Friday, February 29, 2008

My Lord Savior and Protector

You gauge the days here in what a guy termed to me as “exposure”. Climbers use the term when they are at a dangerous part of a climb where they don’t have much security with their ropes, pitons, etc. Here “exposure” is utilized as being in a dangerous situation surrounded by uncertain dangerous events people and circumstances. This morning I was exposed. The job I’m doing requires me to work “exposed” with the local nationals. Meaning that I don’t necessarily have the American military might to fall back on.

This morning I found myself riding in an area where a suicide bomber had just killed 40 people about 5 days ago and there is information there are more targeting westerners, in an unarmored vehicle, with two guys I’ve never met, who don’t speak my language, who don’t really like Americans and lets say are into some bad stuff. I knew I would be going today, so last night I consulted my Bible. I read Ecclesiastes and some Psalms of David. Ecclesiastes because someone told me it was a very down to earth lesson on life and the Psalms of David where he talks about his faithfulness in god to protect and deliver him from his enemies. The guys I was riding with were alittle shady but I was more concerned about another suicide bomber targeting me. If you know me, you know I stick out like a sore thumb, especially here.

The point of this blog is this. I find myself moving away from God some days, using foul language, not feeling sorry for those in distress, ready and willing to take life, and overall not being a Christian. I need God, I fear God, I love God, but I don’t practice what has been preached to me, and what I know is right.

Why?

Because I let the ways of the world control me. Here in this environment you must be willing to do things that are very much against what Jesus preached. Guys here rationalize it by saying things like,”I’m doing God’s work” or “I’m a tool for God to use against evil”. I’ve said all these things myself but I’m really trying to figure out why Im here and why I do what I do. It changes all the time. Today, I believe I am here because being here actually brings me closer to God. I sin, I don’t pay homage enough, I use foul language but in the end I MUST rely on him. I never used to read the Bible. Lord knows I would have never made a blog like this. Letting people know my thoughts, but, the bar has been raised as far as my faith goes. I know whats right and wrong now where as I didn’t before. I had never read that users manual called the Bible. Have I seen the Light? Yep, but I don’t always dwell in it, because of my own doing. Meaning that in all circumstances you can apply the principles of the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. I believe that’s why he spoke in parables. Does that mean I wont screw up? Nope. But it means I will work on myself.

Some people may read this and say,”Dave just likes talking about himself” or “he’s just being dramatic”.

Well, maybe that’s true but if the God hadn’t raised the bar in my life, and maybe yours, you wouldn’t be reading this and I definitely wouldn’t be writing it……………..

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finding Time for God?

Im finding it hard to find time for God as crazy as that sounds. Surrounded by issues such as suicide bombers, IED’s, and being in an area surrounded by “bad guys”, you would think God would be foremost in my mind but I don’t feel in my heart like he is. Not his fault but mine.

I was in this place years ago when I was on active duty. It has changed a lot in some ways and stayed the same in others. The culture here will probably not change but the firebase I remember in my minds eye is not the same. The old place where I lived is now like old roman ruins occupied by locals. The mortar pit that we launched rounds out of is now broken down and old. The Bible talks about how everything you have is only temporary and I definitely believe it. When we leave this earth, everything becomes property of another or just turns to dust. What stays with you whether you are rich or poor? Faith. God.
You could go to the far reaches of outer space, kind of where I am now, and still take him with you because whether you feel it in your heart or not he is still with you and loves you.

Its one part laziness, one part uneasiness to show my faith, and one part peer pressure that keeps me from God. The laziness comes from the fact that I don’t want to come across as a Bible thumper, which is augmented by the fact that I don’t know how to demonstrate my faith, driven by peer pressure to be like everybody else. Most people believe in God but dont show it outwardly. Some people don’t believe at all and some don’t know what to believe. Should that change me? Not in a perfect world but it does in some ways, that’s my personal weakness, prayer helps.

