God swooped in and rescued me from the fangs of the devil in the summer of 2005. It was a great summer at a summer youth conference called War Cry when  God called me back into His marvelous light. I had gone to church my whole life and had accepted Christ into my heart at the age of 5. From early on I saw God work in mysterious and incredible ways; however, through personal decisions and life events, I had walked away from God. I took me until my sophomore year of high school to wake up unto the glory of His Grace.

Between the years of 2000 and 2005, my life had taken multiple and crazy turns. Even though the experiences, emotions, heartbreaks, and frustrations are too many to mention here, these are some of them. Between the summer of 2000 and the summer of 2005:

My family and I had moved to a new country where I didn’t fit in and where I barely understood the language.

I had practically no friends between sixth and ninth grade. I spent my afternoons at home doing homework and watching TV. It was during these years that my imagination took flight and gave me the imagination I have today.

I had become marginalized in middle school not only for forcing my way to the top of the class, but also for espousing a type of Neo-Nazism or Fascism internally and publicly.

My best and only best friend in middle school, my cousin Danny Herrera, succumbed to cancer when I was 12 years old. I literally lost a crucial part of my life at that point.

My family and I, between sixth and tenth grade, had moved three to four times. Each time it was hard to reboot and adjust once again.

And the saddest part of it all was that, in those four years, I had forgotten what the true worship of God was about and ended developing a very overwhelming idolatry of human heroes and of my own academic prowess.

The outcome of all these events ended up being a very disturbed and scarred teenager by the time I was fourteen. I at no point gave up my faith or stopped believing in God, but I wasn’t in any way truly living out my faith. I knew the Scriptures, I knew all the important stories of Scripture back and forth, and I knew who Jesus Christ was. However, I wasn’t aware that Jesus was actually interested in getting to know me better. At fourteen, I was merit-centered, anger had become the outlet of my emotional loneliness, and I still espoused an incredibly radical, unjust, and brutal worldview that had no room in the Kingdom of God. I had come a long way from the child-like faith of my infancy.

In the summer of 2005 I attended War Cry, a summer youth conference hosted by Grace Churches International. I had never been to a summer youth conference before. I had also never attended a youth group. I had gotten so used to having no friends all throughout middle school, that I simply marginalized myself. Nevertheless, my parents convinced to go to War Cry after a pretty cool promotional video was shown at Grace Church. A few months later, I was at War Cry and my life would never be the same.

I still remember calling home the first couple nights of War Cry. I was overwhelmed. The Holy Spirit had poured into my life and the Father God has smashed walls at multiple levels of my life. Through God-led speakers, Spirit-led worship, and great small group leaders who were there every step of the way, God had moved in a way He had never moved before. My life had been crushed under the hammer of His grace, love, and mercy, and even though He continues to work at all levels of my life today, the first major breakthrough into the person I had become happened that summer at War Cry.

It’s easy to credit conferences, retreats, and even speakers for change in our lives–Divine change. However, it wasn’t the workshops, speakers, or conference environment. The Holy Spirit receives all the credit for what happened that week of 2005. I had become a fortress of solitude and of anger. I had made so many idols in my life that I could not count them if I had to. God was true to His promises.

That summer of 2005 was just the beginning. Or, maybe I am still in the beginning. I don’t really know–my life is only fully seen by the eyes of God. However, that summer of 2005, God broke through my fortress and my anger. Even though it took many more years of idols to be conquered, God won a major battle. This post may seem incomplete. I feel this is a good place to stop in part because this was just the beginning of when God rescued me from the fangs of the Devil. I was headed straight into the cave of the demons and God pushed me off the cliff into the arms of His Spirit.

 

I like to read. However, due to having one more semester of undergrad left, a lot of my days I end up reading stuff other people want me to read. Now, I always try to pick classes that are fun and interesting. However, faculty can at times end up picking a book for its academic resourcefulness rather than for its literary awe. This will be my last summer as an undergrad but I believe I will continue my summer reading list that I set out to tackle each summer. This summer, these are my picks:

On the theology/”God” front:

The Reason for God: Belief in and Age of Skepticism by Tim Keller

At no point wasting a sentence or breath, this masterpiece by Tim Keller, pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, tackles the intellectual and spiritual challenges that Christianity faces today. Even though firm and founded upon Scripture, Keller never fails to be empathetic and loving in his words as he carries the reader through a journey of ideas, arguments, and thought-provocation. I am almost done with this one, but it is a must-read for any Christian desiring to be relevant to today’s culture and with a passion to be missional in today’s world.

