Daily Devotional; formerly Chaplains Corner

Discussion in 'Religious Discussions' started by ampaterry, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This is from a book by Tim Hansel; When I Relax I Feel Guilty

    I was almost your person today, Lord.
    Then I thought; what it would have been like if Jesus had done the same thing. What if God had almost revealed himself in Jesus Christ? What if Christ were almost born and almost lived and almost died? What if he would have said, "Ask and it will almost be given you; seek and you will almost find; knock and it will almost be opened to you"? What if he would have said, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavyladen, and I will almost give you rest"? And what if Jesus had told his disciples, "For whosoever would save his life will lose it, and whosoever loses his life for my sake will almost find it"?
    My Almost Christianity took on a much different light. I realized how many times I had played the game of being one of Jesus' "almost disciples." I recalled how many times I had prayed almost believing and walked through my days as if he were almost risen.
    It was not a question of theology. It was a question of lifestyle. Whether or not I had a lifestyle that could match what I said I believed, whether or not, as some have said, I could walk my talk.

    Luke 9:23-24 (KJV);
    And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

    Don’t almost be a Christian. Don’t almost reach out to one in need. Don’t almost make it to Church this Sunday. That way you will never almost experience the joy of helping someone. You will not almost rejoice when someone enters the Kingdom of God due to your witness. And in the end, you will not almost spend eternity with Jesus Christ.
    Jesus does not judge by the denomination of the church you attend; but he certainly does judge by whether or not you have studied and believed the truth of the gospel! If you are following a man, or a man’s doctrine, you will never get closer to Jesus Christ than - - almost.

    May God bless each one of you - -
  2. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Today is independence day here in the USA. This is the day on which our fore-fathers published the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. This is an excellent document, filled with words that resound over the years of history since this event. It begins:

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”

    Then it proceeds to outline the God given rights of the people, the ways in which the king has reduced those rights, the failed attempts to correct these wrongs and finally the formal declaration of separation from the King's power. This is completely correct in all ways. The complaints are explained, the failure to correct them is outlined, and the declaration is made. Did this bring our freedom? No, it did not. Actually, there was no noticeable difference in life here on July 5th from what it had been on July 3rd. The revolutionary war continued as it had been before the declaration until our nation obtained victory in 1781.

    Diplomacy is the civilized way to handle things, but it is usually soldiers that bring victory.

    God himself promoted the use of armies:
    Numbers 1:2-3 (KJV);
    Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.

    And He also promotes diplomacy:
    Proverbs 15:1 (KJV);
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

    It behooves us, as Christians, to practice both. Attempt to handle all differences in a peaceful manner, but keep your powder dry.

    May God bless each one of you -
  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Yesterday's comments: Thanks for the challenge, Terry. Another leader whose writings challenge the socks off me is George Verwer, Operation Mobilization.

    Scotland is pushing for independance from the UK; the Scottish National Party wants to have a referrendum in 2014 to vote for independance. Some independance: SNP wants Scotland to be part of the European Union, which already dictates much of the legislation passed by Parliament in London. Out of the frying pan into the fire. This is a far cry from the procedures followed by the writers of the Declaration of Independance.
  4. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thank you, BlackEagle, for telling us what we DON'T hear on the news - it is appreciated!

    Today is another Muslim holiday. This one is called Lailat al Bara'a, and it is also called Mid-Sha'ban.
    By now, you are aware that the Muslim calendar is not true to a solar year. Due to this inaccuracy, all Islamic holidays come eleven days earlier each year on our calendar, 12 days earlier in leap years. Due to this movement, all holidays move all through the year in our calendar, and can come in any season.
    But there is much more uncertainty about today's holiday than merely the date for it. Today's holiday is one which Muslims observe, but they do not agree on why they observe it.

    In the Shia view, today is the date when Imam al-Mahdi was born. Shias believe him to be the twelfth, final and current Shia Imam and also the Mahdi, a very important Islamic figure who is believed by all Muslims to bring absolute justice to the world by establishing Islam as the global religion.

    We know this to be false, because the Word of God is clear concerning the coming age of a one world religion, and how it ends:
    Revelation 19:19-20 (KJV);
    And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

    In the Sunni view this is a day for worship and salvation, commemorating when Noah and his family were saved from the deluge, and the time when God prepares the destiny for all people on Earth for the coming year. For this reason it is sometimes called the Night of Emancipation (Lailat ul Bara'at).

    We know this to be false, because God has prepared our salvation before the founding of the world, ready and waiting for us to accept it:
    Ephesians 1:4-5 (KJV);
    According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . .

    May God bless each one of you -
  5. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I read about a method that some cowpunchers used to bring some of those wild steers back onto the ranch. They would take along a burro. Now a big three-year old steer that's been running loose on the range is a tough customer to handle. They would get a rope on the steer and then they would tie him neck and neck, right up close, to the burro and let them go.

