Serve Christ!

Kevin Ibanez

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy 3:14-16

Recently I read an article entitled, “Military Censors Christian Chaplain, Atheists call for Punishment.”  The article begins with this line, “A Christian Chaplain in the military is being officially censored for engaging in free speech, and anti-Christian activists are demanding he be punished.”  At first I thought, “What is our world coming to?”  As a Christian and an American, I know that freedom of speech and religion are rights that we have and are protected by our U.S. Constitution.  However, I also know that we live in a country that has largely turned its back against the God of the Bible and Christianity in general.  The Chaplain, Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes, is a Christian chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Air Force.   Reyes recently wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.”  This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said it during a 1954 speech: "I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives.  In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes [emphasis mine]”."

As reported by Fox News’s Todd Starnes, when Reyes referenced this famous line in his essay, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”

MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’ “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.”  They accuse him of violating military regulations.

Wow!  I truly believe that we are living in a time written by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-4, which says,

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,”.

So what does this mean for us?  Does this mean we pack up and head for the hills?  Do we gear up and go to “war” with those who oppose what we believe in?  Or, do we just let it go, and hope it will all blow over?  Paul tells us later on in 2 Timothy 3, verses 14-15, “… continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, and knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” 

Therefore, we must carry on with what we know.  Jesus came into this world on a mission.  His mission was to redeem humanity with his love.  His love was not an emotional, feel good thing.  His love was an unselfish act, and was demonstrated by his substitutionary death on a cross.  He died for the sins of all humanity.  He then rose again demonstrating his power over Satan, sin and death, and showing everyone that he was and truly is God.  He then told us to go into this crazy, dark, lost world, and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).  He said we would be like pilgrims or strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11), that we are in this world but not of it (John 15:19)  and that we would experience persecution and hardships (1 Peter 4:12-19).  He said these things would happen IF we took a stand for him and dared to live and love radically as he did.

So, rather than wring our hands or shake a collective fist at our world and culture, let us follow the example of Jesus.  He came to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28) and He humbled himself even to point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8), all because He loves the atheist who does not yet know Him and He loves you and me.

 

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