Tuesday, February 28, 2012

It's The End of The World...Again

I vividly remember being a teenager at a Christian high school when the new millennium was at hand over a dozen years ago.  We were in assembly and listened to one of the seniors play his guitar and sing for about an hour.  When he had finished, he spoke to us and confidently declared that the "rapture" was certainly near because many European nations were on the verge of switching to the Euro dollar as a currency.  Instantaneously, my veins coursed with adrenaline and all of my goals flashed before my eyes: college, career, marriage, fatherhood.  I was still two years from becoming a Christian, yet I still knew the horrifying tales of God's wrath that the schoolhouse prophecy experts would feed to their students.

Fast-forwarding to today, we are all still here.  Do you remember May 21, 2011?  That was another doomsday that never happened.  Harold Camping decided to double down on his failed 1994 prediction and also whiffed on this attempt.  We all (well, most of us) know that Camping is senile and out of his mind, so what's the problem?  We absolutely have to be able to correlate the fact that by spewing forth such foolishness, Christians are marginalized in the eyes of a society that badly needs a spiritual awakening.  It's not just Camping, but a plethora of false prophets have flooded the market with un-Biblical nonsense like the Left Behind series because anxious and gullible believers gobble them up at break-neck speed.

I spent the night of May 21, 2011, in Afghanistan.  I remember reading some of the most ridiculous stories, including one of a mother slitting the throats of her children to save them from the coming "tribulation".  As sorrowful last meals were shared across the world, I researched these supposed "last days".  What I found changed my worldview forever.  Before you tell me that my eschatological (eschatology: the study of the end of things, particularly the end of the world) views aren't a salvation issue and shouldn't be brought up, think again.  Many people who would be open to the church and the faith are pushed away by these sadistic and inaccurate views of the times we live in.  That, my friend, is a salvation issue.  Indeed, no one pushes more people away from the church than the church itself.  Other famous doomsday predictions include:

53 A.D.- Thessalonians fear they have missed the second coming.  Paul is prompted to write a second epistle to them.

400 A.D.- Through a series of calculations, Hippolytus predicts that there were still 200 years left.

968 A.D.- Otto's army is panicked by an eclipse that is thought of to be the end of the world.

994 A.D.- Famines and plagues in Saxony lead to last days paranoia.  The year 1000 is fast approaching and brings many predictions with it.

1033 A.D.- One thousand years since Christ's crucifixion- another numerical focal point for end times.

1420 A.D.- Taborites of Czechoslovakia predict that all the world's cities will be destroyed by fire in the near future.

1666 A.D.- Bubonic plague, the numbers 666, and the Great London Fire cause many British to believe the end is at hand.

1914 A.D.- Jehovah's Witnesses correlate the start of World War One to Biblical prophecy and Armageddon.

1988 A.D.- 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988.  I can give you 24 reasons, one for each year, why that book was a flop.

You can clearly see that humans have been busy predicting the end of this world for two millennia.  That was only a sample of the mine of data that could have been displayed.  Let me set the record straight: I do believe in the second coming of Christ; however, I do not believe in "end times" or any other series of events that leads to the second coming.  This point of view is known as preterism.  Preterists believe that most eschatological prophecies were fulfilled in the first century A.D.  Most people suffering from last days madness today, such as Joel Rosenberg, use not only Revelation to supplement their books, but also Daniel, Ezekiel, and Matthew 24.  Matthew 24 contains Christ's "Olivet Discourse":

"Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.  "Do you see all these things?" he asked.  "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately.  "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.  Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.  So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation', spoken of through the prophet Daniel- let the reader understand- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now- and never to be equaled again."- Matthew 24:1-20

The last days crowd gets excited every time a tsunami wipes out an entire city or country or when tensions flare up in the Middle East.  People are literally convinced that CNN and Fox News are carrying stories straight out of Revelation.  In all actuality, the Olivet Discourse is summed up quite simply when viewed through the lens of preterism.  In the paragraph above, Christ is referring to his coming in judgement.  Don't believe me?  Look at the history books.  In 70 A.D., the Roman Army, led by Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and sacked the Jewish temple.  This is the same Jewish temple that Jesus, forty years earlier, had marked for destruction (not one stone left on top of another).  Let's look at other key points, which I have set in bold:

many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah' (v. 5)- Historical records indicate that Israel was full of magicians and sorcerers who claimed themselves to be divine and gave many signs to watchful crowds.  Eusebius, in 325 A.D., wrote of several men who led rebellions (particularly Theudas, who is mentioned in Acts 5) and claimed to be the Christ.

