Uniform of the Day

  The other day I was in Wal-Mart. (I know, big surprise)  While I was at the register aafbdu-main_full gentleman came up behind me and asked if I was in the military.  I said yes and then asked him why he asked.  I expected him to point out my haircut or freshly shaved face.  But instead he said, “You stand like a military person.”  My first thought was, “Huh?”  I know, pretty profound.  I said goodbye and was on my way.  Later I asked my wife if I stood like I’m in the military.  Her response, “For the first day you are home you do but by Sunday you are back to normal.”  I asked her to clarify.  She said I stood straighter for the first day or so, with my shoulders back and my chest out.  (A little background- I am in the Florida Air National Guard and I am doing temp Active Duty.  I only get to see my wife and kids every other weekend, I live in a hotel room 5 hours away the rest of the time.)

  This got me to thinking.  I wear the my uniform for two weeks and then I take it off to come home.  But even with it off I am still in that mindset for a day or so.  In uniform I am representing my unit and my branch of the military and by extension the United States of America.  I am proud to wear a soldiers uniform.  I stand for something.  I stand for the core values of the US Air Force

Integrity First,

Service Before Self,

Excellence in All We Do.

And here is the Airmen’s Creed

The Airman’s Creed

This is the Airman’s promise to country and colleagues.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
I AM A WARRIOR.
I HAVE ANSWERED MY NATION’S CALL.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN.
MY MISSION IS TO FLY, FIGHT, AND WIN.
I AM FAITHFUL TO A PROUD HERITAGE,
A TRADITION OF HONOR,
AND A LEGACY OF VALOR.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN,
GUARDIAN OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE,
MY NATION’S SWORD AND SHIELD,
ITS SENTRY AND AVENGER.
I DEFEND MY COUNTRY WITH MY LIFE.

I AM AN AMERICAN AIRMAN:
WINGMAN, LEADER, WARRIOR.
I WILL NEVER LEAVE AN AIRMAN BEHIND,
I WILL NEVER FALTER,
AND I WILL NOT FAIL.

  These are the beliefs and ideals I stand upon while in uniform.  But they have permeated me to the point to where even when I am not in uniform I still hold myself to these values and this creed.  I still walk, talk, and stand military, at least for a few days.  Then I begin to slouch.  Maybe I don’t say “Sir” or “Ma’am” as much.  Maybe I am not as respectful as I should be.  The effect wears off.

  As a Christ-Follower we also have a uniform.  Only the Bible calls it the Armor of God.

10Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12We are not fighting against humans. We FullArmorare fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm. 14Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

18Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.   Ephesians 6:10-18  (Contemporary English Version)

  And like a soldier, the more you wear your spiritual armor the more you act like the core values and the creed of who you represent.  In this case, Jesus.  The armor is symbolic obviously.  I mean, you’d look pretty ridiculous going to a board meeting with a metal helmet, breastplate, shield and large sword instead of a suit on.  It’s the meaning behind each object that is what matters.  Over the next few days we will be looking at each piece and what it actually is referring to.

  The problem with armor though is that it can be taken off and just like how my military bearing began to fade after a few days so to will your Godly Bearing.  It is important to “put on” your armor daily.

Remember- A naked warrior is a dead warrior.

 

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Verse of the Day

2 Thessalonians 3:3“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
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The “I”s Have It