The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative by Christopher J. H. Wright

I recently began reading this summer choice, but, in a nut shell, Wright attempts to prove to the reader that we shouldn’t simply take a Biblical approach to missions. He challenges us to take a missional approach to reading Scripture. Can’t wait to get more into this one.

Moving on from theology readings, this summer I have also endeavored into some “easy-read” Science Fiction. Being the HALO fan that I am, I recently finished reading The Cole Protocol by Tobias S. Buckell. If you aren’t familiar with the HALO series and/or canon, then don’t really bother to read. It’s basically made for the fans. However, I also began reading Halo Cryptum by renowned science fiction writer Greg Bear. Cryptum should prove to be a more polished SciFi read than any other Halo novel. Even if you aren’t a fan of the Halo series, this novel should prove itself worthy to be in the hands of any fan of science fiction. The fact that Greg Bear is the author behind this novel, and hopefully its sequels, speaks for itself.

In order to make the post no longer than what it needs to be, these are the other volumes in my summer reading list:

Celebration of Disciple by Richard J. Foster

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett (started this one in January–its over 900 pages so it has taken some time to finish)

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe by Mark Driscoll and Greg Breshears

Star Wars: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp (Old Republic series #2) (I finished Star Wars: Fatal Alliance earlier this summer which is the first part to the Old Republic novel series)

I hope you pick up a book this summer. If you read something good, then let me know. There are never too many good books to be read.

Peace.

This is my first post in a long time. In a very long time. However, while preparing for a weekly small group my wife and I lead, we came across this article. The article, written by Karl Olsson, professor of Religious Studies at North Park University, is a challenge to us Christians when we refer to the use of the word “Kingdom,” especially in the context of “Kingdom work” or working for the kingdom. Even though there are some areas of his statements that I disagree on, I believe what he is trying to get at, overall, is pretty solid–we can never separate the work of God’s Kingdom from the Church. We can only do “Kingdom” work as an extension of God’s living Church here on Earth.

Check out the article and let me know what you think. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/25422-the-most-misused-biblical-term

*I tried to hyperlink the URL, but he MacBook Pro wouldn’t let me do it. Oh well.

Tonight my wife and I went to watch The Eagle, a newly released film by director Kevin MacDonald and starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell. The Eagle is a theme-packed epic movie set in Imperial Roman Britain. The movie follows Marcus Aquila, new commander of a frontier garrison and son of the fallen commander of the Legio IX Hispana and the lost Eagle Roman standard.

I don’t want to spoil the movie for you and if you wanted a plot outline, there are other websites that can do a better job than me. But I would like to point out a main theme that runs through the movie that will hopefully encourage you to go watch it.

Honor is a very important element of humanity. Honor drives us to act in unbelievable ways. Honor is what lies at the core of our moral compass and leads us to do what is right–for the sake of our beliefs and for our own personal moral stability.

At the same time, honor can also be a force of potential evil. A call of honor can drive to great atrocities and to real world injustice. We can argue whether this is true honor at work, but we cannot deny honor is, at times, an excuse for the awakening of human evil.

Nevertheless, honor is found through all ethnicity, nationalities, religions, and codes of conduct. It is a universal human need to have a code of conduct, a moral compass, a core value system to lead our way. I would make the argument that in it is that sense of honor and “higher virtue” which depicts our universal human equality and encourages the concept of universal human dignity. No matter how attached to the material world we may be, we need that inner moral compass (sense of honor) to give us significance or otherwise face perdition.

Without giving away any of the film’s plot, I believe this lesson and theme is one found throughout and at the end of the movie. Hopefully you will enjoy it and find the greater themes within the story which, I believe, make it a pretty awesome experience.

I tend to abstain from music, TV, and movie reviews because that is not the purpose of this blog. The focus of this blog is the search and analysis of introspective thoughts, spiritual concepts, Biblical ideas, and personal moments of the human experience.

