Midweek Reflections

Joy In The House

Read: Psalm 84

The #1 song on Christian Radio this week is Phil Wickham’s new song “House of the Lord.”  If you have not heard this song you need to check it out.  Warning: You won’t be able to sit still.  The song is a celebration of the joy that Jesus can bring into your life, into your house, and into your day.  Much of the song reminds us of Psalm 84 that says, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”

In a world and time that seems to bring us down we need to find ways to celebrate the joy of the Lord.  We need to find ways to project joy in our homes and be reminded of who we are in Jesus Christ our Savior.  The news may be bleak, the day may be hard, your situation may be difficult, but the joy you have in Jesus can help you to focus on the hope you have in Him.

One part of Phil Wickham’s song is especially encouraging.  He sings, “We were the beggars, now we’re royalty.  We were the prisoners, now we’re running free.  We are forgiven, accepted, redeemed by His grace, let the house of the Lord sing praise!”  The song goes on to say, “There’s joy in the house of the Lord, God is surely in this place, and we won’t be quiet, we shout out Your praise!”  Amen to that.  May there by joy in your house today and everyday because of all that Jesus has done for you.

Make It Personal:  Scripture often refers to us as the temple of the Lord.  If you are a temple of God then His joy and His blessings should be residing in your heart and coming out of your mouth.  Nothing in this world can take this joy away from you, remember that.

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes  

We Are Not Worthy!

Read: John 3:14-21

Every once in a while you run across a quote that sums things up so well.  This past week I ran across a quote from John Stott in his book “The Cross of Christ” that really sums up the essence of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ.  In this quote John does not mention the name of Jesus but speaks of what God has done for us despite our sin and our inclinations toward selfish motives and selfish actions.

John writes, “The essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.  Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be.  Man claims prerogatives that belong to God alone; God accepts penalties that belong to man alone.”   This is what the gospel of  John is saying in John 3:14-21 when he speaks of all that God has done for us.

A few weeks ago in a sermon I mentioned those times that we tend to bow down to other humans and say “we are not worthy” when they do something that is incredible or awe inspiring.  This quote reminds us that we need to bow down to God and realize that we are not worthy of all that he has done for us despite our own sin and missteps in life.  Nothing compares to the sacrifice that God has made in order to save us and restore his relationship with us.  His love for us is that great and that incredible, and that is why we need to worship Him and give Him thanks for the salvation that he freely provides for us.

Make It Personal: Do you live in constant awareness of how awesome our God truly is?  Do you thank Him and worship Him as often as you should?  We are not worthy of all that God has done for us and for the sacrifice his Son Jesus has made for us on the cross, but we are blessed to be loved in such a great way.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes

True Freedom

“True Freedom” 
Read: Romans 6:1-14

There has been a lot of talk recently about freedoms, or lack of them.  From religious freedom, to freedom of expression, to thousands of people fleeing their homeland in search of it.  Freedom is something most everyone values as a great treasure to have.  But in Romans 6 the apostle Paul reminds us of a freedom that is greater and more valuable than any other: freedom from sin’s grasp.

Throughout the history of the world freedoms have come and gone as countries and leaders have come and gone.  Some have upheld the banner of freedom while others have destroyed it.  But despite our situation, country, or leadership there is one freedom that no human person or leader can take away from us.  That freedom is the freedom we (you) have through Jesus Christ.

Sin and disobedience toward God has the power to defeat us and enslave us.  But God sent his only son Jesus to free us from those end results.  

True freedom from our sin comes when we repent of our wrongs to Christ and ask him to forgive us.  His grace then covers us and washes away the sins and mistakes of our past and brings us new life.  This brings us true freedom, even when earthly powers try to take it away from us.  In verse 14 Paul says, “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

Freedom and justice in this world are definitely important.  Christians should work to encourage citizens and leaders to help promote them.  But as we do that, let’s not forget the one true freedom that rings louder than any.  Freedom in Christ is the message we need to proclaim the loudest.  This is the freedom that saves us, delivers us, and prepares us for our eternal home in heaven.  And “Us” includes anyone you cross paths with this week.

Make It Personal: As you hear talk of freedom (or lack of it) in the news, be sure to remind yourself of the freedom you have in your Savior Jesus Christ.  No one can take that away from you, and it will stand through all of eternity.  Praise the Lord!

Have a blessed week,  Glen Rhodes  

What’s Your Preference?

