Category Archives: Chaplain Rob

A Treasure, a Gideon, Share!

Genesis 29:15-28, Romans 8:26-39 and Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

Jacob falls in love, is himself tricked and winds up with two wives and a 7 year work commitment! Jesus speaks in parables about the greatest thing to see or to find. And Paul gives us the utmost confidence in God’s everlasting commitment to us in Jesus Christ!

This Word of God is to be shared and that takes people and print. This Sunday the sharing of God’s Word continues in worship and how that same Word can be found in hospitals, schools, hotels, workplaces, chapels, foreign countries, and hundreds of other locations. Our Gideon friends will be with us to share their laity driven ministry of getting the Word in print into all the world. The stories of Jacob and Paul and above all Jesus are ever fresh and lifesaving! How we share these stories is important and creative and involves the ongoing act of distribution.

Bring your own Bible this Sunday, the one you read daily, maybe the one you have marked and underlined for years! It could be a Gideon Bible! It could be a detailed study Bible. KJV, RSV, NIV, NLT or another translation. But, whichever one it is, I am sure it has and still does make a difference in your life. Feed upon the Word for good health for your soul! Break bread with others!

See you Sunday in person or “on line!”

Blessings!

Pastor Barry

Never Give In And Never Give Up

What, then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31

World War II ravaged through Europe for more than two years. The Axis forces looked invincible. England had suffered massive air raids by German forces in late 1940, and again in the spring of 1941.

On October 29, 1941, Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, visited the Harrow School for boys, his alma mater-to speak to its students. What message did the times demand? What could Churchill say to these young men in the face of the Blitzkrieg that seized Europe, leveled London, and cast their lives and futures into a thick fog of uncertainty? His words were simple, moving, and unforgettable: “Never give in—never, never, never, never, never give in.”

Are you tired, have you grown weary from the “Blitzkrieg” in your life? Are you weary from the COVID-19 situation or the political unrest that seems to be in our news every day? Are you personally struggling with something that has worn you down? Well, There is hope at the cross for you. God is in the business of turning hopeless situations around. Remember, Lazarus had been in a grave for four days, his family was in mourning when Jesus showed up and called him back from the place of the dead.

God can make something of the ashes that we bring to Him—Isaiah 61:3 tells us that “He will give us beauty in exchange for ashes.” We need to stand firm in our faith and never give up or give in to the belief that He cannot redeem us or the situations we find ourselves in.

Perseverance—it’s born of faith, it’s nourished by hope and it’s a sure sign of strength of character. What role does it play in your Christian life?

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9

The greatest glory in living lies not, in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. – Nelson Mandela

May God give each of you strength today. May God bless your journey and remind you that you are never alone.

Praying for each of you today,

Chaplain Rob

Trusting God With Your Tomorrows

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:14

Do you recall an advertisement that captured your attention?

No matter which medium . . . television, radio, print, or the web, advertisements are created to arrest our attention. Recently, I was caught off guard with a newspaper ad. It pictured a gray-haired senior citizen in a wet suit. The woman was holding up her surf board along the edge of the beach. The ad began, “No matter where life takes you, your health care coverage goes along.”

The ad was designed to have you think about your future. No one knows what crisis tomorrow may bring. The life of faith involves living each day trusting God to guide and direct your future. That doesn’t mean that you are naïve and ignore things like health care coverage. But for the bigger picture of life, you can trust God. In the unexpected events of life, you can trust God. The Bible describes faith as “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

You may not know where your life is taking you. But you can be sure that tomorrow, God has something prepared for you that you can’t see or imagine. That’s why we need to learn to trust God each day, no matter what the day holds.

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. – Corrie ten Boom

God’s promises are like the stars; the darker the night the brighter they shine. – David Nicholas

. . . it is presumptuous of me to wish to choose my path, because I cannot tell which path is best for me. I must leave it to the Lord, Who knows me, to lead me by the path which is best for me, so that in all things His will may be done. – Teresa of Ávila

May you and your families have a blessed week.

In grace,

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, See the obstacle as possibly the way forward. Remember 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.

Strong people are made by opposition like kites that go up against the wind. – Frank Harris

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

Blessings on your journey,

Chaplain Rob

Stay the Course (and let go)

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.——James 1:3-6

I have always had trust issues. When in the depths of despair with my anxiety overtaking me, more times than I wish to admit, I’ve relied on myself. Like James 1:6 states, I became a person “who doubts [and] is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” I saw myself being in control as more important than trusting God because I thought I knew what was best for me. For a while, it seemed okay. Nothing Earth-shattering happened. I continued to live my life, but loneliness and anxiety slowly crept in.

