The Back Pew - Dec 2017
When we look at the calendar we see that several religious holidays occur. Hanuk- kah begins on December 13 and ends on December 20, Christmas is on December 25 and Kwanzaa begins on December 26. These and other religious celebrations remind us of things we hold dear that mean so much to us. Regardless of the religion, we take time to remember family and friends and to wish them a joyful season and extend best wishes for the coming New Year. Celebrations are held in accordance with the practice of each religion.
We need to be watchful during this busy time of year lest we lose sight of the reason for the season. Each in our own way, can turn to our prayer book(s) for comfort and contentment. Most certainly, we give thanks for our very being and for the many blessings that we share and enjoy. During this season, let us take a few minutes and turn to the Lord for comfort and peace.
In Psalms 121, we read, “ I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber, indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you – the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. ”
This is a powerful message that tells us that we are not alone and that we can turn to the Lord in time of need and that he promises that he will always be there for us. What a blessing for which we can be thankful.
Dear Heavenly Father, we pause to remember and to thank you for all our blessings. Our blessings include our families, friends, our freedom, the military service members who stand watch around the world on our behalf, the leaders at all levels of government, military leaders, and the essentials for a comfortable life itself. We thank you, Dear Lord, for your presence in our lives, in our communities, the nation and around the world. Lord, we ask forgiveness for the things we think, say and do that are not pleasing to you. Help us lead a life that reflects you in our daily living. Dear Father, we pray all these things in Thy Holy Name, Amen
What can the Chaplain do for me?
My primary job as Chaplain of the V. L. O. A. is to conduct the Sunday morning worship service at our reunions. In addition, should you have the need to talk with someone who has "been there, done that," I am available to listen.
Outlaws Devotional - July 2017
Ephesians 4:29. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
When I entered the U.S. Army in 1960, I quickly learned that getting straight to the point was the norm. Commanders were “old school;” give orders and demand soldiers execute them. In later years, younger military personnel were a “different breed of cat” and required more explanation before the order.
As a young commander, I wasn’t attuned to the fact that the “explanation” I gave might be perceived as blunt, harsh, or critical. My orders were more often than not very straight-forward, even though they contained some explanation. My Father-in-Law made a statement one time when we were hunting on his Florida farm that really hit home with me. He said: “Words are like a bullet shot from a pistol; once you pull the trigger, you can’t take back the bullet.” As my names imply, I have always been earnest and frank! My Father-in-Law’s words stuck with me as I grew older.
Some years ago, I forwarded an email I received criticizing a politician I didn’t support, only to get a return email from an Army buddy. “Good Christians don’t criticize others” he said in his lengthy response, but then he criticized me for criticizing others. I did a great deal of thinking about what he said.
Have you experienced someone that criticizes or disparages someone else in the written or spoken word, seriously or jokingly, knowingly or unknowingly? Just about everywhere we look in today’s society, there is an abundance of hate, offensive statements, Tweets, Facebook posts, TV reports, and newspaper articles that have clearly moved away from being Christ oriented in our words and deeds. This is the right time for all of us to take a step back and really see how our words and deeds are received by others. Maybe we should apply Ephesians 4:29 during this period where our country is trying to find who it is and what it stands for again as a world leader. Just maybe, some things might work better in our personal lives, our church, our community, and our nation.
My Prayer: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer. Amen.
Submitted by Frank Estes