Day 44 “We Hate The ‘S’ Word…”

It’s a word everybody hates.
For some it means relinquishing our freewill.
For others it means becoming a slave…and naturally, no one wants to be a slave.
Still others thing of this word as strange and even evil.

s-wordIt’s the word ‘Submit’…as in submit someone else.
-submit to the rules…
-submit to the will or whim of others…
-submit who you are to someone else’s identity.
This content of the ‘S’ word certainly seems negative and cause us to never utter it again let alone live in submission to anything other than our own freewill.

But what would you do if God requires this from you?
How do we consider the ‘S’ word then in the context of who God is and desires from us?
Even then, many (including myself) struggle with the notion of full-submission to God.
James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

This type of submission isn’t something that will hurt us, instead it will heal us. submit2 Submission to God means we can finally become all that God knows we can be.  There is this potential within all of us, but it can only be accessed and fully realized when we completely submit ourselves to God’s will.  This is probably the most difficult thing we will ever do.  Full submission to God doesn’t mean that we will lose our identity, no, it means that we will finally have our full identity.  We are called sons and daughters of God…when we finally submit to Him, this title becomes our identity.  The difficulty is letting go and trusting Him.  It requires us to say, “Lord, my life is in your hands!”  When we submit in this way, the temptations of the evil one will diminish and we can resist sin – through the power of the Holy Spirit.

You might now be there yet – letting go and submitting fully to God…but He longs for you to take that step!  He will not harm you.  He loves you and desires His people be holy.

Prayer:  Lord, I confess today that I struggle with full-submission to you in my life.  I fear letting go because it could mean that I have to make changes in my life.  Help me Lord to seek you and to let go.  I want to live for you in my life.  So in my day today, show me what this submission looks like.  I desire to be like you.  -Amen.

Dear Salvationist, Does Nepotism Still Exist In Our Army?

From the start, some of us might shirk at the idea that nepotism still exists in The boothSalvation Army.  But we must recognize that even the Booths promoted family to places of authority.  William Booth viewed his Generalship to be something he would pass along to his children, and perhaps his children’s children.  Could it be that this sort of family promoting still occurs in our Army today?  And if so, should it?  Are there checks and balances in place to prevent nepotism in our Army?

Growing up in the Army, I recall many times where my parents were extremely cautious with even the appearance of favoritism towards my sister and me.

Speaking of Favoritism…can this type of behavior come into play with promotions and appointments in our army?  Should it?  Another question to ask along this line of pondering is – if favoritism does occur in our army – aren’t we then shortchanging our movement of possible movers and shakers who could make a difference, but some have chosen to choose people who are familiar and even safe?   crown

The argument can be made that we in the Army ought to trust and leave this up to God to sort out and perhaps these appointments are “His will”.  Honestly, I don’t know how I feel about that.  I have sincere faith in a Mighty God that He can make something that was meant to harm into something beautiful.  I believe God makes all things new, and He provides in spite of our own efforts and human decisions.  But I don’t know if I really trust human authority as I do God’s authority (nor do I feel we should)…for that matter what defines “God’s Authority”?  I’m curious what your answer might be to that.  I’m not looking for a fight, I’m genuinely interested in how we define this!   I have to be honest, I have always been suspicious of human authority in the guise of being 100% God’s authority.  It’s not that I’m overly cynical of leaders and authority, I just question sometimes if our personal feelings do not play into many of the decisions that are made on the behalf of others – and thereby we sometimes or often show favoritism.
Submission to Authority
Does this mean that I do not submit to authority?  Absolutely not!  We are told to submit to authority in numerous scripture verses.  For example:1 Peter 2:13-17 says;  Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority:whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

Does this mean that we aren’t allowed to query decisions and ask pertinent questions?  Of course not!  It does, however depend on our attitude and motivation!  I am certainly not proposing that we become rebellious by any means, please do not come away thinking that at all!  I will say that as a leader of sorts in my own right, I do recognize that I will never please everyone by the decisions that I have to make from time to time.  This is the heavy mantel of responsibility and leadership that is thrust upon us.  It does take a toll, and I would ask you to be in constant pray for your leaders, whether it be at the corps level, the divisional, territorial, national and international levels.

