His mercy and kindness

This past weekend was my drill weekend for the National Guard. One of the 'benefits' of having an 80 mile commute for it is that I can listen to even more music or a teaching CD to help me focus my mind on the Savior. I was thinking about my blog from Friday and was concerned that the 'tone' of it may be a bit too somber. I feel that it is very important to remember and reflect upon why Jesus died upon the cross, but then we should not 'rest' there because that is not the destination of the journey. Anyway, in God's providence I heard the song below on my way home last night. It reflects (to me) the joy of what was accomplished on that cross. (The song is again from Sovereign Grace Ministries. This song was on their album No Greater Love) Your Mercy and Kindness Verse One O Lord You are my Shepherd In You I have no needs You make me rest in green fields And walk by quiet streams O Lord You are my Shepherd Your love restores my soul And for Your name and glory You show me the way to go Chorus Your mercy and kindness Pursue me forever My cup runs over with Your grace Your mercy and kindness Pursue me forever And I’ll be with You all my days Verse Two O Lord You are my Shepherd Though I walk through death’s dark shade Your rod and staff give comfort I will not be afraid O Lord You are my Shepherd A table You have spread In sight of all my foes Lord And You anoint my head Many of you probably recognize the 'source' of these verses, but just in case... Psalm 23 has to be among my top 3 Psalms. The images stirred when I read those verse (and hear this song) are of peace, contentment. An image of calm and satisfaction in the presence of the Lord. There is no image from my personal experience that I can adequetly draw from to give the whole image of what these words bring to my mind. I guess what I am trying to say is that the sorrow and pain seen in what I have done to my Lord is also a catalyst to experience the unexplainable joy of what I am now, and what I can hope for. How can one not cry tears of joy when you realize what a celebration there will be around the throne of God - all because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross?
Ok, those are my more serious thoughts from the past weekend. If you are still reading I will share about my weekend.
Man was it cold. Saturday afternoon was not bad - if the wind would have just died down for a while. My unit was tasked to run the rifle qualification range. I really like target shooting. there is something that is hard to explain. It is very satisying to get into a position and place a bullet on a target at ranges up to 300 meters. And I really like shooting at small targets at shorter ranges too. It's probably a male competitive thing. By God's grace I have never had to point a loaded weapon at another person, nor do I think I would enjoy it like I do target shooting. I have been in situations where I have been carrying a loaded weapon in a security type of role, and on some instances I have had to express to someone that - if needed - I was prepared to use it. But I have never come close to putting a finger on a trigger in that regard - and I am thankful to God. Anyway, I qualified expert - 39 out of 40, missing only the 300 meter target by a hair. Now, I want to make sure I do not paint a false picture here. :) Although I love to shoot at targets, and I am bragging about quailifing expert this go around, it has by no means been a consistant thing. I've done it in the past, but not every time. :)
On Saturday night the battalion chaplin was able to hold religous services - which is a rarity, and I am the only one from my battery that goes. Which saddens me on one hand because I have been with this unit since 1999 and I have not had any apparent impact on these men. But on the other hand they all refer to me as the battery chaplin, so at least they know where I stand.
After that we had our written gunner's safety exam for the howitzer. I was the first one done, and scored a 100%. Which was nice since I am now a Artillery Platoon sergeant and I am responsible for the safe delivery of artillery fires. But in the past, as an artillery gun chief my section had always done well. Last year my section received the highest score in the battalion for our section certification which includes the written exam and a live test where we are put through several drills and are scored. I am proud of these accomplishments but I want to say that I was blessed by having two soldiers during my whole time as a chief. We got to the point where we were cross checking one another without having to really ask and we would each step up and fill in where needed. The past two AT's (our 2 week annual training) we were short in our section - running a 3 or 4 man team instead of the recommended 7 and we were consistantly 1st or 2nd to deliver fires down range, and in the 3 1/2 years as a chief we never had any rounds observed unsafe, and two "interesting" situations. One was a misfire where the round would not fire at all and we had to unload the howitzer with a live round in the tube. Not as unsafe as it might sound, but it makes you 'cautious'. And then last year we actually had an "ignition chain" failure. Essentially the the primer ignited, but the charges that "explode" to send the shell downrange never ignited fully. I have pictures that show the charge bags singed. Now that was a scarry situation as at any point during the unloading process they could have fully ignited - as they were smoldering even as we extracted them!
Man have I gone on about myself. I guess I am proud of my military career - and there really are not too many people I can share it with. I have been blessed to be surrounded by good soldiers. When I first became an NCO I had good soldiers to work with that made my job easier. And God has seen to it that trend has continued throughout. And I would be remiss if I did not say the same here, as I have to them.
Anyway, ramble, ramble, ramble...
Today's verse:
Psalm 139:16-18, 23-24 esv
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!

1 comment:

Bob said...

John there's nothing wrong with rambling a bit, especially if it's your blog. That's what they're for.

I have a brother that was in the Army years ago and he was in Artillery. We still get together every once in a while and he likes to tell his Army stories. I think there's something therapeutic about sharing things that are happening now and things that happened in our past.