Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Every Christian's Battle

"No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier."  2 Timothy 2:4 

Here are a few of the pics taken whil I was on a dynamic training exersize this past week. 
A dynamic exersize like this is no walk in the park.  We hiked a mile in--uphill with 30-50 pound rucks.  Once we got to the range we settled in to do some shooting drills.  Sighting in our weapons was a nice pre-drill warm-up.  We got used to the "dope" (where our weapons fired), adjusted sights, and drilled our breathing, trigger control, and things of that nature.

During our live-fire drills, we covered approximately 200 yards of ground, firing and covering AORs (areas of responsibility) as we went.  The objective was to effectively move downrange as a team, covering and engaging "enemy" targets without harming any "friendly" targets. 
Here were the targets we used...Simulated hostage, friendlies, enemies with weapons, snipers and the like.  One of our jobs was to note and recall all the weapons we saw on the exersize.

Sighting in weapons.  I had some trouble that day and got pretty frustrated, but I have since remedied the problem.

These pictures don't quite do justice to the speed and level of force with which we moved on our drills, but maybe I'll post videos or more dynamic pics in the future. 
Shooters on line.  Three brothers in arms.

          I know this is similar to my post about martial arts,'s a lesson we can all afford to ingrain into our minds more than once. We are all called as soldiers.  A great many Christians do not see themselves as waging spiritual war every day of their lives, but the reality is, it's going on all around us! 
          Look at life as a battle--uniforms, weapons, and all.  Everything we do has a purpose.  All the spiritual teachings we hear and expect to hear gives us more weapons to employ toward Christ's assured victory.  Even though we know Christ triumphs in the long run, there are still battles that we face every day--and we lose many of those. 

Soldiers do not exist to lose battles.  Soldiers exist to WIN battles. 

We aren't supposed get up and get into the battle limp-wristing the weapons we have!  A parallel to this-- most modern handguns, when limp-wristed will function sporadically.  (Video has examples).  We need to go into life every day--every day--every day--with guns maintained and used properly, and our sword honed razor sharp.  The word of God will pierce deeper than the sharpest blade, but if we don't know how to wield it properly, we are just as likely to hurt ourselves by making Christ look less glorious than He is.  Keep in context what I say next. 

God's word will never come back without fruit. 

    This is an ABSOLUTELY true statement.  However...if we render God's word carelessly, apathetically,  wantonly, or watered down,  we are not presenting the unsaved with pure water from God. that will reflect badly on God--the one who we must bring glory to.  As soldiers, we must make sure we are purposing to do everything to serve Christ and honor and uphold the task entrusted to us.  That task is "making disciples of all the nations" --from the Great Commission. 
          Satan absolutely hates us and the fact that we stand for Christ, and he will do anything to get our minds and hearts off of following or LORD.  Satan loves to ambush us and get us so confused and caught up in distractions or sin that we lose focus of the cross. 

Keep focus on learning and allowing the Holy Spirit to refresh your soul with the gospel. 

          Keep in mind--WHEN you sin, don't become so focused on that sin that you take your eyes off of Christ!  the only way to truly and effectively fight sin is to fill your life with God's word.  The Bible is your instruction manual for your fight.  Listen to what God has to say to you through it. 

Fill your mind with wisdom from the Bible and it will overflow to all aspects of your life and wash out the dregs of sin holding to the dark recesses of your heart.

If you adopt the viewpoint that everything you do is to honor and fight for Christ, we will have an easier time of identifying and  resisting the devil's schemes and plots to spiritually ambush you. 

I am guilty of the very things I have been saying not to do.  I get frustrated and so disgusted with my sin that sometimes I lose sight of my goal for a short time, but I can not let it all go on unchecked.  Nor should you.  Bear in mind the great and glorious task which we have been entrusted with.  Don't let your own failings of the past keep you from becoming a better warrior of the cross!  If you are saved, then you bear Christ's name and are positionally righteous in God's eyes. 

Go out, wage war on sin in all its forms, and make disciples!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One of My Narrative Ramblings...

