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Posts Tagged ‘army’

Sacrifice

 

I met a soldier last week. He just moved to Kansas after a three-year tour in Germany; Wiesbaden, to be specific.

My mind immediately filled with questions to ask about his time in Germany. You know, the typical questions that we all ask. What did you like about the town, the people, the food, the sights, and the weather? After a little thought, I asked my first question.

“Wow. Three years in Germany. What did you enjoy the most?”

His response was a telling reality that often goes untold.

“I didn’t spend three years in Germany. My unit went to Afghanistan the first year. I was in Germany with the family the second year. And the third year, I went back to Afghanistan. It sounds funny, but I’ve seen more of Kandahar Providence over the last three years than my duty station in Germany.”

I admired the sacrifice that he made. His three-year assignment yielded two years in a combat zone and one year with his wife and kids. He had surrendered something valuable so that others could benefit. He endured hardship so that others could find comfort and peace. He was willing to die so that others could live.

It is inspiring when a soldier is willing to sacrifice for his countrymen; it is overwhelming when we consider the deep love of Christ. Jesus willingly went to the cross, suffered incredible pain, and died for our benefit. He bled and died so that all of mankind could live.

The obedience, action, and ultimate sacrifice of Christ showed just how valuable we are to him. Through his obedience, we see a caring God. Through his actions, we find the depth of his love. Through his sacrifice, Jesus said that we are worth dying for, despite all of our imperfections, wrongs, and mistakes. Romans 5:8 says, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Christ did not see us as a lost cause. He saw us as individuals worth dying for and became our sacrifice. May we continue to see the perfect love that sent our Savior to the cross on our behalf.

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Veterans Day Prayer

veterans-day

Almighty God, I give you thanks for veterans. I give thanks that there are men and women willing to leave families, farms, and factories to sacrifice for a nation. They demonstrate right with blood, sweat, and tears.

The Bible shows warriors like Gideon and David who were unsure of your calling, but stepped forward in faith to protect others in danger.  We still have warriors like this today. People who will step forward in uncertain times to protect the ones they love and a nation they cherish so deeply.

For these men and women, I give you thanks. Bless their efforts when in conflict. Protect them in the heat of battle. Heal their wounds of war, both inside and out. Bind their families together and strengthen their faith in you. I ask these things in the name of our risen Savior. Amen.

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Happy Military Monday

No parking

Perhaps the sign was posted at the military intelligence office.  Have a great military Monday!

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suicide prevention month

Suicide is a significant problem in the military claiming the lives of 22 veterans each day.

Suicide also takes a tremendous toll on our society.  In 2013, 41,149 suicide deaths were reported in the US.  We could easily read these suicide rates and forget that every number represents not only a life lost, but also a broken family, and a community wounded with pain.  Each death leaves behind a group of hurting people.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to suicide.  People contemplate suicide for many different reasons:  substance abuse, divorce, family separation, financial matters, legal trouble, a major illness, depression, and many other reasons. While the causes vary, we can all show universal concern and support.

Here are some ways to help people at-risk of suicide.

  1. Be present.  Show your concern for people in pain.  Make time for the person who is hurting. Scripture shares that we need to “bear one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2).  Take time to help others through their days of difficulty.
  2. Listen.  Allow that person to say what is causing the pain.  Share the gift of silent listening and then you can guide your friend with wise counsel.
  3. Do something.  The Bible encourages us to be, “doers of the word, not hearers only…” (James 1:22).  Too often, people at-risk are so overwhelmed with depression, stress, or anguish that they don’t know where to turn next, give that person guidance.  Share resources that can help.  Take them to a doctor, pastor, or counselor.  Call the VA hospital.  Find a way to connect the person with assistance.  Take action.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.  Take time to talk with a friend who is down.  Share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255.  It is a 24/7 resource with trained professionals ready to help people find encouragement and hope.

Make a difference by addressing the problem of suicide.  Demonstrate compassion and concern for those who are hurting.  Be available to friends in need and take time to listen.  The time you invest could save a life.

 

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D-Day June 6, 1944

Dday

Remember the courage and sacrifice that moved our world in 1944.  Today there are only 855,070 veterans remaining of the 16 million who served our nation in World War II.  When you see a WW II veteran, always stop to say hello and thank you for your service.  May we always remember what they did on our behalf.

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2015AFDPoster

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.

