Sunday, November 30, 2008

Is God Still There?

I started to do a blog by the same title before but I held off and then then couldn't get the title off of there. But now I'm ready to make it happen.

Is God still there?

Absolutely. He's there all the time you just have to "look" for him. How do we look? Pray, read the Bible, and fellowship.

When I got here, there was no Christians to be found. As a matter of fact some guys who were here before made religion a bad word because they were trying to push it on other people. My philosophy is and has always been that if you are truly living for God, then people will seek you out. I have seen this happen many times on my journey.

Today we were supposed to play cards but it turned into a discussion about Jesus, God, the Bible and other things. Guys opened up their hearts and got real. There were different views. Some guys were Catholic. Some Baptist. And some non-denominational. The bottom line is that God will always find a way to bring people together no matter where or what the situation is. Here we are far away from friends and family and we are getting together to fellowship. It was good. It made me feel good. Not as good as being at my church but pretty good for where I am.

Its hard sometimes to feel God when your away from everything familiar. The saying "iron sharpens iron" is definitely true.

We take for granted the creature comforts, family, friends, ice cubes in our drinks, etc. Until you get out of your comfort zone your faith is not truly challenged. Its like a rite of passage. You need to see how you will react when the tables are turned or completely upside down. I am definitely figuring out my faith here. I have to ask God for the grace to get through the days here without losing my cool. He is always there for me.

If you found yourself devoid of anything you know, without creature comforts, without friends or family, there will be only one thing that no one can take away from you.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Crusades?

I meet alot of "Christians" overseas. Many of them have an idea that its us against them. Meaning the Christians against the Muslims.

I have had the opportunity to sit down at length with Muslims who are far right wing, some of which have fought against the Russians, Americans, basically everybody that was at war with them. I have made it clear that I believe in Jesus Christ, but I havent gone to the point to where I wanted to kill them over it. I have wanted to kill them because of the bad things they did, not hier religeon.

The Muslim religeon is a religion of complete control. Pray five times a day when prayer is called, strict rules etc. Some right wing fundementalists wage war based upon how they have interpreted the koran or misinterpreted as it were.

I have a question....

Whats the difference between a right wing fundementalist muslim car bombing the infedels and a right wing Christian bombing an abortion clinic. In my eyes, nothing. Anytime you kill for a belief SYSTEM, your wrong. You kill for survival.

I didnt join the military to press a certain ideaology on someone else, I joined to protect freedom.

That includes freedom of religion. All religions. I may not believe what they believe, I may not agree, I may not like them but until they give me a good reason, I dont wage war on them.

9/11 was a good reason to wage war, not on muslims but on extremeism, all extremeism. Bottom line is that there are individuals out there who just like to start trouble, they can leave things well enough alone, they have to give their opinion or their ideas or their methodology. Some willing to kill for it.

Did Jesus say,"If someone doesnt believe like you do, kill them"? I never read it that way. I read it as you only get to God through Jesus which includes his teachings.

Now dont get me wrong, I think that people need to be punished for some things. Child molesters, rapists, thieves and most of all, deliberate spillers of innocent blood, especially when its based upon religion. But who does the punishing. You? Me? God? Does God use us as tools to conduct his punishment, I believe so. I believe that our paths are chosen for us. If that path crosses with the path of a terrorist who is out to kill innocents then guess what. Its his time to go. Thats how I feel about it. Do I care what his religion is? Nope. Have I seen terrorists from other religions? Yep. I was in Central America many years ago, and we were attacked by a terrorist element that wasnt muslim. Do I consider Timothy McVeigh a terrorist? Yep.

My point is this. God shows us all who he is in a way that we can understand and hopefully relate too. Man creates his own God when he feels as though he should commit hanous acts against others for Gods sake. Man, thats the problem and each one should be gauged by others based upon his acts with Gods help.

How do we get Gods help? Praying, the Bible, Fellowship.