Alright, here is a story I typed up and sent to a friend about two weeks ago.  I was completely and totally bored to pieces and tired as well.  The tone of the story changes in the middle, which is odd, but it turned out alright.  The story is unedited and in more of a "chat" format.  Here it is... 

So there once was a man.
He was a skinny guy.
Haha, but he loooooved chocolate chips and yogurt.
His name was Vladskiykrov, but We'll call him Vlad.
Vlad, aside from chocolate chips and yogurt also liked machetes.
Yeah, so he was on a vacation to the bahamas on a particularly beautiful day in the month of September.
On this particular day, he decided to leave his hotel near the beach and take a walk through the lush tropical recesses of the island.
The beginning of his journey began believably benign.
Vlad started his treck with some shrink-wrapped chocolate chips, a pack of powdered Gatorade, and his thermos of yogurt.
The path to the forest was thickly covered in foliage, so much foliage, in fact that even though his trusty machete was hacking away furiously left and right, he was presently still hard-pressed to make out the beginnings of the pathay on the jungle floor.
Slicing away at some more of the leafy vegetable material in his path, he was surprised and startled by a loud, resounding *boooooooong* coming from near his left toe.
(There was also pain radiating from his toe to some point proximal to his knee somewhere in his anterior medial thigh.
At any rate, Vlad looked down to see what else, but an acoustic guitar!!! Picking it up, he examined the handwork closely, and found it to be a cheap piece of crap Wal-Mart twangy-dangy guitar.
He liked it anyway, and having a working knowledge of ukuleles, quickly tuned it to ukulele sounds and strummed out a bar of "Sweet Home Alabama".
Finding two extra strings to deal with vexed him, however.
They vexed him to the point of him using them to tie on his glasses with one, and flossing with the other.
Anyway, more on that later.
As he moved on to a rendition of Blow Me Away by Breaking benjamin, he noticed a stunning sight!
A beautiful mermaid had flopped right onto shore in front of his feet!
Out of the pond that he had missed while clearing a path...
Her splashing severely drenched his four-string guitar, but seemed to have not an ill effect on the instrument, but rather a pleasant, ear- soothing gurgle to the tone of the strings.
This pleased the mermaid even more, and she began to sing.
She sang until Vlad's fingers were bleeding and he could no longer play guitar.
At the end of the serenade, another mermaid came to the top, took a puff on his cigarette, then promptly disappeared into the pond again.
(actually that should have said mer*man*, cause it was a *he*)
Well, just like in Pirates of the Caribbean (the last one they made, which I can't remember the name of)
the mermaid grew legs, and followed Vlad, and munching on the chocolate chips Vlad shared with her.
They came to a taaaaaaaaaaaallllll cliff, and the mermaid pulled a pair of reeds from...I don't know, I'm sure she had a backpack of some sort somewere.
anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself!!!!
they agreed to set off *to* the top of the cliff which the mermaid, (whose name was Leila (pronounced like Layla) pointed out.
She said that at the top of the cliff were wonders untold to the human race!!!
So she and Vlad set off to get to the top of the mountain where the cliff was.
Aforementioned cliff was at the top of another cliff, at the top of the picturesque, yet foreboding mountain peak, which rose at a severe angle straight from the jungle floor.
They saw lots of spanish-speaking monkeys, iguanas that looked like Justin Bieber, and macaws and parrots which spoke with Texan accents.
The main topic of discussion was how pre-twentieth century piano music affected modern rap.
They danced along the way to Eminem and LeCrae. Turns out Eminem had accepted Christ....
and was singing about "Christian-speak".
It started to rain pretty hard, so Vlad and Layla looked for shelter.
They found a cozy little brick and bamboo shack in the middle of the jungle.
How it got there, they knew not how, nor had they any reasonings as to why it was constructed not only of bricks, but also bamboo.
Still puzzled about the origins of the domecile, they made passage into the abode, thankful that there was a covering from the rain, which was now turning a reddish tint and smelling of rubber.
Leila Told Vlad as they entered the door, "You know, I can NOT go into a house without flossing. It's just a compulsive thing I have, I suppose."
Vlad looked through his pack throwing out rubber bands, a paper clip remover, wads of tin foil, hand sanitizer, an empty soda bottle, and some ibuprofen. Finally he found one of the two guitar strings he had pulled off the hunk-of-junk Wal-Mart guitar he found earlier.
after flossing her teeth, Leila gave the OK to go into the shack.
The furnishings consisted of a couch, a Television with a blu-ray player, a microwave, and a table with two lawn chairs at it.
After taking one look the mermaid said "This needs lots of work!" and promptly ventured outside to find some decor for the plain interior.
Vlad saw her coming with an armload of every flower imaginable, and some grasses, and a few very friendly birds.
She stopped at the door, and after flossing again, brought her bundle inside.