There is a small church here, believe it or not, and some Christian guys here who hold services on Sundays but I feel as though I have a reputation to uphold. Sucks but its true. Im supposed to be a tough guy. Well, the reality of the issue is that tough guys can love and worship God too. How do men maintain that tough exterior? Basically by not giving a crap about what other people think. We live our lives for God, whether its good for us or bad, right? How do we do this? We suck up our pride, bow down to our lord, be humble and submit, allowing the only influence to be Gods. Its hard because other guys will call you a sissy or say you cant stand up on your own two feet, you have to rely on a quite possibly non-existent God. Do they really say stuff like that or is in your own mind. If its in your own mind you can control it. If its them actually saying stuff, heres my opinion.

If they have all the answers and think they can disprove what I know in my head and my heart to be real, then bring it on. I make this challenge to anyone, prove he doesn’t exist. If people could, then they would but they haven’t so they cant. All they can come up with are theories and excuses. Again, what came first the chicken or the egg? It’s a running joke in our society because no one knows the answer except Christians. Ask me I will tell you the chicken. Christians have gone to their deaths knowing there is a God. Jesus is the most wonderful example. He knew and had the guts to prove it by putting himself through a lot of pain and humiliation, WITH GRACE, to save us all and make us better human beings.

Next time someone gives you crap for being a Christian, you have two options, smile, walk away and pray for them, or sit down with them and talk about it rationally.

In the end they will wish they had the strength, grace, faith and confidence you do and if they don’t kick their ass!

Just kidding……….kind of.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Response and Obligation

I got kind of a chastising type of email from someone reading my blog saying that I was alittle harsh with some of the things I say. Im snowed in and cant go anywhere so I have nothing but time right now to respond.


Heres the deal. Anyone can write about how wonderful life is and how happy they are. What does that give anybody except the feeling that they are missing out on something. "Why arent I as fortunate as they are?". Everyday I see children digging in trashcans, women in burkas with small children in thier arms looking for handouts, bombed out buildings that homeless people wouldnt even live in in our country where smiling people live in this one.


In our country we live in a bubble. Maybe seeing poverty once a year to make ourselves feel better saying, "I feel sorry for those people" when in reality your just glad it isnt you. People go to church for thier own personal reasons. Am I wrong or are we supposed to praise God in church. Go there for him.

You got to get down and dirty to see what its all about. If you stay in a bubble and live your life relying on God to keep you in a nice house and car and job. Your wrong. If you sit back and say, "I went to church today, now I can be a dick all week" your wrong. If you say I can talk about people behind thier backs and screw people in business justifying it as "Business" your wrong.

We are tools for God to use, living our lives for him.

Jesus got down and dirty with the throw-aways of society to bring them up why shouldnt you?

There's alot of negative crap going on around us everyday. Does that mean we run up with a Bible and thump people on the head saying your not doing things right? No. It means you lead by example. Let them figure out what is making you tick, making them want to ask about your faith.

God bless you if you have a happy pristine life but God help you if you think that nothing is going to ever happen to you. Do we just rely on God in the bad times or do we rely on him always.

Basically what I am saying is make a difference, dont just stand static and do nothing except enjoy the fact that you have it easy. John the Baptist didnt have it easy, the Disciples didnt have it easy, Jesus deffinately didnt have it easy but alot of Christians today have it easy because they dont stick it out there, they live for themselves.

Reality bites, but its our world and we have to attempt to make it better. Go to Appalacia and help those people, go to jail and help those people, go to the ghetto and help those people, dont just sit in a bubble and say, "thank you Lord for making my life easy", say " thank you Lord for making my life easy, now Im gonna help someone else, WHO NEEDS IT, asking for nothing in return".

If Im too harsh dont read this blog. If I think that every human has the God given right and obligation to make a difference and you dont agree, I dont care. You cant make everybody happy all the time.

Make a difference with grace, by helping someone with an alchohol problem, drug problem, lust addiction, adultery issues, faith issues, etc. without being judgemental or overbearing. Be human to them. And bring them up to the level you think your at.

Dont just bitch and moan because you think you have all the answers in your bubble, do something about it and if that means you dont read this blog, so what, it isnt for just you anyway.

But know this, Im just as guilty of all the above as some of you are.

Rules of Engagement

Ive had the chance since Ive been here to meet a guy who did the same thing I did in the military, had similiar experiences, is a Christian and is from where I live now. It was weird how we got on the conversation of God and Christianity, it just happened. I beleive God is putting people in my life that I can relate too. Sometimes in the weirdest places.