The King's Speech; Rotten Tomatoes: 95% (Audience: 96%)

 

However, I must make an exception to my rule and give praise to the British movie/film The King’s Speech. This incredible, profound, and unforgettable movie is one that, even though I originally approached with moderate expectations, ended up truly being a masterpiece.

The movie follows the adult life of Prince Albert, Duke of York (future George VI) who is second-in-line to the British crown (son of George V). Even though the king’s second son, Albert, suffers from constant unending stammering it is expected that he might just play an important role in the future of the country. The movie depicts the journey of the Prince–and then King– through the psychological, emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges of his overcoming stammering in order to one day inspire the confidence that the Britons will need in the dark years that lay before them.

The script is based on the correspondence and notes from Prince Albert’s (George VI) speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Whether you enjoy British cinematography or not, this is one film that will truly move you to believe in capacity and courage of a human heart and in the discovery of another fascinating individual in human history.

I tried not to give too much of the plot and key points of the story away. Nevertheless, it is by far one of the best (if not the best) film I have watched in the past year. If you live in the Raleigh-Durham area, the film is currently playing at Galaxy Cinema in Cary and at Southpoint Cinemas in Durham.

I promise you that it is a film you will walk out of absolutely satisfied. Once again, praises to Colin Firth, Tom Hooper, David Seidler, and the rest of the staff and cast of The King’s Speech.

PS: And for those who consider themselves followers of ROTTEN TOMATOES, RT gave The King’s Speech a 95% rating (96% by audience).

The King’s Speech Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes’ Review and Rating

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 4

My wife and I enjoyed the gift and blessing of fellowship tonight. Instead of going out to the bar or to a restaurant to watch the Orange Bowl (go Hokies!) we invested our night indoors, having a delicious black bean and vegetable soup, watching some entertaining The Office, and using the later hours to do some cleaning around our home.

As part of my wife’s habits while she cleans or folds the laundry, she likes to listen to Pastor Mark Driscoll (from Mars Hill Church, Seattle) through the podcasts available on iTunes. I myself used to spend much time listening and watching Driscoll and Mars Hill sermons online; however, I can’t say that my passion for sermon-listening has remained the same as in previous years.

Tonight, after defeating a boss (a very tough enemy in a video game), I went to our bed room and joined my wife in listening to Mark Driscoll preach. His topic was “Suffering to Serve” preaching out of 1 Peter 4 and putting special emphasis on the issue of idolatry, not just in the world outside the church, but also among Christians. As times before, I had no way out and was forced to admit to myself, once again, that I am an idolater.

——

Before letting the reader come to the conclusion that video games are my idol, I must stop and say that even though video games are very entertaining and fun, I have come to control the past time instead of allowing the past time to control me. Video games, God willing, are not a major issue in my walk with God.

But it is always hard to hear about idolatry because after conviction–yes God, I am a sinner and I have idols–it is always the tough challenge of trying to understand where is the line between idolatry and “fun,” or a past-time.

Pastor Driscoll focused on this issue by challenging the Christian to ask ourselves: what is it that you run to when you are hurt? broken? What is it that you desire the most when you fall and are fragile? What do you desire when you need something but you don’t desire God?

I can’t honestly say that I have all my major idols figured out. I am sure that for the rest of my life God will continue to shine light and reveal more and more areas of my soul and mind where I am not putting him first. But there are some idols that I do allow to take worship away from God and the Lord Jesus: my emotions, entertainment (from tv shows to football games), and, incredibly, my own health.

God has been working on the last one above for a while. I have to admit, to God and whoever my audience may be, that in times on anxiety and personal turmoil, a main thing I turn to and focus all my attention to is my health and how out-of-shape I am or feel to be. It is my prayer that God continues to attack and one days fully destroys this idol in my life, whenever He feels the right time comes, and that I may be set free from it completely.

——

I don’t really have a certain purpose for this post. Listening to Pastor Mark Driscoll is hard because God speaks through him and conviction is almost always certain to happen. At the same time I am thankful because even though I am surrounded by things the Enemy wants to use for my destruction, I still know God sits next to me (always) ready to lend a helping hand and ready to hug me when I may need His comfort and hope the most.