burning-bush I have been noticing recently that the Christian community is becoming increasingly self focused. Everything is about “me”. We are increasingly dedicated to finding our purpose or God’s will for our life. I hear people praying for a “Burning Bush Experience”. (see Moses and the Burning Bush) We want to know how we are important to God. We pray for God to speak to us. We ask God to give us signs. We want some mystical, magical experience to help us feel important. Well, what if we aren’t important? What if we just aren’t that important? When I read through the Bible I see some amazing ways that God spoke to people. He walked and talked with Adam. He spoke to Abraham in visions. He wrestled with Israel (the person, not the nation), he spoke to Moses through a burning bush. In the New Testement he knocked Paul of his high horse and made him blind. John got to see heaven in a vision that still perplexes and fills us with awe to this day. All amazing ways in which God revealed himself. All ways that left no doubt that God was speaking. But what about everyone else? What about Joe-Christ-Follower in the New Testament? There are what, ten or eleven amazing meetings with God in the New Testament? What about the hundreds and hundreds of other Christ-Followers?
Here’s the deal, they weren’t that important. Now don’t mis-understand. They were important to God, but not nesecarily important to His plan. Everyone of the big names in the Bible that had a “Burning Bush” experience, altered history in some way. Most of them weren’t looking for it and several didn’t want it. Check out Moses, he did everything he could to get out of it. But he was important to God’s plan so God wouldn’t leave him alone.
Am I important to God? YES! So are you! John 3:16 tells us that we were so important that God sent His only Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins and yours, individually. He died for just me and just you. We are of the utmost importance to God. But that doesn’t mean we are priority in His plan. Think about this, I have been a military member for over 14 years. I have come to understand that few soldiers are “important”. Most of us are just soldiers, together we make a difference but singlely most of us don’t accomplish a lot. Well, we as Christians are also in an army of sorts, God’s army. Several references are made in the Bible to being a good soldier or training to fight. But most soldiers are just not that important.
Here’s my thoughts, feel free to disagree. Most of us have these great dreams of being a bigshot in God’s campaign but what He really needs are people to clean the toilets, take out the trash and wipe boogers off the walls in the nursery. He needs soldiers willing to fight and willing to follow. If pressed into leadership, as most figures in the Bible were, to be ready to lead but in the present be ready and willing to clean the latrine.
I have never seen a burning bush other than when we cleared our land and burned the limbs and trees we cut up. I have never been blinded by God nor have angels played trumpets in my ear loud enough to wake the dead. But I have been given orders. And those orders are clear. They are to “GO”! Go love people, go share the love of God with people. Go feed and clothe the poor. Go take care of the widows and orphans. Go make friends with the unfriendly. Go serve soup to outcasts.
Quit waiting for your “God Moment” or “God Vision” for your life and do the simple things He has already told us to do. “Love God with all your being.” “Love your neighbor the same way you love yourself.” Teach people about God. Important commands for all us unimportant people. It’s not about us, it’s about HIM! It’s not about us, it’s about OTHERS! I think that if we focused on doisoldier-1ng the small things we know we’re supposed to do instead of trying to “find our place in God’s will” a lot more would be accomplished and a lot less people would be struggling to survive.  Plus, the Bible says if we are faithful with the little unimportant things He will give us more important stuff to do.  If you want to be important you first must master the unimportant.
The mark of a good soldier is following orders, the mark of a great soldier is following orders without question.

Soldier On

I just watched the latest Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and it was amazing. The team focused on a Marine, Daniel Gilyeat, who had his leg blown off in the war. His wife left him and his 3 daughters and son. So now he is a one-legged single dad. The Extreme Team sent then off to California and destroyed their house.

The best part was when they took down the Flag American and Marine Corps Flag Marine flag (the right way) and replaced it with this behemoth pole and flags. The Marines came out and raised the flags. When Daniel got home the guys who had saved his life were there. As the camera panned over the Marines they had tears streaming down their cheeks. Daniel and the Marine who saved his life bear-hugged each other. You could hear Daniel thanking the young man for not only saving his life but ensuring that his kids had a Dad to grow up with. WOW, I was crying, my wife was crying, that was a cry worthy event.

The other thing that touched me was when the guy in charge of building his home thanked him for serving and keeping him and his family free.

Not much spiritual stuff today. But I do want to bring something up. When you see people, especially older people, with the Vietnam hats and other clothing indicating they were in the military, stop and take the time to say thanks. MANY, MANY of them have never heard that. I promise it will put a smile in your heart and it may be the greatest thing they have ever heard. I try to express my thanks as often as I meet someone who served. Regardless of your politics or your feelings on war, hating the soldier is treason in my book. They put it on the line every day for us to sit here in relative peace and safety, the least we can do is thank them.

I spent 10.5 years active duty Air Force and I am currently in the Florida Air National Guard. I love this country and I love each of her citizens and I would gladly do what it takes to keep her free and my family safe.

Remember- If you can read thank a teacher, if you can read this in English, in a free country, in your new car, while driving to a job of your choosing, while listening to your favorite radio station and complaining about the government with no fear of death, THANK A SOLDIER!