Category: Meditations

FEATURE Meditations – May 23, 2018

Even when an army is deployed against me, I do not fear. Even when war is imminent, I remain confident. I have asked the LORD for one thing—this is what I desire! I want to live in the LORD’s house all the days of my life, so I can gaze at the splendor of the LORD and contemplate in his temple.
-Psalm 27:3-4 (NET)
On Memorial Day we remember and give thanks for the men and women of our nation who have died while serving in the United States military. Trusting in the promise of resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ, we commend these brothers and sisters to God’s care, where rest eternal is granted them, and light perpetual shines upon them. Together we offer a prayer of thankfulness for their sacrifice in defense of our rights, freedoms, and safety.
We also mourn with those who have lost loved ones in active duty—those who still carry the burden of grief with them every day. In the Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal there is a prayer during funeral services that I would like to share with all who grieve this Memorial Day:
Merciful God, you heal the broken in heart and bind up the wounds of the afflicted. Strengthen us in our weakness, calm our troubled spirits, and dispel our doubts and fears. In Christ’s rising from the dead, you conquered death and opened the gates to everlasting life. Renew our trust in you that by the power of your love we shall one day be brought together again with our sisters and brothers. Grant this, we pray, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
-Evangelical Lutheran Worship, pg. 285
The psalmist’s desire, as written in the verses above, was, “…to live in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, so I can gaze at the splendor of the Lord and contemplate in his temple.” Being in the presence of God, and training his mind to ponder all of God’s glorious deeds, were his sources of confidence even during the threat of war. Even in the face of enemies and armies, God’s presence dispelled his fear. For our men and women in the armed forces today we pray that God’s presence will likewise provide confidence, and that knowledge of God’s deeds may dispel fears. And for each of us, as we face our own fears and doubts, we trust that God is with us as well. God is surely with you, even when the odds are against you.
May God be with you and bless you as we observe Memorial Day, and may God hold near those whom we have lost in service to our nation.

FEATURE Meditations – May 16, 2018

I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn. I constantly trust in the Lord; because he is at my right hand, I will not be upended. So my heart rejoices and I am happy; my life is safe. You will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful follower to see the Pit. You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.
-Psalm 16:7-11 (NET)
Congratulations to the 2018 high school graduates! As another school year comes to a close our community celebrates with our graduates and all students, recognizing their hard work and the knowledge and skills they gained this year. Soon our families with students will transition to “summer mode,” with more time playing outside, summer sports kicking off, camping trips and vacations being planned, and summer jobs starting. I pray it will be a blessed and safe summer for all.
For our graduates, this Sunday marks the end of one chapter in life, and the beginning of the next. Some will continue their education this fall. Some will start working more regularly. Some will serve our country through military service. Some will feed our nation and world through farming. Some may move far away, and some will stay close to home. But no matter what this new chapter in life brings to our graduates, the Lord will be with them to guide them.
As the Psalmist wrote, “You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presence; you always give me sheer delight.” There can be great joy and delight in change, but transitions and new chapters are not always easy. There will be hurdles and roadblocks to navigate. During difficult or challenging times absolute joy and sheer delight can be hard to feel, and yet this is what God desires for us. So, we support one another through encouragement and prayer, trusting that God will never abandon us, no matter what each new chapter brings.
Graduates, remember that God will always be with you, wherever you go. Do not hesitate to pray and worship, for God hears you. And, do not hesitate to call upon our community for encouragement in your new chapter in life, for we are walking with you and supporting you. Blessings to you this Sunday at your graduation, and blessings to all who are beginning new chapters in life in our community and beyond. God is with you.

Meditations – May 2, 2018

By Pastor Nathan Clements  American Lutheran Church, La Porte City
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
-Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
The book of Joshua describes the entry of God’s people Israel into the promised land of Canaan after their 40-year journey wandering in the wilderness. After the death of Moses, God spoke words of encouragement, promise, and purpose to Joshua, who would be the one to finally lead God’s people to their destination. The verse above is the conclusion of God’s pep talk to Joshua, with the powerful reminder, “God is with you wherever you go.”
This was a time of transition for God’s people. They were now following a new leader, entering a new land, and establishing themselves in a new community with new roles. They were also facing new challenges and new enemies. And, God was with them throughout.
Spring is most certainly a time of transition in our community as well. Fields are prepared for a new growing season. Yards are cleaned and flowers are planted. Birds return from their winter homes. Trees and plants rouse from their winter slumbers. Students and parents make plans for the summer. High school seniors prepare for a new chapter in life after graduation. Houses of worship switch to summer schedules. And, God is with us throughout.
Transitions aren’t always easy. Sometimes we feel rushed. Other times it feels like it took 40 years to reach the next chapter in life. Sometimes transitions lead to exciting new experiences. Other times they lead to difficult new realities in life. But, God is with us throughout.
As I write this our community continues to wrestle with the reality that one of our sons is still missing. Our community is not complete. We continue to pray for Jake Wilson, his family, and our civil servants as they continue their search. We give thanks to God for the thousands of volunteers who helped search, who provided meals, and who selflessly shared their time and energy. Truly, the outpouring of support from our community and beyond is Christian witness at its finest, and God has been with us throughout. And our faith assures us that God has been with Jake throughout.
Whatever transitions are happening in your life this Spring I encourage you to remember God’s words to Joshua.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
God will always be with us throughout.

