Monday, November 28, 2011

Nutcracker, Target and the Virgin Mary

Amanda and I went to see the Russian Nutcracker in Knoxville’s Tennessee Theater this weekend. It was a great time. It was the first time we’ve been to a ballet together and the first time we’ve had "alone time" in a while.
I’ll let her tell you how well I did in the midst of a two and a half hour session of “men in tights.” It really wasn’t bad … nor was I. There was only one period during the ballet where I think Amanda might have really been embarrassed by my immaturity. Oh well.
On our way home Sunday morning, Amanda wanted to stop by Target for “just a little while.” Her version of “in and out” is more like besieging a city!!! I mean, really … I always expect to be there for the duration and she usually proves me right!
So I’m sitting there in Target with my honey and decide that it’s as good a time as any to send out my “Word of the Day” texts. I’m sending them out and it usually takes a half hour to send them out to all my people and while I’m doing this I begin to hear the rumblings.
For all of you people – particularly you men who are simply going shopping with their wives to “support her habit” (I know how you feel brother) – the rumblings start off low key because they’re so close to the front door but by the time they are halfway down the first isle, you know that the spirit of Christmas is a lot like Elvis … it has left the building!
At first I was amazed by this because it’s been so long since I’ve been in a shop the day or weekend after Thanksgiving. There’s nothing good or enjoyable about it racing from sale to sale, I don't care how good of a deal you think you're getting. But my mistake was in thinking that this was some kind of new phenomenon. It’s not. It’s happened since the first Black Friday and will continue until our Lord returns. The “Anti-Spirit of Christmas” is everywhere during the "holiday shopping season." It’s absolutely nuts! There will be NO mistletoe kissing anywhere near Target during the season!
What I realized is that the reason people become so angry is because they are so self-absorbed – self-indulgent. I heard some random guy in the men’s clothing section belittling his wife because she thinks everyone wears black (which they do) and he wants to get this generic piece of clothing because he looks good in black. He spoke to her like she was the idiot!
And the same with a mother and her two little boys. She was consumed with doing her shopping but her boys – as any children would do in that situation – were more interested in going to the toy section (which was where they were probably headed anyway). But the anger with which this mother addressed her children is what concerned me. Parents – if you don’t want your kid to badger you in the toy section THEN DON’T TAKE THEM IN THE FLIPPIN’ STORE IN THE FIRST PLACE, YA IDIOT!
It just bewilders me. Why we put such high expectations on our children or on other people and, when they’re not met, then we get angry. I, unfortunately, do this with Amanda all too often. What’s really sad is that I don’t communicate those expectations to her beforehand. She does that to me as well. Our biggest arguments come from nonexistent communication of expectations.
Its Christmas time so maybe we should all take a lesson from a teenage virgin named Mary:
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
“Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
“Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
“The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.” – Luke 1:26-38

            Not everything in life will go as you plan but if you trust in the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, some of those things that don’t go as you planned will go far beyond anything you could ever imagine!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shrewd as Snakes

            I’ve already written one post today but I just didn’t feel satisfied since it was written quickly from my iPhone in between returning from a Marine’s memorial service, Amanda trying to get a nap in, and both kids in their respective rooms crying out, “Mommy!” because they believe it to be the end of their nap time! Ah … there’s no rest for the wicked.
            To continue on my previous blog entry: “Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good” (Ecclesiastes 9:18). Heads up leadership! Be even more leery those of you (those of us) who appoint and allow others to lead. From the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.”
So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.
But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world; things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

            I’m sure Christians in America have felt like this in every generation but at no time else during America’s history has there been such an onslaught – such a systematic dismantling of the foundation of this Nation. I think the saddest part of this is that what made this country great – the stones on which it was built because of the “stones” a good number of men had during the birthing pains of this nation are being destroyed under the guise of “forward thinking” or “enlightenment” – and this is coming from someone who is definitely not a saint (I have demons and skeletons uglier than the ones you have in your own closet).
            It’s sad. Nothing is sacred. Because of “lack of evidence” we allow an accused baby killing mother to walk while with a “preponderance of evidence” we convict a doctor for “murdering” an entertainment icon despite him being a suspected child molester. Something just ain’t right. And what about, “If the glove doesn’t fit then you’ve gotta acquit.” How much more of a mockery of things could that one have been???
            To me, it all comes back to leadership. Granted … only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was perfect … so that’s not what I’m calling for in my frustration. I’m calling for excellence. With as many individuals who come together to make the collective leadership of our country, one would think that excellence could be achieved easily at the highest levels. One would think that as American’s, our leadership would instinctively strive for excellence. Instead, leadership is mediocre at best and most times, it lacks any substance at all.

“Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say, “He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.”
And again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.”
So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you – whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” – (1 Corinthians 3:18-23)

The reality – again, in my eyes – is not mediocrity … it’s not really “their” inability to lead with excellence …it’s about their fascination with sin. You’ve heard the saying, “History repeats itself” or “If you don’t know your history then you’re bound to repeat it.” Pastor Bobby Davis (Lifechurch / Cookeville, TN) alluded to this last week in his Sunday sermon as have multitudes of God-fearing men and women: America is the modern day Roman Empire! Read what happens when Rome turns its back on God. This is from the top down!!!

But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” – Romans 3:18-32

In all reality folks … I think this is where we’re sitting. Are these the end times? I don’t know but it might be for the great Nation we call home. Indifference and apathy will undo what’s not being guarded. We have to be the watchmen! “Let the watchman be fully alert!”

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me. When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking – it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
“A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.  And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 10:16-22

All that to say this … keep praying, Saints!!! We need a miracle in this Nation. I performed two Marine’s memorials this week: a Vietnam-era Marine who earned a Bronze Star with “V” Device for actions that saved his buddy’s life and a Marine from the “Greatest Generation” who served in two wars, WWII and Korea. Our country was built on the backs and blood of men like them – not by some overeducated, tucked-away safely bureaucrats who’s only interest in this country is to bleed it dry with a life-long pension at the expense of those who have the “stones” to lay it on the line.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Fight is On!!

A few people know that I have been actively pursuing an Active Duty chaplain gig with the Army. More people know that this has been something I have been pursuing with passion to one degree or another over the last ten years.

It's has it's moments when everything looked lost and then again, it's had some moments that seemed to absolutely be a part of a much bigger picture that God was trying to paint. It's been one of those desires that you know in your heart is supposed to look like at the end - you know - the one you have an exact picture of and it's taped to your bathroom mirror so you can look at it everyday and focus on what it is you're going after. Or look at it like this - a picture of the wife and kids - something that's already yours but you've been deployed and that's who you want to get back to as quickly as possible.

I'm back in that spot right now. All the odds are stacked against me: my age ( I never thought I'd be saying that), I'm a Christian working for a government that no longer appears to fear the Lord, and despite having made some mistakes in my past - the idea of "paying one's debt to society" and "your sins are forgiven" no longer apply.

The Christian Chaplain appears to be on his way to systematic elimination. So I ask for your prayers. I obviously want God's will to be done primarily. I believe He put this desire in my heart 10 years ago. I pray He works a miracle to complete it. Will you agree with me in prayer?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