It may seem ironic, but it is good to be reminded of my sin. It is healthy to be reminded of my struggles and of my shortcomings. When the Holy Spirit shines light unto my evil, it is a reminder that I really needed Jesus to die on that cross for me and be resurrected on the third day. It is a constant reminding that God is not done with me and that I need Him now more than ever.

May you be blessed. If I may ask anything, I ask for your prayers: please pray that God may grant me peace of mind and spirit and patience in the weeks and months to come. Above all, pray that the love of God may continue to grow and abound more and more in my life. Amen.

Be Blessed.

There are times when our thoughts and ideas about almost insignificant things become a door into deeper things. Recently I had a conversation with someone very important in my life about fiction writing. As part of our conversation we began discussing different characters and character heroes in books and films.

Our conversation reached its most intense and frictional episode when I was wrestling with the idea that Frodo Baggins, a main character behind the Lord of the Rings trilogy of books and films, was the true epic hero of the saga. I concluded that my friend was right and that Frodo indeed is the true hero behind the story–but I couldn’t help but struggle with the realization because I wanted Aragorn, the ranger turned king, to be the epic hero behind the victory of good over evil.

Struggling with Frodo and all his virtues and weaknesses, I was led to the understanding that my issue with the character of Frodo has more to do with a matter of the human heart than just an innocent point of view. The reason why I struggled with Frodo, and not Aragorn, being the true hero is because I had a hard time accepting that Frodo, with all his vices, weakness of character, lack of trust in his friends, and almost full betrayal of Sam, could accomplish so much and be given so much credit as saving Middle-Earth. For some reason, even though obvious in the story, I couldn’t accept it.

The crazy thing is that what came out of my mouth was the following line: “I simply can’t see Jesus using someone like Frodo in the real world–with all his issues and weaknesses– and actually making a true agent of good and salvation out of him.” I realized, through a conversation about characters in stories, that my struggle with a hero like Frodo had to do more with my view of Jesus than what I initially thought.

——

When we look at Aragorn, the savage ranger who leads the armies of Men and Elves to victory against Mordor and goes on to become king, it’s hard not to like what you see. Aragorn, as a character, has no weaknesses and vices. He is just, honorable, compassionate, loving, pure of heart, brave,  and, above all, heroic. Some would argue that in Aragorn we see all the virtues and traits that we would like to see, and recognize, as the best possible traits an individual could have. It is really hard, as a human, to reject Aragorn because in many ways he is that which many of us would like to be.

Looking at Frodo we see weaknesses, frustration, sorrow, pain, and even corruption. Frodo, who begins his journey as a friendly and loving guy, ends the saga almost completely torn apart by the pain and evil of the One Ring of Power. In Frodo we see that effects of evil, sin, corruption, lack of trust, and hatred and the impact–to an extreme–that those things have in our relationships with other. In Frodo’s case, his brokenness tears at his friendship with his best friend Sam. What is there to love in Frodo? I feel like half way through the books and movies I rather skip his scenes or tear those pages away. However, the reason why Frodo is so hard to love is because in Frodo we see ourselves.

——

Aragorn is easy to love because he is almost Messianic in nature. He is a low ranger of the woods who is actually the descendant to the throne of Gondor–King Elessar Telcontar, descendant of King Elendil. Aragorn is a warrior-king and perfect in character and in action. He is loyal to his friends but the worst possible nightmares to the enemies of good.

But Frodo is us and in him we see the struggle of the Christian as we push through life: realizing how the blows out spirit and heart take impact every corner of who we are.

The beautiful thing about Frodo, I know understand, is that he is the sinner Jesus came to save. Frodo is the sinner in need of a Savior and the weak man in need of God’s loving hand. The Ring of Power represents the weight of sin in our lives and also the constant temptations and attempts by the Enemy at tearing us apart from the path God has set out for us. In Frodo we see the path of perseverance as we push on even though, at times, He who is our most loyal friend may be depicted by the Enemy as a torn on the side.