Over Lunch, Vlad and Leila decorated the tiny house, making it (according to Leila) a "more habitable place".
after a pleasant lunch, they got on their way again, climbing the steep sides of what was known in the mermaid kingdom as Mount Renhalia.
After eight hours of steep, tendon-rending climb, and with darkness imminent, both Leila and Vlad decided it was time to set up camp.
Vlad, having planned on a short hike, brought no tent.
Fortunately for the both of them, Leila knew of a type of bark that repelled the smelly, red rain that periodically drenched the place.
They made a shelter of the bark, had campfire, roasted marshmellows, made smores with the chocolate chips, and settled in for the night.
In the morning they were both as sore and grumpy with their feet as a centipede on a hot rock, so they temporarily went separate ways to take a bath and soak their aching footsies in the hot springs on the side of the mountain.
The journey up the last bit of Mount Renhalia was fairly easy, and very rewarding as the two trekkers crested the peak.
At the top was a pool--a normal looking pool.
Vlad, curious to know what the wonders unbenkownst to the human race were, asked Leila about it.
(Now comes the part where Leila pulles the reeds out of her backpack)
She handed on to Vlad and said "Use it to breathe, we're going underwater for a little."
Vlad hesitatingly looked into the pool, but followed Leila as she waded in.
What he saw inside almost made him gasp and lose his grip on his breathing reed!!!
Unknown to the humans below the cliff, the merpeople had constructed a telescope of amazing proportions.
It was unlike any human telescope ever seen.
The lenses were partially made of water, but the true magnification came from the diamonds--ten foot in diameter, and chiseled, smoothed, and mirror honed by the greatest craftmen's hands in all the mermaid kingdom!!!
To get to the telescope, Leila and Vlad lowered themselves between a small carved gap in two of the diamond lenses.
An underwater diamond bubble telescope seemed beyond belief to Vlad, until he looked around him through the clear precious stones.
The telescope was simply a work of art!!! beautiful in all aspects of it, it worked better--and differetnly-- than any he had ever seen before.
The merfolk had constructed a telescope with a view in almost every direction!!!
The view was clear, kept spotless by the water that surrounded and encased it.
Vlad glanced at Leila, who was rapidly making a transformation back into her mermaid form, with a tail forming where her legs had been.
She, not needing the reed to breathe anymore, told Vlad to surface.
Once again on the top of the mountain, Vlad could see how well the scope was hidden from prying outside eyes. No one could see to the top of such a towering mountain, or get up without a guide from the mer-world.
Leila told Vlad "Nightfall is coming, I want to show you the sky, then I have to go back under the sea."
The time flew quickly, and They were both awed by the sights they saw through the diamond scope. It was a breathtaking few hours as they admired the work of God in the night sky, with all its beauty.
Leila glanced at Vlad and said, I hear my people calling to me, can you?
Vlad listened, heard a faint singing, and nodded, smiling. With a wistful, yet contented glance, he said goodbye to her as they stood on the mountaintop for the last time.
Leila told Vlad "You will not be able to go down the path we came, or the regular way, take my hand and follow me," and walked toward the cliff.
Vlad wondered for a brief second whethere Leila was trying to kill him by death from such a tall height, but thought back to her countenance, and knew she had no harm intended for him.
They both walked to the edge of the cliff and stared straight down into the water. It was such a long way down, a frightening drop from so high, yet Vlad steeled himself and was ready.
Leila spoke then, "Let's go." and they both sprang off the cliff.
Sheer feelings of weightlessness filled v
Vlad, not just from the sensation of falling, but seeing Leila falling beside him, realizing he had a friend in her, and not really caring what happened next.
Whatever the mermen had designed to break the fall from a returning user of the diamond telescope worked beautifully, and slowed the travellers fall to a comfortable drop into the ocean.
Leila helped Vlad back to shore, pushing him so as to escape the tide and get him back to the beach safely.
They exchanged a look of friendship and understanding, and as they parted ways, Leila said "I'll remember this. Thank you."
As Vlad stole one last glance, he said "The thanks should go to you, my friend, and I will never forget these past two days either."
Watching Leila disappear into the waves, Vlad wondered if it was all a dream.
No, that would be too easy.
He decided he would never know what had happened to him, but was content to remember the time.
Times had with friends are the best of times.
They share things that are only known to them
things close to the heart,
paths that will never again be walked by anyone else.
Individual memories that could never, ever be copied, and thus must be treasured.
They may never be had again, but the things learned and remembered will be there forever.
Some friendships are more quiet, not as "loud" as other friendships. Nonetheless, they are just as deep, just as worthy of being treasured.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Spiritual...Martial Arts?

