Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Friday, February 1, 2008

Are you Feeling Empty?

Some people know there is a God. They just know. They are aware of a calling, a presence, a special something about God that is in them. They want Him. They know they need to be connected to Him.
Are you like that? Is there a longing in your heart? Is there a soft but regular desire to be fulfilled, to be completed in a way that only being with God can accomplish? I know that feeling. I know it well.
As a child, I always knew that God existed. There was always a quality in my heart that desired Him, that "knew" He was there, that he was out there somewhere. I can't explain it. It was something I was born with. I needed God. I knew that I wouldn't be complete unless I was with Him and loving Him. I'm glad I've found Him, or should I say, I'm glad he found me.
Those who are looking for God know the echo in their hearts of God's voice calling them. They know it. They feel it. It is there. It is soft, yet persistent. It is gentle, yet constant. It echoes and draws us to Him, to find Him, to know Him, to touch Him.
Sometimes, we realize that everything in the world is ultimately meaningless unless we do what He wants, unless we are in His will. We can gain money and possession, but they don't satisfy. We know that when we die, it will all fall away and mean nothing. That is why we look up to the heavens. That is why we hear the voice of God calling us. Do you hear it? Do you feel its presence?
Are you looking for God? Is what you have in your life fulfilling, or do you feel empty. If these words resonate with you, then you need to encounter God by encountering Jesus. He is the good Shepherd of love and forgiveness. Jesus said, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand," (John 10:27-28).
Did you get what Jesus said? He said that His sheep hear HIS voice and they follow Him. Is He calling to you? Do you hear his voice in your heart?
Do you want forgiveness of sins? Jesus forgives sins (Matt. 9:1-7; Luke 5:20; 7:48).
Do you want to know God? Jesus reveals God (Matt. 11:27; Luke 10:22).
Do you want to have joy and peace? Jesus gives them (John 15:11, John 14:27).

You won't find God in man made religions like Islam, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. You only find God through Jesus who said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me," (John 14:6). Trust Him. After all, He raised people from the dead, performed great miracles, died, and rose from the dead Himself. Who else has done that?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Caring for the Hurting and the Dying

. Because of the faith movement many are silent on this subject. Great Bible scholars are still mystified as to why the righteous do suffer. Some say all suffering is of the devil, if this is true, then why does God allow it? Some say a “good God” doesn’t allow bad things to happen to us. Well if you read the Bible there were those that had bad things happen to them, and they were greater than you or I. Human wisdom is not sufficient to even understand the mind of God. This is why Job, Joseph, David, and I are the primary subjects of this book.

I feel qualified to write it because I am a man that loves God; I am a preacher and defender of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I suffer daily with two incurable diseases one called Sarcoidosis and the other Lymphadema. When I came back from the Gulf War I started a downhill spiral of sickness and disease. Prior to the war I was a strong and vibrant young man. I don’t know what I was exposed to in Desert Storm, but I do know it made me sick! A great many Gulf War vets have returned to the states with a number of Auto-Immune Illnesses. Now before you write or call me to tell me I should believe God for healing, understand this. I have been saved since I was 14 years old. I have been a preacher over 25 years. I have cast out devils, survived 3 car accidents, run revivals, prayed healing for others and they recovered, and in the past I have been healed myself. I have had this illness over 10 years and it has gotten progressively worst. My joints hurt, my eyesight is deteriorating due to lesions on my brain and my right eye, I have trouble breathing, and I have chronic fatigue as well as Sleep Apnea. I have quoted every healing verse I know I have made positive confessions, I have been anointed with oil and prayed for by nationally and internationally known evangelist and pastors, and I am still not healed. Has my faith gotten weak? To be honest yes at times! I have learned something many preachers are negligent in sharing with God’s people…Good people do suffer and everyone doesn’t get healed.

We (the Pentecostal/Holiness church) have become Job’s friends. We treat the sick like lepers. We tell them faith can heal them, and if they don’t get healed they have no faith. We accuse them of secret sin and sometimes we tell them they are cursed or worst that they are demonized. I have heard preachers tell poor people that were sick…”If you give more, God will heal you!” Hmmmm when did Jesus tell a sick person THAT!?!

I am almost in tears as I write this because I can only imagine the pain Job must have felt when his friends attacked his character. I have studied the Book of Job with great intensity, and I want to share some personal insights I have gained from this book. If you are suffering be encouraged God knows and God cares never forget that. If you know someone that is suffering what they need is your love, prayers, and concern. (Psalm 120:1)

I am a Chaplain at the largest Trauma Center in New Jersey, Cooper University Hospital. It is located in the most violent city in America, Camden NJ. I have seen more my fair share of suffering. Many of the patients are Jesus loving believers, and the thing that hurts them more than their physical pain at times is the way they are treated by healthy and wealthy Christians. We often act like Job’s friends when we encounter the sick or downtrodden. We judge them as doing something to deserve their plight, why? It gives them a sense of security, Security from the thought that God would allow something bad to happen to a believer. Even the disciples treated a blind man this way by asking Jesus, “Who sinned…Him or his parents?” Jesus replied NIETHER!” Yes innocent people DO SUFFER. I hope this book will help us be more sensitive to the sick, handicapped, and the downtrodden.