Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works”- NLT Hebrews 10:24

When the writer of the book of Hebrews wrote this letter, it encouraged the Christians to remember who they are and not give up. Because there were similar struggles of persecution and oppression, the writer tells them this is not the time to turn away from each other but draw closer. To remain united as a village, encourage, and uplift as they are not a singular island but an isthmus connecting them.  Division among one another tears away what can/could be, and nothing can be achieved. However, to remain as one united front is the key to the success of change to better humanity.  The writer understood the power of unity and motivating each other to acts of love and good works.

The writer can be interpreted as saying even in the chaos of a pandemic, racial and social injustice, and the struggle of poverty, find ways to motivate one another to provide acts of love and good works. Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. It is natural to give what you receive. However, what pricks a heart to change is giving someone what they feel or believe they might not deserve. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” People misunderstand love as a weakness when in actuality, to love in the face of hate is strength. Love and acts of kindness can change any environment over time, if not immediately. The writer does not encourage people to allow others to mistreat them or not stand up for what is right. Love can be seeing something that is wrong and saying something. Acts of kindness can be demonstrated in our willingness to connect regardless of differences.

As we journey through life, may we not forget what is essential. The love for one another, being kind to others and encouraging our village. It is in the unity of our village that we find the strength to move forward.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

There is not a moment in our history that women have not sacrificed…March 2021

Chaplain Corner’s Article March 2021

 “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

The story of Queen Esther saving her people is one of my favorite biblical story as it shows the history of women contributing to the betterment of their people and they made their voices heard in spite of possibly losing their very life.  Often perpetuated through history men were lifted up as being the main characters in the bible. However, the story of Queen Esther is one of many who reaffirms that was indeed not always the case. Women have been at the forefront of every portion of history be it biblical or in the building of nations and countries.

Esther was placed in the King’s palace after the death of his wife by her cousin Mordecai. The king became smitten by Esther and she became his wife. There came a time when a decree was issued to kill all of the Jews. Mordecai went to Queen Esther to urge her to speak up to save her people. Mordecai reminded the queen that just because she was married to the king does not mean she was safe. Surely her and her family would die and God would send someone else to deliver the Jews. Mordecai continued to share with the queen that her entire life and purpose was for this moment right here. God placed Esther in a position of authority and gave her a seat at the table, not for herself but for others as well.  He did not want her to forget it. Queen Esther had a lot to lose, including her life. However, she ultimately understood her purpose and stated before speaking to the king “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” By being fearless and realizing the favor of God was upon her for such a time as this, she saved her people.

I am reminded this month and every month the importance of women being a part of our history and legacy for such a time as this. There is not a moment in our history that women have not sacrificed, dedicated, and served for a purpose greater than themselves. I encourage us all today as we continue to serve and sacrifice for our country that we remember we have been chosen for such a time as this.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

 

Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

Amid the anxiety, slow vaccine distribution, and relentless pandemic God is still with us. FEB 2021

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

When Paul shared the word given to him by the Lord, it was in response to Paul asking God to remove an affliction from him. Paul was dealing with a constant situation that he no longer wanted to deal with and asked God to remove the “thorn from his flesh.” The thorn or affliction is never identified as the significance is nothing compared to the grace God gives Paul to endure the hardship. One can only conclude that the affliction made Paul wiser, stronger, and more reliant on God as God is our source of all things life sustaining.

Reflecting on the above verse reminds me of the past years challenges right through to the New Year. There are many afflictions we are enduring as a nation such as racism, social justice inequities, and a pandemic that can be seen as a thorn in the nation as well as the world. Many of us are tired of social distancing, not being able to travel, see loved ones, and death caused by the affliction of COVID. Like Paul’s affliction, it is a constant reminder of the inconvenience of our way of life. A life many of us probably took for granted until now. We are able to see what we had before was not so bad. While we have prayed for a quick relief in the form of a vaccine or for COVID to go away altogether, all I hear God say is “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Amid the anxiety, slow vaccine distribution, and relentless pandemic God is still with us. Guiding us through this difficult time as we continue to draw strength from knowing that when we are weak, God is strong. Strong enough to carry us through to the other side as in the infamous Foot Print prayer. Let us hold on, not give up, and remained encouraged as God will never leave us nor forsake us as we keep our minds and hearts focused on God.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

Look at this year as a year of opportunity, new beginnings, and blessings – JAN 2021

“Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.” Job 8:7

Many of us remember the trials and testing of Job’s faith and trust in God. Job, an upright man, had been through so much in such a short time. All ten of his children were taken from him, his health was compromised, his friends turned their back on him, he lost all he owned, including his home, and his wife told him to curse God and die. Job refused to allow all the calamity that came upon him to change who he was or who he believed God to be in his life. He quickly reminded his wife, “should we only accept the God things from God and not the bad?” Job’s integrity and character remained intact.  While his friend, Bildad, may have meant the above words as a way for Job to question his life, God used those very words to bless Job.

