The Power of Patience

We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. – 1 Thessalonians 5:14 NASB

Life demands patience . . . and lots of it! We live in an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people. Sometimes, we inherit troubles from others, and sometimes we create trouble for ourselves. In either case, what’s required is patience.

Lamentations 3:25-26 reminds us that, “The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord” (NIV). But, for most of us, waiting quietly for God is difficult. Why? Because we are fallible human beings, sometimes quick to anger and sometimes slow to forgive.

The next time you find your patience tested to the limit, remember that the world unfolds according to God’s timetable, not ours. Sometimes, we must wait patiently, and that’s as it should be. After all, think how patient God has been with us.

Two signposts of faith: “Slow Down” and “Wait Here.” – Charles Stanley

God never hurries. There are no deadlines against which He must work. To know this is to quiet our spirits and relax our nerves. – A. W. Tozer

As we wait on God, He helps us use the winds of adversity to soar above our problems. As the Bible says, “Those who wait on the LORD . . . shall mount up with wings like eagles.” – Billy Graham


Chaplain Dunbar

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

Praise God!

Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1 NIV

Sometimes, in our rush to get things done, we simply don’t stop long enough to thank our Creator for the countless blessings He has bestowed upon us. After all, we’re busy people with many demands upon our time . . . and we have so much to do. But when we slow down long enough to 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. After all, God has blessed us beyond measure, His blessings are new every morning and so our praises should also be new every morning. We owe Him everything, including our constant praise.

So today, pause and count your blessings. Then, give thanks to the Giver. God’s love for you is never-ending; your praise for Him should be never-ending, too.

Nothing we do is more powerful or more life-changing than praising God. – Stormie Omartian


Heavenly Father, today and every day I will praise You. I will praise You with my thoughts, my prayers, my words, and my deeds . . . now and forever. Amen


Ch. Rob Dunbar

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

Doors? Knock? Open?

The solar eclipse of 2017 was an event that will not repeat itself for us in Middle Tennessee for a very long time. Yet, the church Reformation of 1517 has been repeating itself in various ways for 500 years this very October! Yes, it’s been 500 years since the very conscientious monk Martin Luther nailed 95 things he thought should be addressed in the teachings and practices of the church at that time to the door of the chapel in Wittenberg, Germany. He was protesting. He sought reformation not division. He got both.

That door has become famous and reminds us this Sunday that doors mentioned in scripture are also about reformation….the reformation of all people! Change is called for! In individuals and in the body of the church. The church of the ancient Apostles always being reformed in every age.

“Doors” present themselves all the time. Doorways to something good and better or doorways to less than good. That whole thing about “Sin crouching at the door” in Genesis! Cain invited sin in! Bad outcome!

In Matthew and John’s Revelation we hear Jesus encourage us to knock to receive the good and He also comes to knock on our door that each one (and we as the church) will invite Him in.

This Sunday we will hear of biblical doors and we will even get a chance to nail or knock on a door! Bring your “hammer and nails” as well as strong knuckles!

Pastor Barry

Listen Carefully To God

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. – Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

Sometimes God speaks loudly and clearly. More often, He speaks in a quiet voice, and if you are wise, you will be listening carefully when He does. To do so, you must carve out quiet moments each day to study His Word and sense His direction. And you can be sure that every time you listen to God, you receive a lesson in character-building.

Can you quiet yourself long enough to listen to your conscience? Are you attuned to the subtle guidance of your intuition? Are you willing to pray sincerely and then to wait quietly for God’s response? Hopefully so, because the more carefully you listen to your Creator, the more He will work in you and through you.

Usually God refrains from sending His messages on stone tablets or city billboards. More often, He communicates in subtler ways. If you sincerely desire to hear His voice (and strengthen your character), you must listen carefully, and you must do so in the silent corners of your quiet, willing heart.

In the soul-searching of our lives, we are to stay quiet so we can hear Him say all that He wants to say to us in our hearts. – Charles Swindoll

We cannot experience the fullness of Christ if we do all the expressing. We must allow God to express His love, will, and truth to us. – Gary Smalley

When we come to Jesus stripped of pretensions, with a needy spirit, ready to listen, He meets us at the point of need. – Catherine Marshall

The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God. – John 8:47 HCSB


Chaplain Dunbar

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

Understanding Grace

My late mentor and pastor, Larry White, taught me to always have the concept of grace in every message. I would like to say that I have, but I haven’t. I’m more of a teacher than a preacher. However, I am a strong believer in the grace of God.

