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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Me and CMF

Me and CMF

CMF and Me


SGM Dan Cartwright, USA (Ret)
Chairman, CMF Board of Directors

Where do I begin?  It’s been a long journey, about 30 years now.  I guess I should start at the point in my life when God snatched me out of ODF status (Out Dere Flappin’) near the end of ’76, a few months before our first son was born.  In terms of this life, I had it pretty well made — I was a young Staff Sergeant on a Special Forces ‘A’ Detachment, had met and married a wonderful woman (just had our 34th anniversary, BTW), and my lonely past seemed over.  However, I had left the Savior of my youth in the dust, so to speak.  About ten years earlier, I had decided that organized religion was a fake and struck out on my own — ODF big time, but happy as a pig in mud with my life at that point.

The story around how God snatched me back from ODF status stands on its own and is too long for this venue.  But snatch me back He did!  We became involved in the Chapel system on Ft. Devens, Massachusetts, including a mid-week lunch time Bible study at the Special Forces chapel, which is how I found out about CMF.  At about the same time, the thought of full-time ministry in the military surfaced, and I considered becoming a chaplain.  That thought was fleeting however, when I discovered it would take about eight years of schooling outside of the military before I could re-enter as a chaplain.  But I could see there was plenty of “service for God” in uniform that needed attention right away!

So there I was, plugged in to chapels and Bible studies, learning and growing, and along came Ernie Miller, who was at that time leader of the CMF ministry.  He visited the Bible study I attended and presented to us the concept of the CMF ministry: a network of believers in uniform, focused mainly on us enlisted types.  Sounded good.  When Ernie talked about this worldwide prayer network, my ears really perked up, considering all the different time zones around the globe and a prayer request being presented before the throne of grace around the clock on a given day! Ernie also talked about the structure of the network of believers: CMF Christian contacts, along with local and area-wide CMF representatives, plugged into the small home office in Denver. I was hooked — this was the ministry for me!

That was then and this is now, thirty years later.  Until I retired in 1996, I had the opportunity to be a Christian contact and CMF Local Representative anywhere I went, on permanent or temporary assignment, a paid “missionary” in uniform, funded by Uncle Sam!  My marching orders in our Lord’s Army? Acts 1:8 — “BE” a witness for Christ — not preach, wear Christian “stuff,” or carry a CMF flag everywhere I went.  I was to be available for whatever specific task God had waiting for me.  I was just supposed to be a well cared for “tool” of the Master, ready, willing, and able for “divine appointments” whenever they presented themselves — which was usually without my knowing that God was setting these appointments.
 

How often was God “setting something up”?  Probably far more often than I will ever know!  The times I can remember and realize it was God at work could fill a small book of their own.

What part did CMF play all those years?  Well, I already mentioned being plugged into a worldwide network of Christians in uniform, the monthly prayer “Battle Plan,” and the opportunities for service as part of the CMF ministry on the ground.  I didn’t however, mention the training and logistical support CMF provided.  They didn’t just have ministry positions that needed people in place; they also trained and equipped me for service in each position I filled.  Then, on virtually every shelf in my office there’s something I received, without cost, from CMF — books by theologians and giants of the faith, long gone to their eternal reward, books by living pastors and teachers, even good study Bibles.

The most cherished CMF-provided item resides inside a large 3-ring binder — a set of Christian growth lessons called Discipleship Training Objectives (DTOs) — that by themselves need only about a half-inch wide binder!  You see, I have been through those lessons several times now, first with just a Bible and a concordance and small Bible dictionary.  Each successive time through the lessons, as a set in a small group teaching role, or just in whatever has served as a place to study alone, I have added “stuff” I have learned/gleaned from a multitude of sources about each and every lesson.  So, now I have one 3-inch wide binder — that might end up as three binders, one for each major section of lessons.

Well, there you have the “big story” of an old retired soldier and CMF.  Why did I even tell it in the CMF Newsletter?  There’s only one reason — to encourage Christian men and women serving in our Military Forces to take up the challenge of being unashamed of the Gospel, being missionaries in uniform, lights in the darkness, salt of the earth, and taking the Good News of Jesus Christ to places no chaplain will ever be able to go!

