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  Chaplain Thomas Stackhouse, OCM - Pennsylvania Military Veterans Outreach

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CORAM DEO ( Living Before The Face Of GOD )

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Chaplain's Blog

Posted on April 18, 2019 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith Devotional 

1 Corinthians 9:25 “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.” NKJV

Loved Ones in Christ,

Would you run a race for celery? As foolish as it sounds, in ancient times there were athletes who would workout and train just so they could cross the finish line for a crown of celery leaves. You may laugh, but the same happens to this day. Every few years, we watch as athletes from all over the world compete to gain a medal. Now I can hear some of you saying, "Well gold is a little different than celery." Is it? Friends, when this life is over and you are before the Sovereign Lord, no medal or riches are going to matter. In fact, that gold medal you thought was something special is simply Heaven's asphalt. 

If you are a follower of Jesus and know Him as your Savior, then you are part of this race to the eternal finish line. It can be difficult at times, but just like an athlete, you must train hard. The rewards are far greater than anything this earth may offer. As you step out in faith and begin serving and walking in obedience to His Holy Word, you begin storing up treasures in Heaven. So friends, are you storing up heavenly rewards? Did you know that your act of love, giving or Word of Truth may impact the life of another human for eternity? This alone is worth the price paid, but God in His infinite love then credits our eternal account so that one day, He will present to us treasures beyond what we can think or imagine. 

Walking your faith? We should live for eternal spiritual rewards. What we do in this life matters... forever. Shalom!

ABBA, Father God,

Thank You for Jesus and Your salvation that comes by grace through faith. Because of this free gift, I have hope of Heaven and life abundant. Sovereign Lord, help me to focus on the eternal things and live in obedience to You. Guide me as I seek to serve You and serve others and in turn store up heavenly rewards. May I be so heavenly minded that I impact this earth for all eternity. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory. Amen.

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on April 13, 2019 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith - Chaplain’s Blog 

Romans 8:3-4

“For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” NKJV 

Beloved in Christ,

No man has ever been a better example of righteous living than Jesus the Christ. He lived a perfect, sinless life. He was giving, loving, benevolent, caring, serving and passionate about healing people. He was selfless in every action and relentless in pursuit of His goal.

In John 15:13 Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." When you place the wants and needs of others before your own wants and needs you lay down your life for them. Serving others is serving God. We should be following Jesus' example. Is that example too lofty for us? No, friends, it is not! Once you have surrendered your will to Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He starts His work in you. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, you can rise above the greedy flesh. You can be the example of Jesus in the lives of everyone around you.

Walking your faith? Jesus shows us how to live. Doing your part means abiding it what He has taught us. Shalom!

ABBA, Father God,

Thank You for Your selfless gift of dying on a cross for the forgiveness of my sinfulness. Please grant me Your love and passion for people. Help me to place the wants and needs of others before my own. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can show the love of Jesus to those around me. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory. Amen.

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 29, 2019 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith

1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness”;” NKJV

Beloved in Christ,

What God calls wisdom and what the world calls wisdom are two very different things. The world looks to academia for wisdom. That is a trap. Pride loves the appearance of wisdom, but it is always rooted in self-deception. The wisdom of God, however, is viewed as foolish to the world. 

Proverbs 3:5-8 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” NKJV

So, where do we find true wisdom? My friends, it's in the Bible. Search within those pages and find that God promises to give you wisdom. The Bible, above all other books, can be trusted. The difference is the Author. Walk in the wisdom of God's book and you will walk in the intentions of God for your life.

Walking your faith? To be truly wise, read and apply the Bible in your life. Shalom!

ABBA, Father GOD,

Thank You for loving me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Sovereign Lord, You know my thoughts. You know that I want to be made well and victorious in my struggles. At times, I know I have listened to the wisdom of the world rather than trusting in You. Empower me to rely on You. I know I have made mistakes. Thank You for Your forgiveness and revealing Your love toward me. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory, Amen.

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 27, 2019 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith 

Proverbs 9:6 “Forsake foolishness and live, And go in the way of understanding.” NKJV 

Loved Ones in Christ,

None of us would like to say we are foolish at times. When we think of foolishness, we often dream up images of individuals who are acting in a childish manner or speaking in ignorance. While those may be foolish things, the Bible paints a more direct picture of foolishness. In essence, foolishness equals the rejection of God and His Word. After all, doesn't Psalm 14:1 say, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" This is at the root of foolishness. 

