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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


The Soldier's Preparation for Battle

The call to battle, the order to go to war issues from the Commander in Chief and moves downward through the chain of command until it rests upon the military unit(s) that will engage the enemy.  Unit commanders prepare their combat forces to engage and defeat the enemy with the goal of walking victoriously off the battlefield.  However, no matter how well trained their combat soldiers might be, no matter how advanced their weaponry, victory in battle will elude them if individual soldiers will shrink from their duties in the face of the enemy.  In addition to being sufficiently trained and well equipped, the combat soldier also needs to have the 'heart of a warrior'.

The same is true for the Christian soldier who would be effective for the Kingdom of God.

In the 17th Century, Puritan preacher and author Thomas Watson called the preparation of the Christian Soldier 'provocation to duty'. He further defined it as:

"Provoking ourselves to duty, implies an uniting, and rallying together all the powers of our soul, setting them on work in the exercises of piety. A man must say to his thoughts, "be fixed on God in this duty;" and to his affections, "serve the Lord without distraction." Matters of piety must be done with intenseness of spirit."

He then describes seven duties required of a Christian soldier who would deveop a 'warrior's heart':

  1. The Reading of the Word.
  2. The Hearing of the Word.
  3. Prayer.
  4. Meditation.
  5. Self-examination.
  6. Sanctifying the Lord's Day.
  7. Holy conversation.

Romans 3:04 - God is true - Every man is a liar

Romans 3:4

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, 'THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.'" (NASB)

"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (KJV)

"Of course not!  Even if everyone else is a liar, God is true.  As the Scriptures say about Him, 'You will be proved right in what you say, and You will win Your case in court.'" (NLT)

"Rom 3:4 Absolutely not!  Let God be proven true, and every human being shown up as a liar, just as it is written: 'so that you will be justified in your words and will prevail when you are judged.'" (NET)

That Apostle is saying that if any doctrine that calls God a liar is false!  Our fallen state requires that we justify self at any cost.  Do we not judge others and then rationalize our motives to justify our actions?  We are false! The truth is not in us!  But the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is truth.  We can REST in His truth because of His Grace! What a wonderful place to be!

"God forbid, yea, let God be true, but every man a liar,.... Let no such thing ever enter into the minds of any, that the truth of God can be, or will be made of none effect by the want of faith in man; let it be always asserted and abode by; that God is true, faithful to his word, constant in his promises, and will always fulfill his purposes; though "every man is a liar", vain, fallacious, and inconstant: referring to Psalm 116:11;" Dr. John Gill

"Let God be true - Let God be esteemed true and faithful, whatever consequence may follow.  This was a first principle, and should be now, that God should be believed to be a God of truth, whatever consequence it might involve.  How happy would it be, if all people would regard this as a fixed principle, a matter not to be questioned in their hearts, or debated about, that God is true to his word!  How much doubt and anxiety would it save professing Christians; and how much error would it save among sinners!  Amidst all the agitations of the world, all conflicts, debates, and trials, it would be a fixed position where every man might find rest, and which would do more than all other things to allay the tempests and smooth the agitated waves of human life." Dr. Albert Barnes

Romans 3:03 - God's Faithfulness Challenged?

Romans 3:3

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?" (NASB)

"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?" (KJV)

"True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?" (NLT)

"What then? If some did not believe, does their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God?" (NET)

Like Israel, does our wickedness nullify the promise of God made to Abraham?  This promise was and everlasting covenant that would bless all the generations to come! Perhaps said another way, will the decrees of Almighty God be thwarted by our conduct?  As we look back through this microsecond of history (compared to eternity) do we not see the blessing of God unfolding? As the science of our day peers though larger and more sophisticated telescopes searching for evidence of life on other worlds, what unfolds before them is an the seemingly endless universe created by an eternal God who is not bound by time and space.  The light from our sun takes about 8 minutes to reach earth traveling at around 186,000 miles per second.  Do you begin to see why James refers to our life as a morning fog? (James 4:14)  We are a mist, a vapor, a wisp of cloud that appears for a short time and then evaporates.  But the faithfulness of God endures forever.  Yet He is opposed to the proud (James 4:6).  That is why Paul here is anticipating all the arguments.  If anything the misconduct of Israel, and those of us who would later benefit from the promise, more fully demonstrates God's faithfulness! How wonderful that the Salvation of Christ is close at hand and that He is patient with us waiting for that day when we would believe.

