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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Change is the One Constant

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Change is the One Constant

As I acknowledge that change is the one constant in life, it helps me to accept the inevitable! Accepting the difficult circumstances in my life with a more positive attitude has helped me to move on.  As I look to the Lord, who mirrored for me how to get on with life in the midst of struggles, I have a better understanding of my circumstances.  "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ  Jesus…" (Philippians 2:5) "…and let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think." (Romans 12:2)

The stresses of unexpected changes in my life have required me to change.  With the sudden loss of my first husband over eleven years ago, my initial reaction was anger!  But then I was able to look to God for strength, and the ability to move beyond myself.  His strength became my sufficiency.  I had to come to accept my loss, and once I was able to do so, I had the flexibility and freedom to move on.

All change follows a definable sequence of stages, much like the stages of grief.  Once I came to the place where I could accept my loss, God gave me the freedom to look beyond myself and to see new opportunities.  Some of the following principles that I have applied in my life, I hope will be helpful to you with your life's changes:

1) Learn to be flexible and adaptable.

2) Listen to the right voices!

3) Allow time for quiet reflection with the Lord.

4) Become involved with helping other people with their needs.

5) Stay motivated by working in community with positive thinking people.

We have a secure anchor in the midst of changes!

"For I the Lord do not change," (Malachi 3:6)

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 18:8)

As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship is Dynamic, Relational, and All of Grace

Discipleship in most Christian circles is treated as a separate part of the Christian Experience.  However, biblical discipleship is part of the salvation message and refers to the believer’s daily walk.

Biblical discipleship begins at the point of faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross and continues until he takes us home with Him in glory.  This may be expressed as, “We are being saved from the penalty of sin, and are now being saved from the power of sin and we will eventually be saved from the presence of sin.”

Jesus says that His disciples will live according to His Word,

“If you abide in my word, then you are truly My disciples” (John 8:31).

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in my and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Disciples are like sheep who are secure and daily follow Jesus as their Shepherd,

“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd” (John 10:14-16).

The following acrostic is a simple outline illustrating God’s GRACE in discipleship.

G — GOSPEL

The good news is that our salvation is all of grace by faith in Christ — not of any self-effort as expressed by the Apostle Paul,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

He continues regarding our daily walk of grace (our sanctification),

“For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk I them”  (Ephesians 2:10).

The Apostle reminds us that this life is not a do-it-yourself-kit or a self-reformation program, but,

“it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure”  (Philippians 2:13).

The Christian life is all of God!  It is His grace from start to finish!

R — RELATIONSHIP

It is often taught that we believers are “saved to serve.”  In other words, God saved us because He somehow needs our help.  Obviously, in Genesis 2 and 3 we find that God served Adam and Eve rather than they serve Him.  He placed them in the Garden of Eden where all their needs were supplied.  In fact, God, desiring their fellowship, also walked with them in the cool of the day — relationship!

Jesus demonstrated for us His desire for relationship as He taught and interacted with His disciples and followers.    He told of and revealed His intimate relationship with His Father.

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?  The words that I say to you, I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works”  (John 14:10).

We Christians are precious to God in that He has chosen to have a close, intimate relationship with us by dwelling within us, even as God dwelt within Jesus.  He promised His disciples,

“But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He bears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.  He will glorify Me, for he will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you”  (John 16:13-14).

Christ graciously saved us for relationship with Himself!

A — ALIGNMENT

Freedom and independence are the hallmarks of Americans.  Jesus uses the metaphor of goats and sheep to illustrate independent and dependent people (Matthew 24:31-35).  Goats are very independent and can take care of themselves, but sheep are very dependent and need someone to care for them.

As Christians we are no longer to live as independent goats, but as sheep dependent upon our good Shepherd,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will 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.  I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30).

God graciously saved us in order to bring us into alignment with Himself and His purposes!