wars and rumors of wars; nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (v. 6-7)- Prior to 70 A.D. and the sacking of Jerusalem, four Roman caesars were violently killed within 18 months of one another.  Syria and Arabia nearly warred, but the death of Tiberius prevented this.  Bardanes and Volageses declared war against the Jews in this timeframe as well.

famines and earthquakes (v. 7)- Aside from the documented earthquakes in the Bible (Christ's death and the prison escape of Acts 16), we have historical documentation that five notable earthquakes took place between 46 A.D. and 62 A.D. in Crete, Rome, Apamaia, Laodicea, and Campania.

handed over to be persecuted and put to death (v. 9)- John was the only disciple to live out his days, yet even he was persecuted.  All of the others were martyred.  Additionally, Christians suffered greatly under Nero, who blamed them for starting a fire in Rome in 64 A.D.

gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole world (v. 14)- Read Paul's introductions to the Romans and Colossians and the descriptions of the spread of the Gospel (documented in Acts 2:5 and 17:6) and visualize what the perception of "the whole world" in those days was.

standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation' (v. 15)- Christ is referring to the Roman Army that is desolating the Jewish temple.  They are led by Titus.

Let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. (v. 16, 19-20)- This is Christ's warning of the coming desolation and the "end of the age"- the Jewish age.  He said that they should pray for the attack to come on any day but the Sabbath because the city's gates would be closed on that day, which would prevent the escape of Jews from Jerusalem.  The cold of winter would impede a timely escape from the invading army.

The truth is written plainly in the Bible and is supported by history.  Why are so many church leaders still focusing on so-called "end times" when we still have a "current time" to make a difference?  Well, what do you expect from a culture that doesn't understand either ancient or modern American and world history?  The last days craze doesn't stop at Matthew 24.  It goes on to Revelation, where people relate corrupt politicians to a frightening beast who will rise to power and destroy Christians all over the world.  Did you know that the word "antichrist" is found in only four Biblical passages, but not even once in Revelation?  John uses it only in his other writings to describe those who oppose the Gospel.  Joel Rosenberg exploits Old Testament texts from Ezekiel 38-39 to imply that Russia and Iran will conspire to attack Israel, with whom God broke ties to in 70 A.D., in these "last days".  Apparently the word rosh is supposed to mean "Russia" in many eschatological circles- this is how Russia has been unfairly depicted as the typical end-times bad guy for years, even though Ezekiel was likely discussing events that are documented in Esther 9, five centuries before Christ.  I would be interested to see what kind of home he lives in or what type of car he drives, because he is obviously raking in the money from people who would rather stand by idly as society goes to hell instead of getting involved in building communities and helping people in these "current times".  Will he admit that he's a false prophet when his latest conspiracy falls through?

I'm getting long-winded here, so I'll get to the moral of the story.  How can we, as a faith, expect to impact peoples' lives when a large segment of our people spread stories of horrors to come, chaos, and general negativity?  How can our country recover when the true agents of change, Christians, chalk up the failure of the United States to prophetic inevitability?  Nearly all who follow Christian eschatology hold a negative outlook of the future.  Why should we bother marrying, having children, pursuing careers, voting, or even getting up in the morning if everything is all bound for failure?  Furthermore, why would any non-believer want to join such a miserable and brooding group of people?

"Where there is no vision, the people perish..."- Proverbs 29:18

Why did Christopher Columbus sail the ocean blue in a day where the Czechs had already predicted the impending doom of mankind?  Why did our founding fathers go ahead with the rebellion against England and the Constitution if the collapse of America and all other icons of Christendom were guaranteed by Scripture?  This truly is a situation where Scripture isn't even needed to solve the argument.  Contemporary Christian eschatology defies logic.  You don't need Scripture to understand that there is something bigger than you, me, and the rest of the universe out there- God.  You don't need Scripture to understand that pigs on a farm and their inborn ability to select a partner of the opposite sex supports natural sexuality and throws out any idea of homosexuality being a normal way to continue humanity.

