It feels like a sucker-punch…

a few weeks ago, out of the blue, I looked up Rachel Held Evans because I hadn’t heard from her in a while. I have enjoyed her blog, and though at times I have been at odds with her view point, I have always been challenged by what she had to say.

So I looked her up, and discovered she was ill and in a medically induced coma. I couldn’t believe it. What? Naturally, I figured the doctors knew what they were doing and she would be fine. Then I saw the news today, it was sobering, it caught me by the throat and wouldn’t let go. I involuntarily exhaled all of the wind from my lungs. She was gone.

I cannot even imagine what her husband Dan must be going through right now. She was only 37 years old, and I feel as if the world has been sucker-punched right in the gut. How could something like this even happen…and yet it does. How could something so random and seemingly innocuous even take place in our modern-medicine-filled-world? It feels as if a large boulder has been placed on our collective chests and we are immobilized by the sheer weight of it.

The “pat”, Christianese answers like “well, it must have been God’s timing” and “everything happens for a reason” just feel like bold-faced lies, and I don’t want to hear them said. There is a certain bitter taste that wells up in my mouth and I feel that when someone so young (with a young family) and so much potential in the world dies it just seems so unfair. I have felt this way numerous times, and I wish that there was some way to quantify the sudden passing of people like this…but there’s not. We live in a very fragile world and every one of us is very much mortal. Life and Death balance precariously in our world and (as morbid as it sounds -sorry) any moment could possibly be our last.

I won’t cheapen Rachel Held Evans’ death by trying to summarize and “mortalize” a neatly packaged missive, stating that we never really know when the Lord will take us…but I will say that this all just feels heavy and unfair. I know we have never, ever been given a life that was guaranteed to be fair, but when a loved one or someone we respect dies so suddenly we feel it in the core of our souls…and it feels so very unfair. Please keep Dan Evans, Rachel’s husband in your prayers, as well as their small children and the extended family.

Perhaps we will all catch our breath again, but for right now, it just feels like a massive sucker-punch…and it’s okay to mourn…but it just feels so unfair.

-Just a thought.

Dear Salvation Army: Communion, It’s Not What You Think It Is…

Dear fellow Ponderers…
I have been dragging my feet in writing this for some time.
Not because I didn’t want to write this edition to Pastorsponderings, but rather because I want to be careful in how I broach this conversation.  I do not wish to offend and upset you – the reader.   Some will no doubt become offended anyway, and I have come to terms with the fact that I will not always make everyone happy – that’s a fool’s errand anyway.

Perhaps in light of this Holy Week that we are all entering into we might also reflect on the Passover feast that Jesus participated in with His disciples…what we now call “The Last Supper”.

Thus, I write this with the utmost sensitivity and respect.

I have been contemplating the topic of Communion once again
(See previous conversations on this:
https://pastorsponderings.org/2014/07/23/dear-salvation-army-communion-survey-results/

Is Communion Considered Taboo in our Army? 
Within The Salvation Army, even the conversation of the Lord’s Table/Supper/Communion has become a taboo topic.  It is almost as if we are forbidden to talk about it, let alone partake in this ceremony.  Some have postulated that despite not participating in this ceremony, we have created our own sacred ceremonies in place of it, thus making the argument that we are non-sacramental in practice null and void.

I fear that failure to discuss such topics within our Army can lead to a polarization of our theological perspective, and variants of our doctrine might splinter and break off (as in some locations, it already has).

Some within our Army would treat the topic of communion with deep disdain to the point that the practice of it is almost treated as an organizational sin.  It is my estimation that too much focus on such a topic in this light is a waste of time and not conducive to unity within our Army.  There should be more open dialogue on this topic as I believe there should be on the topic of baptism.   -Someone will inevitably lambaste me for that, but that would just prove my point that we treat such innocent conversations on the topic as complete taboo and even sinful to even mention, which is ludicrous.
Davinci

Is Communion Misunderstood In The Universal Church? 
In Luke 22 it is recorded the celebration of Passover that Jesus and His disciples were partaking of.  This has now been dubbed “the Last Supper”, where Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to fulfill the final act of Salvation in His false trial, torture, and death by crucifixion.  Thus, Jesus reclines with His disciples and takes in these final private moments with those He is closest with:

