40 Days of Hope & Encouragement Devotionals

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 14
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Curtis Zackery, aka CZ, who is a pastor with Church of the City, Franklin, Tenn. CZ expounds upon a popular passage in a refreshing way.

Skipped May 13

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 12
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Rev. Benjamin Rhodes, a PhD student, @nobts. Rev. Rhodes cites God’s provision of water for his children wandering the desert.


VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 11
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Rev. David Lane, pastor of Judson Baptist Church, Walker, La. Pastor Lane notes that Christians have hope and can be a source of hope.


VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 10
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Leigh Cappillino — member of the Dove Award winning, Grammy nominated Christian trio @pointofgrace – whose advice is to be intentional in these days regarding rest and the rejuvenation of one’s spirit.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 9
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Angie Camp, author of “Hell’s Bend: A Moment from Eternity.” Ms. Camp advises that troubled times help us to re-focus, to be introspective, and to re-equip in readiness to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the aftermath of the pandemic.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 7
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. David Cranford, senior pastor of FBC Ponchatoula, La., and president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Dr. Cranford recalls that Jesus said we would have tribulation, but that the Lord’s peace will sustain us.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 6
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Stewart Holloway, pastor of FBC Pineville, La., who insightfully notes the advantages of the pandemic’s disadvantages.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 5
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Tylitha Whatley, Professor of Christian Education. She notes the daily habit of gratitude with four categories in mind.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 4
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from student Leah Colson, who reminds Christians to remain thankful, exercise your spiritual gifts, and make Christ’s name known.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 3
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from LBC Executive Director Dr. Steve Horn, who notes that there is always hope because of Jesus Christ and his resurrection.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 2
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Joshua Dara, Dean, School of Human Behavior, who encourages perseverance in all aspects and seasons of life.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, May 1
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from author/speaker Dave Edwards, who relates three major results of having the “right one thing” in life.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 30
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Amy Craig, Dean, School of Education, whose counsel is to use the difficult seasons of life to deepen dependence upon God and strengthen one’s spiritual life.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 28
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is by Jay Mills, Executive Pastor of Southwinds Church in Tracy, Calif., who reveals the path of suffering to perseverance to hope.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 27
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is by Dr. Dennis Phelps, Professor of Preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Phelps highlights the temporal and eternal blessings of the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 24
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is by Dr. Marvin Jones, Assistant Professor of Theology. From Hebrews 10 & 11 he reviews timid stumbling and faithful endurance.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 21
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Justin Langford, Assistant Professor of Greek and New Testament. He notes true comfort, unshakable hope, and creative generosity as shown in 2 Cor. 1:3-5.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 20
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. Randy Harper, pastor of Bellaire BC in Bossier and former LC Board of Trustees Chairman, whose counsel is to celebrate the blessings of God and leave your concerns with him.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 18
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is by Jay McSwain, founder of @PLACEMinistries & Chaplain of the Atlanta Braves. The pandemic demonstrates that God orders our steps even though they may not have been in our plans.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 17
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from 2004 alumna Dr. Cathy Eschete, former LC prof at Belmont University, Nashville, TN. She suggests three practical and meaningful ways to be outwardly focused on others’ needs.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 16
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Clayton King, a pastor at New Spring Church, Anderson, SC, who says hard times can also be holy times. Clayton will be our commencement speaker August 8.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 15
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. David Dockery, president of the International Alliance for Christian Education. He shares the biblical meaning of hope.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 14
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Louisiana College’s Director of Student Activities K.B. Thomas, who reveals from Genesis how Noah coped with quarantine aboard the Ark.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 13
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Rev. Tripp Atkinson,associate pastor at Sugar Hill Church, Atlanta, & co-founder of the Haiti Orphan Foundation. Tripp says Christians have theopportunity to draw close to God, to serve, and to hone one’s gifts for what God has in store.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 12
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is by Dr. Rick Brewer. Drawing from 1 Cor. 15: 1-14, Dr. Brewer shares the gospel of Jesus Christ & invites those who do not know the Lord to give their lives to him, today.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 11
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from senior Nathaniel Kimball. He cites some of God’s promises and urges that we claim them and live by them.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 10
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from our own Kellie of Christian recording artists Kellie & Kristen. Your Good Friday is accented with praise, prayer, and exhortation.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 9
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from sophomore Studio Arts major Sarah Brooks. She notes our hope is not in doctors, politicians, or quarantine: “It’s in Christ alone.”

