javascript:WebForm_DoPostBackWithOptions(new WebForm_PostBackOptions("dnn$ctr364$Tabs$cmdUpdate", "", true, "Page", "", false, true))

CMWF Blog

rss

Welcome to the CMWF Blog! We hope you'll find some encouragement and comfort here through stories of military life and truth from God's Word.


A Shepherd for the Shepherds

By Molly Huggins



I’ve lost two babes at two different times in the days before Christmas.

And so I revel in the humanity of the players in that first Nativity. I empathize with young Mary, of course.

I keep thinking of her physical feelings, her emotions at being a first-time mother. Closing my eyes and thinking of her in labor…in a cave/stable/animal dwelling. The smell, the temperature, the dust…the pain. Cleaning, or trying to clean him. Nursing him for the first time. How sweet that moment is. Or scary, or frustrating, or overwhelming.
Unwashed teenage boys came traipsing in to see her wee man. Was she scared? Happy?
I just love knowing that Jesus had a mommy who did mommy things like nursing, and wiping bottoms, and soothing tears, and swaying to calm Him, and loving His smiles…all the while knowing He was never really hers.

But today, I want to talk to you about the shepherds--those unwashed teenage boys.


Shepherds were second-class, or no-class citizens. They were despised, distrusted, and outcast. “Smug religious leaders maintained a strict caste system at the expense of shepherds and other common folk. Shepherds were officially labeled ‘sinners’—a technical term for a class of despised people.”


And yet ...

“Into this social context of religious snobbery and class prejudice, God’s Son stepped forth. How surprising and significant that Father God handpicked lowly, unpretentious shepherds to first hear the joyous news: “It’s a boy, and He’s the Messiah!” ~ From Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries.

The angel promises the shepherds in Luke 2:10, “... good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

For all of us. The broken, the broke-down, the hurting, the poor, and the lonely. All of us--the wounded and the wound-makers. The Shepherd came to the shepherds, for the shepherds.


And oh, the Good News. We don’t just celebrate a Birth. We celebrate victory over death, over sin. We celebrate a Wonderful Counselor, a Mighty God, a Prince of Peace {from Isaiah 9:6}.

Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. His peace is not as the world gives...is unable to give {from John 14:27}.

Peace to mend a broken heart, a broken marriage; peace to bind the wounds of our shattered lives. Peace to calm a grieving mother as she watched her Son die slowly on a cross.

“Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them” Luke 8:20.

Dear friends, take a moment to marvel at the news--to praise God for the Good News of great joy that will be for all the people.


Prayer
Father, thank You for sending Your Son into the world to be with us. Thank You for Emmanuel- God with us- right in our brokenness and mess. Bring peace to our hearts today. Bring hope and healing where our souls need it most. Thank You for the gift of life given to us in Jesus. Amen.



Molly Huggins (All The Grace Between) is an Army bride, one-time helicopter pilot, compulsive writer, friend seeker, and lover of color and all things textile. Her current occupation is ringmaster of the Huggins family circus (party of five). She has a B.A. in English from Covenant College and a passion for meeting other women right in the middle of their own messy stories. Pull up a chair at her virtual beat-up kitchen table, listen to her stories, and maybe even tell her yours.



Joseph Surrendered His Plans

By Mary Parker


Although there are many examples of Godly people in the Bible, one of the most admirable is Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph. In Matthew 1, Joseph discovers that his betrothed, Mary, is pregnant and is certain the child cannot be his. Joseph, despite what must have been devastating news, decides to go through with the marriage and plans to quietly divorce Mary (Matthew 1:18). This passage clearly displays Joseph’s great love. In spite of his own hurt, he does not try to hurt Mary. 


Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth. Then, an Angel of the Lord visits Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is in fact carrying Jesus, who “will save his people from their sins”. Joseph does not sit idly by or doubt the word of God (Matthew 1:21). We are told that Joseph was faithful to the law; it is important to remember that before Jesus, the law was the only way for people to consecrate themselves to God. 
Because Joseph was so faithful to God, he was obedient to God’s word. We are told, “when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife” (Matthew 1:24). Despite news that would rattle even the most faithful believer, Joseph puts all his trust in God and immediately follows God’s instructions from the moment he wakes up. Joseph abandons his plan and follows God’s plan, trusting the word of God as truth.


The story of Joseph, his strong character and faith show us that God does not operate according to our plans. I’m sure Joseph never dreamt of marrying a pregnant woman whose child was not his own. But I’m also confident that Joseph would not have traded being the earthly father of Jesus for any plans he may have prepared on his own. 


As we study this story around Christmas, I encourage you to pray over any plans you have made for your life – for today, tomorrow and long-term. Instead of relying on your own plans, put all your trust in God, our faithful Father who provides a way in every circumstance, even those that test our faith. 



