Monday Manna: Through Him who gives me strength

While distanced from our loved ones and the strength they bring our daily lives, we still have a solidity available that is far superior to any human power. We can begin our week by taking a moment to connect with that strength.

A moment may be all you have, whether juggling paperwork at a high stress job or facing the dishes heaped in the sink after a long day of changing diapers, wiping noses, and kissing owies.

Your job, the daily life you preserve, is all-important to those deployed. It is the life they left and have gone to protect. It is valuable, and so are you.

And here is the strength we can connect with: God is right here with you, filling in the gap. He loves you. He is there as you take in  your next breath, and He will be right there when you close your eyes to a much deserved sleep. As you feel your heart beat, know His heart is beating with yours. He is right there loving you, there to carry you and your family through each moment that comes.

He is right there with your husband or wife, your brother or sister, your son or daughter, your mom or dad. His heart is beating with them across the miles, He is breathing along with them as they work and as they rest.

He is the strength and the presence we need. His love letters to us, found in the Word of God, are there to remind us that we “Can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.” Philippians 4:13.

God bless you today and throughout the coming week. May you know His love, presence, peace, and power.

Love in Him,

~Kris

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Eid-al-Fitr Celebrations End Ramadan | 30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World | www.30-days.net

Eid-al-Fitr Celebrations End Ramadan | 30-Days of Prayer for the Muslim World | www.30-days.net.

Please watch the CNN video about how our troops are preparing for this, and pray!

God bless,

~Kris

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Prayer and Fasting Friday: “God will do nothing on earth except…

…in answer to believing prayer.” John Wesley

Lord, we thank You for answering our prayers and for sending the reports of Your work among our service members. We thank you for the prayers they pray together, calling on You for protection and for information that brings peace and justice to the innocent. We thank you for leaders who pray in faith, believing for the safety of the men and women under their command.

Lord, we call on you this week to protect our sons and daughters, spouses and siblings, friends and co-workers. We declare that they will all come home safe and sound, because You provide deliverance and escapes from death. We declare miracles in their midst: IEDs that don’t explode, pressure plates that malfunction, discovery of furtive and malicious acts in the making, angels surrounding patrols and convoys.

We bind fear and intimidation and speak courage and peace, restorative sleep, and the knowledge of who you are, the Captain of the Lord of Hosts. Our times, and theirs, are in Your capable and willing hands.

We thank You for cohesion among the ranks, willingness and ability to work together to do their jobs with excellence. We thank you for clear thinking, automatic response to their training, and ability to work under pressure and do the right thing at the right moment. We pray that our soldiers would be like the sons of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what to do.

Help them do Your job there, to set the captives free, and to fight the fight in the spiritual realm as much as in the physical. Lead their prayers. We thank you for them, Lord, for the job they have taken on to protect the world from terrorist threat. Keep them on target and put the enemy in their hands.

We pray for the people of the nations our service members work in around the world. We pray that You unlock the mindsets that keep them captive to poverty, ignorance, and disease. Deliver them, Lord, to the knowledge of who You are and how much you love them. Call them out, Lord, and let them become a part of what You long to do among them. Give our soldiers favor with the village elders and release intelligence they need to resolve these nations’ inability to move forward toward freedom and peace.

Lord, we pray that you paralyze the enemy, both spiritual and physical. Cause their insurgency to freeze up, to become confused and unable to operate. May they loose favor and the ability to intimidate or coerce in the areas they are trying to gain power. Render them powerless, for Your name’s sake.

Lord, we release praise among our troops, lips that declare You Sovereign, Victor, Savior, King. We release loud hallelujahs, choruses of praise to You, Author and Defender of our faith.

We thank You that you will work among our troops as You did in 2 Chronicles 20: 15-30, where

“Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

‘Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.’

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness. Be with us as we fight this good fight at home. Protect us, the families who wait and pray. Keep us strong, keep us holy, keep us under the shade of Your right hand.

In Jesus’ matchless name, amen.

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A Story About Our Heroes

The following story was sent by a Warrior Transition Unit nurse who serves our soldiers daily, and was copied from a forwarded message. The email begins below. Be advised, the video shows graphic footage of the surgery, but is balanced by the smiles of the survivor and his wife and children.