Im not a holy roller, or God-squader and more and more Im meeting guys who are the same. We believe in God, follow Jesus, and go about our faith with a realistic attitude meaning, we dont think that you should impose our views on anybody, kind of let them ask you first. Guys have seen my Bible on my rack and were amazed that I actually read it. I learned from my Pastor and the guys in my church what a powerful book it is. It holds the secrets of the universe and is a living breathing thing sent by God. If you want to find out for yourself, just pray for an answer from the heart and read what Jesus says. It will jump out at you and come chrystal clear.

The changes in myself are really amazing and scary at the same time. I'll give you an example. We were riding down the road the other day and we saw two locals taking pictures of the american vehicles riding by. You may ask why this is an issue. Well, bad guys will take the pictures of the american vehicles and target them for IED's (improvised explosive devices) along the road, or VBIED's (vehicle born explosive devices) where the basically drive up next to you and blow themselves up taking you with them. Anyway, a guy in the car saw them doing this so we decided to "jack them up". We turned around pulled up to them and myself and the Christian guy I met over here got out and pulled them up. I had my pistol in my jacket pocket so I was motioning with my other hand for them to raise thiers. They both did and I searched them and found the cell phone. it was a broken old cell phone that the guy was just mimicking taking pictures. he probably saw someone doin it and immitated them. I searched him made it clear that he shouldnt do that and we moved on.

I wanted to beat the guy just for stupidity and wasting our time but I didnt. One because he was stupid, two, because I dont have those violent feelings as much as I used to. The scary part is that, that used to be my defense mechanism, violence. Its hard for me to get a grasp on this whole Christian thing. Am I supposed to be violent? How do you make that decision to turn it on and turn it off when you are a Christian? Are we fighting a holy war? Us against them. Does this guy deserve a beating or worse for being ignorant. In my youth I would have said yes to all the above but its not that simple anymore.

I was a bailbondsman years ago and we took pride in intimidating, sometimes hands on counseling, and basically being enforcers. It gets old. Being a tough guy is hard. Here, so is being a nice guy. The bottom line is this. Dont put yourself in dangerous situations unless you are prepared to go full on. I pray to God that he will have me make the right decisions here. Thou shalt not kill. Well guess what? In my opinion some people need to be killed. Does that mean Im blood thirsty? Nope, tried that and it just made me frustrated and my heart black and hard.

I cant operate effectively in this environment without being willing to kill people. Sorry, but its the reality of the situation.

If God sees us all the same, what makes me more special than them? Better training? More aggressiveness. The fact that Im a Christian? What?

Heres what I think the answers are. As long as you dont go looking for it for some sick, perverse reason, you can protect yourself and those you care about. To me, every american here is my brother or sister and if it means bumping off some guy who is going to kill americans or the coalition forces its okay.

When I die, and I stand before Jesus, and he asks me why I have done the things I have done, I will answer this. Before I was a Christian, I did the things I did because I was bloodthirsty and ignorant, now that Im a Christian, I do the things I do because I love rightousness and hate evil.

Those guys were stupid and they got away with it but there are alot of guys here that arent stupid and would like nothing better than to see me or any american and coalition troops die.

We have rules of engagement over here which I will follow to the letter. They dont. We do things rightously. They dont. They use children and mosques as sheilds. We dont. They are cowardly weasles that place mines in the road. We dont. We help people. They dont. If we wound one of thier guys in combat we treat them. They mutilate our wounded. I can go on and on. How can we turn the other cheek when they dont turn thiers.

If we turned the other cheek everytime, there would be none of us left to fullfill Gods plans on earth.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Testing Faith

I got over here because I feel as though God was leading me by the hand. That whole blind faith thing, which Im stoked about because it puts you at ease. Its a new concept to me but it is definately one that I agree with. For me it really has shown me that God is with me. It has helped me with alot of doubts Ive had.

Being in an environment where so much is out of your control gives you the opportunity to see things for what they are. It gives you the insight to really put things in God's hands. Do some people think its a cop-out, purely psychological, if God didnt exsist man would have to create him thing? Sure. Do some people think that professional wrestling is real? Sure.

