Author Archives: Stephen Bowling

“Wait For the Lord” by Chaplain Vernon Jewell

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14 (KJV)
 
How many times have we been told to wait? When I was a child I remember hearing this word a lot. It seemed as though it was there every time my mother spoke to me. ‘Wait’ was not a good word to hear when I wanted something, especially for those things that seemed to be of great importance to me. Even now, many years later, ‘wait’ is still not a very good word for me. But God has a way of giving us understanding. When you look at the definition of the word ‘wait’ it brings to life a whole new respect for the word:
 
wait – verb \ˈwāt\ – to stay in place in expectation, or delay in expectation or anticipation of, to bind together like a cord, to hope. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wait)
 
The scriptures have thousands of promises for God’s people. And in the scriptures it says many times to ‘wait’ upon the Lord. I still sometimes have a tendency to flash back to my childhood and ‘kick and scream’ a little in my mind because I still don’t want to wait for things. But in my  “wait” . . . I learn the great benefits of expectation, of anticipation, of binding together, and of hope, all of which create joy in my heart.
 
Prayer: we pray for blessing in everyone’s lives. We pray that everyone will never get comfortable where they are but will always strive for greater growth, knowledge and wisdom. And we pray that everyone may be able to expect new opportunities and great blessings . . .
 
. . . wait . . .
 
. . . Amen.
 
Chaplain Vernon Jewell
Signature HealthCARE of Elizabethtown
1117 Woodland Drive

Elizabethtown, KY 42701

(270) 769-2363
 
#shcdailydevotional

“Receiving In The Act of Giving” by Chaplain Bill Mayo

“Ask, and it shall be given; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Matthew 7:7

Recently, when I was assisting at our North Florida facility, I asked one of the nurses if there were anyone I might especially need to go see. I was given the name and room number of someone they recommended and I made my way down the hall to see them. For the next 30 minutes, sitting beside a bed, I wept and rejoiced in the faith of someone that spoke to me in faith like none other before.

Uttered from frail lips but with a faith as strong as I have ever witnessed, he told me of his son, and of when that son was about 12 years old, how he had placed a bible in his father’s suitcase as he was headed off to work out of state, with the words, “Maybe one day you will read this.” He had never read one sentence of God’s Word before he told me, until he did that very day as I was with him . . . and the passage he found was Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” 

The son had given his father a bible in a suitcase, and many years later the father gave himself to God as a servant of His Kingdom. And as a witness to this moment, God gave to me, on a rainy, dreary, two days before Christmas,  a gift I will cherish forever. Faith instilled into me by one that many of society’s greatest gifts – our elders!

Isn’t that just like God! RECEIVING IN THE ACT OF GIVING – THAT’S GOD’S WAY!

Chaplain Bill Mayo
Signature HealthCARE at The Courtyard

#shcdailydevotional

“Thinking” by Chaplain Mark Mills

“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people. I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 (The Message)

This is a story about a Goldilocks and the Bear. Not three bears this time, but just one bear that Goldilocks encountered three times.

Goldilocks had a job at a care center called “The Forest” and part of her job was to take care of a certain bear. Once when working with the bear she saw that he liked to watch TV, and so she decided to get him a fancier TV with all kinds of cool things that it could do. When the bear got the new TV, however, he kept it on the same channel because he didn’t know what to do with any of the other options.

This frustrated Goldilocks and so the next time she cared for the bear, she found herself not paying as much attention to what the bear’s needs might be, because it was filled with so many feelings about what had happened. Because of this, the bear’s real needs were barely being met without Goldilocks even realizing it.

The third time Goldilocks cared for the bear, however, she realized that she didn’t really give good care if she was “overthinking”, just the same as she didn’t really give good care if she was “underthinking”. This time however, she went to the bear with her thinking matched exactly to what she was feeling. She remembered that the bear had frustrations, fears, hopes, and regrets just like her and she found that by putting herself into the bear’s world and caring for him on his own level, her thinking – and the care she gave – was “just right.”

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

Mark Mills, Chaplain / Director of Spirituality

Signature HealthCARE of Warren

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“Forgiveness” by Chaplain Jayne West

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Forgiveness: to pardon or acquit; to release; to let go.

It is not possible to live in a fallen world without getting hurt, rejected, offended, or misunderstood. Learning how to respond properly is a characteristic of God.

The deepest kind of healing is forgiveness, which God provides in response to our repentance. Repentance is having a change of mind and heart accompanied by regret and change of conduct.

