Day 20 – The Master of His Trade

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14)

I sat on the hood of my Humvee and watched the M1 Tanks refuel. As each one passed by, I’d give them a friendly chaplain’s wave. One Tank Commander, covered with dust, peering through shaded goggles, gave me a confident thumbs up with a half cocked smile. I marveled as I thought about the master of his craft riding high on his iron beast. I marveled still more as I began to think about the Master who made him and gave him the gifts that translated into a proficient warrior. It’s amazing to think that God has created each one of us with special gifts, talents and abilities so that we may glorify Him in our specific purpose. Live your purpose to the fullest!

Application: List five ways you are using your gifts, talents, and abilities for the Kingdom of God.

1. My military career – Writing SWORDPOINT
2. Speaking – Teaching SS on Sunday
3. Mentoring – Met with 3 men today
4. Leadership – Talked ministry stratagy with co-laborer
5. Friendliness – Invited several people to Sunday’s chapel service today

Take Your Instructions from the Tower

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ (Isaiah 30:21)

‘Are we ready on the right? Are we ready on the Left? The firing line is no longer clear…Firers, watch your lane.’ Don’t you wish that God’s instructions were as loud and clear as the Range NCOIC’s voice from the tower? Well, actually, they are! I have found the more time I spend in the Bible, reading His Word, the more I hear those words coming back to me all day long. 99% of life’s instructions are outlined right there in the Scriptures. And for the other 1% we have the Range Safety (the Holy Spirit) right behind us quietly giving us guidance.

Application: As you are reading the scriptures use this acrostic to find applications, SPECK, Sin to avoid, Promise to claim, Example to follow, Commandment to obey, Knowledge to gain.

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.