Romans 3:02 - The Whole Revelation of God

Romans 3:2

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the G3051oracles of God." (NASB)

"Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the G3051oracles of God." (KJV)

"Yes, there are great benefits! First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the G3051whole revelation of God." (NLT)

"Actually, there are many advantages. First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the G3051oracles of God." (NET)

"Moses was with our ancestors, the assembly of God's people in the wilderness, when the angel spoke to him at Mount Sinai.  And there Moses received G3051life-giving words to pass on to us." (Acts 7:38 NLT)

"You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about G3051God's word.  You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food." (Hebrews 5:12 NLT)

"Do you have the gift of speaking?  Then speak as though G3051God Himself were speaking through you.  Do you have the gift of helping others?   Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.  Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.  All glory and power to Him forever and ever! Amen." (1 Peter 4:11 NLT)

G3051
λο?γιον
logion
Thayer Definition:
1) a brief utterance, a divine oracle (doubtless because oracles were generally brief)
1a) in the NT, the words or utterances of God
1b) of the contents of the Mosaic law

A blessing and a curse! Not unlike a verse from a country song, "standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst." Is not that the way we deceive ourselves? The heavens display the glory of God but we are the descendents of the primordial soup! The rebellion of the diametrically opposed (Father God — Mother Nature). The Bible remains the best seller and least read! Blessed insurance, State Farm is mine, oh what a joy from actuarial divine. Heir of deductible, all is at rest, I keep my adjuster's name in my vest.

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. " (Hebrews 4:12 NLT)

The benefit of the Word of God is that it exposes us for who we really are! When we have seen ourselves in the "light of His Glory" we begin to understand our own depravity. From this humbled state we begin to see the length and breadth and depth of His magnificent Grace. We experience His resurrection power to overcome the sin that so entangles us.

OR

We become arrogant fools deceived by our own sin and live a form of godliness and deny the power thereof.

We are without excuse for we have the "whole revelation of God."

Romans 3:01 - Home Court Advantage

Romans 3:1

"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?" (NASB)

"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?" (KJV)

"Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision?" (NLT)

"Therefore what advantage does the Jew have, or what is the value of circumcision?" (NET)

 

"Rom 3:1-8 - The law could not save in or from sins, yet it gave the Jews advantages for obtaining salvation.  Their stated ordinances, education in the knowledge of the true God and his service, and many favors shown to the children of Abraham, all were means of grace, and doubtless were made useful to the conversion of many.  But especially the Scriptures were committed to them.  Enjoyment of God's word and ordinances, is the chief happiness of a people.  But God's promises are made only to believers; therefore the unbelief of some, or of many professors, cannot make this faithfulness of no effect.  He will fulfill his promises to his people, and bring his threatened vengeance upon unbelievers.  God's judging the world, should for ever silence all doubtings and reflections upon his justice.  The wickedness and obstinate unbelief of the Jews, proved man's need of the righteousness of God by faith, and also his justice in punishing for sin.  Let us do evil, that good may come, is oftener in the heart than in the mouth of sinners; for few thus justify themselves in their wicked ways.  The believer knows that duty belongs to him, and events to God; and that he must not commit any sin, or speak one falsehood, upon the hope, or even assurance, that God may thereby glorify himself. If any speak and act thus, their condemnation is just."  Mathew Henry's Concise Commentary

"Here the apostle answers several objections, which might be made, to clear his way.  No truth so plain and evident but wicked wits and corrupt carnal hearts will have something to say against it; but divine truths must be cleared from cavil."  Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible

Cavil
CAVIL, v.i.

1. To raise captious and frivolous objections; to find fault without good reason; followed by at.

It is better to reason than to cavil.

2. To advance futile objections, or to frame sophisms, for the sake of victory in an argument.

What value is there in the Excellency of the Christian faith?  There must be value since Noah Webster wrote a book entitled, "Value of the Bible and Excellence of the Christian Religion."  It is the same advantage that is given to the Jew!  The faithfulness of God! So what if everyone of us is unfaithful?  Does that limit the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ?  NO!  Even if we are violators of the covenant, does that make His promises null?  NO!

Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?  (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")  No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.  And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.  Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.  No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

I am the one who has seen the afflictions that come from the rod of the LORD's anger.  He has led me into darkness, shutting out all light.  He has turned His hand against me again and again, all day long.  He has made my skin and flesh grow old.  He has broken my bones.  He has besieged and surrounded me with anguish and distress.  He has buried me in a dark place, like those long dead.  He has walled me in, and I cannot escape. He has bound me in heavy chains.  And though I cry and shout, He has shut out my prayers.  He has blocked my way with a high stone wall; He has made my road crooked.  He has hidden like a bear or a lion, waiting to attack me.  He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces, leaving me helpless and devastated.  He has drawn His bow and made me the target for His arrows.  He shot His arrows deep into my heart.  My own people laugh at me.  All day long they sing their mocking songs.  He has filled me with bitterness and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.  He has made me chew on gravel.  He has rolled me in the dust.  Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is.  I cry out, "My splendor is gone!  Everything I had hoped for from the LORD is lost!"  The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.  I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.  Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!"  The LORD is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.  So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.  And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of His discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the LORD's demands.  Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last.  Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.  For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.  Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.  For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow.  If people crush underfoot all the prisoners of the land, if they deprive others of their rights in defiance of the Most High, if they twist justice in the courts—doesn't the Lord see all these things?  Who can command things to happen without the Lord's permission?  Does not the Most High send both calamity and good?  Then why should we, mere humans, complain when we are punished for our sins?  Instead, let us test and examine our ways.  Let us turn back to the LORD.  Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven and say, "We have sinned and rebelled, and You have not forgiven us.  "You have engulfed us with Your anger, chased us down, and slaughtered us without mercy.  You have hidden Yourself in a cloud so our prayers cannot reach You.  You have discarded us as refuse and garbage among the nations.  "All our enemies have spoken out against us.  We are filled with fear, for we are trapped, devastated, and ruined."  Tears stream from my eyes because of the destruction of my people! My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop until the LORD looks down from heaven and sees.  My heart is breaking over the fate of all the women of Jerusalem.  My enemies, whom I have never harmed, hunted me down like a bird.  They threw me into a pit and dropped stones on me.  The water rose over my head, and I cried out, "This is the end!"  But I called on Your name, LORD, from deep within the pit.  You heard me when I cried, "Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!"  Yes, You came when I called; You told me, "Do not fear."  Lord, You are my lawyer!  Plead my case!  For You have redeemed my life.  You have seen the wrong they have done to me, LORD.  Be my judge, and prove me right.  You have seen the vengeful plots my enemies have laid against me.  LORD, You have heard the vile names they call me.  You know all about the plans they have made.  My enemies whisper and mutter as they plot against me all day long.  Look at them! Whether they sit or stand, I am the object of their mocking songs.  Pay them back, LORD, for all the evil they have done.  Give them hard and stubborn hearts, and then let Your curse fall on them! Chase them down in Your anger, destroying them beneath the LORD's heavens.  (Lamentations 3:1-66 NLT)

Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire

Casualties of War — Friendly Fire

Iam grieved in my spirit of late at the breaking news about all of the terrorist activity reported in the news.  Not the television network news, nor even the cable news, but reports from the front lines in the battle for souls.  My ears are still ringing from reports of church splits, pastoral staff resignations, mischief and misbehavior at Christian universities.  What fuels the flame of this seemingly continuous conflagration that destroys lives, churches and makes impotent the work of the Gospel?  It is the sin of anger!  Yes, you heard it here first.  Anger is a sin.


