Midweek Reflections

“A Grateful Person”

This Weeks Meditation:  “A Grateful Person”
Read: Psalm 100

The story is told about a man who found a barn where Satan kept his seeds ready to be sown in the human heart.  He found that the seeds of discouragement were more numerous than the others and he learned that those seeds could be made to grow almost anywhere.

But when Satan was questioned, he reluctantly admitted that there was one place in which he could never get them to thrive.  “And where is that?” asked the man.  Satan replied sadly, “In the heart of a grateful person.”

We all know that Thanksgiving is a time that we come together with family and friends to give thanks, eat too much, and watch football.  We also know that thanksgiving is something that we should celebrate continuously throughout the year and not just for one week.

That is how a grateful person is defined.  As someone who can take the challenges and the celebrations of life and still be grateful to God for what is given to them.  I admire those people who face some of the most difficult struggles we can imagine and yet they say, “I’m thankful that God has given me…”

I truly believe that a grateful heart does make it hard for Satan to sow seeds of discouragement into our lives.  If he can’t find the soil to make it grow, that discouragement will just die before it ever takes root in our lives.

My prayer on this week of Thanksgiving is that each of us can be grateful for the life, hope, love, and encouragement that Jesus Christ brings to our lives.  Celebrate that with your family and tell them how grateful you are that God has blessed you by putting them in your life.

Make it personal:  As you wake up tomorrow on Thanksgiving day spend some time in prayer with God, thanking Him for the many things you have to be grateful for.  Be careful, you might miss Thanksgiving dinner because the list will be long.

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

“One Affects Many”

This Week’s Meditation:  “One Affects Many”
Read: Joshua 7

Many of the stories in the news recently have revolved around the terrible decisions of one that in turn has affected many others.  As I read these stories I was reminded of a similar instance in the Old Testament.  It’s the story of Achan in Joshua 7.

When the Israelites started to experience many defeats they wondered what the problem was.  After consulting with the Lord they realized that the sin of Achan was bringing the whole group those unwanted defeats.

In verses 20-21 when Achan is questioned he says, “It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.”

As we live our lives we need to be aware of how our decisions affect the others around us.  It could be our family, our co-workers, our company, our church, or others.  Truth is, the decisions that we make in life reach further than just ourselves.  Are we taking that into account?

This is true in the positive sense as well as the negative.  It is amazing how the positive attitude or actions of one person can rally a group to accomplish things they never thought possible.  Thankfully we have also seen some of those stories in the news recently as well.

The bottom line for us is to be aware of this in our daily lives.  One right or wrong decision is much more far reaching than we sometimes realize.  The grace of Jesus is always sufficient, and the example of Jesus is always perfect.  Before you make your next move, think about the implications!

Make it personal:  Try using the following question before you make decisions in the future.  “How will this decision affect the people I love and care about?”  If we ask that question I think the Lord will truly lead us in the way we should go.

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

“A Professional Worrier”

This Weeks Mediation:  “A Professional Worrier”
Read: 1 Peter 5:6-11

Sometimes I wonder how well the title of this weeks meditation
describes me personally.  Maybe you were thinking the same
thing.  While some people tend to be bigger worriers than
others it is an occupation we all accept at various times in
our lives.

Maybe you’ve heard about the man that had a mountain of credit
card debt?  He said to his friend, “I’ve lost my job, my car
is being repossessed, and our house is in foreclosure, but I’m
not worried about it.” His friend asked him why he wasn’t
worried and he said, “Because I’ve hired a professional
worrier.  He is going to do all my worrying for me, and that
way I don’t have to think about.”

The friend told him that was fantastic and asked him how much
he charges for that service.  He said, “$50,000 a year.”  “And
how are you going to come up with that kind of money?” The
friend asked.  The man said, “I don’t know, that’s his worry.”

That’s a funny story, but the truth is, those kind of
desperate things usually do make us worry.  1 Peter 5:7
reminds us that we have a Savior in Jesus Christ to help us work through our worry and take it all from us.  That verse says, “You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.” (Phillips)  Jesus doesn’t actually worry for us, but he does take it from us if we ask him to.

Of course, Jesus himself speaks about this in Matthew 6:25-27.
He says, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will
wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than
clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap
or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds
them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one
of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

That’s great counsel! It’s great to know that we can give our
worries to Jesus and he takes them and returns them right back
to Satan’s hand where they came from.  If you are a believer
and follower of Jesus Christ you have this option available to
you each time worry begins to creep into your life.  Jesus
loves you and he will provide and protect you from even the
most difficult challenge you will face.

Make it personal:  The next time you are overcome with worry
step outside and look at the birds and remember this promise
of Christ in Matthew 6.  Worry will not add a single hour to
your life, but it will steal plenty if you are not careful.

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

“My Hope”

This Weeks Meditation:  “My Hope”
Read: Psalm 37:1-9

Where do I truly place my hope?  I asked myself that candid question this week as I listened to this weeks #1 Christian song on the radio by Aaron Shust.  It is entitled “My hope is in you.”  Here are the lyrics to the chorus….

“My hope is in You, Lord, All the day long, I won’t be shaken by drought or storm, A peace that passes understanding is my song, And I sing, My hope is in You, Lord.”  That is the encouragement we hear in Psalm 37 as well.