Reflection

Why is Joseph’s story an important aspect of Christmas? 

How can you develop the strong faith of Joseph?

In what areas of your life can you surrender your plans and trust God completely? 

Prayer
Father God, Thank you for this time that we get to study your son Jesus, and all of the wonderful ways that his coming blessed the world. Thank you for your word that tells of Joseph’s faith so that I may learn how to better follow you and your plans for me, each and every day. I trust that you will make all things work together for my good, even when circumstances seem scary or turn out differently than I expect. Help me to put my plans aside and put all my trust in you today and every day. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

Mary Parker is an Air Force wife who works as a public relations writer. A South Carolina girl at heart, she and her husband have recently relocated to Fairbanks, Alaska. Mary spends her spare time honing exercise and cooking skills, and is a self-proclaimed DIY addict. You can read about how faith and hope shape military family life, and check out Mary's latest projects, at her blog, Mary's Mischief


Mary Trusted God

By Heather Tabers


“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.” ~ Luke 1:45

“I have trust issues.” Have you ever heard anyone say that?
Perhaps you have uttered those words yourself. Placing trust in someone can be very risky- there is great gain to be had if that person holds true to their word and great loss to be felt if they do not. Most likely we have all felt the crushing of our hearts when we trusted someone who proved to be untrustworthy, especially if the loss we suffered was great in doing so.

Mary was a young girl who found herself in a very difficult and embarrassing position. She was a virgin, engaged to be married and pregnant with a child that was not her fiancée’s (nor hers, really). She knew that she could be accused of adultery and stoned to death. Everything was at stake- her marriage, her reputation, her life. Yet, Mary chose to believe God. She believed the words of the angel and of her cousin Elizabeth. Most importantly, she trusted the heart of the God she loved and served.

Friend, you may find it hard to trust the people in your life. It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust our government. Sometimes it is hard to trust our husband, our family, or our friends, but the heart of our loving Father can always be trusted. This Christmas season I invite you to treasure the gift of Jesus in a fullness that you may have never known. Leave the doubts of your heart at the cross and seek the Baby in the manger with a completely open heart.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13



Prayer
Father God, we confess our seasons of unbelief and we lay them down before you. You know the wounds of our hearts and the reasons we doubt. Heal those areas in our lives, Lord. This Christmas season we want You to fill us completely and wholly with Your love. We believe, Lord. Amen.

Reflection
1. Take a moment to reflect on how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Do you trust God that deeply?
2. Has there been a time in your life where you didn’t trust God, yet he proved Himself trustworthy?
3. Is there an area of your life that you need to let go and simply trust God?


Heather Tabers is the wife of a wounded warrior and the mother of five children. She is also currently a full time student, a specialty cake baker, and a volunteer with the VA Public Relations office. She writes about her life and her faith to encourage other women on her blog. Wives of War.




A Savior is Born

By Laura Moore


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

 

Who would have thought that God would use a tiny baby as the light that would save a dark world? Through a prophecy recorded in Isaiah 9:6 God shows us a glimpse of our savior.

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

 

Before we talk about the wonderful meanings of these names of Jesus, don’t you think it’s wonderful how God’s word is always fulfilled? As military families we are often given a direction only to have it changed a few times. We don’t have much hope in the date we’re given for our spouse’s return from deployment. We are told we will be moving to one place and at the last moment it falls through. We are told a medical procedure is covered, only to be thrown for a loop when we are slapped with a huge bill.

 

While we can’t hold a lot of hope in these circumstances, we can celebrate how our God does not waiver in His plans for our lives or this world. Isn’t that great news?!

 

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

 

During this Christmas season, remember that God gave the world a tiny baby as He promised. This small one is our Wonderful Counselor who is exceptional and always gives the right advice. He is our Mighty God, not only Jesus, but God himself. Our Everlasting Father is timeless and as The Prince of Peace, He runs a government of justice and peace.

 

We were given a gift and this is why we celebrate together: that to us a child was born who is our light, and we can find hope in Him through any circumstance we face.

 

Reflection
In what ways has God shown you His faithfulness lately?

What areas of your life do you struggle to trust Him with- family, friends, work, etc.?

 

Prayer

Lord, thank You for always fulfilling Your words. You are so faithful. Thank You for being all that You are- Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Help me to rest in You today. I choose to let go of every fear or worry in Your presence, knowing that You will always come through for me. Give me the strength to trust You. Amen.

 

Laura is a Christ-follower, Navy wife, mother to one toddler, writer, and coffee drinker. She writes about Faith, Military Life, and Motherhood at her blog, Embracing this Life.