He Did It All For Me

Description: Jesus not only died on the cross to bring forgiveness but also to leave us an example for us to follow. We are to follow in His steps.

Verse:

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.
Isaiah 53:6 The Message – MSG

This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. 1 Peter 2:21 The Message – MSG

Today it was easy to reflect and think of all the great things I had possibly done as a person. That’s not really true, because as the saying goes – no one is perfect. Every time I heard that or thought that statement, I knew there was one — who was perfect.

But as I looked at many pictures of loved ones who gave their lives in wars past and some recent, I at least knew I could not take credit for anything good in my life. I unfortunately had to take credit for all the bad things, as bad as it seems.

All of our mistakes ultimately added up to something that had to be done. And that something was a human sacrifice for all humanity’s wrongful doings. It couldn’t be just anybody. Typically the individuals that choose to be a hero, don’t contemplate their decision. Something has to be done and they just do it.

In today’s verse Isaiah, it portrayed a horrible situation and that someone had to pay the price. And God piled all the sins on humanity on His Son. That’s not a comfortable chair anyone of us would like to be sitting in that day. And he did it all, so that we could learn a valuable lesson.

I have read the story of the suffering Christ endured for me. Maybe I failed to realize another important issue. He did it so when we go through suffering, he is not just there to help us endure the trial or tribulation, his suffering reminds us as he endured, so can we.

Songs come to my remembrance that assist me with this type of assurance. The song, Thank God He Did It All For Me. He also demonstrated how we can get through each day by the way he lived.

He did it all for me
Each drop of blood was shed for even me
When the savior cried, bowed his head and died
Oh, praise the Lord, He did all for me.

Prayer: Lord you showed us how we could get through tough days by what you suffered on the cross. Thank you for reminding me that you did it all before we did, and that we can do it as well living an example as others to follow. Amen

A True Sign Of Love

Description:Christ’s love to us should direct us to love each other.

Verse: Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 King James Bible – KJB

This weekend is one of nation’s holidays to commemorate and honor veterans. As a living member of the veteran family, I am in awe of those who carried the colors (American Flag) and their military colors in previous wars. I always love to go to the different war museums and spend hours looking how the great commanders mapped out their strategy in winning a campaign.

I remember as a second lieutenant being mentored about the history of the Wide Awake Battalion lineage. Pictures of all the commanders past to present, were displayed giving their place of honor in the battalion headquarters. This caused my desire to learn as much as I could about the unit and it’s history to give the proper respect to each leader.

I always desired to leave the best legacy in the units I served in key leadership position. With each promotion required more responsibility and loyalty to those you served with in the Army.

I also served on the Military Ceremonial Team that honored and buried those who served honorably for our country. The deepest honor was to represent the President of the United States and the leadership of the United States Army with the presentation of the American flag that was displayed over the casket.

Great care was made to never dishonor the service member and our country when folding the flag to present to the service members’ family.

But I am also reminded of a greater leader who typically doesn’t get the credit and honor for the life he lived and represented. He was sent by his Father to represent all humanity and was sent to die for all the sins of humanity.

As we honor and respect all the great men and women who laid down their lives for America this Memorial Day weekend, let’s not forget the man who also deserves honor everyday who died for all our mistakes (sins) we will make in a lifetime.

I was always honored when I served under great military commanders. I would give my very life for them if required to in military service. Today I am also honored that the best Commander-In-Chief – Jesus has chosen me to serve and honor his leadership. He paid the price for all of us, and as I would have done the same for many military leaders, I serve Jesus and if required will do all I can to honor Him.

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for showing us the true attributes of a great leader. Like many of my colleagues, you have surrendered your life for all humanity. It is a debt that I cannot ever pay. Thank you for this demonstration of great love. Help me to carry your banner to a world that still does not see this act of love to a lost world.

Don’t Worry

Description:Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you.