          I slid into my natural fighting stance, loose from warm-ups that I had done with the class ten minutes prior, and looked into the eyes of the "BOB" (body opponent bag) on a water base in front of me.  He stared with cold, cruel eyes that are fixed in a glazed evil stare at nothing in particular.  He stood about two inches taller than I do (about 5'8").  Loosely stepping on the balls of my feet, I prepped for the next technique Sensei said we were to do.  "Mawashi-geri!" (or roundhouse kick)  "Two lines, taller people on the right BOB, shorter people on the left BOB!"  My mind worked with calculations on where I would kick him--his left anterior lateral abdomen directly on the floating rib.  Sensei gave one more bit of instruction.  "Ten on each side! Hajime!" (begin). 
          Stepping up to the BOB, I went through the steps of a proper kick.  All the calculations were there, but were automatic--drilled in through continued practice-- I'm going to strike with the anterior tibial area of my leg.  Step with my left foot, planting it left of my intended target and pointing in the direction of my kick.  The knee is the key, bring it as high as I smoothly can and as I let my left leg pull my body as I shoot the kick out.  Snap the kick using my quadriceps into the target's floating rib.  I felt that it was a good, solid kick.  It stung my foot a little where it hit from the impact-nothing to distract me from the task, but enough to be conscious of. 
          The power of my technique rocked the BOB hard.  A few of the other students were watching as I completed my twenty roundhouse kicks.  As I waited for the next round of moves to be announced, I heard one of my fellow students remark half to me and half to the other Karateka that the moral of that story was- "Never attack Corey."  she looked down at my feet which were red from the impact of kicking so hard.  She couldn't understand why I would want to beat myself just doing a kick on a bag!  My response was "Train like you fight." 
          So, we as Christians have a fight on our hands and spiritual enemies to vanquish.  Of course, we can olny do that with God's help, but we simply must keep a training regimen on our spiritual "conditioning".  We can't train half-heartedly and expect to have an easy fight on our hands.  We must train like we fight.  I as a lover of Christ, want to love Him and fight for His cause so much that people do ask me things like- "Why are you so into Jesus?  What makes you like that?  Why do you love him more than everything else?"  Let me tell you all, I have a long way to go, but by God's grace I will be more and more the fighter I was created to be.  I would encourage, yes, I would even order you if I was in a position of authourity, to keep up your regimen.  Be ready for whatever enemies and hardships you face.  Have your combat skills in the word of God honed to a fine art--a muscle memory--so that no calculations are necessary, but you are confident in sharing and showing the gospel of our beloved LORD.