Iraq

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Good Providence Sums Up His Calling

Reared outside the prairie town of Lemmon, South Dakota, David Peterson would travel to many war-torn countries around the world before his calling as an Army chaplain would be over.  But that thirty-year career did come to an end on September 1, 1995.  For the next thirteen years, he led the Presbyterian Church in America Mission to North America Chaplain Ministries as its Coordinator.  Currently he is the chairman of the International Association of Evangelical Chaplains, which assists foreign nations in developing and training of chaplains.

A key highlight of an adventure filled life and ministry for this Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary graduate was his experience as the Senior Military Chaplain for General Norman Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War.  He was present in the underground bunker in Saudi Arabia when the first United States bombers were to take off for Baghdad, Iraq around midnight.  The general had gathered his staff together, including Col. Peterson.  Before the order was given to start the war, he asked his chaplain to say a prayer.

Chaplain Peterson prayed the following prayer on that momentous night: “Our Father, on this awesome and humbling occasion, we are grateful for the privilege of turning to you, our Sovereign and Almighty God.  We believe that, in accord with the teaching of your word and revelation, we are on a just and righteous mission.  We pray for a quick and decisive victory. Your Word informs us that men prepare for battle, and we have.  But victory rests with the Lord.  Therefore we commit our ways to you and wait upon the Lord.  In the name of the Prince of Peace, we pray.  Amen.”  Those military men affirmed the words with their response of Amen.

Let it be said that Chaplain Peterson suspected that this would be coming.   He had talked with the General for a time that very night.  Just before going to the bunker, there was a time when this PCA minister was alone by himself, waiting for the general to go to the underground bunker.  At that time, David Peterson composed his spirit and quickly wrote down some Scriptural texts and prayer requests on a three-by-five card.  Thus, when the time to pray came in that war room, he was ready to intercede with the God of war for the souls of the men who would enter into a battle that very night,  to say nothing of the victory over the enemy.

Just a few years later, in 1999, Chaplain Peterson would write:

During a recent missions conference, someone said to me, “As long as our nation is not in a significant war, people are not concerned about the military and therefore not concerned about the chaplaincy.” Reluctantly, I must admit that there is some truth in that statement. There is a tendency for the citizens of our nation to take our freedom for granted. Today, very few American citizens are aware of the historical role the military has played in our society and why it is important to continue having a strong force. Nor do we give much thought to the role and impact our chaplains have in the ministry to our military force and their families.

Words to live by: One of the more comforting doctrines of God’s Word is the doctrine of divine providence.  Sometimes the word providence was used in earlier times as a synonym for God Himself.  But properly used, it simply signifies, as our Westminster Confession of Faith states in Chapter 5 that “God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence.”  If we could as Christians simply live our lives in the full knowledge of, and trust for, that doctrine, how much we would live more comfortably  in this present world.

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Freedom From Terror Comes with a Cost

Where were you on September 11, 2001?  This has become this decade’s most asked question.  Where were you when the Twin Towers of the Trade Center were destroyed by terrorists?  It has replaced the question of “where were you when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas?” Or even a generation earlier, “where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 6, 1941?”  Everyone has an answer to all of these questions, including the first one.  And usually there is a story to go along with it as well.

On September 2, 2011, the Glasglow Presbyterian Church of the Presbyterian Church in America, decided to do more than ask the familiar question.  They decided to dedicate that Lord’s Day, the Sunday before this terrorist attack, with a display of small American flags on  their church property.  Located on the busiest highway in the state of Delaware, the sixty-two hundred flags were a heart-warming, yet solemn remembrance of the U.S. citizens and other nations who have been lost to the War on Terror thus far, particularly in the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where our young warriors have been fighting that terror network. As the senior pastor of this congregation, Dr. Chuck Betters, said, “Freedom from terror comes at a cost.”

But the church congregation didn’t stop with just an outdoor memorial.  Using dozens of volunteers, they were able to mail a package to every family who had lost a loved one in the decades long conflict.  In the package was a personal note, and an audio tape entitled “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” which deals with the tender subject of coping with the loss of a loved one.

The following Sunday, on September 11, 2011, Dr. Better preached a sermon on this tragic day which has been seared in our consciences forever. 

Words to live by:
The word “remember” is a word which is used often in Scripture.  One of the Ten commandments, which dealt with the Sabbath Day, began with “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  The inspired writers of  the New Testament are always telling us to “remember this” or “remember that,” usually with regards to an exhortation he has given them at an earlier time.  In Acts 20:35, we are told to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus,” for example.  This is one of the purposes of this whole devotional guide, to remember the faithful Christians and events who and which have gone before, that we will either imitate the good deeds and/or be warned against the bad actions.  Remember!

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This Day in Presbyterian History:

Freedom From Terror Comes with a Cost

Where were you on September 11, 2001?  This has become this decade’s most asked question.  Where were you when the Twin Towers of the Trade Center were destroyed by terrorists?  It has replaced the question of “where were you when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas?” Or even a generation earlier, “where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 6, 1941?”  Everyone has an answer to all of these questions, including the first one.  And usually there is a story to go along with it as well.