Back to the initial question:
Does Nepotism and Favoritism still exist in our Army?
My short answer is yes it does…
But I would also caution anyone from making rash judgments unless you have all of the information.

favor2Questions to Ponder:
Does Nepotism still happen in our Army?
Should it happen?
If so, what does this say to those who aren’t related or chosen for specific duties or tasks?
How can we sidestep issues like this?  Is it possible to sidestep them?
What about favoritism?
Could showing favoritism diminish the ranks our ranks and morale?
Can we submit to authority and still question?
How do we reconcile some experiences of flawed human authority with the expectations of God-led authority?
Am I praying fervently for my Corps Officer, Local Officer, Divisional, Territorial, Leader?

I look forward to your constructive conversation on this topic!
Something more for our Army world to ponder today.
*Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of the writer are not necessarily the thoughts and view of The Salvation Army, reader discretion is advised.

Dear Salvation Army, Submission, Ego & Abuse

I enter into this pondering knowing full-well that some may consider this rebellious conversation – this is not my intention at all.
I would like to discuss the concept of submission within the ranks of the Army.
Is submission biblical?
Obvious answer – Yes.
Biblical Answers See:
Romans 13:1-7,Titus 3:11 Peter 5:5Ephesians 5:21

Were there instances in the early church where submission to authority was abused?  Of course.
The fallout between the Apostle Paul and Peter was epic.
Peter exercised his authority in an inconsistent way.  He ate with Gentiles on one occasion then on another when friends of James came by, he refused because he was afraid of criticism and pressure among the “circumcised traditionalists”.
(see Galatians 2:11-13)

Some might contend that this wasn’t a submission issue, but how would the Gentiles have felt in this instance being relegated and placed below another group of people because of what they did or didn’t practice?
It was an abuse of power that the Apostle Paul had to confront Peter on.  After this or shortly after this period there is a shift in leadership within the early Church and Paul becomes the most prominent leader.  Peter still had a role to play, naturally, but this was a pivotal moment when two leaders collided on an important issue.

On Ego and Abuse: ego
Whether it is The Salvation Army, the Roman Catholic Church or places of government – egos will exist.
There will always be those who wish to achieve a certain type of status and power in order to be placed above others.
After all, didn’t the disciples argue amongst themselves as to who would be greatest (Luke 9:46)?
It isn’t too far fetched to conceive that there are times when leadership and ego collide.
Good leaders will brush off the temptation to display their power over subjugates and those they lead.
Poor leaders will wish to remind others of who they are and just who is in charge.
Honestly it is a sign of character weakness when ego in leadership leads to abuse of power.
Examples of power struggles in our Army have happened over the years.  Many variables take place and cannot always be chalked up to just ego and abuse, but it is not unheard of to have leaders ship off officers and (even employees for that matter) are sent to “punishment appointments”.  It is sometimes a means to an end.  It is sometimes validated.  Sometimes this environment develops a culture of fear.

Have we cultivated this “culture of fear” in our Army?
I certainly hope not.
I do believe that there are godly men and women who lead in a manner of holiness and conviction.
I am also not naive in my thinking that ego and abuse are exempt in our Army…it does happen, but I am hopeful that this is a rare occurrence instead of the norm.  Some might call me naive in this thought…so be it.

gloryWho do we submit to?
One of the verses that helps me on this topic (because I am really not good at submitting, if I am brutally honest) is Ephesians 5:21 – “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
I am not a conformist by nature.
I am a fighter.
I will tell you how I feel – there’s no beating around the bush with me.
I know that I must temper this…I imagine you do as well.
I must admit submission is one of my personal struggles.
It isn’t about pride with me, it is all about trust.
For me trust in leadership has to be earned.
I need to know the leaders I serve under have my back.
I need to know that leaders I serve under will support me.
I need to know that leaders I serve under won’t throw me under the bus.
I need to know that leaders I serve under will treat me (and other officers and staff) with honesty, godliness and humility.

