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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    Whatever has happened to prayer?

    Prayers have been slipped into the local church services almost like fillers. We pray for one minute here and four minutes there. The pastor prays the pastoral prayer on Sunday, and somebody offers opening and closing prayers for Sunday School and regular church services - and that is about it. Outside the church, everything from softball games to car washes to choir concerts are commonly opened and closed with prayer.

    Why do we feel that if we pray at the beginning and end of something, God is bound to bless whatever falls in between? The once-popular early morning prayer breakfast has been replaced in many churches by some kind of program or special speaker who sends us charging into our day, with no reference to God other than an opening and closing prayer!

    The Word of God tells us that prayer should not be only at specific times, or only for specific things:
    1 Chronicles 18:11 (KJV);
    "Them also king David dedicated unto the LORD, with the silver and the gold that he brought from all these nations; from Edom, and from Moab, and from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines, and from Amalek."

    And that prayers should be ALWAYS:
    Ephesians 6:18 (KJV);
    "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"

    And that our supplications should not be limited to either morning nor to evening prayers:
    1 Thessalonians 3:10 (KJV);
    "Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?"

    When you were growing up, would your dad be happy if you only spoke to him twice a day? Most fathers would NOT want this apparent lack of attention from their children. And your Heavenly Father wants to hear from you more often too!

    May God bless you, guys!
  2. nightwalker

    nightwalker New Member

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    Thanks for the reminder. You're absolutely right about prayer being a much bigger part of our day. It doesn't have to be seen by others, but ongoing conversation with Father is good. And the effect is remarkable! If we are quick to include God in our life as we go through our day, we are much more likely to see His hand at work.
  3. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    It's an ongoing conversation throughout the day for me; snippets here and there for people I know, things I'm doing, things coming up...
    Thanks, Terry.
  4. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks, guys -
    Although FEW of us actually "pray without ceasing", all of us need to work on more communication with God -

    For today -

    Freedom and discipline have come to be regarded as mutually exclusive, but this is simply not the case. Freedom is not the opposite, but the final reward of discipline! You cannot simply claim freedom, but must rather purchase it with a high price.

    For instance, in the Martial Arts, the goal to be attained is the ‘empty mind’. To be in this state means that you go into a situation without any thoughts of moves, either offensive or defensive. To the uninitiated, this seems a foolish thing indeed; if you are not planning what to do, how can you possibly hope to survive an encounter? Well, if you just decide one day to be a martial artist, and purposefully blank your mind before going up against an opponent, you are going to get hurt – no doubt about it.

    The secret is that the freedom of the empty mind is only useful after you have gone through years of training and discipline in the martial arts. You have practiced every possible move so much that it is automatic – just like jerking your hand back when it is burned – you don’t have to think about it! Then, and only then, you can experience the true freedom of purposefully emptying your mind with the assurance that your reflexes will take over and protect you in the battle ahead. Your reactions will be much faster than they would be if you had to see what was coming, think about it, and then decide what to do.

    Liberty as a Christian also requires much hard work and discipline. You spend years working at doing what is right, at consciously deciding in each situation what Christ would have you do, and you continue this training until doing the right thing is automatic - it is a reflex, not requiring conscious thought.

    1 Corinthians 8:9 (KJV);
    "But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak."
    Galatians 5:13 (KJV);
    "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
    1 Peter 2:16 (KJV);
    "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God."

    May God bless you, guys, with true freedom -
  5. nightwalker

    nightwalker New Member

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    And I still, after thirty five years of being a follower of Christ, have occasions in which I have to backtrack and repent. Thank God He's more faithful than me.
  6. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks again, Terry. You reminded me of what Paul said...

    1 Corinthians 9:25-27
    Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
  7. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am running a bit late today - somehow, I feel like last night was about an hour short -
    LOL!!