The problem is so many of us do not really understand the concept of grace, that salvation is a gift from God; unmerited favor as some like to say. Oh, we sing about grace, we say grace at meals, and read about grace. However, I have to say that most of us do not live our lives believing we have received grace.

There was a story in a Methodist Sunday School Book (2/12/2017) written by Kevin Baker. He doesn’t quote where he heard the story, only saying he heard about it. It’s a story I’m sure I will be using as well.

The setting is a high school classroom where the teacher, known for giving difficult tests, tried to teach about grace. One day, he began the class by telling the students that they would be taking an unscheduled pop exam. He than proceeded to hand out a multiple-page exam and instructed the students to read through the entire exam before beginning.

One student, Jerry, did as instructed. Halfway through his reading be began to panic at the level of difficulty he was finding. When he came to the last page, he read words that confused and elated him at the same
time: “If you want to take this test to try to and receive an A, please return to the first page and begin; but if you want to receive an automatic A, just add you name to the first page and turn it in.”

Jerry could not believe his eyes. He added his name, turned in the exam, and left. Soon after, many other students did the same. Then there was Tim, who struggled with good grades. He did not follow the instructions, so he was graded on problems he was able to answer. He missed the opportunity to receive what would likely have been one of his only As in the class.

Finally came another student named Tiffany. She did read to the end of the test first, but became angry after reading the final note. An automatic A? What kind of teacher would give As out to students who had not earned them? She was outraged and decided to return to the front page and take the test on principle. No one was going to give her anything she had not earned or deserved!

As I read this, I had to think of God as being that teacher. He has given us His word, the Bible. Some treat it like an exam, a list of the things we must get right if we’re going to get into Heaven.

We can attempt to find all the things we must do in order to receive salvation and God’s grace, when he clearly tells us we only have to do one thing: Accept the gift. Martin Luther found grace when he studied Romans 1:17: “The righteous will live by faith.” The rallying cry of the Reformation became “faith plus nothing.” One writer stated “Grace is no longer grace when earning it comes into the picture.” There is absolutely nothing you can do to earn salvation, you just have to be willing to accept it.

Unfortunately, we have too many Tiffanys and Jerrys among Christians today. We have a works mentality and look down on those who haven’t worked for what they received. Let’s face it. We were sinners when Jesus adopted us into His family. And we are still sinners and His love for us hasn’t changed. All you have to do is sign your name and turn in the paper. He loves us that much. It’s called grace.

Brother Travis

Doing The Right Thing

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.- 1 Peter 3:12 KJV

Oswald Chambers, the author of the Christian classic devotional text My Utmost For His Highest, advised, “Never support an experience which does not have God as its source, and faith in God as its result.” These words serve as a powerful reminder that, as Christians, we are called to walk with God and obey His commandments. But, we live in a world that presents us with countless temptations to stray far from God’s path.

Each new day presents countless opportunities to put God in first place . . . or not. When we honor Him by living according to His commandments, we earn for ourselves the abundance and peace that He promises. But, when we concern ourselves more with pleasing others than with pleasing our Creator, we bring needless suffering upon ourselves and our families. Would you like a time-tested formula for successful living? Here is a formula that is proven and true: Seek God’s approval in every aspect of your life. Does this sound too simple? Perhaps it is simple, but it is also the only way to reap the marvelous riches that God has in store for you.

So today, take every step of your journey with God as your traveling companion. Read His Word and follow His commandments. Support only those activities that further God’s kingdom and your spiritual growth. Be an example of righteous living to your friends, to your neighbors, and to your children. Then, reap the blessings that God has promised to all those who live according to His will and His Word.

If we have the true love of God in our hearts, we will show it in our lives. We will not have to go up and down the earth proclaiming it. We will show it in everything we say or do. – D. L. Moody


Lord, please help me honor you in everything I say and do today. Help me to live my life as if it were the only Bible someone will ever see. Amen

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

When our Plans Go Awry

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9 NIV

Some of our most important dreams are the ones we abandon. Some of our most important goals are the ones we don’t attain. Sometimes, our most important journeys are the ones that we take to the winding conclusion of what seem to be dead-end streets. Thankfully, with God there are no dead-ends; there are only opportunities to learn, to yield, to trust, to serve, and to grow.

The next time you experience one of life’s inevitable disappointments, don’t despair and don’t be afraid to try “Plan B.” Consider every setback as an opportunity to choose a different, more appropriate path. Have faith that God may indeed be leading you in an entirely different direction, a direction of His choosing. And as you take your next step, remember that what looks like a dead-end to you may, in fact, be the fast lane according to God.