1.  We submit to God. 
In this complete submission we find peace no matter what life or “Army life” throws our way.
When we can fully submit to God (which isn’t easy) we can, as an act of worship to Him submit to the leaders that He has placed in our path.  This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.  This is where the true test of our mettle lays.
We can say “we trust God and we are submitting to Him fully,” and yet our actions can tell us something completely different. Holiness isn’t just about living in our corps and in our communities, holiness is also about living a life of submission…some might say these two things go hand in hand.  Will there be bad leaders who abuse power and who are led by ego?  Yes, but everyone will have to account for their own actions one day before the Father.  What we can do within our personal holiness is submit to Him first and allow Him to work in our submission to others.

2. Submit to Authority
This authority includes leaders we work under.   We are all imperfect people and we all make mistakes.  The higher you go within the spectrum of leadership, the greater the pressure and the higher the scrutiny.  Have mercy on those who lead you. Show respect, love and patience.  You may not always agree.  I am not saying roll over and accept decisions that are wrong…but choose your battles wisely.  Choose also how you will respond to criticism and correction.   This happens in every aspect of life, whether it’s a correction by a police officer for speeding, or it is a moment of correction in a conference room with your supervisor – be godly people and react in godly ways through it all.
This. is. a. tough. place. to. respond. with. holiness.

Does abuse and ego happen in our Army? – Yes.
Can we change that dynamic?  I certainly hope so.  I am willing to change it, are you?

1. Pray for your leaders.
You might be surprised what God can do to perhaps soften their heart as well as yours.
Also in our prayers God can reveal to us places where we need to be focusing on our own egos, pride and issues.
2. Some Day, Who Knows, You might be that leader…then what?  
A wise man once said to me – “remember how you were treated by that person/leader, and then strive to become a better person/leader than that in your own life.”

This is our army. flag
Lead by Submission to God.
Follow by Submission to God.
And in between, no matter the conflict Submission to God.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
(Count Your Blessings/Johnson Oatman, Jr.)

Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!

Being Joyful In Hope…A Way Of Living

hopeThe List Of “Maybes”
<You are going through a tough time right now.
            <You are just having a bad day.
            <You have been in this dry, barren desert from some time now. 
            <You are on the brink of giving up.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” -Romans 12:12
Here is some encouragement for you today, and let me unpack it for you.Romans

Hope isn’t some wish that is granted by rubbing a genie bottle.
Hope is not about “Wishing” my day would get better.
Hope isn’t about dreaming a “better you” either.
Hope isn’t found by fully relying on one’s self.  Hope is provided. It is bestowed upon us.  Hope, like grace is a characteristic of God.  He gave us life, and now He is providing us a way to live it to its fullest.  Faith has a way of stretching us.  It propels us far beyond our comprehension of “what’s possible and available” to us.  Faith, not in ourselves, but in Christ plants the seeds of hope in our heart.  When we have this rootedness in Christ, we will begin to finally see beyond the temporalness of life.  We can begin to see a bigger picture.  We can start to scratch the surface of a hope that comes from God.


Patient in Affliction: 
Joy isn’t about being happy.  Sure, happiness is great…but sometimes it’s a limited time run.
We do go through difficulties in life.
We will not always be happy.
It is a myth that Christians MUST be happy all the time.
How is that even possible?  It would look awfully strange at sad events like funerals to be laughing with happiness in the corner wouldn’t it?
We will experience sadness as Christians.
We will endure afflictions too.
Happiness is not the same thing as joy.
Joy, like Hope is provided to us by the source of joy – God himself.
So that despite the situation, both good or bad, we might still retain joy within our souls.

simplicity-1-728The Heart of the Pondering Today:
I do not know what you are going through today, but I do know that despite the turbulence of life, despite the upheaval that happens from time to time – Hoping in the Almighty provides us joy and endurance through it all.  Can you trust in a God who is overall?  Can you hope in an everlasting joy instead of a temporary fix of happiness?  I’m not saying don’t be happy ever again, but we can tap into something so much more powerful and lasting than short bursts of a disappointing type of instant gratification happiness.