Communication Breakdown

Cummunication Breakdown

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:6-7

In 2016 here in America all forms of communication are available and often taken for granted.  When you can't get a cell signal, GPS, or other things it is very disconcerting.  I think of those in the recent hurricane's path who were without electricity and possibility communication.  But even leaving home without your mobile device can send you into a turmoil because you get so used to it.

Did you know God communicates to you?  Yes through His word.  Who hasn't had one of those days and then miraculously a friend or family member shows up and things much better?

God cares about what you are going through.  You may feel as if He has forgotten you but that will never happen.  Don't allow Satan to discourage you.  Press on!

PRAYER:  In my times of despair or hopelessness I know you are right there with me.  Your word is a light to my path.  Thanks.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Cast The First Stone

Cast The First Stone

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."  John 8:7

Recently lots of hatred is being spewed forth not only in the secular world and news media about a certain presidential candidate talking about past sins, mistakes, but sadly I have heard of it from Christians as well.  Didn't Jesus tell us to love and pray for people and this would probably mean to not smear their name on Facebook or other sources?

It is much easier to hate than to love.  The word hate has been redefined by some to include those who disagree with someone's relationship say something is wrong.  That is not hate but a differing of opinions.  I have a novel idea.  Why it comes to this election, please do go vote, as it is your privilege to do so.  Pray for those running and also pray for the ability to love those you don't agree with.

Politics can really turn people ugly.  It is almost like the playing field for Satan getting people so upset, fearful, and angry.  You know God isn't happy with how some folks judge and condemn.  Not all news is truthful anyway.  Put down the paper and pick up God's word and see if you don't feel better.

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus it saddens me to see so much anger around election time.  So much division and even broken friendships all because of differing opinions.  Oh Father guard my heart.  Give me wisdom from you not the media in deciding who to vote for.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/

https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Humble?

Humble?

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.  Proverbs 27:2

Everyone loves to meet humble people.  The kind that ask about you and don't start telling you all about themselves.  Tooting your own horn is tempting at times but clearly not the way God would intend it.

You might have lots to brag about, or share,  as some would say, but why not talk about others and get them to tell you about what things they like to do.  Everyone does not need to know your child's GPA, that you were 1st in your class, that you were Prom Queen, but when they find out on their own it is a better thing.  No one needs to prove their importance or worth because your worth in God's eyes is much better.

Be thankful for the wonderful achievements God has blessed you with or your gifts and abilities but let another praise you. 

PRAYER:  Help me Lord when I am tempted to toot my own horn to control that urge.  It is not important.  I want to have true humility as a trait in my life. In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/

https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

In The Flock

In The Flock

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

Have you ever observed a farm field full of animals once the farmer shows up?  All the animals are used to him and follow him particularly when they hear his voice.  Sheep herders also have their sheep follow them and the sheep trust them.

Your flock could be your children, a prayer group you lead, your Bible study, but regardless you tend to follow the leader and if you are that leader it is a immense responsibility.  This is so important to remember also as to  who you are following in the spiritual realm.  Do you hear God's voice or do too many 'voices' in the world crowd it out and over power it?

Take inventory of your life and maybe pay attention to which 'voices' are more important to you and shape your thinking.  Is it the Bible or maybe the newspapers and television news.  Maybe you idolize a certain celebrity or pop star.  If you claim Jesus is Lord of your life you need to stay in His flock and tune out the other distractions.

PRAYER: I love you Lord. I love reading your word and listening to upbeat positive worship music.  At times I have let other things 'guide' me and give me strength to stay on the path that leads to you.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Walk By Faith

Walk By Faith

For we walk by faith, not by sight.  2 Corinthians 5:7

Sometimes it is hard to keep going once you have endured something or waited for something.  You pray and pray and pray some more but don't see changes.  Those who don't understand the spiritual side of life may mock you saying "Well so and so prayed and look what happened to him."  You have to trust and keep walking and not let go of the rope.

A story was told to me about a man in a coma whose family had lost hope and had called in hospice and were making funeral plans.  Humanly it looked like death was imminently on the proverbial doorstep.  But alas something unexpected occurred and the man came back to life in a miraculous way.  The story is never over even when things look bleak and hopeless.  Many people have recovered and gone on to testify about it. 

