Category: Meditations

Meditations – January 16, 2019

By Pastor Chad Adelmund   Church of Promise, Buckingham
Putting life in perspective
“Figure out what counts on the last day: so that you know what to count every day.” If you can grasp the power of this statement and actually envision what life will look like from your deathbed, it has the power to change everything in your life today. The scripture we are going to look at today is John 15:12-13 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Jesus is telling us what it looks like to love people like He loves people. It involves laying down your life. Jesus actually laid down His life for us on the cross. For us, loving people means to make time for them. We have a short time here in this world, so, when we lay down our time for another person, that shows them they are valuable to us. We care about them and we are willing to give our time to them. How do we accomplish this?
Keeping our word points to our character, our integrity, how people see us. “Love people and use things, not love things and use people.”
Do what you say you will do, show up to your kid’s events. Don’t cancel plans with your spouse. Don’t make plans unless you are committed to following through. When we are focused on ourselves, we make promises we don’t keep, “because my time doing what I want is more important than spending time with you or doing what you want.” That’s what people hear from our actions and excuses when we don’t keep our word. They hear you say “my time is too valuable to waste it on you.”
The foundation of relationships is founded on the character of people who keep their word. Trust is the foundation of relationship.
Keep your calendar aligned with your relationships. Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
It’s not hard to figure out where your heart is and who it belongs to. Just look at your calendar and your bank statements. Look at your Facebook page. Is it about you or others? Go ahead and look. I will wait. Who and where are you spending your time and money?
I read an article by a hospice nurse, “The top 5 regrets people have on their deathbed,” in no particular order.
1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. You work so much you miss your kids growing up and then they’re gone. You miss time with your spouse and family and friends. You worked all these years to get all this stuff, houses, cars, toys, etc. And now you look back and realize they mean NOTHING and you can’t take any of it with you.
2. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.People get so caught up working and staying busy they lose touch with friends and family. Chasing after money and trying to impress other people has cost them. It becomes all about you and what you want and there is no time for other people.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. Lived to please others – when you do that you miss out on your personal goals and dreams. You miss God’s purpose for your life. We lose our identity by becoming the person others want us to be and not the unique individual God created us to be.
4. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. Forgive what you can’t forget. This one was popular with almost every person. They wish they had been more caring, loving, and compassionate, not holding on to anger, bitterness, resentment, that destroyed relationships. Forgive them so you can let it go and have peace.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. We don’t take enough time off to just be happy, to be with our families, to spend time with friends. We stay in jobs we hate instead of chasing our passions because it’s too risky and we never take a chance on ourselves. Happiness is a choice, and if you chose to forgive as Christ forgave you and keep short accounts, and your life will be happier.
The shortest account was Jesus on the cross. The very people He came to save were mocking and ridiculing Him as He hung, nailed to the cross in horrific pain. He didn’t blame them or curse them, He asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing!
Remember what Jesus died to forgive you from? Remember the sacrifice He made to offer you that forgiveness and that He offered it as a free gift, and YOU ACCEPTED THAT GIFT! You didn’t earn it and you don’t deserve it but you accepted it and Jesus forgives you every time you go to Him and we go to Him daily. We need to offer forgiveness the same way we received it, freely and often.
Forgiven People-Forgive People, Hurt People-Hurt People.

Meditations – January 9, 2019

By Pastor Chad Adelmund   Church of Promise, Buckingham
We Can’t Stay Here – Luke 9:28-43
In a Scripture passage, Jesus takes Peter, James and John up on a mountain to pray. Just before this Jesus told them, “I assure you that some standing here won’t die before they see God’s kingdom.” Well, they didn’t have to wait long, because as Jesus was praying “the appearance of his face changed and his clothes flashed white like lightening.” Then Moses and Elijah appeared and the Presence of God came to them in a cloud.
This is such an amazing experience. But at the bottom of this same mountain the other nine disciples are fighting Satan, attempting to cast a demon out of a child as the crowd and the boy’s father watch in fearful anticipation. But they cannot do it and they need Jesus to come back down! Peter is not thinking about anything that’s going on in the valley because he is trying to extend their stay on the Mountain!
“What a minute,” he shouts desperately. “It’s good that we’re here. We should construct three shelters, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
There are some dramatic contrasts here in this scripture–we have the mountaintop experience with Jesus, Moses and Elijah- The very presence of God and the Light of Heaven! And then the dark sin filled valley below, a demon-possessed boy and a desperate father praying someone can help his son! Two opposite worlds, two different realities, two places that we as Christians live in every moment of every day.
This got me thinking about the different places we as Christians set up tents, or our hiding places? Sometimes it’s in a church- we hear and sometimes respond to His Spirit there. But we also set up tents in places that are not good for us- in addiction, in an unhealthy relationship, in the loss of a loved one.
Instead of focusing on the mountain top, we need to start in the valley and look up. For those who have lost a loved one, Christmas was different this year because of the sense of loss. For some, Christmas can be a valley.
I can’t say I know what it’s like to lose a child, sibling, spouse or parent, and I’m not saying “that’s long enough” because we all grieve in different ways. But, we do need to take steps, even small ones, to move forward so we don’t get stuck in the valley.
When someone we love passes from this life, especially when it’s sudden and unexpected, it’s the deepest human pain we experience. We want to hold onto their memory and the times we had with them. I’ve seen so many people set up a tent here in this place because before I knew Jesus, I did the same thing.
Jesus tells us in Mathew 22:37: The First and Greatest Commandment. The Most Important Commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. The Second Commandment is like the first, not as important, but like it. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
It’s why Jesus says to put God first in all things, above everything and everyone! He needs to be the first place we run to, the first place we hide in times of trouble, the one we give our best to, the one we love, trust, rely and give to first financially. It’s not a Burdon or punishment or payment. Instead, it allows us to put everything in the right perspective, the right priority.
Refuge is a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. When we put Jesus first in everything, He is the first place we go from danger, trouble, pain, loss, attacks by the enemy, temptation, and sin.
Sometimes we make people our sanctuary. We run to a person when things get hard, and when that person leaves we don’t know where to go. As hard as it is to say, our physical life is temporary. And the people we love are only here temporarily.
How many of us are able to put Jesus first in everything? I hear people say “Family first,” or “Family above everything.” I don’t think we understand how dangerous this is. Yes, of course, our spouses, children and our family should be a top priority. But Jesus needs to be the top priority!
If you put your spouse ahead of Jesus, your trust, faith and love in them, and they break that trust or leave, you lose everything. You don’t know where to go, and you can stay stuck there. If your kids are everything, or your life revolves around them, what happens when they leave? You are lost and open to deep depression and fear. You can’t lose Jesus, He is always with You, He is our refuge and strength.
Where do you hide when it gets hard? We have to set up our hiding place in advance. I’m running to the place where there’s real protection, not the illusion of protection in a place that only seems safe. Jesus is the first and only place we should hide!
Where are you hiding?

