Friday, August 4, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Living a life full of faith in God and love for others

The Audacity of Faith
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”–Luke 6:27-28 ESV

Living a life of faith is often challenging because faithful living requires leaps of faith.

The Bible is full of stories that demonstrate the audacity of faith. David challenged Goliath without wearing any protective gear of warfare. Joshua overthrew Jericho with strategic silence rather than the bedlam of combat. Gideon asked for a sign from God that would make a piece of wool be dry while sitting on ground saturated with morning dew.

The choices of the faith-filled life frequently demand delayed gratification and maybe the pain of being ostracized or persecuted. Jeremiah, a Hebrew prophet, was ostracized and tortured for being a truth teller. Ezekiel was marginalized because of his prolific, prophetic, one man plays.

Jesus Christ was the sinless Messiah, yet, He submitted himself to be baptized by His cousin, John the Baptizer. The Beatitudes, listed in Matthew 5, also seem counterintuitive. Yet, these are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus states them more precisely in Luke 6:27-28. Love your enemies. Do good to them who hate you. Bless those who curse you and pray for those who mistreat you.

As the world and our communities become more divided, we already know that arguing and forcefulness has not worked very well. I am choosing to try the "Jesus Method” (as I call it, referring to The Beatitudes) in my interactions going forward.

A few days ago, I was in a store with two of my grandchildren. I saw a man in one of the aisles with a little boy the size and age of my granddaughter. I noticed that he was wearing two guns. He did not appear to be a pleasant man or pleased to see me. Rather than cower, I greeted him by asking how he and Misters Smith and Wesson were. He got the reference to his guns, stopped and responded by saying, “His Glocks were not looking for trouble but were prepared if trouble found him.” He asked me where I learned about guns. I told him that I had been in the military for several decades. As we parted, he said, “Thank you for your service, brother!” The ice and tension were broken.

Personally, professionally and politically, I am going to pray more about the issues and people with whom I am not aligned. I am going to do good for and be nice to people who may not initially treat me with kindness. I will pray with people who cross my path and radiate a need.

A little while ago, my wife and I stayed in a hotel in Salt Lake City. We had dinner in the dining room one evening. The next morning as we walked to breakfast, a gentleman who sat near us in the dining room was walking down the corridor. He stopped us and we chatted for a few minutes. There was immediate rapport. After small talk, he plunged into his story of grief. His wife of 53 years had recently died. He was at a conference with friends but he was having a hard time. In the middle of a busy corridor, we prayed together. His countenance lifted after the prayer. We took some pictures together and exchanged addresses. We became friends because of a counterintuitive experience.

Please consider joining me in my quest to employ the Jesus Method of moving through life. If only three of you, who are reading this, join me and three join you and the multiplication continues, before long, tens of thousands of us will be changing the world.

Let’s Pray: Thank you Lord for the counterintuitive faith experiences that I have had recently. Please bless those who read this devotional message and try to do what I did while trying to do what You did. May they feel affirmed, empowered and inspired, even if they are misunderstood, at first. May this day begin a wave of love, good deeds and mindful prayers that will spread around the globe. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Song of Reflection: “What Faith Can Do” by Kutless. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Paul Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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