After Job’s loss, he experienced a humble beginning, but that is not how the story ends. God restored Job and gave him double for his trouble. 2020 was a challenging year for us all. Many of us may have felt like Job. We should be encouraged in the New Year of 2021 of God’s faithfulness as we embark upon new beginnings. Look at this year as a year of opportunity, new beginnings, and blessings. 2021 is a clean slate to create the future and present of the best God has for you. We leave the old behind and embrace the new as God is doing a new thing in each of us. Stay encouraged and optimistic because while your beginnings may have been humble, your future is prosperous. Receive it and be blessed. Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

Be the light to a struggling world. Do not allow the present circumstances to change your character. – April 2021

Being grateful allows us to see beyond the trees to the forest of growth and what will be. Dec 2020

Chaplain’s Corner December 2020

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”- 1Thessolians 5:18

The year 2020 has and is a challenging year. We have dealt with unprecedented disappointments, racism, an election that seems as if it will never end, and a relentless pandemic that has taken lives and created a new normal. A new normal of not being able to gather together for the holidays as in previous years. A new normal for many who have loved ones who succumbed to the virus. A new normal in the way we function daily. Yes, 2020 has been a challenging year. However, we are almost to the end. I do believe 2021 will bring new life and new beginnings. Amid all that we are going through currently, finding ways to be grateful and give thanks can relieve some of the stress we may feel.

Being thankful for the small events in our lives and others’ lives can change the view of a glass from half-empty to a half-full glass. It is our perception of the situation. When we can find the rainbow amid the clouds, we lift our spirits and see beyond ourselves and the current circumstances. We learn from our experiences we have been through on ways to be better as we have a new lens to see life. We can see the beauty in each given day as it is a gift (even with the challenges). We can appreciate the love shared with those who are with us and feel the spiritual presence of those who are not.

Being grateful allows us to see beyond the trees to the forest of growth and what will be. Let us not waste precious time in the sea of regret but plunge with hopefulness into the ocean of thankfulness. Enjoy your holiday season and be thankful for all we have been blessed to share over the past year and with anticipation of the year to come.

Blessings,
Reverend Takana L. Jefferson United States Navy Chaplain

Chaplain’s Corner – November 2020

Chaplain Corner Article

“I have heard your prayers and seen your tears; I will heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5

In 2 Kings 20th chapter, Hezekiah becomes very ill, unto death. Prophet Isaiah shows up to tell Hezekiah to get his affairs in order as he is about to die. Hezekiah does not respond to Isaiah. Instead, he immediately turns his face to the wall and begins to pray to God. Hezekiah does not beg for his life. However, he reminds God of his faithfulness and dedication to what God has entrusted to him. As Hezekiah reflected back to God his faithfulness, he begin to cry bitterly but he never complained.  God stops Isaiah, before he could leave the middle court, and tells him to go back to Hezekiah. God says: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord”

I am sure Hezekiah thought this was the end as we have often been taught to believe that when God makes a decision it is final. However, this is not the case! Not only does God restore Hezekiah but adds an additional 15 years to his life. Hezekiah did not take the years God had given him lightly nor did he waste them. He continued to be fruitful and honor God with his life until it was officially his time.

Many of us have become spiritually and mentally exhausted with our current society. Some of us may have begun to believe the words of Isaiah as we watch current events unfold that we should get our affairs in order as this is the end. However, like Hezekiah many us have turned our face to the wall, prayed, and cried as we have spoken of the good deeds we have continued to do regardless of our current state. We remind God of our actions and our faithfulness to ensure democracy, justice, and greater world for us all.  Because of us not complaining or even begging for our lives, God is letting us know it is not over. No matter what goes on in our current state of affairs, God is going to heal us because God has heard our prayers and seen our silent tears.  Now is not the time to lose sight of what our mission and purpose in life is to be. Instead, it is time for us to work with purpose and intentionality as it is not over until God says it is over.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson United States Navy Chaplain