I can not say every situation turns out like this but you have to have faith, trust, and hope.  Shut out negative voices.  Whether it is a restored relationship you are waiting on, a medical miracle, a job offer, God is still on the throne and His plan and His ways sometimes are beyond understanding.  Keep walking and keep believing. 

PRAYER:  You are on the throne, you are God alone.  I praise you in good times and in bad. In Jesus' name.  Amen.

Becky Juett Miller
God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/
https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

 

RV's, Mansions, Boats, Trips, Oh My!

RV's, Mansions, Boats, Trips, Oh My!

 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Philippians 4:11-12

Do your ever find yourself swooning over someone's newly acquired motor home, speed boat, motorcycle, travel plans, or massive home?  It is human nature to have envy in our heart but God's nature is to be content with what you have and to not covet or desire others possessions.

Here in the United States all of us are the envy of many in Third World countries.  I mean you have running water right?  How about electricity?  A roof over your head?  Food in the refrigerator even some spoiled because you're bought too much and forgot about it.  Indeed we are blessed without all the other fancy added stuff.

Today don't be desiring other things and putting yourself in debt to get something your probably don't really need and may not even use.  Be yourself and be thankful.  Keep your eyes on the cross and the lust of the flesh should go away.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the many blessings in my life.  I am indeed blessed.  Even if I am sick I am blessed with access to awesome medical care.  I thank you for freedom to worship you and for the many friends in my life.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/

https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Untie The Apron Strings

I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him to the Lord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.  1 Samuel 1:27-28

Male readers bear with me a few moments but this is about the art of letting go of adult children which I have not mastered totally but am trying.  You need to snip those apron strings and especially the older they get do not try to orchestrate their lives.  One thing you can always do and should do is pray.

We are given children for a season and have about 18 years to raise them.  After that college, marriage, and careers and possibly eventually children comes along and it can be very tempting to try to lord over someone but keep in mind your children are adults and they don't need you to give advice unless they ask for it. It is best to try to bite your tongue.

The thing you can do is to continually pray for them.  That is why I am ever so thankful for my Moms in Prayer group.  It is a confidential wonderful way to come together each week and pray for our children ages kindergarten through career time.  Men can probably get a bunch of dads together to pray but moms tend to be the ones who are crying out to God for the lives of our children in a different way than dads do.  Now is the time to pray,not preach.

PRAYER:  I pray for those with adult children to be respectful of them and continue to lift them up in prayer.  I pray for those with married children to learn to let them lead their own lives and continue to pray.  In Jesus' name. Amen.

Becky Juett Miller

God's Lemonade Stand

https://www.facebook.com/GodsLemonadeStand/

https://www.godslemonadestand.blogspot.com

Healing

Healing

John Bunyan (author of the classic Pilgrim's Progress) wrote the following in his book Grace Abounding to the Chief Sinners:

As for my own natural life for the time that I was without God in the world, it was indeed “according to the course of this world,” and “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2,3) It was my delight to be taken captive by the “devil at his will,” 2 Tim. 2: 26, being filled with all unrighteousness; the which did also so strongly work and put forth itself both in my heart and life, and that from a child, that I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.  Yea, so settled and rooted was I in these things, that they became as a second nature to me; the which, as I have also with soberness considered since, did so offend the Lord, that even in my childhood he did scare and affrighten me with fearful dreams, and did terrify me with fearful visions.  For often, after I had spent this and the other day in sin, I have in my bed been greatly afflicted, while asleep, with the apprehensions of devils and wicked spirits, who still, as I then thought, labored to draw me away with them, of which I could never be rid.

Observe this vivid and honest confession of a man who has recognized that he is in fact dead in his sin.  Can you hear the excruciating anguish of his words? Can you feel the struggle of his soul against the utter wretchedness of his estate?  For is that not where Christ finds us all adrift and helpless in the misery of our self-made death?  Is it not life that He offers us?  The question He asks each one of us is, “Do you want to be healed?”