    At first, the burro would have a bad time. The steer would throw him all over the place. He would bang him against trees, rocks, into bushes. Time after time they both would go down. But there was one great difference between the burro and the steer. The burro had one thought in his mind. He wanted to go home. And no matter how often the steer threw him every time the burro got to his feet he took a step nearer the corral. This went on and on. After about a week, the burro would show up at the corral. He had with him the tamest and sorriest-looking steer you ever saw.

    The thought of this little burro being overpowered and abused can encourage us when we find ourselves struggling with difficult people. We often feel tied, "right up close". If we could only have some slack! But our God had a purpose in tying us to that person. He knows that our faith will enable us to hang in there. No matter how often we are thrown, our stubborn Christian attitude will enable us to get to our feet and take a step nearer to God's solution! We may be abused and hurt. But just think of the tremendous outcome -- that we might eventually stand before the throne of our Savior, tied to that special person who has now been brought to Christ! God's techniques, after baffling us for so long, will then make sense!

    Philippians 3:12-14(NKJV);
    “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

    May God richly bless you, and whatever wild and unruly person you find yourself tied to.
  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Perseverance. Thanks, Terry. I need the reminder from time to time.

    Galations 6:9-10
    And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
  7. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Great verse, BlackEagle!

    For today:

    Christians are not differentiated from other people by country, language or customs; you see, they do not live in cities of their own, or speak some strange dialect, or have some peculiar lifestyle.
    This teaching of theirs has not been contrived by the invention and speculation of inquisitive men; nor are they propagating mere human teaching as some people do. They live in both Greek and foreign cities, wherever chance has put them. They follow local customs in clothing, food and the other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the wonderful and certainly unusual form of their own citizenship.
    They live in their own native lands, but as aliens; as citizens, they share all things with others; but like aliens, suffer all things. Every foreign country is to them as their native country, and every native land as a foreign country.
    They marry and have children just like every one else; but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are at present "in the flesh" but they do not live "according to the flesh". They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws, and go beyond the laws in their own lives.
    They love every one, but are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are short of everything and yet have plenty of all things. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor.
    Their names are blackened and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if being given new life. They are attacked by Jews as aliens, and are persecuted by Greeks; yet those who hate them cannot give any Reason for their hostility.
    To put it simply -- the soul is to the body as Christians are to the world. The soul is spread through all parts of the body and Christians through all the cities of the world. The soul is in the body but is not of the body; Christians are in the world but not of the world.

    -- From an anonymous letter to Diognetus. 2nd century.

    Sometimes, we find the gospel with no bible verses at all -
  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    ...and so many verses are sumarised in that statement. He wrote well.
    I have triple nationality--US, UK, and KH--Kingdom of Heaven.
    Thanks again, Terry
  9. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

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    BlackEagle, Just curious, if I'm not prying, how and why did your dual (or triple)citizenship status come about? Are you in the UK or US presently? Where were you born?
  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I was born in the UK; my parents are US citizens. Dad was in school when I was born. I grew up in Indiana; but I have been back and forth a few times. My wife is from the UK. We were married in the US, but after living there for a while it was time to come back to the UK. Our three children (two born in UK, one in US) have dual nationality because of my US citizenship. I learned about jus sanguiniss and jus soli in high school social studies.

    I also learned that because I was born outside US soil I could never be President, but I could hold any other office. Too bad the president and those who got him into office don't live by the rules
  11. reflex1

    reflex1 Active Member

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    BE - you are wrong - you can become president - both your parents are/were US citizens - therefore you are eligible - just like my daughter who was born in Germany while I was in the Air Force - my wife and I were both born here in the US - my daughter has a Naturalized Citizen Certificate which makes her eligible to become President. I worked in the field to know this to be true!
  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Darn. If that's true the country missed a great oportunity. I could have kept things going right in the US. :D

    I'm a little past my sell-by date now though.
  13. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Reflex is right, BlackEagle -

    And I volunteer to head up your campaign in Tennessee -

    Devotional for today involves another recognized day. Today, our Jewish brothers and sisters observe the fast of Tzom Tammuz. The name is merely the date; the 15th of the Hebrew month of Tammuz. This fast is to remember the misdeeds of their forefathers which led to calamities to the Jewish people on this date, which they commemorate in hopes of turning their hearts to repentance.

    The calamities which occurred on this day begin with Moses descending Sinai and finding the people worshiping a golden calf, causing him to smash the stone tablets on which God had written the ten commandments, and end with the seizing of Jewish property by Libya in 1944. Some of the other tragedies that happened on this date include the Romans breaching the walls of Jerusalem just prior to the destruction of the second temple.

