Category: Meditations

Meditations – January 22, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Asking for wisdom
“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” ~ Psalm 53:2 NIV
When God invited Solomon to ask for whatever he wished, he asked for wisdom, or more specifically, “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9 NIV) God was pleased to grant this request, since this was not the usual request for wealth, or a long life, or the destruction of one’s enemies. Perhaps Solomon was already wise in asking for God’s help, for only a fool would think that he can solve the problems of life, and especially the governance of a nation without the help of God. Life is complicated and doesn’t appear to be getting simpler.
Technology may promise to make things better in certain ways, but at a certain age, the new technology itself gets too complicated for many of us. But God’s wisdom is timeless, and usually simple. When we are faced with difficulties, the first thing we should do is to pause and ask for God’s help. Reflect quietly and prayerfully on God’s word, and even if the answer isn’t immediately obvious, there is a certain peace that comes from knowing that a higher power is there to help.
Only a fool would think that he can solve every problem by himself.

Meditations – January 15, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Asking for Wisdom
“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” ~ Psalm 53:2 NIV
When God invited Solomon to ask for whatever he wished, he asked for wisdom, or more specifically, “a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” (1 Kings 3:9 NIV) God was pleased to grant this request, since this was not the usual request for wealth, or a long life, or the destruction of one’s enemies.
Perhaps Solomon was already wise in asking for God’s help, for only a fool would think that he can solve the problems of life, and especially the governance of a nation without the help of God.
Life is complicated and doesn’t appear to be getting simpler. Technology may promise to make things better in certain ways, but at a certain age, the new technology itself gets too complicated for many of us. But God’s wisdom is timeless, and usually simple. When we are faced with difficulties, the first thing we should do is to pause and ask for God’s help. Reflect quietly and prayerfully on God’s word, and even if the answer isn’t immediately obvious, there is a certain peace that comes from knowing that a higher power is there to help. Only a fool would think that he can solve every problem by himself.

Meditations – January 1, 2020

By Christopher Simon
Preparing for the new year
“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:40 NIV
The start of a new year is an ideal time for quiet and prayerful reflection about our lives. What have we experienced in the previous year, and what have we accomplished? What were our successes, and how might we build on them in the year to come? Conversely, where did we fail, and how might we repair those failures, or at least avoid them in the new year?
Surely all of us would benefit from a more faithful prayer life and a commitment to treat our fellow man with more kindness. New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived, despite good intentions. The gyms which are full of eager exercisers in January are often half empty in February.
One way to improve the odds that we will follow through on our resolutions is to ask God for help in keeping them. As the psalmist advises, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1 NIV)
Ask God for help in keeping your resolutions, and consider offering them up to God. It may also help to track your progress in a diary, a notebook, or on your phone or computer. Keep your resolutions simple and realistic and realize that you’re probably going to slip up occasionally on things like dieting and saving money, so don’t fret about occasional slip-ups.
Finally, if there are things you want to do but dread doing, such as exercise, try to pair them with something you enjoy, like listening to music, or give yourself a reward, such as allowing yourself to watch your favorite show after exercising.

Meditations – December 18, 2019

By Pastor Mike Ashman  Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee, rural La Porte City
Dear Friends,
Today is another frigid day outside. I have seen a promise that warmer weather is on the way. No, not six months down the road, just in the next day or two. In all truth, this one time I do mind the colder weather. Why? The fridge on its last legs, or more like its last foot. The fridge runs when it feels like it. We have cleaned out the shelves, and the drawers, putting what we could save in the entrance while a good amount of food went out the door. Some to the outdoor cats, others to the trash.
Before the words “what a waste” comes from your lips which I can totally understand, I had a thought that I could find a lesson here. Advent calls us to a life of repentance.
Could we envision this as a theme for Advent? All our months and years, we have been collecting memories, dreams, hopes and the like. With the coming of Christmas, God calls us to take inventory if you will. Deciding what is still good and honorable and keeping them in a safe place. Take out the garbage that is no longer healthy for us – all the guilt, the anger and repressions. And then there are those items we can re-purpose (like the food I am sharing with the outdoor cats) such as ideas, hope, joy — yes, sometimes we like to keep these things keep these bottled up inside ourselves rather than sharing.
With the arrival of a new fridge, Mom has taken the task of cleaning behind, under and around the area where the new appliance will sit. The Advent season likewise calls us as John the Baptist says, “To prepare the way of the Lord.” Advent calls us to the important task of housecleaning, not only our abode for the sudden onslaught of guests, but also our earthly dwelling that God has given us, ourselves. Sweep. Dust. Forgive. Renew trust. Find old friends, and renew relationships.
All too soon the day will be upon us. Christmas. The day of Christ’s return. The new year. Our own death. Our own rebirth. Prepare. Prepare the way for the Lord.

Meditations – December 11, 2019

By Pastor Mike Ashman Zion Lutheran Church – Jubilee
Rural La Porte City
Dear friends,
As we near Christmas, we find houses decorated with shining hues of red and green, sparkles of blue and silver. We find twinkling lights upon porches and windowsills. We hear Christmas carols coming from the nearby churches as choirs get set for December 24th -25th. Most houses will feature a glimmering tree filled with ornaments, tinsel and lights.
But upon further examination, one might discover no presents under that very same tree. No cookies. No Candy. The people are arguing – fighting over politics, money and personal vendettas from long, long ago. The children are huddled, or hiding to protect them from the madness. No one really gets a good night’s sleep.
While you may think that I am over-exaggerating, you many have had these very experiences in your own home, or know of a home close by where the chaos lingers well past midnight. You might know of other houses where the residents struggle with financial insecurity, where healthy food is always in short supply. You may have experienced the invisible children who society likewise neglects their need for love. We know these households; we know these people – we are these people.
Advent is time to both prepare and repair. John the Baptist calls us out of our comfort zone. Calls us as individuals, as families and as a community into repentance which is to find a better way of life in God. This calls for action, not for idle sitting on the side lines waiting for the Super Bowl. The big game is right here, right now, in our households, in our backyards and in our churches. God calls us to repair our brokenness. God does not care who is fighting for either the red or the blue time. God cares because he sees his children fighting, sees their pain, sees their hunger, and it hurts the very heart of God.
With Christmas in sight, let us make this the best Christmas ever. Do not wait for the 23rd or the 24th. May every night be a silent night.
“Let peace begin with me
Let this be the moment now.
With ev’ry step I take
Let this be my solemn vow
To take each moment and live
Each moment in peace eternally
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me”
Songwriters: Jill Jackson/Sy Miller
Let There Be Peace on Earth lyrics © Mccg LLC

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