Hawkins’ Happenings – May 2, 2018

By Jolene Kronschnabel, Library Director
Preschoolers will get an early start on summer on Thursday, May 3, at Story Time. Beginning at 10:30 AM we break out the stories reminding us of all the fun we have when warm weather arrives.
Remember Monday Morning Coffee Time each week at 8 AM.
Design a special Mother’s Day card for your dear mom, or grandmother, Tuesday through Saturday, May 8-12. Choose decorations, stamps, and embellishments to create a keepsake card.
Celebrate Mother’s Day at Preschool Story Time on Thursday, May 10, at 10:30 AM. Children will hear stories about mothers and make mom something special.
Work on knitting, crocheting, cross-stitch, quilting, jewelry, sewing, or another craft of your choice on Thursday, May 10, from 1 to 3 PM at Hawkins Handcrafters.
WasteTrac will visit Preschool Story Time on Thursday, May 17, at 10:30 AM to teach about reducing, reusing and recycling.
Pick up the May Book Club selection now –The Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse. Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers. On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help–a frantic plea to find a person-a Jewish teenager. She is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance. The Book Club will meet on Monday, May 21, at 1 PM for the discussion.
Our adult Color and Connect program is growing and we want you to drop in and color with us on Tuesday, May 22, from 6-8 PM. The library has a variety of coloring pages, markers and pencils for you to use, or bring your own.
You just might receive a reward when we catch you reading in the library during May. May is Get Caught Reading Month!

Meditations – April 25, 2018

By Pastor Todd Holman   St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City
This past week I heard sketchy details forecasting a snow storm moving towards the Midwest. The preliminary report named the amount at a foot, while others mentioned the possibility of snow mixed with ice. In either case, I am reminded that many years ago this kind of information was received from a very different point of view. In my youth, I placed great hope in the weatherperson’s reports. I loved the snow. The thought of snow forts, and snow ball fights, or sledding and the many other joyous things that came with snow was exhilarating as a child. Perhaps the greatest joy was the anticipation that school would be canceled and replaced with a day of fun.
However, having grown up (at least a little bit) the news of heavy snowfall carries with it much more ‘weight’ in my thinking. Instead of playtime, my thoughts now drift to the safety of others. Whether traveling, or working to remove snow from pathways and walkways, it can become quite dangerous to many people. Deeper concerns and prayers move toward people who don’t receive an income on snow days, recognizing it affects their livelihoods. It is amazing having hindsight and understanding how things change in our lives through our behavior and thinking as we grow older. My faith and hope simply existed to benefit my own harmless fun. Fortunately, in our faith we gain wisdom through maturity as God continues to transform us into His image.
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul speaks of the depth of love from a godly perspective. As he nears the end of the passage he begins to speak about maturity. When I was a child I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult I put an end to childish ways. Growing into maturity is not stating that all of the above things about youth and playing in the snow are bad things. Maturity has more to do with changing our perspective and broadening our point of view to see things as God leads us to see them.
Paul is talking about more serious issues of defining love, and the selflessness that comes from this great gift of God. Rather than seeking selfish desires, or gain from others without reciprocation, we gain new perspective to give and seek to help others receive God’s grace in their lives.
This writing leads to one of the most famous statements on growth and awareness in Christian faith. But now abide faith, hope, love these three; but the greatest of these is love. The selflessness of love moves us to new heights in awareness and compassion for others, and it is through this we begin to experience what identifies as, “having the mind of Christ.” Faith, hope, and love are God’s possessions He offers to us, and in turn moves us to wholeheartedly share with others.
May God bless you in this seemingly never-ending winter season through the joy of childhood into faithful maturity as brothers and sisters in Christ.


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