Category Archives: Chaplin Rob

God’s Gym

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. —James 1:3–4

It’s a good thing to go to the gym, but if you don’t do anything while you’re there, it isn’t all that helpful. If you sit around on an exercise ball and use it as a pillow, that won’t help you much. If you want to get stronger, you need to actually work out. You need to do things like cardio and weights. As they say, no pain, no gain.

That can be true in our spiritual lives as well. We have to go through times of testing to be built up spiritually. Testing and trials are God’s gym in which we are broken down so we can be built up. To build muscle, you must break down muscle. The same is true of the spiritual life. To get stronger spiritually, we need to go through this process.

It is true of our faith as well. Faith is not given to us as a trophy to put into a display case. It is not given to us as something that we just stand back and admire. Faith is given to us to use, to put into action. And if we want our faith to get stronger, we will go through times of testing.

Hebrews 11:35–39 describes the kind of hardships that great men and women of faith from the Old Testament endured. These included torture, imprisonment, and stoning, to name a few. These heroes of the faith were world changers, and their faith grew stronger through experience.

Do you want to be a world changer? If you answered yes, if you say you want God to use you, then you’re in effect also saying, “Lord, send me trials.” Trials are a part of the Christian life. And if you want to be a world changer, you will be tested.

May God walk with you today,

Blessings

Chaplin Rob

TURNING SETBACKS INTO STEPPING STONES

Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”—Genesis 22:2

God had asked Abraham to make the greatest sacrifice imaginable. Finally, Sarah did bring forth that promised child in her old age, and he became the light of Abraham’s life. His very name, Isaac, which means “laughter,” says it all. They loved that boy. But then God asked Abraham to sacrifice him.

In many ways, you would have to say that to be tested on this level was quite an honor because the Lord knew Abraham could handle it. God knew that Abraham would rally. He knew that Abraham would pass this test. He knew that Abraham would take this setback and turn it into an opportunity.

A disability can become an ability when it’s dedicated to God. Maybe you’re facing a hardship . . . a tragedy . . . the death of a loved one. My friend Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic due to a diving accident when she was teen, wrote these amazing words: “God’s power always shows up best in weakness. So here I sit . . . glad that I have not been healed on the outside, but glad that I have been healed on the inside. Healed from my own self-centered wants and wishes.” Joni has turned a disability into an ability. She has traveled around the world and inspired countless people.

Maybe you’re going through a test right now, and you’re saying you can’t handle it. Yes, you can. Otherwise, God would not allow you to go through it.

You can’t control what will happen in your life. All you get to do is decide how you will react to what comes your way. God is in control. You are not. But you can control what you do with what comes your way. World changers turn seeming setbacks into stepping stones.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Growing in Christ

That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works. – Psalm 26:7

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8

People today are striving for personal improvement, self-empowerment, and inner strength. Yet, Christianity has a completely opposite way of thinking; it’s full of paradoxes. We die to live; we lose to find; we surrender to gain strength.

When Jesus overcame death, he defeated the worst enemy of all. Today we’re left to battle with far lesser foes, knowing that He’s already won the war.

When we stop trying to control the outcome of every situation and stop demanding that God resolves our problems according to our dictates, we unlock the door for God to show us his redemptive purpose.

Praying, ‘Your will be done’ gets us out of God’s way and removes our ideas as to how things are supposed to work out in our lives, and allows God’s ideas to take control.

Are you struggling to be a better follower of Jesus? Spiritual growth results from trusting Jesus. A life of faith will enable you to trust God increasingly without knowing what’s around the corner.

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith. – Henry Ward Beecher

Chaplin Rob

Cultivating a Thankful Heart

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers. – Philemon 1:4

The great English writer G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

Wow! What a reminder! There’s no doubt in my mind that I could give thanks more often. We set aside meal time, Sunday mornings, and my favorite holiday; Thanksgiving. But, don’t let an hour go by without giving thanks . . . for your work, school, kids, health, your spouse, your blessings and your challenges.

When you have a God-awareness about life and when you see and sense Him in your day (in the big things and the little things), it’s hard not to be thankful.

My prayer today is you will take a moment and be thankful for all that God has given you.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Thankful Pilgrims

But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD! – Jonah 2:9

On September 6th, 1620, seventy men and women and thirty-two children climbed aboard the Mayflower headed for the ‘New World.’ Some of the people were looking for religious freedom, others in search of wealth. The ship was crowded. There was little room to sleep or eat. There were no bathrooms and little privacy.

Soon the treacherous ocean tossed the ship about, forcing the people to remain inside the foul-smelling quarters. Many suffered from seasickness. For two long months, the people endured these conditions. Until November 9th when they spotted land.

Now the voyagers faced new challenges. Hard land. Wild animals. A harsh winter. And little to no medical supplies. More than half the adults became sick and died. What were they to do? They considered returning to England. Then God brought a miracle to them: an English-speaking Native American named Squanto.

Squanto is a remarkable man of history. Kidnapped by Englishmen, Squanto was taken to England and taught English for three years. Many years later he was returned to his people only to be once again kidnapped by British seamen. This time, he was taken to a Spanish slave port. He was purchased by Spanish monks. They took him to their home, fed him, and told him he was free. He learned that it was their love for Jesus that prompted them to purchase him and set him free. These Christian brothers taught him the Christian faith and soon Squanto came to love and trust Jesus Christ too.