David realizes that the things this world offers are so empty and pale in comparison to the hope we find in the Lord.  He says, “Evil people may try to cut us off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.” (v.9)

It seems like every time we surf the web or turn on the T.V. we have somebody or some company trying to offer us the remedy to all of our ills.  “Your hope for happiness is found in this new product.”  “Your cure for loneliness is found in this new book by such and such author.”  “Your hope for a better financial future is found in this new job or in this wonderful investment.”

David tried many of those kind of things until he realized that nothing compared to the hope that was found in his Lord.  In verse 4 he says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Can you truly say that your hope is in the Lord all day long?  When I asked myself that question I realized that even though I think that and want that, I often let the world trick me into another option.  When the road is rough it is easy to look in many different directions for help, but remember, our help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

Our God is a God of Hope, Restoration, Peace, Salvation, Forgiveness, and on and on.  If we commit our ways to Him and trust in him I am confident that He will give us that song of hope to sing along with Aaron Shust.

Make it personal:  To find more encouraging hope in God’s Word go to www.biblegateway.com and type the word “hope” in the search box.  You will be encouraged and you will realize once again that in God and His Word we have all the hope that we need.

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

“Faith in Action”

This Weeks Meditation:  “Faith in Action”
Read: Hebrews 11

This chapter in the Bible is often referred to as the Hall of Faith. It lists many people in the Bible and commends them for their faith in God during challenging times.  Not only did they have faith though, they also showed faithfulness to God as well.

We often hear about how we live in a world that is way over committed.  That may be true, but I sometimes wonder if our over commitment is causing us to become less committed in some of the areas that are most important.

I read an article last week that stated results from a recent survey that was taken.  In that survey they asked Christians if they were faithful church attenders.  Most said yes, but the interesting part of the results were in how most of those people defined faithful.  If they went to church once a month they answered that they were faithful church attenders.

I’m not writing this week to harp on church attendance, but that survey made me ask if we need to re access what faithfulness to God looks like.  If I take time to read my Bible, pray and have a quiet time with God once a week should I consider that being faithful to my relationship with Christ?

A couple weeks ago I started teaching a Junior High faith exploration class in church.  We have been talking about many of these people that are included in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith chapter. For me it has been a refreshing time of renewing my definition of what faith in action looks like.

We are using Michele Herschberger’s book entitled “God’s Story, Our Story,” and she uses the example of faith being like a tree that you plant in Kansas.  She says, “It takes commitment to watering it every day.”  I recently planted some fall grass seed in my back yard and I know exactly what she is talking about.  If I don’t faithfully show up to water it I probably won’t have any grass next spring.

My hope this week is that Hebrews 11 and these great examples of faithfulness to God will encourage each of us to re-evaluate what our definition of faithfulness looks like in all areas of life.  And even more important, where do my commitments lie?

Make it personal:  Think about your God calendar this week.  How does your time with Jesus, your commitment to God’s work, and your times of worship speak to Christ about your faithfulness to Him?  We are all busy, but in what way?  It’s best to be busy growing our faith in Christ, it has eternal value.

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

“A Few Kind Words”

This Weeks Meditation:  “A Few Kind Words”
Read: Romans 1:8-17

The Apostle Paul must have been a great encouragement to the early church.  While challenging them to a deeper faith in Christ he mixed in many uplifting words of encouragement along the way.  In verse 12 of this passage he talks about “being mutually encouraged by each others faith.”

The World Series starts tonight in St. Louis (Go Cards!) so I thought I would use a few baseball examples in this weeks meditation.  A few weeks ago I happened to watch an ESPN documentary on the foul ball that Steve Bartman interfered with back in the 2003 playoffs.

Many Cub fans blamed Bartman for their demise as that game went on and became very hostile towards him. Some were so hostile that he had to be removed from Wrigley Field and go into hiding just because he did something every one of us would have done in reaching to catch a foul ball.

As I watched the documentary I was disheartened to think that we as humans can sometimes act in such ugly ways.  Instead of putting an arm around people we often think it is our job to give them what we think they deserve.  If Paul would have done that with the early church who knows where Christianity would be today.

Our calling as Christians should be to come alongside those who are treated in unloving ways by the world.  Paul did it because he saw that example in Jesus Christ and knew that it was God’s desire for us to share kind words instead of words that hurt, kill, and destroy.

A story is told about Jackie Robinson who was the first black person to play major league baseball. He broke baseball’s color barrier and he faced jeering crowds in almost every stadium his team visited. Even some players would stomp on his feet and kick him.

While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error. The fans began to yell ugly things at him and ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans continued their bombardment. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet and Robinson later said that it was that arm around his shoulder that saved his career.

As followers of Jesus Christ it is our calling to be that arm for others.  To show them the same compassion that Jesus has shown us by forgiving us of our sins and saving us from ourselves.  May God encourage us to share an arm and a few kind words with someone this week who needs them.

Make it personal:  Read Psalm 40 this week as a way to be encouraged in your own life.  Then take that encouragement with you to work, school, and wherever you go.  A few kind words this week could save someones life.  You never know!

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

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