FROM THE PASTORS DESK

Please read the devotion and click on the link at the bottom to access the song, where you will be redirected from this website so you can listen and watch a video of the song's performance.  

I have prepared songs for the coming days.  If there is a hymn that speaks to you, I would welcome suggestions. 

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Wednesday, August 25, 2021 -  Scripture: John 14:27; Song: "Battle is the Lord’s" 
I wrote this devotion two weeks ago because Nancy and I had plans to go away for a few days to visit our daughter in Wisconsin and I didn’t want to come back behind on my work.  We were tempted not to go with all the things going on, with school starting and Nancy’s cancer being back and all, but I realized that just sitting here worrying isn’t helpful so unless doctor’s appointments get in the way we would go.  It’s hard when life gives us struggles to realize that sitting around worrying isn’t helpful as I said in last week’s devotion.  And we think we need to stop our normal lives and just concentrate on dealing with whatever issue comes up.  I’m not positive why we do this, but I have a feeling it’s about our need to be in control which really, when you think about it, isn’t helpful since because of our sinful, corrupt nature we aren’t ever going to be to fix things on our own.  Today’s song by Rebecca St. James, “Battle is the Lord’s” starts by coming right to the point of what I am talking about.  She sings, “Why so heavy, Oh my soul, Did you forget who’s in control?”  And the answer, of course, when we stop life for a crisis and think we can fix things, is yes, we did forget.  St. James goes on with some great advice for Nancy and I, and for all of you who are struggling, “If he calls the wind and waves to still, he holds you and always will, the battle is the Lord’s.”  What a powerful thing to hear in times like these.  We don’t go it alone.  The same God who sent his own Son to die for us is the one who is doing battle for us in our struggles.  Later in the song St. James sings, “Find rest in the Father’s arms, In his presence there is perfect peace.”  It reminded me of the words of Jesus to the disciples in John 14:27, our Scripture for today: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  That is the perfect peace that St. James sings about.  The peace of the same Jesus who died for you and rose for you.  The same peace that Jesus gave to the disciples when he entered the upper room and said to the disciples who thought he was dead, “My peace I give to you.”  What Jesus has done for us, the peace that he gives us, allows us to sing into the night, as St. James sings.  It’s the reason Nancy and I are able to keep on going, whether it’s just a short trip to Wisconsin or continuing to serve you as Pastor and wife here at St. Andrew during these difficult times.  Lift up your hands in prayer as St. James sings and continue to serve our Heavenly Father who does have us forever in his arms.
 
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - Scripture: Psalm 46:1-7, Matthew 19:25-26, John 11:25-26, Romans 8:31; Song: "Battle Belongs"

Last Wednesday when I published the last song devotion, we had just come back from vacation and the two weeks away was quite refreshing. But as usual, the peace and calm did not last. On the way home, we received the news that the brother of one of our long-time members had died at age 61 from an aneurism. Then the news on the Covid-19 front raised its ugly head again as the increasing cases of the delta variant are causing the experts to consider masking rules again, at least in public. We knew it before we left but last Friday, Nancy had an outpatient biopsy to check out some spots that were found on her routine scans to see if they are cancer again. And life got quickly busy at work as we are trying to hire a new preschool aide, deal with the air conditioning in the church needing some sort of fix, and the compassion requests for PAMA keep coming as the end of the eviction notice ban was last week as well though since then-President Biden has extended it again.  It is tempting to panic and get overstressed and maybe even want to give up. In Bible study the Thursday before we left, we looked at Scripture passages to depend on in these situations and how they have been and continue to be helpful. Then as I looked for a song for this devotion I came upon Phil Wickham’s song, “Battle Belongs.” As I listened to the song, I saw and heard 4 direct references to some of my go-to Scripture passages in times like these. Late in the song Phil sings, “Almighty Fortress, you go before us.” It reminded me of the words of Psalm 46:2-7, which starts in verse 1: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” and ends in verse 7 “The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress.” What powerful words in the midst of all the issues I mentioned. In the middle of the song Phil sings “For Jesus, there’s nothing impossible for you.” Then the words of another one of my favorite passages popped into my head. In Matthew 19 the disciples were in our predicament and when they heard Jesus’ words they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied with these words, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Again, I think it is easy to see how this applies to our situations. Right before that, Phil sings: “If you are for me, who can be against me?” Wow, Romans 8:31, another of those passages popped up. Paul had been talking about all the issues Christians have and he writes: “What then can we say in response to these things?  If God is for us, who can be against us?” Remember that when you think of these issues. Then last but not least, Phil sings “When I see the cross, you see the empty tomb.” There is nothing more powerful than Christ’s resurrection in any situation. As Jesus himself says in John 11:25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life, The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Do you believe this? I pray that in the midst of all these issues you can say with Martha in verse 27: “Yes, Lord.” Notice I said I pray. I do that along  with Wickham in the song as he sings: “So when I fight, I’ll fight on my knees with my hands lifted high.” That is certainly an encouragement to pra,y similar to my encouragement to do the same. So, listen to the song and check out the Scriptures as you fight the issues facing you in life, whatever they might be. And know that “If God is for you, who can be against you?”

Battle Belongs - Phil Wickham | WLC | Lyrics

Previous Devotions

July Daily Devotions
July.pdf
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June Devotions 2021.pdf
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May Devotions
May 21.pdf
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