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 8
Today’s 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Scott Torres, family pastor w/Harvest Community Church, Huntersville, N.C. He has ministered among students in various capacities for 20 years, and he encourages us to “be witnesses in this unique, difficult and challenging time.”

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 7
Our 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from senior Missions & Ministries major Shea Smith. She says: “We have a lot of reasons to complain, but we have even greater reasons to worship. … in the middle of a pandemic, God is worthy to be praised.”

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 6
Our 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement video is from Dr. John Fream, senior pastor of Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, La. He challenges us to “rise up and be the champions God has called us to be.”

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 3
Our 40 Days of Hope & Encouragement devotional is from Director of Athletics Reni Mason, who says to “be encouraged every day” and encourage others.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, April 1
From LC student Tanner Guidry, who advises “press into God” during these difficult days.

VIDEO DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT, March 30
from Laurie Short, who has previously spoken in LC Chapel. Laurie compares social distancing and travel restrictions to the Apostle Paul’s activities while in prison. He didn’t just sit there.

 

April 17 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE
is by Dr. Daniel Criswell, Professor of Biology.

“Who’s Your God?”

Many years ago I watched an evolution /creation debate between the renowned evolutionary anthropologist Dr. Vincent Sarich from the University of California Berkeley, and noted creationist Dr. Duane Gish from the Institute for Creation Research. During the debate Dr. Sarich stated, “God didn’t create man in his own image, but Christians have created a god in their image.” As a young Christian, I was offended when I heard Sarich make this charge, while at the same time thinking, “what would prompt an intelligent man, like Sarich, to make such a claim.”  Sarich’s statement has haunted me these past 30 years as I moved from state-to-state and church-to-church and reconciled what he said with my own observations of those claiming to be followers of Christ. Sarich was right. Many of us, calling ourselves Christians, have created a god in our own image and replaced the God of the Bible with this image at some point in our lives and many “Christians” live a lifestyle with their god serving them.

Who is this god that man has created in his image and how can he be recognized? What did Sarich see in what he perceived to be “Christians” leading him to make this statement from his observations? This god that Sarich must have seen, and the one that I see at times, is the god that we create to serve our purposes instead of the God of the Bible whose purposes we must serve. This god, in man’s image, takes many forms. He is the god of health, wealth, and prosperity. He is the god preached from the pulpits across the country on any Sunday, providing people with “group therapy” to make people in a sick society feel better about themselves. He is the god of social awareness, wrapped in the business of relieving human suffering from poverty, disease, and loneliness so people can feel better about themselves in the form of their social accomplishments. He is the god of achievement that moves people up the corporate ladder, gives them titles from earned college degrees, and the admiration and respect from colleagues and adversaries. While all of these activities can be admirable and are not godless pursuits in a biblical context, they are eternally useless when they are not coupled to God’s purposes and absolute truth. Without God’s involvement these activities lead to misconceptions about who God is and what his requirements are for us.