The story is about Channing Moss, who was impaled by a live RPG during a Taliban ambush. Army protocol says that medivac choppers are never to carry anyone with a live round in him. Even though they feared it could explode, the flight crew said d*** the protocol and flew him to the nearest aid station.
Again, protocol said that in such a case the patient is to be put in a sandbagged area away from the surgical unit, given a shot of morphine and left to wait (and die) until others are treated. Again, the medical team ignored the protocol.
Here’s a short video put together by the Military Times, which includes actual footage of the surgery where Dr. John Oh, a Korean immigrant who became a naturalized citizen and went to West Point , removed the live round with the help of volunteers and a member of the EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) team. Moss has undergone six operations but is doing well at home in Gainesville , GA.
I think you’ll find the video absolutely remarkable.

http://www.militarytimes.com/multimedia/video/rpg_surgery/

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R&R For One Family!

Today is a day to celebrate with this family. A son is home for two weeks of R&R!

David’s home!

After four days of traveling from Afghanistan, David finally made it home for two weeks of R&R!  He called us from the airport, giving us two hours notice.  So Mom quickly fried chicken and baked brownies, Jon, Mary and I got on the horn to relatives and friends, Jessica and Adam veered from their evening’s planned trajectory, Andi strung yellow ribbons down the driveway, we grabbed our signs and flags and all trooped down to the airport to meet him.

At our first glimpse of him entering the secure area at a distance, we all started whooping and hollering.  Everyone else in the gate area caught the hint, and they all stood and gave him a standing ovation as he walked through!  David liked being a rock star for a day!  When he got through security, we assaulted him mercilessly!

He later told us that the anticipation of the moment pictured here was the main thing that he had thought about, longed for and kept him going during the previous ten months.  NOTHING is more precious to our soldiers than for them to know that they are loved, respected and missed back home!

We get to enjoy his presence for the next 14 days!  He and Jonathan are already thick as thieves filling their days.  He seems to be no worse for the wear, except for having shrunk a half-inch and lost a little weight (humping 60-pound packs and body armor will do that to you!).  But he just can’t seem to wipe that smile off his face.  As we drove home from the airport, he remarked with wide-eyed wonder and great draughts of air, “You have no idea how beautiful this place looks – and smells!”  Please be praying that he has a relaxing, positive, love-filled time while he’s here, and that God will use this period to prepare him for his final time in Afghanistan when he heads back later this month.

Here’s a picture of David next to the chair we always had set for him at the table while he was gone.  Nice to have the REAL THING here!

Thank you SO MUCH for your prayers for David – and for us!

Rejoicing in Him,

C. & R.

We are rejoicing with you! Love the picture on the chair, decked out with ribbons!

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Prayer and Fasting Friday: The Lord camps around those who fear Him…

And He delivers them.

I love God’s word. It is filled with love notes and nuggets of encouragement specially sent from Him to us. One of our soldiers discovered a nugget last week. We had prayed with them and the next day they told us this story:

“You can’t begin to know what a great help you and the others were to me yesterday. Last night I had fear and I did what you suggested and commanded the fear to leave me in the name of Jesus. At first, it was unreal!

I thought I was getting sick…but after I read a few Psalms and commanded the evil to leave me–I don’t want to sound dramatic–but I had an overwhelming feeling of freedom come over me. More freedom than I have ever felt.

I realized that the answer to my struggles has been right in front of me. This has been unbelievable! I feel, well, I feel ‘new.’ I love God! I love this new-found freedom of knowing how much God loves me and how to gain victory in my mind and my heart.”

Our prayers make a difference, and as believers, our words carry the authority in the spiritual realm. What a blessing when those we pray for discover they have the same authority and apply it to things that trouble them.

All of us experience fear, anger, depression, and a thousand other things that come to torment or cause turmoil in our lives. But we have a weapon that will drive those tormentors away: the name of Jesus. He camps around us, and delivers us!

This week as we pray for our soldiers and their families, let’s pray these verses from Psalm 34 and declare the presence of the Lord around them.

Psalm 34, NASV

The LORD, a Provider and Deliverer.

1I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2My soul will make its boast in the LORD;
The humble will hear it and rejoice.

3O magnify the LORD with me,
And let us exalt His name together.