On September 2, 2011, the Glasglow Presbyterian Church of the Presbyterian Church in America, decided to do more than ask the familiar question.  They decided to dedicate that Lord’s Day, the Sunday before this terrorist attack, with a display of small American flags on  their church property.  Located on the busiest highway in the state of Delaware, the sixty-two hundred flags were a heart-warming, yet solemn remembrance of the U.S. citizens and other nations who have been lost to the War on Terror thus far, particularly in the nations of Iraq and Afghanistan, where our young warriors have been fighting that terror network. As the senior pastor of this congregation, Dr. Chuck Betters, said, “Freedom from terror comes at a cost.”

But the church congregation didn’t stop with just an outdoor memorial.  Using dozens of volunteers, they were able to mail a package to every family who had lost a loved one in the decades long conflict.  In the package was a personal note, and an audio tape entitled “The Ultimate Sacrifice,” which deals with the tender subject of coping with the loss of a loved one.

The following Sunday, on September 11, 2011, Dr. Better preached a sermon on this tragic day which has been seared in our consciences forever. 

Words to live by: The word “remember” is a word which is used often in Scripture.  One of the Ten commandments, which dealt with the Sabbath Day, began with “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  The inspired writers of  the New Testament are always telling us to “remember this” or “remember that,” usually with regards to an exhortation he has given them at an earlier time.  In Acts 20:35, we are told to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus,” for example.  This is one of the purposes of this whole devotional guide, to remember the faithful Christians and events who and which have gone before, that we will either imitate the good deeds and/or be warned against the bad actions.  Remember!

Through the Scriptures:  2 Chronicles 7 – 9

Through the Standards: The freedom of worship

WCF 21:6
“Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshiped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in secret, each one by himself; so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsake, which God, by His Word or providence, calls thereunto.”

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This Day in Presbyterian History: 

Good Providence Sums Up His Calling

Reared outside the prairie town of Lemmon, South Dakota, David Peterson would travel to many war-torn countries around the world before his calling as an Army chaplain would be over.  But that thirty-year career did come to an end on September 1, 1995.  For the next thirteen years, he led the Presbyterian Church in America Mission to North America Chaplain Ministries as its Coordinator.  Currently he is the chairman of the International Association of Evangelical Chaplains, which assists foreign nations in developing and training of chaplains.

A key highlight of an adventure filled life and ministry for this Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary graduate was his experience as the Senior Military Chaplain for General Norman Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War.  He was present in the underground bunker in Saudi Arabia when the first United States bombers were to take off for Baghdad, Iraq around midnight.  The general had gathered his staff together, including Col. Peterson.  Before the order was given to start the war, he asked his chaplain to say a prayer.

Chaplain Peterson prayed the following prayer on that momentous night: “Our Father, on this awesome and humbling occasion, we are grateful for the privilege of turning to you, our Sovereign and Almighty God.  We believe that, in accord with the teaching of your word and revelation, we are on a just and righteous mission.  We pray for a quick and decisive victory. Your Word informs us that men prepare for battle, and we have.  But victory rests with the Lord.  Therefore we commit our ways to you and wait upon the Lord.  In the name of the Prince of Peace, we pray.  Amen.”  Those military men affirmed the words with their response of Amen.

Let it be said that Chaplain Peterson suspected that this would be coming.   He had talked with the General for a time that very night.  Just before going to the bunker, there was a time when this PCA minister was alone by himself, waiting for the general to go to the underground bunker.  At that time, David Peterson composed his spirit and quickly wrote down some Scriptural texts and prayer requests on a three-by-five card.  Thus, when the time to pray came in that war room, he was ready to intercede with the God of war for the souls of the men who would enter into a battle that very night,  to say nothing of the victory over the enemy.

Just a few years later, in 1999, Chaplain Peterson would write:

During a recent missions conference, someone said to me, “As long as our nation is not in a significant war, people are not concerned about the military and therefore not concerned about the chaplaincy.” Reluctantly, I must admit that there is some truth in that statement. There is a tendency for the citizens of our nation to take our freedom for granted. Today, very few American citizens are aware of the historical role the military has played in our society and why it is important to continue having a strong force. Nor do we give much thought to the role and impact our chaplains have in the ministry to our military force and their families.

Words to live by: One of the more comforting doctrines of God’s Word is the doctrine of divine providence.  Sometimes the word providence was used in earlier times as a synonym for God Himself.  But properly used, it simply signifies, as our Westminster Confession of Faith states in Chapter 5 that “God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence.”  If we could as Christians simply live our lives in the full knowledge of, and trust for, that doctrine, how much we would live more comfortably  in this present world.

Through the Scriptures:  2 Chronicles 4 – 6

Through the Standards: Parts of worship

WCF 21:5
“The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the  heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be  used in a holy and religious manner.

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