I Want to Be…

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

I’ve heard the jodies of troops running down the streets of every Army post throughout my whole career; “I want to be an Airborne Ranger, I want to live a life of danger…” Well there is a big difference between singing about something and living it. For the follower of Jesus it’s not good enough to want to be a lover of God and people. Loving God and others has to be the real deal.
There are three kinds of Bees; Real Bees, Wanta Bees, and Useta Bees. Authentic Christian living is hallmarked by a real love for Jesus and one another. Without love, it’s just a lot of buzz.

4 Day Supply

I will be out of town at the All Army Navigator Conference so here is a 4 day supply of SWORDPOINT. Remember to help others get the point!

DAY1

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

Combat Life-Savers

One thing I like about the Combat Life-Saver Course is giving and receiving an actual IV. You can’t pass the course unless you are able to successfully stick the needle in your buddy’s arm and safely administer intravenous fluids. It makes the skill practical verses intellectual. I think that’s what we encounter when we have endured various trails and God heals our wounds. We have experienced both the pain and the comfort. Then we become compassionate and effective ministers to those in like circumstances. Have you experienced the comfort of God? Pass it on.

Day 2

Jeremiah 9:23 This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.

Fruit Salad

As men and women in uniform, our eyes are drawn to the left breast pockets of our comrades. We can see the accomplishments and achievements of an individual almost immediately. We have instant bragging rights written all over our uniforms. But is God impressed when He looks at us? Is it about ribbons, tabs, badges, and medals? No, God looks at the heart. If a Christian has anything to righteously brag about, it would be they know the living God. The most important symbol I wear on my uniform is the cross.

Day 3

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

No Pain, No Gain

Often soldiers come to me with the desire to be stress free. Reminds me of the time, while driving, I eyed a billboard stating, ‘Live a painless life.’ I laughed so hard I almost wrecked my car. How ridiculous! Anyone who has lived a little bit of life knows ‘it ain’t pain free.’ I think you can place man’s goals in to two distinct ventures; pursue happiness and avoid pain. You can boil God’s goals down to one: help us become Christ-like. Sometimes our desires and God’s are at odds. Don’t get me wrong. I like to be happy as much as the next guy, but it’s not my ultimate goal. To be like Christ is what we strive for. That’s why we call ourselves CHRISTians.

Day 4

Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, [39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Master Tracker

I had a habit of walking at a distance from the Ranger student patrols. For fun, I tracked them as they went. One of the worst things that could happen to you as an instructor was to lose a Ranger student. But I was good and there was little risk. Right!? One night I was a short distance from the patrol and I was tracking them by the noise they made. Suddenly, in the pitch dark it was deafly silent. I had been separated from the patrol. I had lost not only one ranger student but the whole patrol! In a panic I broke noise and light discipline and yelled out, ‘Patrol Leader!’ At which point I heard a small faint voice down in the valley below, ‘Yeees, serrrgggeanttt?’ True Confessions of a Ranger Instructor. Let me assure you God’s love is the master tracker. There is no way we could ever elude its reaches.

Surprise, Surprise!

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

As the Chaplain of an AIT Battalion I had a soldier come into my office and explain how he didn’t realize how he’d actually have to go to war. He said he had joined for the college money and never dreamed that being a real soldier was in his future. I was amazed! I kind of rubbed the US Army tag above my left breast pocket and reminded him that it didn’t say Wal-Mart. But sometimes I think God is amazed as well. When we are confronted with the fiery ordeals of life as Christians and we ask, ‘Why? How did this happen?’ We are in a spiritual war! Check out your tag above your left breast pocket. It says Christian. Keep fighting the good fight!

Application: Answer this question; what ground have I taken for the Kingdom this week?

Spiritual R&R

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Military folks work some long hours. There is no such thing as overtime and during deployments you can work 16-hour days (and more). Some of us have gone months without a single day off and have been dog-tired. But life can run you into the ground too. Relationships, disappointments, illness, defeat, and trials can beat us down and we get flat out whupped. Jesus says ‘Come to me…and I will give you rest.’ Take it to Him, spend some time in prayer and the Scripture and get a little R&R.

Application: Take a knee, drink spiritual water, for seven minutes in the morning and at night.

Too Many Bosses

‘No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.’ (Matthew 6:24)

We have all had it happen to us. ‘I don’t care what he said, I told you to do it my way.’ Two supervisors at odds with one another and you’re stuck in the middle like a human ping pong ball. Well fortunately the lines are clear in the spiritual chain of command. You either serve God or the world. We get to choose.

Application: Who are the voices in your life? Does God’s voice trump all others? Pray and ask Him to open your ears to His voice above all others.

The Secret

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

I’ve figured out the secret to being happy as a soldier. (And we know being happy as a soldier can be a challenge at times.) The secret to being happy is being content and the secret to being content is realizing my strength to overcome any obstacle comes from following Jesus. God knows exactly what is going on in our lives. And He is able to get us through every circumstance. Whether its 130 degrees in Kuwait or a Manchurian cold front in Korea, I have the strength to be victorious.

Application: Think of the circumstances that you have faced in the past and how you got through them in the strength of Christ.