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:14-19)

Could it be that over the centuries the emphasis (or fixation) upon the bread and wine have been misplaced?  Didn’t Jesus preach in parable and often teach as Rabbis of His day taught?  With questions and metaphor?  When Jesus spoke of doing “this” in remembrance of me, is it not possible that it wasn’t just the bread and wine He was talking about, but rather the entire dinner together, the fellowship and unity of disciples?  Is it possible that instead of coming together just to contemplate the bread and the wine, the whole ceremony of remembrance is just as vital?   Coupled with the remembrance, the unifying love of Christ that binds it all together is the common denominator.  So much so, that when the disciples gathered in another upper room together in perfect unity, they encountered the second blessing an the day of Pentecost?  (Acts 2:1-31)
fellowship 2
Perhaps, it is in the very practice of gathering in unity and prayer that we find the proper practice of Communion to be viable and appropriate – even commanded by Christ Himself.  After all, didn’t Jesus also pray for unity of the believers when we said, “ that they may all be one, just 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 have sent me.” (John 17:21)
fellowship3.jpg
Dear Salvation Army,
Let me ask you a question:  When are our Soldiers unified with the love of Christ?
When is it that we remember Jesus as our Savior and source of resurrection power?
Would you suggest that it is when we gather in times of confession, of worship, of fellowship?  When does the mission of Christ within our Army become the most galvanized and evident in the body of believers?
fellowship
Is there a time for ceremony and formal recognition?  Of course!
What do those intentionally consecrated moments look like?
Could it be that Communion has been vilified in our Army?  (Perhaps that is too strong a word)…
Is it possible that what Communion truly is – is the coming together of His disciples in fellowship and unity instead of mere ceremony?  Can we do this over a meal together?
fellowship 4
Perhaps instead on the over emphasis of the elements we have lost sight of the One who broke the bread and poured the wine?

What do YOU think? 
Post your comments below and let’s continue this pondering together.

*Disclaimer:  The views expressed here are of the author’s views and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Salvation Army.  Reader desecration is advised. *

 

Perspectives Day #2 Featuring Captain Pete Brookshaw – “What is a Salvationist? You’ll be surprised by the answer…”

If you’re part of The Salvation Army, you’re part of a dynamic, exciting movement with a desire to change the world. There I’ve said it. Though one may ask, what actually is Salvationism? What is a Salvationist?

Let me start with this: I’ve heard plenty of definitions of the mission of The Salvation Army. Maybe you have too. Some inspire you to make a difference and others feel like dry words merely articulated on a page. It goes without saying, when the mission is clear, The Salvation Army has clarity and focus. And clarity and focus is what we need.

So what then is the mission of The Salvation Army? And further more, what is Salvationism?  


In the Australia Southern Territory of The Salvation Army, we say that God raised up the Army for the purpose of:

  • Transforming Lives
  • Caring for People
  • Making Disciples
  • Reforming Society

In other parts of the Army, the words spoken by General John Gowans are used: The Mission of The Salvation Army is to Save Souls, Grow Saints and Serve Suffering Humanity.


If you haven’t heard, the International Mission Statement of The Salvation Army is:


The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian
Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by the love of God. Its mission
is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.


Some narrow down the mission of The Salvation Army to one sentence: Win the world for Jesus.


It’s bold, gutsy, arduous and worth embracing. The Salvation Army does not sit around waiting for bums on seats. We won’t sit and wait for the world to embrace God, like all of a sudden people will start flocking to our communities of faith, believing we have some answers to their brokenness. The Salvation Army is a pragmatic movement seeking to change the world, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Salvationist is one working to that end. 


I mean, a Salvationist is clumsily defined in most dictionaries as, ‘A member of The Salvation Army.’ Though, that’s like defining a great hamburger as ‘A bun with a meat pattie and some ingredients inside.’ It fails to encapsulate the essence of Salvationism.

A Salvationist has agreed to live a certain way (holiness) and has agreed to live out and actively pursue the fulfilment of the mission of The Salvation Army. Soldier’s sign a Soldier’s Covenant, because they understand the significance of what Salvationism means and the power of aligning oneself to such a covenant.

