Midweek Reflections

“Love and Marriage”

This Weeks Meditation: “Love and Marriage” 
Read: Ephesians 5:21-33 

This passage in Ephesians often gets a lot of attention because of one word. That word is “submit.” It’s a word that is not liked very much in a world that often seeks out self before anything or anyone else. When we think about the covenant of marriage and this scripture passage we realize that this is more about love than it is about power.

Paul is encouraging couples to look out for the other spouse before we fulfill our own desires. Husbands are to love their wives in this way, wives are to love their husbands in this way. If we truly make that our goal then imagine how loving and healthy our marriages can be.

In fact Paul mentions that we are to love each other (spouses) just as Christ loved the church, and then he reminds us that Christ gave himself up for the church. In verse 33 he ends by saying “Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”

Love and respect for each other is a two-way street. I recently read an article by Justin and Trisha Davis who started RefineUs ministries after they went through a victorious battle for their own marriage and family. They shared these helpful tips on how to put the other spouse before yourself as this passage encourages us to do.
1. Your preference is more important than my preference.
2. Your desires more important than my desires.
3. Your wishes more important than my wishes.
4. You being right is more important than me being right.
5. You are more important than me.

They ended that list by saying, “God’s desire is that both people in a marriage make the other person more important than themselves.” That really is what Paul is encouraging us to do in this passage. It’s not always easy when we have the world and our sinful nature telling us to please ourselves, but Christ can help us nurture this attitude if we submit our life to him. His example can inspire us all to put others before ourselves, especially our spouse.

Make it personal: What are some ways that you can practice this in your marriage this week? Sometimes it is the little things that communicate this love just as much as the big things. Try doing them both (Big and small) but be sure to start somewhere.

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



“Culture of Virtue”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Culture of Virtue”
Read: Psalm 37:1-11

This Psalm of David contrasts the righteous with the wicked.
He talks about how those who do the right thing will find
peace and safe pasture while those who practice deceit and
wrong will be cut off.  Sometimes in our world it doesn’t feel
like that is the way it works, but in the long run it really
is.

While some may prosper from doing wrong in the short term it
eventually will catch up with them as time passes.  We often
see numerous examples of that in the news.  But even until it
catches up to them it will fester within them because they
know of their wicked schemes even if no one else does.

These verses in Psalm 37 are a reminder that righteous ways
bring about peace and ultimately the desires of our heart.
As we see many in our culture continue to choose wrongful ways
in politics, business, and even personal matters, we need to
remember that “peace” comes through doing things the right
way.  Peace of mind and a peace in our hearts.

God’s Word holds those virtues up for us.  It reminds us of
the culture of virtue that we as Christ followers are called
to cultivate.  Chuck Colson recently wrote, “Free societies
and the free market cannot flourish in the face of rampant
corruption. We must re-build a culture of virtue at every
level of public life if we are to survive.”

Christians, it must begin with us!  We must live our lives in
a way that rejects the temptations of sin and corruption and
place our lives and decisions in the ways of God.  Like with
many other things, one person can’t change the world.  But if
one sets an example many others may follow.  One spark is all
it takes to light the fire.

Let’s enjoy a life of peace and fulfillment by living out the
virtues found in God’s Word.  Let’s be the start of a new
culture of virtue that can displace the culture of corruption
that we hear about on the news each week.  Our families need
it, our cities need it, our country needs it, and our world
needs it!

Make it personal:  Perhaps during this season of Lent we can
think about what virtues we need to be cultivating in our own
lives.  If we dedicate those to Christ then we can be an
example for others to follow.  What do we need to repent of in
order to realize this peace that David talks about in verse
11?

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



“Silence as Wisdom”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Silence as Wisdom”
Read: Job 13:1-5; Proverbs 10:19, 17:28

So often it is a temptation to just “say what is on our mind.”  In some cases this can be a good thing, it’s important to speak truth, share wisdom, and to impart common sense.  But there are also times it serves us better to just be silent.

When Job’s friends in the Old Testament first came to him after his tragedies they simply grieved with him in silence. Then when they tried tell Job the reasons for his heartbreak they started to share their own opinions.  In Job 13:15 Job says, “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.”

In Proverbs, Psalms, and other places in scripture we are reminded that silence is often a good thing.  Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”  Perhaps we should take these verses to heart the next time we are ready to impart our voice.

It is often said that the best thing we can do for people who are hurting is just to be there for them and not necessarily try to say many words.  Sometimes the presence of a person or the presence of a moment can speak louder than what we might say.

I recently read an interview with Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully in which he described a historic sporting event that he was broadcasting.  He said that when Hank Aaron hit his record breaking 715th homerun in 1974 he actually took his headset off and walked around the pressbox so that his words would not spoil the historic moment and the noise of the crowd.

He stayed away from the mic for a whole minute and forty seconds before continuing.  He said, “I gathered my thoughts so that I could say something intelligible when I returned.”  Perhaps that’s a good habit for all of us to try.

In moments of silence there is power.  Power for God to speak, power for us to receive wisdom, power for human connection, and power to accept peace in a very busy and hurried world.  Yes, it is a blessing to be able to speak, but it can also be a blessing to cultivate silence.  May the Lord give us restraint to listen, courage to speak, and the wisdom of when to use them both.

Make it personal:  If you struggle with sharing your opinion too quickly or speaking more than listening, try using Vin Scully’s approach.  Build in a minute or two buffer in which you ask Christ what should be spoken and what should be left silent.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Lent Begins”

This Weeks Meditation  “Lent Begins”
Read: Matthew 4:1-11

Today is Ash Wednesday.  It is the day which signifies the
beginning of the Lenton season.  This particular day and
season has been observed for centuries by Protestants and
Catholics and has taken on various meanings throughout
Christendom.