Many of the activities in the previous paragraph would certainly be found in the life of real Christians serving the God of the Bible. However, the more serious faults of the individual who has created his own god is the life style that contradicts God’s absolute truths. In 2014 Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council was quoted in an interview with The Christian Post saying, “Christians are perhaps more influenced by the culture than they are by the teachings of scripture or the church.” According to the “2014 State of Dating in America”  published by Christian Mingle and JDate, 61 percent of Christians said they would have sex before marriage. Fifty-six percent said that it’s appropriate to move in with someone after dating for a time between six months and two years and 34 percent responded that while it would be nice to marry someone of the same faith, it’s not required. While I propose that these statistics reflect a lack of knowledge pew sitting “Christians” have about the Bible, it is more likely that many of these people simply disregard the Ten Commandments in favor of fulfilling their sensual desires. Someone who attends church, even casually, and claims to be “Christian” certainly is aware of the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” No wonder Sarich believed that Christians created a god in their own image to serve their purposes. Many Christians live lives not significantly different than non-Christians or atheists. Sarich’s “Christians” simply ignore God’s requirements if they interfere with their desired lifestyle. Furthermore, if these people are not bothered by their own lack of respect for God’s Commandments, why would they want the government to enforce any standard regarding sex and marriage?

What drives the desire for “Christians” to “follow the crowd” and live as people in the world? Some of that desire comes from our expectation to live pain-free lives. It is easier to “swim with the culture current” than to work tirelessly against the pressure to conform to this world.Americans want no part of pain. We want our created god to save us from the perseverance required to endure what we perceive to be “awful pain.” We can get prescription drugs to relieve any physical pain, wash our emotional sorrows out with alcohol, or burn out that bad memory with a joint. We can bury our troubled minds with work, sex, or entertainment. We are stressed by homework, yardwork, and dental work, and we find it easier to cheat than to study for that degree or to pay a tax accountant. In the process, we drown out the voice of God of the Bible as he seeks to comfort, help, and build his character in us as a witness to a lost world. C.S. Lewis repeatedly spoke and wrote about “God’s megaphone” ─ the pain in our lives. A popular song, Adam Where Are You, by Don Francisco (remembered only by people who have to color their hair, if they have any!), depicted God calling out to Adam and Eve after they sampled some of God’s forbidden fruit. The last verse is quite applicable today.

“And though the curse has long been broken

Adams’ sons are still the prisoners of their fears

Rushing helter skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears

While the Fathers voice is calling with an urgency I’ve never heard before

Won’t you come in from the darkness now before it’s time to finally close the door!”

If I can’t see evidence of a Christian life following the precepts and purposes of the God of the Bible, I become increasingly concerned that “Christian” family member or friend does not have salvation. They might have created a god for their own purposes instead of enjoying a relationship with God through Jesus Christ who created them. When the door on this life is closed, the God of the Bible will be on the other side, not the god we’ve created for our purposes. Are you ready to meet him?

Daniel Criswell, PhD

April 15 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE
Today’s devotion is by Dr. Justin Langford, Assistant Professor of Greek and New Testament in the School of Missions and Ministries. His devotion is titled: God’s Grace to Live.

I remember August 2005 like it was yesterday. My wife and I lived in New Orleans at the time in a one-story apartment. Like the rest of the world, we witnessed on the news the flooding and destruction that came with Hurricane Katrina. Two months later we were allowed to return to our home only to discover that just about everything we owned had floated in 5 feet of water. As with any difficult experience any of us walk through, we experienced an array of emotions over a long period of time. What next? Do we stay here or do we leave? God, why?

It is no overstatement to say that our experience of this natural disaster defined us and changed us in so many ways. On the one hand, just hearing the words “Hurricane Katrina” conjure up negative feelings and experiences that we would never want to relive. But on the other hand, for my wife and me they are synonymous with God’s gracious care, provision, and protection. He more than demonstrated his faithfulness in a time where I sometimes questioned it.

Although our current trial of uncertainty—and even helplessness—in the wake of this virus may cause us to question God’s provision or his presence, he is no less present than at any other time in our lives. For believers, we are faced with the challenge of seeing beyond this crisis to what God is doing in our broken world. The basic mission of all believers of being a blessing to those around us shouldn’t stop. Yes, it is now more difficult to live this out, but we should ask God to give us new and creative ways we can live out this mission in spite of our situation.