All the answers are right there.

My new rule is that as long as I dont have "Blood Lust" in my heart, God will use me as his tool when and if the time comes again. I had "Blood Lust" a few years ago in combat but it didnt benefit me. I did some things Im not proud of, I did things for payback, I did things with a lustful heart. God wasnt on my side. Now he is and every day, I put my life in his hands.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Appreciating What We've Already Got

Im now in a place pretty devoid of all color, vegitation, water, basic stimulus that we take for granted back home. I live at the beach so I am used to a certain "surroundings" if you will. Here is the exact opposite. The only similiarities is that the remote beach areas can be relatively harsh in their own way.

This mission isnt as dangerous as others I have been on so I have a different perspective on things this time. I havent been rocketed, IED'd, or taken small arms fire which makes for a more boring trip but everytime I have been shot at, and believe me, many have had it worse than me, I say to myself, "why do I do this shit". There are many answers to that question. Number one, its all I've ever known, Two, Its what Im good at, Three, I need the money, Four, I want to do my part, Five, to protect my loved ones, Six, payback for 9/11, remember that day? Many have forgotten.

I come on these trips for all those reasons. Because I have had a relatively successful career doing this crap, I have accumulated alot of bills. Which means I need alot of money to support that. I want to keep what I already have because I appreciate it, I appreciate the fact that God has given me a good life. I look out at the locals here and if they have a fire at night they think they are on the top of the world.

This lifestyle has afforded me the opportunity to travel and see many different cultures from Europe to Central and South America to the Middle East and basically travel around the world. The poorer cultures of which were always the most interesting. I joined the Special Forces to help the "little guy" when the "big guy" was beating up on him. I would train the "little guy" better than the "big guy" and then fight alongside the "little guy" until we pounded the "big guy" into dust, while assimilating to the "little guys" culture the entire time thus gaining a new perspective on everything, people, war, culture, religion, etc. That was what I thought I was on this earth to do.

Now, as I get older I am attempting to turn those skills into something more positive. I still enjoy working with the underdog, but I'm tired of going to war. I have always had people come up to me and say, you've got the coolest life, I wish I could do all that stuff, and I think to myself,"yeah, I get to do some pretty cool stuff, but why has the spark gone away?" I was a paid professional firearms and tactics instructor for many years, my students would come up to me and say,"man, you've got it all, you get to shoot all day, you get free guns and bullets, you get to be in this environment all the time", I would just think to myself, "I just wanna surf".

Where am I going with all this, its hard sometimes to appreciate what Ive got. The grass is always seems greener, right? I wonder what I would would do in a "Normal" job. I wonder if I would be able to be around "Normal" people, I wonder if I could handle not being in a dangerous environment. I dont know. NORMAL to me IS JUST A CYCLE ON A WASHING MACHINE! What is the normal job, who are the normal people, my grandmother used to say,"everyone is just one act away from being deemed insane", makes you think huh? Made me think.

Finding God and going to church has probably been the only "normal" thing Ive done in the past 20 yrs. and the church I go to isnt exactly your cookie cutter church but thats what I love about it. There is a wide range of people there from business people, to pro surfers, to construction workers, to fisherman, I miss it alot when Im away, it has become a part of who I am because it has brought alot of peace to my life of kaos. It and the people in it have shown me that there is something called unconditional love out there.

Back to appreciating what we've got. I have been attempting to make a career slash lifestyle change. I used to get off by riding my Harley 80 miles an hour, all banged up coming from a bar, with some chick on the back, now I get off by being close to God, surfing, and sticking with one chick, who gives me peace as opposed to kaos. For the first time in 38 yrs, I have learned how to eliminate the kaos somewhat, the only problem is that the only career Ive had and the only jobs I get offered are those in which create kaos for me, and augments the kaos in the world, which creates kaos for those around me.

