Category Archives: Chaplain Rob

Pray Instead

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.—Philippians 4:6

I was on the road the other day and saw a car up ahead with student driver signs on both sides, on the roof, and on the back. I gave wide berth to that car, because I knew they didn’t know what they were doing yet. And sure enough, as they were driving along, they stopped for no apparent reason. I give student drivers a lot of space because they’re still figuring it out.

But after we’ve been driving awhile, we may find ourselves eating a burrito, talking on the phone, and adjusting the radio, all at the same time. I don’t recommend this, of course. But the idea is that driving comes naturally to us because we’ve taught ourselves to do it. It becomes a conditioned reflex.

Then there are natural reflexes. If we touch something hot, we immediately pull back. We don’t have to teach this, even to a toddler. They know that when they touch something hot, it hurts.

When it comes to worry, we need to develop a conditioned reflex. We need to turn our worries into prayers. When something alarming or threatening comes our way, our natural reflex is to panic. The conditioned reflex—the biblical response, I might add—is to pray.

The apostle Paul wrote, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). Notice that he tells us to pray about everything—not just the big, scary things. Everything.

God is interested in big things. God is interested in little things. And sometimes little things turn into big things rather quickly, don’t they? Little problems can suddenly become big problems. God is interested in whatever concerns you. So the next time you’re tempted to worry, pray instead.

May you take all your worries today to God!

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Nothing is Impossible

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God. – Mark 10:27

Are you facing a situation that looks impossible to fix?

In 1969, the pollution along the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland, Ohio was terrible. It was unimaginable that it could ever be cleaned up. The river was so polluted that it actually caught fire and burned. Now, years later, this river is one of the outstanding examples of environmental cleanup.

But the river wasn’t changed in a few days or a few months. It took years of work to build new sewage plants and reduce the industrial pollution. Eventually, that hard work paid off and now the water in the river is cleaner than ever.

Maybe you are facing an impossible situation. Maybe you have a habit that is driving your family crazy. Possibly you drink too much or don’t know how to control your credit card use. When you face such an impossible situation, don’t you want a quick fix and something to change immediately?

While God can perform miracles and instantly remove your desire or a struggle you are having, for most of us the changes are gradual and involve a lot of effort and work . . . like cleaning up a polluted river.

I challenge you today as you are facing your difficulties to put them in God’s hands and trust in his timing.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Restoring Broken Relationships

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. – Matthew 6:14

We all suffer from broken relationships, with God, and with others. This brokenness will weigh you down spiritually and slow your progress in growing in Christ unless you take steps to mend it. And God wants to heal the brokenness and He wants you to participate by forgiving and seeking forgiveness for yourself.

God’s ultimate plan for you and our world involves healing. In Revelation, the apostle John saw a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, in which this healing would be complete. He wrote: “And the angel showed me a pure river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . On each side of the river grew a tree of life . . . The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2)

Although we know that God will heal all things when He returns to rule, until then we need to take steps toward mending the brokenness. Giving and receiving forgiveness is a must when it comes to spiritual healing. In doing so you will make peace with God, with yourself, and with those you’ve alienated.

Who do you owe an apology to? Who do you need to forgive? Just remember, God has placed one condition on our receiving His forgiveness. . . that we forgive others. It’s a serious thing. Just remember, we don’t earn forgiveness, and we shouldn’t expect others to earn ours.

When you forgive, you in no way change the past–but you sure do change the future. – Bernard Meltzer

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Joy in God’s Presence

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31

Do you spend time in God’s presence praying, singing praises to Him, and bowing before Him? These are things that each of us benefit from.

Do you feel too macho or too proud to bow or sing to God? If that’s the case then look with me at a real man in the Old Testament. The psalms of King David are songs that still give us direction and hope. David was a man who knew his own sinfulness yet was able to sing, “What joy for those you choose to bring near, those who live in your holy courts. What joys await us inside your holy Temple.” (Psalm 65:4)

God wants you to know you are welcome and valued before Him. The joy you find in His presence each day will help you stay tuned into His desire for you.

Worship and prayer will remind you of how great and holy God is. You’ll gain a new appreciation for how gracious God is to forgive you and allow you into His presence.