You know … sometimes, when I’m really frustrated with my current situation, the only really productive way to “vent” is through writing. Everything else that could be done seems to be less productive and what better way to get the thoughts and processes out of your head? Well, yeah, prayer or praise would be good too but sometimes I think God really helps me get my head back in the game when I take the time to process things and then dump them through writing or typing. I guess it goes back to creating something from nothing. Expressing one’s thoughts in black and white can be pretty cool.
One of the greatest books I’ve ever read (two or three times now) is by Christian author, John Bevere. The Bait of Satan is a “punch to the gut” type of read and for anyone who is apprehensive about reading something that might challenge you at a deeper level … well, then, this book is NOT for you!!!
One of the things that have kept me from becoming everything that God wants me to be has been offence. What I mean when I say taking offence is getting my feelings hurt. For instance, my friend and I don’t see eye to eye on a subject and that becomes the seed of offence that keeps us from continuing in a healthy relationship. A better example might be:
I say something to Amanda and she hears it in a way that upsets her. Now I did not say it in any way with intent to offend her but, given the right set of circumstances, anything can be heard incorrectly. So she gets offended and comes to me wounded. I don’t understand why she’s hurt but I get offended because she’s accusing me of being insensitive. Satan has thrown the bait and we have devoured it like ravenous wolves!!!
            So how do we keep from getting offended so quickly? How do we stop offending the ones we love, much less, the ones we might like? And how do we live without holding on to offense?
I see people all the time (and sometimes it’s just when I look in the mirror) walking around with “offense face.” You can tell that they’re holding something against someone else! It’s nuts! You really can tell when someone is bitter, wounded, resentful, or just plain angry at someone else. They have the offense face. It’s ugly. It’s accusing. It’s in a defensive posture until that other person comes around and then it assumes an offensive posture. It’s unforgiving … but forgiveness is the only place where you or I are going to defeat Satan in this arena.
Jesus taught us to pray for those who have offended us as well as asking for forgiveness from those who we might have caused the offence. “… and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt. 6:12). And how many times should we forgive those people who offend us? “Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive” (Luke 17:4). As believers, we must live this truth for the world to see. “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:32).

Check this out:

“In fact, according to the law of Moses, nearly everything was purified with blood. For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).

“But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:15).

And when sins have been forgiven, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices” (Heb. 10:18).

 “Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too” (Mark 11:25).

            Forgiveness is a relatively simple thing when you look at it like this. The reality of making forgiveness work in our own lives is a whole other story. I pray we all find the grace and strength to forgive. When it’s the hardest, remember: He loved you first and He forgave you first!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This morning I went to visit a Soldier in the hospital. Apparently he had just finished a PT test and was doing his cool down stretching when all he saw was gravel spinning and then he was out! I suspect that this incident might have occurred a couple of days earlier because he was scheduled to have some surgery in the next couple of days.
It’s always an honor – humbling – for me to be allowed into the lives of people who I don’t know so that I might share a moment in their lives and a prayer of reassurance and hope. One of the interesting things that happened today was the conversation that I had with the Soldier’s wife.
I can’t remember why the subject was breached in the first place other than we were speaking about this particular Soldier’s doctor who had apparently deployed to Iraq during the same time frame as this Soldier’s unit – the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment. She spoke about a conversation she had recently with another female concerning deployment. She was trying to relate to this civilian – this person who would never know what it “felt like” – to be separated from your spouse because of a deployment.
This is as close as I can tell you to what she said:

“Imagine being in an ICU with your husband hooked up to all the IVs, lines, and monitors. And all you can do is just sit there and wait for him to “come back.” You hope that the last thing you said to him isn’t going to be the last thing you ever say but there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change the situation except wait. You’re life – the one you share with your husband – is put on hold but you’re expected to function normally through it.”

My question is: what’s normal at that point? I saw my Mom had lost a lot of weight when I came home from deployment. I don’t know what was going on in her head and heart. My wife dreads me heading out for deployments (although we have yet to experience that as a family) and schools and long drill weekends. Coming back home is always a little rough, particularly after a long period of being away. Separation affects the entire family. To say you haven’t changed after something like a deployment or a traumatic event is to say that you aren’t human. We all change. We’re all affected.
I shared this Scripture with this family today:

“In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:6, 8
            For all those who are crying out right now because of loss, the reality of what might be lost, or simply having to adjust to separation, I pray the peace of Christ to overwhelm your life. Lean on the everlasting arms of the one who has come to redeem you. Don’t be afraid to call on the name above all names!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chaplain Creed

While reading the Life Journal scriptures for today, Amanda brought these particular verses to the forefront of our discussion. And God's good, you know. He speaks to us how we each need to hear.

This particular passage struck me as something I could use in my own life as a creed to serve my fellow man - our Soldiers. I pray that I can always saw this of my own ministry.

God bless ...

"As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says,

“At just the right time, I heard you.
On the day of salvation, I helped you.”

Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.
Oh, dear Corinthian [Soldiers, youth, coworkers] friends! We have spoken honestly with you, and our hearts are open to you."