I think the signing of that Soldier’s Covenant and subsequently living out that covenant is relevant and spiritually powerful.


The Salvation Army should be unapologetic in calling people to Salvationism. In an age where we are post-denominational and we are a ‘go with the flow’ kind of people, it is still of value to stand by principles that create clarity and purpose for one’s life and to then commit to it.

We are a salvation people.

I am reminded by a lady in our Corps named Di. She is being enrolled as a soldier very shortly. Though the story goes back to coming for welfare support at the corps. Then she joined our community lunch and starting helping. Then she immersed herself into our Thrift Shop ministry. At some point she chose to forgive her mother. Then she starting dancing and laughing up the front of the church on a Sunday morning. Then we did Soldiership classes. She wants to change the world. She wants to express that desire through Salvation Army Soldiership.

Pause for moment. 

Let me make some quick comments on what it means to be a Salvationist. A Salvationist is a:

  • Passionate prayer warrior
  • Committed social justice advocate
  • Zealous evangelist
  • Generous giver
  • Faith-filled risk-taker
  • Holy-inspired follower of Jesus
  • Covenanted child of the King
  • Unapologetically driven to support the work of the Kingdom of God through The Salvation Army
  • Loyal and active participator in a local Corps

You may add your own thoughts on what it means to be a Salvationist.

Let me finish with this definition of Salvationism.

William Booth sums up Salvationism in one sentence:

‘Salvationism means simply the overcoming and banishing from the earth of wickedness.’  

To read more, go to www.petebrookshaw.com

Don’t Starve Your First Flock!

I am drawn to this vital topic like a bug to a floodlight.
It speaks intimately to my heart.
This topic hits me directly, and at times I am found wanting and in need of some fixing.

Our First Flock. 

As a pastor and officer of The Salvation Army there is a lot that goes on in our ministries.
We are busy people and everyone is in need of our time, advice, and shepherding.
Sometimes it can take a toll on your life if you do not take time to replenish and rest.
I am not saying disconnect yourself from the flock, but find intentional times when you can simply get away and rest.  Pastoring is not easy.  It has its blessings and is certainly fulfilling when lives are touched and transformed…but the pastor’s life is also like having a big red target painted on you as well.  If something should happen to go wrong in the church – blame the pastor…if sin is confronted (appropriately and biblically with grace) and some people choose to leave the church because of it – it’s the pastor’s fault that numbers are now down on Sundays.  There are times when the flock will take out its pain and distress on the pastor.

Be aware that despite perceived successes and failures in ministries that you have been called not by the deacon or by a supervisor or by a divisional/territorial leader – but firstly and most importantly – you have been called by God.  Be faithful to that calling above everything else.

Photo May 22, 11 20 04 AM
These are my crazy kids!

With that clearly said, let me poke at a sensitive topic in my life and I’m sure yours as well.
Your Immediate Family – Is Your First Flock!

Yesterday, I took my boys out to camp.
We are in the process of moving and currently our time is predominately occupied with boxes, transportation logistics, writing farewell briefs…in other words our house has currently been turned upside down.  Honestly, I haven’t been thinking much about what my boys might be going through in all of this.  I have been so consumed with packing and cleaning and preparing that my children have sort of been forgotten.
Anyway back to camping.
Photo May 20, 10 42 23 PMPhoto May 20, 8 39 37 PM
We left the house, got into the van and pulled out of town as we headed out to our divisional Salvation Army camp.  (It’s about an hour and a half from our house)  That night on the way (I had already packed our fishing poles) I bought some worms and as soon as we arrived at camp we headed straight for the lake.  The sun was just setting as a few fire blazed clouds floated through the sky…it was a perfect evening.  As I sat there on the dock, by the lake, some of the stresses and concerns just seemed to melt away.  I looked over at my boys as they disturbed the tranquil waters with lines baited with worms and neon bobbers, and my heart just swelled with a feeling a love for them.  Momentarily, in the midst of all of our pastorly duties, responsibilities, frustrations AND PACKING, we had begun to starve our first flock – our kids.  I had been guilty of neglecting their feelings, their concerns, even their spiritual well being.  Sitting there on that dock fishing and talking with them about life and what was happening in school, I reconnected with my first flock.  I reconnected with my heart again…not that I don’t minister as an Officer with my heart, but when there is a disjunctive note at home, the heart can not fully be in tune.   That moment fishing with my boys is something that I will always cherish…and I don’t want to miss out on any other moments that I have with them.  I don’t want to starve my first flock anymore.