We will never recover our nation as we know and love it if Christians don't play a part in it.  I firmly believe that God wants to bless us and will bless us, but only if Christians quit watching American Idol and get busy in the "current times."  The way we view our world determines how we behave.  Instead of subscribing to the same negative drivel about how we will soon be stamped with a "666" emblem or be killed, or how we are doomed to failure, turn to Acts 2:34-35:

"The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."

Is your glass half-full or half-empty?  I believe Christ will return when his enemies are put down by His people.  Call me idealistic, but I envision a world one day that is sold out for Christianity.  Not just in the United States, but throughout the world.  We have more Christians here than anywhere else on Earth, so why don't we get busy throwing out evils in our society that are tolerated by a corrupt government so we can advance the kingdom (thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven- sound familiar?). When we throw off our own self-imposed chains, we will again be unstoppable.  We must offer life to the world, not gloom, doom, misery, and unavoidable defeat.  Just as the Jews wandered for forty years, so we will wander until our minds are right for the true mission: bringing the world under the obedience of Christ.

The victory of the Gospel in history is inevitable.  Will you play a role?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Should Christians be Wealthy?

Most Christians are familiar with the words of Christ in the following verse:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God."- Mark 10:25

For those untrained in theology, the verse serves as a serious warning to those looking to build up wealth.  Consider the following verse:

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty."- Proverbs 21:5

I believe that Christ was referring to the love of money, not the possession of it, which keeps a man from a right relationship with God.  In fact, I believe that financial discipline, lack of debt, and generosity are three great hallmarks of Christian living.

I am a shamelessly huge fan of Dave Ramsey.  I believe that he is one of the great leaders of our time because he focuses on the proven fundamentals of finances.  He constantly reminds his audience that he preaches "Grandma's" way of handling money; unfortunately, the lack of parental guidance produced by general neglect and the epidemic of divorce has largely purged such fundamental principles from the teenage syllabus.

As we all know, the financial system is in its worst shape since the Great Depression.  American voters are more concerned about the economy than they are about Afghanistan, entitlements, and social issues.  While many factors have impacted the economy, I believe it is where it is because people simply don't handle money responsibly.  We, along with most of the Western world, are literally addicted to credit, from the top of the federal government to the lowest level of earners.  The downturn of the economy is symbolic of the financial state of your neighbors left and right of you and of the young couple shopping at the mall while already thousands in debt.  In short, the economy will recover on its own when people, on a very large scale, get their own financial houses in order.  Ramsey would be in agreement with me as I say that neither government nor any elected leader will be the fix for the economy.  We are the solution.

The American political system is in shambles for many reasons.  One very prominent reason is the extent to which dishonest gain has influenced "leaders" to side with lobbyists.  Such alliances help erode the moral fibers of our nation and advance a politically correct agenda that favors the few at the expense of the many.  Perhaps such people should have been taught this basic truth:

"A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight."- Proverbs 11:1

Money is a form of both power and influence.  This is where stewardship comes in.  While the corrupt will always seek to persuade influential people to accomplish their goals, the prudent Christian can support worthwhile organizations that are determined to preserve that which is sacred- our heritage as a Christian nation.  The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) is led by capable attorneys who have recently saved a statue of Jesus at a Montana World War II memorial from removal.  The statue had been at the center of controversy after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist group, questioned its Constitutionality.  They also intend to battle ObamaCare and constantly work to preserve freedom of expression as it pertains to religion.

The easiest way to avoid developing a love of money is to give it away.  This, of course, means that you must first have some money to give.  Some give ten percent, but the average evangelical Christian gives only 2.5 percent of his income to God's work.  While the actual amount you give should be between you and God alone, you cannot demonstrate dedication to the advancement of the gospel while constantly hoarding your resources.  This includes your own time.  Why should we expect anything but a society that pulls away from the religious values it once embraced when faithful adherents are cutting corners on giving of their time, money, and resources?