C — CHRIST IS LIFE

The emphasis of our American upbringing, education, sports and recreation is focused on our being the very best we can be.  Often Christians are challenged that God deserves excellence in everything.  So, we try harder and harder to please God by attempting to improve the old Adamic nature.  This always proves to be fruitless, as the Apostle Paul cries out,

“Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death?”

And then with a sigh of relief,

“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord”  (Romans 7:24-25)!

Jesus Christ came to redeem us from sin and from the futility of trying to live up to the Law [the standard of life that He designed for mankind].  The Apostle Paul answers,

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:6, 10).

The focus of the Christian life must always be upon the Lord Jesus Christ — and Him alone.  “Christ is our life” (Colossians 3:4).  The writer of Hebrews refers to the Christian life as a life of resting daily from our creative work as God did on the seventh day from His creative work.  But as God continues to actively keep the universe going, we are to rest upon Jesus Christ to keep our lives by His life.

“There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.  For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.  Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest”  (Hebrews 4:9-11).

God graciously dwells within us to live out His perfect life in, through and with our faithful participation with Him.

E — EXHALT CHRIST

Much of the emphasis of the church today is upon preaching and teaching the Scriptures, worship music, evangelism, programs for self development, service, addiction recovery and community outreach.  These are all good and commendable, but mostly mankind centered.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body, the church, both universally, and locally.  He should be revered and allowed to lead every aspect of one’s life and ministry, whether it be corporate worship, programs, boards, committees, and the like.

Jesus said; “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).

Lifting up Jesus wherever we are and whatever we are doing is a privilege — not a burden.

The Apostle Paul encourages us to preach and teach Christ always,

“We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

IN CONCLUSION

Biblical discipleship begins at the point of faith in Christ and continues through life until Christ takes us home with Him to heaven.  The grace of discipleship is that Jesus Christ is the source and fulfillment of the disciple’s daily life— from beginning to end.  Truly it is ALL OF GRACE!

About the Author:

 

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

Caring Heart

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Caromg Heart

The article "Listening Ears," encouraged us to listen to God's voice.  I do not hear the audible voice of God as did the patriots in the Old Testament, but God speaks to me today through His Word, the Bible.

Reading and hearing about the needs of others, stirs my heart.  As I see the poor and needy on street corners asking for provisions, my heart is stirred.  Am I moved to give to the needs of people in other countries who are under persecution, and live in poverty conditions?

God's admonition in I Peter 1:22 is a reminder of how I can reach out to others with a caring heart:

"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers/sisters, love one another deeply from the heart."

The Greek word for heart is "Kardia" from which we get the English word, "Cardiac".  It is the chief organ of physical life, standing for man's entire mental and moral activity.  The Word tells us to guard our heart in Proverbs 4:23:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Webster's dictionary defines wellspring as "a source of continual supply.

A caring heart is a loving heart, willing to give. God is the only true source of love, and enables me to love.

A thought to ponder:

We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Do I love others with God's love?

As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

God's Creative Design

God's Creative Design

God's Creative Design

In the beginning Adam and Eve are  God’s prototype of the marriage relationship.

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him…. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:18, 24 NASB95)

God commanded Adam that he should “shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen 2:24 NASB77)

God puts the onus on the husband to honor the one flesh relationship.

The husband declares his marriage vows, before god, to his bride and to those present an that he will never leave nor forsake her.   Marriage is the joining together of a man and woman as one flesh, inseparable partners working together within God’s creative design for their marriage, which may also include children, work and ministry.

The apostle Paul would be aghast if he knew that his words were being used to justify and encourage a Christian husband to neglect his marital responsibilities and abandon his wife and children in order to serve God in ministry, work and pleasure or for any other reason.

Swingset IllustrationIn our travels we noticed an interesting swing set combination in a park in Florida.  The illustration of the swing set helps demonstrate the difference between being single and entering into the marriage relationship.

The single individuals on either end of the swing set have the freedom to swing independently by themselves and at their own pace without any concern for another.

The couple on the middle swing has chosen to be yoked together and must cooperate with one another in order to enjoy the swinging experience.  The option of swinging independently causes much conflict and discomfort for both.

