Adversity is Unavoidable

When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted. – Psalm 138:3

I think we all discover about five seconds outside the womb that this life isn’t easy. And it seems that the older we get the tougher it becomes. Some people have problems or are attracted to difficulties like fleas to a dog. Others make it through life with relatively little difficulty.

But most likely, you’ll face some tough times in life, and it’s not important how your challenges stack up to the challenges of others. Sometimes you might wonder if you are going to be able to make it through, and you will if you hold onto God. He’s promised to see you through.

Are you weighed down? Do you feel overcome with grief or alone in your struggle?

You can choose to take steps to walk through your challenges and come through them a stronger person.

Remember, believing in God and in Jesus Christ doesn’t mean you won’t have problems. But it does mean you have resources, people, and God’s Spirit who will see you through your problems. What could be better?

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records. – William A. Ward

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

To Whom Will You Surrender?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Does it seem as if everyone wants something from you or expects you to do something? Pressure has become a regular part of our lives today. And these will be times when you’re forced to choose between surrendering to the pressure of others and doing the will of God.

Scripture remembers Saul as a man who didn’t choose well. Israel was at war. In the midst of battle it was customary to have a priest offer sacrifices. Samuel had promised Saul that he would come at an appointed time to do this. Saul waited for a while but began to feel pressured because his troops were leaving him. He knew that it was against God’s law for him to offer the sacrifices because he was not a priest. But Saul decided he couldn’t take the pressure any longer. He offered the sacrifices himself.

Just as he finished, Samuel arrived. “How foolish! he said. You have disobeyed the command of the Lord your God. Had you obeyed, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your dynasty must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

If Saul had waited just one more hour, he would have kept his kingdom.

Surrendering to God means that you resist surrendering to those who pressure you to disobey His commands. When you surrender to ungodly pressure, you pay the consequences. When you surrender to God, you benefit, and your family benefits for generations to come.

You’re born. You suffer. You die. Fortunately, there’s a loophole. – Billy Graham

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Sometimes You Just Have To Laugh

Worship services on Sunday are not usually a full hour of laughter! But it might be a long hour if humor was totally absent! The Bible is not noted for jokes or material for standup comedy but it DOES have humor. We should rejoice and be glad for that! Much of the Bible IS about “trials and tribulations” and it does contain numerous accounts of suffering and death, but there seems to be a strong tilt toward joy and gladness as it progresses from Genesis to Revelation.

Reading the texts for April 15th (no tax humor though!), one can see the subtle humor that jumps out at us. In the startling appearance of the resurrected Jesus to his disciples, the words fear, terror, troubled, doubts, and ghost describe the feelings of the disciples. The Lord lightens the mood by dryly saying, “Do you have anything to eat here?” I imagine that may have cracked up some and helped them shift to “joy and wonder (v.41)”. And the passage in Acts, has been the source of many a joke about long winded sermons and a captive audience in the pew….or on a window ledge!

Indeed the Sundays after Easter are meant for us to reflect on joy and wonder in spite of what troubles we have had or are going through at the moment. So, a joke or two is not inappropriate. In some churches, Bright (Merry) Sunday is observed the Sunday after Easter with very intentional fun and humor present. Some practice harmless pranks while sense of festivities often abound. We may not come close to an out and out “party” but we may have more jokes from the congregation than we are accustom to!

“Did you hear the one about the minister, priest, and rabbi who walked into a bar?”

Join the Resurrection Party this Sunday then cast your vote for the source of all Final Laughter where all tears are finally wiped away~~~+

Blessings!

Pastor Barry

God’s Peace through Prayer

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:4-7

There are times when we’re caught off guard by life. We are suddenly faced with problems that can wipe out our joy in an instant. Our hearts are disquieted and our minds begin to race. When we are grappling with unsettling problems that come our way and cause us to worry, it’s time to run to God in prayer.

From his prison cell, Paul wrote this message: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand” (Philippians 4:6-7).

The psalmist wrote, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation” (Psalm 100:4-5).

God’s gates are always open to us. He’s waiting for us, whenever we’re upset and in need of a friend. We’ll still feel the painful emotions. We don’t just hand them over to God and expect them to disappear. But we can experience God’s peace through prayer. Prayer is a useful tool to help us work through our problems. He will give us his peace, reminding us that he’s there with us. For this, we can be thankful.

A life bathed in prayer is the best antidote for worry.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Why Do We Experience Setbacks In Life?

And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10

Do you ever think that your level of success in life is minimized by the problems and setbacks you experience along the way? Well, it’s just not true.

Our problems and setbacks don’t determine the shape and direction of our lives. What problems and setbacks do, however, is reveal character. They show us how we respond to fear, disappointments, and failure. They reveal what level of resilience we possess; whether or not we’re content to play the role of a victim; and whether we’re willing to take a risk again after initial failure. In other words, they diagnose our shortcomings and call us to positive change.

Problems and setbacks are the crucible of character formation, and they give us perspective as we pause and evaluate what’s truly important in life. So don’t be discouraged when troubles come your way, instead hang on to your faith, God’s word and ask yourself, “what can I learn from this”. Trust that the God who created you and in whom you place your faith and trust will carry you through your setback or trial.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. – Helen Keller

May each of you see setbacks as stepping stones to deeper character.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Forgiveness

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.- Ephesians 4:32

There’s a story about a grandmother, celebrating her golden wedding anniversary, who told the secret of her long and happy marriage. She said, “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of ten of my husband’s faults which, for the sake of marriage, I would overlook.”

A guest asked the woman what some of the faults she’d chosen to overlook were. The grandmother replied, “To tell you the truth, my dear, I never did get around to writing the list down. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I’d say to myself, luckily for him that’s one of the ten!”