Over the past couple weeks the book of 2 Corinthians has spoken volumes to me. This intimate letter of Paul to a struggling church begins with the resounding claim that God is the source of all comfort. Then, in chapter 4, he presents the reality of evil in contrast to the power of God. He goes on to say this in 4:16–18: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen in temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I pray for all of us that through the daily renewal of our minds we would not grow weary or lose heart but stay the course. I pray that we would ask our gracious Father for eyes that see with his perspective on our situation, because that is what truly matters and what gives us an unshakable hope. I pray that we all will be able to look back on this and not think primarily of the struggle but remember God’s generous, gracious, and compassionate hand at work in our lives. I’m deeply grateful to be part of a wonderful community of faithful servants, and I eagerly anticipate seeing you all again face to face.

Grace and peace,

Justin Langford

April 12 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE is shared by Dr. Philip Caples, who is Vice President for the Integration for Faith and Learning and Dean of the School of Missions and Ministries.

The Hope-Filled Christian Life, Mark 16:14-16

On Saturday, I witnessed a beautiful picture of hope-filled living. A young man observed an older gentleman seated near him, who looked burdened. Desiring to encourage the older gentleman, the young man sat down beside him and started a conversation. The older gentleman stated that he was burdened over his family being so distant from him, and he was even burdened more about the fact that he was going to hell. The young man, a Christian, shared, “You can choose to avoid hell by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.” The older gentleman began to ask the young man and others that walked near more about how to receive Christ.

Jesus engaged many people, who desired to have this type of conversation. To aid His disciples in these types of conversations, Jesus prepared them by teaching and investing in them. One Bible passage that captured Jesus’ effort is found in Mark 16:14-16. We call this passage along with its counterpart in Matt. 28:16-20, the Great Commission.

In the Great Commission, Jesus made one simple command to His followers, “Make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19). The Gospel of Mark added one additional imperative for Christ’s followers, “preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). For Christ followers to practice hope-filled living, we need to embrace these two imperatives. One might ask the question. How can I preach the gospel to every creature when the Lord has not called me to preach? I would answer this question by saying that every believer has a holy calling to proclaim the truth of the gospel to everyone.

Therefore, I have two simple questions that I would like to pose to you today. The first question is as follows: Have you found your hope in the person of Christ? If you are looking for hope in family relationships, your work, or waiting for hope to come through some other means, you will find yourself empty-handed at the end of the day. If you will turn to Christ for salvation, I promise that you will find hope and encouragement for whatever comes along in life.

The second question that I would like to ask is: Are you offering hope and encouragement as a Christ follower to others? Christians are being pulled in so many directions these days. However, we cannot allow the world to distract us from accomplishing our main two goals. We are to proclaim the gospel to every creature and make disciples of all the nations. By sharing the gospel and investing into the lives of other people, we will practice the art of hope-filled living. While the young man did not lead the older gentleman to Christ, he invested the gospel into his life and offered him hope. I encourage you today to take a moment to reflect. Who does the Lord desire for you to reach for Christ? Who can you invest in today? If you will answer these two questions and make a conscious choice to obey the direction of the Lord, you will be on the road to hope-filled living. Try It! I promise you will like it.

 

April 10 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE is from Dr. Jerry Pipes,Vice President for Advancement.

It’s Friday, But Sunday Is Coming.”