The Apostle Peter puts it this way, “Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (1Pe 3:7 AKJV)

Disconnect

The predominant cultural ministry model, however, is that the husband abandons the relationship (swing) with his wife and lives as though he is single, even though still married, uses Paul’s “model” of singleness to support his actions.  This causes an emotional and supportive disconnect, leaving his wife to carry the full responsibility for the marriage and family, not realizing that her husband’s default placed her in that position.

Men in ministry and men in general, find it easy and acceptable to bemoan and blame their wives for their marital problems because he is the one most often held with high respect.  He will point his finger and say that she is not supportive and that she will not submit to his headship.  This model is reinforced by his peers.

The adverse fallout of a husband’s neglect and abandonment of his wife and family is observable in the high percentage of marriage separations and divorce today.

Design

The Apostle Paul very clearly spells out the husband’s responsibility and places on him the onus for the marriage in Ephesians 5:21-33.  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her…  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church” (Eph 5:25, 28-29 NASB95)

The Apostle Paul reiterates the Genesis passage in verse 31, “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.”

God designed and prioritized the  intimate and exclusive marriage relationship as an earthly visible picture of Christ’s unfailing and exclusive love relationship for His own bride, the church.

Husbands have the awesome privilege of having Christian marriages, designed by God, that manifest Jesus before an unbelieving world.  Thus following God’s Creative Design will be a powerful witness to our generation.

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

CUPbearers is a discipleship ministry centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and located in Englewood, Colorado.  CUPbearers holds that the transformation of the natural and /or fleshly person into a mature spiritual Christian is a supernatural process.  This transformation cannot be accomplished through education and self-effort alone, or by trying to improve the old nature through some system or discipline.  It is achieved through the ministry and work of God's indwelling Holy Spirit in agreement with the Word of God and the active and willing cooperation of the individual, conforming each one to the very image of Jesus Christ (John. 15:5).  Therefore, according to God’s design, Jesus Christ is enabled to function in, through and with the participating Christian as one's full and abundant life (John. 10:10).

The commitment of CUPbearers is to the full sufficiency of Jesus Christ and His ability to meet the needs of all individuals.  CUPbearers is also convinced that the Bible is the inerrant revelation of God to mankind and the resultant relationship He planned for and desires to have with those who individually and corporately trust Him.  We believe that the Bible speaks directly or in principle to the practical, daily issues of how fallen and emotionally damaged men and women can be restored to healthy maturity in Christ.

CUPbearers, Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930, Englewood, CO 80150-1930
(303) 761-5005
http://ShepherdingGrace.ORG

Listening Ears

Listening Ears

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Listening Ears

Doris Waldrop Mincks
Doris Waldrop Mincks

How many times have I said to my children and grandchildren, "Did you hear what I said?" or "Do you hear me?" It is normal to want to be heard. Little children especially have a difficult time being heard, and they are often ignored. Even in adult conversations, I have had times when I felt like I was not heard.

To be more effective in communicating, I have learned to listen when people are talking.   Proverbs 4:1,2 is an excellent example of true communication:

"Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding."

Do I listen to learn from the person I am with, or do I want to inform?  If I am truly listening, my facial expression should show interest in what is being said, giving the person my full attention.  Am I listening to understand what the person is saying?

"He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame."

As I give my full attention to the person talking, am I willing to hear their story, experiences, and to know how he or she is feeling? This type of communication is called "empathy".  I am trying to understand their experiences or feelings.

As I have learned to listen to God through His instructions in the Bible, it has helped me to listen to people.

Jesus' words in Luke 10:16:

"He who listens to You listens to Me; he who rejects You rejects Me;"
Proverbs 1:33 —"but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease; without fear of harm."
James 1:22 —"Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves.   Do what it says."

Thought to Ponder: As I listen to God's voice, am I willing to act on what He says? As God speaks to me through His Word, am I then willing to listen to those people God brings into my path?