Meditations – December 12, 2018

By Christopher Simon
Helping Widows, Orphans and Refugees
“He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” ~ Deuteronomy 10:18-19 NIV
The Bible is as clear as can be on the issue of helping those in need. There are hundreds of passages throughout the Old and New Testament telling us to help widows, orphans and refugees. Refugees are sometimes referred to as foreigners or sojourners, but the point is the same. We should help those in need.
Around the world, we see a rise in a petty, mean-spirited nationalism that wants to blame their country’s problems on the foreigners in their midst. Many nationalists argue that foreigners are changing their countries, making them unrecognizable. But what really threatens to change our countries, more than the foreigners in our midst, is when we stop treating widows, orphans and refugees with care. This is not simply a religious or spiritual issue, but a question of ethics and social justice.
How should decent human beings help those in need? There is a Biblical curse for those who refuse to help the widow or orphan: “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.” (Exodus 22:22-24 NIV)
On the other hand, if we do what we can to help those in need, we will surely be blessed.
 

Meditations – December 5, 2018

By Christopher Simon
Holding our tongues
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.” ~ Proverbs 17:27-28
We rarely regret holding our tongue, though we often regret speaking, especially when it is done hastily or in anger.Silence also has the virtue of being impossible to correct.There are plenty of opportunities to keep silent. When others are gossiping it is usually best to keep silent or to try to change the subject. When someone has spoken in anger to us or otherwise hurt our feelings, it is tempting to hit back with angry words, but your silence will show you to be the better person and perhaps convince the other person of their own sin.
It is especially hard to hold our tongue when someone has said something about us that we know to be false. How much of our speech throughout the day is nothing more than an attempt to justify ourselves or present ourselves in a better light? In modern parlance, we are “virtue signaling” when we try to correct other’s misperceptions.
When I was growing up I often heard the phrase “self-praise stinks” whenever someone was going on about how great they were. Leave the praising of yourself to others, and let others be the ones to criticize, to gossip, or to engage in all the endless chatter that pollutes our lives. Consider using the time your silence has afforded you for more beneficial endeavors.

Meditations – November 28, 2018

By Pastor Mike Ashman   Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee
Dear Friends,
We are entering a spiritual wilderness—somewhere between here and there—sometime between now and then. Anyone who has taken children on a long drive will recognize the small voice which repeatedly asks, “Are we there yet.” Or if you care to have a more Bible reference, the people of God wandering in the wilderness repeatedly asking Moses, “Why on earth did you bring us out here?”
In our church, we have just celebrated Thanksgiving—and this is usually followed by (no, not Black Friday… but a good guess) the first Sunday in Advent. This year though, we have the anomaly where we have Christ the King Sunday stuck in the middle.
“Stuck in the Middle”—now that is a concept I can relate to. The end of July I ended up in the hospital with second degree burns on my right arm and legs. This morning my legs reminded me that healing is far from complete. Getting up from any chair reminds me with a twinge of pain that my burns are still there. The other day I was asked again, “Are your legs healed yet?” Sounds familiar.
Rather than gripe and complain while in the middle of the wilderness—which is the most common activity—we should take this time to reflect and ponder how we got this far. The answer is grit, hard work and determination—just kidding—even though some might want to think in this manner. We are here by the sheer grace of God. All along this journey, God has been our steady companion, our guide and our muse.
As this snow flies this winter and the wind chills take away our breath, we remind ourselves that Spring is but a few days away (OK a few months). We look forward to a time when life returns to the barren earth. Likewise our spiritual wilderness will give way to a time of hope and joy—all in God’s time. Like the prophet Isaiah, may our words be filled with hope, not despair. God is here! Always has been and always will be!

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