Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WEDNESDAY'S WISDOM

THE BANNER CONTEST ENDS TOMORROW
SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY NOW
win a Bible - a journal - and a pen
July 19 deadline
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FROM MY QUIET TIME YESTERDAY

Let me take a moment and admit something. Since we were thrown into this shifting scenario, my attention has been distracted by the administrative chaos (my term) and mental gymnastics playing in my head. In some ways, this conflict has been good. It has caused me to think deeply about the "why's" God would allow us to face these things. The "what's" we are to be learning from these things. The "when's" God is going to respond. The "How's" we are to respond to all of this.

Please do not misunderstand. I do not think I am overwhelmed but I am distracted by this, which I can do little about except the filing of paperwork and be ready to meet with whomever, if and when called upon. This distraction is affecting me in about every area of my life. The exception is my sleep. I am having little trouble sleeping. Pamela is my witness. I do believe one reason is that I am mentally exhausted running these things through my mind, almost non-stop.

In my quiet time... my personal time... with God yesterday I sought clarification on where my mind primarily needs to be instead of the shifting. Well, the Bible passage I read was one familiar with me that God used many years ago to confirm where my heart and mind ought to be.

Jude 22-23And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

Some years ago, I watched a movie based on the real-life story of Desmond Daws. An Army medic in WWII. Due to his religious convictions, he would not carry a weapon. He was made fun of and even attacked by his fellow soldiers for holding that conviction. He faced court-martial for refusing to follow orders by not using a rifle when commanded. The Lord saved him from being found guilty and was given permission to be in the army and not carry a weapon.

His story highlight came to be in the battle at Hacksaw Ridge. Below is an excerpt from his story. (This link is the reference to the story source.)
"Desmond served in combat on the islands of Guam, Leyte, and Okinawa. In each military operation he exhibited extraordinary dedication to his fellow men. While others were taking life, he was busy saving life. When the cry, "medic" rang out on the battlefield, he never considered his own safety. He repeatedly ran into the heat of battle to treat a fallen comrade and carry him back to safety. All this, while enemy bullets whizzed past and mortar shells exploded around him. Several times, while treating a wounded soldier, Desmond was so close to enemy lines, he could hear the whispering of Japanese voices.  
In May, 1945, as German troops were surrendering on the other side of the world, Japanese troops were fiercely defending, to their last man, the only remaining barrier (Okinawa and the Maeda Escarpment) to an allied invasion of their homeland. The men in Desmond's division were repeatedly trying to capture the Maeda Escarpment, an imposing rock face the soldiers called Hacksaw Ridge. After the company had secured the top of the cliff, the Americans were stunned when suddenly enemy forces rushed them in a vicious counterattack. Officers ordered an immediate retreat. Soldiers rushed to climb back down the steep cliff. All the soldiers except one. 
Less than one third of the men made it back down. The rest lay wounded, scattered across enemy soil—abandoned and left for dead, if they weren't already. One lone soldier disobeyed orders and charged back into the firefight to rescue as many of his men as he could, before he either collapsed or died trying. His iron determination and unflagging courage resulted in at least 75 lives saved that day, May 5, 1945, his Sabbath. 
Eventually, the Americans took Hacksaw Ridge. Okinawa was captured inch by bloody inch. Several days later, during an unsuccessful night raid, Desmond was severely wounded. Hiding in a shell hole with two riflemen, a Japanese grenade landed at his feet. The explosion sent him flying. The shrapnel tore into his leg and up to his hip. He treated his own wounds as best he could. While attempting to reach safety, he was hit by a sniper's bullet that shattered his arm. His brave actions as a combat medic were done. But not before insisting that his litter-bearers take another man first before rescuing him. Wounded, in pain, and losing blood, he still put others ahead of his own safety. He would choose to die so another could live. After all, that's what he read in his Bible. Such was the character demonstrated by Jesus Christ."
As I think of that verse I quoted earlier...

Jude 22-23 - And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

I think of men like Desmond Daws who in a human sense teaches us a spiritual lesson. I ask myself will I be willing to take the good news of Jesus into the battle where no bullets are flying around me and no human enemy is waiting and wanting to kill me? Am I willing to have compassion for the lost and be willing to pull those who need Christ out of the fire... hating their sin but loving them as creations who Jesus died for and who need to know the Jesus I know?

Desmond Doss prayed between each man he rescued... "Lord, give me one more... give me one more."

Pray that I... We... get back to the focus of our mission as Followers of Christ.

May we all be found at the end of our race in this world speaking the words of Paul...

2 Timothy 4:7 - I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
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