Midweek Reflections

“More than Rubies”

This weeks meditation: “More than Rubies”
Read: Proverbs 31:10-31

A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: “My full name has six letters. The first one is M, and I pick up things. What am I?” When the answers were all in the teacher was astounded to find that almost fifty percent had written in, mother.

This Sunday is Mothers Day.  We will honor mothers, celebrate mothers, and thank them for all they do!  But one thing that should not be overlooked is how crucial a mother is to her family and to society in general.  They do so much more than just pick up after the rest of us.  Lord Shaftsbury once said, “Give me a generation of Christian mothers, and I will undertake to change the whole face of society in twelve months.”

In Proverbs 31 we see the importance that scripture gives to wives, mothers, and women in general.  Verse 10 says, “She is worth far more than rubies.”  Unfortunately in much of our world today women are not shown the kind of worth that this verse grants them.  Too often their valuable part in shaping a culture and society is not valued nearly as high as it should be.

Some women may think that the 31st Proverb invokes pressure to be the perfect women, wife, Christian, and mother.  Instead of viewing it as a call for perfection it should be viewed as a statement of value and worth.  It’s hard to imagine what our families, churches, communities, country and world would look like without their love, compassion, and committment.

I love the way this Proverb ends, it says, “Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.  Show her respect, praise her in public for what she has done.”  Don’t miss your opportunity this Sunday!

Make it personal:  Mothers Day can be difficult for some.  Each of us have had different experiences in our families, but one thing is the same for all of us; God’s grace is sufficient!  Perhaps Proverbs 31 can be the start of a new day for you, your family, your church, your community, and the world that God has placed around you.

Blessings on Mother’s Day,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church


“Boundaries”

This weeks Meditation:  “Boundaries”
Read:  Galatians 5:16-26


When our children were younger we had a concrete divider line on our driveway that was about five feet in from the busy street that we lived on.  We had a very strict rule that this line was not to be crossed unless an adult was present.  

If a ball rolled out onto the road they had to come get one of us to retrieve it.  As our children got older this boundary line became less enforced but the lesson had already been engrained in their minds, “be careful when heading out onto the road.”

In Galatians 5:16-18 Paul talks about these boundaries.  He says, “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”  What Paul is encouraging us to do is create boundaries in our lives that will help us stay pure and stay in step with the Spirit.  In fact what Paul is really teaching is that the Holy Spirit can help us with this.  

We have just come through the Easter season and we know that Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  His strength and forgiveness is available to those who come to Him with repentant hearts.  But it’s always best when we show our desire to be obedient to God by setting up boundaries in our lives and then asking the Holy Spirit to help us stay accountable and support us when the road gets tough.
  
Healthy boundaries might include filtering internet connections, monitoring television, movies, and other things as close as possible, considering who we are associating with as friends, and being careful with relationships in the workplace.  So often we think of children when we consider boundaries but we adults need them as well.  

When we go on a physical diet we always have to be careful about what we eat and how much we eat.  It should be no different in our spiritual lives!  As you move past Easter and you live in the life-giving truth of the resurrection, I would like to encourage all of us to heed the words of Paul as he ends this section of scripture in verse 25. He writes, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  

Make it personal:  What boundaries do you have set?  Do you need to set some new ones?  Allow Jesus Christ to help you with this and call on His Holy Spirit for support.  Christ is always waiting with open arms for those who come to him for strength, grace and forgiveness!

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



“Maundy Thursday”

This weeks meditation:  “Maundy Thursday”
Read: John 13:1-17

The word Maundy is used to refer to the Thursday before Easter when Jesus had the last supper with his disciples.  While there are many different definitions of this word many scholars agree that the English word comes from the Old French word mandé, from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”.)

Those words are spoken by Jesus in this 13th chapter of John when he explaind to the disciples the significance of his action of washing their feet.  In many modern traditions the Last Supper is celebrated but seldomly is the act of washing feet remembered.  In even fewer traditions is “Foot Washing” actually a part of their confession of faith as it is in the Mennonite Church.

Article 13 of our Confession of Faith says, “We believe that Jesus Christ calls us to serve one another in love as he did. Rather than seeking to lord it over others, we are called to follow the example of our Lord, who chose the role of a servant by washing his disciples’ feet.

Just before his death, Jesus stooped to wash the disciples’ feet and told them, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.” In this act, Jesus showed humility and servanthood, even laying down his life for those he loved. In washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus acted out a parable of his life unto death for them, and of the way his disciples are called to live in the world.

Believers who wash each other’s feet show that they share in the body of Christ.  They thus acknowledge their frequent need of cleansing, renew their willingness to let go of pride and worldly power, and offer their lives in humble service and sacrificial love.”

As we remember the Last Supper this week it would be good to remember this act of washing feet as well.  In today’s world we wear shoes and our roads are not near as dusty but the example given to us by Jesus still rings true.  Whose feet can you wash this week by showing them Christ’s love in a tangible way?

Make it personal:  Consider an act of service this week that will celebrate Jesus’ words, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”.  May the Life of Christ shine through our lives this week and the many weeks that lie ahead!

Blessings,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life

Arthur Mennonite Church


“Doing Without”

This weeks meditation:  “Doing Without”
Read: 1 Timothy 6:11-21

I recently read a question that really made me think.  The question was, “what will today’s younger generation tell their children they had to do “without”?”  We have heard the stories of walking uphill in the snow to school both ways, walking out to the outhouse, and other ways of sacrifice during years that have past.  But what will those stories sound like 30 years from now?  Will there be any?

