VIDEO Inspiration From A War Veteran! – “I’d do it all over again”

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Strolls with Fred are one of my favorite things. I look forward to spending some quality time with this Vietnamese War veteran buddy of mine, who has seen life more closely and is a deep thinker and philosopher.

“Perturbed by constantly changing work and personal conditions, I am unable to hold on to my enthusiasm, Fred,” I said. Fred was looking straight ahead as we walked alongside each other on Broadway street one evening. “On top of it I have the onus of making my readers’ lives joyful and cheerful. That’s what I do, I work to bring a smile on their faces, how can I have these low moments of dullness and gloominess?”

Fred stopped and looked straight into my eyes, “Bob, do you truly love your people and purpose?” I nodded and remarked in amazement, “You doubt that!” Fred responded with a smile, “No, I am reminding you that you need to focus on that, instead of the dynamism of ups and downs caused by life’s various unforeseen events.” He was right, it is like a vicious circle of thoughts and judgments that give shape to our reality.

When we have a greater purpose and higher love, we don’t fall prey to circumstances and shallow perceptions of incidents that happen in our lives.

Surrounded by the gruesome, cold and malevolent battlefield air, it is difficult to think. The only thing that keeps you going is the love and commitment you have for your people and your purpose. A soldier, unlike an ordinary person, never waits for the ideal situation and perfect conditions to give his best performance, rather is always prepared to pull his trigger and get in action mode when the situation worsens.

Life will never give you the perfect road. You need to prepare yourself to trail the most arduous path. Whenever you seem to falter, don’t forget to comeback to why and for whom you started the journey in the first place.

“I’d do it all over again” — A Veterans Day salute

 

Veterans Day stands for a lot of things to many people. But for the men and women who served, it’s personal. In this feature we hear from three veterans of different eras of U.S. military history on what Veterans Day means to them. A very special thank you to Troy Taylor, Steve Evans and Wayne Matter for telling us their story.

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The Hand of Comfort

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

“Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read.

What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us.

Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer.

Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4–7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures.

Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name.

Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort.

By Randy Kilgore 

INSIGHT

This passage demonstrates how our personal pain can help others who suffer. Paul uses the word comfort both vertically and horizontally. God extends comfort to us, then we can offer comfort to others. In this way, our pain can become a conduit of care for those in distress and lead to gratitude in the midst of pain. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3).

Can you think of a time when God used others to encourage and comfort you?

Dennis Fisher

Three Ways to Think Right

Philippians 4:4-9

We all want to experience joy and peace in difficult times—to have a sense of security and the confidence that the heavenly Father loves us. Yet we are oftentimes held back by worries and other pressures.

There are three ways we can govern our thoughts:

1. Screen them. Imagine there’s a grid protecting your mind, and whatever you think about must first pass through it. If you have built your filter upon the Word of God, any unscriptural ideas that try to get through will set off a warning alarm. You can check each thought by asking yourself a series of questions: What’s the source? Where will it lead me? Is this scripturally sound? Is this going to build me up or tear me down? Can I share this with someone else? Does it make me feel guilty? Does it fit who I am as a follower of Jesus Christ?

2. Select them. God has given you the right and the power to decide whether or not you will accept a thought. Every time an opinion or teaching hits your screen, you can choose to either let it through or discard it. Since the idea itself may not be wrong or right, those same screening questions can help you know what to do next.

3. Cultivate them. Accepting godly thoughts (and rejecting evil ones) is not enough. You need to dwell on the ideas that align with God’s Word and then start practicing them.

Allow God to pour Himself into your life and to reign in your mind. In doing so, you will see awesome changes take place.

Words of Peace and Truth

“And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth.” (Esther 9:30)

The book of Esther is unique in that it contains no explicit mention of God. Yet, the hand of God is more evident in this book than in almost any other. It was after their remarkable deliverance from the genocide that had been contrived for them by Haman that Mordecai wrote his “words of peace and truth” to all the Jews, establishing an annual holiday to commemorate the providential winning of peace with their enemies, with the triumph of truth over evil and deception.

This incisive though unusual combination of words (“peace and truth”) was also used by Hezekiah when the Lord promised safety for his kingdom as long as he lived. “Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). Similarly, God promised His people delivery from their Babylonian captors: “I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jeremiah 33:6). Finally, through Zechariah, God promised His people a future lasting peace that they were to commemorate four times a year with “joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts; therefore love the truth and peace” (Zechariah 8:19).

Men have longed for peace through the centuries, but it continues to elude them. After the so-called “war to end all wars,” Armistice Day was established to celebrate the lasting peace the war supposedly secured. Now, of course, it is called Veterans Day—still a day for honor, but hardly one of light and gladness. Peace can only endure in truth.

Although God was never named in Esther, He was there! Mordecai’s “words of peace and truth” implicitly spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ. There will only be real peace when men accept the real truth. HMM

God Himself is with us for our Captain

2 Chronicles 13:1-16, 18, 20

While the new kingdom of the ten tribes was under the sway of Jeroboam, Rehoboam died and was succeeded by his son.