When a family operates on less than they make and has no debt, they set the stage for passing on the habit of self-reliance to future generations.  Poor financial habits lead people to depend on others to keep their necks above water; this is where the federal government steps in and increases societal dependence, which enslaves the rest of the public to make up for the shortcomings of their neighbors.

"The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender's slave."- Proverbs 22:7

Military officers are expected to be the best and brightest in every formation.  We are expected to be the standard-bearers in every aspect of leadership- speaking, writing, motivating, and physical fitness are some examples.  We are expected to not only meet the standards, but set the standards.  Likewise, Christians should set the standards for humanity in every area, which includes financial discipline and success.  What does it say for the faith when Christians pinch pennies, but point out the ills of society at every chance they get?  Adherence to Biblical financial wisdom leads to success one-hundred percent of the time.  If society saw Christians as fiscally responsible and financially prosperous because of their doctrine, don't you think they would be curious as to what that doctrine said about life, family, and eternity?

I understand that not everyone is fortunate enough to make even an average salary; however, we all have the ability to budget, pay off debt, and eventually build wealth.  It's not going to happen overnight.  We should be content with our relationship with God alone, but that doesn't mean we can't pave a successful path for our children to follow by learning how to handle money God's way and putting it into practice.  I will end with one of my favorite Ramsey nuggets of wisdom:

"Excellence equals diligence plus time."- Dave Ramsey

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Feminism Exposed

Once again, our relentless news cycle has forced me to divert my intended article in favor of a more current and pressing issue.  The last time this happened, I wrote my popular "Whose Side Are You On, Anyway?" piece through rage-induced clenched teeth.  In the midst of Rick Santorum's current surge, liberals have worked overtime to dig up as much dirt and set as many booby-traps as they possibly can.  Leave it to them to dig up and dwell on clips of Santorum's personal opinions on the role of females in the military in hopes that it will stop him in his tracks.

Fortunately, I don't think this will make many conservative-minded women refrain from checking his name in favor of the current president.  What amazes me is that the liberal media has flipped out over an issue that many people agree with Santorum on!  As a military officer, I work with women on a daily basis and have served with them in a deployed environment.  In certain jobs, they occasionally outpace their male counterparts; however, I firmly believe that the battlefield is not the proper testing ground to advance a politically correct idea that women should be allowed to serve in infantry and armor MOSs (Military Occupational Specialty- in short, your job title).  His only mistake in saying what he did was a political one.  He should have deferred those decisions to generals, the subject-matter experts.

I frequently assert that issues such as economic woes, class warfare, crime, and divorce are merely symptoms of a larger problem.  I believe that problem, the cause of the symptoms, is a breakdown of the American family.  Starting almost instantaneously after 1962's Engel v. Vitale removed prayer from public schools, divorce rates spiked.  Along with those increasing numbers came an increase in nearly every other negative statistic imaginable, including teen pregnancies, incarcerations, and violent crimes.

I support Rick Santorum because he stands for family values.  Say what you want about earmarks, but I can respect a man who postpones his presidential campaign to look after his three-year old daughter when she goes to the hospital due to complications from a disease that will almost certainly end her life at a very young age.  On marital "equality", Santorum always gives a reason for his disapproval: "Every child has a right to be loved by a mother and a father."

Feminism is a very dangerous movement because it threatens to further destabilize current families and casts doubt on coming generations of parents and their ability to raise responsible and morally sound children.  In 1958, The Naked Communist was written by Cleon Skousen.  In it, Skousen outlines a forty-five point plan that would be used by communist nations like the former Soviet Union to subvert the United States and her allies and send them on a downward path to communism.  Goal #40 is to discredit the family as an institution.  I will write more on The Naked Communist later.

"For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, His body, of which he is the Savior."- Ephesians 5:23

The institutional family is headed by the husband, who provides for his wife and children.  The mother is intended to serve in a nurturing and supportive role as ordained by Scripture.  Many of you reading this probably have a grandmother who was married at eighteen or nineteen.  This goes to show you that only recently has it become a priority for females to continue formal education and delay marriage until the mid-twenties.  This gives me an easy answer as to why the average marriage age is rising, but leaves a lot of grey area as to what an acceptable educational and career path for a young woman looks like.

