“You, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life—that he may please Him Who has chosen him to be a soldier.  And, if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”

II Timothy 2:3-5

Our ranks may differ, but our responsibility is all the same.

Even now we can picture them as they report for duty—these young, green, still wet-behind-the-ears new recruits.  They get off the bus with a silly grin on their faces, laughing and joking among themselves.

But, suddenly, the air is pierced by a howling and growling voice.

“Fall in!”

Like clueless lemmings they shuffle over to the designated place. . .their hair long and unkempt. . .their shirttails hanging out. . .their hands in their pockets. . .and a slight smirk on their faces.

But, that doesn’t last long.

“What are you laughing at, recruit?!?” barks the drill sergeant as he puts his face two inches from theirs.

The startled newcomer gasps and says, “Nothing, sir.”

“I can’t hear you!!” he screams

“NOTHING, SIR!!” the recruit says with a look of terror in his eyes.

And, in that moment some of them inwardly say, “What have I gotten myself into?!?”

For the next several months they’ll get up early, learn how to march, doing zillions of push-ups, etc., before collapsing into bed each evening totally exhausted.  Their training is grueling and even questionable at times; however, the drill sergeant knows it’s also transformational and the time will come when their appearance, attitude and actions will be that of a “good soldier.”

He knows such rigorous training also prepares them for war—for without such self-discipline, determination and dedication-to-duty the battle will be lost.

Is not the same true for us, dear Pilgrim, in the spiritual warfare that is raging?

Has not the Master—yea, our Commander-in-Chief, God the Father—“chosen (Grk. ‘stratologeo’—‘to enlist, select, set forth, named, etc.’) us to be a soldier of the Cross”?  And, isn’t it our duty. . .and shouldn’t it be our desire. . .to “please (Grk. ‘aresko’—‘to excite one’s emotion, to seek to make agreeable, etc.’) Him Who has chosen us”?

Most assuredly it is.
That’s why we should “endure hardness (Grk. ‘sugkakopatheo’—‘to suffer hardship in company with, be partaker of afflictions, etc.’) as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” and not become “entangled (Grk. ‘empleko’—‘to entwine with, braid, plait, etc.’) with the affairs of this life” (cf. Rom. 12:1-2).  And, this will not happen if we do not “strive for masteries (go for the gold) by playing by the rules.”  May the Holy Spirit help us today to recommit ourselves to the One Who has called and commissioned us—for the Battle is raging and many souls are.

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated July 3, 2009

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By World Publishing

Featuring the accuracy of the NASB, MacArthur Study Bible is perfect for serious study. MacArthur offers a study Bible designed not to “fit lifestyles,” but to transform your life through vital insights into God’s Word. Right there on the page beside the Bible text are helpful charts, and maps, along with thousands of study notes personally written by Dr. MacArthur and informed by the research of scholars at the Master’s Seminary.

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938446: NIV Archaeological Study Bible Cashew/Caramel bonded leather NIV Archaeological Study Bible Cashew/Caramel bonded leather

By Zondervan

An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture, The NIV Archaeological Study Bible sheds new light on the Bible. From the beginnings of Genesis to the end of Revelation, this new study Bible is filled with informative articles and full-color photographs of places and objects that will open your eyes to the historical context of the stories you read and the people you meet in Scripture. From kings and empires to weapons of war to clay pots used for carrying water, the archaeological record surrounding God's Word will help contextualize and inform your personal study.


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