All I can say is this. I have had an inner voice lead me to do things I would have never done before. Like this blog, sharing my experiences. I have prayed about things, then looked in the bible and the answer has come crystal clear. I feel this presence with me, a light inside of me and it makes me feel good.

The world isnt a rosey place all the time but that doesnt mean that all of the above things arent true. People are still going to get horrible diseases, houses will burn down, car crashes and murders will happen but this is only temporary. I truly believe that there is more out there. Heres why. In 1997 my father and I were on a freefall demonstration team for the Maryland Naional Guard. We'd go out and do jumps into stadiums, air shows, military bases, etc. We got free jumps and a free parachute and it was fun so why not. My father was 51 years old and loosing some of his timing. Well, to make a long story short he was killed in a freefall accident in Delaware. It pretty much crushed me. We hadnt had the best realtionship when he died and the last words we ever spoke were harsh.

We were very close, more like bro's than father and son and when he died a huge chunk of me died with him. I went on a drunken rampage for awhile, tried going to church but got turned off, I'll tell that story later, and went off the deep end. Those were some very, very, dark self destructive days. Basically, I was slowly killing myself because the last words I said to him were '"F*** you". (I'll keep in PG-13 for Pastor Winfield)

I quit drinking for a month, vowed I would change, all that stuff. Obviously it didnt happen overnight but I think I have my plans and God has his.

My father would visit me in my dreams, which would carry over when I was awake. They were very vivid dreams. Now, somewhere in the Bible it talks about how God doesnt come to you in your dreams or something. Thats not what I mean. It was like Pop was sitting there saying,"Its alright, your life is just a test, theres so much more, the entire universe and all its answers are waiting for you". Thats the best way I can explain it. It was comforting. Did I think it was my mind playing tricks on me? Sure I did, but I didnt care. I figured he was giving me a final gift so am I a fool for allowing it to make me feel better? I dont care.

Why does everything have to be put into the too good to be true catagory. Or the wish in one hand, Sh** in the other and see which one comes true. It such a cynical world. Do you walk around with blinders on if you believe in stuff like that? Have you ever talked to an atheist? Or a heroin addict that think they have all the answers? You can look in their eyes and see they have lost that spark. They have given up hope. Without hope, we are all doomed.

I shared that story about the mountain pass for these reasons. If you have been reading this blog from the beginning you will remember a story about a guy who couldnt see very well explaining faith by having people in his congregation lead him around the room. As I sat there on that mountain pass high up in the air, in a strange environment, with dangerous people around me, and I prayed, not out of fear but out of respect for my loving God, he led me by the hand where he wanted me to go. That one 5 hour trip has burned into my mental hard drive images that will stay with me forever. My God loves me and wants me to show him I love him too and believe in him by being his son and having faith.

I often think about people who have died in horrid ways. Coal miners stuck deep down, scuba divers left out in the ocean, horrible diseases that take years to take someone. These are tests of faith. Maybe one of the miners was a Christian. Once again, its faith. There is a plan, you have to beleive that. Maybe those coal miners got stuck to test all of our faith and now they are sitting with Jesus, and after he explained why they were put through so much pain, saying," I see, now I know the plan". Hopefully some of them had the opportunity to go back and ease the pain of the ones they left behind. Just like Pop did for me.

God bless and keep the faith!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mountain Pass

You all are probably looking for some interesting stories as opposed to my boring writing about how God has changed my life so here goes.

We travelled from a major city into huge mountains getting to where we needed to be via a very Indiana Jones looking mountain pass. I wish I could say that I had pictures but I screwed up and didnt have enough space on my digital cam, plus I was busy during the ride with other things.

I have been through this mountain pass many times, and it sucked every time. It has been improved 100 fold since the last time I was here but it is still a force to be reckoned with. Its very beutiful, sketchy, and mesmorizing all at the same time. There is a road about 15 feet wide starting at about 9000 ft. winding down the shear mountain face with intermittant tunnels along the way.