My wife has three college degrees and is a professional in a highly specialized field.  I am not against female education and careers, but I strongly believe that if those pursuits violate the priorities of God, family, country, and career, they have gone too far.  How can a woman possibly expect to support her husband and children if they fall in the priority line behind "career"?  I think Rick Santorum would agree.

Gary DeMar, founder of American Vision, wrote a fine article entitled "Why Liberalism Will Die By Its Own Hand".  It can be found at http://americanvision.org/5518/why-liberalism-will-die-by-its-own-hand/.  In this piece, DeMar points out staggering trends between birth rates of conservatives and liberals, as well as the frequency in which liberals tend to kill their unborn children.  The same liberals described by DeMar are the ones ready to send Santorum to the gallows for his traditional views on the wife's role in the family.

"A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."- Proverbs 31:10-12

Do you think King Lemuel was speaking of his wife in a demeaning way?  In a way that infers that her rightful place is in the kitchen?  Absolutely not.  As a team, they can accomplish anything.  Bringing him good and not harm all of her days, she certainly raised their children to be respectable and contributing members of society, not entitlement-minded brats with no sense of work ethic.

Every spring, major league baseball players descend upon Florida and Arizona for Spring Training.  For weeks on end, the players take routine fielding practice and hit balls from a tee.  Pitchers focus on mechanics and getting their bodies in shape for the long season.  The focus is clearly on fundamentals.  Similarly, we need to get back to fundamentals.  The economy isn't an overnight fix.  It's an eighteen-year fix that starts at the birth of every child who is eventually taught to balance a checkbook and not spend more than he makes.  Morality is not inherent- it is taught by a family headed by a father and nurtured by a mother.  If that mother is more concerned with throwing off the shackles of motherhood and the role of the woman in the family than she is about being a wife and mother, she will not succeed in her primary mission, that of raising a responsible and God-fearing family.

"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."- Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God's Mission and your Sub-Mission