2 Chronicles 13:3

Who can imagine the horrors of a civil war conducted upon such a scale as this. Surely every male in the two nations must have been draughted into one or other of the armies. Blessed are we in this matter since no alarms of war are heard in our streets. May the Lord cause wars to cease unto the ends of the earth.

2 Chronicles 13:4-8

It was wise on Abijah’s part so to state the cause of battle. When it is a question between God and golden calves the. result of the dispute is certain.

2 Chronicles 13:10-12

This was a worthy speech, and very commendable as intended to prevent bloodshed. We cannot be sure that Abijah was a spiritual man, but he and the nation of Judah as yet held to the worship of Jehovah, and therefore had the Lord on their side.

2 Chronicles 13:13

Jeroboam was not a man of words, but of deeds, and was surrounding his foe while Abijah was delivering his oration.

2 Chronicles 13:14-16

Praying and praising are noble weapons; no wonder that the Lord interposed when his people drew him into the fight by their two hands of pleading and blessing.

2 Chronicles 13:20

He was made to feel at last how unequal was his conflict with God, yet he persevered in it, and died impenitent, leaving the divine curse as a legacy to his descendants. May the good Lord save us from such an end.

 

A Prayer That God Cannot Answer

2 Corinthians 12:8, 9

Perhaps you’ve heard yourself praying this prayer in a moment of exasperation when dealing with people: “God, I can’t deal with all these people anymore! Please remove all the people from my life who make me lose my peace and joy!”

As long as you live in this world, you will have challenges in your relationships with people. That’s just a part of dealing with human beings. The only way you can be free of challenges with imperfect humans is to die prematurely and go directly to Heaven. But if you intend to live a full life here on planet earth, part of the package includes living with people who are far from perfect and who do things that occasionally surprise and disappoint you.

From Paul’s words in Second Corinthians 12:8, it seems that he had prayed to be delivered of problem people on three different occasions during his ministry. He wanted to be free of these people so desperately that he said, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice….”

The word “besought” is the Greek word parakaleo, an intense word that is derived from the Greek words para and kaleo. The word para means alongside, and the word kaleo means to call or to beckon. When compounded together into the word parakaleo, the new word pictures one who comes alongside someone else, as close as he can get, and then begins to passionately call out, plead, beckon, beg, and beseech that other person to do something on his behalf.

In using the word parakaleo in this verse, Paul lets us know that he had passionately asked God to answer this prayer. Paul had drawn as near to God as he possibly could; then once he was in that close position, he earnestly pleaded with God, asking Him to deliver him from that thorn in his flesh and from the messenger of Satan that buffeted and constantly harassed him (see November 9 to learn more about Paul’s thorn in the flesh).

Paul tells us that he asked God to cause this thorn in the flesh to “depart” from him. The word “depart” is the Greek word aphistimi, which means to depart or to remove and as a rule it is used to refer to people rather than things. The use of this Greek word amplifies the fact that Paul was praying to be freed of problem people! He was literally saying, “God, I don’t want to deal with these people anymore. I earnestly ask You to please remove them from my life!”

But here is why God cannot fully answer this kind of prayer: Even if God did remove this particular group of people that caused Paul such trouble, it wouldn’t be long until another group of problem people showed up!

As long as we live in this world, we will have to deal with people whom we don’t enjoy or whom the devil tries to use to steal our joy and peace. If we constantly focus on getting rid of people we don’t like or enjoy, we’ll be praying to be delivered from people for the rest of our lives. As I said earlier, the only way for you to be permanently free of all imperfect-people problems is to go home to be with the Lord!

That’s why the Lord told Paul, “… My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9). The word “sufficient” is the Greek word arkeo. This is an old Greek word that means to be sufficient; to be satisfactory; and to give protection, power, and help. In later Greek, it denoted a man who possessed great financial means. This type of person was sufficiently endowed with huge resources that were more than enough for him or for any endeavor he would ever attempt. Hence, he was financially strong or financially sufficient.

This is precisely the word the Lord used when He told Paul, “… My grace is sufficient for thee….” It was the equivalent of the Lord saying, “My grace is more than enough to protect you, empower you, and help you deal with the problem people you encounter in life. You will find that My grace is completely satisfactory in meeting your need and that it will make you sufficiently strong to deal with these situations.”

Just like Paul, we may occasionally feel exasperated and incapable in our own strength to victoriously cope with troublesome people; nonetheless, the Lord gives us His promise: “… My strength is made perfect in weakness….” The word “strength” in this verse comes from the Greek word dunamis, the word for dynamic power. This is a strength that always releases sufficient power and possesses the ability to make needed changes. God knew that Paul needed a new surge of divine power that would change his perspective and empower him to successfully overcome his struggles with people.

