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Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Purpose

I'm just finishing a book a few of us have read here. It's called Bullet Proof, and it's written by Chuck Holton, a former Army Ranger and helicopter pilot. He explores the ways in which God works His purposes and plans in our lives. Essentially, he argues that we must desire to take risks for God. Here is a quote from page 55:

"God wants to give us important, meaningful work to do here on earth. But we have to decide how much we are willing to participate. He will accomplish His plan with or without us, but He wants to include us. The bottom line is that a long life doesn't have much appeal if it has no purpose."

He discusses risk and safety. We are not called to live "safe" lives and the reality of Christianity is that to walk in God's will necessitates taking some risk to our mortal, temporal safety. Eternally, tough, we are held in God's protection. On the other hand, to walk outside of God's will is to invite true and lasting spiritual danger. Here are a couple more quotes, from pages 90 and 91, talking in this case about families:

"....endeavoring to keep your family in God's will may require the assumption of some objective risk. And without a proper, well-exercised faith, fear will always follow."

A few sentences later he explains that real risk and real danger is being outside of God's will, and this bring danger to those around us:

"...when I disobey God, I'm not only putting myself in danger; my family is in it with me. Shrapnel in physical combat doesn't discriminate by guilt or innocence, and neither does the fallout from my spiritual failings."

This book resonates with me because his uses his Army experience to weave stories throughout the book.

But it also resonates with my experience here. From a temporary, mortal perspective, I'm in danger here. God doesn't promise I'll survive. I think about that when I fly. Tonight I flew to another base and back, and we were moving and grooving. Up and down like a roller coaster, over power lines and back down, sharp turns and all kinds of fun stuff. :) Before I fly I have to make peace with the possibility of death. After that I enjoy the flight.

That isn't bravery by the way! It's just believing that Jesus has a placed prepared for me in heaven (John 14:1-7). I take God at His word that death isn't the end. It's on Him.

Real danger is walking outside of God's will. If I falter spiritually or fall into gross sin... that is true danger. It is the type of danger that brings down families, churches and communities.

The point? We have a short time on earth, and we're called to step out in faithful service to God. As long as our mission is unfinished, we are physically invincible. Once the mission is done, the reward is heaven.

Those are two pretty good options if you think about it. If a mortar hits my room while I type this, I go into the presence of God. If not, I get to preach next weekend.

God is good!

5 Comments:

Blogger Paul Smith said...

"Those are two pretty good options if you think about it. If a mortar hits my room while I type this, I go into the presence of God. If not, I get to preach next weekend."

AMEN and Right on!!!

If God is for us, who can be against us??

1:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"God wants to give us important, meaningful work to do here on earth. But we have to decide how much we are willing to participate. He will accomplish His plan with or without us, but He wants to include us. The bottom line is that a long life doesn't have much appeal if it has no purpose."

AMEN....

LETS KEEP EACH OTHER IN PRAYER!!!!

MINDSPAN UPDATE
http://afterburnergalacticlawz1-lhx2004x.blogspot.com/index.html

4:28 PM  
Blogger Paul Smith said...

Here's a quote from a government employee who witnessed a recent interaction between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC.
There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America.

I politely declined to take one.
An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20-ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said,

"Lady, don't you care about the children of Iraq ?"
The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my father died in France during World War II,

I lost my husband in Korea, and a son in Vietnam.
All three died so you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth our country.
If you touch me again, I'll stick this umbrella up your ass and open it."

11:32 PM  
Anonymous Salomé said...

You know, that is EXACTLY what God has been speaking about to me lately, as well as my family. Even my dad spoke about this a few times as we were discussing and chatting at home.

It's interesting to see the ways that God uses to speak to people.

Hope you have an awesome day! Keep well.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

I know I might die each day (here in the US) from any number of random occurrences: electrocution, car wreck, etc. I just don't think about them and trust in God. I'm assuming what you do each time you fly Chris isn't too different (although death might be a bit more visible and on your mind over there). Take care!

8:24 PM  

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