There are two kinds of forgiveness: Receiving and Giving

Ask God’s forgiveness – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

  • Forgiveness of others – We must forgive others – “If you have anything against anyone, forgive them that your Father in heaven will forgive you.” (Mark 11:25 -26)
  • Forgive yourself – Forgiving yourself is essential. Forgiving yourself is letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can move forward with God. We cannot genuinely forgive others if we have not forgiven ourselves.

Forgiving others releases anger and keep us under the protection of God’s love. When God forgives; He remembers our sins no more. When we truly forgive – we are truly healed.

Heavenly Father help us to be kind and tenderhearted to those who have hurt us. Help us to forgive and pray for them. Lord thank you for loving us enough to forgive us so that we can continue to have a loving relationship with You and others. Amen.

Chaplain Jayne West
Signature HealthCARE of Orange Park

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“Never Underestimate The Power of God’s Love” by Chaplain Ronnie Case

“Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

These words fell from the lips of Jesus Christ in his dying moments to the man dying next to him. When I survey the setting and try to comprehend the audacity of this convicted criminal asking for leniency and mercy, it somewhat disturbs me! I am just being honest!

Here was a man whom it seems could never offer one thing to prove his sincerity. This was a man ready to step into eternity seemingly without any hope at all, and we hear him asking God for a favor! This man is one we think would never be able to share a testimony about God’s love, write a book, or give an offering – there was absolutely nothing he could offer the Lord as he hung there. And yet he asked – and we are told that he did indeed receive.

Just about the time that I think I am beginning to understand God, and know something about His love, it is then that I come to the realization that I must still dig just a little deeper. And even when I do that, it only makes me realize that I have barely scratched the surface of his true love for humanity!

Prayer: “Dear Lord, fill my heart with your love! Help me to see as you see, hear as you hear, understand as you understand, and love as you love, remove all prejudices, judgments, intolerances, and thoughts that are indifferent to your thoughts so that I may glorify your name! -A-Men”

Ronnie Case – Director of Spirituality
The Bridge at South Pittsburg

#shcdailydevotional

“More Of You, Less Of Me” by Chaplain Nathan Marrs

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3: 30

During the Middle Ages, there developed many interesting practices within the Church for those who desired to remove themselves from the hustle and temptations of “secular” life.  Some individuals developed such a strong desire to flee the World that they literally bricked themselves into rooms in the back of local churches never to leave for any reason.  By being physically anchored into the churches, these “anchorites” and “anchoresses” hoped to live their lives devoted to prayer and the Eucharist, to God and to others.

Some of these anchorites and anchoresses had but two small windows in their tiny rooms.  One window would face the church altar, which would hold the Communion elements.  The other window would face the outside world.  Townspeople would go to these windows seeking spiritual advice and prayer.  And I imagine that these outside-facing windows also provided a reminder of what was given up in order to join monastic life. I am  awed by the faithfulness of these men and women of God. I am awed by their sacrifice for the greater cause and the Kingdom of God.

So my hope today is not that we go lock ourselves into our own places of worship, but let us think about how we can decrease and how God can increase in our own lives.  How can my life be less about me and more about God? How can I decrease the “kingdom of me” and help grow the Kingdom of God?

Prayer: Gracious God, Teach me how I may decrease so that You may can increase. Amen.

Nathan Marrs, Chaplain
Signature HealthCARE of Trimble County

#shcdailydevotional

“His Grace Is Enough” by Chaplain Suzanne Priddy

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12: 9 (NIV)

I was once asked to give a short devotion and a prayer at the Louisville Women’s Club, an honor that I didn’t take lightly. I had a thought about “life being like a box of chocolates and never knowing what you were going to get”. That morning I awoke early and the above scripture was running through my head.  I thought that God must really approve of what I was going to say because this went perfectly with my thoughts. Each day was a mystery, and we needed to rest in the fact that God was going to help us.

Little did I know that I would receive news that very morning from where I was then working that my position was no longer needed.

In my mind, I had the perfect job. I loved my clients, coworkers and thought I would retire there doing what I loved. Still in shock, I went to my car and fell apart. Then I remembered the scripture, His grace was enough! I went on to the luncheon, spoke and prayed with a supernatural strength. When everything in me was reeling, I had a peace that He was in control.

During the next few months, God used that time to work on me and let me know there was a better position for me where he could use me in a greater measure. As a Chaplain now, I am allowed to do what I was always called to do! God knew along that this was where he wanted me, I just had to trust.

Were there some days that I got a “yucky piece from the box”? Yes, but God saved my favorite piece for this time in my life. His grace is enough!