Before you became a pastor and was given the responsibility of tending the church flock, you had a family as well (at least most of you do, I would imagine).  If you are raising children and have a spouse – you cannot neglect this first flock!

Some might argue that we shouldn’t differentiate between the flock at church and the flock at home, but I disagree.  After all, for the most part, the flock at church doesn’t live in your house.  They are not as intimately acquainted with you as your family is.  These important people in your life need to know that they matter to you!  If you hole up in your office for 60 hours a week and they hardly ever see you, perhaps it’s time to reorganize your priorities.   Perhaps it’s time to get your heart back in tune again.   Your first flock needs you! It’s not an ego trip to say that they need you…you aren’t superman or superwoman, but your kids deserve to have a Mom and a Dad who are physically there for them.  They deserve to know you care for them, that you take time for them, that you want to be there when they achieve certain milestones in life.

Don’t starve your first flock!
You only have about eighteen years to feed this first flock the appropriate spiritual and physical nourishment that they will need to live godly lives.  Don’t neglect this time!  Don’t regret not doing enough.  Don’t count solely of Sunday School teachers and other mentors to do your job.  These instrumental people are a support to the family, but they are not the parents that your children need.  Don’t starve your first flock!

Something more to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

Ponderings on Je Suis Charlie Masacre…

Words that come into my mind amidst this recent tragedy –
Sad.
Freedom.
Terrorism.
Murder.
Criminal.
afraid1
I keep thinking of Charlie Hebdo’s final words: “I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees!
Talk about bold.
Talk about defiance in the face of certain death.
Talk about bravery in the midst of a cowardly attack on unarmed innocent people.

afraidMuch discussion has taken place this week as to who is to blame.
Was it the artist’s works of satire?
Was it the media’s fault?
Was it extremists?

Much like the US, there is the freedom of the press in France.
The United States is even partially modeled after the French model of government.
Some have asked if there are consequences to be paid for freedom of expression?
Should there be consequences?
While others have said, that the works of extremists and terrorists will not repress such expressions and the liberty to do so freely.

I keep coming back to Charlie Hebdo’s final words;
I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees!
pencil
My point: 
I abhor violence of any kind.
Violence upon unarmed innocent people equally abhorrent.
Violence for the sake of any religion – intolerable and wrong.
Repression of anyone’s freedom of expression – wrong as well.

On the subject of faith:
My mind is drawn to many places in the world where Christians are executed based solely upon their freedom (or lack there of) to express their faith.
Places where public murder is allowed.
Places where any expression besides the prescribed expressions by the majority are forbidden and punishable by death.
If religion = violence.
If religion = repression.
If religion = death
If religion = the strong prevailing over the weak…
then I don’t want anything to do with religion.
I don’t want to live in a world like that.
I don’t want others to die in a world like that.

              I would rather die standing, than live on my knees.
And yet, I hear the words of Jesus in the back of my mind –
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”(Luke 9:23)
In other words – in my defiance to these things, I will live on my knees in utter humility.
I will pray for both victim and foe.
I will long for the day when violence ceases in all corners of the world.
I will kneel in this life and not attempt to become greater than others by stepping on them and silencing them.
How far will this take me?
To the foot of the cross.

What’s Killing The Church And Is It A Bad Thing?

The Church is dying at least in the traditional sense.
Perhaps it is not visibly seen in the mega church realms yet, but something is taking place in churches all around the United States.  If one were to look solely at church attendance through the lens of entities such as the Barna group, one would see that the decline is quite remarkable and seems to continue trending this way for years to come.

Perhaps we have been asking the “why” question for quite some time now.
Perhaps that’s not the right question.
Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves is this:  “Is this really a bad thing?”

We are currently living in a world where spiritualism is on the rise while an individual identification of a specific religion is at an all time low.  One might say that this is a terrible trend.  One could argue, and rightly so, that spiritualism leads to many roads and many uncertain practices.  Recently even Pope Benedict XVI chastised the leadership of the Catholic church for it’s polarizing mission.