I had the opportunity to work with someone I respect, a pro surfer, I cant say his name because I dont use places or names in my blog, but those of you reading that know me will know who Im talking about. We were taking people to their physical limits, using God and spirituality as a base, and letting them see their potential, thus showing them what God is all about, hope and love. For the first time in my life I got the same spark without the guns, without the kaos, without the killer instinct, it was all good and positive. I crushed 6 vertebrae on a jump a couple years ago, among other injuries I have sustained from jumping out of airplanes, carrying a heavy rucksack, driving on rugged roads for 18 hrs at a time, playing rugby, football, lacrosse, and basically beating my body to bits for years. But I was accepted for my knowledge and experienced and utilized as a tool for God even being physically limited.

The hard part is that I have seen what life COULD be like, but life isnt that way for me yet and that frustrates me. Im not bitching about it, what Im saying is that, sometimes you have to do what you have to do, whether you want to or not, God has a plan for us all and we need to just appreciate what we already have and rely on God to use us as his tool, whether your a construction worker, a business person, a soldier.

I will ask this of those of you reading this, help me with this prayer, "Lord, I pray for the grace and strength to fulfill and recognize your plan for my life, to see you in everything I do, no matter what it is, keeping me humble to be the person, the lamp on a hill for others to see, bringing positivity, hope and love to those around me by being an example of your power, Amen".


Monday, November 17, 2008

Seeing God in Everything

I know I can be alittle harsh, opinionated etc. but I really do have a positive outlook on life and people in general, even having been in some really crappy places and seen some really crappy things.

I try to see God in everything. Last night I was out looking at the stars and the sky was just blanketed with them and a thought came to me. Do we just see God in the beautiful things or can we see haim in ALL things. A newborn baby, a beautiful sunset, a clean wave, these things are all wonderful but have we programmed ourselves to only see God when we have it good? I think so.

Just as an example. If you crash your car do you see God. Sure because you survived. "Thank the Lord I survived", we say. But let me touch on something which turns into the equivelent of opening a can of worms, isnt it better to be in heaven, so if you die, thats a good thing right? So why would you thank the God your supposed to spend the rest of eternity with for still being here on earth? Because you would miss your friends, family, surfing, whatever things you love, maybe. Is it because you fear the unknown, maybe. Is it because you arent sure if things are going to turn out the way you have been told they would because you may not know anyone who has made the transition and come back, maybe. Does any of these wants and fears affect whether your going or not. Nope.....

Heres how Dave sees it. Take it for what its worth.

I try to see God in everything without going insane. I see him in the sunrises, Ive seen him in good waves, Ive seen him in a combat zone with all the love, brotherhood and sacrifice, Ive seen him at funerals with the honors paid for one by another, ive seen him when I lost my keys, Ive seen him when Ive lost a loved one, Ive seen him when my house flooded, etc. Why? Because I dont expect him to do anything for me good or bad, I just try to roll with it. Is God gonna sell your house? Is God gonna make you win the lottery? Is God going to do anything you want him too? Maybe.

But seeing God in both the good and bad is paramount. Did the early Christians see God even when someone had a boot on their neck, or a sandal as it were. They had too! Read Hebrews and tell me those people didnt have it rough back then. Those are our brothers and sisters not a story from a fairy tale. Some of the stuff in the Bible could be disputed as poetic license for some but the accounts of how these main figures of early Christianity died is bona fide. Didnt mean to rhyme that.

It all comes down to hope and love for me. Its hard some times when your dealing with a complete jackass but you HOPE he comes around by showing him some LOVE. I know alot of people in my Church who have practiced this philiosophy on me from time to time, thats how I learned it, it works.

Hope and love. Without God there would be no hope for me. Without God there would be no unconditional love for me. Without God there would be no.........anything.........for me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Is Kindness Really Weakness?