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35, 37
Passion Friday and Easter Sunday represent a time of great hope for Christ Followers. This truth is vitally important today as we live with the reality of the Coronavirus Pandemic that is resulting in devastating loss of life, unemployment, and uncertainty all around us.
Dr. S. M. Lockridge, who is considered one of the greatest preachers of all time, spoke to this critical issue of our day in his renowned message, “It’s Friday, But Sunday Is Coming.” The title alone should bring unbridled hope to everyone struggling in this fallen Coronavirus world. Here is a brief excerpt from that historic message:
It’s Friday. Jesus is praying. Peter’s a sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. Pilate’s struggling. The council is conspiring. The crowd is vilifying. They don’t even know, that Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. The disciples are running like sheep without a shepherd. Mary’s crying. Peter is denying. But they don’t know, that Sunday’s a comin’.
It’s Friday. The Romans beat my Jesus. They robe him in scarlet. They crown him with thorns. But they don’t know, that Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. See Jesus walking to Calvary. His blood dripping. His body stumbling. And his spirit’s burdened. But you see, it’s only Friday. Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. The world’s winning. People are sinning. And evil is grinning.
It’s Friday. The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands to the cross. They nail my Savior’s feet to the cross. And then they raise him up next to criminals. It’s Friday. But let me tell you something. Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. The disciples are questioning. What has happened to their King? And the Pharisees are celebrating that their scheming has been achieved. But they don’t know, it’s only Friday. Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. He’s hanging on the cross. Feeling forsaken by his Father. Left alone and dying. Can nobody save him? Ooooh, it’s Friday. But Sunday’s comin’.
It’s Friday. The earth trembles. The sky grows dark. My King yields his spirit.
It’s Friday. Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered. And Satan’s just a laughin’.
It’s Friday. Jesus is buried. A soldier stands guard. And a rock is rolled into place. But it’s Friday. It is only Friday.
Sunday is a comin’!
Regardless of life’s storms or the trials and uncertainties we are facing today, we need to remember that it’s Friday, it’s only Friday, but Sunday is coming.
Have you ever tried to lift an anchor? If you have, then you know it’s totally impossible. Anchors are designed to hold large ships in place during the highest winds, the roughest seas, and the most difficult circumstances.
Passion Friday and Easter Sunday teach us that Jesus is the greatest anchor of all. Always remember Jesus came into this world in humiliation, He took on human flesh, was born in a manger, lived a sinless life, was beaten and flogged, then finally took on sin and death on a cruel Roman cross. But that was Friday, Sunday was coming. On Easter Sunday, He was gloriously resurrected defeating sin and death and now offers to us His resurrection power through the Holy Spirit. During the difficult times, never forget the simple yet profound words: It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming. The Apostle Paul strongly expressed our ultimate victory over all circumstances in this life and the next when he wrote, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:35, 37
It’s Friday, but Sunday is Coming!

April 9 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE is from Athletics Director Reni Mason and is drawn from Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.“

God is in control! We should hold to that truth. He describes in His word multiple ways how this exist.

I can remember my parents correcting me for things that I did not really understand as a child. They might have said “because I told you so.“ I like others want to question God.

God sees around corners I can’t see, but he can. Seems to me I should totally trust the one that knows what is coming my way because He sees and knows all!

The scriptures are clear that he wants me to live an abundant life here on earth. I encourage you all as we go through this season of unknown that you spend time with the one (Jesus) who knows all. I assure you as you dine with Jesus he will reveal things for your good in this season that could only come out of this seasons unknown.

Psalm 18:30, “As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless;he shields all who take refuge in him.”

If you have a prayer request, please send it to prayer_requests@lacollege.edu.

 

April 8 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE is from Rev. Mike Evans, a Louisiana College Trustee and pastor of Elwood Baptist Church in Forest Hill, La.

“The Sky Is Not Falling But Keep Looking Up.”

Romans 13:1-5 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities”.
Psalm 34:4-9 “I sought the Lord and He heard me”.
Revelation 22:14 “may enter through the gates into the city”.

Most of us remember the story in which Chicken Little went around telling everyone, “the sky is falling” after an acorn fell out of an oak tree and the title character was struck on the head. After conversing with Henny Penny they ran into Foxey Loxey who suggested they follow him to his den where they could go in and tell the Lion. They went in, but they never came out again. We had better be very sure before we say or do anything until some time has passed and we know the outcome. The sky is not falling, but as Christians we had better keep looking up towards the sky because Jesus promised that He would come back on a cloud the same way He left this old earth over two thousand years ago.

