1) I am thankful for my beloved wife. I still remember the day we met at the home coming football game for her college. I had been set up on a blind date with one of her roomates (long story there), and the three of us spent the entire game talking about the Soveriegnty of God! I don't think I saw three plays the whole game. She captured my heart the very first day we met. I still am not sure why she puts up with me... and I really mean that.
2) I am thankful for three kids. It just amazes me that God used me and my beloved to create three other human beings. Each one of them is amazing to me. And does God ever use them in my life! Joy, frustration, humility, love... and they are like mirrors into my soul and mind. God uses them to reveal sin in my life, to help me to better conform into the image of His Son, and there by - I hope - make me a better father and husband.
3) I am thankful for my career. When I met my beloved I was a carpenter's apprentice. Although I owned a little Ford Escort station wagon (a 'gift' from a church member I had never met), which was totaled a week later. She was always having to come down and meet me (we lived over 50 miles from each other), or I was having to catch a ride. When I moved to another state (actually closer to her) in order to pursue a college education and get married, I had no real job. Long story short, I have the job I have today, not because I knew what I wanted and went after it, but because God continually opened doors in my path.
4) I am thankful for my past. Specifically for my experiences. I grew up with divorced parents. I lived with my mother who struggled with depression and had attempted suicide several times. I never lived in any one place for more than two years. At one point, I lived in four different homes, and went to three different schools - all in one school year. I look back and I am just amazed at what God did and how He shaped me through those things. It is all by grace that I can say that my Lord is Jesus Christ, that He died for my sins, and that I can call Him friend/Lord/Savior. It is nothing done by my hand, or anyone elses.
5) I am thankful - and this really should be #1 on the list - for my salvaton. That God humbled Himself, came into the world to reveal the Father, and then paid the price of my sin so that I could know the Father.
6) I am thankful for the National Guard. God has used it to really shape me into a man who is responsible for his actions, and a man who takes service seriously. I have had the opportunity to serve my fellow man when they are most in need... and it is something I have really, really enjoyed. I have had the chance to travel (Honduras, Panama, Louisiana, Arkansas, California, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsilvania, West Virginia, Georgia). I have had the chance to meet Governors; fly in helicopters; repel off towers, helicoptors, mountains. I have had the chance to experience so many things that otherwise I would not have had the opportunity.
7) I am thankful for music. I really love music. Especially 'praise and worship' music. but I have found that i enjoy a lot of different kinds. Rock and Roll, Blues, Soul or Jazz, Irish and Scottish folk music. I especially enjoy the flute and piccilo.
8) I enjoy the internet. I have a been able to meet a lot of people, a chance to learn. A chance to 'see' a lot more than I otherwise might not have.
Well, I could probably go on, and on, but I need to wrap up for today... may God grant each of you a peaceful, and blessed Thanksgiving!
Verse for today:
Psalm 9:1-2, ESV
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
For those who don't know, the show is based off of the book "Inside Delta Force" by Eric Haney. The episodes cover a team of Delta Force operators and their wives.
Last night I finally was able to watch last weeks episode "Play 16", which was the follow up to "Five Brothers" the week before that. In Five Brothers the writers and producers did something that not many other shows are willing to do... they killed off an integral charecter - they killed Hector "Hammerhead" Williams. Although he was not one of the 'front three' (as I might call them), but he was a team member - and I really liked his charecter. Then in last weeks episode I really liked how the brough him back home.
This show does not have a large budget (I think), but they do a lot with what they do have. The story lines are interesting to me, even the home front side where they sort of talk about what the spouses go through is compelling. The one thing I do not like, and often skip over, is the extra marital affair of one of the main charecter's wife - and their commanding officer of all things!
The Unit kind of speaks to me. It's probably because I 'bleed Army green', and I have a deep respect for the kind of training and drive it takes to do such things. I have come to accept that I am not now, nor have I ever been, that skilled in - well anything. I have not been willing to discipline myself to that level of training and focus. I once began a work out regimine to attempt a tryout for the Special Forces group, but I quit early on because I was tired of being so tired.
Right now I suffer from some guilt. Earlier this year most of my unit was called to active duty, I was only one of four who weren't. I am now a REMF (please don't ask me to spell it out). Grant it, it's an important assignment - and it needs to be done, but when most of the men you trained with are called up - and possibly in harms way, but you are not...
Anyway... if anyone who reads this, who is either a member of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force - or a family member (epecially a spouse of a member) you have my deepest respect.
Verse for today:
John 15:12-17, ESV
"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,  for the servant  does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
We should not be surprised buy such things. The 'world' hates Christ (John 7:7), and as a result it is only natural for it to hate those of us who follows Christ (John 15:9). The enemy of our souls is a master at his craft (Genesis, Job, 2 Corinthians), and as a result he has managed to turn some to hate, and I do mean hate, those who seek after Christ. And sometimes the best way to attack something, is by deception and disguise.
Now, I have watched The Lord of the Rings and Narnia with my two sons, and there are definetly things that I need to talk over some things with them in those movies as well. But, isn't that the role of a parent? We can never completely protect them from the world (when I use this term it is in reference to the part of the world in opposition to God). Our actual role is to teach and to train (Proverbs 22). I guess what I am trying to say is this, whatever you do with your children, wherever you go, whatever you see, talk to them about it - and ultimately pray for them. God can, and does, use all things to teach and to train them. Our ultimate peace and joy will be at our destination, and not during the journey. But that doesn't mean that we can't stop and appreciate the view from time to time. Look for those little nuggets. :)
Verse for today:
Deuteronomy 11:18-21, ESV
“You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.
Today has been a whirlwind, but here are some random thoughts...