Bob Flynn, President/CEO

I did not come to this conclusion by way of thoughtful consideration of my intellectual prowess.  It came instead by incremental illumination by the Holy Spirit as He worked upon my heart during a ten-year long sojourn in the second chapter of the Epistle to the Philippians.  It could not have happened any other way!  It was and is a continuance of the work that God began and will finish on the day when Christ returns (Phil 1:6, paraphrase mine).  For how can mere flesh and blood stand in the midst of Him of whom angels sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”  For He who brings everything into conformity with His will had already spoken through the Apostle Paul and said, “Be humble, thinking others as better than yourself…In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing….” (Phil 2:3b, 14)  Instead, our lives should epitomize the “attitude that was in Christ Jesus.”  The only innocent man who lived did not cling to His innocence but rather sacrificed himself on the altar without complaint.  He could have been angry at those who falsely accused and condemned Him.  He could have clung to His excellence and rightly held us in contempt.  Instead He went as a lamb to the slaughter.  How then shall we live?  Shall we continue giving aid and comfort to the Enemy?  Shall we continue inflicting casualties upon each other because our lives are not “blameless,” “clean” and “innocent” “as children of God in a dark world full of crooked and perverse people.”? (Phil 2:15)  How then can we be angry with another without thinking too highly of ourselves?

I know that there are those who would argue with me, but C.S. Lewis pretty much covers the basis for this conclusion in his book, Mere Christianity.

“The law of gravity tells you what stones do if you drop them; but the law of Human Nature tells you what human beings ought to do and do not.  In other words, when you are dealing with humans, something else comes in above and beyond the actual facts.  You have the facts (how men do behave) and you also have something else (how they ought to behave).  In the rest of the universe there need not be anything but the facts.  Electrons and molecules behave in a certain way, and certain results follow, and that may be the whole story.  But men behave in a certain way and that is not the whole story, for all the time you know that they ought to behave differently.”

Blow Up Your TV

Blow Up Your TV

Back in ancient times (BC — Before Computers) in a land far away in the midst of a horrible war, I was looking through the resident collection of albums (the round plastic platters with a hole in the middle) when I spied one by some guy named John Denver (released before he was famous).  There was a song on the album whose first line lyric caught my ear, “Blow up your TV, try to find Jesus on your own.”  I don’t remember much about the song itself but the lyric has remained with me all of these years.

Having reached the age where my children have become adults, I now look back on the earlier years and see that life had some spots that were a blur of activity.  Being involved, because of my children, in little league, Boy Scouts, soccer, Sunday School, youth group and also being a full-time sailor didn’t leave much time for anything else.  Life seemed pretty full.  There are indeed so many activities in our lives!   Yet how many are profitable?  How many are profitable for the kingdom?  How much time do I devote to those things that are important to my health and well being as a believer?  Sometimes I think that the world does a better job of conforming me into its mold than I do allowing the Holy Spirit to transform me by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2 paraphrase mine).  I think in my case that the blur of activity was motivated more by my flesh (not wanting my children to miss out) than by the Spirit (wanting to draw me into a closer walk with Him).  This doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done both.  It means that my attitude wasn’t right.


Bob Flynn, President/CEO

As I was meditating upon Hebrews, chapter twelve, I was struck by the idea of “throwing off everything that hinders.” (NIV)  As I looked up from my easy chair I found myself looking full on at one thing in particular that took up a great deal of my time, the huge one-eyed monster we call Television.  My heart was shaken at its foundations.  The Holy Spirit was showing me in a very clear way that I would rather spend time watching the political talk shows than with Him.  Busted!  So I got up out of my chair walked across the room and pulled the plug!  I would like to say that the angels of heaven broke out in song (However, what really broke out was beads of sweat upon my brow.  Several times that evening, as I was trying to read, I found my hand reaching for the ol’ remote control.  I thought to myself, how many other things are in my life that have become a hindrance to fellowship with the Father.  Am I really trying to work out my faith with “fear and trembling” or am I just busy?  C.S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity,” mentions that
one of the “cardinal virtues” is temperance.  The first word that the dictionary (my copy was of course printed in the last century) uses to define this is moderation, “bringing within bounds, avoidance of excesses.”

If you find yourselves breathing hard at the end of the day, might I suggest in all humility (because I promise you that I am NOT the fount of all knowledge and wisdom) that you take stock of your activities and see if there isn’t some time that could be better used in your relationship with the Savior.  “Blow up your TV (hyperbole mine) and try to find Jesus on your own!”