Anxiety for me doesn’t happen at once. It’s like a barely-dripping faucet. “Was that the right decision?” Drip. “Why did I do that?” Drip. “Where should I go from here?” Drip. “Am I doing the right thing?” Drip. And eventually, those tiny, questioning thoughts lead to one big panic attack. The foundation I built upon myself completely unravels, and I, too, feel like I am tossed by the wind.

Nothing is worse than feeling alone when you are full of insecurity and doubt. During one of my quiet times, I began reading James and discovered the verse mentioned above. What this verse shows me is that I have to stay faithful because when I take over and believe my way is correct, that is when the foundation breaks, and I am left more anxious and alone than if I stayed steadfast in him. The timing and the plan may be different than what I want but God is in control.


Once I relinquished control, I realized how free I could be. I didn’t have to let so many anxious “drops” constantly invade my mind (even though sometimes I still sneak a few in there every now and then). Above all else, it wasn’t as lonely. I can rely on someone I know will never fail me and always has my best interests at heart. He makes me stronger, and I can persevere through the hard times because those are the ones that grow my relationship in Him.

As many of us struggle with control, anxiety, and loneliness during this season, we need to stay faithful. I know it can be hard. I know sometimes all we want is normalcy. I know sometimes we think our plan is better, and we’re going to want to disregard precautions. I know some might not see an end in sight. But we need to remember our God is good and he has a plan. By continuing to build our foundation in Him, we can grow towards a place of less doubt and anxiety and remain faithful. For Ecclesiastes 3:11 states, “He makes everything beautiful in its time.”

PRAYER

God,
You know my struggles, and you know my fears. Sometimes, I let anxiety and doubt overrule my judgment but I am grateful you give generously to all without finding fault. During this season, Lord, please help me to continue building my foundation in you and understanding that you have a plan. Through you, I am never lonely, never shaken, and I am strong. Trust is hard to give, but I know that trusting in you is the greatest reward.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Serve Well

If your gift is serving others, serve them well.” – Romans 12:7

I hope you had a great weekend. Thank you all for the things you continue to do for our State and community. I am honored to serve with each one of you and I am thankful for the sacrifice and servant leadership you practice each and every day. Below is a short devotional I wrote about service. I hope and pray that God continues to bless each of you and uses your gifts to impact others.

Some time ago, I was actually at a fast-food restaurant getting some food with my daughters.

I placed a rather complicated order and couldn’t help but notice how well the employee handled it all.

Then she said, thank you for your order and please pull around to the next window and I will be happy to serve you.

As we talked a little ( the line was short), I found out she was a Christian and a single mother of two.

Then I understood even more why she was so cheerful and polite. I asked her if she liked her job.

“I love my job,” she said.

I thought, “That’s how we all should be.”

Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re working at a fast-food restaurant, serving in response of COVID 19, working across the Air and Army National guard, whatever you are doing today I admonish you to serve well.

Here’s the mark of a person whom God has called to serve: they recognize a need and then jump in and do something about it.

On the other hand, I think some people have the gift of complaining. They just seem content with finding fault—all the things that are wrong in the world.

But people with the gift of serving see a need and then meet that need because they want to help out.

Has God given you this spiritual gift? What a wonderful gift it is. So, if you’re checking on your neighbors and praying for them, that is great, and if you’re picking up the groceries for them, that is great too. If you are offering people a smile, a kind word, and a promise of hope, that is outstanding.

Because whatever you’re doing to serve, it matters.

The Bible says, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received” (1 Timothy 4:14 NLT). Or, as The Message puts it, “Keep that dusted off and in use.”

Be faithful in the little things, and God will open up greater opportunities for you. Because, as Warren Wiersbe has said, “You can never be too small for God to use, only too big.”

My prayers go before you this week as you serve others. Remember, God has called you to such a time as this! Serve Well!!!
Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

The Great Mandate

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:13

During this COVID-19 time I have had some focused time to re approach spiritual things that I often struggle with. For me forgiveness is sometimes hard. It is often difficult to move past the feelings of anger to the practice of forgiveness.

However, The Bible’s central theme is God seeking and saving those in dire need of forgiveness. Jesus willingly died on the cross for you and me, even though we often don’t feel a need to be forgiven. And even though you and I all too often continue to exhibit a rebellious nature. Through faith in Jesus, God forgives us in spite of ourselves.

But there’s more. God’s forgiveness is a creative force. It spills out to you when you receive it and affects every one of your human relationships. You see, forgiveness is both a gift and a command of God. It’s God’s gift to us that allows us to have everlasting life; at the same time, God tells us He won’t extend that forgiveness to us if we’re not willing to forgive others.

