Whose Justice, Whose Revenge?

Esther 7:1-10, James 5:1-11 and Mark 9:38-50

Some situations cry out for justice in a world of hurt and pain. We all tend to have our limits and boundaries to what is acceptable. Governments set laws and penalties for breaking laws. And in the midst of the strong feelings there is often a cry for revenge, or at least the secret wish that “he or she will get what’s coming to them!”

All our texts deal with offensive behavior and reactions and responses. And in those texts we can see ourselves and some of our life stories! As far back as saying at say age 4….”Sally hit me mama! Do something!” Or standing before a court room judge and owning up to misbehavior; “here is my penalty.”

What we can find in these scriptures are ways to grow in a particular Christian response as opposed to other different examples in the world to deal with offense and injustice. And there’s the “cutting edge” of “going on to perfection, to be made perfect in love.” A striving and never arriving….until one day….the fullness of the Kingdom! Until one day, all will be at rest and peace. Let’s look at Esther, Jesus in Mark 9 and James 5 speaking to the church and find ways toward justice and God’s way of dealing with bad things happening to “good” people.

Blessings on your walk with the Lord and those you will “bump up against” this week! Come worship the One who sets the high standard for justice and patience until that day comes.

Pastor Barry


Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. – 1 Peter 2:1-2

Go ahead and admit it, you talk to yourself. It’s not something to be embarrassed about—self- talk can be used to your benefit in order to greatly improve your success in controlling your desires.

One way to use it is to constructively direct the anger you feel when you’re tempted by an unhealthy or inappropriate desire. Instead of getting angry with yourself, get angry at the offense, and at the stumbling block it poses. This will help you resist it.

Another way self-talk can be used is to confront yourself and your appetites in order to bring rationality back into play when temptation threatens to confuse and disorient you. When you actively engage your mind by talking to yourself, you’ll be less likely to act without thinking, and you’ll reinforce what you believe to be true, right, and good.

Make no mistake about it. Self talk can be a very spiritually wise thing to do. Listen to what the master theologian, J. I. Packer says on this topic in his book, A Quest For Godliness: “Richard Baxter convinced me long ago that regular discursive meditation, in which as he quaintly put it you ‘imitate the most powerful preacher you ever heard’ in applying spiritual truth to yourself, as well as turning that truth into praise, is a vital discipline for spiritual health. This unanimous Puritan view is now mine too.”

If you hear a voice within you saying you are a painter, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. – Vincent Van Gogh

Your self-talk is the channel of behavior change. – Gino Norris


Chaplin Rob

Earthly, Unspiritual, Devilish

Proverbs 31:10-31, James 3:13-4:3 and Mark 9:30-37

In Mark the disciples seem to be all about positioning for THEIR own greatness. Jesus’ response to this “earthly, unspiritual, devilish” attitude is to speak of “welcoming a child!” And both James 3 and Proverbs 31 give us examples of how we can be about following Jesus in such a way that people notice such…for the good! Both books, Proverbs and James, are all about wise living. And as we might figure, it’s wisdom “caught, not as much taught.” It’s what we see going on in the lives of others and we admire that! And admiration leads to imitation!

Not to make saints where there is as much sinner as saint, but to at least to be “drawn toward that noticeable servant like behavior and warm heart attitude” rather than toward the “dark side” ( catch the Star Wars reference?). We do spend 99.9% of our lives outside worship on Sunday, but we want to “catch something” on Sunday that lasts all week! In worship, faith opens our eyes and sees a way forward for all the rest of the week.

Look and listen for those who are kind to children and the wise woman going about doing for others. And pray to do likewise…..

Blessings as we approach worship and daily walking with the Lord!

Pastor Barry

Matching Your Actions To Your Beliefs

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  – James 1:22

It takes courage to stand up for our beliefs, and it takes character to live by them. Yet far too many of us spend more energy verbalizing our beliefs than living by them—with predictable consequences.

Is your life a picture book of your creed? Are your actions congruent with your personal code? And are you willing to practice the philosophy that you preach? If so, your character will take care of itself.

But if you’re doing things that don’t meet with approval of the person you see in the mirror, it’s time to slow down, step back, and think about how your conduct is shaping your character. If you profess to be a Christian but behave yourself as if you were not, you’re living in denial. And denial, in large doses, corrodes character.

So today, make certain that your actions are guided by God’s Word and by the conscience that He has placed in your heart. Don’t treat your faith as if it were separate from everyday life— instead, weave your beliefs into the very fabric of your day. When you do, God will honor your good works, and your good works will honor God.

