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    Getting Started

    Now that you have become a member of Christian Military Fellowship, you can start enjoying the many benefits of the Christian Military Fellowship and the FaithLife Equip Platform.

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    May the Lord bless you endeavors as you study His Word!

  • And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 2 Timothy 4:18
    1. “There are two kinds of martyrs, one in open suffering, the other in the hidden virtue of the spirit. For many, enduring the lyings-in-wait of the enemy and resisting all carnal desires, have become martyrs even in time of peace, because they have sacrificed themselves in their heart to the omnipotent God, and if they had lived in time of persecution, they could have been martyrs in reality.” Isidore of Seville
      1. “Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 God’s steadfast promise to His people is both familiar and underutilized. It is regularly quoted but not always allowed to permeate our thoughts. The prophet Jeremiah’s declaration wasn’t the result of a single experience but his personal awareness of a lifetime of the Lord’s care. Likewise, your life doesn’t consist of one-time mercy or a single act of compassion, but multitudes! The promise of many mercies and compassions communicates that our God is not stingy in His blessings—a fresh batch awaits us daily. I know some days don’t unfold in the way you envisioned, but you can rest in this unchanging fact: those days have an endpoint. The sun will set on whatever befell you and rise again on a new day filled with mercies earmarked just for you. Psalm 92:2 tells us to declare the Lord’s lovingkindness in the morning and His faithfulness every night. Meditate on His mercy as you arise—just waking up is reminder enough of His merciful care—and His grace and lovingkindness throughout the day. Do that, and I promise you will have a God-filled outlook that rejoices in His faithfulness when your head hits the pillow at night. Begin tomorrow with full assurance of the Lord’s new mercies and compassions, and you will shout, along with Jeremiah, “Great is YOUR faithfulness!” Pastor Jack Hibbs
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          Imitate the pearl oyster! "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13 I wish, brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. The oyster cannot reject the evil—but it 'covers' it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl! Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians—so that pearls of patience, gentleness, and forgiveness might be bred within us, by that which otherwise would have harmed us! (Charles Spurgeon, "Love's Labors") "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8
          1. The Holy War

            The war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the war against terror, and the war for the souls of men are all one and the same! The war has been continuous since its beginning. Each generation manages to add the names of the conflicts of their day, but it is merely a continuation of that which came before.

            There was a man who once wrote of this war against “man’s soul.” It was written in allegory, because this style was his timeless gift. His name was John Bunyan. In his autobiography, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, he shared vividly of the torment of his soul and his ultimate deliverance by Christ’s wondrous and glorious Grace. You are probably most familiar with his more famous book, Pilgrim’s Progress. However, the work to which I now speak is called, The Holy War. In it Bunyan, who spent 12 years in prison for preaching the Gospel, tells of the assault against the town of Mansoul brought by a mighty enemy named Diabolus.

            The town of Mansoul was built within walls and ramparts that were designed to withstand any attack. Even its five gates (Ear Gate, Eye Gate, Mouth Gate, Nose Gate and Feel Gate) could not be breached or traversed unless permission to enter was given by the townsfolk within.

            Diabolus got together with his generals and strategized how they might conquer Mansoul and make it theirs. They decided not to use an overt frontal attack against the impregnable ramparts. Instead they decided to take Mansoul by stealth and deception. They would approach in a form familiar to the townsfolk ─ a form over which they thought they had dominion.

            So the bad guys put on their armor and turned on their cloaking device, approached the town of Mansoul and walked right in.

            Through deception, Diabolus put the town of Mansoul into bondage and purposed further to corrupt them as well. He ordered Mr. Filth to proclaim in the streets that the inhabitants were free to do anything their lusts might desire. There would be no one in authority allowed to hinder them for fear of prosecution from Diabolus. Thus Mansoul would grow weak to the point that even if the news of their redemption were broadcast from the rooftops, they would not have the ability to believe, or the hope to choose it (John Bunyan, The Holy War—Paraphrase mine).

            The inhabitants of Mansoul should have been impervious to this attack, but alas, they had succumbed to the thinking of the day and were living as if they belonged to this world.

            “Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all” (1 Cor 15:33-34 NLT).

            “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:15-16 NLT).

            “Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness” (Ephesians 6:14 NLT).

            My breastplate is a breastplate of iron….In plain language it is a hard heart, a heart as hard as iron and as unfeeling as a stone. If you wear it you will show no mercy to others. (John Bunyan, The Holy War—Paraphrase mine).

            “In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan” Ephesians 6:16 NLT).

            My shield is unbelief—the calling into question the truth of the Word and all the sayings that speak of the judgment that Shaddai has appointed for wicked men….But in the record of the wars of Immanuel against my servants, many have testified that he could do no mighty work because of their unbelief. (John Bunyan, The Holy War—Paraphrase mine).

            “Put on salvation as your helmet…” (Ephesians 6:17a NLT).

            My helmet is the hope of doing well in spite of the circumstances. Those who wear it say that they will be safe even though they insist on doing things their own way. This stubbornness of heart if you wear it, will protect you against many blows. (John Bunyan, The Holy War—Paraphrase mine).

