  Yes, it’s been a tough couple of years, but we must not lose our sanity or our patience with each other.

This holds especially true for those of us who are followers of Jesus. The apostle Paul says it so well in Colossians 3 when he says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

This encouragement does not mean that we cannot speak up when something needs to be said.  It just reminds us that how we speak and how we react is very important.  As Paul says, we need to let love lead the way.  Kindness, compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience are how we are to respond to challenges on this earth as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.  That includes those things and people we might disagree with as well.

Make It Personal:  How often do you get bent out of shape over things going on in your life, in our country, or in the world?  How do you handle yourself during those times?  We need to be careful to remember the encouragement of God to let love lead the way as we react to those things.  We must let the love, kindness, and humility of Jesus lead our way.

Have a wonderful week,  Glen Rhodes 

Reflection Archives