As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

Christian Maturity

Christian Maturity

Christian Maturity

Sanctification is the term that theologians use for the daily life of the maturing Christian.  There are two realms involved and both involve the Lord Jesus Christ.  These represent the reciprocal indwelling of Jesus Christ.

1.  Indwelt by Jesus Christ. 

“The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:10b, 23)

You have Jesus living within you in order for Him to direct you as the father directed Him.

Thomas’ question to Jesus

“Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” (John 14:5)

Jesus’ answer

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”  (John 14:6-7)

Philip’s question to Jesus

“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” (John 14:8)

Jesus’ answer

“Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father”  (John 14:9)

1.  I do not take the initiative, but My father dwelling Me does the works (10b).

2.  Believe that I am in the Father and that He is in Me (11a).

3.  Or believe in the works themselves that I do (11b).

4.  I go to My Father and the works that I did, you will do also and greater works (12-14).

5.  I will give you another helper to abide with and in you (15-18).

6.  You will behold Me, but the world will not see Me (19a).

7.  I live, you will live also (19b).

8.  You will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I am in you (20).

9.  You love Me and I will disclose Myself to you (21).

Judas’ question to Jesus

“Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14:22)

Jesus’ answer

“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.…the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.   But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.  Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.  I go away, and I will come to you.  If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14:23-28)

2.  Dwelling in Jesus Christ.

“[you] Be renewed in the spirit of your mind,  and put on (clothed in Christ) the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Eph 4:23-4)

Jesus’ promise to you and His disciples

“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.…I will do it.” (John 14:13-14)

“"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.…the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me. (John 14:23-24)

Jesus’ prayer for you and His disciples

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21 NASB)

Jesus expresses His confidence in you and His disciples in spite of you occasional doubts.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.” (John 17:6-8)

Jesus give to you Himself and His glory so that you and all other Christians may be one!

“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (John 17: 22-23)

Sanctification is both the indwelling of Jesus Christ in the Christian and the dwelling of the Christian in Jesus.  This is truly a win-win relationship where Jesus is our “all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years.

http://shepherdinggrace.org

Can You Trust God With Your Stress

Can You Trust God With Your Stress

Thoughts to Ponder by Doris

Doris Waldrop Mincks
Doris Waldrop Mincks

We know that King David was often "distressed", the word for stress in the Bible. We all experience stress at certain times, and it is not always harmful. It can strengthen us or alert us to impending danger. However, we tend to put harmful stress on ourselves by excessive worry and fear.

Psalm 4:2-"Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer."
Psalm 18:6-"In my distress, I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help."

David sought the Lord in his distress, and asked for help. God heard and answered David's prayer, and he was able to praise God even in the midst of his circumstances.

Change is one of the constants in life, but it also creates stress. Learning to adapt to the many changes that our daily life brings is not easy. In addition to change, three other causes of stress are conflicts, criticisms, and crises. As we learn to accept the trials that are inevitable in life, we can with God's help begin to grow through them.

King David is a prime example of one who struggled with stress and anxiety—a common symptom of depression, but recognizing his own inadequacy, sought God's help.

Psalm 38:10-"My heart pounds, my strength fails me; light has gone from my eyes."

But he was able to say:

Psalm 38:15-"I wait for you, O Lord, you will answer, O Lord my God."
Psalm 94:18-"When I said, My foot is slipping, your love, O Lord, supported me."
Psalm 94:18-"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

Thought to ponder:

Do you have the confident expectation that, like David, God will help you through the stresses of life?  You can!

Food for thought:

"In the last resort it is highly improbable that there could ever be a therapy which gets rid of all difficulties.  Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health." Carl Jung
As a military spouse and family counselor, Doris Waldrop Mincks has ministered to military families for many years. Her ministry, Wives of Warriors Worldwide, WOWW, desires to come along side the military community to give encouragement and support to military wives, meeting the life situations unique to them.

