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A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. May 2022

A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. May 2022

Chaplain Corner Article

 “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delights my soul.”- Psalm 94:19

The Psalmist in this text is having a hard time dealing with how the world is evolving. He sees the wicked increase in power and no harm seems to come to them regardless of how they live their lives. It appears as if they can have a disregard for human decency, morals, and seeking God without any repercussions.

He begins to lament out of frustration. He abides by the laws, customs, and traditions. He is an excellent human and treats others well. Yet, he and others (the righteous) who choose to do what is right, even when no one is looking, always get the short end of the stick. The Psalmist continues to address the corrupt King and government and the lack of lawlessness in the land. A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. Such laws would give an opportunity to the wicked while suppressing the righteous. Even with all the chaos in the world, the Psalmist says first, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, LORD, supported me. Then, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delights my soul.”- Psalm 94:18-19

The Psalmist understands that because of who he has faith in and who God has been in the past, he can rest assured that even when he feels like he cannot make it another step and seems anxious over life, he is never alone. God is there to comfort him and walk with him even in his darkest times.

I think there is so much we can learn from the Psalm because while some things in history change, others remain the same. Most of us can probably identify with the Psalmist’s lament as what we see in our current society resembles Psalm 94. But, like the Psalmist, we can rest assured that we are never alone, and even when we feel unsure about life, there is someone ready to listen. Of course, we first have God to comfort us. God promised never to leave us nor forsake us. If we continue to keep our hope, confidence, and trust in God.

Second, we have our village. Whether it is our fellow service members, family, or friends, there is support to carry us through the difficult times. However, we must remember to remain true to our character and integrity, for, in the end, we shall see the fruit of faith. God is with us. Emmanuel.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson United States Navy Chaplain

A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. May 2022

My actions and gifts come from a place of genuine sincerity. – April 2022

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:1-4

In the above scripture text, Jesus is teaching the multitude that sat before him. He is concerned with the way people are being consumed with announcing every good deed they would do for those in need. The focus was not to take care of those in need but to gain recognition and acknowledgment from their esteemed peers. In one translation, Jesus used the term hypocrite. A hypocrite originally was an actor who wore a mask in a Greek play, thereby pretending he was something he was not (they were always males).    He told the people not to be like the hypocrite but to be humble and not tell others what they were doing for those in need. But allow God to reward them for their good deeds.

I believe the lesson is applicable today, even if one is not of the Christian Faith. In a society where every action and a good deed is on social media for likes and acknowledgment, we too can be consumed in desiring the praise and acceptance of others. Instead, we must take an internal inventory of why we are doing what we are doing. Are we sharing the information to gain support and encourage others to help those in need? Or are we sharing to receive our reward from others and not God?

I, too, struggle with ensuring my heart is in the right place when doing for others and that I am not doing something to receive praise from my peers. Instead, my actions and gifts come from a place of genuine sincerity of wanting to do “what is right.”  Being authentic and humble is still popular in a world that can sometimes seem otherwise.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, LCDR, United States Navy Chaplain

A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. May 2022

We have the shoulders of giants to stand on, such as Rosa Parks, RADM Grace Murray Hopper…March 2022

“And if I perish, I perish.”- Esther 4:16

Queen Esther is one of the many women who sacrificed, spoke truth to power, and made a difference in the male-dominated world during biblical times. Her Uncle Mordica challenged Queen Esther to save her people when their lives were threatened by self-serving Hamen. Hamen wanted to lead the royal court and be revered by the King by any means necessary. However, he had one problem standing in his way, which was Mordica. The only way to get rid of Mordica was to get rid of all the Jews. Fortunately, Mordica finds out about a plan that Hamen had created to present to the King that called for the complete decimation of all Jews, including Queen Esther.

The closest person to the King is the Queen. So, Mordica goes to Queen Esther and asks her to speak to the King to save herself and her people. However, the Queen is not feeling this because it means she could very well lose her life speaking on such matters. After much coercing and prayerful thought, she agrees to talk with the King. She provides specific directions to Mordica, which she concludes, “and if I perish, I perish.” However, she did not perish. She saved her people. Hamen was held accountable for his egregious actions. She proves to be a woman of much strength and courage.