    I find it very interesting that all of the calamaties remembered on this day are remembered as the result of things which the Jewish people themselves did. They see the tragedies of their past, and seek to avoid them in the future by improving themselves. This attitude is unique in the entire area of the mid-East, for the Muslims that surround Israel blame all of their troubles on the Jews. People of high moral character take responsibility for their actions; often taking responsibility for things that are not their fault. People of low moral character blame someone else for all of their problems.

    Genesis 3:11-13 (KJV);
    “And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

    Adam tried to put the guilt on Eve and Eve tried to put it on the serpent.

    Paul said of Christ:
    Romans 4:25 (KJV);
    “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”

    Christ took the guilt of the whole world on himself.
    Although the Jewish people do not accept Christ as the Messiah, they walk far closer to him than any of their neighbors, and closer than some that bear the name “Christian”.

    May God bless each and every one of you on this Lord's Day.
  14. reflex1

    reflex1 Active Member

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    Reminds me of someone in particular? :rolleyes:
  15. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

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    The same thing occured to me. Either great minds think alike, or the truth is glaringly obvious.
  16. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    You are both right.

    1. It reminds me of someone in particular also.
    2. It is glaringly obvious.
    3. Great minds DO think alike.

    Thank you, guys!
  17. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    The same thought immediately jumped into my mind. Play the blame game or be honest, 'fess up and change, correct the problem, do whatever it takes to make it right.

    2 Chronicles 7:14 is another verse that jumps to mind, among many others...We own up to what we have done wrong and turn around (repent) and go back to God's ways.


    Thanks for the vote of confidence.:)
  18. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When we lived in Alaska, we marveled at the Totem Poles that were carved by native Alaskans, both the old generation and younger folks. When you look at those intricate works of art, you can imagine a native American sitting for many long weeks with a small knife, skillfully removing a chip here, creating a curve there, and with the patience of the master craftsman creating one of these art pieces from what had been just a log.

    In the dim past, this scene might be correct, but not today! Most of these artists do ALL of their cutting with a chain saw! It is beyond belief to watch one of them swing a blade into a log and see chips fly out in a stream for a few seconds, then they stop for a second, the sawdust clears, and there in the log is a feature of a face! After a few more deft strokes, the complete figure is there, and they move on to the next one, finishing the entire log in a matter of minutes instead of weeks. It is difficult to imagine the skill with which a chain saw can be applied to bring forth a work of art! But these artisans have a pattern in their mind, and they quickly bring the plain log into that design.

    As the Master Sculptor, God is at work in our lives. We may think that He must always use small, delicate instruments, removing a chip here, shaping a curve there, but sometimes He uses a chainsaw! Or so it seems to us in our pain and anguish during some of the re-shaping he does to us! But let us not fear, for He has a pattern in His mind for each of us, and He is shaping us into that design.

    Ephesians 2:8-10 (KJV);
    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

    Don’t argue with the artist concerning the tools he chooses to form us to his design! Just accept the simple fact that he has a pattern, and we are being shaped to it!

    May God bless each and every one of you -
  19. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Amen, and thanks, Terry.
    God has a plan for our lives and it's better than anything we could come up with ourselves. He has put each of us together to serve a particular purpose. My toolbox is full of individual tools; each has a particular shape, size, and task.
    Psalm 139
  20. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    This article was written by a pastor in Servant magazine, January/February, 1989.

    I was in the supermarket one day, and a lady came down the aisle whom I could barely see over the top of her groceries. I got somewhat frightened because she seemed to be heading straight for me.
    She screeched to a halt within a few feet of me, peered over her load, wagged her finger, and said, "I left your church. I left your church".
    So I said, "Well, if it's my church, I think that was a very wise decision. If it's my church, I think I'm going to leave too."
    She said, "Don't you want to know why I left?"
    I said, "No, not particularly, but I think I'm going to find out". And I was right.
    She said, "You weren't meeting my needs".
    I answered, "I don't ever recollect seeing you before, let alone talking to you, let alone knowing your needs. Did you ever tell anyone specifically what your needs were?"
    She couldn't recall that she had, so I raised another question. "Can you tell me, if we have 5,000 people sitting in that church, all with your attitude, how anyone's needs are going to be met? If you reserve the right to have that attitude, then you must give everybody the freedom to have that attitude. And if everybody has that attitude, who on earth is going to do all the need-meeting?"
    Standing her ground, she demanded, "Then you tell me who will."
    Relieved, I said, "I thought you'd never ask. This is what will work: when people stop sitting in the pew saying, 'They're not meeting my needs' and start saying, 'Whose needs can I meet?' Then needs will be met. When the servant spirit flourishes in a congregation, then they minister to each other as unto the Lord."

    Now there’s a message that EVERY pastor wants to give, but darned few ever do. That is an advantage of being a non-paid pastor; NOTHING interferes with me giving you the truth, because my livelihood does not depend upon you liking what I tell you!!

    May God bless each one of you with the opportunity to meet someones needs today.
    And may He bless you further by having someone meet your needs as well!
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