Saturday, March 28

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have seen and heard people struggling with dealing with the conditions this pandemic has put us in. I have heard people calling on scriptures for comfort during these trying times. That is good. Along with praying, God wants us to stand on His Word and His promises.

But these days I hear people using scriptures out of context. The most common one is from Isaiah 54:17, the first part of the sentence–no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, (esv) or No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, (KJV).

They say this to rebuke the coronavirus from coming into their presence. Rebuking is not what this scripture is for. It is prophecy from God to the prophet Isaiah to share with the people of his day. The prophecy was that through all trials and tribulations, God would not let His people be destroyed completely. Some would fall since none are exempt from the results of sin and persecution. But the church would prevail; a remnant of God’s people would always remain.

It was a prophecy that God would keep His covenant promise. It  was a promise of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of the old covenant and the embodiment of the new covenant.

Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ. But this scripture is not the one to stand on in times of crisis, fear, and tribulation. It is not a promise that every believer in Christ will be unaffected by Covid-19, or any other troubles or suffering.

You will find more comfort and peace in the words of John 3:16,“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV) or  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (KJV)

And here is the promise to us that we can rest in from John 11:25 (Jesus said) “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (ESV) or “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (KJV).

WE PRAY: Father in heaven, we are doing our best to remain faithful, even though death and the threat of death is all around us. Strengthen us in faith to endure the days ahead and not grow weary of trusting in You and Your covenant promises to us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Help us to understand that whether we live or die, we are yours forever. Amen

The peace of the Lord be with you   -Rev. Brian Dupre, Pastor, SOTC

Sunday, March 22: For Comfort and Peace of Mind

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
    and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
    the Most High, who is my refuge
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
    no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

Devotion for Friday, March 20

Judges 17:6In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
These two scriptures from a long ago time speak to the condition and mentality of a people lost without a leader. But more importantly, they speak to a lack of love and respect for God and His authority.
Nothing has changed. Still, those lost without the leadership of Jesus and guidance by the Holy Spirit do what is right in there own eyes. Hoarding things has become the new normal during this pandemic. All for me, none for you…unless you want to pay the price I choose. I offer you two examples:
I was in the parking lot of a grocery store the other day. As I passed by a certain car, a lady spoke to me. She asked me if I needed toilet paper as she leaned back on the trunk of her car. Of course, I said no.
This is where we are folks, scalping toilet paper! In the parking lot of a store! I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the very store she bought it from! When did something that we ALWAYS throw away after using become so precious? 
Then I was also told by someone that a certain gas station was selling small bottles of hand sanitizer for $10 a bottle. Price gouging. Not just there; a Menards store as well. I’m sure there are many others doing the same thing, even though the governor has warned retailers not to. 
There are phone scams that prey on people’s fears of Coronavirus. It never ceases to amaze me how creative we get when we see an opportunity to take advantage of our neighbors. None of these things are God-pleasing, and demonstrate where our hearts really are.
If we put as much time into helping our neighbors as we do trying trying to take from them, scam them, and take advantage of them in any way possible, we would finally be living the godly lives that God has called us to do.
Pray with me: “Dear heavenly Father, we cry out to You this day to stop the madness that always seem to permeate through our most vulnerable times. Help us to be more like Your Son, our Lord Jesus, who never put Himself before others, and always humbled Himself, even unto death. We know we are weak, but teach us to love one another, and have genuine compassion for our neighbors. Give us hearts, minds, and hands to help when and where we can. In Jesus’ name. Amen”
The peace of the Lord be with you   -Rev. Brian Dupre, Pastor, SOTC

Devotion for Tuesday, March 17

“Prayer Holds the Answers”

Matt. 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.” –ESV

Matt. 6:5-9And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” –ESV

This may be the message where the answer comes before the question. The answer is prayer. The question is, where do I find the answers to today’s challenges? Many of us with good intentions seek the answer to that question in all the wrong places. You may be surprised to find that the Bible is among the wrong places to seek that answer. You see, the Bible is not a “self-help” book. The purpose of the Bible is not to show us how to solve our day-to-day issues, like what vocation God has in mind for us or what the rules of dating are or who is the person I should marry. It is not a step-by-step guide to prosperity and better homes and gardens. That is not the purpose of the Bible, and honest, fulfilling answers to these types of questions cannot be found there.
The purpose of the Bible is to reveal Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to a broken, disenfranchised, sinful world. It is to reveal the love of God that comes through Jesus to us, for the creation and building up of faith through the Holy Spirit. In other words, it is all about the reestablishment of the relationship between God and man. It is for the edification of our spirits. It is for the building up of our faith and for the comforting of our hearts. It addresses man’s relationship to man, but it purposely does not provide the useful, practical answers to day-to-day issues many of us seek in it.
That is why there is prayer. God clearly wants us to come to Him with all our issues; to seek Him first in all that troubles us and in all that we do. That is the purpose of prayer. Prayer holds the answers, even to coronavirus. And God has promised in His divine Word that for those of us who pray in faith, our prayers will be answered. God will give us what we ask in faith. During these troubling times, certainly read your Bible and stay in the Word. But don’t forget to pray. God speaks to us through His Word and we speak to Him through prayer. Your Father in heaven is waiting to hear from you. 

 We pray: Dear heavenly Father, in the stillness of our hearts and the quietness of ours thoughts, we come to You asking to hear our prayers, to grant us that which the heart desires and to comfort the troubling waters that cause us worry, grief and pain. Separate us from all that causes us to fear and doubt Your providence. Create in us clean hearts and minds so that we may lay our burdens down before You in prayer and know that You shall remove them from us as You have promised. Grant us wisdom in all that we seek and do. In Jesus’ name we pray, Lord hear our prayer, Amen.  

God bless you all! 

The peace of the Lord be with you   -Rev. Brian Dupre, Pastor, SOTC