Remember . . . we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness, and neither should we expect others to deserve ours.

If I do not forgive everyone, I shall be untrue to myself. – Albert Schweitzer

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. – Mark Twain

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

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father, my own sinful nature makes forgiveness so hard but your Holy Spirit who lives inside my heart empowers me to let go and forgive. I depend on you Lord to help me to forgive those who have hurt me. Amen.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

The Lord is my Light, Whom Shall I Fear

You, LORD, are the light that keeps me safe. I am not afraid of anyone. – Psalm 27:1

When Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria in 1956, she laid a wreath at the gravestone of a Scotswoman, Mary Slessor. Mary, however, did not go to Africa under the authority of the British Crown — Mary served a different King.

The child of a violent, alcoholic father and a devoutly Christian mother, she learned survival skills in the slums of Dundee, Scotland. As a young girl, Mary read her Bible faithfully. Because of her earthly father’s violence, she was terrified of speaking in front of males. But she never doubted the unconditional love of her heavenly Father.

When she heard of Dr. David Livingstone’s death in Africa, she was deeply moved by his plea for someone to carry out his work. In 1876, she sailed for West Africa. Many fears, the results of her traumatic childhood, haunted her. But one by one she overcame them, and she made herself a part of the African community. She cared for abandoned children, stood firm against abuses, and loved the African people wholeheartedly. When she was awarded the Maltese Cross, she kept it secret. After her death, believers sang “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” in memory of Mary Slessor, who had found the power to overcome her nightmarish childhood and to reach out to other abused boys and girls.

Instead of working through fear, we sometimes divert ourselves with activity or deny that we are afraid, even to ourselves. Faithful people are encouraged to fear God–in the sense of awe, respect, and obedience. But we are not to be afraid of anything or anyone else. Overcoming personal fears is a lifelong process.

It is possible only in the knowledge that love is greater than fear and that God loves us deeply and dearly.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela

TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Lord, please help me to conquer and overcome my fears. Teach me to be patient with myself and with you as I work through the process of conquering my fears. I confess Lord, that through you I can do all things. Amen.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

Love One Another

John 13:1-17, 31-35 (NRSV)

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord-and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

The New Commandment

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The parade is over (Palm Sunday Last Sunday). The singing and joyous celebrating are now just a memory from Sunday. The palms are all cleaned up, and the city of Jerusalem is quiet. Tonight, we get one last meal with Jesus. But, before the action picks up in Gethsemane tomorrow, we get one last lesson from our Lord.

He tells us to love each other. He doesn’t just give it lip service. He gets down on his knees, pours water into a bowl, and washes the disciples’ dusty feet. This is the love he speaks about. Humble, lowly devotion to the ones you love. It’s a love that carries no glamour. It’s a love that gains you nothing other than sideways glances from others, who would never do something that is beneath them.

Jesus is showing us that love is costly. But more importantly, it is holy. How we love each other echoes an eternity. It is how we identify ourselves as followers of Christ. It is our calling card for the world.

As we, the church, enter into the great three days of Christ’s death and resurrection, I pray we hear this one last lesson about our identity as citizens of God’s Heavenly Reign. People will know us by how we love each other. People will know. People will see where our hearts and our values are by how we fall to our knees and reach out in service to our neighbor. Our promise in Jesus’ resurrection is firm, and our call and identity are clear. When we get to the other side of the big celebration Sunday morning, and those decorations are cleaned up, and we go back out into the world, I pray that this identity shines brightly and clearly.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, servant of all, we lift up our hearts to your command. Give us the strength to love as you love us. Amen.

Blessings,

Chaplain Rob

The Power of Words

Words have the power to heal, encourage, instruct, and bless. Yet too often we use our words to brag, deceive, confuse, and wound. The apostle James wrote, The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire ‘no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. – James 3:5-10

This should not be! Yet, this restless evil is a stumbling block to us all. So what can you do? James said no one can tame the tongue, so is it a lost cause? Maybe for men, but not for God. Submit your words to the Lord. He alone is able to change our hearts, and therefore, our poisonous words. But are you off the hook? No way. God calls us to strive after Him and bless the people around us. Below are thirteen practical ways to help you communicate without spreading a fire.