    Today starts Daylight Savings Time. If you did not set your clocks ahead an hour last night, you better hustle or you will be getting to church just in time for the final “Amen!”
    There is a story told about Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Some College kids brought a large valve wheel on a steel rod, and jammed the rod down into the dirt near the geyser. Then, at the right time for the eruption, they cranked the wheel. At the time for the eruption to cease, they cranked the valve the other way, giving the impression that they were controlling the geyser.

    Now that is a cute story, but I tend to doubt it actually happened. The reason I doubt it is that the time between eruptions of this geyser vary quite a bit; from 38 to 90 minutes. And the duration of the spewing water and steam varies as well. It is not close enough to a schedule that they could pretend to turn it on and off at the right time.

    Man has become very good at timekeeping; we make fractional second adjustments every now and then to keep our timekeeping precisely in tune with the rotation of the earth on it's axis, and it's journey around the sun.

    But God's movements are not precisely predictable. We pray for healing, and it may come instantly, it may come later, or it may come only in the next life. We may be extremely punctual at when we start and end our church services, but the start and end of the Church Age is in the hands of God. We can calculate to the second when Spring begins, but God controls when the flowers bloom.

    So, let us all set our clocks ahead today in order for us all to agree on what time it is. Only thus can we insure that we get to work when the boss thinks we should be there, and turn on the TV at the right time to catch the 6 o’clock news.

    But let us always remember that, although we are bound tightly by time, God is the creator of time, and He is not bound by it:
    2 Peter 3:8 (KJV);
    But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    May God bless each one of you on this day -
  8. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks, Terry;
    Our British Summer Time comes up in a couple of weeks...
    Sometimes it's hard to wait for God's time, but He says...
    Psalm 31:15
    My times are in your hands;
    deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
    from those who pursue me.
  9. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We all want the lean muscular body, but none of us wants to do the diet and exercise required to get it. We would all love to play a musical instrument, but we don't want the long hours of practice. We all wish we knew more about something or other, but are unwilling to spend the time in study to learn it.
    We need to understand that improvement requires more than just desire - we must work and sacrifice to get there. The best way to learn this lesson is to learn it as children, at the hands of our parents - but many are being cheated out of this lesson. Tom Landry said "My task is to renew the minds of our players so that I can get them to do what they do not want to do in order for them to achieve what they want to achieve."
    It is too late for most of us to learn as children, but it is not at all too late for us to make it a point to influence the children that are growing up today. In 1995, the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company performed a study which showed 63 percent of adults in the united states believe parents are too lenient and permissive with their children. Studies between then and now show this leniency has increased significantly since then.

    The Word of God tells us that it is an error not to discipline children that are wrong headed:

    1 Samuel 3:13 (KJV);
    "For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."

    Proverbs 29:15 (KJV);
    "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

    Proverbs 13:24 (KJV);
    "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

    Disciplining the child you love is not easy. But no one said being a good parent was easy, did they?

    May God bless each one of you - -
  10. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Too true, Terry;
    These days the government over here is mandating parental negligence by making it illegal to physically chastise children. If a parent is seen smacking his child he can be taken to court for child abuse, and social services take the kids into protective custody. All in the name of child rights. Then they wonder why kids run amok. Spare the rod and spoil the child has become anathema.
  11. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We have similar laws here in the US -
    Fortunately, most of us do not live in those areas where such laws are taken seriously. Here, the main problem is that the KID can report the PARENT, and then it becomes an official violation and gets REAL sticky.

    For today:

    The historian, Gibbon, tells us that Abdulrahman, of the Muslim Caliphs of Spain, built for his pleasure the city, palace, and gardens of Zehra, beautifying them with the costliest marbles, sculptures, gold, and pearls. He had sixty-three hundred persons—wives, concubines, and eunuchs—at his service. His guard had belts and scimitars studded with gold. At his death, the following memorial was found: "I have now reigned above fifty years in victory and peace. . . . Riches, honors, power, pleasure—the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen."