4I sought the LORD, and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.


7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.

8O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

17The righteous cry, and the LORD hears
And delivers them out of all their troubles.

18The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

19Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

20He keeps all his bones,
Not one of them is broken.

22The LORD redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

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Art Therapy Helps Heal Our Wounded Warriors

Bob Mathis creates "Shelter"

“I can relax now,” says Bob, an Army soldier who served two tours in Iraq. “Nothing I was doing before was working, so I decided to try something different. My wife has seen a change, too.”

Bob and several other soldiers are taking classes at the Bemis School of Art in Colorado Springs. The school, in coordination with AspenPointe Creative Program, sponsors Military Creative Expressions, an art therapy program designed for soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion at Ft. Carson, CO.

Kim Nguyen, the instructor, uses art and creative therapy processes to teach creative coping skills. Ms. Nguyen, a survivor of the war in Viet Nam, understands first hand the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The memory of seeing her father killed and of living through multiple bombings had scarred her heart. “I knew I was using art in college to help process my trauma, and realized years later I was doing my own therapy,” she said.

Her students begin working with pencils, then watercolor pencils, then expand to watercolors and acrylics. During the fifteen weeks of classes they visually interpret subjects like walls, rivers, favorite memories, conflict and resolution to that conflict. They are joined by a licensed professional counselor for any additional support needs.

The students come from diverse backgrounds and military operating specialties. Juliet Madsen was a paramedic in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was critically injured after she took off her body armor to shield a wounded soldier. Because of the injuries she received in a second blast, some things in her life had to change. She was passionate about artistic quilting before her tour, and she has now added drawing and painting to her skills.

Art has also been a part of her children’s growth and healing. Erin, just starting seventh grade, joined her for class several times during the semester.

Juliet Madsen and daughter Erin

Juliet shared about her son joining her in her home studio recently. While having a tough day of his own, he sat down across the table from her, then picked up a brush and began adding color to his own canvas. Those beginning strokes enabled him to start talking for the first time about his experiences related to her injury and long recovery.

Juliet's aircraft carrier in "Drydock"

Some of the students have an artistic background, but for others this is a first time experience. Julius ‘O.J.’ Shoulderblade, a two-time Iraq veteran, is enjoying adding color to his world of art. His first painting was black with a field of white specks across the upper left quadrant of the canvas. His recent work is like a fireworks display with colors blossoming across the entire field.

O. J.'s colorful expressions

O.J. smiling like fireworks on the 4th of July

The same dramatic effect is evident on his face.

Isaac Torres plans to take his artwork even farther. He is working toward opening a coffee shop that will feature the work of his classmates and other local artists.

Isaac Torres, "Expose Your Art Cafe"

For a soldier in the Warrior Transition Battalion, life can be a seemingly unending string of doctor’s appointments. For many it means months separated from family, friends, and their original unit. The Military Creative Expressions program is an opportunity to put life and color back into their personal scenery.

While art therapy is fairly new in the arena of healing tools being offered to our Service Members, it is bringing positive results in these soldiers’ lives. Their art is evidence they are on the rebound from the soul wounds received while walking through the hell of war.

Artist Joe Zabinski, says, “I can’t always talk about my experiences, but I can paint them. And, basically, it is fun.”

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Prayer and Fasting Friday: Psalm 91 and LTG Boykin’s Encouragement

Last week LTG (Ret.) Jerry Boykin came to our town to speak about his long career in the Army. His book, Never Surrender, came home to fill in the rest of his story. He served as a founding member of Delta Force and a former commander of the U.S. Army Special Forces. He led the teams of Black Hawk Down fame in Mogadishu and the team who captured Noriega in Panama, among others. He writes:

It was God who sustained me through three decades of defending this country. It was God who gave me the courage to face death in order to rescue others. It was God I had relied on when I nearly lost an arm in battle. It was God I prayed to when my men went to war. It was God I cried out to when they returned…p. 349

And it is God we can rely on when our sons, daughters, and husbands, brothers and sisters, deploy to dangerous places. He also writes:

I tried to encourage other Christians–many of whom had sons and daughters in harm’s way–with this message: they had the weapon they needed to affect the outcome of a war between good and evil–prayer.

They were not powerless.