We have been hit over the head by not only the Corona Virus pandemic but also by the stock market falling after the price of oil dropped so much when the Saudis and the Russians flooded the market  with their oil. Whether we believe all of the latest news or not. We have been hit by most everything either closing or being limited in participation by our government, both state and federal. The ripple effect is still going on, and we may not know how much we have been hit until many months later. So, what should we do in the meantime and especially in our churches?

We are taught by the Apostle Paul in Romans 13 that the authority of our rulers is from God and that “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil” and so we are to be “subject to the governing authorities” unless they command something that is clearly in opposition to His divine will. Our founding fathers told us in the Declaration of Independence that we are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and we usually can pursue those goals without hindrance from our governmental authorities as long as we do not violate the laws of our land. This does not guarantee however that we will always do what is right as individuals and neither does it guarantee that our leaders decisions will always be right. We should hope that we and they are right. But don’t we also have the right to be wrong now and then and then to suffer the consequences?

We are now mostly inconvenienced by all of the change that has taken place in these last few days. But that inconvenience could turn to tragedy should one of our own loved ones succumb to this newly known disease. It would matter not whether the number of deaths were small if even one of our own family became listed in the fatal statistics.

Until we get a clearer picture of what is happening and what will happen we should not engage in civil disobedience. This is our government and our laws meant to keep the peace and to ensure domestic tranquility. It has worked remarkably well for over two centuries and is the envy of the rest of the world.

What we still can do is to be the church. The church is not the church buildings. We still can pray for our nation and it’s leaders and we can ask the Lord for guidance and safety. The antidote to fear is to do as David did in Psalm 34 when he, “sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears.” No one can stop us from doing that. I often hear the half quote that God has not given us the “spirit of fear” and He has not. But the rest of that quote should include that He has “given us a sound mind.” Let’s use it to worship Him but to also love our neighbor as ourselves by respecting their wish for the health of their loved ones.

I realize that so many pastors and churches are torn as to which way to go. But may we remember the wisdom of Solomon and refrain from “cutting the baby in two” by condemning each other. I believe that we can love the Lord with all of our heart and our neighbors as we love ourselves by praying “His will be done and His kingdom come.”

Don’t we all want to keep His commandments and “enter the gates into the city” of the Lord’s Heaven found in Revelation 22:14?

I pray that we will use this crises not as a stumbling block but as an opportunity to engage our apathetic culture in a conversation that will lead to wanting to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

 

April 2 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE
Mr. Fred Holt, VP for Enrollment Management

1 Peter 5:6-7

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (NASB).

How do we humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God (deliverance and discipline)? By casting our anxiety on Him. He gives us more than we can bare in order to bring us to the humility of casting the anxiety we cling to.

When I first read this, I didn’t know what it really meant.  I trust God. I know He is sovereign. I’ve been praying for the current situation and others.  But I haven’t truly been casting my anxiety on Him.  I cling to it because I think I can control it, remedy it, cure it, plan for it, or fix it.  But the truth is that I cannot do any of those things. Only He can.  Therefore, I need to humble myself before His mighty hand, casting my anxiety on Him.  When I do, I find peace, I find a God who wants to deliver, who wants to heal, who wants to express his faithful love for me.

This word casting (in this form), occurs only one other time in the NT.  In Luke 19:35, they cast their garments on the colt and sat Jesus on it.  There is no hidden meaning, no word play.  It means that if I have on a coat and I don’t want to carry it anymore, I cast it on something or someone and I no longer must carry that garment.

God wants to be our burden bearer. Why? Because it shows His power and brings Him glory.  But the second half of the verse is tied to the first, “because He cares for you.”  He cares about you’re the thing that is bringing you worry and anxiety.  We must trust that He cares for us. Truly cares for us.

