It is Friday, and yes, I am thanking God that it is. It is also the end of a very busy month of ministry activity and the start of a new season. I returned from the Wounded Warrior Getaway on Tuesday, having spent one day in the beautiful Texas hill country to relax. I unloaded and returned the rented cargo van that transports my travelling road show of fun, but have yet to get all the personal items back in their place in my tiny apartment.
Unusually, I did not send out any reports of the activity that was happening with the warriors and their families. Since my return home I have received many inquiries about my own well-being. This morning I began reading Nehemiah, one of my favorite personalities of the Old Testament. At various times in my spiritual journey I have fashioned myself as a "Nehemiah," a rebuilder of broken walls and lives. It seemed fitting to update the past week's activities in light of his story.
Ten years in to our "war against terror," makes for as many naysayers as those that faced Nehemiah. He responded to his critics with one of my favorite verses:
"So I answered them and said to them, "The God of heaven will give us success; therefore we His servants will arise and build..." Nehemiah 2:20
For months, I have enlisted help (and prayers) of many to bring the supply needed to rebuild the broken hearts and bodies of the soldiers returning from the battlefield. We made "Trail Tales" journals for families to jot down and record the fun they were having. There were 40 "Sock Soldiers" ready to stand guard with the mission to make smiles. Much to the dismay of my traveling companion and my sons who haul my luggage up the stairs, I took an extra bag to bring back 40 cowboy hats from Chiapas, Mexico for each warrior to wear Saturday night to the hoe-down, not to mention the 40 wooden cowboy boot key chains.
Donated Beanie Babies came in handy for the little ones, especially considering many families have multiple (up to SIX) children, we had plenty to please. And during the first night's "Minute to Win It" ice-breaking game, well there were those hats that would make the Royal Wedding guests envious!
Nehemiah chapter 3 explains the work assignments of the families. They worked side by side, day and night until the wall was rebuilt. Last week thirty-six volunteers came from across the United States to take part in the "restoration" project sponsored by Joni and Friends San Antonio.
From Florida to Chicago, Kansas to California, they came. They rocked and walked screaming babies, they watered down the slip and slide, they carried plates of food for mother's overwhelmed by the buffet line with 5 toddlers in tow. They inflated the Bouncie House and chased out wasps trying to interfere with the fun. They dished up ice cream for a social, and they served as servants of the Most High by washing feet during "Spa Time."
They made crafts, they played games, they got on horses to ride as chaperons, they put worms on hooks, they cheered as warriors wounded accomplished things as difficult as climbing a rock wall and as simple as line dancing. They did a makeover on one of the teenagers who went to her Senior Prom Saturday night and had her saying, "I never thought or felt like I was beautiful before."
They laughed with them, and they cried.
"We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work." Nehemiah 4:6 The Message
The rebuilding efforts of all (including YOU) resulted in seven decisions for eternal life, and six recommitments to serve our Lord with new dedication and perseverance. And that is just the first report. A fortified city withstands the enemy and its inhabitants "go forth" and take back enemy territory!
While we were with heroes, halfway around the world, another plan was put in place to take out the villain known as Osama bin Laden. My son called me Sunday night and asked if I had heard the news. We turned on the TV and watched as people gathered in Washington, D. C. chanting USA, USA. I couldn't imagine what they were shouting and cheering at military bases around the world. I couldn't begin to understand how it would impact those we had the privilege of spending the weekend with.
Although Osama was definitely the identified face of evil in this conflict that began on September 11, 2001, there are far more and far greater enemies. I am not referring to "the number two guy, or the number two hundred guy. I do not refer to an ideology or a political strategy or conviction. I am referring to the enemy who is against the children of God 24/7! He is stealing peace of mind, soundness of spirit, breaking up marriages, and destroying sanity to the point of suicide.
He is using unseen weapons that are far more explosive to hearts and souls than IEDs (improvised explosive devises) created in a third world hideout or a hidden Pakistani compound.
"Don't be afraid of them. Put your minds on the Master, great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, sons, daughters, wives, and your homes." Nehemiah 4:14 The Message
We MUST be about the Father's business. I know what the Word says about "the fate of all human beings." The Word plainly states who Jesus is, and was and is to come; THE Way, THE truth, and THE life, NO ONE comes to the Father, but through Him (see John 14:6).
Bin Laden didn't meet 40 virgins Sunday night, he met the King of Kings. From hell, he is probably negotiating and asking for mercy he never showed to the victims of 9-11, and those opposed to his ideology. Even he is most likely asking for someone to go and share the Truth (see Luke 16:22-31)
"And so we keep working, from first light until the stars come out.."
Honoring the armed forces
Serving our God and country
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