——

Near the end of the film we see Frodo and Sam on top of a rock surrounded by lava, having destroyed the Ring of Power. From the skies we see a Eagle come down and pick them up–saving them from the destruction that surrounds them. In this imagery we see the true promises of God, that if we persevere in our walk of faith, even through the sin and the darkness, there is true love and salvation waiting for us. Just like Frodo, we are broken and easily corrupted. One day we may hug our brother and the next day find ourselves stabbing them in the back. But Jesus offers us so much more and so much hope.

Aragorn is easy to love because, just like Jesus, he is perfect (disregarding a few tough critics of Aragorn). In Frodo we see ourselves, and even though it may be hard to appreciate and love what we see, we must remember that we are the ones Jesus loved and died for. Jesus can transform our worlds through our lives if we simply believe He is able to.

Believe and be inspired.

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

John 14: 12-14

Sebastian Junger’s War:

A Journalist’s Journey into the Heart of 2nd Platoon

Sebastian Junger’s War is a historical narrative, written from Junger’s own perspective, which depicts the events he witnessed and the people he met throughout his trips into the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan. Best-seller and award-winning writer, Junger spent countless hours with the men of Second Platoon, B Company, 2-503rd of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team and this book, along with the companion documentary Restrepo, are not just a tribute to the men of 2nd Platoon, B Company, but to all combat soldiers that share in their experiences.

War is written as a series of essays that are loosely interconnected. Junger’s depiction of the lives, emotions, activities, traditions, and deaths of men in 2nd platoon is not an attempt at depicting war in the way other writers have before. Junger doesn’t spend too much time going into the details of tactics, strategy, or weaponry beyond what he feels in necessary for the average reader to track what is happening. Junger’s War is an attempt at building a bridge—a bridge that he hopes will connect the life of the combat soldier with the understanding of the average American citizen who isn’t as connected to or impacted by the War in Afghanistan. By removing himself from the political dilemmas of war, Junger is able to depict the heart, soul, and mind of the American professional soldier and share with the reader the personal struggles and conflicts that make war such a horror to witness, an honor to serve in, and that has come to signify so much to the young troopers of 2nd Platoon, B Company.

Throughout the book, Junger makes a number of very interesting observations—conclusions, moments, and experiences he came across as he lived day in and day out with the men of Second platoon. One of these observations is that of courage in the battlefield and the elements present in the American soldier (in this case infantryman) that set him apart from the Taliban insurgent. While out on patrol at night, second platoon was caught in an L-shaped ambush by a dozen Taliban fighters. In a “wall of lead” that tore through the platoon’s long single-file movement. Junger mentions that there were two Apache pilots watching it all happen from above, yet they were unable to do much due to the close distance between second platoon and the ambushing element of insurgents.

As the element under attack began to recover from the initial moments of the ambush, Junger describes how SPC Giunta went looking for the alpha team leader, SGT Brennan, who had gone down within flashes of the initial attack. However, instead of finding Brennan, Giunta notices two enemy fighters dragging the sergeant away down the hillside. Immediately SPC Giunta began firing on the fighters dragging away his team leader and went to the rescue of SGT Brennan—all of this as the enemy fire and ambush continued but began to fall apart little by little as each person in the squad recovered and began to counterattack.

Even though not mentioned in the book, SPC Giunta (now SSG Giunta) went on to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions during the ambush. Prior to his rescuing SGT Brennan, Giunta had also helped pulling multiple members of his squad back behind cover and also killed one of the fighters dragging SGT Brennan away. Junger mentions that “the Army has a certain interest in understanding what was going through Giunta’s mind during all of this, because whatever was going through his mind helped save the entire unit from getting killed” (120). Junger goes onto to mention that a year later several American squads conducted an L-shaped ambush at night on a column of Taliban fighters. However, unlike the men of 2nd and 1st platoon, the Taliban columns were completely wiped out (Junger 120). Junger goes on to highlight that even in moments of grave danger and certain death, the American soldier is trained to live, move, and fight as a unit and not as an individual or as Junger states it, “in that sense it’s much more like a football team than, say, like a gang fight. The unit that choreographs their actions best usually wins. They might take casualties, but they win” (Junger 120). Sebastian Junger, even though not a serviceman but a writer and a journalist, comes to a new understanding of what service, leadership, and sacrifice mean to the American combat soldier.

