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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


How Then Shall We Live?

How Then Shall We Live?

“And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience (apeitheia). Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:1–10, NASB 2020)

543. ἀπείθεια apeítheia; gen. apeítheias, fem. noun from apeithes (545), disobedient. Disobedience, unwillingness to be persuaded, willful unbelief, obstinacy. In the NT, it corresponds in its use with the verb apistéō (569), to be unbelieving, opposing the gracious word and purpose of God; a stronger term than the syn. apistía (570), disbelief, unbelief (Heb. 3:12, 19); hence we have the sons of apeitheías, disobedience, unbelievers, i.e., heathen, pagans (Rom. 11:30, 32; Eph. 2:2; 5:6; Col. 3:6; Heb. 4:6, 11).  Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Are we the sons of disobedience or the sons of unbelief?  Both! Why?  Because one of the afflictions of the flesh is a “reprobate” mind! (Romans 1:28 - ἀδόκιμος adókimos “a reprobate abominable mind, a mind to be abhorred by God and man.” Zodhiates) We may, at length, believe our thinking is pristine.  However, when compared to Christ, my thinkin’ is always stinkin’!  This terminal fault in our DNA leads us to all manner of misconceptions we find present in the flavor of the day philosophy.  Ultimately it leads us to our death!

“And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27, NASB 2020)

Since I do not believe Christ with my reprobate mind my life demonstrates disobedience–the physical manifestation of the wrath of God inflicted against all unrighteousness and all ungodliness (Romans 1:18).  An unrighteous person lives as if there is no will of God revealed.  An ungodly person lives as if there is no God.  But since that day when the Grace of Christ made provision for me to believe I now live in Christ.

How then shall we live?  Perhaps we may glean some insight from Hebrews 4:12-13. The context, Sabbath Rest!

“For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” (Hebrews 4:12–13, NASB 2020)

When the majority of one’s neighbors are dedicated to values different from one’s own, and may even regard one’s ambitions and priorities as foolish, one must either surrender one’s values or find some way to offset the force of the majority’s opinion. Many minority cultures in the Greco-Roman world accomplished this by focusing their adherents on the opinion and approval of God.  Each of these groups believed that their values were in fact in line with what God valued, and that their priorities reflected God’s priorities.  Commitment to the values of a particular group, then, could be enhanced by affirming that those who fulfilled those values pleased God, while the majority of humanity, unaware of what God truly valued in God’s creatures, lived out their whole lives displeasing God and pursuing what God hated or regarded as empty.  If representatives of that majority culture would, from time to time, reproach the group members for their commitment to different values, the group members or their leaders could sustain commitment by saying, in effect, “The opinion of the uninitiated matters nothing. Remember the One whom you must please, whose approval matters for eternity.”  deSilva, D. A. (2000). Perseverance in gratitude: a socio-rhetorical commentary on the Epistle “to the Hebrews” (p. 171). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 

But if any of the violent men who are unmentioned, and who have at different times risen up against the people in their several states, and have enslaved not only other nations, but their own countries too, have still died without meeting with punishment, it is not to be wondered at, for in the first place man does not judge as God judges, because we investigate what is visible to ourselves, but he descends into the secret recesses of the soul without making any noise, and there contemplates the mind in the clear light, as if in the sun; for stripping off from it all the ornaments in which it is enveloped, and seeing its devices and intentions naked, he immediately distinguishes between the bad and the good. (Philo, On Providence)

Food for Thought (Dietary Tidbits) on the 16th of December, 2019

It’s really interesting how life shapes our dietary habits. At any given moment in time, how we view food, and the consumption thereof, changes. One person’s eating habits will invariably differ from everyone else’s, both in food preferences themselves and preferred mealtimes/schedules. Take the ‘DanDee’ couple in Fountain, Colorado. This is a septuagenarian couple that has been married for 44 years and are now empty nesters. Their journey together has resulted in having lived, as a military family, in various types of on-base military housing in several places here and abroad. There are grown children and grandchildren to dote upon. It’s been an interesting and wonderful journey through life!

If you haven’t figured it out already, this is Dan, the guy whose military career lasted nearly 30 years and by whose side the beautiful Dee has remained through all of the ‘stuff’ of life.

So back to food. On this particular morning I found myself thinking about our different breakfast habits. Dee loves her bacon (must be crispy) and eggs and will probably have both in her small breakfast when she gets up later. As for me, it was up really early to let our little Maltese, Betty Jean, out in the back yard (snow covered) for her regularly scheduled early morning business. I cranked up my work laptop to check on some things, knowing there would probably be a delayed opening of Schriever Air Force Base, where I am currently employed. It’s almost 6 AM now and I’ve already accomplished a few necessary things, including taking care of the snow in the driveway and sidewalks, which made me hungry. Being a bit hungry, I found a small pastry to go with a second mug of coffee (Kuerig & Sumatran Reserve). That’s when I thought about Dee’s bacon and eggs, my own eating habits, and how they have been shaped over time by life circumstances.

I remembered being a teenager and my Dad asking me if I ‘lived to eat’ or ‘eat to live’. I used to panic if the fridge wasn’t full of food, you see. Fast forward to a military career, mess halls (now consolidated dining facilities but the food is probably not much different), K-rations, C-rations, LRPs (Long Range Patrol) rations, and MREs (Meals Ready to eat). At times it was living off whatever nature had to offer. All of those wonderful menus will develop a great appreciation for wonderful meals prepared at home and shared with family.

Then my thoughts turned to our spiritual diets as believers in a great God and most gracious and wonderful Savior. The Christmas hymns in the background also contributed to the present condition of a heart so full it feels like it might burst! I have been so greatly blessed!

Back to diets. When I think of all of the various sources (and quality) of spiritual nourishment that I have consumed through the years, a few things really stand out. There are definitely comparisons to be made with the aforementioned types of cuisine a profession of arms afforded me. Then there is being able to eat a home cooked meal with family and friends. There is nothing like it! It’s not exactly going from starving to feasting, but awfully close.

The years spent as a child of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords have taught me that the written Word of God should be the main component of a good spiritual diet. Everything else in life should be measured by its golden text.

Then we have the ‘dinner table’ around which sit family and friends. That ‘dinner table’ seems to be available whether here or abroad, as we fellowship with other believers in local churches, military chapels, small group Bible studies, and even we happen to meet another believer on the street or in the workplace. How awesome is that?!!!!!

The ‘dinner table’ still exists when we are alone and by ourselves. We might be the only human being in the room, but in reality, we are never alone! Within us lives the Holy Spirit – leading, comforting, and guiding. Before us is a Bible, God’s very words to us, feeding us absolute truth and never-failing guidance for our lives. In addition to God’s very words to His children, in our day, with all of its technology, we also have a veritable plethora of resources available to us to help us along the way. There is so much out there that we need to have a discerning eye when we pick and choose what resource to use.

One such resource for this guy has been the set of Discipleship Training Objectives available through Christian Military Fellowship. To share what the CMF DTOs have meant to me would require another article. (If you think this is a shameless plug for something, you might be right, but then again you might be in error. I just wanted to put it out there.) If you are interested in what they might be about, contact me. 😊

My encouragement to you is really think about your spiritual sustenance as you grow in faith and serve in the Kingdom of God, a citizen already, with an eternal home in heaven waiting for you when your pilgrimage here is done and you hear the words of your Savior – “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Be blessed, today and forever!

 

 

 

 


Christian Military Fellowship

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