Is the death of “Church” really a bad thing? 
Pristine buildings.
Ritual practices.
Worship songs devoid of meaning.
Sermons with the same rhetoric and religious jargon.
…you get my point don’t you?
It sounds quite cynical I know.
But sometimes certain truths should be peeled back.
Sometimes we must allow our eyes to look upon the ugly cancerous parts of the church.
When the heart no longer follows the path of the holy.
When certain practices become high places and replaces the Most High.
Could it be that the death of “Church” is due to its first love being replaced with hollow practice, shallow traditions devoid of the Divine?   I hope not, I really do.

But, if this is truly the case, is the death of such a shallow form really so bad after all?
Could it be that out of its ashes an authentic remnant, a reinvigorated, holy people shall rise again?  Isn’t that sort of biblical?  Every time the Hebrew people prostituted themselves out to foreign gods and false, shallow practices God led them into a time of spiritual death through captivity through foreign powers.

Is this a wake up call? 
Is this a call into a deeper holiness?
Is this a warning to discard all that would distract?
Are we what Christ intended His disciples to become?
Are we still growing…or is our growth stunted, atrophied and broken?

Not to sound like a cliche’ but we cannot afford to simply go through the motions of religious practice.
We weren’t saved for this purpose.
We are all called to higher, more holy purpose.
Do we know what that holy purpose is anymore?
Have we lost our way?

I sure hope not…I really do.
Something more to ponder today.
To God be the glory!

Perspectives Day #1 – Featuring Colonel Marlene Chase

Happy the Thankful Heart

By Marlene J. Chase

       Thanksgiving was often a legalistic maneuver when I was growing up. One was to be grateful because it was the polite thing to do. Besides, you should be grateful because somewhere someone didn’t have what you had. If spinach was served for dinner, you were to be grateful because starving children in the developing world would do somersaults just to have a spoonful.  If something bad happened, we were urged to be grateful because there was always someone worse off. Who has not been reminded of the man who complained that he had no shoes until he met a man who had no feet?

“Blow, north wind, blow,” my mother would quote with tiresome frequency, “thou art not half as cruel as ingratitude.” There were times when we thought nothing was quite as cruel as its positive counterpart.

A Faulty Focus

Perhaps these are the misconceptions of spoiled children. But lack of gratitude always comes from improper focus—looking at the gift rather than the giver. Thankless people covet the gifts God provides but seldom seek to know Him. If we were to fully grasp the truth of who He is in all his majesty, we would find a lifetime insufficient for expressing our gratitude.

We have all met people who appear to have nothing and yet are uncompromisingly grateful. Like Mattie who, after losing all her family and becoming ill herself, ended up in a sub-standard nursing facility. As corps officers in a small Kansas city, we took her to church every Sunday, for which she thanked us profusely to the point of becoming tiresome.

When someone complained about dandelions on the lawn, Mattie exulted in the lemony loveliness of their color and stooped to pick one as though it were an exotic orchid. When she became too ill to attend church and was confined to her bed, she praised God that she could glimpse the sunshine through her small, square window.

Alexandr Solzenhitsyn, Russian novelist, imprisoned for speaking out against an oppressive government, wrote, “Bless you, prison, for being in my life.” He looked beyond his circumstances to the One who charged his life with meaning. In embracing Christ, he found reason for lasting joy and gratitude.

A Natural Outcome 

Gratitude is a natural outcome of living a life focused on the Provider of all good gifts.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all He created” (James 1:17-18).

If the nine ungrateful lepers who were cleansed had been focusing on the Giver of their health rather than on the gift itself, they would have experienced a thankful heart, blessing that would last forever. Their physical health came with no such guarantee. They didn’t bother to thank Jesus for healing because they were too absorbed with the gift and totally neglected the Giver. But the one who returned to give glory to God received a greater gift.

Paul sang hymns of praise in prison and joyfully thanked God from the bow of a shipwrecked vessel. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances,” he wrote (Phil. 4:11). He had learned the secret of life—placing hope in the one true Constant in the midst of ungovernable and unceasing change.

A Constant Hope 

Health, wealth, the love of family and friends can all be gone in an instant. In one day, Job lost his children, all his worldly possessions and his health. If his hope for life and living had been placed in these transient tangibles, he could not have said of God, “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15).