When was the last time you prayed and sang to Jesus? If it’s been a while, try it. You’ll experience something very special. You’ll continue the process of being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. – Helen Keller

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

The Art of Ending

The end of a thing is better than its beginning; the patient in spirit is better than a proud spirit—- Ecclesiastes 7:8

The poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

And Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 NKJV).

Samson had a great beginning. He had superhuman qualities. Physically, there was no one stronger. He was a one-man army. On one occasion he killed 30 Philistines (the enemies of the Israelites) to settle a bet. On another occasion, he killed 1,000 Philistine warriors on the battlefield with a bone that he picked up off the ground. He once ripped a lion apart with his bare hands. He wasn’t a fictitious superhero; he was the real deal.

For a time Samson was a mighty man of God. And for a time he was even a true world changer. But in time the world began to change him. Samson turned his back on God. He had an amazing beginning but a tragic ending.

One day your life will be summed up in a paragraph or two on a bulletin that will be handed out at your memorial service. No one will care about how much money you made or how much stuff you owned. No one will care how high you climbed in your profession. Instead, they’ll talk about what kind of person you were.

We don’t decide the day of our death any more than we decided the day of our birth. But we do determine the spiritual state we’ll be in when we die. God wants us to be close to Him. God wants us in friendship and fellowship and intimacy with Him. But it’s our choice whether to have a relationship with the Lord or not to have a relationship with Him. We want to finish well.

May we all work hard today to leave a legacy, to finish well, to leave our jobs, our families, our communities, our nations better than we found it.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Better Than a GPS

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.— I Corinthians 6:19

Every now and then, it seems that my GPS has a mind of its own. I’ll be driving on the freeway, going to a destination where I’ve never been before, and all of a sudden it tells me to turn right at the next off-ramp. It doesn’t make sense, but I turn right. Then it tells me to turn left, so I turn left. Then it brings me back to the freeway. What was that all about? It makes no sense at all.

The Lord gave the Israelites an amazing GPS system: a fire by night and a cloud by day. It was very simple. When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud stopped, they stopped. At night when the fire moved, they moved. When the fire stopped, they stopped.

We might think, “I wish I could have that, because a lot of times I don’t know what I should do and where I should go. It would be so easy.”

As believers under the New Covenant, we have something better than a cloud or a fire. We have Christ Himself living in our hearts. This is only for the Christian who has believed in Jesus Christ. God takes residence in our hearts. We don’t need a fire in the sky. We have the fire of the Holy Spirit in our lives, giving us the power to do what God has called us to do.

The Lord will lead us in the way that He wants us to go. Now, sometimes God’s will doesn’t make sense. Maybe we think God is trying to ruin all our fun. But in time we’ll realize that God knew what He was talking about all along.

A GPS isn’t always right, but God is always right. And God’s way is always the right way.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Crippled by the Past?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.—2 Corinthians 5:17

On the television series Fixer Upper, which ran for five seasons, Chip and Joanna Gaines would choose an old house in Central Texas and give it a new beginning. Sometimes the house was for a young couple getting their first home, and sometimes it was for a retired couple looking for somewhere new. Joanna, the designer, came up with amazing plans, and her husband, Chip, the builder, implemented them. When they were finished, it was hard to believe that it was the same house.

Have you ever wished you could start over again, maybe in your marriage . . . maybe in your relationship with your children . . . maybe with friends? In a way you can, because 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV).

As the J.B. Phillips translation puts it, “For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new.”

God can do that for your life. You say, “It’s messed up. It’s broken down. It’s falling apart.”

It can become new and fresh in Jesus Christ. It tells us in 1 John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (NKJV). Notice it says all sin—not just some sin.

You, too, can have a new beginning. It can start now. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is. It can all change because of the blood of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be crippled by your past anymore. You can put it behind you.

May you find new beginnings today!

Chaplain Rob

Set Free to Serve

But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. – 1 Samuel 12:24

The great master artist Michelangelo once explained his creative process this way: “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo could look at a slate of stone and see what would come from it.

God looks at us and says, “I know what you can be. You don’t know it yet, but I know. I know what I can make you into. You’ll be a mighty man of God. You’ll be a mighty woman of God.”

