Devotionals from Chaplain Edward Paul

Below are some of the devotionals from Chaplain Paul provided to Soldiers, other service members, and some civilians.

Devotionals from 2016

May 2016

Persevere with Joy

“ Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  James 1:2-5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

We have faced some challenges (trials) in life.  We can expect to face more as our mission continues.  Despite the pain and frustration we may experience during this time, we can maintain an attitude of joy and gratitude for the many blessings God has bestowed on us and our country.  Remember we are here preparing for war, so the difficulties are worth enduring so we may be better prepared for future battles.

 

Rejoice in a new day

This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  
Psalm 18:24 King James Version (KJV)

 

Today we are one day closer to our return home. Whether it is raining or sunny or snowing, we can still rejoice in the blessings we receive today.  Look for the good in all situations and encourage others to keep a positive attitude and press on.

Reflection questions:

How can I praise God today?

How might I need an attitude adjustment?  Who could help me with that?

How can I spread joy to those around me?

2015 Devotionals from Chaplain Paul

Chaplain Reflections for May 2015

If you fall, get back up

Though our enemy attacked us, damaged our forces, and caused some of our forces to fall on the battlefield, we can learn from our mistakes, get back up, and continue the fight. We need to remember when we make mistakes, we need to take responsibility and get back up.  Sometimes it may be hard to get back up, that is why it is good to have battle buddies to help us get back up when we have fallen.  You do not have to recover on your own; we are here to help. Reach out to your chain of command or a chaplain if you need help in recovering from a fall.

“for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,

    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)

“Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their labor:

If either of them falls down,

    one can help the other up.

But pity anyone who falls

    and has no one to help them up.”

Eccl 4:9-10 two are better than one

Questions for reflection:

How can you learn from mistakes to do better in the future?

How can you reach out to others if you or they have fallen and need help up?

Beware of false leaders

The leaders of criminal organizations say they want to benefit the community and their members, but what they really care about are their profits and power.  We need to encourage strong community leaders to stand up against these criminals to shine a light on the wicked things they are doing so they shut down.  We need to test new potential leaders to make sure their words match their actions and they are righteous and caring for the community.  We need to watch out for people around us who may fall to the temptations of selfishness or power and cause problems for others. Healthy accountability will help us keep integrity in our forces.  We should never follow an unlawful order that would violate the ROE or other laws.

“For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach, and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”

Titus 1:10-12 (NIV)

Questions for reflection:

How can you help to maintain your integrity?

How can you encourage others to maintain their integrity?

Keep up the good work. 

Thank you for all the hard work you are doing.  When we have been at it for a while, we can grow weary of the long days and hard work.  It is important to remember we must persevere until we can achieve the goals of our mission of a stable country that can uphold human rights and protect its citizens.  We also need to remember that like the days and years, there are cycles to our lives and activities.  We must incorporate a healthy work/rest cycle so we can endure the continued mission here until mission complete or properly relieved by follow on units. Remember to take time to rest, recreate, and worship.

Galatians 6:9-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

“So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you achieve or sustain a healthy work/rest cycle?

How can you encourage others to or sustain a healthy work/rest cycle?

Care to share. 

Jesus never promised His followers they would be wealthy in this world.  He did promise that He would be with them.  He called them to help the poor and the weak. In the book of Acts, we see references to believes sharing their wealth with those in need.  We need to remember to have compassion on poor people and help them to have access to humanitarian needs.   Giving to the church and charities is a way to care for those in need and I would encourage you to increase your giving.

1 John 3:16-18 God’s Word Translation (GWT)

“We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers. Now, suppose a person has enough to live on and notices another believer in need. How can God’s love be in that person if he doesn’t bother to help the other believer? Dear children, we must show love through actions that are sincere, not through empty words.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you better show charity to those in need?

How can you better encourage others to show charity to those in need?

Work with what you got. 

When God called Moses, he was a shepherd.  God asked him, “What do you have in your hand?”  Moses replied, a shepherds staff.  God used that staff to help free the Israelites from slavery.  While we aim for the ideal circumstances in our missions, we need to work to complete our missions with what we have available, not what we would like to have.  Paul mentions seven different gifts in Romans 12. We all have different gifts we can use to complete our duties and glorify God. Everyone should look for ways to help their local worship community using the gifts they are given.