            “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere" (Ephesians 6:18 NLT).

            “Another piece,” said Diabolus, “of my excellent armor is a silent and prayerless spirit, a spirit that despises crying for mercy” (John Bunyan, The Holy War—Paraphrase mine).

            “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 NLT).

            “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 4:6-7 NLT).

            “When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. ‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken.” (Isaiah 1:15-20 NLT).

            1. James Hudson Taylor was a British Protestant Christian missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission. Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society that he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country who started 125 schools and directly resulted in 18,000 Christian conversions, as well as the establishment of more than 300 stations of work with more than 500 local helpers in all eighteen provinces.
              1. published a newsletter

                ReadRemote Access Discipleship
                August 2022

                A Decisive Rip

                Unveiling God’s Response to the Death of Jesus

                By Joseph R. Dodson

                It was a red-letter day. Twenty-eight years before, in the old gym of a small school in a one-stoplight town, I asked a 14-year-old girl to “go steady” with me. That young lady would eventually lead me to the Lord and later become my wife. I wanted to do something special to commemorate the anniversary, but we didn’t have any wiggle room in our budget to do so. I tried to shrug off my disappointment by moving on to the next task: cleaning out my office.

                I soon came across a binder of encouraging notes from former students. When I opened it, I saw an envelope from 2004 in the pocket. Peeking inside, I couldn’t believe it. I dumped it out to find $200—CASH! I had flipped through that binder many times over the years, never noticing it held a surprise from God.

                Similarly, there are times when the Lord surprises me by revealing an insight within a familiar passage. For instance, the other day I was studying Mark 15:37–38:

                  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (NRSV)

                I have often flipped through those verses and understood that the rending of the curtain was to signify that Christ’s death opened the way to God’s presence. This time, I was astonished to learn about other implications of the rip. In The Temple and the Tabernacle, J. Daniel Hays points out that Mark’s Gospel itself does not clearly interpret the torn curtain in terms of access to God. It appears that Mark had something more in mind.

                In the biblical world, the rending of garments signified mourning and sorrow. Perhaps, then, with the rip, Mark is showing God’s response to his Son’s death. If so, after Jesus cries out in anguish before his Father, the Father responds by tearing the curtain—his veritable garment—as an outcry of his own grief. What’s more, the rending of the veil could stand for divine judgment, especially in light of the role the temple priesthood played in Christ’s execution. Since Jesus was convicted for speaking against the temple, the rip foreshadows its destruction as God’s righteous vindication.

                To be sure, all three interpretations are viable, and each one highlights a different divine attribute. First, the rip reminds us that God gave his only Son, so that—through Christ’s death and resurrection—we could have permanent access to his presence. While this is a precious promise in and of itself, there are more invaluable treasures hidden in the “pocket” of this passage.

                The rip also demonstrates that our God not only comforts his children in their misery, but also grieves with them. In response to the hurt and injustice in this world, Jesus weeps (John 11), the Spirit groans (Rom 8), and the Father rends his garments in mourning.

                Finally, the rip reassures us that the Lord promises justice for those who suffer. One day God will respond. The self-righteous leaders who ignore the poor and the wicked tyrants who oppress the godly will face his judgment.

                In response to the priceless insights hidden in that decisive rip, may we draw near today and worship the God of justice who both suffers and saves.

                Joseph R. Dodson (PhD, University of Aberdeen, Scotland) is associate professor of biblical studies at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

                Dodson, J. R. (2018). Moment with God: A Decisive Rip. Bible Study Magazine, 10(3), 6. (Used by Permission)

                1. Sexual Purity: On the Rock or Under It?

                  “A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. So why do you keep calling Me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to Me, listens to My teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.“ Luke 6:45-48 NLT

                  Why would I start an article about sexual purity with this particular Scripture reference? It is because in our present world, where atheistic humanism is rampant with all manner of alternative standards, we need an unshakable, unwavering, undeniable, and perfect standard. Here it is! Pastor Andrew Murray probably said it best in the title of his book, “Absolute Surrender.” That is our standard—perfect obedience!

                  We are surrounded by an environment where standards are mixed. The byword in the military culture is “Professional Excellence.” However, if we scrutinize this phrase a little more closely, we shall see that it falls short of perfection. Excellence by its very nature makes allowance for something less than perfection.



                  EXCELLENCY, n. [L. excellentia.] The state of possessing good qualities in an unusual or eminent degree; the state of excelling in any thing.

                  1. A valuable quality; anything highly laudable, meritorious or virtuous, in persons, or valuable and esteemed, in things. Purity of heart, uprightness of mind, sincerity, virtue, piety, are excellencies of character; symmetry of parts, strength and beauty are excellencies of body; an accurate knowledge of an art is an excellence in the artisan; soundness and durability are excellencies in timber; fertility, in land; elegance, in writing. In short, whatever contributes to exalt man, or to render him esteemed and happy, or to bless society, is in him an excellence.

