Pastor’s Desk

If you are in need of pastoral care or if you know of someone that is hospitalized and needs visitation, please call Pastor Scott at the parish office at 701.983.4626.

If you would like to stop by and visit at the office, hours are Tuesday and Wednesday from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm CT.

Pastor Scott Pierson is available anytime by phone. Office 701.983.4626 or cell 419.341.7491.

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Devotional 6/3/2024

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you,” – Psalm 56:3

This was our theme verse for VBS this year, and one that I think serves as a good reminder of how good our God is amid fear. What fears can we come to God with? Is there a limit to how much we can lean on God? The answers are simple. We can bring all our fears to God and there is no limit to what we can bring to Him. Verse 3 doesn’t make its declaration in a vacuum. It isn’t some simple philosophical statement. The two verses that precede it show us what kind of fear David was dealing with.

Psalm 56:1-2 “Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me; my enemies trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly.” David’s fear is born from the reality that his life was in constant danger. Enemies lurked around every corner, and they all wanted to see David fail. Most people would either buckle under the pressure of these enemies or become paranoid of everyone’s intentions.  David walked through what many would consider a “hell on Earth” for years, yet he continually put his trust in God.

We don’t have kings and armies vying for our heads on a pike, but we do have enemies that encroach on our lives. Sin, death, and the devil are three of the clearest enemies that we face. Our sin weighs our hearts down. It drags us away from the Lord who reaches out to us, and part of us wants to sink further away God. Death is an ever constant reality for us as humans. Many a person fears death, either because they are staring it the face or they are simply terrified of it. The devil prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour. One of these foes alone can leave you paralyzed in fear, yet all three of these are constantly knocking at our doors. It is easy to be afraid. It is easy to give into our fear. To run away and hide from anything that may threaten us. But King David points to the reason why he does not fear in verse 4.

“In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid, what can flesh do to me?” The reason that David does not fear is simple. His trust is in the Lord, the God of the Universe. What can man hope to accomplish against the Lord of the Universe? Those enemies that wished for David’s death couldn’t do anything to him unless the Lord allowed it. Man cannot fight against God. Our enemies might not be just men. But God defeated them at the Cross. Jesus delivered us from sin, death, and the devil at the Cross. We do not need to fear them because Jesus has won. It isn’t an ongoing war whose end is up in the air. Jesus has won, and we can trust in Him when fear creeps into our lives. His arms are open wide to comfort us and remind us that we are His and He is ours.

Devotional 5/6/2024

I’m a week late posting this here, but here is the devotional for May.

This month we celebrate Confirmation here at Trinity Lutheran Parish. We have 7 teens being confirmed between the two churches! This rite of passage has been an important part of the Lutheran tradition for a long time, and it serves as an important milestone in the life of a young believer. They’ve spent the last two years studying Luther’s Small Catechism and learning what we believe as Lutherans. Reflecting on this past year, I am reminded of the answer to the first question in the “Explanation of Luther’s Small Catechism” found in the back of our AFLC Catechism. Martin Luther didn’t write the explanation, it came later and serves to flesh out the teaching of the Catechism, but the first question reaches the heart of the Gospel and the heart of the Catechism.

The first question is one that most of us have probably asked in some way shape or form. “What is God’s will concerning man?” The answer given is a direct quote from 1 Timothy 2:4. “[God] wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” The truth of Scripture is that we are dead in our trespasses and sins. We have nothing to offer God, nothing to remedy our deadness. But Christ still came to Earth to die for the sins of all mankind. God desires for everyone to hear the good news that Christ died for their sins and rose from the dead to give them victory over sin, death, and the devil. We do not serve a malicious God who is waiting in anticipation to punish us for our sins. He takes no pleasure in our suffering. Hebrews 12:2 reminds us that Jesus “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”

That joy comes from the fact that His death paid for our sins. God is a loving God and not some demon in disguise. His heart is for the lost and broken. Through Christ, we can come to the Father and seek forgiveness of our sins. We are reminded that we are Children of God through faith and that God loves His children. We can come back to Him no matter what we’ve been through. We can run to His open arms when life has broken us. Truly, God desires for all mankind to be saved. Rest in the truth that God loves you and Christ died for you.

Devotional 4/2/2024

Matthew 6:25-27 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?

“Spring always comes.” A friend of mine often says this when they are tired of winter, especially on those days cold enough to freeze car batteries. This winter has been mild, pleasant even, yet we still canceled church a few times because of the weather and I am sure we all are ready for spring to truly start. It is easy to get caught up in the winter weather and feel like things will be cold and snowy forever, but Spring always comes. The temperatures rise and the snow melts. Flowers bloom and it is socially acceptable to wear shorts again. The bitter cold of winter is forgotten as our bodies thaw out. “Spring always comes” is a great reminder that things will get better.

Our day-to-day lives can go through seasons of winter. Times where everything seems to be going wrong and we don’t know if things will ever get better. Every day seems to be worse than the last as the worry, anxiety, and fear pile up like falling snow. It is hard to believe that things will change when there is six feet of snow and blowing wind, but “spring always comes.” Just as winter comes to an end, so do our personal winters. Spring isn’t always pretty, it can be mucky and a little chilly, but it isn’t winter. It gets warmer. It gets better. The Matthew text that we started with reminds us that God provides for us. Our lives are in His hands. We shouldn’t let worry and fear control us because our comfort is in the God of the Universe.