In Giunta’s actions Junger emphasizes the elements of the American soldier that make the difference between them and the Taliban enemy—the difference between victory and defeat.

Continuing his understanding and grasping of the men in Second Platoon, Junger also highlights the psychological impact the war has had on the men. About half way into the book he mentions a conversation with Moreno, one of the men in Second Platoon, regarding firefights: “ ‘It’s like crack,’ he yelled, ‘you can’t get a better high.’ I asked him how he was ever going to go back to civilian life. He shook his head. ‘I have no idea’” (Junger 180). Yes, Junger talks about the great acts of selfless virtue and courage that American soldiers are doing in the War in Afghanistan—he honors those he give all they have. But Junger also mentions the sacrifice of combat and of constant war. Junger states that the thrill and ecstasy of battle is one that is incredibly hard to replicate outside of war. Many of the men in Second Platoon, knowing only the excitement of combat, came to rely on firefights as a source of “life” having nothing else in the mountains of Afghanistan. It can be debated whether this is a good or bad thing, considering these men are trained to engage and destroy their enemies, but the conclusion is that whether good or bad, there are bound to be repercussions as these men will one day go back into civilian life.

Sebastian Junger does state that this isn’t something just experienced by the trained professional soldier, but by anyone who has experienced war period. “War is a lot of things and it’s useless to pretend exciting isn’t one of them. It’s insanely exciting. The machinery of war and the sound it makes and the urgency of its use and the consequences of almost everything about it are the most exciting things anyone engaged in war will ever know” (Junger 144). Even though holding himself back from any judgments or criticism of what this does in the human spirit, Junger does his job responsibly by pointing the impact of war on the young men fighting it. Junger shares with the reader the issues, the facts, the good, and the bad and yet keeps himself from making a judgment call—he especially withholds any judgment on the men who are sacrificing their youths doing the fighting.

Even though keeping himself from making judgment on the soldiers, Junger does defend the concept of missing combat. This notion which is often judged on the civilian and outside world as being “trigger happy” or insane is one which Junger clears up for the reader. Junger writes that “when men say they miss combat, it’s not that they actually miss getting shot at—you’d have to be deranged—it’s that they miss being in a world where everything is important and nothing is taken for granted. They miss being in a world where human relations are entirely governed by whether you can trust the other person with your life” (Junger 234). It isn’t getting a shot that the combat soldier becomes nostalgic of, but the sense of significance, brotherhood, and meaningfulness that comes from being in a state of war and having to depend on the man right next you with your life—and vice versa.

Junger, throughout War, describes the lives of these men: their fears, forms of entertainment, crazy unit rites of passage, their ideas on God and religion, and even their passion for a specific weapon system. War is truly a masterpiece of literature inspired by America’s current war in Afghanistan and the men that fight the war on the ground. However, even though being a responsible journalist and withholding judgment from the men and the situations taking place in the war, Junger does raise a point of warning and also wisdom. Junger, in War, depicts not just the excitement and thrilling aspects of combat, but also the fear, the pain, and agony, and the fact that people die—sometimes, your friends. It is interesting, looking back at the beginning of the book, how the observation post where Second Platoon is at is called OP Restrepo: named after the platoon’s medic who was the first one to die in the deployment. Junger leaves the reader with the responsibility that now knowing and holding a greater insight into the lives and experiences of combat soldiers, it is the responsibility of every American to hold America’s leaders accountable—knowing that when decisions are made and wars begin, America’s young citizens soldiers will be the ones to pay the greatest price.

In conclusion, War is a confession of a world unknown to most of us. War is the result of one journalist’s journey into one valley, with one platoon, throughout their one year tour. Through his work, Sebastian Junger teaches us, the reader, not just the fact that these soldiers are real people with real lives, emotions, and issues, but that their sacrifices are great for much is asked from them. Junger, once again, doesn’t make a judgment call on the war or the reasons for it; however, Junger does make us aware of the fact that when decisions are made and wars are fought, real people pay the price. Some men become heroes, like SSG Giunta, will live on with their lives; however, others, like Doc Restrepo, will become beacons of light to remind us of the ultimate price paid by the combat soldier.