The main focus of this day and this season is to refocus.
Before the beginning of his earthly ministry Jesus spent 40
days in the wilderness fasting and being tempted by Satan
(Matthew 4:1-11).  This time of temptation provided Jesus the
opportunity to proclaim what his ministry would consist of.
God’s Word and God’s Power!  He used those to deflate Satan’s
temptations.

Lent is a time for us to consider our own ministry and our own
calling as a disciple of Christ.  We often hear about people
giving something up for the season of Lent.  This can
sometimes be helpful to help us practice the example of
fasting and praying, but even more important is a sincere
desire for spiritual renewal with Jesus.

In our lives we are often asked to sign things as proof that
we agree to a certain premise.  It can often mean the simple
declaration of promising to follow something.  When we receive
Christ we promise to follow his ways and God’s Word.  But
there are times in our life that we allow other things to
cloud that promise.

Lent is a time to renew that covenant (promise) we have made
with God.  God is able to and will keep his promise to us and
it is important for us to remember that when Satan comes at us
with temptation.  Instead of viewing that temptation as an
opportunity to break our promise, we can instead view it as an
opportunity to renew it.

Most of all, as we go through these next 46 days that lead up
to Easter and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, let us
be reminded of God’s continuing love for us.  He will never
leave us or forsake us. That’s a promise He will never break!

Make it personal:  If you want to give something up for Lent
that would fine and maybe helpful, but also think about what
you can add to your life that will draw you closer to Jesus.
More prayer, more time in God’s Word, more time reaching out
to others in need, more time worshiping Christ. The
opportunities are endless.

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

Arthur Mennonite Church


“To Have is to Share”

This Weeks Meditation:  “To Have is to Share”
Read: 1 Timothy 6:17-21

If you have a dictionary or concordance in the back of your Bible turn to the word “share” and see how many times it is used in scripture.  Many!  This passage in 1st Timothy 6 is one example of how we are encouraged to share our blessings with others.  This means spiritually as well as monetarily.

I read two things this week that reminded me of this.  One was an article that referred to a poster that says, “In order to have what you want, share what you have.”  The other was an email I saw yesterday on Valentines Day.  It said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

Both of those are echoing what Paul is writing to Timothy in the passage above.  In verse 18 it says, “be generous and willing to share.”  It goes on to say that by doing that we lay up treasures for the future and that this generosity allows us to “take hold of a life that is truly life.”

Our world often markets things in a way that makes us think that we deserve the best of everything and that we should be entitled to it before anyone else.  That attitude goes against what Jesus taught and what the Bible encourages.  It is a good thing to serve others instead of serving ourselves.

In fact, that is the very example that Jesus gave his disciples and us as he washed their feet during the last supper that he had with them.  Jesus said, “I have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet.”

It’s often easy in this culture to get caught up in what others have and we do not.  The interesting thing about that is that we in the United States have so much compared to many in our world.  We are very blessed and as Christians we should always be on the lookout for who we are to bless.

Jesus wants us to focus on others needs instead of our own.  When we do that His Word is very clear that he will provide what we need.  Maybe not everything we “want” but everything we “need.”  Yes, God will also give us some of those “wants” at times as well if we show the attitude of a servant.  Lord, help us to have that attitude this week and in weeks ahead!

Make it personal:  Evaluate your sharing this week.  How are you doing?  Are you sharing with others?  Are you serving others?  Keep that in mind this week as you make decisions, and keep the example of Christ’s servanthood in front of you at all times.

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church



“Never Tire”

This Weeks Meditation: “Never Tire”
Read: 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15

Well, the Super Bowl is over and done for another year.  The Giants have already had their parade in New York and the athletes are headed home to rest their weary bodies.  Rest is a good thing, but what sometimes gets overlooked is all the hard work that these athletes put in to get to the highest levels of professional sports.

Recently I have been reading books written by Drew Breese (QB of the New Orleans Saints) and Tim Tebow (QB of the Denver Broncos).  As they shared their stories in their books I have been impressed by the hard work it takes to get to that level.  Tim Tebow talked about a crazy hard workout routine since he was in Junior High and Drew Breese shared the story of his miraculous comeback from an injury, and surgery.

What I came to realize is that many of these athletes got to this level because of their commitment to hard work, perseverance, and a good attitude.  Yes, physical gifts are important but they will only take the athlete as far as they are willing to work.

In our spiritual lives we must remember that we do not earn our salvation by “works.” In Ephesians 2:8 Paul says, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works.”

But their are also times in the New Testament that Paul reminds us that we do need to grow spiritually.  In 2 Thessalonians he reminds the church in Thessalonica (and us) that we must not become idle in our spiritual life or our physical life.  Paul says, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”

The lesson that Paul is trying to teach us is that God wants us to show a desire to grow closer to Christ each and every day.  He wants to see us spiritually alive and not idle and uncaring when it comes to our life in Christ.  He also says, “Never tire of doing what is good.”

As we watch athletes perform at the highest level we need to realize that most of them did not get there without a lot of hard work and effort. Breese and Tebow are examples of that, and by the way they are both very committed to their walk with Jesus.

As we grow in our Christian life we need to heed this warning from Paul about idleness.  We need to work at developing and nurturing a closer walk with our Savior.  When we do that we show our worship to the Lord and we also show our desire to be more like Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

Make it personal:  Pray this week about what you can do to nurture your relationship with Jesus.  Is it a time of prayer, devotions, and Bible Study?  Is it attending a Bible Study or a Christian Education class with other believers?  Or is it practicing the examples of Jesus in your workplace?  May God give us the strength to grow in him daily!

Blessings in your week,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life
Arthur Mennonite Church




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