As we were coming down the mountain we heard two "explosion like" sounds behind our vehicle. I was in the last of a 5 vehicle group. We heard the first sound behind us then looked at each other asking,"what the **** was that". We just shrugged it off and continued down the mountain. To us the noise could have be a rock busting off the mountain, ice cracking, avalanche, etc. but actually it sounded like a mortar round or an RPG exploding. We drove for about another 30 seconds and we heard another "explosion". Now our interest was really peaked. I looked behind us to see if anybody was shooting in our general direction but didnt see any smoke, etc. All I saw was a four door toyota corolla with about 10 people in it screaming past us at about 50 mph on this mountain road at about 8000 ft so we figured something had happened. The people here are really good about getting away from danger. They cant drive worth a crap until someonestarts shooting at them, then they are richard freakin petty.

We continued to our destination. All of us have had enough stuff shot at us to not be too phased by it unless it gets close. We didnt even know if anyone was shooting anyway. Probably was something natural.

On the way back it was just me and my buddy John. We left the other guys in their new location and returned to the major city via the same pass. Being that there was only the two of us travelling this time, we had to be extra alert for "bad guys". As we climbed up the mountain we started encountering what we call "jingle trucks". Beutifully painted trucks with all kinds of crap hanging off of them. They jingle, hence the name. There must have been 100 of them waiting to get through the pass, all in a line. We blasted by them because the last thing you want is to be caught in traffic, on a road 15 ft. wide with 2 way traffic, in a mountain pass, far from any other Americans, 6000 ft in the air, after you potentially got shot at there the day before, with only 2 dudes, half a flat front left tire, 2 pistols, 2 crappy AK 47's , only about 5 mags a piece, on a road with black ice, in a country full of dudes that would love to put the video of you being beheaded on you tube. Well guess what? We did.

As we sat there watching the people stare at eachother and us grid locked on this road, I thought, how many times had I been in stupid situations like this and how many times I had vowed not to be in stupid situations like this but always find myself there. All I could do was laugh, take it easy, and wait for the situation to work itself out. Did I say a prayer? Yep. I prayed, while keeping my eyes on the sketchy people around me, "Lord, this is all in your hands, just please be with us and give us grace under pressure". At one point I got out of the vehicle to direct traffic. Something about having a gun in this country that makes people listen. Want people to listen? Carry an AK. It reminded me of a few years ago when I was in a similiar situation in the same pass. Last time I pointed my M-4 at the people and used force to agressivelly make them get out of the way. This time I just got them out of the way. We drove about a Km. and hit more grid lock. This time it was really bad. We literally thought we would be there for hours or days. I then said another prayer. "Lord, please get us out of this grid lock". About 5 minutes later we here a siren. Its the police. Them and the military were in the pass because there was a major threat on the tunnels and bridges there. We flashed our ID's showing we were Americans, and to make a long story short, they moved all the traffic, all the way up the mountain through the pass. We literally passed hundreds of jingle trucks, buses, cars, etc. It took about 3 hours but we made it.

Thanks God.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Dont Be Afraid to Ask

If you have been keeping up with this blog you know that I had a slight dilemma with what my mission was and how much was getting paid, etc. Well, it seems to have been worked out. Not by me but by God. Its that whole putting it in God's hands thing.

Basically, I asked God for a solution to my problem. Usually when I pray it involves thanking him and praying for others. This time I actually asked for something. I've always felt weird asking for stuff in prayer. "Lord.......please send me a new Custom V Twin with the biggest rear tire out there", "Or, Lord.......I really need that 72'' flatscreen". I never asked because I have felt as though if it is God's will it will happen. Well, let me tell you that prayer is part of God's will, if it comes from the right place, the heart.

I have always thought of myself as a martyr when it comes to religeon. I got that term from a testimony of a guy named Steve from my church where he said he has always felt like that, kind of like he wasnt supposed to receive anything, just suffer somewhat.

I have felt the same way. I have felt as though life is supposed to suck, deal with it. I think this comes from growing up in a broken home and all that kind of stuff. If you grow up in a broken home or lose someone dear to you before you have time to develop coping skills, it kind of "sets you up for failure" from the very beginning and that is hard to recover from once you get used to it.

I have had some pretty bad things happen in my life, as have many of you have. Some people have never had anything bad happen to them. I think life deals out an equal share of misery to everybody in the long run. Some get it alittle at a time, some get it all at once, some get it in chunks. Ive always been a little at a time with chunks all at once kind of guy, meaning that like everyone else Im on lifes rollercoaster.