1 Peter 4:10 God’s Word Translation (GWT)

“Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you better identify areas where you can serve using your gifts?

How can you better encourage others to serve using their gifts?

Keep learning. 

Continued learning is essential to good leadership.  We learn from history and we need to adapt to changing circumstances today.  In our military we have service schools to help us learn to prepare for greater responsibility at our unit.  We also have formal and informal education at our units.  We also have the practice of completing an AAR after events.  We also have the practice of performance counseling.  We should also be reviewing our own lives to see where we can learn to do better in regards to work, family, life balance, or religious practice.

Proverbs 12:1 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

“Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but one who hates correction is stupid.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you better care incorporate learning practices in your duty?

How can you better care incorporate learning practices in your personal life?

Care for the weak, protect the innocent. 

Recently there has been an increase in refugees seeking asylum.  We need to remember that most of these people are innocent and simply looking for a better place to live and work.  We need to treat them with respect and care.  We need to prevent the vicious attacks by our dishonorable enemies from causing us to over-react to potential threats.  We should not let our guard totally down though as there are potentially combatants somewhere among them looking for an easy target.  While our role with refugees is limited, I would encourage you to donate to quality charities that operate to care for the poor.

James 1:27 (GWT)

“Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you better care for the weak and poor?

How can you encourage others to better care for the weak and poor?

Choose this day whom you will serve. 

Every day we have the opportunity to choose who or what we will follow or seek after. We can seek the desires of this world or we can choose to live for a higher purpose.  In making a conscious choice to seek a higher purpose, you demonstrate initiative, one of the leadership principles of the Army.  You need to take the initiative to look out for things going wrong and do your part to correct them which may require speaking out or selfless service.  It could be as simple as cleaning up your area of responsibility as well as that of your neighbors or as complex as adjusting logistics or other operations on tactical or strategic level.

Joshua 24:15 (NRSV)
“Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you better avoid and resist the temptations of worldly pleasures?

How can you encourage others to seek a higher purpose in their lives?

Be strong and courageous. 

We need to remember to keep PT and healthy eating and rest as part of our routines to keep up our strength up even though we may face difficult schedules and missions.  Courage is not about having no fear, but persevering in selfless service despite feeling fear or facing fearful dangers.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Questions for reflection:

How can you take courage from what God has done in your life?

How can you encourage someone else?

You are not alone. 

You may feel alone when facing problems back home or dangers out here, but you are not alone because God hears you.  You have battle buddies, chain of command, and chaplains out here to offer support and encouragement.  We are here for a just cause, to uphold justice and seek peace.

Psalm 118:5-6 (KJV)
“I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place. 6 The LORD is on my side I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

If you are feeling lonely, with whom can you connect?

If you know someone is lonely, how can you reach out to them?

April 2015 –  Called to love

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrew 10:24-25 New International Version (NIV)

How are we called to love?  Ephesians 4:11-16
–We all have a call to specific work (gifting)
•Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
–We all have a call general work (service)
•Ephesians 4:12; Ephesians 2:10 Deut. 6:4,5 Mark 12:30-31
–We have a call to unity and maturity
•Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:6
–We have a call to watch out for false teachers
•Ephesians 4:14; Acts 17:11
–We have a call to speak the truth in love
•Ephesians 4:15; John 8:31-32
–We have a call to support each other’s growth
•Ephesians 4:16; Hebrews 10:25

How do I need to show more love?
–How can I serve other believers? http://gifttest.org
–What can I do to speak out against falsehood and uphold the truth? http://www.letusreason.org/Doct80.htm
–How can I reach out to others to support Christian growth?
https://bible.org/seriespage/1-introduction-new-testament-church
Reflection Song: The Generous Mr. Lovewell by Mercy Me

I pray these devotionals from Chaplain Paul have been a blessing to you.

Devotionals from Chaplain Ed Paul

Check out some of my previous sermons

 

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