“Blow, north wind, blow. Thou art not half so cruel as ingratitude.” Blow, wind of God through hearts focused on the Giver of every good gift. The radiant Presence that settles within will make us triumphant over every cruel circumstance and bring us at last to God who is our constant hope.
***Marlene Chase is a writer, editor, speaker and author, and retired Salvation Army Officer.  Her works can be found online via Amazon Books and other online sources.***

Pastorsponderings Passes 100,000 views!!

I am constantly blown away by the interest and readership that Pastorsponderings.org is receiving! It is truly humbling and I am truly honored.

Friday night we surpassed 100,000 views. Seriously, WOW! I am honestly blown away at how quickly we have reached this benchmark.

Thank you for following and reading Pastorsponderings.org! Please continue to share our little blog as we will continue to bring you relevant, thought provoking content!

Sincerely,

Scott E. Strissel.IMG_6216.JPG

Dear Salvation Army – The Pathway Of Duty Is Agony Sometimes!

It is not our Salvation that keeps us Holy.  It is but a component of this saving grace.  It isn’t our intellect that saves us either.  It is the work of Christ and the continuing fellowship of the Holy Spirit within us.  We are but instruments of His peace, His love and His encouragement.

wounded3Times of Trial And Wounding:
There will be times when we are accused, slandered and wounded while serving Christ.  I am not saying that we look for the opportunities to be persecuted or wounded, but they will indeed come our way if we are living out kingdom priorities as kingdom people!

There will be some who will stand in our way.
There will be some who will betray us along the pathway of duty.
There will be some who will laugh when we face out trials and wounds.
Some, even unknowingly, are ambassadors of hell as they entertain and execute malicious attacks on those who are faithful.

I am not saying we are perfect by any means.
We are all faulty, we are all in need of a daily washing of God’s grace upon us.  Yet, if we choose to walk this narrow path and are led by the Holy Spirit, we will face opposition, persecution and wounds along the way.  It is inevitable.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

I’m sorry, what was that?
Pure Joy?  In the midst of trials of many kind?
That doesn’t sound like a joyful or fun opportunity does it?

Yet pain comes to us.
Faith produces greater faith and reliance on God, but the side-effect in this “growth process” (for lack of a better term)  is that we will experience discomfort, trials and hurt along the way.

No Pain, No Gain…no-pain-no-gain
I’m not a glutton for punishment, really I’m not…but I do know that there is a desired outcome to this “faith” thing.  We wish to be more like Christ is every way!   Ephesians 5:1-2 says, Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as afragrant aroma” (NASB)

Becoming an imitator of God will take a journey through pain and suffering.  Why?  Because our fallen world won’t allow it to happen.  Because our fallen, old sinful selves and habitual wanderings will trip us up.  Because imitating God and becoming like His son Jesus will take immense sacrifice…sometimes more sacrifice than most of us realize at the beginning of the journey.

We will suffer at the hands of others.
We will suffer at the hands of ourselves at times.
We will experience discomfort and even pain at the lengths in with we are called to sacrifice!

Without pain we will not gain our freedom within His holiness!
It sounds sadistic doesn’t it?
It’s not.  It simply is.

walking-aloneYour Path Right Now…
How is the pathway of duty right now for you?
Are you experiencing any discomfort along the way?
Is it because you have had to make sacrifices?
Is it because you are at times alone in your convictions?
Is it because you have faced (or you are currently facing) persecution and ridicule from others and felt the sting of it?

We are soldiers of Christ.
We have been set apart for His holy purpose!
We will find ruts in the road.  We will find agony, bruised shins, and distressed hearts at times along this journey.

Do you need to come the well of refreshing again?
He is able to refresh and restore you!
He is able to replenish your spent reserves.
He can and will carry you when necessary.
He wants to encourage us today and to spur us onward even in the midst of persecution, suffering and the onslaught of those who would see us destroyed because of this faith.

Be bold.
Be strong.
For the Lord your God is with you today!  (Joshua 1:9)

Carry on and know you are loved, encouraged, and supported by the Father himself!

-Just something more for our Army world to ponder today.
To God be the glory! 

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