To believe in God and His Word is the epitome of wisdom. To walk in light of God's Truth is to experience a life of understanding. This leads to great blessing, and it all starts with our relationship with God. If we understand God and that His Word is true, we will understand that we are sinners in need of a great Savior, Jesus Christ. This understanding, from God’s Grace, brings us to faith in Christ which leads us into a relationship with God Himself. Imagine, broken human beings given the honor of being children of the God of all creation. I cannot imagine a greater blessing. And it all started by repentance, a gift from Above, forsaking foolishness and walking in the way of understanding.

Walking your faith? The abundance of life is summed up by the quality of one's relationship with the Sovereign Lord. Shalom! 

Precious Lord Jesus,

I believe You died for me so that I could be forgiven. I believe You were raised from the dead so that I could have new life. I know I have done wrong things, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Grant me the power to follow You all the days of my life. Amen.

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 23, 2019 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Question: "How is eternity in hell a fair punishment for sin?"

Answer: Many people are uncomfortable, to say the least, with the idea of an eternal hell. This discomfort, though, is often the result of an incomplete understanding of three things: the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of sin. As fallen, sinful human beings, the nature of God is a difficult concept for us to grasp. We tend to see God as a kind, merciful Being whose love for us overrides and overshadows all His other attributes. Of course God is loving, kind, and merciful, but He is first and foremost a holy and righteous God. So holy is He that He cannot tolerate sin. He is a God whose anger burns against the wicked and disobedient (Isaiah 5:25; Hosea 8:5; Zechariah 10:3). He is not only a loving God"He is love itself! But the Bible also tells us that He hates all manner of sin (Proverbs 6:16-19). And while He is merciful, there are limits to His mercy. "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Humanity is corrupted by sin, and that sin is always directly against God. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah murdered, he responded with an interesting prayer: "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight"" (Psalm 51:4). Since David had sinned against Bathsheba and Uriah, how could he claim to have only sinned against God? David understood that all sin is ultimately against God. God is an eternal and infinite Being (Psalm 90:2). As a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment. God's holy, perfect, and infinite character has been offended by our sin. Although to our finite minds our sin is limited in time, to God"who is outside of time"the sin He hates goes on and on. Our sin is eternally before Him and must be eternally punished in order to satisfy His holy justice.

No one understands this better than someone in hell. A perfect example is the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Both died, and the rich man went to hell while Lazarus went to paradise (Luke 16). Of course, the rich man was aware that his sins were only committed during his lifetime. But, interestingly, he never says, "How did I end up here?" That question is never asked in hell. He does not say, "Did I really deserve this? Don't you think this is a little extreme? A little over the top?" He only asks that someone go to his brothers who are still alive and warn them against his fate.

Like the rich man, every sinner in hell has a full realization that he deserves to be there. Each sinner has a fully informed, acutely aware, and sensitive conscience which, in hell, becomes his own tormenter. This is the experience of torture in hell"a person fully aware of his or her sin with a relentlessly accusing conscience, without relief for even one moment. The guilt of sin will produce shame and everlasting self-hatred. The rich man knew that eternal punishment for a lifetime of sins is justified and deserved. That is why he never protested or questioned being in hell.

The realities of eternal damnation, eternal hell, and eternal punishment are frightening and disturbing. But it is good that we might, indeed, be terrified. While this may sound grim, there is good news. God loves us (John 3:16) and wants us to be saved from hell (2 Peter 3:9). But because God is also just and righteous, He cannot allow our sin to go unpunished. Someone has to pay for it. In His great mercy and love, God provided His own payment for our sin. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross for us. Jesus' death was an infinite death because He is the infinite God/man, paying our infinite sin debt, so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity (2 Corinthians 5:21). If we confess our sin and place our faith in Christ, asking for God's forgiveness based on Christ's sacrifice, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much that He provided the means for our salvation, but if we reject His gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.