Never Surrender, p. 15

Will you join me this week in praying for our troops? We want to pray on target. Praying specifically, by name or by unit, is like using a smart missile compared to a shot-gun.

Psalm 91 is a good place to start. Like the Lord’s prayer, it can be a guide to more specific topics.

Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Lord, we ask that our soldiers will live with you and sense your loving presence and peace. We pray for a sense of calm, and for restorative sleep, trusting in you to surround them with your care and protection.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God , in whom I trust.”

Lord, we ask that you build a fortress of protection for their minds, souls and bodies. We ask that they acknowledge the miracles you provide for them and their safety. We pray they see your work firsthand, and that they grow in their relationship with you. We pray they would say of you that you are their God, and that they will turn to you in all circumstances.

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare

Thank you, Lord, that you will protect them from IED’s and lead them around pressure plates and other dangers. Cause the enemy’s plans to backfire and their traps to malfunction.

and from the deadly pestilence.

Lord, we thank you for protection from illness and chemical and biological weapons.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge:

Lord, like a mother hen protecting her chicks from an enemy who wants to swoop in and steal them away, we thank you that you provide cover, concealment, and offensive protection.

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Like the thick-walled fortresses of old, be a tower of safety, a place for our soldiers to run to.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Lord, you are all these things, and we pray that our soldiers know it. We pray for a depth of trust in you that will allow them to be fearless, courageous and at peace. We pray they are able to trust that their times are in your hands.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Lord, we pray a capsule of safety around each man and woman you have in the field. We speak that protection over each one of them, heart, soul, body, mind and spirit.

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you make the Most High your dwelling–even the Lord, who is my refuge–

then no harm will befall you, no disaster come near your tent.

Lord, we stand on your promise, declaring this protection over our men and women.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you  in all your ways;

They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

Lord, direct their steps, move them around each hidden obstacle. Give them supernatural wisdom in all circumstances. Guide and protect them in every decision.

You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;

you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

Lord, protect them from each and every enemy set up against them. Give them the upper hand in every battle and good decision-making ability in all situations. May they be more than conquerors of fear, insecurity, tiredness, and intimidation.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

Lord, we thank you that you love us. May every soldier, every family member experience the depth of your love for them. We ask for supernatural knowledge of your love for us, that we may return it a thousand fold. May we be bold in declaring your love for all men and women until we see it acted out through out the world.

He will call upon me, and I will answer him;

Lord, there are so many stories of people experiencing your answers to prayer. We pray to hear many more, for you are who you say you are, and you answer when we call. You are as close as our breath, and we thank you for your strength and presence with us.

I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

Thank you, Lord, that you are with us and with our soldiers. We pray they sense your presence with them, your guiding hand, your protection and provision. We thank you for your deliverances, for your escapes from death. And we honor you, Lord, our peace and our salvation.

With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Lord, we thank you for life and for the opportunity to live it for you. Teach us about what the word salvation means. It means wholeness, provision, and so much more, in this life and the next.

Lord, be with the families of our soldiers. Be their comfort, their strength, their peace. Protect them as they go about their days and surround them with those who love and support them, those who will come along side to help care for their children, fix their cars, and fill in the gaps while their spouse is away.

We ask these things in the matchless name of Jesus.

Amen





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FOXNews.com – Rosary Beads Saved My Life, British Soldier Says

FOXNews.com – Rosary Beads Saved My Life, British Soldier Says.

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The Days Before Leaving

We’ve come in from our ‘ruck,’ sweaty and breathless. We’ve done a tour of the park trails, he in camo and carrying seventy pounds, me in the usual capris and t-shirt. He’s preparing for a life that is funneling in, honing to an arrow’s point. We pare the days until a military aircraft will carry him and his unit, cold and sleepless, across the globe and into enemy territory.

He has prepared for this for years.

I have prepared for my job, too. It involves knees, and sweat, and Spirit connected insight.

My job is to pray, to unleash forces greater than the physical realm into whatever situation he faces. Isn’t that what the keys of the Kingdom are for?

We talk about mental toughness, morale, PTSD, team mates, politics of war, history, unit cohesion, support for families. It helps some that I’ve visited the country he is going to. The perspective was different, but the general information jives.

It makes me feel better, and that carries some weight.

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