How many times have you seen someone you love going through a trial and wanted so much to take that burden from them; to carry it for them but you can’t because you do not have the ability.  But HE does!  He sees it and He wants it and He WILL take it on Himself.  But we must cast it first. Be specific in your request.  Don’t just say, Lord I trust You and You are sovereign, and You will work it out for my good and Your glory, eventually. All of this is true, but He wants specifics.

“Lord, I don’t know how I am going to pay the mortgage next month. My business is faltering due to this disease. There is no help in site, no bailout coming. I’m scared. I don’t know how to look my wife and kids in the eyes and tell them I don’t know how we are going to buy food next week or even put gas in the car to get to the store.  I’m overwhelmed, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m just so scared. Lord please take this from me!” He wants our heart, broken and hurting.  He wants it all!  I am not knocking this out of the park.  I still cling to my worry and anxiety. I do so out of pride.  But I want to be rid of worry, fear and anxiety.  I know you do as well.

Today, take time to humble yourself and really cast all your anxiety, fears, and worries on Him!  Let Him carry the for you.  Not just because He can, but because He wants to.

 

March 31 DEVOTIONAL MESSAGE
Dr. Rick Brewer, President

Dear I-Campus Family,

I pray that this email finds you doing well. Our devotional for today is bring provided by Dr. Brewer. As you read this devotional, please remember to pray for the people battling the COVID -19 virus along with vast needs within our communities, state, nation, and world.

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord.” ~ Psalm 70:1

Martin Luther wrote the renowned hymn “A Mighty Fortress” probably in the period of 1527-1528. It is one of the most translated hymns, being translated into over 200 languages. It erroneously is oft ascribed as the Battle Hymn of the Reformation written to celebrate the event by Luther; The Festival of the Reformation commemoration was not celebrated in Luther’s lifetime. The hymn rather was written it is believed to be a hymn of comfort. Scholars suggest several things that led to its writing: a man that embraced Luther’s teaching was martyred in August, 1527; in the Fall of 1527 a plague swept through Wittenberg; in December 1527 Luther wrote a colleague saying “We are all in good health except for Luther himself, who is physically well, but outwardly the whole world and inwardly  l and all his angels are making him suffer.”; in January 1528 Luther wrote saying he was battling the worst time of temptation (the German word he used was Anfechtung  which refers to affliction, trial, suffering and temptation[i][i]) in his life and in May, 1528 following six months of wrestling with God in prayer to heal his baby daughter Elizabeth she died.[ii][ii] In addition to all of these devastating trials he constantly was burdened with the heavy abuses in the Roman church and the displeasure of many for his biblical stance.

Thus out of Luther’s adversities and grief he wrote a hymn of comfort for all that experience troubles and trials.

A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:

For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:

Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:

The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:

Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.   ~ Martin Luther (1483-1546)

James Hastings wrote, “What we need most is certainty of God, that we may hold fast our faith in Him, We shall still be beset by mystery, and the world’s sorrow and our own pain will still remain a terrible problem, but we shall see enough to make us willing to believe and wait. We shall let every experience of trial and sorrow bring some lessons to withdraw our hearts from the love of the material. We shall learn to look upon the whole discipline of life as a means of sanctification.”

Click this link and reflect upon the great hymn Luther wrote as it is sung and give praise to God!

https://youtu.be/8XUYZoguhEQ

Dr. Rick Brewer, President.

 

MINISTRY OPPORTUNITY
Because some of our students, especially in rural areas, have no W-fi access, Louisiana College is asking for churches to make Wi-fi available to such students. If necessary, the student(s) would remain outside of church buildings when accessing the Wi-fi as a guest on the system. If you are willing to provide this access, please send an email to communications@lacollege.edu. Please include in the email your church’s name and address, as well as the contact information needed to affect this ministry of your church to our students. If you need technical assistance, please indicate that also in the email. We may be able to offer such help via telephone.