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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Overlooked?

Overlooked?

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

No matter what you do there may be a time in your life when you were overlooked for something.  A promotion, a pay raise, acceptance in a school or program, a scholarship, an election, a part in a school play.

Just remember, to God you are not second best or the runner up.  You are the best no matter what the world is throwing at you.  Your feelings may be hurt by something right now.  You have heard the phrase "when God closes a door He opens a window" and often times things we perceive as bad at the time they occur in the long run do us a tremendous favor. 

So whatever it is you may be facing or waiting on or even dealing with, relax and trust God to direct your paths.

PRAYER: Often when we get left out, overlooked, laid off, or worse it can hurt bad. Help me trust you with all the details of my life and help me to not say or do anything rash but to relax and wait on your timing.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Note: in light of the Oscar Best Picture blunder the cast of La La Land has to feel a bit overlooked as well.  I wrote this devotion a week ago.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand
https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Romans 7:23 - War on My Mind

The law of the mind in this place is not to be understood as referring to the mind as it is naturally, and as our mind is from our birth, but of the mind which is renewed by the Spirit of God. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

He perceived it by experience; he felt the force and power of inbred corruption working in him, and as a law demanding obedience to it; and which he might well call "another law", it being not only distinct from, but opposite to the law of God he delighted in; the one is good, the other evil; this other law is a transgression of the law of God, and which he observed to be "in his members", i.e. in the members of his body; not that it had its seat only, or chiefly in his body, and the parts of it, but because it exerted itself by them, it made use of them to fulfill its lusts (Dr. John Gill)

But I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. (NASB)

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (KJV)

But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. (NLT)

But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. (NET)

It is once again good to reiterate that the war wages because of the law that points out our fallen nature.  But since we are no longer subject to the law the war is only fought when we place ourselves under the law.  Notice I said, "we place ourselves."  How stupid is that?  Way stupid!  Paul was sharing openly from "experience" the perceptions of his personal war that we might fully understand both our falleness and the victory that is ours in Christ Jesus!  Fortunately for us God has created a new day, and called it today, whereby we may enter into His Sabbath rest!  Each day is new and precious and ever so fragile.  We now have a new chooser that allows us to choose to follow Christ or "we place ourselves" back under the law by our rebelliousness.  If we are under the law then we are held captive as a prisoner is captured in a conflict and held against his will.  Held not by the Law of God but by the law of sin and death.  However, if we choose Christ, we are no longer captives to our own sin but bond-slaves of Christ's righteousness that lives in us the power to save us from our sin!

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NLT)

This is therefore no metaphysical speculation, but a practical matter: Slight and superficial conceptions of our state of natural degradation, and of our insufficiency to recover from it of ourselves, fall in too well with our natural inconsiderateness, and produce that fatal insensibility to the divine warning to "flee from the wrath to come," which we cannot but observe to prevail so generally.  Having no due sense of the malignity of our disease, and of its dreadful issue, we do not set ourselves to work in earnest to obtain the remedy, as to a business arduous indeed, but indispensable: for it must ever be carefully remembered, that this deliverance is not forced on us, but offered to us; we are furnished indeed with every help, and are always to bear in mind, that we are unable of ourselves to will or to do rightly; but we are plainly admonished to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."--Watchful, for we are encompassed with dangers; "putting on the whole armor of God," for "we are beset with enemies." (William Wilberforce)

Romans 7:22 - Delight in the Law of God

Sensual gratifications and illicit affections have debased our nobler powers, and indisposed our hearts to the discovery of God, and to the consideration of his perfections; to a constant willing submission to his authority, and obedience to his laws. (William Wilberforce)

For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, (NASB)

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (KJV)

I love God's law with all my heart. (NLT)

For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. (NET)

Romans 7:22 
For I delight - The word used here Συνήδομαι  Sunēdomai, occurs no where else in the New Testament. It properly means to rejoice with anyone; and expresses not only approbation of the understanding, as the expression, “I consent unto the law,” in Romans 7:16, but more than that it denotes sensible pleasure in the heart.  It indicates not only intellectual assent, but emotion, an emotion of pleasure in the contemplation of the Law.  And this shows that the apostle is not speaking of an unrenewed man.  (Dr. Albert Barnes)

 Every Jew, and every unregenerate man, who receives the Old Testament as a revelation from God, must acknowledge the great purity, excellence and utility of its maxims, etc., though he will ever find that without the grace of our Lord Jesus he can never act according to those heavenly maxims; and without the mercy of God, can never be redeemed from the curse entailed upon him for his past transgressions. (Dr. Adam Clark)

The more pure and holy the heart is, it will have the more quick feeling as to the sin that remains in it. The believer sees more of the beauty of holiness and the excellence of the law. His earnest desires to obey, increase as he grows in grace. But the whole good on which his will is fully bent, he does not do; sin ever springing up in him, through remaining corruption, he often does evil, though against the fixed determination of his will. The motions of sin within grieved the apostle. (Matthew Henry)

Perhaps the New Living Translation most accurately captures this thought for the modern western mind.  I think in our busy world where every minute is spoken for as we go about the ritual of our daily lives the thought of deep and reverent contemplation are foreign to our custom and nature.  How often do we contemplate anything?  Thus since we do not in our day delight in the law of the lord nor meditate on it day and night we remain barren of the fruit in season! (Psalm 1)  This speaks adamantly of our deception as we think we are doing good while all the while serving our sinful selves and doing the work of the enemy instead. (Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections, paraphrase mine)  A quick look through the news of today will find our society crumbling by every measure—certainly a far cry from the observations of Tocqueville.