Saying all that to say this. Ive been asking for a change in my life. Part of my lifes rollercoaster is that I need to come to a combat zone to get my mind right, to appreciate what I already have. Last night I prayed to God to give me the answer to exactly what I am supposed to do over here. I asked him to use me for his AND my benefit. I asked him to bless me with a direction and definate path.

I originally came over here as a martyr. As far as I was concerned, I wanted the most dangerous, raw, down and dirty mission there is with a slight touch of doing something for humanity. I basically, didnt care if I was killed. I cared if I got maimed or something because then I couldnt surf, but fully ready to be a martyr. Saying to myself ,"I'll go over there and just let God do with me what he will, no questions asked".

They have a word here used for this attitude, Enshallah (pron. N-shahlla). Well, thats probably why they still live in adobe homes, kill eachother like its normal, and dont have anything but bomb craters. What Im trying to say is this. Part of our closeness with God comes from asking from the heart for both his will and your benefit, with the overall betterment of yourself in mind, making you a better Christian, making you a better man, making you a better parent, husband, etc. Basically, focused and content.

Its a chain reaction. I asked the lord if I was supposed to be here as a martyr, a killing tool, a pipe hitter, having my life here be chunks of bad events or am I supposed to actually accomplish something here. There is a part of me that wants to go down in the blaze of glory, but, is that helping others or myself? Is that benefitting both God and myself? Going down in the blaze of glory with reckless abandon is a pretty selfish thing to do. Your basically saying Im not worth being around and my friends and family arent worth having me around. Thats not the answer. Ill tell you what the answer God gave me is.

God doesnt need martyrs, believe me, Im living ina world full of crazy religeous martyrs and thats not the answer. God Needs happy, full of life, productive, useful people to represent him, not depressed martyrs. Are we closer to God when we think we are martyrs or when we are living for him? What makes you happy? Does God want you to be happy? These are questions you need to ask yourself and pray about and have God give you the answers.

Ive been asked to do a "managerial" job over here. Not so much of a hunter/hunted job. I will be serving a purpose, doing something I like, for the betterment of the big picture and I wont have to feel like a martyr. That doesnt mean it isnt somewhat dangerous, two of my local national brethren performing the same job were killed in december, thats why they need an american, we definately last longer, we dont play the whole Enshallah thing the way they do. We are much more "clicked on"with the ballistic counseling aspect of things, basically better shots and more situationally aware.

Within that risk, is closeness to God. In my prayers, I realized God wasnt out to get me. He wants me to be his son and live for him, walk the walk. Does that mean Im going to put on a robe, walk the desert, baptising people? Nope, its been done. All of those hard dudes form the old and new testament. David, John the Baptist, Paul laid the ground work for us with their lives so we wouldnt have to reinvent the wheel.

God doesnt want martyrs he wants you to be happy. You dont know when, where, and how God is going to take you home so you may as well be happy, productive and smiling til that moment comes.

Its all in Gods hands.........

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Caveat to Chaplain Story

I sometimes forget to elaborate on some of the things I say about the military.

Military Chaplains have an obligation to set a certain standard meaning that when he puts on his body armor, in a way he is mentoring younger soldiers who may not know better. They think to themselves,"If the Chaplain is putting on his body armor, I better put on mine". The Army are sticklers about making conventional troops wear their body armor.

Im not passing judgement on him, I was merely using the story to get people to think. I just thought it was funny..........

P.S. My Pastor is a lean, mean, DO IT, kind of guy.

Thoughts

I appreciate everyone writing me the notes of encouragement. Its hard for me to respond because this blog stuff is new but I will do a group response and say I have a wonderful commuity of awesome people around me.

Ive been "in country" for 24 hours now. We flew in at night, over high mountains, into one of the poorest nations in the world.

There was an air force Chaplain on my flight. He had his body armor, helmet, etc. Alot of people put on thier body armor for landing in case the plane starts taking fire. It used to be a requirement but now its your choice because the planes dont get shot at as much. I looked over and he was the only one putting on his body armoron on the whole plane, I didnt even have any, but if I did I wouldnt have put it on in that instance because I just didnt feel the need. I looked at him and said,"If anyone doesnt need to put on thier armor, its you". He laughed and said,"better safe than sorry". I just smiled and kept eating my soggy sandwich the air force gave me as we landed.