Romans 8:6 - The Mind Set on the Spirit

Romans 8:6 - The Mind Set on the Spirit

Romans 8:6 — The Mind Set on the Spirit is Life and Peace

The elements of truth, morality, and piety scattered throughout ancient heathenism, may be ascribed to three sources.  In the first place, man, even in his fallen state, retains some traces of the divine image, a knowledge of God,67 however weak, a moral sense or conscience,68 and a longing for union with the Godhead, for truth and for righteousness.69  In this view we may, with Tertullian, call the beautiful and true sentences of a Socrates, a Plato, an Aristotle, of Pindar, Sophocles, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, Plutarch, "the testimonies of a soul constitutionally Christian,"70 of a nature predestined to Christianity.  Secondly, some account must be made of traditions and recollections, however faint, coming down from the general primal revelations to Adam and Noah. But the third and most important source of the heathen anticipations of truth is the all-ruling providence of God, who has never left himself without a witness.  Particularly must we consider, with the ancient Greek fathers, the influence of the divine Logos before his incarnation,71 who was the tutor of mankind, the original light of reason, shining in the darkness and lighting every man, the sower scattering i the soil of heathendom the seeds of truth, beauty, and virtue.72  (Phillip Schaff)

67 Rom. 1:19, το–ῒ –ͅϊγνωστὸντοῦ θεοῦ. Comp, my annotations on Lange in loc.
68 Rom. 2:14, 15. Comp. Lange in loc.
69 Comp. Acts 17:3, 27, 28, and my remarks on the altar to the θεὸς ἄγνωστος in the History of the Apost. Church. § 73, p. 269 sqq.
70 Testimonia animae naturaliter Christianae.
71 Λόγος ἄσαρκος , Λόγος σπερματικός .
72 Comp. John 1:4, 5, 9, 10.

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, (NASB)

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (KJV)

So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. (NLT)

For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, (NET)

Watchmen Nee calls this phenomenon the "latent power of the soul."  "For the mind set on the flesh is death" Romans 8:6a NASB  This is the "reprobate" mindset that prevents us from distinguishing the Gospel of Christ from the 99.9% pure Gospel of Satan.  The former bringing a life of liberty (deliverance from the oppression of sin) versus a life of freedom.  Which is why we are to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling."

o  gar  fronema  tos  sarkos  thanatos,  to  de  fronema  tos  pneumatos  zoo  kai  eirene

The Greek (transliterated above) helps us capture the idea (fronema  tos  sarkos  thanatos) mind of flesh death — (fronema  tos  pneumatos  zoo  kai  eirene) mind of spirit life and peace.

Because of this "latent power of the soul," we will be deceived into thinking that we are walking in the light when we are actually walking in the darkness of our own making.  We become oblivious to the fact that as we do this we are acting as a double agent perhaps even a terrorist.  For in allowing the flesh to assert itself we will serve the purposes of the enemy of our soul with great zeal while the true Gospel languishes.  We presuppose that the carnal Christian is one who is struggling with sin.  However, the carnal Christian is actually the one who is serving in the power of the flesh!  For over 200 years the American arrogance has believed that we are blessed because of something we have done.  The reality is that we are blessed in spite of what we have done.  Grace is not, cannot, and will not, dependant upon the works of man.  But the sarkos thanatos will always think so!  The Emperor Constantine said, "everybody into the pool," and sarkos thanatos said, "God is working."  The church parking lot has 15,000 cars in it while the pastor preaches, "God wants you to have the best parking space," and sarkos thanatos said, "God is good!"  We have created Christ in our own image and think we are blessed.  When the Anti-Christ rises we won't even notice because we wont' know the difference!  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God reprised.