Often God has to shut a door in our face so that He can subsequently open the door through which He wants us to go. – Catherine Marshall

Every achievement worth remembering is stained with the blood of diligence and scarred by the wounds of disappointment. – Charles Swindoll

The amazing thing is that God follows us into the blackened ruins of our failed dreams, our misbegotten mirages, into the house of cards that has collapsed on us in some way and He speaks, not with the chastisement we feel we deserve, but of all things, with tenderness. – Paula Rinehart


Dear Lord, when I face the inevitable disappointments of life, remind me that You are in control. You are the Giver of all good things, Father, and You will bless me today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

Cheerfulness 101

Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast. – Proverbs 15:15 NCV

Cheerfulness is a wonderful antidote to stress. And, as believers who have been saved by a risen Christ, why shouldn’t we be cheerful? The answer, of course, is that we have every reason to honor our Savior with joy in our hearts, smiles on our faces, and words of celebration on our lips.

Christ promises us lives of abundance and joy if we accept His love and His grace. Yet sometimes, even the most righteous among us are beset by fits of ill temper and frustration. During these moments, we may not feel like turning our thoughts and prayers to Christ, but that’s precisely what we should do. When we do so, we simply can’t stay grumpy for long.

Cheerfulness prepares a glorious mind for all the noblest acts of religion—love, adoration, praise, and every union with our God. – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look. – St. Francis of Assisi

God is good, and heaven is forever. And if those two facts don’t cheer you up, nothing will. – Marie T. Freeman

When we bring sunshine into the lives of others, we’re warmed by it ourselves. – Barbara Johnson


Dear Lord, You have given me so many reasons to be happy, and I want to be a cheerful Christian. Today and every day, I will do my best to share my happiness with my family and my friends. Amen

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

God Gives Us Strength

Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will support you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. – Psalm 55:22 HCSB

It’s a promise that is made over and over again in the Bible: Whatever “it” is, God can handle it. Life isn’t always easy. Far from it! Sometimes, life can seem like a long, tiring, character-building, fear-provoking journey. But even when the storm clouds form overhead, even during our darkest moments, we’re protected by a loving Heavenly Father.

When we’re worried, God can reassure us; when we’re sad, God can comfort us. When our hearts are broken, God is not just near; He is here. So we must lift our thoughts and prayers to Him. When we do, He will answer our prayers. Why? Because He is our shepherd, and He has promised to protect us now and forever.

God’s hand uplifts those who turn their hearts and prayers to Him. Will you count yourself among that number? Will you accept God’s peace and wear God’s armor against the temptations and distractions of our dangerous world? If you do, you can live courageously and optimistically, knowing that even on the darkest days, you and your Heavenly Father can handle every challenge you face, today and forever.

How wonderful to know that however difficult our trial might be, God knows the outcome. He sustains us, He gives us the strength to hold on when we feel like letting go and then if we do let go, He carries us through.

We do not understand the intricate pattern of the stars in their course, but we know that He Who created them does, and that just as surely as he guides them, He is charting a safe course for us. – Billy Graham

By ourselves we are not capable of suffering bravely, but the Lord possesses all the strength we lack and will demonstrate His power when we undergo persecution. – Corrie ten Boom


Father, help me to surrender my struggle and trial to you. Thank you for your armor that protects me and thank you that my strength is found in you. Amen

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG

Helping Others Manage Turbulent Times

From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. – Proverbs 16:23 NLT

If you want to help your family and friends overcome stress, then you must measure your words carefully. And that’s exactly what God wants you to do. God’s Word reminds us that “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18 NIV).

Today, make this promise to yourself: vow to be an honest, effective, encouraging communicator at work, at home, and everyplace in between. Speak wisely, not impulsively. Use words of kindness and praise, not words of anger or derision. Learn how to be truthful without being cruel.

Remember that you have the power to heal others or to injure them, to lift others up or to hold them back. And when you learn how to lift them up, you’ll soon discover that you’ve lifted yourself up, too.

Attitude and the spirit in which we communicate are as important as the words we say. – Charles Stanley

Part of good communication is listening with the eyes as well as with the ears. – Josh McDowell

We should ask ourselves three things before we speak: Is it true? Is it kind? Does it glorify God? – Billy Graham


Lord, You have warned me that I will be judged by the words I speak. Keep me mindful, Lord, that I have influence on many people; make me an influence for good. And, may the words that I speak today be worthy of the One who has saved me forever. Amen

Rob Dunbar, Chaplain, Maj, TN ANG