At some point, you’ll need to forgive virtually every person you know. Forgiveness is absolutely essential for the health and growth of any relationship. Jesus paid a price for our forgiveness, and He was clear in His teaching that we are to forgive others; that’s the price we pay to receive His forgiveness.

To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you. – C.S. Lewis

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Resurrection Rallies

We get together for about anything! Sports, birthdays, anniversaries, politics, yard sales, and just about any parade. Turn on a yard light at night or set out a table in daytime and you get a crowd! We are gatherers.

After Jesus’ died there was to have been a prescribed time of family mourning. Together but immeasurably sad that time was definitely cut short. Cut to the Resurrection gatherings! Disciples here in a room, at a meal, traveling on the roads, fishing at the lakeshore, you name it…..Jesus shows up! Unexpectedly, for the most part. Together again!

These moments certainly reflect our Old Testament reading: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.”
Instead of a time of grief and mourning when the disciples and Jesus’ kin met together it is instead a time of amazement, joy, and often a meal! It’s hard to cry when you are with friends and everybody is eating!

We will gather at The Lords Table this Sunday April 8. There is a certain solemnity and seriousness when we receive the bread and the cup… and rightly so. It reminds us of both Sin and the cost of dealing with Sin. But, back of that is great joy in the salvation work of God! Keep that in mind when we gather this Sunday. Good Friday had to be, but Resurrection Sundays have a way of reminding us that such Fridays of Death must give way to a Big Get Together of the Family Of God on Sunday! And an Eternal Sunday at that!

Confess your sins (I John 1:9) and then just sit down with friends to eat well and have a great time!

Invite a neighbor! See you Sunday!

Pastor Barry

Your Significance Comes from Serving

“Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants of God’s various gifts of grace” (1 Peter 4:10 NCV).

To experience significance in life, you must serve with others in ministry. Ministry just means doing good to other people.

Significance does not come from status or a hood ornament on your car or a logo on your shirt. Significance does not come from a bigger salary.
Significance does not come from sex.

Significance comes from service. Significance comes when you start thinking about other people more than yourself and you give your life away. You cannot be selfish and significant at the same time.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others” (NCV).

The talents you were given are not for your benefit. God gave them to you for the benefit of the people around you. You are shaped for significance, and you find that significance by using your gifts and talents and abilities to serve other people.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together. If one falls down, the other can help him up. But it is bad for the person who is alone and falls, because no one is there to help. If two lie down together, they will be warm, but a person alone will not be warm. An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves; a rope that is woven of three strings is hard to break” (NCV).

You’re not meant to serve God by yourself. You’re meant to serve God on a team. You’re meant to serve God in a family, in a small group, in a church. You’re meant to serve God in relationship.

We’re better together!

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

In All Things Give Thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Recently I have been dealing with a number of disappointments. Nothing huge just everyday issues that have come up. With these in mind I wrote today’s thought for the day. I hope it helps you reading it as much as it has helped me writing it.

Sometimes, in the crush of everyday living, we simply don’t stop long enough to pause and thank our Creator for the countless blessings He has bestowed upon us. We go from one project to another with little time to stop. We are always on to the next project, the next thing, the next moment.

It is only when we slow down and express our gratitude to the One who made us, we enrich our own lives and the lives of those around us.
Thanksgiving should become a habit, a regular part of our daily routines. God has blessed us beyond measure, and we owe Him everything, including our eternal praise.

As Christians we are called to give thanks in all the things. Not just the good things, not just some things but ALL things.

Are you a thankful person?

Do you appreciate the gifts that God has given you? And, do you demonstrate your gratitude by being a faithful steward of the gifts and talents that you have received from your Creator?

You most certainly should be thankful. After all, when you stop to think about it, God has given you more blessings than you can count. So the question of the day is this: will you thank your Heavenly Father . . . or will you spend your time and energy doing other things that seem important today but maybe not eternally?

We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in us patience, humility, and the contempt of this world along with the hope of our eternal country. – C. S. Lewis

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Running To Something!

Easter Sundays come and go and each one is likely to catch you in a different place in life; Child, Youth, Twenties, Thirties and….you get the drift! Each life season a different way of seeing and hearing the remarkable answer of God to the puzzle of death and injustice, tragedy and sin.

I remember going to a sunrise Easter service at Lee Memorial Gardens in Virginia with my parents when I was about 8 or 9. I wanted to go back to bed! It was nice and all but REALLY! 6:00am!!

Easter was different at about 11 after my grandfather died, the first family member to die that I was very close to. Then at 14…my father. Then for all the years since….well most of you have had something akin to what I just said. One DOES “grow in wisdom and in stature” in the face of reality both harsh as well as happy.

Yes, many an Easter Sunday is just bright and cheery with a hundred things in your life to go on about in joy and thanksgiving. You could leap for joy if your knees work well! Some Easter Sundays….nothing, “nada,” it hurts too much in either body, mind, or spirit.

What we are ultimately given from first to last, regardless of the time or condition on earth we have, is the Final Word from our Creator: “I have made you, I have provided a Way for you in Jesus raised from the dead, and what I began in you I will bring to completion.”

It’s what we have on any Easter Sunday. Or any day of the week for that matter! Sometimes it catches us with a hearty laugh and sometimes with a face all tear stained. If laughing, our faith reminds us that the best joke is finally on the Devil; if crying, our faith tells us “this too shall pass….”

For most of the Gospels there is mostly walking. On Easter morning Biblical people pretty much RUN! Breathless! Something has happened! Is happening! And will happen! If you can’t run anymore…SOMEONE will still get you up and moving! Then you will only cry tears of joy!

Thanks be to God~~!

See you Sunday! Easter!

Pastor Barry