It seems as though God goes out of His way to choose the most unexpected people. When God wanted to reach the people of Nineveh, He chose Jonah. Jonah, however, hated the Ninevites. He wanted God to kill them. So God effectively said, “Jonah, you’re the perfect guy to go preach to the Ninevites.” Jonah eventually obeyed God, and a great revival broke out.

When God was looking for a courageous man to free Israel from the oppression of the Midianites, He chose Gideon. Interestingly, Gideon happened to be hiding from the Midianites when an angel appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (Judges 6:12 NLT). I think Gideon may have looked around and thought, “Is there another Gideon here?” If there’s anything Gideon was not at that moment, it was a mighty hero.

God doesn’t see us for what we are; He sees us for what we can become. He sees potential. God has a plan for each of us. He has given each of us gifts and talents and abilities and resources to use for His glory. But all too often, many of us are not doing that. And why aren’t we? We offer up excuses, never reasons. There is no good reason for us not to serve the Lord.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Your Gratitude Meter

Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:17–19, ESV).

It’s hard for us to imagine what this scene was like. Leprosy was miserable, highly contagious, and incurable. Lepers were called “unclean” and were quarantined. Alone—for the rest of their lives. At a distance, these ten lepers had desperately shouted to the Lord, “Master, have mercy on us” (17:13b).

And Jesus offered them healing. “When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests’” (17:14a). In order for them to be declared clean, they had to be examined by the priests to confirm their leprosy was gone.

Jesus didn’t pronounce healing; He required them to take action. “And as they went they were cleansed” (17:14b). First they started walking, then they were healed. Imagine how these men must have felt. The constant itch, fear, isolation, and torment of leprosy, then—BAM!—instant healing.

Which leads to the heart of the story. Nine of the ten continued on; just one turned back to Jesus, making this point: Only a fraction of people ever truly thank God for His grace. What a picture of enthusiasm and humility, as the thankful leper praised God with a loud voice and fell at the Lord’s feet. Jesus changed his life, and he was grateful.

“Where are the nine?” Jesus asked rhetorically (17:17b). Ten were healed. Nine were thankless. One was grateful. The distinction was not lost on Christ, and His question gives us piercing insight into how God feels.

By the world’s standards, we each have a life of incredible blessing, and the Lord is aware of the reading on our Gratitude Meters. He knows you, knows what He’s done for you, and has a clear reading of your thankfulness right now. God is very aware of your heart response to His grace.

When you choose an attitude of gratitude toward the Lord, something changes in your life. Jesus drew a distinction between the nine and the one: “your faith has made you well” (17:19b). Thankfulness led to wellness at a deeper level. All were healed physically; only one was healed spiritually.

Faith grows in the soil of thankfulness. In the life of the one, gratitude led to faith, which led to salvation.

So where would you fall in the pack of lepers? Some of us are in need of Jesus’ healing. Others have accepted His gifts without thanking Him. Still others are overflowing with gratitude, experiencing a wellness of soul that comes only through grateful faith.

My Prayer for each of you is that you will find something to be thankful for today!

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

The Path To Joy

In Your presence is fullness of Joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore!— Psalm 16:11

Throughout Scripture, we see how God used men and women in the corridors of power to influence leaders. Daniel was taken along with other Israelites into the captivity of Babylon, but he had great influence on King Nebuchadnezzar.

We know that Joseph had great influence on the Pharaoh. And Esther, because of her influence with King Ahasuerus, was able to save her entire nation.

As believers we should be asking, “Lord, where do you want me to be?” He may put you in a corridor of power. Or, He might have you laboring in relative obscurity. Wherever you are, you need to use your influence for His glory. Ask yourself, “Am I going to enjoy life in my own way, or am I going to employ my life serving God and others?” Serving the Lord is the most joyful thing you can do.

The psalmist David wrote, “In [His] presence is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV). Those of us who serve the Lord have discovered a secret. Jesus said it very clearly: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NKJV).

Another way to translate blessed is “happy.” If you want to be a happy person, then be a giving person. If you want to be an unhappy person, then be a selfish person. If you want to be happy, then be generous. If you want to be miserable, then be stingy.

Be generous with everything God gives you. Be generous with your time. Be generous with your money. Be generous with whatever is at your disposal.

Are you going to enjoy your life or employ your life? If you employ your life for the glory of God, then you will enjoy your life as never before.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob