Day 17 – Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto

For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20

One of the things drilled into me in Ranger school was always having a Ranger buddy. No matter what you did, you always did it with your Ranger buddy. Heaven help you if a ranger instructor caught you in the chow line, cleaning your weapon, or even running to the latrine by yourself. The benefits are obvious. But in the faith there is the one additional benefit of having your buddy with you, the presence of the living God. It doesn’t mean He’s not there when we are alone. But there is some added experience of His presence when we are with brothers and sisters in the faith. Don’t be the Lone Ranger.

Application: Get with your spiritual ranger buddy once a week and ask these three questions; How are you doing? What are you getting out of the Word of God? Who are you helping to grow in the faith?

Day 11 – FOLLOW ME
Day 12 – Son Beams
Day 13 – Holy Airborne
Day 14 – Good Intel
Day 15 – A Little Book Learnin’
Day 16 – Pay Day
Day 17 – Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto
Day 18 – Telling It Like It Is
Day 19 – Takin’ Out the Trash
Day 20 – The Master of His Trade

Day 18 – Telling It Like It Is

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:7-8)

My squad leader in the Ranger Battalion didn’t pull any punches, he just came right out and told me I was messed up. Then he proceeded to tell me how I was going to fix it. Throughout my career I’ve had several men whom I’ve respected for telling it like it is. They were men who could gave it to you straight. No beating around the bush, just laying all the cards on the table. James is like that. He goes right at the center of the issue. I think we all need straight shooters in our lives. We need someone to call a spade a spade, even in the areas of our spiritual life.

Application: Do you have someone in your life who will tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want to heat. If not, start praying that God will send you that kind of friend.

Day 11 – FOLLOW ME
Day 12 – Son Beams
Day 13 – Holy Airborne
Day 14 – Good Intel
Day 15 – A Little Book Learnin’
Day 16 – Pay Day
Day 17 – Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto
Day 18 – Telling It Like It Is
Day 19 – Takin’ Out the Trash
Day 20 – The Master of His Trade

Day 19 – Takin’ Out the Trash

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9

One of the challenges of our deployment to Kuwait was the enormous amount of garbage a Heavy Task Force can generate. Mountains of refuge. Thousands of empty water bottles, MRE packets, package wrappings, and a heaps of other stuff. And man oh man, the smell! But the S4 had a plan for even the garbage. Big trucks were contracted to haul the stuff away before it became a stench in the whole camp. God has a plan for the garbage in our lives too. It’s ironic that the base of Golgotha where Christ was crucified was nothing more than smoldering garbage dump. That’s where He took on the sins of the world. And we are encouraged to take our trash out by personal confession. Remember to take out the trash daily.

Application: Do a quick inventory of things in your life that you know displease God, confess it right now before you move any further.

Day 11 – FOLLOW ME
Day 12 – Son Beams
Day 13 – Holy Airborne
Day 14 – Good Intel
Day 15 – A Little Book Learnin’
Day 16 – Pay Day
Day 17 – Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto
Day 18 – Telling It Like It Is
Day 19 – Takin’ Out the Trash
Day 20 – The Master of His Trade

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.