For a majority of my life I was the kind of guy you either loved or hated. Maybe I still am but before it was by design. If you didnt rate high enough in my book I didnt care to know you. Having become a Christian and adopted a new way of thinking, I do the best I can to be nice to everybody. The hardest part comes when I deal with people who are just like I used to be. Its like in a movie when a guy runs into his exact double, same look and everything, except I dont have the ability to just kick that special someones ass anymore. Its not because Im getting older, its not because of fear, its not because I cant hand out an ass beating to most of the people I have this special relationship with, its because its not graceful.......

The whole grace thing is huge in the Christian world obviously. We have Jesus as our guide on how we are supposed to live our lives. We will never be perfect but he helps us keep things in perspective by challenging us, giving us fellowship and the Bible to rely on, helping us with prayer. But I also know Jesus as a man who turned over tables at the temple and probably whipped some ass as he drove the people out because they were a disgrace to him. (Mt 21:12 but its in all the gospels)

Jesus can do whatever he wants!

Can we? Or is it a sin to get pissed....

All I know is that I dont get mad as much as I used to for the very reason that I see things in a different way, I fight the battles that need to be fought and I believe that that was exactly what Jesus was doing to teach us that sometimes you gotta get in peoples faces but the Lord comes to us through GRACE.

So....what am I saying?

Being trapped with a bunch of type A, chip on the shoulder havin, know-it-all dudes is hard when you are, or used to be, a type A, chip on the shoulder havin, know-it-all dude. Im learning to deal with it as a new Christian by basically not giving a shit about what they think, applying the principles of the Christian life, reading the Bible and letting it speak to me, and only hanging out with positive vibe people. There arent many positive vibe people here, as a matter of fact I havent met one yet, but I havent met everybody. The best passage I use for dealing with these kind of people is from Mt 10:14, Jesus said flat out "If no one will welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust of your feet when you leave that home or town".

I use this when I try to be nice to someone but they arent having any of it. Basically taking kindness for weakness, or they dont like your brand of clothes, or you just arent cool enough for them, or they are jealous, many reasons. I just forget them as far as needing their attention because the reality of the matter is that the only person in this world who absolutely needs to be your friend is Jesus, everybody else liking you is a luxury not a necessity.

BUT! should never let anyone beat up on you, or bully you etc.

I think people take the whole turn the other cheek thing way to far. Im a Christian not a passifist. I think thats spelled right......

Be nice to everybody, extend your hand in friendship, if they dont take it, if they arent nice to you, shake the dust of your feet and move on!

At least thats my philosophy

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keeping it in Perspective

Last night I was starting to read the book of Acts.

I bought this NIV study Bible and its pretty cool because it explains historically what is being said in the Bible. As I was reading it something occured to me. I was totally feeling sorry for myself about falling prey to the more "non-spiritual" things the world has to offer. I really enjoy the less kaotic, peacful things life has to offer but God has chosen a different path for me I guess.
I wouldnt be who I am today without some of the kaos. I definately wouldnt have a nice house, truck, motorcycle, etc.

Maybe Im supposed to be challenged in this way. I've had many challenges in my life from military training, to growing up in a rough neighborhood, to combat, etc. etc. etc. I, like everyone else, hasnt always had it easy, but thats what life is all about. Nobody said it wasnt going to be hard sometimes but you know what? Theres been alot of extraordinary stuff thats happened too. There are some people who were born deaf and blind or worse yet got that way after knowing what it was like to hear and have sight.

I think about these people that started the first church, lost thier lives in ways that are unimaginable in the 20th century even to the most whacked out religeous fanatic ready to give thier lives in a variety of manners. Im talking lions, tigers, bears, Roman colliseums, being crucified, etc.

For me to bitch about letting stupid little things like how people are catty and backstabbing or judgemental bother is a little weak but from what Im finding is that not being a hypocrite is the solution to all that stuff. Not being a part of it, not doing it. Not so you can point the finger at someone else saying they are a backbiter or hypocrite but that in the eyes of God your doing the right thing therefore fullfilling the principles Jesus died on the cross for. Loving one another, being honest, showing grace, compassion, being patient, caring, all that good stuff. To me that doesnt mean that someone may not need thier ass kicked every now and then but you do it from the heart, by doing it from the heart your being the best person you can.