Verse: “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. Mathew 6:25-26 The Message- MSG

I retired over a year ago, and one of the fun things I enjoy doing is building bird houses. I use mostly scrap wood because I am not one of those kinda of guys who can build anything. I am just the opposite. Last year I learned a lot about the craft, mostly the do’s and don’ts.

What I am liking the most in my new work shop, is listening to the best carpenter any novice like me could listen to about wood projects. I get easily frustrated and many times the carpenter talks to me about worrying more about things that matter the most.

This verse is what I print and place on every birdhouse I build. The birds I guess love me as I have many bird feeders located all over my large back yard. I laugh when they get excited at me when I come out with the big bucket to refill the feeders.

God uses all of us to help one another and focus on what matters more than material things. I have found that out after going on a missionary trip, and I have plenty of things to take care of me and my family. To many times, we focus on us and not what God wants us to think about.

The next time you see the birds flying in the air, it’s probably because they enjoy everything the master has provided to them. Jesus, my carpenter friend helps me every day to take care of his birds. It helps me to stay focused about things that matter – – worrying about something I don’t need to worry about.

Prayer: Lord forgive me for worrying about the material things in my life. Thanks for all the things you provide to meet all my needs. Help me Lord to do my part to help my neighbors and those you put in my pathway. Amen

Why Don’t We Listen To God?

Description: Listening requires that we are an active participant with who is talking to us.
Verse: Pray that your God will tell us the way we should go and what we should do.”
Jeremiah 42:3 The Message – MSG

The phrase that many parents use a lot when raising their children, “Why don’t you listen to me?” And many times my spouse tells me later, “Honey, you’re not listening what they are trying to tell you.” No one really gets what needs to be said, because no one is listening.

All the communication classes I have attended in my life required me to listen — as much as I wantEd someone to listen to me. But when I reflect the detours that I have made on my pathways of life, I typically never spent as much time looking at the map before I left, and I definitely didn’t want to stop and ask someone directions to my destination.

In the Army, land navigation was one of the key tasks that any soldier had to be able to master. I remember taking the first test and I failed. I was called to the Commandants office to explain my failure. The Commandant personally mentored me for a week to be certain that I would pass the test.

Before the test, I met with the Operations Sergeant back at my unit and he heard the news of me failing the land navigation exam. He took me out to the field in a jeep, and said, “Listen to everything I am going to tell you on this trip.”

That day Sergeant Major showed me the map, and then blind folded me as he took us on a road trip. He told me to feel the road, feel how the road changes and how long it takes till the next turn. After we traveled on the road, he pulled over and we looked at our map. We discussed every turn and change we made.

On the next event, he showed me where we started, and blind folded me again, and at the end of the trip, he asked me to tell him where we were on the map, and what route we took. I didn’t always get it right, but when we used the compass and walked the different routes, it started to make more sense to me in knowing where I was and how to get where I needed to go.

Sergeant Major got credit from me when I told him I aced the next exam. If I had not paid any attention, I could have possibly failed the next exam and be kicked out of the class.

Everyday we should be seeking God’s wisdom, and know immediately when we are not following his directions. I know personally He never gets disgusted or mad and need to ask Him for additional information.

The problem typically occurs when our pride will not allow us to stop and ask for help. If we are not listening to God, there’s a big chance we will have wasted our time and others for God’s plan for that day.

Pray: God forgive my pride when I am in a big hurry and trying to do it all my way, instead of yours. Help me to seek your wisdom to be aligned to your will and master plan.

Give me Jesus

Description: Even though we are in this world Christians are not of this world. Our true home is not in this sinful world it is in Heaven. Yes there are bad things in this world and yes there will be suffering, but believers can rest assured that there is a glorious Kingdom that awaits us.

Scripture:
“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.” John 15:18-19 (The Message-MSG)

Many times I get frustrated about what is going on around me. But after I reflect and find what I am responsible for and what others are of the matter, I realize many times that I am frustrated for no reason at all.

Jesus did tell us that there would be trials and tribulations in this life, and to trust Him when things get to difficult. Many times we allow the cares of this world to become more important than what we should. It is vital that I share my concerns with the one who knows what matters most every day on this earth.