To begin, we have to be willing to let go of the things we cannot control.
It isn’t easy to let go of anything, let a lone a perceived type of control in life, yet, through prayer, through faith we will begin to see a hope that will restore our souls and place us completely submitted to God…in everything, every area of our lives.  This is probably the hardest thing for any of us to do, but when we do let go and when we submit to His purposes for our lives, the dynamic changes and we can experience this  joyfulness in hope.

Dear Lord, I pray for so many today who are experiencing doubt, despair and depression.  I pray for strength in my own life today.  Please provide us endurance as we place our all before you in complete submission.  Teach us what being joyful in hope looks like.  Reveal to us Your joy even in the midst of our dark valleys, Lord.  Be near us, and help us to live this life that you have called us to.  -Amen.

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

If You Can’t Stand The Heat…No, Seriously Stand it For Just a Bit Longer…

“…so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 1 Peter 1:7


God corrects us.  It may be painful.  It may sting a little…but it is always worthwhile.  I recall being corrected and disciplined as a child.  It wasn’t something I ever looked forward to, nor was it something I would want to do again, yet it provided me direction and it refined me as a human being.  



When we accept Salvation for what it is – God’s grace imparted to us by Jesus Christ, we begin this transformational refinement.  Initial sanctification (what we know of to be accepting Jesus at the moment of Salvation) isn’t the end of our spiritual journey, it is only the beginning. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” At the first infant steps of our salvation we are shucking off our old sinful selves.  For some that transformation occurs quickly while others this gradual refinement of the old to the new takes a little longer.  The Holy Spirit does the prodding in us…the pleading, the yearning for us to recognize the unsurrendered bits and the road to complete submission.  The “new life” is not easy, nor is the transformational process.  Yet, through correction, conviction and purification by fire we can become cleansed and washed clean from our old lives.  



There is pain at the altar of submission.  There is heartache and grief as we allow the prodding of the Holy Spirit to take root within us and allow Him to burn our old decay away.   The refinement of gold and other precious metals is hot work.  The solid must be melted down to its basic elements within the fire.  As the solid becomes liquid metal, piping hot and volcanic, the impurities begin to become visible.  Before these metals were melted down, the impurities were hidden and buried somewhere deep within…but now as the flame alters its state, these impurities can no longer be hidden.  These impurities are plain as day, floating on top of the hot metal ore. The one who has melted down the ore will then gently skim the surface of the precious metal and remove the impurities.  

So too the Holy Spirit longs to this work within us.  It is hot work.  It may burn a little.  We may groan under the heat of the flame, but what a difference it will make!  




Where are you right now on your spiritual journey?
Is the Holy Spirit trying to refine you?
Are you allowing Him access to you completely?  Or are you holding back? 
The old cannot be skimmed from your life if you aren’t willing to stand the heat of His Holy Fire. 
You are meant for so much more.  You are meant to be refined and cleansed.  You are God’s precious possession! 
He wants you all to Himself, but that cannot happen unless you are willing to be refined, and to do so requires your complete surrender.  

Stand the heat for just a little bit longer.  Let His flames consume you.  
Our purification within His holy fire will be ongoing, and we may have to surrender time and time again but what a peace it is to discover that we aren’t on this path alone.  

There is real peace in our surrender.  
There is real joy in His Holy fire.  
May His loving arms be on us ever
and complete submission – never tire.  

-Just a something more to ponder. 

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