Ambush at Hawijah

I was watching the series Combat Zone the Ambush in Hawijah. Thirty soldiers outnumbered more than 3 to 1 on a mission to investigate a protest in a town that had at one time harbored Sudam Husein. I don't care much for the photography. They try to give you the "effect" of boots on the ground with the soldiers rather than just being a spectator. That is okay for a minute or two, but the constantly erratic camera angles, zooming in and out, are searing to the nerves. Setting that aside, though, this is a MUST see episode if you want to see how your prayers for our soldiers are working.

I had asked God not too long ago if it were possible for me to be able to see how my prayers were working for our soldiers. It is astounding how God answers prayers. He never ceases to amaze me. For some reason, we are now getting the Military Channel again. It just appeared one day earlier this year, then disappeared... sigh. Then last week, it reappeared. I did a search and programmed to record some favorites. Combat Zone was one that I stumbled across. Or I should say, God handed to me on a silver platter.

These soldiers walked into an ambush one day in 2004. The protest they were sent to investigate dispersed within a minute or two of their arrival giving rise to the suspicion that it was a ruse to get them there. After moving into position, all hell broke loose and bullets, IEDs, and rocket launched grenades began flying and bursting all around the men. With little cover, they inched forward, trying to push the insurgents up against the canal that divided the town.

Snipers on roof tops, AK47s aplenty, alleys filled with insurgents met them at every corner. A team of just 8 men reached an intersection with no cover but a concrete flower planter. Then when they pushed past this point, one of them was shot in the shoulder and in the leg which effectively stopped forward movement until medics could remove the wounded man. After a team moved into position to help them and the Humvee with medics made it to their position, they moved forward to complete their mission.

The mission was supposed to be an in-and-out with little more than an hour or two in the town. It turned into an 18-hour ordeal with not enough water and little or no food. Our finest, best of the best, dug in their heels and accomplished their mission with no casualties and just a few injuries. That was thirty men against 100 insurgents with basically unlimited firepower and ammunition. That is astounding in itself.

The miracles abounded that day. Just to name a few:
1. Flower box cover -- no injuries. Eight men left the area and flower box in crumbles.
2. At one point, the only cover four men had was a CARDBOARD box. "Somehow" the bullets made swiss-cheese holes in the cardboard, but never touched any of the four men.
3. A bullet ricocheted off a man's Kevlar up through his helmet knocking him to his back and his helmet five feet away. No scratches on him. He said there was no way he should be alive right now, except Someone up there was watching over him. (I make bold enough to say, and lots of Christians are praying for our soldiers.)
4. A grenade landed within two feet of eight men and did not explode.
5. Bullets splayed the concrete walls lining the streets and alleys, splayed the dirt at their feet but ricocheted away from all of them.
6. When it was over and our men, the finest soldiers on earth, had subdued the insurgents, AK47 ammunition casings littered the streets and alleys like sand on a beach. Our side had Zero casualties and just a few injuries. 

That was God at work being mindful of our prayers for our soldiers. Miraculous! 

Prayer works.

Warnings to Christians about unbelievers

We should definitely be wary of the wolf in sheep's clothing. The great pretender is Satan who tries to disguise himself as an angel of light, but is actually the darkness and depths of the pit.

There are many who do profess Jesus, but who do not possess Him and the Holy Spirit does not indwell them. They are those who pretend to be in the body of Christ, but who are people that Christ does not recognize. (This is not to say that these people will never know Christ, just that the wickedness they commit and stir up only produces rotten fruit.)

1 Corinthians 13 is the Christian plumb line. It is a description of agape kind of love which only comes from the Father and is gifted to us to pour out on others as we become more and more full of the Holy Spirit. Agape is active and is quite literally, love in action. Which is why Peter had such a hard time understanding what Jesus was asking in His question, "Peter, do you love Me?" Jesus was talking about full-blown love displayed by the action of feeding His sheep. Peter was insisting that He loved Jesus Himself, and Jesus wanted Peter's proof of love with actions.

Hebrew 3:12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won't be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God.

This is a warning to Christians to keep their congregations pure from the world. Because of several other verses... Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled [clean] from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.

Where does the true heart come from? Only from God. Man cannot achieve it alone.

Psalm 17:3 You have tested my heart; You have visited by night; You have tried me and found nothing [evil]; I have determined that my mouth will not sin. [Or [evil]; my mouth will not sin] David claims God found nothing evil in his heart after searching it... yet, David did commit adultery. The lust in his heart for Bathsheba was not always there. David should have been with his army fighting that battle instead of reclining by the fire and eating bonbons. But there is one thing to cling to 1 Samuel 15:13 So Samuel took the horn of oil, anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the LORD took control of David from that day forward. The black sins of murder and adultery were events in David's choices, but they do not define him. David was the apple of God's eye.

But David still sinned with Bathsheba. David still prayed for God to keep him safe from evil. Psalm 141:4 Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing or wickedly perform reckless acts with men who commit sin. Do not let me feast on their delicacies. It is only the foolish that live godlessly and the wicked that God hates. Prov 3:32 for the devious are detestable to the LORD, but He is a friend to the upright. Isaiah 32:6 6 For a fool speaks foolishness and his mind plots iniquity. He lives in a godless way and speaks falsely about the LORD. He leaves the hungry empty and deprives the thirsty of drink.