The world, neighbors, coworkers and possible the person who has just got under your skin, belong here. All of it. God’s family does not belong to this world, we belong with our Father in heaven. The same struggles that we face Jesus faced when he was here on earth, but he did not let the world’s opinions or viewpoints to distract Him from his divine purpose.

We may have these type of disturbing days, but reflect on this song and realize we will soon be going home –our real home.

Give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus

Prayer: Thank you Lord we do not belong here forever. But while I am here, help me to serve your purpose. You said there would be difficult days, but that you overcome the world and we can too. When I am alone, Lord, help me feel you closer than ever before, because I don’t want to lose you in this life. Amen

Don’t Look Back

Description: Sometimes we focus on things that go wrong in life. Once we are set free from the chains that bound us, we are free to move forward in the plans God has for us.

Verse: “I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:12-14) MSG

A runner in a race will look back to see where his competition is in the race. A new runner that does this may lose hope, either because the competition closing in on him or see that he has to much more to run. Potentially, he gets tired and contemplates the idea of quitting altogether the race.

Paul remembers how God took hold of Him on the Damascus road, and that no matter what challenges he would face daily, he was going to count on God everyday for all his needs.

I cannot imagine being chained in prison and looking mentally for the right words to encourage other believers. Paul got it that he could be content with what he had or didn’t have in life.

But the prize that Jesus told everyone that was waiting for us was just ahead, and we shouldn’t lose site of the real goal we have in this life. Many of us, including me, get discouraged of the assurance and promise that God already has prepared for us. Many of our friends, who have gone before us, are anxiously awaiting our arrival too. I sometimes think I hear voices encouraging me to get back up, it’s not over.

The race in life we are all in, will soon be over. Listen to the coach, who has already run the race, and never quit when he had obstacles to face. God gives each of us what we need daily to continue in the race.

In the movie ‘Forest Gump,’ the young man named Forest was always told to run to the obstacle. He was always good at this task of running. He had a determined spirit to run in the race of life. I want to be like Forest, by staying in my appointed race. I also want to be like Paul, and not look back at the list of mistakes I made in this life, because Jesus paid the price for all of the sins I will ever make in this life . My purpose now is to run to the Savior who loves me and wants the very best in my life and to someday be with Him.

Prayer of reflection: God, I count everything I have today because of what you did for me at Calvary. Help me to stay focused on the race you have me running and help others who possibly get discouraged by showing my faith and trust in you, God. I can hardly wait to see you at the finish line.

What is your story

I am not famous. I have seen parts of the world that many have not. And there are those who have traveled places where I have not been. I have had children, some have not had the joy of having little ones young, and know-it-alls when they become teenagers. I have owned many cars from economy to a big pick up truck. I have the opportunity to be married, as some have not found their soul mate. I was fortunate to go to college while I was in the military which assisted in the financial support of these dreams. I was fortunate to join the military and get promoted in enlisted ranks to E7, 3 promotions from the top position. I was fortunate to have been able to go to Officer Candidate School and be promoted all the way to LTC/05 which was half way to the top of officer ranks. I was also fortunate to be selected for Battalion Command before my retirement of 30 years service.

I received many prestigious awards from leadership on my retirement, but if I gained all of these things and lost my opportunity to be a child of God, I missed it all. Paul made this perfectly clear in Philippians: “Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ . “(Philippians 3:8)

The material things in life do have sentimental value, but I lay them all aside to be with Jesus who died for my sins, that I would have a life that was worth far more anything that I could ever own or gain here on earth. Without Christ I was lost, I have more things to look forward to, making Jesus #1 in my life. “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. ” (Philippians 3:10)

How do you want to be remembered? I have had my fair share of faults, but I am hopeful that when I die, I am not remembered for a great military career, a great father or papaw, not even a great husband or great dad. I hope that someone remembers me, because I gave it all up to be called a Son of God. I know their is still a lot of work to have that title, but I die daily to become more like Him. What is your story?