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?
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.
‘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.
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.
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)
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.”
…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
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.
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 warriors, guerrilla fighters or other irregular military forces. Some raids are large, for example the Sullivan Expedition.