The Apostle John preserves for us this wondrous illustration:

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed.  One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”  The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me.”  Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet, and walk.”  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. (John 5:2-9 RSV)

We have all kinds of open wounds we call hurts, angers, and fears. We keep them hidden deep within our hearts yet they nevertheless affect the way we live.  These are wounds that must be healed if we are to live our lives for the Savior.  Only He can heal them. The question is, will we let Him?  Jesus says to us, "Do you want to be healed?"  These wounds are fortresses where the enemy of our soul still holds us captive.  They are strongholds of the enemy still because we were the ones who chose to guard the gate with impotence, arrogance and passivity as our weapons: arrogance in our belief that we have, in our own strength, the ability to live a life worthy of our calling; impotence in our perceived, yet hollow, victories against this terrible foe; passivity in our faith experience as we await the holy lightning bolt to set it all straight.

Mother Martyria (1904-1999, the much loved co-founder of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary) once said, “It is your constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle against sin, not occasional victories or defeats.”  Perhaps Isaiah said it best, “ Have you never heard or understood?  Don’t you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth?  He never grows faint or weary.  No one can measure the depths of his understanding.  He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up.  But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength.  They will fly high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”  (Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT) Get it? “Constant patience in faith which will decide the struggle.” Hebrews calls it entering into the “Sabbath rest.”

Hanna Whitall Smith, in The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life, described this phenomena as follows:  “You have found Jesus as your Savior from the penalty of sin, but you have not found Him as your Savior from its power.  You have carefully studied the Holy Scriptures and have gathered much precious truth from them.  You have trusted that this would feed and nourish your spiritual life. But in spite of it all, your souls are starving and dying within you.  You cry out in secret, again and again, for that bread and water of life which you see promised in the Scriptures to all believers. In the very depths of your heart, you know that your experience is not a Scriptural experience.  As an old writer said, your religion is ‘merely talk whereas, the early Christians enjoyed, possessed, and lived it.’  Your hearts have weakened within you, as day after day, and year after year, your early visions of triumph have grown dimmer.  You have accepted that the best you can expect from your religion is a life of alternate failure and victory one hour sinning and the next repenting, and then beginning again, only to fail and repent again.”

It is one thing to know of our great need and yet another to know God’s way of deliverance from our sin. We feel that our life is not what it ought to be. We can see in our past, seasons of spiritual highs that did not last that were followed by the slow declension back into the pit from where we once came.  Andrew Murray said in The Spirit of Christ: “There can be little doubt that the answer must be this: they did not know or honor the Indwelling Spirit as the strength of their life, as the power of their faith, to keep them always looking to Jesus and trusting in Him.  They knew not what it was, day by day, to wait in lowly reverence for the Holy Spirit to deliver from the power of the flesh, and to maintain the wonderful presence of the Father and the Son within them.

For John Bunyan, the way of healing began when the Holy Spirit illuminated this passage from Scripture, “For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others." 2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT

Are you drowning in the pool of sin of your own making?  Does the victorious life in Christ seem only a distant dream?  Jesus is still asking, “Do you want to be healed?” Romans 9:16 says: “So receiving God's promise is not up to us.  We can't get it by choosing it or working hard for it. God will show mercy to anyone he chooses.”  Beloved we are a vessel of mercy by God’s sovereign choice. We then can learn to rest in His mercy.

“He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  You have been healed by his wounds! (1 Peter 2:24 NLT)

Pray And Mean It!

Pray And Mean It!

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  Luke 22:44 

How is your prayer life?  Is it a casual bedtime lay me down to sleep prayer?  Maybe it is a meal time simple one thanking God for your meal?  Perhaps a cry for help when in danger?  All these prayers are nice but have you ever really gotten serious about talking to God? 

I am not sure what your experience with prayer is, but if someone asks you to pray for them maybe the best thing to do is to stop right then and  there and pray with them be it over the phone, in a parking lot, at the movie theater lobby, over lunch.  Never be ashamed to do this.  What is to be ashamed of anyway?  It is the enemy who brings that on people so boldly go ahead and pray. 

Prayer is simply having a chat with God.  No big fancy language needed.  No man of God has to lead you in prayer.  Just pray.  Be sincere and pour out your heart to the Lord.  If you have not gotten into this very important habit why not begin today?

PRAYER:  I thank you that I can come to you in prayer either alone or with another person.  You want to hear my prayers and sometimes I get so busy I forget to do this.  Forgive me and help me to never be ashamed and to just pray.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.


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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