 

I make my way through the passages and paths of the library, this fountain of knowledge, in order to meet with you—for you alone are source of true wisdom and understanding. You find me and you speak to me and you inspire me—no, You are my inspiration. I search, look, and seek as anxiety feels me and my knees begin to weaken; however, my mind and determination are led by a force beyond what the secondary sciences can fully comprehend and beyond what philosophy can discern through reason. Why is this? Because why should I listen to your voice? Why not ignore you and move along, pursue my dreams, my hopes, and my desires? Why bother to attempt to connect with all that you are?

And yet here I am—in the quiet place I find comfort and rest along with a great release of stress and anxiety: these are the children of pride and fear, false hopes and expectations. And yet here am I, chief of sinners, blasphemer, oppressor of the weak, wretched scum of the earth, lowest of the lowest and worthy of the worst place outside of the heavens. And yet here I am listening to you, you who wipe the tears from my eyes and lift my chin up to meet my eyes. Be my inspiration. Be my hope. Be the answer I do not know I am looking for. I curse the muses! Who inspires like Yahweh? I curse the daemons! Who is wise like the LORD? I curse the Fates? Who decides the destinies of both leaves and empires like God? Who can claim your eternal and unique attributes and not be discarded to the bottomless pit? No one can.

And yet I have done these things. And yet here I am, for there is mercy, grace, and love in the arms of the Savior King. Be my inspiration! Be my light! Let my speech be godly speech—let my words not be mine! Oh Holy Spirit, be this sinner’s comforter and this saint’s guide as I turn my eyes towards the beauty of the one God—Creator, Lord, Preserver, Healer, Warrior-King, Savior, Lover, Father. Allow my finite words to be worship to the infinite and eternal One.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”John 17:3

_________________________________________________________________

 

It must have been sometime after PT this morning, probably around the time I parked my car at the park&drive, that I felt Him reaching out to me. It wasn’t obvious at first but I definitely felt different. I don’t have any of those stories in which an actual voice speaks out from the Heavens and commands you to go to Uganda and fight guerrillas and save orphans. No. But I do get moments of complete peace and serenity, and to someone like me those moments are very rare–I will be the first to admit that I struggle with stress and anxiety.

But I did feel a difference and all throughout my classes I felt an urge to get up, walk out of the classroom, and run to some secret paradise where I could chat with God. Being myself, I didn’t bail out during class but immediately after I went to find Him. He had done His part: He found me. So now my job was to find Him at whichever place He wanted to meet me.

The crazy thing is that in my weakness, the enemy had caught on to what God was doing and chased me all the way to my secret place. However, the Lord God is a great and mighty God (unlike our enemy) and I was victorious, in God’s victory over whatever spirit thought it smart to hunt me down.

But yes, the beautiful thing about my relationship with God is that He gives me “heads up,” early in the morning, about meeting with me later in the day. I don’t believe that God is limited to specific moments in time to meet with us, but I believe He looks forward to the moments in which we disconnect from our pseudo-world we live and seek Him who first sought us. I get truly excited when I know God has found me because it is in moments like such that I am overwhelmed by the love of my Savior King.

A song doesn’t do it from me even though there are couple hymns and worship songs that come close. A sermon doesn’t cut it. But Scripture, through the Holy Spirit’s inspiration can be truly powerful. Especially when we dive into Scripture trying to find what God wants us to see and understand at that given instance.

God, the One and Only, is a great God. He is beautiful and compassionate–even in His wrath, judgment, and hatred of sin–but He has grace and mercy for those who love Him. That grace, mercy, wisdom, and understanding is for those who have been called in accordance with His most perfect will.

I am not much of a writer but I pray these words are worship to God and that He may continue to find me and lead to me His secret place. May all power, honor, and glory be the LORD’s forever and ever.


“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

 

I find this verse very relevant to my life right now. I am struggling, I am weak, I am fighting many battles, and I guess I am waiting for a revelation–yet I know that God is the Lord. In my weakness my great need for Him is revealed above all things. I am in such a great need of Him right now and yet I am waiting, yes failing and failing again, but still waiting for Him.

Father God, may Your Name be exalted above all the Earth and all the nations of the universe.

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