  1. Avoid the Words “Never” and “Always”
    These words are used when you are frustrated or irritated, but they cause the other person to feel unfairly accused. When you use these words, you are usually exaggerating and not communicating precisely. Using the words “never” and “always” may communicate your frustration, but they hurt the other person by creating defensiveness.
  2. Don’t Blame, Shame, or Call Names
    When you feel frustrated, hurt, or angry, you are tempted to strike back. You want the other person to feel what you are feeling. If you can blame or shame the other person, you think you will achieve a degree of satisfaction. But blaming and shaming statements cause both parties to feel miserable and will ultimately hurt the relationship.
  3. Use “I” Statements Rather Than “You” Statements
    It is much easier to hear someone say, “I’m feeling frustrated,” than to hear him or her say, “You frustrate me!” “You” statements cause people to feel blamed or accused. They can no longer listen with empathy because their attention is focused on defending themselves. Therefore, “you” statements are counterproductive to healthy, effective communication efforts.
  4. Say, “I am Hurt,” Rather Than, “I Am Angry or Mad”
    To increase your intimacy and decrease your aggression, you will want to reduce the number of times you use the words angry and mad. After you have been hurt in some way or another, it is a natural reaction to become angry. But more often than not, your hurt is your primary or root emotion. To communicate most effectively, you will want to express that root emotion. When you become frustrated, irritated, jealous, or hurt in some way, share those feelings rather than say that you are angry. When hurt is expressed, it leads to healing. But anger begets anger! Therefore, it’s best to share your hurt rather than your anger.
  5. Take a Time-Out
    If you become angry to the point of losing control or teetering on the edge of saying something purposely hurtful, we recommend that you call for a time-out. This technique protects your relationship from deteriorating further.
  6. Don’t Withdraw or Isolate
    When you withdraw or isolate, you hurt the other person. You create a situation where the other person feels ignored, cut off, or abandoned. Withdrawing can be perceived as a way to punish the other person. If you need to withdraw to stay in control of yourself, take a time-out.
  7. Repeat to the Person What He or She Said to You Before You Share Your Thoughts, Feelings, or Possible Solutions
    This process involves intentionally listening for the thoughts and feelings of your partner and then repeating them before sharing your thoughts and feelings. Acknowledging what the other person has shared is essential. First, it lets the other person know that you are listening intently, and he or she feels cared for. Second, it provides a way to check on the accuracy of what you heard. It keeps communication clear.
  8. Don’t Interrupt
    Give the other person a chance to share. Interrupt only if you need to ask a question to better understand what is being said. It is especially difficult not to interrupt when you hear your partner saying things that hurt you. Your natural tendency is to defend yourself. You may need to bite your tongue to keep from interrupting during these times, but forgo the temptation. You will need to tell yourself that you, too, will get a chance to share your feelings and thoughts, but you must wait until the other person is finished.
  9. Don’t Demand
    Rather than demand, ask! Demanding usually results in the other person’s feeling controlled. Since most of us felt controlled by our parents as children, we don’t respond well to demands. Demands can send shivers up our spines or even worse! It is much more effective to ask a question of the other person than to make demands. For example, ask, “Do you think you could?” or “Would you be willing to?”.
  10. Use the Phrase “I Would Like.” Rather Than “I Need”
    Rather than say, “I need you to listen to me!” say, “I would like it very much if you would listen to me.” To say, “I need,” is to sound more demanding of a person. Though you may have a legitimate need, it is still better to communicate with a statement of desire.
  11. Don’t Use Threats
    Threats can be detrimental to your relationship. You will have an instinctive tendency to use them when you feel hopeless, frustrated, or backed into a corner. Nevertheless, avoid threats at all costs. Call for a time-out, bite your tongue, but don’t use threats. Threats are identified by the keyword “if”:
    –“If you don’t stop nagging, I’ll…”
    –“If you ever do that again, I’ll…”

    Threats should be considered extreme measures that don’t solve conflicts.
  12. Be Affirming
    Thank the other person for listening intently. But be sincere! Work very hard at keeping your communication positive. Even when you disagree with what your partner is sharing, you can still thank him or her for communicating thoughts and feelings. You can thank your partner for sticking with the conversation rather than isolating or withdrawing. Someone once told us, “It takes ten positives to balance out one negative,” and we have found this to be true. Force yourself to communicate in affirming ways.
  13. Don’t Use the Statement “You Broke the Rule”
    These rules are designed to protect your relationship. Be careful not to use them to beat up or criticize each other. Rather than say, “You broke a rule,” it is better to say something like this:
    –“I felt hurt when you called me irresponsible.”
    –“I felt belittled when you told me I wasn’t smart enough to understand that concept.”
    –“I felt defensive when you told me that I never cared about anyone but myself.”
    “You broke the rule” has a way of shaming the other person because it is a “you” statement rather than an “I” statement. It would be better to say, “I would like us to work as hard as we can to follow our rules. I feel that it really hurts us when we don’t.”

Excerpted from “Let Love Change Your Life” by Roger and Becky Tirabassi

May we always chose our words wisely,

Chaplain Rob