Im not knocking the Chaplain, it was his choice but to be honest, if I was a Chaplain, I would want to be a source of strength, not the only one wearing his body armor.

I was then picked up by some guys I may be working with and went on what I like to call a "white knuckler". Its a ride on a road where there is the potential to get IED'd or ambushed. They brought me body armor, weapon and radio. To be honest, I didnt even want to wear the body armor but I did because I didnt want them to think I was crazy. Saying something like, "Im wearing the armor of light of the Lord". They would literally crap thier pants hearing that come from me, even though its true. You have to play the game, not to mention it may save your life.

My question now is. Do you rely on God to save you and take care of you or do you wear that body armor? Im a little confused.

I also have another question.

What if I'm not down with killing anybody anymore? Ive seen the britalness of war first hand, and Im here to tell you, its beyond your expectations. The absolute worst thing people can do to eachother is tear them apart with weapons. It sounds cool when your a kid or a young man like I was at one time, but once you experience it, it changes you. Your innocent until you see someone die for someone elses benefit.

Had this whole conflict started when I was 24, I would have fought every war you had, killed everyone you wanted me to, done it for free, etc. But know that I enjoy God, surfing, and peace, its different. More of an evalutaion of ones self because you've been there. Dont get me wrong, I dont have aproblem dropping the hammer on someone in the right instance, but what is the right instance? Is being a contractor for the government brought in because you will do things "normal" people wouldnt. Did God bring me here or did I?

Following the Lord is softening my heart. Ive said and done some things in my life that are worthy of harsh judgement by the Lord and Im not sure anymore whether I am effective in some of the envoronments I used to be.

The bottom line is that I will ask those who are like me, meaning Christians. I will pray to the Lord, and I will read my Bible to find the answers.

Thank all of you who are reading this for being human and God Bless our Troops!

Friday, February 1, 2008

It Aint Easy

Im here to say it aint easy giving it up to God. Right now Im in the midst of a dilemma. My mission overseas has changed in the fact that we will not be doing exactly what I thought we would and also it looks like I will be making less money for the same risk.

I laid in bed tonight pissed off trying to envision the future and working myself into a frenzy. Its 4 am here.

As I laid there, mind going a thousand miles an hour, wanting to put my hands around somebody's neck, I suddenly had a thought. Why dont I give it all to God to work out. Now this is definately easier said than done. It almost makes you feel good to be pissed at somebody but I think it just hurts YOU in the long run. Worrying, stewing, pacing, punching walls, kicking somebodys ass, may feel good for a few minutes but then what? Heart attacks, strokes, jail, lawsuits, home improvement, etc..

Does it really make you feel better to give it all to God? Yep. Do I have to keep reminding myself that I gave it all to God? Yep. Is it hard not to lose your cool? Absolutley. But Im here to tell you that losing your cool over and over again will eat you up. Does that mean you will never lose your cool? No, but with enough practice you can get better. Im not at that point yet. Id like to be able to say to myself,"what would Jesus do" but Im not even close to being as perfect as he is, plus my response sometimes would be, "he'd kick his ass", but we know that isnt true. I dont pack the gear Jesus does so I will give it to him. Does that mean I will never kick anybody's ass? Hope not but there are no guarentees in life. That wouldnt be the right answer and Id feel good for a minute but then what.

Ive made so many mistakes in my life Im starting to be able to see the future in some instances, so now what I do is I project myself to the aftermath of what Im about to do and decide whether its worth it or not. A good example of this is drinking when Im pissed. If I was having a bad day my solution was to get hammered. After about a thousand hangovers, cops, blackeyes (mine and thiers), and wasted days of sleeping it off, I try not to do that now. It didnt get me anywhere, neither does losing your grace.

Remember 2+2=4

Pissed off+Losing your cool=Jackass

Give it all to God, let Jesus lead you where he wants you to go, take it easy, and be thankful for what you already have.

At least thats my opinion.