The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

These warriors demonstrate incredible sacrifice, selfless service, and devotion each day.  Take the opportunity to pray for a member of our Armed Forces and his or her family.

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Marriage Heart Health

Do you have a five star marriage?

People want to stay at the best hotels and resorts when they travel. These hotels earn a five star rating because they consistently deliver excellent service, provide great amenities, and offer that special touch of class like little chocolates on your pillow. They go the extra mile. People instead settle for a two or three star establishment because of proximity, cost, and time. We often settle for less instead of striving for the very best.

This is also true in marriage. We can have a great relationship with quality time together, kind words toward each other, and sacrificial acts of service. But too often we settle for a mediocre marriage with little strength, support, or commitment.

How can we flip the switch?

Couples need to honestly evaluate the relationship with their spouse. Are your expectations being met? When expectations are not met, we are disappointed. Disappointment often carries with it frustration, anger, and isolation. If our reality is less than what we expected, then the reality equals a disappointed spouse. Share expectations with each other so that you are both on the same page and can work toward mutual goals.

Couples need to focus on each other. I can tell when my wife is upset, stressed out, or angry. Most of us know that look or phrase from a spouse. There is a cue that reveals his or her inner thoughts. That is a signal to ask questions, share an encouraging word, help around the house, fix a problem, take the kids for a walk, or just listen. Don’t ignore the cues and signals that your spouse sends you. Take notice. Respond and act to support each other.

Couples need time together. Husbands and wives are great at making time to discuss problems, schedule school events, and play taxi service for the kids. While this is important, couples also need to spend quality time together. They need to get away, go on a date, and make time for their one true love. Don’t lose the fire and energy that brought you to the altar in the first place.

February 7-14 is National Marriage Week. Use that time to evaluate your marriage and strengthen your relationship. Check out their resource page at http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org and discover how a few simple steps can improve any marriage.

No matter where your marriage is today, you can build a stronger relationship that will last for the rest of your life. Make a five star marriage part of your life today.

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There are certain times on the calendar when memories of past deployments run strong.  December often makes me mindful of my time overseas.

You are united with your unit as everyone has a job to perform.  You are also united in the hardships and difficulties of being separated from those you love.

December is a tough time to be separated from family and friends.  You miss the traditional family practices and customs like putting up the Christmas tree.  You miss the favorite food and dishes that made this particular time of year memorable.  You miss the gift exchanges.  But you also miss the church gatherings, Christmas pageants, and special worship services.  They are the times and events that keep us strong in faith.

When service members are deployed, we are able to receive packages in the mail.  Uncle Sam will serve us a meal with all the special fixings.  Folks will decorate an office or work station with a snowman, reindeer, or Christmas lights.  But missing church services as a family always proved to be a hardship for Soldiers to overcome, no matter where you were stationed.

This Christmas, 86,000 Soldiers will be forward deployed across the globe.  They will be overseas and away from their loved ones.  They will be working in guard towers.  They will be flying helicopters.  They will be driving tanks.  They will be constructing buildings, bridges, and roadways.  They will be aiding hospital patients.

As we gather in churches across America, let us remember those who are deployed around the globe.

Pray for our service members this month.  Lift them up as they perform their daily duties away from home and in harm’s way.  Pray for their families as they celebrate Christmas with an empty chair at the table and the heartache that can bring.  Pray for God to bring our warriors home safely and for families to heal when they are reunited.  Pray that they can gather next December and celebrate the birth of Christ as a family one more time.

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Veterans Day Prayer

veterans day

Holy God, you teach the importance of sacrifice, devotion, and being faithful.  Just as the Old Testament acknowledges the deeds of David and his Mighty Men, we lift up all who have served in the military.  We recognize the selfless service of our veterans and we remember the difficulty of their deeds.

There is a high cost to pay for freedom, liberty, and justice.  There are times when the sons and daughters of our nation must rise and stand for what is right. These are the difficult times that test our faith, our strength, and our resolve.

Precious God, may we always find our strength in you and respond to the needs of our nation, our state, and our neighbors in times of trial.  Amen.

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Army seal

Today, in 1775, the Continental Congress voted to raise an Army and truly make ourselves free.

Celebrate that freedom by praying for the men, women, and families who serve our nation so well.

May God protect our Soldiers, strengthen their relationships, and sustain them as they return from war.  Amen.

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