© Copyright 2002-2019 Got Questions Ministries. Guest Blogger Dr. Keith Sherlin, Th.D,  LLD

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 17, 2019 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Chaplain’s Blog - Walking Your Faith 

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” NKJV

Beloved in Christ,

Ephesians 4 is packed with so many treasures. In fellowship, we memorize the last two verses, Ephesians 4:31-32 "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." NKJV

The words 'you' and 'your' are used many times in Ephesians chapter 4, so it is speaking to 'you' as a believer. It says "don't let the sun go down on your wrath." Now, this could be your anger, which is the main and plain meaning, but if you don't ask for forgiveness for things, then your sin works to separate you from God. So whether you need forgiveness, or you need to forgive somebody in obedience to the Lord and forget your wrath, do it before sundown.

Are you nursing any wounds? Are you holding on to any unforgiveness? Bitterness? Offense? Did you get offended by someone and instead of putting the offense down, you are carrying it around? You can't do that. It gives place to the devil in your life.

This world is getting worse, day by day, and you can't be tied up and weighed down by the past. The Bible says 'don't let the sun go down on your wrath'. Now here's a cool little nugget. How do we count our days? Well, we say that it goes to midnight and then the next day starts. Man came up with that. It's not in the Bible. Actually in the Bible, in Genesis Chapter 1, verse 5 and many other verses, it says "the evening and the morning were the first day," "the evening and the morning were the second day," "the evening and the morning were the third day."

The biblical day ends at sundown. At sundown you begin the next day.

The verse says don't let the sun go down on your wrath, anger or unforgiveness. Ask God to forgive you, and forgive others, before this day ends and before you start your next day. Do it everyday. Because of God's grace and Jesus’ death on the cross we can be forgiven! And as we walk in forgiveness we are empowered to forgive others.

Yom Tov! That's Hebrew for good day. Shalom!

Walking your faith? GOD “provided” His Son Jesus to deliver us out of His wrath and anger, and the consequences of it.

ABBA, Father God,

I ask that You please forgive me for holding on to offenses, for letting the sun repeatedly go down on my wrath. I'm sorry. Thank You for Jesus and the forgiveness I have in Him. Father, show me any place where I have allowed a root of bitterness to get established in my heart and remove it. I promise to trust and obey. Help me to forgive others as You, in Christ, have forgiven me. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory. Amen.

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 9, 2019 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Question: "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"

Answer: We live in a world of pain and suffering. There is no one who is not affected by the harsh realities of life, and the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” is one of the most difficult questions in all of theology. God is sovereign, so all that happens must have at least been allowed by Him, if not directly caused by Him. At the outset, we must acknowledge that human beings, who are not eternal, infinite, or omniscient, cannot expect to fully understand God’s purposes and ways. 

The book of Job deals with the issue of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1), yet he suffered in ways that are almost beyond belief. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him, and Satan did his worst. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job did not understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well. 

Why do bad things happen to good people? As hard as it is to acknowledge, we must remember that there are no “good” people, in the absolute sense of the word. All of us are tainted by and infected with sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8.) As Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19). All of us feel the effects of sin in one way or another. Sometimes it’s our own personal sin; other times, it’s the sins of others. We live in a fallen world, and we experience the effects of the fall. One of those effects is injustice and seemingly senseless suffering.

When wondering why God would allow bad thing to happen to good people, it’s also good to consider these four things about the bad things that happen:

1) Bad things may happen to good people in this world, but this world is not the end. Christians have an eternal perspective: “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” ( 2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ). We will have a reward some day, and it will be glorious.

2) Bad things happen to good people, but God uses those bad things for an ultimate, lasting good. “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” ( Romans 8:2 ). When Joseph, innocent of wrongdoing, finally came through his horrific sufferings, he was able to see God’s good plan in it all (see Genesis 50:19–21).

3) Bad things happen to good people, but those bad things equip believers for deeper ministry. “Praise be to . . . the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3–5). Those with battle scars can better help those going through the battles.

4) Bad things happen to good people, and the worst things happened to the best Person. Jesus was the only truly Righteous One, yet He suffered more than we can imagine. We follow in His footsteps: “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:20–23). Jesus is no stranger to our pain.

Romans 5:8 declares, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Despite the sinful nature of the people of this world, God still loves us. Jesus loved us enough to die to take the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). If we receive Jesus Christ as Savior (John 3:16; Romans 10:9), we will be forgiven and promised an eternal home in heaven (Romans 8:1).

God allows things to happen for a reason. Whether or not we understand His reasons, we must remember that God is good, just, loving, and merciful (Psalm 135:3). Often, bad things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. Instead of doubting God’s goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5–6). We walk by faith, not by sight.