Next time someone is talking bad about someone else or bitching and moaning about something they cant control or making you feel bad remember the saying, "an empty can rattles loudest"!

But make sure yours is full..........of the right stuff.........and dont be a hypocrite!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Calling all Prayers

I need some prayer help. Finding myself back in this environment is hard. Its hard dealing with wierdo personalities, not that I dont have one of my own, its hard dealing with the bloodlust that so accompanies this kind of work, its just hard trying to be a Christian around so much negativity.

I made a concious effort to change my life by going to church, praying and reading the Bible and hanging out with positive people from the church, limiting my drinking, disciplining myself as far as lust goes. Now Im surrounded by people who are more into conflict, conflict on all levels, from creating drama to being bloodthirsty. I like the peaceful world alot more.

I dont feel as though I have to prove myself to anyone therefore I look at life in a different manner, meaning, I think Im enough of a man to think peace is better, sometimes you need to use force but your not "necessarilty" supposed to look for it.

I need prayers from my Church and fellowship. Im here to tell you that having been gone for only 3 days I feel very far away from God. Its wierd, I read the Bible but I dont feel that positive joy here that I normally feel at home, so Im asking all of you to help me get on the right track. On my last mission I was lucky to have gotten out in one piece, this mission is going to be more about being able to keep my grace around pornography, alchohol, back biting, ass kissing, people jockying for position, using others, etc. etc. etc.

So I need your prayers. Thanks.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

On the Road Again

I hope I will be able to blog on this trip. I will have internet access, so I should be good to go.

Well.....back in the saddle again. Im sitting in a hotel room waiting to go into where I will be working for awhile. I flew out of the US yesterday, it takes awhile to get basically to the other side of the earth. Leaving home is bitter sweet. I go from one world that is very spiriual into another that is very intense. My normal world is full of peace, love, happiness and surfing and this world is full of intensity, stress, boredom, and war.

I found myself in a bar at the airport, alot more loaded than I needed to be, making last minute phone calls like I was never going to speak to people again. You develop a comfort zone in life which when you go out of it you have different ways you can deal with it, yesterday, my way of dealing with it was to drink. I wasnt drinking because I was scared. I wasnt drinking because I was nervous, I was drinking because thats what you are supposed to do in this environment. Or at least it used to be.

The drinks definately helped me sleep on the plane but why should I need alchohol to get me through? I'll tell you why, because I broke all of the rules I have been working so hard to implement into my life in the last year. I didnt put everything into God's hands, I had'nt prayed for the grace to get through the trip, I had'nt humbled myself as a servant to God, etc. etc. etc. Basically I fell back into old ways that are kaotic and destructive. Well.....that is going to stop here. I am now going to pray for GOD'S GRACE to have me serve him while on this trip. Yes, I will be making money, yes I will be serving my employer but who will I truly be serving? I choose to serve God.

How can I serve God in this kind of environment? Its simple..... Be kind, be trustworthy, be loyal, be faithful, be humble, be strong, be honest, a straight shooter, take care of your body, pray and read my Bible and ask for God's grace to make it all happen .

I welcome all of you to read. Some of you read my blog on my last trip. Some of you are new. The bottom line is that I need your prayers to stay on the right path. I will say some things that will piss some of you off. I will say things you dont agree with. I will say things you may think are right on. The bottom line is that I write this blog for my Christian brothers and sisters to read to get another perspective on religeon, war zones, the open road, and the mindset of a relatively new Chriastian trying to do the best he can for God.

This blog is a testimony to the power that God gives all of us to change the things we need to change, be better as human beings, and represent ourselves as children of God so that others will look at us and be brought to his message.

Thanks for reading......