DEVOTIONS WITH PASTOR CHET
APRIL 2, 2020
Habakkuk Rejoices in the Lord
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
Today is a tough time in the United States and the world and that is an understatement. The war goes on against an invisible virus. Many are staying home or going to work because their work is deemed essential. Our health care systems are stressed around the nation. BUT we remember we still have hope. Yes, we even still have joy. Not joy in the virus, no, not at all, but we have joy in the LORD. We have joy in the hope of the resurrection. In the midst of all these challenges we turn to our God. We turn to the one who gives us strength. We turn to the one who is in control. He is our comforter, our hope, and our Savior.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus. The Father sent his own Son in our place so that we can have eternal life. So lets take that hope and joy and share it with others.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us your dear son. Please help us to remember that joy and hope and to share it with others. In Jesus name, Amen.
MARCH 28, 2020
There are often times when I think man I do not have the wisdom I need. In James chapter 1:5-6 it says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
As I ponder this I wonder. How easy it is to be tossed to and fro with indiscion. When that happens the need for wisdom becomes very apparent. The book of Proverbs though written in a poetic style so many years ago offers nuggets of wisdom. Wisdom that is good for a person. When that person is tempted to listen to the sinful nature instead of the wise counsel of God. In Proverbs chapter 3:5 It says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
These words become very apparent in a couple of ways first I do not understand all the depths and knowledge of God. My deficiencies in understanding become obvious. I don’t know why God does things when he does them. I have some ideas and inclinations. With that being said I can only reliably point to what he has revealed himself to be doing in scripture. Like most of the people of the Bible at the end of the day I have to wait and see what he is doing. Sometimes that is as terrifying as it is wonderful.
The second and perhaps the most important thing is to trust the Lord with all your heart. Jesus tells us to trust him for salvation. We are to hold fast to his promises. But what does it mean “all your heart.” Is that referring to your emotional state of being? No, all your heart is your whole being, mind, body, and soul. Think of it as everything that makes you, you. Verse six says “In all your ways acknowledge him,” This idea of all or whole is repeated. Emphasizing involving God in every aspect of your life.
There are many times when I think I've got this only to find out later that I didn’t really have it. And that brings me to the closing verses. Proverbs 3:7-8 “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” It is without a doubt our world needs healing and refreshment of our flesh and bones.
Dear Father in Heaven, you know all things. Turn our heart and the heart of the world to you so that we may find salvation, healing, and refreshment. In Jesus name amen.
MARCH 27, 2020
Do Not Be Anxious
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Today it dawned on me, Beth, that my stress comes from looking beyond today. I am looking at schooling responsibilities for the rest of the year that come with the kids being home. I am looking at the current state affairs of our world. I am concerned for my family and keeping them healthy. I am concerned about a long list of things. Then God stops me in my tracks in the middle of bible study and I realize I only have to worry about TODAY!!!
Again let’s read the last verse of that bible passage. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” So I stopped and thought about what I needed to do today and everything didn’t seem so overwhelming. God knows us. He knows our anxious ways which is why he reminds us through his word to focus on just today.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for helping to remind us that you are in control and that we are to take things one day at a time. Please be with us as we go through each day. Give us peace that only comes from you. In Jesus name, Amen.
MARCH 24, 2020
Brothers and sisters of St. Paul’s
I want to share with you again from the book of Ecclesiastes this time in chapter 8:2 and following “I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him. Be not hasty to go from his presence. Do not take your stand in an evil cause, for he does whatever he pleases. For the word of the king is supreme, and “who may say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever keeps a command will know no evil thing, and the wise heart will know the proper time and just way. For there is time and a way for everything, although a man's trouble lies heavy on him. For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.”
As I think these words and look outside and I see the sun rise and the sun set and they look like any other day. It becomes a bit of temptation to defy the instructions of those put in authority over me. Yet here in Ecclesiastes we are called to trust the wisdom of God. And part of that trust is to trust the command of the king. Whoever keeps the king's command will know no evil thing. Of course the evil referred to is the hurt or punishment the king will inflict for not following his command. When I was in the Army we had a saying every dumb rule was because a person did something dumb. When we are subject to things we think are irrelavent or just dumb it can be frustrating.
That being said, as a country we have been called on to follow the rules of those in authority. It is at great cost in activities and for many great financial cost. Whenever I think about how great the cost is I think of Jesus. What is the cost he paid for my mistakes and my sin? His life, his holy precious life. And I have no control over that Jesus died for my sin and rose from the grave before I was born. He didn’t need my permission. He is my King.
I think perhaps he is showing me that those things once held dear. Now taken out of my control, take second place to him. I can’t help but read again the words “No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.” I guess I need to be reminded that God makes that sun rise and that sun set. My goings and comings do not. That is a little humbling.
Dear Father in Heaven, help us to grow closer to you, to be still and know you are God. In Jesus name Amen.
MARCH 25, 2020
Today’s Devotion comes from a Psalm of David Psalm 20
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
2 May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
3 May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
4 May he grant you your heart's desire
and fulfill all your plans!
5 May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
6 Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.