Rom 8:6 
For to be carnally minded - Margin, “The minding of the flesh.” The sense is, that to follow the inclinations of the flesh, or the corrupt propensities of our nature, leads us to condemnation and death. The expression is one of great energy, and shows that it not only leads to death, or leads to misery, but that it is death itself; there is woe and condemnation in the very act and purpose of being supremely devoted to the corrupt passions, Its only tendency is condemnation and despair. (Dr. Albert Barnes)

Sin is no longer at all a law. This deliverance, to one who loves holiness, who loves God, is a profound and immense subject of joy. The passage does not say that the flesh is changed — quite the contrary; one would not speak of the law of a thing which no longer existed. We have to contend with it, but it is no more a law; neither can it bring us under death in our conscience. (Dr. John Darby)

Whatever the flesh savors, that brings about death: and whatever the Spirit savors, that is conducive to joy and everlasting life. (Geneva Bible Translation Notes)

"Then I realized that God allows people to continue in their sinful ways so he can test them.  That way they can see for themselves that they are no better than animals." (Ecclesiastes 3:18 NLT)

 

Christian Unity

This writer is often asked “Why are there so many church divisions and denominations?”  there is no easy answer to this honest question.

The lack of unity is based upon the diversity of mankind and the desire to be independent and in control as Adam and Eve chose.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die!  For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
(Gen 3:4-5 NASB)

Additional confusion has developed when Christian leaders fail to look to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church for His will and direction as in Israel and the time of the Judges.

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 NASB)

Christian leaders and their followers tend to be prideful over their unique and “true” interpretation of the Scripture, traditions, lifestyle and goals.  Because of these distinctives they look down on those who do not hold them and separate from associating with them.  They warn their followers not to associate with others who do not hold to the same teaching for fear of losing them.

Attempts for Organizational Unity

Over the years some denominations and church organizations have sought to join together, but were unable to reconcile practices regarding the Lord’s Supper (Communion) and the meaning, time and mode of Baptism.  Differences of church government (Pastor led, elder rule or congregational) at times were also divisive.  Jesus said regarding Biblical salvation:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.  (John 14:6 NASB)

Most Christian churches and organizations believe that there is only one way to gain salvation and that is through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.  However, even understanding  the biblical nature of salvation divides.  Must a Christian be a member of a certain church to be saved?  Can one loose their salvation and then regain it by repentance?  Or is a Christian’s salvation secure in Christ and cannot be lost?  Jesus prayed:

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.  (John 17:22-23 NASB)

Even in the early church there were  divisions regarding leaders.

For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe's people, that there are quarrels among you.  Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” Has Christ been divided?  Paul was not crucified for you, was he?  Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1Corinthians 1:11-13 NASB)

The Apostle Paul expresses his understanding of Christian unity.

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.  (Ephesians 4:1-6 NASB)

Examples of Unity Among Individual Christians

This writer was a missionary to the US military stationed in  the Philippines.  We ministered to men and women from about 50 different church backgrounds plus many who were unchurched or unsaved.  Our focus was upon Jesus Christ, salvation, bible study and the Christian’s daily life in Christ Jesus.

Rarely were the various church differnces brought up or condemned because of our oneness and focus on Christ.

Who are you to judge the servant of another?  To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.  (Rom 14:4 NASB)

Daily Life and Christian Unity

Jesus promised that wherever you go He will always be with you.

For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b NASB)

Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.  (John 16:24 NASB)

Since the Lord Jesus Christ dwells within you by His Holy Spirit, it is fitting while talking with other Christians indwelt with Him, to give credit and praise to Jesus for all of the factors of your life and whatever your circumstances may be.

It is always appropriate to pray with other believers.  You may pray for Christ’s provision for whatever their needs may be.  You can praise Him for His grace, provision and protection.  You can thank Him for His love and care.

“Making” a Disciple Takes Time

To make a disciple-making disciple requires that someone pours their life with Jesus into another person, until that person looks only to Jesus.

Modern life in the developed world has changed much from the first century but the principle that Jesus illustrates is still the same.  Those who are called to love and serve God must be disciples by others who have gone before them.  New believers must see what it looks like when someone puts God first.  They must watch others as they strive to put God first in all things.  They must observe what it ooks like when another man lives by and obeys the Holy Scriptures.  And they must be in a relationship of trust such that they can ask honest questions.