We may not know how our winters will end or how much of it will remain in our springs, but we do know that God is with us. He is by our side through it all. This doesn’t mean that everything will be sunshine and lollipops, we will still face hard times, but God is with us. If God can provide food for birds, how much more does He provide for His children? The seasons of our lives are marked by God’s continued presence and blessing. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t last long. The brutal winters of our soul would end us if it wasn’t for God. He brings us through them in His love and power. Our winters may come often and last a long time. But when we are called home, we will say goodbye to those personal winters. Eternity will be sunshine and lollipops, a place where it is always great. Our eternal Spring will make all the seasons of this life feel pale and fleeting. Spring will come.  

Devotional 3/5/2024

March this year ushered us into second winter with a spectacular snowstorm. Seeing that caused me to think of Isaiah 55:10-11. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” It can be frustrating to see more snow arrive in March, but it does play an important role in our lives. I don’t know much about farming, but a dry and snowless winter means that there isn’t any water melting into the ground. The snow that we get is important for helping provide water to the soil when the time comes for the plants to try and grow again. We may not like the snow when it happens, but life would be a lot worse without it.

Just like how we may not like the snow, or the rain for that matter, the Word of God isn’t always easy to hear. There are many things in the Word that hurt or rub us the wrong way. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “There were none righteous, no not one” are only two examples of passages that remind us of our sinful state. The Ten Commandments and other Law passages show us our sins and convict us of our sinfulness. It isn’t fun to have our sins pointed out. It isn’t fun to become convinced that something we’ve enjoyed is sinful. But that painful and uncomfortable experience is needed for the seed of faith to grow. The water from the snow seeps into the ground to feed the seeds of plants, and the Word of God seeps into our hearts to feed our seed of faith. The Law breaks down the walls that we put up around our hearts that keep the good news of the Gospel out. The reality is that Christ died for your sins, that He doesn’t leave you nor forsake you. We are reminded that we are justified by his grace as a gift. The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Those painful and uncomfortable moments with the Law pave the way for the Gospel to do its job. Both work together to water your faith seed, so that it may grow into a beautiful flower in the garden of God. The garden where all who believe in Christ are called God’s children.

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Devotional 2/14/2024:

Lent is upon us. As we begin the season of Lent, some may wonder what it is and why we do it. The season of Lent has been practiced since the Church was still young, and it serves as a time of repentance and reflection. In the Old Testament, the use of ashes in repentance was common. You see the refrain “they repented in sackcloth and ashes” often throughout the Old Testament. Job 42:6 declares “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” This is why Lent starts with Ash Wednesday. When people are marked by ash and reminded of their need to repent. Ash Wednesday ushers in a time of forty days (Sundays aren’t counted because those were ‘feast’ days in the Church) where we focus on the impending crucifixion of Jesus for our sins and His resurrection from the dead. As we look forward to Good Friday and Easter Sunday, we take time to recognize why we celebrate those days. We reflect on our sinfulness and we repent. We may not wear sackcloth and ashes, but we repent with a heart that is turned to the Lord.

These times of repentance in the Old Testament were often matched by a time of fasting. Doing away with or limiting one’s consumption of food to focus on the Lord. People would repent and fast in faith, trusting in the Lord.  That is why people often “give something up” for Lent. We rarely give up food completely for any length of time like the people of old would, but there are things that we can fast from today. Is there anything that takes away from your time with the Lord? Things that take up more time than you realize and leave you saying, “I just don’t have time to read Scripture”? I encourage you to think of something that you can give up this Lenten season, whether it is Social media, television, chocolate, or whatever you feel led to give up. Lent is a time for spiritual reflection and seeking the Lord. So, seek the Lord while he may be found.  

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Devotional: As we enter into November, I am struck by the beauty of the snow. It might not always be welcome. The snow and the cold can be dangerous for livestock if it gets bad quickly. The roads become endless hazards that you may not notice until you’re in the ditch. Snow, and winter for that matter, may not incite the same sense of awe in all of us. However, there are few things more beautiful than a fresh snowfall. There is something about the pure white snow that creates a beautiful scene wherever it falls. There may be things about snow that we don’t like, but the beauty of it doesn’t change.

Thinking about snow reminds me of Isaiah 1:18: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” The Lord first compares our sins to scarlet and crimson. The color of blood. A reminder of how devastating sin is. The Israelites had to sacrifice animals for their sins, and that blood was a constant reminder that they had failed the Lord. The nation of Israel also struggled with protecting the weak and marginalized of their society. Throughout their history, they would make sacrifices, sometimes human sacrifices, to the gods of the surrounding nations. They would fight and betray one another because of sinful desires. The color of blood was something that stained every Israelite from head to toe.

We may not offer animal or human sacrifices like the Israelites did, but we are still guilty of sinning. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus tell the crowds “If you look at your brother with anger, you are in danger of judgment.” Looking at your brother, or any human, with anger and hatred deserves the same punishment as murder. How many of us are guilty of this? This is only one sin that we as people can struggle with. Pick a commandment and there isn’t anyone who hasn’t struggled at some time with it. We are dead in our sin. Bloody corpses laying on the ground. We are in just as much need of our sins being made white like snow. And that has happened, by the blood of Christ.

It is interesting that the Lord chose to use the imagery of blood to describe the Israelite’s sins when it is the blood of Christ that washes away those sins! It’s as if the blood of Christ overcomes all things and erases those very sins, which it does! Our sins don’t go away, but they have been dealt with. The Lord describes the sins as going from red to white. It isn’t like our sins never happened. We still have real-world consequences that may come from our sins, but they no longer condemn us before the Lord. The blood of Christ flows to wash those sins because they flow from the wounds He took to pay for your sins. Christ’s death and resurrection takes you and your bloody corpse, washes you clean, and breathes new life into you. That which was dead is alive. That which was stained red by bloody sin has been redeemed to be beautiful like a fresh snowfall.