For some reason the song "Juke Box Hero" (by Foreigner) has been playing in mind over, and over, and over again... I really have no idea why. So, I've played it a few times from a You Tube video. I don't get it... but it's like being unable to scratch an itch or something!
For the past week or so, I have really been turning over the subject of knowing, and being known by, God. The verses "“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" (Matthew 7:21-23, ESV), has been something I dwell on from time to time. Not just for my own edification, but so that I can (hopefully) explain it others if asked. One particular sub-theme of this as been (for me) the act of repentence. Over at Steve Camp's blog (yes the contemporary Christian musician) there is an excellent post regarding this very subject. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to ponder such things.
I enjoy writing the occasional short story, but I have been 'dry' for about 3 months now. I have ideas and concepts... continuations of several story lines I've started, but it's just not coming out. At least not in a cohesive form. I'm itching to write... I've just not had the time to sit and plug (i.e. bang) away at it until I clear that hurdle. I've been trying to carry a notebook around to jot notes in... but I've not been disciplined enough to follow through on that. gotta get off my duff!
Speaking of discipline... I need to get out and start running again. I know this is not the normal time a year to start such things, but my back has sidelined me from doing any serious exercise since late April. I've already missed two APFT test times, and I don't want to go out (retire) on a profile - unable to complete my expected check marks. My back still has some aches, and I am still seeing a chyropractor once aq month, but he feels it should be ok to start light running, and even some sit-ups (the later filling me with dread even thinking about it).
Coming back to music before I close things out for today, if you are one who enjoys praise and worship music I can cannot recommend the blog Worship Matters enough. It is written by a man who leads worship in church every Sunday. For me it has been very insightful.
Well, that's all I have for today... God bless...
Verse for today:
Phillipians 4:8-9, ESV
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
What I failed to do was save a copy of the old HTML code. Blogger is great at moving all of the original content from the old to new, but what was not moved were some of the 'bells and whistles' that I'd added over time. Things like my little 'blogthings' (yes there are non-girly teeny-bopper ones), and the blog award that I'd been given, so I will be working on sprucing the place up some. I really want to add a graphic for the Japanese charecters for "Christian Samurai" (クリスチャン侍 - or 'Kurisuchan') - after doing a little research I am told that this is the 'most correct' way of expressing this concept. I had learn of two different ways of saying it, one was sort of diragatory (which was kind of an eye opener to the gaijin), but this one is 'more correct' in that it is basically a term that is used to describe someone who 'has the mind of a Christian' (or perhaps the mind of Christ?), with the last charecter referring to the term 'samurai'.
Oh, and before I forget... I saw a NOVA episode titled, "The Secrets of the Samurai Sword" - facinating stuff. For example, I had been unaware that the reason the samurai sword has the characteristic arc in the blade is because that it is made with two different levels of carbon in the steel. When the blade is cooled during the process of making it, the inner core cools faster than the outer shell and thus pulls it up into its distinctive shape.
Ok, well, I've rambled on long enough about nothing particularly important so I will just say this... remember to back up your work! :)
Verse for today:
Hebrews 4:9-13, ESV
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any katana*, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
* Note: the text is actually, "...sharper than any two-edged sword, ..."
With all the things going on I headed into my unit Friday night and as usual, I didn't get much sleep before drill (too many things running through my mind). Got up WAY before dawn on Saturday, "ran" for about twelve hours before the day was done, got to bed late Saturday night and up early again yesterday. Thank God for daylight savings time ;-). Sunday was sort of a repeat of Saturday (lot's and lot's going on for almost twleve hours), and then get home for the second shift. Once the kids were in bed I could barely hold my eyes open.
It was not all "pain and suffering" though. I went to a Panera Bread for dinner on Saturday night - I just love their food - and because I was in uniform they gave me 50% off! Man that was cool! I was also able to learn a few things over the weekend.
I was able to get the sections aligned under the respective Staff Sergeants so I do not have to worry about so much "direct intervention", and we were given a "Commander's intent" for the rest of the training year. It will be hard, but if we can pull it off, it should be very memorable for the guys, as well as for me (seeing that this is definetly my last year in uniform). I also found out that the guys that are detached will probably be back sooner than (I) expected. Which is a good thing. I also found out that my commander nominated me for the Honorable order of Saint Barbera. I am not sure that it will go through, but it was nice. I am not into things like 'orders' and all that, but it seems like a nice jesture - and I really appreciate the thought.
He also, and more importantly, nominated the head of our Family support group for the "Order of Molly Pitcher" - which is way over due. This woman has worked countless hours and taken a lot of time out of her schedule dating back to at least 2001. Even after her husband (the blankety-blank) left her, who is in my unit, she has remained a steadfast supporter of the troops. I hope she gets it.
Well, I am sure everyone who reads this blog (all, maybe, six of you) knowns now that we've turned the clocks back to "standard" time. It was wierd this year. Mostly because of the changes to the 'norm'. This year it ended a week later than usual, and will start again two weeks sooner next year. The more I think about it... I feel that "Day light savings time" should just become the norm. I used the think the other way, but then I realized that if we didn't do daylight savings... there would be times the sun would be up before 5:00 AM! But... now the sun will be setting before 5:00 PM! *sigh*... LOL
I actually had some good theological thoughts this weekend... but my tired mind is having trouble recalling them. I was able to listen to two out of three Cd's in a series titled "Christ and Him Crucified", by CJ Mahaney. It is a series that was done around the time the release of Mel Gibson's movie, "The Passion of the Christ". It is an excellent series and highly recommend it available for free MP3 download through the website, click on the links to each sermon). I might not get to expound upon my thoughts on it this week, as I am preparing to lead the discussion at our care group this week, but I am going to be talking about the "why's" of small groups so...
Ok, so I've rambled on long enough for today...
Verse for today:
1 Corinthians 15:3-6, ESV
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.