Military

Trust & Obey

Image result for obedience

 

All people have short comings—we are fallible beings, and that’s why it’s sometimes difficult to trust those who may have rule over us. But with God it is much different. He never makes a mistake. The Lord is perfect, holy and filled with love. 

 

“O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29 KJV) 

 

What have I gotten myself into?  That was the predominant thought in my mind at basic-training for the Army. A drill-instructor was demonstrating his control over the men under him. On the roof of a three-story barracks, the drill-sargent ordered a young private to dive head first onto the rocky ground below.  

 

Without hesitation, the trusting soldier took two steps towards the edge, bent his legs for the leap, and sprang up and out to his certain death. Swiftly the Sargent reached out and grabbed the back of the private’s breeches and belt, catching the soldier just in time. 

 

My second thought: There’s no way Id obey such a futile and dangerous order. Observing the imperfections and failings of superior officers stimulated the rebel in me. I didn’t follow every order I was given as a soldier.  

 

Yet, years later I grew very close to my first love. He’s now my Commander in-Chief: Jesus Christ. It wasn’t always easy to trust Him the way that Private trusted his drill-instructor. I have learned, however, of God’s perfect love for me, and of His all-knowing and all-powerful nature. I can trust my life to Him. He’s not a man, who might make a mistake, or tell me to do something futile or foolish.  

 

There are times I don’t understand the Why of a command from God. But I can obey with confidence, knowing He has my best interest at heart. His purposes are flawless.  

 

Thank you, Lord, for your wise leadership. In hindsight we’ll always see the wisdom of trusting and obeying you in all things. In Jesus’ name, amen. 

 

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Categories: Christian Living, Devotional, Faith, Military, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Be Prepared

be-prepared

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” General Sun Tzu

I keep a slogan hung on the wall above my desk where each morning it reminds me of how important it is to start the day out right. It is the Latin slogan “Carpe Diem,” which means “Seize the Day.”

Though I’ve not yet reached dinosaur status, I’m far enough along to note how the longer one lives the more time seems to accelerate. The exceptional brevity of this life is especially noticeable when we juxtaposition it against eternity. There’s a sense of urgency to make the best use of the smidgen of time we’ve been allotted to prepare for the real life that is yet to come.

There have been days when I felt so rushed to get somewhere, or to accomplish what needed to be done that I neglected my quiet time with God. I was just now mentally comparing that forgetfulness with taking off on 200 mile drive and forgetting to fuel up the car. Those days never went the way they should have. I was not plugged into my source for all things needed, and my focus was all wrong, because I began thinking horizontally instead of vertically. It doesn’t take very many days like that to understand the seriousness of approaching every day under God’s direction, with eternity in mind.

Living in a sin cursed world makes it so easy to forget who we are in Christ Jesus. I need to prepare for whatever each day holds by first consulting the one who already knows what lies ahead.  Whenever I start out right I am more joyful, at peace and confident. I get more accomplished, and can see great purpose and significance in everything He leads me to do. It’s the best way to really make the day count for something. Even if it’s your job to scrub toilets, you can do the best job possible and make them shine, because you are doing it for the Lord. Whether I am teaching a class, building something, or simply cleaning up my dog’s poop off the side of the road, it is for Jesus, and that gives it importance. What a tremendous difference our perspective makes! When I remember to pull into the spiritual fueling station of God’s word, I am more productive—I can really seize the day!

One of the things I’m reminded of each morning as I read my Bible and pray, meditating and listening to God, is that I am a child of a king. We will one day reign with Him. We don’t have to fear what may lie ahead. Besides, we know there’s a subtle and powerful adversary out there just waiting to try and trip us up. Since we know it’s coming, it is prudent for us to prepare to face temptation. Only a fool would go into battle against a Goliath like Satan without careful preparation, having some form of protection, and a weapon.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” SunTzu

In Ephesians 6 we are told of the gear we’ll need to do battle in the spiritual sense. Yes, you’ve heard of this before. It’s called “The Armor of God”. We first show up and then suit up. Verse 11 tells us: Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Let’s briefly review each piece of armor. And please remember that if any one of these are missing, that’s the precise place where you will be attacked. The devil is a seasoned warrior—he knows how to take advantage of the slightest weak area in our defenses.

The belt of truth. God’s word, the Bible is our sure source of truth. When we are grounded and founded in His truth we don’t have to fear. It is difficult to deceive someone when they know the truth. We ourselves do not deceive; instead we reflect the light of God’s glorious truth.

The breastplate of righteousness Once Christ justifies us in the sight of God and His righteousness has been imputed unto us, we guard our righteous status. We do not return to the filthy sinful ways of the world that we have been cleansed from. This requires remaining in constant contact with the water of God’s word which cleanses us daily. We need that daily cleansing because we are going to make mistakes.

Feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, We must always be ready to share with others how they too can be reconciled unto God. We must carry the Gospel message of salvation to the world. We must be able to share with others the scriptures which pertain to how we are saved.

 

Shield of faith, Faith is the catalyst that activates God’s power in our lives. Power to resist temptations and power to live a joyful and peace filled life. Faith is our shield against the attacks of evil: Believing completely and then acting based upon that belief.

The helmet of salvation, We must first be saved, establishing our citizenship in the Kingdom of God, which includes a myriad of benefits. We must confess our need for God’s grace and receive the gift of salvation by placing our faith in Christ Jesus and in His work at Calvary and at the grave. Our response to salvation is then obedience to Christ (We did say He is now our ‘Lord’, right?). We do so out of love and appreciation.