At the end of my deployment to Afghanistan, I had sunk to new lows.  I was physically, emotionally, and psychologically drained.  My struggles weren't caused by excessive trauma, but by fear.  I was eleven months into this tour and almost home, but thoughts of hopelessness invaded me from all directions.  I was missing my new wife and felt that I was rotting away in a far away land.  By embracing this attitude of fear, I lost sight of the plan that God had for my life in those days away from my home.
As I searched for help, I found a blog run by a retired Special Forces non-commissioned officer named Tim Burke.  Tim's blog (http://www.timmyburke.com) was filled with incredibly encouraging stories of faith and perseverance.  His goal in life is to teach young men how to live a courageous and victorious life by the Word of God.  I shared my thoughts with him via e-mail and was relieved to find his reply in my inbox the next day.  It was then that I began to visualize the greater purpose to which I have been called since I received Christ at age 17.
While Tim's reply is long, I highly encourage you to read it in its entirety.  My prayer is that it has the same uplifting effect in your life that it had in mine.  Without any further adieu:
As a lieutenant, you have been trained to analyze things on a tactical level. When an operations order is passed down to your unit, you know that your mission is one small part of a much greater mission. The general, sitting at “star fleet command”, has an overall strategy and has issued his orders to his brigade commanders, who have then re-interpreted the mission statement and issued their orders to the battalions. The battalion commander did the same, issuing orders to the company commanders, and then finally they issue their orders to the platoon leaders. Your specific orders may or may not make sense at this point. You may ask, “why in the world do I need to take this hilltop?”, “I don’t see how it even adds to the mission, it doesn’t make sense.”  But back at star fleet command, the general is counting on you to take that hilltop as part of the overall strategy, even if it doesn’t make sense to you where you are. Your part of the mission, your “sub-mission” is a critical part of the overall plan. While preparing your troops to take the hilltop, you don’t have a vision of how intensely important your “sub-mission” is to the general’s comprehensive plan.  However, the success or failure of your “sub-mission” will affect hundreds, even thousands of soldiers, and contribute to or degrade the strategy enacted by the general.  In fact, the general only enacted this strategy based on his confidence in his colonels, captains, and lieutenants to exercise their capabilities and accomplish their sub-missions.  If he didn’t have confidence in his soldiers to do their part, he wouldn’t engage his troops in combat to begin with.
Here is the parallel: God is the general. The general has an overall strategy to reconcile the lost to himself. Each of us has been given a portion of that mission in the form of a sub-mission and He is not just hoping we will be able to accomplish this sub-mission, but is counting on us to do so. Right now, your sub-mission has taken you to Afghanistan.  Just as Joseph spent at least 15 years as a slave and in prison, wondering where God went and why he was rotting in a dungeon, perhaps you are sitting in a far away place, trapped within the confines of a firebase, wondering where God went and why you are “rotting” there.  Well, we know that Joseph trusted God, and God delivered Joseph and promoted him far above that which may have been worldly possible.  Joseph had a “sub-mission” to God’s overall strategy.  So here you are, in a strange place that is unfamiliar, unfriendly, somewhat dangerous, and far away from your new bride. Your heart is aching to be with her and to be home and in a familiar and friendly environment. Those feelings mean that you are absolutely, completely, 100% normal!  Brother, you will return soon enough, but for right now you have been given a sub-mission.  I know the US has you over there, but that is no accident. God put you in “the dungeon” and you have opportunities that nobody else has to shine for the glory of the Lord.  There is a “baker and a cup bearer” there that need to hear God’s word.  You, my friend, are the only one who has access to them.  I know at least fifty men and women who would gladly trade places with you for the sole purpose of being able to share God’s Word with your men.  These people are NOT soldiers. As a matter of fact, they are in their late fifties and the only skills they have are “swordsmanship” with the Word of God.
I Timothy 2:3-4 says: "Thou therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier."
Look, I will be a little choleric here. If you are reflecting internally about how YOU feel, you will never be effective while you are there.  Nobody feels comfortable and content in a place like that.  However, if you focus externally on the lives of your men (even those above you), and how you can make a difference for Jesus Christ, you will find that your time will fly by and you will be lost in your “sub-mission.”
The key to doing this is written above several times in quotation marks – “submission.” You must submit to God’s will and divest yourself of your own will for yourself.  You have to look at the spiritual and the eternal aspects of what you are doing rather than the physical or earthly aspects.  The fact remains that if you do not tell your men about Jesus Christ, they may never hear a clear presentation of the Gospel.  You have been trusted to “take the hill” and the General is counting on you to perform your mission.  How amazing is that!!? The God of all the universe is trusting YOU!  He has placed His confidence in the fact that YOU WILL step up to the plate and “endure hardness as a good soldier.” You have been chosen.
We have all been “chosen” for a “sub-mission” by God.  It may seem that our mission is impossible to complete.  Moses probably felt that way standing in the worst tactical position possible with Pharoah’s army on one side and the Red Sea on the other.  Tactically, he was toast!  But God... need I write any more?  You are where you are right now because you have been chosen to fulfill a sub-mission, a portion of God’s overall mission to redeem the world from sin and death. You need only submit to His will and God will show up and perform a miracle.
If you are in a tough spot right now, don’t get down.  Look for God to do amazing things. He rarely does something supernatural while you are comfortable at home on your couch. But when you are in the desert, and the wind is dry and hot, the enemy is breathing down your neck, you are outnumbered, out-equipped, and it seems as if you are out of options and at the end of yourself, THEN God can work.  He was merely waiting for you to get out of His way.
Proverbs 3:5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths."
Read 1 Samuel 14 and see how God amazingly delivered Jonathan and his “Ranger buddy” from devastation.  It is one of my favorite Bible stories. God bless you.
In His grip,
Tim Burke
What is your personal mission?  Are you self-focused or others-focused?  It's amazing how much more fulfilled we feel when we channel our energy into others instead of investing it all in ourselves.  Furthermore, is your mission as a Christian to simply survive this life and make it into heaven, or do you want to truly impact the lives of others?
Satan wants to impact you to the point where you are completely ineffective for the kingdom of God.  He can't rob you of your eternal home, but he can certainly make your life miserable and meaningless if you lose sight of the divine General's plan for your life.  Wherever you are, regardless of your personal circumstances, you are a critical part of His plan to bring this world under the obedience of Christ.  Do not take this mission lightly.
"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."- Philippians 3:14