                  In the commercial world we find businesses seeking after excellence. One could hope that they would also be in search of perfection; however, the reality is that perfection would be too costly and would diminish the bottom line on the financial reports. Business would rather create the perception of perfection for their customers and instead find an acceptable balance between quality and cost (best practices). (“Every Man’s Battle,” Arterburn & Stoeker)

                  How does this compare with the Bible’s standard for our sexual purity?

                  “But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 NLT

                  Here Christ reveals to us that the commandment did not apply only to an external act, but also to the secrets of our hearts, and even the movements of our eyes. “He declares that they who indulge a wanton desire, that they who look on a woman to increase their lust, have already, in the sight of God, violated the commandment, and committed adultery in the heart. Such was the guilt of David, whose deep and awful crime fully shows the danger of indulging in evil desires, and in the roving of a wanton eye. See 2 Samuel 11; Psalm 51. See also 2 Peter 2:14. So exceeding strict and broad is the law of God! And so heinous in his sight are thoughts and feelings which may be forever concealed from the world!” (Dr. Albert Barnes)

                  “If voluntary and deliberate looks and desires make adulterers and adulteresses, how many persons are there whose whole life is one continued crime? Whose eyes being full of adultery, they cannot cease from sin, 2 Peter 2:14. Many would abhor to commit one external act before the eyes of men, in a temple of stone; and yet they are not afraid to commit a multitude of such acts in the temple of their hearts, and in the sight of God!” (Dr. Adam Clarke)

                  A very short sojourn on television, a walk on the beach, or even driving by a billboard in the world of today might, by this standard, leave you defiled and an adulterer.

                  “For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:21-23 NLT

                  So how are you doing, shipmate? Is the secret life of your own eyes leaving you the benefactor of the evil that lives within your heart? Be Encouraged! All the power of the universe is available to separate you from your sin! The question Jesus asks is, “Do you want to be healed?” Do you want to live on “the Rock” or under it?

                  So then, where is the victory for those of us who have a pulse, can fog a mirror, and have the tendency to see the world through earthly eyes? The secret has been revealed, Jesus Christ, the Lord!

                  The aforementioned quote from Luke 6 is one of the places where we can find the victory. It speaks of our obedience (or lack thereof) and the condition of our heart! Faith and obedience are toes on the same foot!

                  If we wait for God to change us before we act, we are cowering in the ditch of passivity! If we act apart from the Lord (being yoked together with Him) we are lying in the ditch of arrogance! (Roy Hession, “Calvary Road,” “We Would See Jesus,” paraphrase mine) But if we claim the promise of Romans Chapter 8:1-2, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.“ (NLT), and put it into practice (take the first step with one foot and two toes) we will find the victory assured with each step! Because now we will be walking on “the Rock.”

                  God is not slack in His promise; each day is by His “command.” The question then, warrior, is can you take an order issued by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? Do you want to be healed?

                  What then is the cause of our failure? Is this not the “lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life” that John warned us about—the following of our “evil, lustful desires” as we “despise authority”? (1 John 2:15-16, 2 Peter 2:10) God’s forgiveness is not license to make light of our sin! Christ’s death on the Cross exclaims for all time how seriously God takes our sin! God’s mercy is not an excuse for us to grow lax and live careless lives so that His Grace will super abound. (Romans 6)

                  Sexual immorality is one of the chief causes of divorce! That is why I continue to bring up the necessity for living the lives of purity to which we are called. It is time for the men of this country to take the hint from Job and make a covenant with our eyes! (Job 31:1)

                  Then we will be following God’s plan for our eyes to be focused on our wives, “forsaking all others, according to God’s holy ordinance I do pledge thee my troth” (fidelity, faith, belief, truth, verity, veracity).

                  My heart sinks with every e-mail, every phone call that tells me yet another marriage is in crisis. And as we work together to seek the causes and peel back the layers of a lifetime, the god of this age emerges, (pornea).

                  Fornication: The incontinence or lewdness of unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation of a married man with an unmarried woman. (Noah Webster)

                  Incontinence: Want of restraint of the passions or appetites; free or uncontrolled indulgence of the passions or appetites, as of anger. Want of restraint of the sexual appetite; free or illegal indulgence of lust; lewdness; used of either sex, but appropriately of the male sex. Incontinence in men is the same as unchastity in women.

                  “What are the distinguishing qualifications of those that are in favor with God, and entitled to His eternal rewards? Or, which come to the same thing, What is the nature of true religion? And wherein do lie the distinguishing notes of that virtue and holiness that is acceptable in the sight of God? But though it be of such importance, and though we have clear and abundant light in the word of God to direct us in this matter, yet there is no one point wherein professing Christians do more differ one from another. It would be endless to reckon up the variety of opinions on this point, that divide the Christian world; making manifest the truth of that declaration of our Savior, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it.” Dr. Jonathan Edwards, “The Religious Affections”

                  “Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the LORD protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good.” Psalm 127:1 NLT