My first real encounter with this discipling pattern of Jesus, in an intentional way, came when I was taken under the wing of a wise old pastor who lives thousands of miles away form me.  He suggested we talk each week for an hour by phone.  At first we just got to know one another, and he answered some of my pressing questions.  But as time went on I realized that he and I were in a different relationship than any I had had before.  He wanted me to only seek for Jesus’ affirmation.  He only wanted for me what God wanted for me.

My life in the institutional church had not been like that.  Though many in authority would have said otherwise, the general relationship I had with my ecclesiastical superiors was all about organizational accountability and performance.  ...In my forty-four years of ordained ministry, I was never called to talk for an hour about my life and ministry as a disciple of Jesus.

A disciple-making disciple cares about those he is discipling.  He prays for them, and loves them, and gives himself to them.  All he knows of the Lord he shares with them.  And perhaps the most important thing he gives them is time.

Jon Shuler, NAMS Network, September 27, 2016 (excerpted).

About the Author:

Pastor Bingham is the founder of CupBearers, and was for 17 years a missionary with Cadence International and has been the Pastor of Rocky Mountain Evangelical Free Church for 32 years.  He also served on the CMF Board of Directors for several years. 

Shepherding Grace Ministries
PO Box 1930
Englewood, CO 80150-1930
http://www.ShepherdingGrace.org

 

Romans 8:5 - The Man Is as the Mind Is

Romans 8:5 - The Man Is as the Mind Is

Romans 8:5 — The Man Is as the Mind Is

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (NASB)

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (KJV)

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. (NLT)

For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. (NET)

Col 3:1  Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (NET)

The words “carnally minded” are to phronēma tēs sarkos (το φρονημα της σαρκος), literally, “the mind of the flesh.”

The words “spiritually minded” are to phronēma tou pneumatos (το φρονημα του πνευματος), literally, “the mind possessed by the Spirit,” thus a mind controlled or dominated by the Holy Spirit. (Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader)

The mind (8:5–11; cf. 7:22–23; 8:5–7) is allowed to have its way in the Spirit. There is an absolute separation between being in the flesh and in the Spirit. In this section the potency of life in the Spirit is stressed, not the details of how such a life comes about.  (Tyndale concise Bible commentary)

It is our sinful nature that tries to make our mind focus on our fleshly desires, which will lead to only one end and that is death.  However, the indwelling Spirit tries to take illuminate the reality of our flesh (sinful desires) and then lead us to life.  If we are focused on our own sinful pleasures we will have set a course for death.  If we focus on Christ and His righteousness, then we will sail a course pleasing to the Spirit.  I suppose the reality is that our flesh is NOT interested in making a good decision here.  Our place of departure then must be the honest recognition that we cannot choose rightly apart from the Spirit's power.  We must confess then our inability in order to gain the victory.

This deliverance from the law of sin and death is not a mere experience (it will produce precious experiences); it is a divine operation, known by faith in His operation who raised up from the dead, known in all its power by its accomplishment in Jesus, in the efficacy of which we participate by faith. The difficulty of receiving it is that we find our experience clashing with it. That Christ has put away my sins, and that God has loved me, is a matter of simple faith through grace. That I am dead is apt to find itself contradicted in my heart….The passage does not say that the flesh is changed — quite the contrary; one would not speak of the law of a thing which no longer existed. We have to contend with it, but it is no more a law; neither can it bring us under death in our conscience. (Dr. John Darby)

By looking to our minds. How may we know whether we are after the flesh or after the Spirit? By examining what we mind, the things of the flesh or the things of the spirit. Carnal pleasure, worldly profit and honor, the things of sense and time, are the things of the flesh, which unregenerate people mind. The favor of God, the welfare of the soul, the concerns of eternity, are the things of the Spirit, which those that are after the Spirit do mind. The man is as the mind is….Which way do our thoughts move with most pleasure? Which way go our plans and contrivances? Are we most wise for the world, or for our souls?  (Matthew Henry)


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