Women have made significant contributions to our history and our military. In honor of  Women’s history month, I pray women continue to lead, speak truth to power, and mentor tomorrow’s leaders. We have the shoulders of giants to stand on, such as Rosa Parks, RADM Grace Murray Hopper, LTJG Harriet Ida Pickett, Ms. Olivia J. Hooker, LT Vivian McFadden, and Ms. Annie M. Grahams. Because of them, we have VADM Michelle Howard, Brigadier General Lorna Mahlock, RADM Lillian Fishburn, Vice President Kamala Harris, and many more. So let us stand firm and allow our voices and visions to be heard and seen.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

A corrupt throne would issue laws (decrees) that would bring misery rather than joy. May 2022

When we practice this love, what do we lose? – FEB 2022

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”– 1 Peter 4:8

Peter is reminding his audience of the importance of unity, connectedness, and most of all, love. Philos love is friendship and family love. A love that reminds us that we are all imperfect and have made mistakes, but God has chosen to love us with our imperfections. If the Creator can love us unconditionally, why can’t we love each other the same?

It is easy to point out all the things a person has done wrong and pass judgment. However, we do not know the battles they are fighting and what they are dealing with deep inside. Sometimes the best thing we can do is show them what unconditional love looks like, as they may have never experienced it. When we practice this love, what do we lose? What does it cost us to invest in others and be there to support them the way they need to be supported? Not the way we think they need to be supported, as that is not love; it is control.

Love is accepting the person for face value and allowing the love of the Creator to shine through you for whatever situation the person or persons are going through. Being an ambassador and judgment free example enables the other person to see a better way and correct themselves as needed along the way. In a world of self-centeredness, be the light of love that covers a multitude of sins in a nonjudgement zone. One will be surprised what a difference it will make.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, LCDR, Chaplain, United States Navy

 

take a moment and reflect on the blessings we already have. Dec 2021

take a moment and reflect on the blessings we already have. Dec 2021

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

Tis the season to be jolly, and merry is here. We can become enthralled in the commercialism of the holiday season. So often defined by the expectation of expensive gift-giving and receiving. The hustle and bustle of exceeding our limits on items that we will only use once or twice. Worse, never used and thrown into a corner or regifted for next year. This time of year has a different meaning, depending on your faith background. One thing we can all agree on is helping those who need it most. The past two years of still plagued by COIVD have exhausted the resources of many. Some may be physical health, others financial resources, and for a few a combination of both.

The above scripture text is a portion of a more extended parable. In the parable, Jesus used the illustration of what matters the most. It is feeding the hungry, taking care of those who are sick, visiting those who are imprisoned, providing drink for the thirsty, and clothing for those who are naked. The “least of these” whose voice is often lost and ignored. Those who do not have the luxury of being enthralled with the commercialism of the holiday season. But are trying to figure out where their next meal or bed will be.

When we take a moment out of our time and aid the “least of these,” we are following the plan God has designed for us. The blessings given to us are for us to share with others, especially “the least of these.” As we celebrate our faith in our respected traditions, I pray that we take a moment and reflect on the blessings we already have, and we will either volunteer or share with someone in need. Remember the reason for the season.

 

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy

take a moment and reflect on the blessings we already have. Dec 2021

Acknowledge those who work hard, admonish, and care for others. – Nov 2021

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

When Paul wrote the letter to the church of Thessalonica, he opened with being thankful for their faithfulness to his ministry through support, giving, and encouraging one another. He was also grateful to learn how well they were getting along and spreading the gospel. At the end of his letter, Paul provided a word of encouragement. Paul understood that we could grow weary in well-doing. We can begin to grow tired if we do not see a harvest from the seeds we have sown.

Paul tells them to acknowledge those who work hard, admonish, and care for others. “Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15.  Then he ends the letter with, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

His emphasis is a community with one another. We are not individual islands that are only concerned with ourselves because what we do affects others. We should do our best to live in harmony and love with one another. While striving to strengthen our community relationships, we should give thanks to God in every situation. The good, bad, and the ugly. Job said it best, “how can we only accept the God things from God and not the bad.” All of our experiences make us who we are. Each situation is an opportunity to grow and become better in our relationships with ourselves and one another. As we give thanks this month for all that our Creator has provided, may we also give thanks to those within our communities and families. Let us share the same love that God has given to us. Be grateful in all things.

Blessings,

Reverend Takana L. Jefferson, Chaplain, United States Navy