Think about the importance of making your actions conform to your beliefs. Then, ask yourself if your behavior matches your rhetoric. If the answer is yes, congratulations. If not, think of a single step you can take today to stand up for the things you believe in.

Once you have thoroughly examined your values and articulated them, you will be able to steer your life by them. – John Maxwell

Believe and do what God says. The life-changing consequences will be limitless, and the results will be confidence and peace of mind. – Franklin Graham


Chaplin Rob

Real Transformation

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Have you invited God’s Son to reign over your heart and your life? If so, think for a moment about the “old” you, the person you were before you invited Christ into your heart. Now, think about the “new” you, the person you have become since then. Is there a difference between the “old” you and the “new and improved” version? There should be! And that difference should be noticeable not only to you but also to others.

Warren Wiersbe observed, “The greatest miracle of all is the transformation of a lost sinner into a child of God.” And Oswald Chambers noted, “If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit Divine characteristics in your life, not good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as a human life trying to be godly.”

When you invited Christ to reign over your heart, you became a new creation through Him. This day offers yet another opportunity to behave yourself like that new creation by serving your Creator and strengthening your character. When you do, God will guide your steps and bless your endeavors today and forever.

Today, remember this: a true conversion experience results in a life transformed by Christ and a commitment to following in His footsteps.

No man is ever the same after God has laid His hand upon him. – A. W. Tozer

When I met Christ, I felt that I had swallowed sunshine. – E. Stanley Jones

May you be forever changed through you relationship with God in Christ!

In the trenches with you,

Chaplin Rob

Together Toward Thanks

Psalm 25:12-15, John 21:15-19 and Hebrews 11:1-12:2.

Homecoming implies a place to come to with people you care about and that care about you! In that sense homecoming is every Sunday and every time brothers and sisters in Christ gather. But, at least one Sunday a year, we look toward a gathering that includes family and friends arriving from either a distance or from an extended absence. For whatever reason! Plus all the “regulars!”

Our selected scriptures are very much about the people and personalities we have come to love and admire from the Bible. Hebrews 11 is that great “faith Hall of Fame.” When the names are called out we know the stories and personalities behind the name!

In similar fashion, we know the backstory to Jesus and Peter’s exchange at the end of John. Just as Peter once denied Christ three times, now Peter is forthright is saying he loves his Lord and will go about “feeding the sheep.”

On Sunday, we will recall and hear again our Kedron names, stories, and shared faith. A large and extended family of the usual suspects both Saint and sinner in each and everyone.

And as Jesus asked Peter to do, we as the sheep of the Lord’s flock will be fed and in turn feed others both spiritually and physically. Our paths cross in so many ways but our homeland is the same! Together with the saints before us we set our sights toward the Kingdom of God both here and forever!

See you at home!

Pastor Barry

Live Courageously

He will not fear bad news; his heart is confident, trusting in the Lord. His heart is assured; he will not fear. – Psalm 112:7-8

Every person’s life is a tapestry of events: some wonderful, some not-so-wonderful, and some downright disastrous. When we visit the mountaintops of life, praising God isn’t hard—in fact, it’s easy. In our moments of triumph, we can bow our heads and thank God for our victories. But when we fail to reach the mountaintops, when we endure the inevitable losses that are a part of every person’s life, we find it much tougher to give God the praise He deserves. Yet wherever we find ourselves, whether on the mountaintops of life or in life’s darkest valleys, we must still offer thanks to God, giving thanks in all circumstances.

The next time you find yourself worried about the challenges of today or the uncertainties of tomorrow, ask yourself this question: are you really ready to place your concerns and your life in God’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving hands? If the answer to that question is yes—as it should be—then you can draw courage today from the source of strength that never fails: your Father in heaven.

God is with you always, listening to your thoughts and prayers, watching over your every move. If the demands of everyday life weigh down upon you, you may be tempted to ignore God’s presence or—worse yet—to lose faith in His promises. But, when you quiet yourself and acknowledge His presence, God will touch your heart and restore your courage.

At this very moment—as you’re fulfilling your obligations and overcoming tough times—God is seeking to work in you and through you. He’s asking you to live abundantly and courageously . . . and He’s ready to help. So why not let Him do it . . . starting now?