“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses round us.  So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.  Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end.  He did not give up because of the cross!  On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right-hand side of God’s throne.  Hebrews 12:1-2 TEV

Romans 2:29 - The Genuine Christian

Romans 2:29

"But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God." (NASB)

"But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (KJV)

"No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God.  And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God's Spirit.  And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people." (NLT)

"but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code.  This person's praise is not from people but from God." (NET)

"To be a real Jew you must obey the Law.  True circumcision is something that happens deep in your heart, not something done to your body.  And besides, you should want praise from God and not from humans." (CEV)

"Rather, the real Jew is the person who is a Jew on the inside, that is, whose heart has been circumcised, and this is the work of God's Spirit, not of the written Law.  Such a person receives praise from God, not from human beings." (GNB)

"How strikingly this also brings out what so breaks everywhere through the doctrine of this epistle that everything is according to its reality before God, God being revealed through Christ and the cross.  All must take its true character and result according to what He was. Note moreover that the terms suppose gospel knowledge — 'seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility.'  These are known by Christianity." Dr. John Darby

What then can we say in parallel, dear Christian, about our hearts from this amazing passage.  To be a genuine Christian is our baptism to be external only by ritual cleansing in the water?  Or is our baptism to be an internal act of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts?  Is our life lived in a manner that give the outward perception or do we walk by the Spirit giving honor and glory to Him who died for us to bring us life eternal?  Do we live in secret sin and delude ourselves into thinking we are walking in the light?  Or are we living in in the light of His Glory being washed clean by the blood of the Son?  If we think that we are not deceived, then deception has had its way with us!  We have already fallen prey to the ultimate deceiver.  Look around, believer, do you see the signs of the Glory of the Lord being displayed everywhere that this is a Christian nation?  Is your church overflowing with the songs of thousands of souls set free by the blood of the Crucified One?  Has the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life touched everyone you meet?  Does the world look like you or do you look like the world?  Are you really engaged in ministry?  Or are you just engaged in activity?  What's the difference?  Fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit that transforms lives making them brand new.  Lives living in the victory that is in Christ Jesus that sets them free from the law of sin and death! 

"He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5 NLT)

"With respect to the conduct of Christians towards the world, grace has banished violence, and the spirit of rebellion and resistance which agitates the heart of those who believe hot, and which has its source in the self-will that strives to maintain its own rights relatively to others.

The Christian has his portion, his inheritance, elsewhere; he is tranquil and submissive here and ready to do good.  Even when others are violent and unjust towards him, he bears it in remembrance that once it was no otherwise with himself: a difficult lesson, for violence and injustice stir up the heart; but the thought that it is sin, and that we also were formerly its slaves, produces patience and piety.  Grace alone has made the difference, and according to that grace are we to act towards others."  Dr. John Darby

Asking the Right Question

Asking the Right Question

“So Jesus used this Illustration: ‘If you had one hundred sheep, and one of them strayed away and was lost in the wilderness, wouldn't you leave the ninety-nine others to go and search for the lost one until you found it?  And then you would joyfully carry it home on your shoulders.  When you arrived, you would call together your friends and neighbors to rejoice with you because your lost sheep was found.  In the same way, heaven will be happier over one lost sinner who returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!’” (Luke 15:3-7 NLT)
“All of us have strayed away like sheep.  We have left God’s paths to follow our own” (Isaiah 53:6 NLT).

Bob Flynn, President/CEO

Ayoung man called me from northern Iraq in much anguish over the perceived loss of his salvation.  He had been engaged in a firefight and had inflicted casualties and had for the first time taken a human life.  War in the best of circumstances (if there is such a thing) is at best ghastly.  This warrior had experienced something that would change him forever.  He had killed someone created in the image of God and was suffering from the experience.  The reason God gave King David for denying him the privilege of building the temple was that he had blood on his hands.  This is the unseen red badge of courage that the warrior carries with him always (wounded deeply with no visible wound).  I suspect that if the truth be known, there are not many of us who contemplate the possibilities of combat before we enter the military.  I certainly did not.  I suspect that the most horrific experience for a believer would be to kill his brother in Christ in combat.  Those who have the ears to hear the Holy Spirit grieve will confirm that the soul would know if this event would occur.