    How about you, Brother? Are you happy?

    Sister, can you number the happy days of the last year on your fingers?
    The Word of God tells us of true happiness, and how to attain it.

    First of all, there is happiness in trusting in the Lord – something this Caliph knows nothing about:
    Proverbs 16:20 (KJV);
    He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

    And there is happiness in just being one of the people of God!
    Deuteronomy 33:29 (KJV);
    Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

    “Just” being one of the people of God? That’s like being “Just” perfectly healthy, isn’t it? No – being one of the people of God is not some minor thing, but the single most important thing that will ever happen to you in your life.

    The last time I was happy was – NOW.

    The last time I felt joy and exhultation was just a few minutes ago when I stepped outside and watched the lightening Eastern sky as clouds from the south skidded past overhead. I observed them, felt my spirit soar, and thanked God for his entire creation, and for giving me yet one more fantastic day.

    May the God of all creation bless each one of you, guys - -
  12. BlackEagle

    BlackEagle Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    What a blessing to be reminded of that. Thanks, Terry.
  13. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Last night, my wife and I went outside just after sunset and observed the planets Venus and Jupiter in the Western sky. They appear close together right now, and so bright that you can see them easily while the sky is still light from the recently set sun.
    I feel so blessed at times like these, and realize that I have wealth beyond measure.

    Do you remember the old John Wayne movie War Wagon? The stolen gold was mixed into flour barrels to avoid detection during the get-away. But the wagon with the barrels of flower in it had a runaway, the barrels bounced off the back all along the trail, and the wooden barrels of flour mixed with gold broke on the ground as they hit, scattering their contents all across the prairie. A tribe of starving and displaced Indians were walking near the trail and witnessed this event – they all started scooping up the flour and putting it into baskets to take with them – to them, it was food.
    Were these people rich or poor?

    The story is told of an Arab who lost his way in the desert. He was in danger of dying from hunger. At last he found one of the cisterns out of which the camels drink and a little leather bag near it. "God be thanked!" exclaimed he. "Ah, here are some dates or nuts; let me refresh myself." He opened the bag, but only to turn away in disappointment. Alas, they were only pearls, and what good were they to a man who was dying of hunger?
    Was this man rich or poor?

    How about you? Are you rich or poor? After taking a thorough audit, I find that I am rich. Very rich.

    The Word of God tells us that riches can be a blessing:
    2 Chronicles 1:11-12 (KJV);
    And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I have made thee king:
    Wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like.

    But riches is nothing without righteousness:
    Psalms 37:16 (KJV);
    A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.

    May God bless each one of you with great riches - the kind that really matters, and lasts.
  14. whymememe

    whymememe Former Guest

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    I also saw Jupiter and Venus last night. The two planets are predicted to line up Jupiter behind Venus on Thursday. I very often look to the heavens. Rich or poor it comes and goes for me.
  15. ampaterry

    ampaterry *TFF Admin Staff Chaplain* Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Genesis 3:9 (KJV);
    And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

    In speaking on this text, a preacher said, "I make three divisions to this text. First: Every man's got to be somewhere. Second: Some men are where they ought not to be. Third: They that are where they ought not to be are going to find themselves where they do not want to be."
    It is said that experience is the best teacher, and for much in this life that is quite true; we remember those mistakes which force us to experience the consequences, don’t we?

    But there are areas where this is foolishness. You may learn to ride a bike by trial and error with no more consequence than skinned knees, but it is not a good idea to learn how to shoot by that method, nor how to pilot a helicopter.

    Similarly, if we want to find out what sin is by experience, we will soon find ourselves where we do not want to be. If we seek to discover it by a righteous, God-honoring reflection, then we will never taste to find out, because we will know the results beforehand. Remember Adam? He found himself where he did not want to be after he had tasted the forbidden fruit.

    Genesis 3:16-19 (KJV);
    ”Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

    We should all pray for wisdom to recognize the forbidden trees!
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