Read: Colossians 2:1-8

Yesterday AMC church member Cory Kauffman posted a picture of Jiff brand crunchy peanut butter on Facebook and said that he made a huge mistake.  He obviously prefers smooth over crunchy.  I commented that sometimes it takes a mistake in order to see the light.  I obviously prefer crunchy.  Peanut butter is not the only thing that brings out people’s preferences.  Toothpaste, pop, T.V shows, chips, vehicles, movies, sports teams, and many other things tend to bring out our individuality, personality, and tastes.

On the things mentioned above our preferences are not really a big deal.  There is a reason shelves are stocked with so many options.  When it comes to our faith and the way that we view the world, morals, behavior, and salvation in Jesus, it does matter.  In fact, it matters greatly.  It has both earthly and eternal implications.  In Colossians 2 Paul is saying that his preference and our preference should be to encourage, unite, understand, and follow the life, example, and ways of Jesus Christ.

When discussing this passage yesterday in an online pastor’s “zoom” meeting one leader said, “When it comes to life decisions and direction we should always prefer what God prefers.”  That should be our goal but what we need to watch out for is what verse 4 warns us about.  It says, “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.”  In other words, the world will sometimes make things sound better than they really are.  We need to constantly be aware of this and test the world’s preferences to those of Jesus and God’s Word.  Peanut butter preferences are one thing, but others related to faith do have eternal implications.

Make It Personal:  Ok, what is your preference?  Crunchy or Creamy?  My wife and I disagree on this so we have to stock two kinds of peanut butter in our pantry.  We do agree on the quote above though.  When it comes to life decisions and direction you should always prefer what God prefers.  We find that out through reading the Bible, prayer, and leaning on the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  I’m not bold enough to proclaim that God is a St. Louis Cardinals fan and prefers crunchy peanut butter like I do, but I do know he loves you and cares about you and the decisions you are making in life.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes 

Heavenly Hope

Read: Psalm 42

What voices are you listening to?  So often people tend to listen to the voice in their head that brings them down, discourages them, or paints a distorted view of the world.  That voice is the enemy of God trying to distract us from the hope of God.  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones commented on this one time when referring to Psalm 42 and he wrote….

“The first thing we have to learn is what the Psalmist learned, we must learn to take ourselves to hand.  This man was not content to just lie down and commiserate himself.  He does something about it, he takes himself in hand…He talks to himself….”   Lloyd-Jones goes on to say, “I say that we must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ‘ourselves’ to talk to us!  Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?”

In Psalm 42 the Psalmist is having one of those moments Lloyd-Jones is referring to.  He seems disturbed, downcast, and hopeless because he is listening to himself.  He even hears people asking “Where is your God?”  He then realizes his error and he begins to speak words of hope from heaven into his life and into his situation.  The Psalmist says, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  Let’s join him this week and speak words of heavenly hope into our downcast days.

Make It Personal:  If you find yourself listening to negative voices in your mind this week call them out.  Instead of listening to those choose to speak words of heavenly hope with your own voice.  Drown out the darkness with light of Christ and the hope of God. Christian or Worship music can often help us to keep those words in our ears as well.

Have a great week,  Glen Rhodes  


One In Christ

Read: Acts 4:32-35

“There was not a needy person among them.”  Acts 4:34

There are needs everywhere in our world! Often our definition of the word “need” gets caught up in our selfish desires instead of the real needs that are around us. When we say we “need” a new cell phone it often means that we “want” a new cell phone.  For many in our world however the needs are very real.  Some do not have enough to eat, others do not have clean water, and others do not have a place to sleep at night. So, how as followers of Jesus Christ are we responding to the example in Acts 4 of sharing our love, compassion, and resources with others?

It may be money to build a community water well in Africa, it may be a child sponsored through Compassion International, or it may be a neighbor who is in need across the street.  It could even be the person who sits next to us on Sunday morning in church.  Acts 4:32 says, “Everything they owned was held in common.”  This testifies that they were truly “One” together in their life in Christ and looked after each other because of the example of  Jesus.

It’s often hard to live in a “me-first” world and yet keep this wonderful concept of serving others in perspective.  The early Christians had seen the compassion, love, and concern that Jesus had for the needy people around him.  They knew that this was an integral part of their faith in Christ and their testimony for him.  Perhaps the next time we label something a “need” we should read this passage and then ask ourselves if it is really a need or just a want.  We should also think about how our wants could be given up to meet someone else’s needs.  What a wonderful statement to hear… “there was not a needy person among them.”  We may not get to the point that every person in the world will have their needs met but we can definitely do our part in trying.

Make It Personal: Lord Jesus, help me/us to be thankful for the ways you have blessed me/us. Help me/us Lord, to use those blessings to help those who truly are in need!

Be a blessing this week,  Glen Rhodes  

Reflection Archives