For this young man the angst was real and the weight upon his heart was great! He thought he had lost his salvation because of his combat experience.  I suppose that in order to lose something one must first possess it. In the case of salvation one must recognize that we, the believers, are not the possessor but the possession!  If the question is, What is my salvation?, then I am looking for something that I had never possessed to lose.  If the question is, Who is my salvation?, then I will soon discover the correct answer.  In the former I am lost.  In the latter I am found.  Our salvation is in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ! He is not lost.  He is seated at the right hand of the Father.  The question then should be, Is He sufficient to keep me?

“As he loved the unsaved enough to give His Son to die for them, even when they were ‘yet without strength’ and ‘enemies’; ‘Much more then, being now justified by his blood’ and ‘reconciled,’ they shall be ‘saved from wrath through him,’ and ‘saved by his life.’ Such is the unchangeable love of God” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Grace).

This young man had not sinned in the taking of life in combat. However, he was surely wounded by his experience.  Just as we are “without strength” when Christ died for us (Romans 5:6 KJV), we are often found “without strength” and bleeding from the wounds of life.  The New Living Translation says, “When we were utterly helpless.”  What has changed?  Are we not “utterly helpless” in Romans 6 when we are a slave to sin?  Are we not “ utterly helpless” in Romans 7 when we are under the law?  We can see the victory only when in Romans 8 we see a new law in effect, “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.”

Whenever parables are taught, I have noticed a consistent phenomena; We reach the wrong conclusion because we are asking the wrong question.  The aforementioned parable of the lost sheep is no exception.  When the parable of the good Samaritan is taught, the question always asked is, who is my neighbor?  The question taught by the parable is, whose neighbor am I.  When the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican is taught, the thought that invades the conscience is, “I am glad I am not like that Pharisee.  The lesson taught is, we are the Pharisee.  With the parable of the lost sheep it is easy to focus on our waywardness, “All of us like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6 NASB) and miss the “unchangeable love of God.”

“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves” (Romans 15:1 NASB).

This young warrior just needed a hug and a reminder that God’s love is unfailing! Jesus said, “ I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.  “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28-29 NASB).  Eternal life given that is eternally secure in Christ Jesus! We are in good hands!

Romans 2:28 - The False Badge of Faith

Romans 2:28

"For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh." (NASB)

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:" (KJV)

"For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision." (NLT)

"For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh," (NET)

A most important lesson here! There are NO Grandchildren in the Faith!!! We are not believers because we are the descendents of Christian parents, or because we were baptized or participated in some other religious ceremony! Like Israel, who took pride in being the keepers of the oracles of God, we too presume upon God's Grace when we think that owning a Bible or attending church brings salvation.

"For he is not a Jew ... - He who is merely descended from Abraham, and is circumcised, and externally conforms to the Law only, does not possess the true character, and manifest the true spirit, contemplated by the separation of the Jewish people. Their separation required much more." Dr. Albert Barnes

We cling to our badges and other outward signs because the inward man is still defiant toward the will of God. This guarantees us one or many trips around Mount Sinai until we repent and turn away from our sin and ask for the forgiveness that flows from the throne room of Grace to the foot of Golgotha where the crimson flood makes us white a snow. There is no other name under heaven by which we must be saved!

"There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12 NLT)

"In a word, they are invited to return by repentance, and enjoy all the promises made to Israel. The Messiah Himself should return from heaven to establish their blessing. The whole nation is here addressed as natural heirs of the promises made to Abraham. But, while they were speaking, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came to lay hands on them, being grieved that they preached the resurrection, which their unbelief and dogmatic system did not receive. They put them in prison, for it was evening. The hope of Israel was set aside; the grace of God had spoken in vain, great and patient as it was. Many, however, believed their word: five thousand persons already confessed the Lord Jesus." Dr. John Darby

Was it not the high priests, the rich and influential in the society, and the Roman authority that together crucified the Son of God? How many times in American history do we find the same influences being applied to bring about a great evil? What religious badge was worn when one man owned another? Or when in time of war we incarcerated our fellow citizens based upon our own fears and the President did ask us to pray with him to Almighty God? Let us consider this with the events of our day! How are we doing church?  What badge are we wearing today?


Christian Military Fellowship

An Indigenous Ministry • Discipleship • Prayer • Community • Support
Encouraging Men and Women in the United States Armed Forces, and their families, to love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

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