(2 Corinthians 6:1-11 NLT)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Flood of Living Water

"Rain, rain on my face, hasn't stopped raining for days."Well ... That's not exactly true. It just started raining sometime last night and I've woken up to the sound of rain running down the gutters, exploding on the driveway, cascading over the once wonderfully waxed body of my XTerra, and simply falling like paratroopers through the sky - attempting to avoid tree branches and telephone wires on their descents.

I love warm rain. I'm trying to remember some of the songs I know that have rain - or some version of it - in the lyrics. Let's see: we already mentioned Jars of Clay, "Flood." How about CCR's, "Who'll Stop the Rain." Iron Maiden used lines from the classic poem "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" in their song by the same name to talk about about the lack of a good water source ... "Day after day, day after day we stuck no breath, no motion. As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean. Water, water every where and all the boards did shrink. Water, water every where, nor any drop to drink."

Those lyrics make me wonder how Noah felt during his time in the flood. Can you imagine being told by God that He's fed up with how people are acting and that your family is going to be the only family that will survive the catastrophe that's about to wipe out the entire population as you know it?

What about being told that ... and then being told to build a huge ship because God's going to wipe out his creation using one of the very things that sustain life - water. (The second and third day of creation spoke specifically of water and it's significance in this whole thing we call life - Genesis 1:6-10).

Jesus spoke of water - living water. John writes, "On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)" (John 7:37-39 NLT)

The story that the Apostle John shares with us about Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well beautifully illustrates the living water of which we all thirst.

"Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that he was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus himself didn’t baptize them—his disciples did). So he left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.

"Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”
Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I AM the Messiah!”

Just then his disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?” The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”
But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other. Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!” When they came out to see him, they begged him to stay in their village. So he stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear his message and believe. (John 4:1-41 NLT)

Flood, rain, water ... Who knows? All I know us that if this living water keeps me from thirsting for the contaminated water that the world is trying to sell me then I'm all for it. Jesus fill me up!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Veteran's Day

            Yesterday was Veteran’s Day. It was 11-11-11. I guess it was supposed to be the end of the world too but at no point throughout that 24 hour period did I cease breathing so I guess either the world didn’t end or I didn’t make it in the rapture. The good thing is, neither of them happened so there’s still a chance that I’ll still get called up!
            I got the day off yesterday to celebrate those who have served and continue to serve the people of this great nation. It was nice. I was able to spend the majority of the day with my family. Sophia and Angus really appreciated it and Amanda and I got to catch up on life. One thing that I regret not doing was going to the town square and participating in the Veteran’s Day ceremony. I realized what a hypocrite I was as we drove right past the Square as the celebration was starting.
            A couple of things that I’ve heard recently about veterans are a bit disturbing. I heard that in the next five years, the vast majority of Vietnam Vets will be dead. Now, I assume this source was speaking about those Vietnam Vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. Also – I’m not quite sure of the actual percentage of homeless people in America – but the percentage of homeless Americans who are Veterans is 15%. That’s crazy to me! Why are these guys and/or gals on the street? What’s their circumstance?
            Another thought: there are a lot of people talking about the draw-down on the battle front. I hope that’s the case, no doubt, but the reality is that there is a time for peace and a time for war (Ecclesiastes 3:8). We might have to remain in these arenas for an extended amount of time. Who knows? There is no rest for the wicked and evil men will always attempt to destroy the peacemakers.
            But I do hope for peace. However, the peace of which I hope only comes from one – Jesus Christ. Christmas is just around the corner and one of the greatest promises in the Word comes as a prophecy which we continue to sing today. “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Read the surrounding passages as well and get stoked on the promise – the fact – that there ain’t gonna be no war, no more!
Isaiah 9:2-7
2 The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.
3 You will enlarge the nation of Israel, and its people will rejoice. They will rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest and like warriors dividing the plunder.
4 For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders. You will break the oppressor’s rod, just as you did when you destroyed the army of Midian.
5 The boots of the warrior and the uniforms bloodstained by war will all be burned. They will be fuel for the fire.
6 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!