In time, he returned once more to his native village in the ‘New World.’ But this time, he found only desolation. His friend Samoset, another English-speaking Native American, told him that a sickness from the white man had in one year wiped out Squanto’s entire village. Six months later more white men arrived: the pilgrims. Squanto hid and watched them, these people looked different to him than the men who had once taken him from his native land.

Eventually, he visited the pilgrims with his friend Samoset and decided he wanted to stay and live with them.

He could have easily harbored bitterness over the lost years he spent kidnapped and enslaved. He could have watched the pilgrims die; after all, wasn’t it their kind who were responsible for the extinction of his entire village? But Squanto did not choose to hate or abandon these people. Instead, he showed them where they could find fish. He taught them where and how to plant. And he had the joy of celebrating the first Thanksgiving with them. The feast lasted for three days. The pilgrims gave thanks to God for their Native American friends, especially Squanto. Squanto gave thanks for his new family. And they all gave thanks for the One who rescued them: Jesus Christ.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Hiding God’s Word

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

What sorts of things find their way into your heart and mind? If you’re exposing yourself to a constant barrage of ungodly words, music, or images, you’re not taking full responsibility for your life.You can fill your heart and mind with God’s Word, and when you do, you’ll create a defense against some of the evil messages the world so frequently sends your way.

The writer of Psalm 119 declared, “I have tried my best to find you–don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11). “Hiding” God’s Word in your heart essentially means memorizing and meditating on the Bible. God uses his Word–the Bible—to speak to you and show you how you ought to live.

You’ve been given the responsibility to guard your heart and to keep track of the things you hide inside it. So, what’s in there? Anger? Lust? Ugly images from TV, the movies, or the web? Are you harboring bitterness? Greed? Are you envious of others? If you’re struggling with these things maybe it’s because you have more of the world’s wisdom in your heart than the true wisdom of God.

Are you having a hard time finding God and following his commands? Hiding God’s word in your heart will foster spiritual growth by guarding against those things that hurt you and displease God.

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Banishing Fear

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. . . – 1 John 4:18a

When we feel threatened in relationships, we tend to become defensive and guarded. On the other hand, when we feel safe, we’re far more willing to be open and vulnerable. This is true of our relationships with other people, and it’s also true in our relationship with God.

The apostle John wrote: “Such love has no fear because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of judgment, and this shows that [God’s] love has not been perfected in us. We love each other as a result of his loving us first.”

If Jesus hadn’t paid the price for our sins on the cross, there would be every reason for fear and defensiveness before a holy God. But, God showed His love for us by sending His Son, Jesus, to pay for our sins and free us from them. As a result, it’s safe to open yourself to God.

Jesus has his arms wide open, calling you to come and receive His love. Could there be anything better? His love is real, and waiting to embrace you. His love is ready to transform you and drive the fear from your heart. God is love, and He shows Himself to you in and through His Son, Jesus Christ.

When you open yourself to God’s love, you’ll become open to seeing the truth about God and yourself—and you’ll no longer need to be afraid.

Never take counsel of your fears. – Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Staying The Course

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1

If you’re a Christian, God has already transformed your heart. But He also wants you to enter life in him like an athlete enters competition. That’s why the Bible, more than once, likens the Christian life to a race. Our faith in Christ motivates us to run it, and His power provides the strength to finish–despite the many times we all stumble along the way.

This illustration of a race refers to races where the runner would strip off his tunic and robe so he could run without any hindrance. If someone tried to compete in his robes, he would get tangled up and wouldn’t have a chance at winning.

God wants you to finish the race of life well. Set aside the distractions and the sins that entangle you. Pace yourself. Exert yourself. And remember, many have run and finished before you. They’re that “huge crowd of witnesses” Hebrews 12:1 speaks about, and they’re cheering you on!

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

There for You

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33

Studies have found that 85 percent of the things we worry about never happen. This means that of all the things you’re worrying about right now, 85 percent of it won’t happen. But what about the other 15 percent? Well, the Lord will be with you in your time of difficulty.

God has not promised that we’ll live in a pain-free world. Jesus said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We need to face facts. Loved ones are going to die, marriages might struggle, days might be hard, and hardship will come into our lives.

But here is the good news: we live in the land of pain and struggle, but we are headed to the land of the living. Yes, death will come, but we have this promise from Jesus: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17–18). I’m so glad that He holds the keys. If I had the keys, they would’ve been lost for years now.

Someone asked me not long ago what the most spiritual moment of my life was. In other words, when was the time in my life when I felt God’s presence more than any other? I had to think about it. And then I realized the most spiritual moment of my life, the moment when I felt the presence of God more than any other was when I spent time in rehab for addiction to alcohol. It was one of most trying times of my life, but looking back I am amazed at God’s grace. I was afraid, I was beat down, and I was unsure of what to do next. However God was there and that made all the difference!

We can rejoice in the fact that God is in control. He will be with us, giving us what we need, when we need it.

My prayer for each of you today is that you will turn to the God who knows what you are going through, the God that loves you, and the God that will carry you through!

Blessings,

Chaplin Rob

Living with Limitations

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” – Mark 9:23

It is almost as presumptuous to think you can do nothing as to think you can do everything. In other words, be honest about your limitations, but don’t exaggerate them, or use them as an excuse to keep from being a productive person.

Joni Erikson Tada embodies this truth well. Paralyzed below the neck as a result of a diving accident, she has ministered to millions through her speaking, singing, and painting (she holds a paintbrush in her mouth!) What an inspiration she is!

Helen Keller who also embodied this truth expressed such an attitude in this beautiful statement: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Be hopeful of a man whose limitations are not yet known; maybe he won’t reach them – Unknown

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob