II Timothy 4, verses 6,7: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"
I was a soldier in the United States Army for many years. During my time as a soldier, I experienced many things, learned much about people (yes, soldiers are people; we tend to forget they are some mother's and father's child), and completed much training. I remember basic training and how tough it was, physically and mentally. This training had to be completed before one could go on to the next training. We learned offensive and defensive tactics, teamwork, respect for authority, and much more. We had to abide by our Army Regulations, the set of rules and instructions that govern the operation of the Army.
Two of the things that stick in my mind are the End of Term of Service (ETS) and the Date Eligible to Return from Overseas(DEROS) dates. I knew that unless I reenlisted or extended my service obligation, my ETS would come at a certain date, and I would be released from my duty as a soldier. While serving overseas, I knew that at a certain date, my DEROS would come and I could go back home. All soldiers knew these dates (sometimes as our dates approached, we would go around yelling SHORT) and looked forward to completing their obligations.
The Bible, the "regulation" of the Christian, states that we are constantly in a spiritual warfare. The Word of God equips soldiers in God's army to fight the spiritual battles that are encountered. Sometimes, we need to be on the offensive, and sometimes, we need to be on the defensive. That is why Paul tells us in I Timothy, 2.15 "Study to shew thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The Army Regulations I mentioned earlier did not apply to me until I joined the Army. Once I joined, I had to read, study, absorb and abide by these regulations. The same principle applies to the Bible. Once I joined God's army, the Bible became my regulation. Daily, I read it, study it, and apply what I have learned.
In Ecclesiastes, Chapter Three, verse one, the LORD tells us, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:" There is coming an hour, day, year that our ETS on this earth will arrive. When that day comes, God will send his angels (Luke 16, verse 22), and carry us home to Heaven. Our battles will be over; the victory will be won. Until our ETS date, we will have other dates similar to the DEROS date I referred to earlier. These dates will be events in our lives that changes the course of our lives and gives us new seasons. Events sometimes come suddenly, the unexpected illness, financial losses, family problems, and sometimes we know they are coming. But, remember, there is a time and a season for everything under heaven. That is why the LORD tells us in Psalm 37, trust in him and lean not unto our own understanding. Praise Him who controls the times and the seasons!
The Apostle Paul knew his time was coming. He was so close to Jesus, and his faith was so great, that the LORD gave him many revelations. These revelations caused Paul to be battle worn, to be tired and weary. What a day for him, when the LORD revealed unto him his work was finished! Paul suffered much, yet the LORD was with him. What He has done for others, He will do for you.
Soldiers of God, keep on the firing line! Jesus has never lost a battle, and He will send deliverance. "A time to be born, and a time to die, a time of war, and a time of peace."
Hebrews 6.15 "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise."
Irvin L. Rozier, Captain (Ret) US Army, serving now as a soldier in God's Army
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