Dear God, we thank you so much for your directions in our lives. We know you always give us what we require, we need only remember this and your grace will surely see us through. Amen.

Chaplain Suzanne Priddy
Signature HealthCARE of Spencer County

#shcdailydevotional

“The Fragrance Of God” by Stephen Bowling

“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.” Psalm 138

One of my favorite Psalms is Number 138, which has a musical adaptation of it entitled “The Fragrance of God” written by David Haas.  The concept has always struck me as an amazing one – what is God’s fragrance to us?  It seems to me that if we can spiritually “see” God and spiritually “hear” God, why could we not spiritually “smell” God’s fragrance?

While we all might have different expressions as to what the “fragrance of God” might be like, there are some that come to mind as good possibilities to spark our thoughts in that direction:

The clean smell after a thundering rainstorm;
The floral aroma of a rose garden;
The crisp and cool mountain air in the early morning;
The squeaky clean smell of a baby’s skin;
The warm aroma of freshly baked bread;
To smooth bouquet of a fine wine;
The fresh linen smell of line-dried bed sheets;
The breeze off of the ocean at sunset;

All of these pleasant smells that create such images in our minds and warm feelings in our hearts, as powerful as they are, would have to be the dimmest of reflections compared to of God’s fragrance, wouldn’t they?

As we inhale and attempt to imagine what that would be like, we can be assured of how powerfully positive God would be when we encounter him with our spiritual senses.

Stephen Bowling

#shcdailydevotional

“Inspired” by Chaplain Mark Mills

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 (NRSV)

We all breathe. We have to breathe, but how often are we conscious of our breathing? Beyond that, how conscious are we of the fact that we are breathing in more than just air?

There is a spiritual dimension to breath and if you have any experience with meditation, you know how important breathing is in meditating. Clearing one’s mind of all thoughts and focusing purely on the breath coming in and going out is the beginner’s method of meditating. What does this have to do with inspiration? Breathing is also called respiration. The breath coming in is the “inspire” and then in subsequent breaths we “respire.” We use the term “expire” to say someone died, and so they have breathed their last breath.

Fundamentally, the Latin word “spiritus” is the root word behind respiration as well as inspiration. If we find ourselves in life feeling flat and uninspired, maybe the solution is simple. That is, simple but not necessarily easy. When we breathe in, we need to be conscious of more than just air and its accompanying pollutants. We need to be conscious that we are also breathing in Spirit and breathing out that which spirit cleanses from us. As we devote a practice of even 5-10 minutes each day of being so inspired, inspiration will generate within. Filled with Spirit, we are inspired by its gifts, hope, and life-giving energy. Inspiration is generated through breath, not brain power.

“All things share the same breath – the beast, the tree, the man… the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports.” Chief Seattle

Mark Mills, Chaplain / Director of Spirituality
Signature HealthCARE of Warren

#shcdailydevotional

“Lessons From Jack” by Chaplain Linda Haddix

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

”You made have heard of Philip Yancy’s book “Lessons from a Sheep Dog”. Well, I never thought I would be learning from Jack, my recently adopted Jack Russell Terrier, but I am.

Because Jack was in a very bad car wreck with his previous owner, Jack is petrified to travel in a car. Poor thing, he’s torn between two evils: being left behind or facing his fear of the car. But he chooses to get in the car because he wants to be with me.

Recently, due to my brother’s passing, I chose to take Jack on that nine hour trek to my hometown for the funeral. Usually, the first five minutes in the car, he’s fine because he thinks our trip is to the nearest park for a walk. When he realized we were not going the park, he began to tremble. In this case, he trembled for nine hours! My heart so went out to him. I thought to myself, “if he would only trust me; if he only knew that I wouldn’t let anything happen to him.”

It was then I realized that this is exactly what God’s heart would say concerning me.

How often we tremble and walk in fear, while the Lord’s heart feels the pain of longing for us to just trust Him. One of my favorite scriptures is For nine hours, Jack’s eyes were fixed on me. He and his bed were in the seat next to me. Every so often He would stand up and reposition himself, but he would only lie in a position where his eyes could see me. Are our eyes fixed on Jesus in spite of our fear? Do we, too, realize that there only lies our answer? “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith”. Heb. 12:2

Dear Lord, help us to realize that we can trust you completely for every need in our lives, that you told us to not fear, and that you were with us. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on you in spite of how we feel realizing we can’t trust our feelings but your faithfulness alone. Amen.

Chaplain Linda Haddix
Hermitage Care and Rehabilitation Center

#shcdailydevotional