9 O Lord, save the king!
May he answer us when we call.
As I have learned of the Sedwick county measures taken to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. I am moved to pray. I pray for the elderly. I pray for the parents now trying to take a hand in teaching their kids with school support. Also, I pray for those whose suffering will come from loss of work.
I pray for our minds. One of the hardest things to do is to slow down and have to deal with our own brains. What a struggle that is. My friend called the other day. He's what you would call a full extravert. What that means is he gets his energy for life from being around people. Lots of people. For him this self isolation is a day of trouble for which he cries out. He has to wrestle with his own mind.
He is not alone, many of us have wrestled with our minds. For some of us we kept ourselves so busy we didn’t have to be alone with our thoughts. Satan uses times like these to remind us of past sin, griefs and he twists our imaginations into dark places.
How do we combat that. We take a page from king David and we cry out to the Lord and remember that in the name of Jesus we have been baptized. The Lord saves his anointed; he will answer from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.
King David was anointed to be king and in his trouble of trying to lead God’s people he needed rescued. With that in mind, remember to pray not only for our rescue, but also for all those in authority. That they are rescued and take this opportunity to repent and turn to the only name which saves, Jesus.
Dear Father in heaven watch over those who care for me. Give them wisdom and faith in you. Settle my mind Lord on your name and let Satan have no foothold or victory in my house. In Jesus name amen.
MARCH 23, 2020
I (Beth) wanted to write a letter to encourage all of you. This last week has been a doozy and I have found my need is great to stay in the word. I want to start with scriptures that are so encouraging and share them with you. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
2 from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the ro
that is higher than I,
3 for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
4 Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah
Dear Heavenly Father, please be with our church family. Help them during this time. Please be with and guide our Pastor, elders, teachers and all other staff as they all navigate something they have never navigated before. LORD, thank you for this church family and please encouraged each one of them. In Jesus name, Amen.
God is still in charge. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the end. He is our refuge, our comforter, our redeemer and our help that we always turn to. I will leave you with my favorite bible passage of all time. This is the bible verse that God gave to me when my husband was deployed to Iraq. It is a verse comfort to me. Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Dear LORD of all comfort please be with each one of us as our world’s seem to go upside down. Please quiet our hearts and give us peace. In Jesus name, Amen
MARCH 21, 2020
Today as my kids experience a little cabin fever I think back to Noah and his family. When we think of the ark we often think back oh he was in the ark for 40 days and nights. If we peek back at chapter 7:11 We find this “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s LIfe, in the second Month, on the seventeenth Day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” As an fyi Noah and his family entered the ark a week before the rain started to fall. And in the ark they remained until chapter 8:13. “In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month the water dried from off the earth and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.” But he did not leave the ark. In verse 14 and 15 it continues. “In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark…”
If we put our math skills to work Noah was in the ark over 12 months if he used a 12 month lunar calendar as ancient people tended to use of the Hebrew tradition. It’s hard for me to imagine being stuck in a floating barn although a big one for over a year. As you read through chapters 7-8 you will find that Noah often tried to check and see what was going on outside. But he didn’t leave until God gave him the all clear.
What an act of faith and endurance on his part. But also we must not forget that through all of that time in the ark God is faithful and did not forget Noah and his family. God has not forgotten us. As you practice social distancing and family are gathering in their arks and we feel cabin fever, isolation, and loneliness remember God is with us. Poke your head out to see the sun and feel the breeze. Talk to those neighbors across the fence (courteous distance of course) that you may not have even met. And give the neighbor a call you haven't talked to for awhile. And as an afterthought all you farmers if you're like my dad and sit in the parts store and talk for an hour. You might call the parts guy. Of course you probably need a bearing or bolt disk blade, or some such chunk of metal.
Dear Father in heaven you kept Noah, his family, and all the animals safe. Keep us safe from the turmoil of our economy going crazy, and isolation. Help us to remember you are with us especially in your Son Jesus who is with us always to the end of the age. In Jesus name Amen.
MARCH 19, 2020
In this moment of uncertainty and changing information I can’t help but think of the book of Ecclesiastes. Specifically in Chapter 3:1,5-6
“For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
Destruction is happening upon our economy and lives. The time will come when we hold our heads up and rebuild. But now we take the time to assess. I think wow we are definitely in a time of no embracing. That doesn’t mean we don’t look forward to the time of embracing. It will return. I also know that after the losing we will begin a time of seeking. Seeking to put back together a sense of normalcy.
I think of the exiles of Judea when they were carted off to Babylon. Their temple was destroyed. Their lives were upended, occupations lost, fortunes taken. They had to create a new way to worship and from home worship synagogues were created. Later from the idea of synagogues churches were created. And now we stand in place where we are called on to be faithful and be creative and use the tools we have at hand. Yet through all this God remained God and his people were still his people. And this true now, God is still God and we are still his people and we have the time to look back at the faithful who came before see their innovation and imitate them.
Dear Father in Heaven, You know all things, and all things are in your hands. In this time of crisis watch over us, give us strength and wisdom. Lord, we commend our body and soul to your son Jesus amen.
God’s peace be with you,