As technology and other conveniences continue to advance there will most likely be something we will think we had to sacrifice, but in reality this question should remind us of how truly blessed we are.  Do we even have a right to complain?  We also need to be reminded that much of the world already does without the things we think are necessary.

In this passage Paul charges Timothy to take hold of eternal things and not be so concerned with the earthly.  At one point he even says that they shouldn’t put their hope in wealth but instead put their hope in God.  I really like what verse 20 says, “guard what has been entrusted to your care.”  I don’t think he is necessarily talking about his material conveniences or possessions in that verse.

Many of you have probably seen the new Best Buy commercial where the people realize that the electronic “toy” they just bought is now the older version.  I love the one scene where the little girl is running around the front yard saying, “you bought the wrong T.V. silly head.”  The ad is telling you that Best Buy now has a program to buy back your product once the newer version has come out.  Now you never have to do without the latest!

Which leads us back to the original question.  Will our generation or the generation to follow have any stories of true sacrifice?  I am truly glad for indoor plumbing, but I often realize that my “wants” go way beyond what some had to do without years ago.  In other words I will be the first to raise my hand on this and claim my guilt.

Perhaps the words of Jesus are a good reminder that it’s okay to have an inferior earthly treasure once in a while.  In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
That’s always a great reminder!!!!!!

Make it personal:  The next time you feel that “want” monster rearing it’s head, step back and give thanks to God for all that you do have.  Perhaps doing without something will help you to focus on the eternal treasures that are of the utmost importance in life.  Lord, we ask you to help us all in this! Help us to have thankful hearts!

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

Arthur Mennonite Church


“Garden Pride”

This weeks meditation:  “Garden Pride”
Read: Luke 18:9-14

The title this week sounds like a brand name on the shelf of your local grocery store.  Spring is here and it’s almost time to plant the garden. William Bakley once said, “Pride is the ground in which all other sins grow.”  As we think about cultivating the ground for the garden we also need to remember to cultivate our lives with humility.

Barkley’s quote is a warning that sinful pride can be the root of many other sins developing in our lives.  In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable that got to the root of this. The Pharisee (The religious person) was so prideful that he thanked God that he was not as bad as his neighbors, while the tax collector (the bad neighbor)asked God to forgive him for all the sins he had committed.

Jesus ends the parable by saying, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  You see, it’s okay to do things well and take pride in a job well done, as long as you don’t compare it to others and see yourself as better than them.

Sometimes we just can’t stand it if we don’t get the credit for something.  It reminds me of the story about the two ducks and the frog.  When the ducks pond dried up they knew they could easily fly to another location, but what of their friend the frog?  Finally they decided to fly with a stick between their two bills with the frog hanging on to the stick by his mouth.

All went well until a man looked up and saw them in the sky.  “What a clever idea,” said the man.  “I wonder who thought of that?”  The prideful frog quickly proclaimed “I did,” and he fell to the earth never to make it to the new pond.  What do they say, pride comes before the fall?

God wants us to do things well, but he also wants us to view them in humility.  Without the spiritual gifts and physical gifts given to us by God we would be able to accomplish nothing.  So then, let’s direct all of our praise to heaven!

Make it personal:  Watch for pride in your life this week.  If something you think or say tends to sound like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable take time to ask Christ for forgivness and help in taking a more humble approach to life and your accomplishments.

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

Arthur Mennonite Church


“God is Love”

This weeks meditation:  “God is Love”
Read: Romans 5:1-11

In this passage there is one verse that really sticks out.  Verse 8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  What a humbling and yet joyful reality, that God loves us that much, that He gave his one and only Son.

I have always liked the hymn “The Love of God.”  What a wonderful reminder when we sing that God’s love is greater than any tongue or pen can ever tell.  That it is greater and lasts longer than any earthly throne or kingdom ever will.

The last verse of that hymn is hard to imagine when you think about the amount of water on our earth.  It says that if the oceans were filled with ink for the writer’s pen it would still drain the ocean dry.  Wow!  If you are having a bad day or bad week just dwell on that for a while.

God loves you so much that he has saved you from the sin of this world and promised you eternal life in heaven.  If you are a believer in Jesus I hope that you are living with that hope daily.  If you are not yet a believer I hope you will soon accept this love that God has for you through His Son Jesus Christ.

Charles Spurgeon once told the story of the preacher who was walking in the country side and stopped by a farm house for a drink of water. The old farmer who lived there went out to talk to the preacher. As they were talking the preacher noticed that the barn had a weather vane on it that was spinning around in the wind.

On the weather vane the words “GOD IS LOVE” were engraved.
The preacher said to the man, “I don’t think that is a very good way to talk about God’s love. Are you saying that God’s love is wishy washy and changes depending on the way the wind blows?” ” No, no” said the farmer. “That Weather Vane is saying, “No matter which way the wind blows, God is Love.”

As Christian singer Scott Krippayne sings, if the blue skies grow dark and the gentle winds grow strong in your life, God’s love will still be there for you to place your hope in.  God loves you!  Always has, always will!

Make it personal:  The next time you are having a rough day pause for a moment and read Romans 5:1-11.  In my Bible the heading is “Peace and Joy” and we can all use some of that in our lives!  Then pray to God and ask for His love to pour over you and calm your storm or at least calm His child.

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




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