The sword of the Spirit, The sword of the Spirit is the word of God, alive and active. It is sharper than any two edged sword. It penetrates even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow, it judges (discerns) the thoughts, intentions and attitudes of our heart. God’s word is a very powerful weapon against evil, in defending righteousness. But never use it against God’s own people. We learn to skillfully use God’s word to build people up. (But there’s also a time to tear down.)

We must carry God’s word in our hearts and minds if we hope to be victorious over the adversary’s schemes. Every day we must fine tune our focus in the light of a close relationship with Jesus Christ. The more time we spend with God, seeking His presence, the more power we assimilate into our lives. God is all-powerful. We need that power in our lives. It is a rough, tough world out there. But we don’t have to face it alone. Here’s a handy checklist.

  1. How is my focus today?
  2. Are my spiritual eyes open and perceptive to the underlying causes and effects going on around me, and within me?
  3. Did I spend some quality time with my sweet Lord today?
  4. Did I read my Bible and take it into my heart?
  5. Did I speak with Him and seek His counsel, His wisdom, and His purpose for me today?
  6. Did I start out clean and fresh, asking God to forgive my sins of yesterday?

If I’ve done all these I’m ready to:

CARPE DIEM – SIEZE THE DAY!

 

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Killing an Enemy

ambush

The following true story covers one of the two shootouts I took part in. I was only 19 years old at the time, but was good at my job. Spiritually speaking, I was still as green as a Granny Smith apple, but the Lord has His ways of educating us. This ordeal taught me about how easy it is to be so very certain about something, and yet have a wrong perception altogether. It seems a lifetime ago…

Distinctive Sounds

 

The Red Georgia dirt had baked to a sweltering clay in the hot summer sun, making our feet sweat. Our platoon would pound out five mile runs in combat boots and full gear. Infantry training is grueling work, but committing thousands of new things to memory was the hardest part.

If we didn’t pay close attention, or were to forgot some critical piece of training, it could cost us our life, or the lives of others. We were learning how to fight and how to survive in a myriad of difficult situations. There was a lot more to this soldering thing than I had anticipated—so many things to know, some of which we couldn’t imagine there would ever be a need.

The instructor barked a question “What sound is this?”

“Swish, swish, swish.” Everyone remained silent.

“Tell em Sergeant,” the teacher ordered.

“That’s the sound of brush against the pant legs of U.S. fatigues,” he replied.

“You mean you can tell they’re American just be the sound?” I asked.

“Different countries, different uniforms, different materials. In Vietnam we learned this next sound well.”

“Swish, swish, swish.” As usual, I couldn’t keep quiet.

“Sounds the same to me, Sarge.”

“Listen again to both, and you’ll hear a subtle difference in the sound of brush against our uniforms, and the all cotton of the Vietcong’s.”

Amazingly, there was a difference. We learned to use all of our senses to their full potential. Eighteen months later, that listening skill would prove invaluable.

There are many night-time sounds along the Demilitarized zone spanning the border between North and South Korea, where our five man squad was on ambush patrol.

A strange insect that we called “kimchee crickets” made clicking sounds. I was on point, with all my senses focused on detecting any man-made sounds or smells. Our job was to catch North Koreans sneaking across the border to infiltrate the democracy in the south. Some of them have been successful in obtaining high-level positions in the South Korean government.

Trying to filter out the slight sounds of the men behind and to my right and left, in a wedge formation, we stalked a semi-wooded area around a known infiltration route. The crickets were clicking away when I heard two clicks that sounded slightly different. They were similar to the crickets, yet distinctly metallic clicks. And crickets aren’t made of metal.

I signaled a halt, and then flagged for a consultation with Sergeant Davis, an old combat veteran who had been serving as rear guard. Using night vision field glasses, we discovered three enemy soldiers escorting two infiltrators. They had heard us coming, and were lying in ambush, waiting. The clicks I had heard were the safeties being taken off of their AK-47’s and switched to automatic.

Sarge deployed us into a semi-circle around the enemy, and we caught them in a cross-fire. Bullets whizzed past my head like super-sonic bumble bees on a deadly mission. When the fire-fight ended, my friend, “Robert (Crash) Kolowitz,” was grazed by a 7.62 X 39 mm round. But that was our only injury. The communists didn’t fare as well; with two dead. We captured the would-be infiltrators and one soldier. That was in 1980.

Today, as the world keeps fearful eyes on North Korea and their god-like supreme ruler, Kim Jong-un, there are still firefights along the DMZ. It doesn’t happen often, and you won’t hear about them in the news. As far as the U.S. Army is concerned, they never happened at all. Politics!

My knees are paying a price for the abuse they took in the Army. Whenever I kneel down, each knee complains with a loud “click-clack”. But I imagine those clicks are a sweet sound to our Lord, as I kneel and thank Him constantly for bringing us safely through that ordeal. My knees might be rickety-clickety now, but I have an entirely new body waiting for me when I get to heaven.

Many nights I can’t sleep, thinking about those two soldiers that died, wondering whose bullets did that. Lord willing, I’ll never touch another gun. In North Korea, every young man is required to serve in the military, and those soldiers were only doing as ordered. The penalty for disobeying is death.

I’ve learned there are undercover Christians in North Korea, who face severe persecution and death because of their faith in Jesus Christ. The possibility horrifies me that maybe those two men…

Before you click over to the next web-page, how about saying a quick prayer for our men in uniform who fight for our freedoms? And then say a prayer for those we call “enemy,” who never had a choice in the matter.

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