The Lord continued to tell Paul (and us), “… My strength is made perfect in weakness….” The word “weakness” in Greek is the word astheneo, which describes a person who feels weak, distressed, unsettled, or needy. If Paul was referring to physical sickness, as some assert, he would have used the word asthenes, which actually describes physical ailments. However, because Paul used the word astheneo and not asthenes in this verse, he confirmed to us again that he was not talking about physical sickness; rather, he was referring to the distressing, unsettling emotions he experienced as a result of the people who were a constant source of conflict for him. The Lord knew that Paul felt insufficient in his own strength to successfully deal with these people.

But if Paul would open his heart to the Lord, God’s promise was that His strength would be made “perfect” in his weakness. Here is the answer that Paul and you and I need when we feel exhausted in dealing with troublesome people and relationships. The word “perfect” is the word teleo, which means perfection, completion, or something that is mature. But the Greek tense used in this verse accentuates continuing action, which is a very important point! It means that this inflow of supernatural, strengthening power is not what God only does sometimes; it is power that God makes available at all times if we will only receive it. The verse could be translated, “My power is constantly being perfected in you whenever you feel weak and needy….”

 

This verse could be taken to mean:

“… My grace is more than enough for you. If you’ll receive it, you’ll find that it will sufficiently endow you with more than you need to deal with any situation. My power is always on hand, available to help you in moments when you are weak and needy….”

So the next time you feel exasperated with people and are tempted to pray to be delivered from them, remember that this is a prayer you really don’t want God to answer exactly like you asked. If He were to permanently remove you from “problem people,” He’d have to take you home early! That is the only way you could ever be permanently freed from people who cause challenges for you.

It’s all right to pray for others to be changed, but never forget that God wants to do a work inside you as well! He wants to change you so that you can successfully live in the midst of imperfect people. If you’ll open your heart to receive what God has for you, He will fill you with His dynamic, supernatural power—divine power that will transform your thinking and inwardly fortify you to live successfully in this world. You’ll be able to cope with the problem people you have to deal with—and you’ll do it all with joy, peace, and victory! God will strengthen you and help you overcome your own weaknesses, making you sufficiently strong to handle every people challenge that ever comes your way!

So instead of constantly asking God to remove all the problem people from your life, why don’t you change the way you are praying? Start asking God to release His power to change you so you can walk in peace and victory even when people fail or disappoint you. If you can learn to appropriate the power of God to deal with people, the devil won’t be able to use people to steal your joy and victory anymore!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I realize today that I’ve been praying the wrong prayer! I’ve been asking You to remove all the problem people from my life; meanwhile, You’ve been wanting to reinforce me with sufficient strength to live with these people victoriously. Forgive me for wanting to run from my challenges. Help me face them bravely and confidently in the power of the Holy Spirit from this day forward. I know You want to give me this power, so I open my heart to receive it right now!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that God’s grace is sufficient for me! When I feel distressed because of what people do to me, I turn to the grace of God and allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with sufficient power to love the unlovely, to be patient with those who act ugly, and to walk in kindness and longsuffering with everyone I encounter throughout the day. My weakness in dealing with people disappears when I yield to the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells inside me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Have there been moments in your life when you were so exasperated with people that you were tempted to ask God to remove all problem people from your life?
  2. Did you honestly think that was a prayer God could answer? Did it dawn on you that God might want to change you so you can live victoriously in the midst of imperfect people?
  3. Do you know of anyone who never has problems with people? Since you will have to deal with imperfect people as long as you live on this earth, what kind of changes need to occur in you so you can live in peace with others and stop losing your joy all the time?

 

When Hurt By Someone Close To You

Recently, I was deeply hurt by someone close to me: My immediate reaction was anger. Grief. Disappointment. Wounded pride. I had expected so much more in the relationship! Because I hate pain, I wanted to:

 

Run from it.

 

Criticize the person inflicting the pain.

 

Pout – Have a pity party!

 

In other words, do anything to get rid of the pain.

 

Such reactions are not condoned in Scriptures. Rather, we are to respond with:

 

Compassion (Matthew 9:13, 36; Mark 1:41; Luke 6:36; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Peter 3:8)

 

Kindness (Proverbs 14:21; Matthew 5:42; Luke 6:34, 35; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 2 Peter 1:7)

 

Humility (Numbers 12:3; Proverbs 16:19; 29:23; Isaiah 57:15; 66:2; Matthew 5:3)

 

Gentleness (James 3:13; Titus 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 Timothy 6:11; Ephesians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 10:1)

 

Patience. (2 Timothy 3:10; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 1:11)

 

And we are to:

 

Bear (literally, endure) the pain inflicted upon us.

 

Forgive the person – even when they keep sticking it to us: “If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, I repent, forgive him.” (Luke 17:4)

 

Here’s how the Apostle Paul put it, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12, 13)

 

For example, Jesus, in his dying breath uttered, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24). And Stephen, as they were crushing in his skull with rocks whispered, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” (Acts 7:60b)

 

We all know brittle, sour prune-types that reek with anger and bitterness. And that’s where we are headed unless we embrace the spirit of Jesus and Stephen. So let’s make a decision today: That by His grace we will allow no one to rain on our parade. And we will accomplish this unprecedented feat by choosing to be the very embodiment of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forbearance and forgiveness.

 

 

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