Category Archives: Meditations

Meditations – November 19, 2014

By Rev. Doug Rokke American Lutheran Church, La Porte City

Giving Thanks; A Celebration!

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. ~ Psalm 100:4 NRSV

Psalm 100 one of the better known Psalms and is loved by many people. It is a Psalm of praise and thanksgiving calling on people to worship God. In verse four it says to enter God’s courts with praise and thanksgiving because, “the Lord is good.” As Christians I think this is one of the results of giving thanks; by giving thanks we remember the goodness of our God.
As Christians, our Thanksgiving is always directed toward God and the blessings that he pours upon us. That’s not true for everyone. In fact, one doesn’t have to be Christian to give thanks. People of all cultures and religions can bring up a sense of gratitude for things in their lives. Anyone can enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner, be grateful for family and enjoy a good football game without thanking God.
But for Christians their thanksgiving is directed to God. We believe that he is somehow connected with the goodness in our lives. And in giving thanks we not only give him the credit that he is due, but in giving thanks we remember his goodness toward his people. This goodness is seen not only in the things we remember at Thanksgiving, but is seen most clearly as he gave his son to die on the cross.
As we approach Thanksgiving let us not only take time to be thankful, but let it be an opportunity to thank God. May it be a time to celebrate all that God has done. Or in the words of the Psalm may it be a day to give thanks to Him and bless his name.

Meditations – November 12, 2014

By Rev. Doug Rokke    American Lutheran Church, La Porte City

Giving Thanks: A Time to Remember

“Bless the Lord O my soul, and do not forget all his gifts” ~ Psalm 103:2 NAV

Recently I have been reading a book by Ann Voskamp entitled One Thousand Gifts. In this book her reflections on giving thanks led her to start keeping a list. Every day she would write down something to give thanks for. Her goal was to list one thousand things in her life that she was thankful for. She found that as she listed these things every day it changed her and helped her to look at life differently.
I think that is one of the benefits of giving thanks. It changes how we see things in our life. I’m sure that for some this past year may have been difficult. And yet pause to remember what we do have. It includes not only the material things, but the many gifts we have been given like people we love, friendships and the simple things in day to day life. Finally giving thanks may lead us to remember the gifts of our faith and the greatest gift God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
And so as we enter this month and approach Thanksgiving, let us take time to make a list either mentally or maybe even a written list of all we have to be thankful for. And then let us take time to offer our thanksgiving to God. It may help make your Thanksgiving more complete!

Meditations – November 5, 2014

By Rev. Doug Rokke American Lutheran Church, La Porte City

Giving Thanks: A Time to Remember

“Bless the Lord O my soul, and do not forget all his gifts” ~ Psalm 103:2 NAV
Recently I have been reading a book by Ann Voskamp entitled, One Thousand Gifts. In this book her reflections on giving thanks led her to start keeping a list. Every day she would write down something to give thanks for. Her goal was to list one thousand things in her life that she was thankful for. She found that as she listed these things every day it changed her and helped her to look at life differently.
I think that is one of the benefits of giving thanks. It changes how we see things in our life. I’m sure that for some this past year may have been difficult. And yet pause to remember what we do have. It includes not only the material things, but the many gifts we have been given like people we love, friendships and the simple things in day to day life. Finally giving thanks may lead us to remember the gifts of our faith and the greatest gift God’s Son, Jesus Christ.
And so as we enter this month and approach Thanksgiving, let us take time to make a list either mentally or maybe even a written list of all we have to be thankful for. And then let us take time to offer our thanksgiving to God. It may help make your Thanksgiving more complete!

Meditations – October 29, 2014

By Rev. Mike Gudka    St. Paul United Methodist Church, La Porte City

My articles for this month have been a little different than what I have done in the past. For these articles I am looking at the history behind some of the great old hymns that many have come to know and love. Many of these hymns have an interesting past; they come from many different people and church denominations, and help tell a powerful story of what we believe. They can comfort us, bring back strong memories, and help us draw closer to Christ.
This week I am going to look at the hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” This song comes out of my Methodist or Wesleyan tradition. Many have referred to it as the “Methodist anthem.” It was written by Charles Wesley and it proclaims two aspects of Wesleyan theology: God’s saving grace and invitation to follow Christ.
Within the Methodist tradition, John Wesley did not leave us with large books of church theology found in other churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Churches, and the Churches that follow Calvin’s theology. Instead, John Wesley provided us with songs. The songs found in the United Methodist Hymnal represent our “book of Wesleyan theology.” When I explained this to a non-Methodist pastor friend of mine, his replay was, “Oh, now that explains why you Methodist sing all the verses to every hymn!”
Although this hymn comes out of the Methodist tradition it is enjoyed by many Christians worldwide. And in keeping with the Methodist tradition, it is a long one; it has seven verses! Remember, as Methodists, we sing our theology. So the next time you sing this hymn, be inspired and lifted up as you sing, “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!”

Meditations – October 22, 2014

By Pastor Mike Gudka St. Paul United Methodist Church
My articles for this month have been a little different than what I have done in the past. For these articles I am looking at the history behind some of the great old hymns that many have come to know and love. Many of these hymns have an interesting past; they come from many different people and church denominations, and help tell a powerful story of what we believe. They can comfort us, bring back strong memories, and help us draw closer to Christ.
This week I am going to look at the wonderful hymn “We Gather Together.” This is actually a Netherlands folk hymn from the sixteenth century. Interestingly enough, it was originally written in celebration of Dutch independence from Spain. And with this in mind, it can bring new light to what the author originally meant in the phrase “The wicked oppressing,” and “So from the beginning the fight, we were winning”, and in the final phrase “O Lord, make us free.”
Here in the US, we tend to associate this hymn with Thanksgiving as we sing, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; he chastens and hastens his will to make known. The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing. Sing praises to his name; he forgets not his own.”topics/privacy-identity.