Midweek Reflections

“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

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

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

“Four Things”

This Weeks Meditation: “Four Things” 
Read: Hebrews 12:14-17

Recently I ran across a saying that was entitled “Four things you can’t recover,” These are the four things it listed:  The STONE after the throw. The WORD after it’s said. The OCCASION after it’s missed. The TIME after it’s gone.

In Hebrews 12:14-17 there are three verses with both words of encouragement and words of warning.  The encouragement is to live at peace with everyone, share grace, and live holy lives.  The warnings are to think about those things that can’t be recovered once they are done, missed, spoken, or thrown.

God’s grace is always available for those who repent of their sins and mistakes, but even with his grace we cannot undo a hurtful word that has already been said or an opportunity missed to be there for someone when they need us.  That’s why we need to ask God for wisdom and discernment.

Our human nature often leads us to blurt things out or do things without thinking about the long term consequences.  Many times I have done something and then later thought, “Why in the world didn’t I use some restraint or pause and think about this before I acted.”

Verse 14 begins by saying “Make every effort…”  If we ask Christ to help us in those efforts I believe that we can keep from doing many of those things we later regret.  One of the greatest examples of Jesus in the New Testament is how he controlled his actions and used Godly wisdom to minister and change situations for good.

That is the kind of help we need from the Lord!  Ask him for his restraint, his love, and his wisdom this week as you face those tempting times of saying something, doing something, or throwing something that later you might wish you hadn’t.

Make it personal:  The next time you are tempted to act on one of the four things above, stop and say a prayer to God.  Ask for his wisdom to do what is right and respond in a way that reflects Christ’s character and example.

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

“Squeak, Squeak”

This Weeks Meditation: “Squeak, Squeak”  
Read:  Luke 18:9-14

I heard the story one time about an old man in his rocking chair. As he rocked, he began to hear these loud squeaks and tried several times to get rid of the squeaks in the rocking chair.  The angry man finally went and got his ax and chopped the squeaky chair to pieces.

As the old man was walking away he noticed that the squeaks were still there. He realized they were in his knees.  Sometimes the problems that we see in others are problems that exist within ourselves. So, before we destroy everything else, perhaps we need to decide if we are a part of the problem.

That is the basis of this parable that Jesus tells in Luke 18.  Jesus is warning us to not be too proud or judgmental of others.  In verse 14 he says that the tax collector is the one who went home justified before God.  Why?

Because he humbly admitted his shortcomings and asked for mercy instead of proudly proclaiming that he had no squeaks like the Pharisee was doing.  Jesus ends the parable by saying, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

This past Sunday I preached about “teaching moments.”  Perhaps when we are quick to criticize others or find fault in them we would do good to ask the Lord if this is really a teaching moment for ourselves.  Maybe there is a squeak in us that God wants to use a little WD40 on?

It’s good to be confident in our salvation and know that God is with us, but it is entirely different when we begin to look down on others and their faults.  Jesus is teaching here to be humble and to pray for others instead of being critical of them.

Make it personal:  If you find yourself being critical of someone this week put everything on pause for a moment.  Ask yourself if that is the right attitude to have and then think about this parable that Jesus gave us.  Nothing can fix our squeaks like the Word of God!

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


This Weeks Meditation:  “Surrounded”
Read: Psalm 125

As I read this Psalm this morning I wondered if Mount Zion High School has ever considered using verse 1 as their motto, it says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  That’s better than any school fight song I have heard.

All kidding aside, this Psalm is a wonderful comfort for us when we are going through a difficult time in life.  Maybe it is fear, anger, disappointment, or an attack that you are under right now.  This Psalm reminds us that the Lord is surrounding his people now and forevermore.

It says that the wicked will not win against the righteous, and it reminds those who are righteous to not use their hands to do evil.  In other words, trust in the Lord for deliverance and not in your own power, strength, or attacks on others.

Henry Law, when referring to the Lord once said, “His center is everywhere, His circumference is nowhere.”  God is present everywhere if we will look for him and trust in him to help us in our greatest hours of need.  He will not leave you or forsake you.

St. Patrick’s prayer says it well:  “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me;  Christ to comfort and restore me; Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.”

The 125th Psalm is a testimony to all of the above.  It is a reminder that we are surrounded by Christ in every aspect of our lives.  The good, the bad, the difficult is what he wants to help us with.  In the last verse the Psalmist says, “Peace be upon Isreal.”  Take that and put your name in place of Israel today.  “Peace be upon (your name)!”  That is the Lord’s proclamation over your life this week!

Make it personal:  What is your greatest challenge this week?  Name it, and remind it that your are surrounded by God and it will not overcome you.  You are a child of God and this Psalm says, “The Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.”

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

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