Faith not only can help you through a crisis, it can help you to approach life after the hard times with a whole new perspective. It can help you adopt an outlook of hope and courage through faith to face reality. – John Maxwell

Lord, sometimes I face challenges that leave me breathless. When I am fearful, let me lean upon You. Keep me ever mindful, Lord, that You are my God, my strength, and my shield. With You by my side, I have nothing to fear. And, with Your Son, Jesus as my Savior, I have received the priceless gift of eternal life. Help me to be a grateful and courageous servant this day and every day. Amen

May God Bless Each of you Today,

Chaplin Rob

Harmony and Tension!

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23, James 2:1-17 and Mark 7:24-37

Faith alone. Faith and works. Trust and obedience. You can see where we are headed this Sunday in worship! Nothing less than trying, again, to get a grip on being a Christian day in and day out!

Jesus in Mark’s account is about healing in Gentile territory. What do THEY know about the faith of Israel or who Jesus really is?! James says faith without works is dead! But, we all know works won’t get you justified before God. No working your way into God’s grace, correct?

Well, we will sing and pray our faith this Sunday even if we still struggle as many before us have (Martin Luther and John Wesley) in connecting faith and good works. In my humble opinion, Wesley expressed it better than Luther, but Luther had a bigger challenge church-wise than did Wesley!

If this seems to be “splitting theological hairs” feel free to just come to celebrate Grandparents Day, Rosh Hashanah, Teddy Bear Day, or a birthday or anniversary amongst family and friends!

By faith, we will strive to teach, preach, and sing the Word and by faith, we will strive to be “doers of the Word not hearers only!”

Blessings and a good week ahead for you and the neighbor you minister to!

Pastor Barry

Accepting Life

The Lord says, “Forget what happened before, and do not think about the past. Look at the new thing I am going to do. It is already happening. Don’t you see it? I will make a road in the desert and rivers in the dry land.” – Isaiah 43:18-19

If you’re like most people, you like being in control. Period. You want things to happen according to your wishes and according to your timetable. But sometimes, God has other plans . . . and He always has the final word.

Oswald Chambers correctly observed, “Our Lord never asks us to decide for Him; He asks us to yield to Him—a very different matter.” These words remind us that even when we cannot understand the workings of God, we must trust Him and accept His will.

All of us experience adversity and pain. As human beings with limited comprehension, we can never fully understand the will of our Father in heaven. But as believers in a benevolent God, we must always trust His providence.

When Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, as described in Luke 22, He poured out His heart to God. Jesus knew of the agony that He was destined to endure, but He also knew that God’s will must be done. We, like our Savior, face trials that bring fear and trembling to the very depths of our souls, but like Christ, we too must ultimately seek God’s will, not our own.

Are you embittered by a personal tragedy that you did not deserve and cannot understand? If so, it’s time to make peace with life. It’s time to forgive others, and, if necessary, to forgive yourself. It’s time to accept the unchangeable past, to embrace the priceless present, and to have faith in the promise of tomorrow. It’s time to trust God completely. And it’s time to reclaim the peace—His peace—that can and should be yours.

Acceptance means learning to trust God more. Today, think of at least one aspect of your life that you’ve been reluctant to accept, and then prayerfully ask God to help you trust Him more by accepting the past.

Prayer may not get us what we want, but it will teach us to want what we need. – Vance Havner

I am truly grateful that faith enables me to move past the question of “Why?”- Zig Ziglar


Chaplin Rob

Adversity Builds Characte

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and mountains crumble to the sea. – Psalm 46:1-2

As our lives here on earth unfolds, all of us encounter occasional disappointments and setbacks. Those occasional visits of trouble or difficuluty are simply a fact of life, and none of us are exempt. When tough times arrive, we may be forced to rearrange our plans and our priorities. But even on our darkest days, we must never forget that God intends for us to use our setbacks as stepping stones on the path to a better life.

The fact that we encounter adversity is not nearly as important as the way we choose to deal with it. When tough times arrive, we have a clear choice: we can begin the difficult work of tackling our troubles . . . or not. When we summon the courage to look our problems squarely in the eye, he usually blinks. But, if we refuse to address our problems, even the smallest annoyances have a way of growing into king-sized catastrophes.

Psalm 145 promises, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them” (v. 18-20 NIV). And the words of Jesus offer us comfort: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NKJV).

In times of hardship, God will comfort us; in times of sorrow, He will dry our tears. When we are troubled or weak or sorrowful, the Father is always with us. We must build our lives on the rock that cannot be shaken: we must trust in God. And then, we must get on with the character-building, life-altering work of tackling our problems . . . because if we don’t, who will?

Your greatest ministry will likely come out of your greatest hurt. – Rick Warren

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty. – Peter Marshall


Chaplin Rob