NO GO

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)

I think I have the record for the number of tries for the Expert Infantrymen’s Badge (EIB). It took me eight times to finally get the coveted award. It was kind of humiliating as an E7 being told by an E4, ‘Sergeant, you are a NO GO at this station.’ Failure can be a bitter experience but we all have tasted it. The Bible says, ‘You are a NO GO at this station called life.’ But where there is no mercy with the EIB there is with God. The Bible also says there is forgiveness for those who acknowledge their shortcomings and trust in the work done on the cross. Thank God for mercy through Jesus Christ!

Application: Got a pet sin? Stop it, Confess it, Get over it (because God has…1 John 1.9)

The Only Thing You Missed was the Boat

While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

(Luke 11:27-28)

…That’s a great idea Ranger, under normal circumstances, except for the fact that you are all ready poised to attack the enemy’s rear. To flank them in this situation, would be attacking their strongest point… Aggressive actions, poor judgment. So right but so wrong. Has that ever happened to you spiritually? Have you ever thought; surely God thinks this way or that. Only to discover, oops, I need to do a 180 on that one. (I remember as a baby Christian, praying that God would give me more iniquity until I discovered what the word meant.) The key is a constant, progressive, thorough reading of God’s Word so we can really get to know Him better. This could save us from some very embarrassing circumstances.


Application: If you have trouble being consistent in your daily Bible reading, try this: Go to the shortest book in the New Testament, read one chapter daily (the shortest is only one chapter!) Then go to the next shortest and so on. When you finish the New Testament email me and I’ll give you a strategy for the Old Testament. Charleswood1@gmail.com

Day 11: Irresistible

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”( Jeremiah 31:3 )

As the Ranger Students would cross the objective during a cold winter’s raid, they would invariably end up somewhere near the fire. The OPFOR always had a fire on the objective to illuminate (makes it easier for the Rangers to find) and for warmth.  The light and heat were just too much for these frozen Hooahs to resist. The fire was so irresistible they would violate the tactical principle of dispersion. It happened without fail. Life is the same. It’s cold out there and it can be bitter to the bone. But the light and warmth of God’s love are irresistible without any bad consequences. Come in out of the cold.

Application: Share the love of God with one person this week. Invite them to church, Bible study, or a fellowship activity. Tell them what Jesus has done in your life. Or share a passage of encouraging scripture.

Ranger Students – Ranger School is one of the toughest training courses for which a Soldier can volunteer. Army Rangers are experts in leading Soldiers on difficult missions – and to do this, they need rigorous training. For more than two months, Ranger students train to exhaustion, pushing the limits of their minds and bodies.

www.wikipedia.org 

Raid – Raiding, also known as depredation, is a military tactic or operational warfare mission which has a specific purpose and is not normally intended to capture and hold a location but instead finish with the raiding force quickly retreating to a previous defended position prior to enemy forces being able to respond in a coordinated manner or formulate a counter-attack. A raiding group may consist of combatants specially trained in this tactic, such as commandos, or as a special mission assigned to any general troops. Raids are often a standard tactic in irregular warfare, employed by warriorsguerrilla fighters or other irregular military forces. Some raids are large, for example the Sullivan Expedition.

Hooah /ˈhɑː/ is a battle cry used by soldiers in the U.S. Army and airmen in the U.S. Air Force.[1] Originally spelled “Hough“, the battle cry was first used by members of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment (United States) during the Second Seminole War in 1841, after Seminole chief Coacoochee toasted officers of the regiment with a loud “Hough!”, apparently a corruption of “How d’ye do!”[2] Since WWII, the word has been widely used throughout the US Army and gained a more general meaning of “anything and everything except ‘no'”.[3][4] It is comparable to Oorah (Marines) in the United States Marine Corps, and Hooyah in the United States Navy.

Newbies

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

(Matthew 9:17)

I loved new Privates. They come into your squad or platoon all bright-eyed, anxious to learn, ready to be molded into a part of the team (I also felt the same way about brand new Lieutenants). They were raw, a blank slate just waiting for you to make that lasting impression. As we start the New Year, let’s present ourselves as new privates or LTs to God, ready and willing to learn new things, effectively integrating ourselves into Kingdom-oriented teams, eager to follow His next command.

Call to Action: Pray that God will give you a fresh desire to love and serve Him.

LT – A lieutenant (abbreviated Lt, LT, Lieut and similar) is a junior commissioned officer in the armed forces, fire services, police and other organizations of many nations.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Ten Things I’m most thankful for in 2006

An incredible year of learning about Jesus

God has developed several key laborers

God has developed several new staff

The ministry has grown in breadth and depth

Over all Army work advances

New cooperation with other ministries

The Bible Study on Helping vs Training

Friends who have generously supported the ministry

God protecting my friends who are deployed

My family

Ten Things I’m praying for in 2007:

Apply the ministry and leadership style of Jesus

Strengthen Team Benning by developing laborers

Developing ministries on new Army Posts

Strengthen the synergy of the Branch Work

Begin training three new staff

The richest time in the Word and prayer ever

Friends and Family will experience more of Christ

Communicate effectively thru verbal and writing

Protection for my friends and family who are deployed

Peace and Salvation for all Nations in Christ