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors and her ample rivers … ; in her fertile fields and boundless forests … ; in her rich mines and vast world commerce … ; in her public school system and institutions of learning.  I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. (Tocqueville, Charles Alexis Henri Maurice Clèrel de)

5 Ways God Compels Us to Lead

5 Ways God Compels Us to Lead

Coming up through the ranks as a military leader there were, on many occasions, times that I was able to learn from my leaders, my peers, and my subordinates alike.  From each subset of the populous with whom I interacted on a daily basis, I began to formulate my own leadership styles at a very young age.  You see, I learned from all of my leaders, which you would think to be a good thing.  However, there were also occasions where I learned how not to lead.

Marine Drill InstrictorAs a young Sailor I learned a lot about myself.  As subordinate, I learned which traits and mannerisms of my leaders to which I best responded.  There were days that they had to be creative in order to appeal to my motivators in order to obtain the best levels of my work.  My best leaders knew what my motivators were, and managed accordingly.  There were also other leaders who didn’t seem to know or care what motivated me.  As a result my attitude, my morale and of course my quality of work waned.

SEAL TrainingIt was important to me that I was able to see a realistic path to ascend through the ranks.  I held in high regard the office of those appointed over me and endeavored to show the proper respect to those persons who held the office.  So with that, a natural tendency for me at that young age was to emulate the leader(s) that I felt had the best leadership attributes.  These attributes contributed to my daily habits as a sailor, and through my habits, my leadership character was formed.  Along the way, I learned the elements of those attributes and how to apply them in specific situations.

Through my journey up through the ranks, I began to understand and assimilate into my leadership style, those characteristics that were displayed to me not only by men and women in uniform, but by our almighty God.  In fact, when I began to “take it to the book” (the Holy Bible) did I first begin to realize how I was created, for what I was created, and the character that God displayed befor me every step of the way.  God truly leads by example!

1.  Lead by Example

Colossians 3:17 says:  “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Jesus shows us many ways where He presents the theme of leading by example as being at the forefront of His actions!  If you haven’t heard it before, you should hear it now: as a leader, in any capacity, where you have the ability to teach and mentor protégés, they are watching and learning from your every move!  Make no mistake, like little children they are learning from your mannerisms, your speech, your ethics and your values and at each step, they are internally assessing your ability to lead them, in any capacity.  We do it all the time.  How many Pastors have you “sized up” when investigating a new home church?

Paul writes to Timothy: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”  1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

The Gospel of John says that we’re to be an example in service to each other.

“When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”   John 13:12-15 ESV

2.  Be a Servant Leader

“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  It shall not be so among you.  But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:25-28 ESV

Chief among the attributes of servant leadership, Jesus compels us to put down our pride, and serve each other with grace and empathy.  We have to remember that not only are we in the business of completing well-orchestrated (most of the time) strategic missions, that we’re also in the business of shaping and molding people.  Jesus compels us to serve our brothers and sisters and that through that service, we are providing those within our charge with the best attributes of leadership possible, both morally and ethically.

3.  Lead with Wisdom

Wisdom and discernment come with time, age and experience.  As a young leader, don’t be afraid to plant your flagpole and make a decision.  Subordinates and protégés don’t always benefit from indecision.  However, be deliberate in your decision making methodology, otherwise the ripple effects of your decisions can be impactful in other potentially unforeseen areas.  Take as many factors into consideration as possible before leading the charge in any one direction.  The benefits of your deliberate decision making process will be many.

Proverbs 8:1-36 ESV states, “Does not wisdom call?  Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand; beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:  “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man. O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.”

4.  Have Trust

Have trust in those around you, as the camaraderie and bonds that you have formed through your traditions and training will be displayed during the most stressful of times.  In leading young service members individually or collectively, there must be trust among those you empower, to be able to carry out the orders with precision, as they have been trained to do.  Trust in each other, and trust in the Lord.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.  Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce”  Proverbs 3:5-10 ESV

As Paul again writes to Timothy:

“The saying is trustworthy:  If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?”  1 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV

5.  Lead with Love

As leaders, whether we’re leading in a military capacity, or as teachers of education, or trainers for our business or our church, or as stay at home parents; the greatest of attributes that we could ever adorn in leadership or other capacities is on distinct display by our Lord and Savior.  Of the many attributes that Jesus teaches us for how to behave and what is most consistent with the expectations that God has for us on this earth, he sums up with two very specific commandments.  They are found within the Gospels, and Matthew tells us this is how the conversation occurred:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40 ESV

The apostle Paul also gives us, in his letter to the Romans:

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.  Love one another with brotherly affection.  Outdo one another in showing honor.  Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”  Romans 12:9-13 ESV


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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