© Copyright 2002-2019 Got Questions Ministries. Guest Blogger, Dr. Keith Sherlin, Th.D, LLD

Chaplain's Blog

Posted on March 2, 2019 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith

Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” NKJV

Beloved in Christ,

Peace is mentioned over 400 times in the Bible. The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, which means wholeness and health in every area of life. The Apostle Paul used an interesting salutation in most of his letters: "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." I have never met anyone who claimed they had enough peace in their life. All of us want more peace, but sadly enough, most are not willing to go to the Source, which is God. If you are not at peace in your life, the fault lies squarely with you. No one has the power or authority to take away your peace. You have to give them that power; you have to give them that authority. Whether it is the difficult boss or the unexpected bill, giving your peace away is, quite frankly, your choice; of the dubious “questionable benefits” we profess as “our free will”.

John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” NLT

Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” NKJV 

Indeed… how wonderful is the peace of grace? You can lay your head down on your pillow at night because you have peace with God. How incredible is that? You cannot find that anywhere except at the cross. In Jesus, there is grace and peace. In the world, there is tribulation. Which do you choose?

Walking your faith? Jesus gives us peace. We can give our peace away or we can keep our peace. Shalom!

ABBA, Father God,

Thank You for providing me grace and peace. Forgive me for times when I have turned my peace over to frustration or anger. You love me and You have forgiven me. My peace is secure in You. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory. Amen.

Coram Deo

Posted on February 28, 2019 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)


Question: "What happens after death?"

Answer: Within the Christian faith, there is a significant amount of confusion regarding what happens after death. Some hold that after death, everyone "sleeps" until the final judgment, after which everyone will be sent to heaven or hell. Others believe that at the moment of death, people are instantly judged and sent to their eternal destinations. Still others claim that when people die, their souls/spirits are sent to a "temporary" heaven or hell, to await the final resurrection, the final judgment, and then the finality of their eternal destination. So, what exactly does the Bible say happens after death?

First, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers" souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). For believers, death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies. If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave "sleeping." At the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).

Second, for those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior, death means everlasting punishment. However, similar to the destiny of believers, unbelievers also seem to be sent immediately to a temporary holding place, to await their final resurrection, judgment, and eternal destiny. Luke 16:22-23 describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the great white throne, and then being cast into the lake of fire. Unbelievers, then, are not sent to hell (the lake of fire) immediately after death, but rather are in a temporary realm of judgment and condemnation. However, even though unbelievers are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, "I am in agony in this fire" (Luke 16:24). 

Therefore, after death, a person resides in a "temporary" heaven or hell. After this temporary realm, at the final resurrection, a person's eternal destiny will not change. The precise "location" of that eternal destiny is what changes. Believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1). Unbelievers will ultimately be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people"based entirely on whether or not they had trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36).

© Copyright 2002-2019 Got Questions Ministries. OCM Guest Blogger, Dr. Keith Sherlin, Th.D., LLD

Coram Deo

Posted on February 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Walking Your Faith 

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” NLT 

Beloved in Christ,

The Christian life is a life of darkness and of light. At one time, our hearts were darkened, but through the grace of God, they were enlightened. In essence, we move from being people of darkness to people of the light. This is not because we are special, but because God so loved us that He planned a way for us to be transformed through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross; the Bible teaches us He did this ‘before time began’. 

Sometimes as lights, we forget that we were once in darkness, and we begin mocking those who are still blind. Too many “Christians” are just cursing the darkness and standing around talking about what is wrong with the world, with the lost, with believers and with the church. They are unwilling to help change things. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14 that we are "The light of the world." That's us, the church. We are the "city on a hill" that is shining out into the darkness. The world is messed up because of sin. We are not called to curse the sinners, but we are called to light a candle. Today is the day. Light a candle of God's love. Show kindness, love and grace to someone today. With one candle at a time, we will accomplish His Great Commission on our lives.

Walking your faith? Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Shalom!

ABBA, Father God,

I am sorry if I have spent more times cursing the darkness and less time lighting candles. I believe You are the Light and have called me to shine. Grant me the power to serve, give and love like You do. Help me so that I may be filled with more of Your light and less of the darkness. In Jesus' precious name and for Your glory. Amen.


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