Another example of a warning to believers against unbelievers in their midst is the letter to Pergamum 14 But I have a few things against you. You have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to place a stumbling block in front of the sons of Israel: to eat meat sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality. 15 In the same way, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent! Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth. Them, not you. Interesting.

An example of warning to unbelievers is the letter to Laodicea. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. I believe this is to unbelievers because according to Jesus and the writers of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit lives within us and He becomes one with us (John 17) and in doing so, God creates a completely new creature. 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things [Other mss read look, all new things] have come. Galatians 6:15 For [ Other mss add in Christ Jesus] both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; [what matters] instead is a new creation. To spew out of the mouth means that it never went to the stomach. It was intimate, but the relationship never developed into full agape love.

This letter also says that these people are naked, blind and poor even though they do not know it. Believers are not naked. Matt 22:11 And the king having come in to view those reclining, saw there a man not clothed with clothing of the marriage-feast, 2 Cor 5:3 if so be that, having clothed ourselves, we shall not be found naked. There are lots of verses that describe Believers as rich and as having Spiritual 20/20 vision and discernment.

Jesus says He will spew them out of His mouth. What we have here is a warning to the pretend Christians. Those who go to church and go through the motions of being Christian, who live a public life beyond reproach but their hearts are black with sin, never being circumcised and therefore insensitive to the Holy Spirit, even perhaps insensitive to their own conscience. They are absolutely miserable, and don't know why they are miserable. They think because they are wealthy according to the world's standards and go to church, they are saved.

Not so.

It is these black hearts that we must be wary against because they live a make-believe righteousness that is sickening to God. These are the misguided ones and can cause quite a bit of strife amongst God's children.

Hebrew Name study...

The Hebrew propensity for character analysis through a person's name is indicated by God when He changed Abram's name to Abraham, and Sarai to Sarah.

I haven't studied this enough to discern a difference between The Name HaShem, and His Covenant Name. I think God revealed Himself as much as He trusted mankind to know... a little at a time, especially since Adam rejected Him for Eve.

Years ago, I ran across a study about what the names of the ancestors of Jesus meant. I lost it, but have sort of recreated it here from the lineage of Joseph, husband of Mary. If you read down the list, the meanings create a sentence about God's promises finally ending with our Savior.

Adam - Red Earth
Seth - appointed, substitute
Enos - mortal man
Cainan - possession
Mahaleel - praise of God
Jared - descent
Enoch - initiated
Methuselah - man of the dart (he dies and the flood is sent)
Lamech - strikerdown, wild man
Noah - rest
Shem - Name; Ham - warm and hot, Japheth – wide-spreading
Arphaxad - son of Shem
Salah - sprout
Eber - beyond
Peleg - division
Reu - behold a son!
Serug - branch
Nahor - snorting, snore, nostril
Terah - wanderer, loiterer
Abram - exalted father, Sarai - my princess
Isaac - laughter
Jacob - deceiver, Esau - red
Israel - The prince that prevails with God
Judah - I will praise, Er - watchful, Onan - strong, Shelah - petition
Perez - breach
Hezron - surrounded by a wall
Aram - high
Aminadab - one of the Prince's people
Nahshon - enchanter
Salmon - garment
Boaz - fleetness
Obed - serving
Jesse - wealthy
David - well beloved
Solomon - peaceful
Rehoboam - enlarger of the people
Abijah - my father is Jehovah
Asa - physician or cure
Uzziah - strength of Jehovah
Jotham - Jehovah is upright
Ahaz - possessor
Hezekiah  - the might of Jehovah
Manasseh - forgetting
Amon - the mysterious
Josiah - whom Jehovah heals
Jehoiahchem - whom Jehovah has appointed
Shealtiel - asked of God
Zerubbabel – seed of Babylon, Prince of Judah
Abiud - father of praise
Eliakim-raised up by God
Azor - a helper
Sadoc - Just
Achim - the Lord will establish
Eliud - God his praise
Eleazar - help of God
Matthan - gift
Jacob - supplanter
Joseph - increase
Jesus - Savior, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Emmanuel, Lamb of God, Son of Man, I AM...

Please note that Mary's lineage is given in Luke. Where it branches is between the two sons of David: Solomon and Nathan. Down from Solomon is Joseph, and down from Nathan is Mary. (I do not know why Joseph is listed as the son of Heli.)

Nathan - giver
Mattatha - gift of Jehovah
Menan - numbered; rewarded; prepared
Melea - supplying; supplied
Eliakim - raised up by God
Jonan - grace of God
Joseph - increase
Judah - praised, celebrated
Simeon - heard
Levi - joined
Matthat - gift of God
Jorim - whom Jehovah has exalted
Eliezar - God is his help
Joses- exalted
Er - watchful
Elmodam - measure
Cosam - diviner
Addi - ornament
Melchi - my king my counselor
Neriah - Jehovah is my lamp
Shealtiel - asked of God
Zerubbabel – seed of Babylon, prince of Judah
Rhesa – head
Joannas – perhaps a derivative of Johanan – gift of God
Judah – praised, celebrated
Joseph – increase
Shimei – renowned
Mattathias – gift of Jehovah
Maath – small
Naggai – illuminating
Esli – near me; he who separates
Nahum – consolation
Amos – burden
Mattathias – gift of Jehovah
Joseph – increase
Janna – flourishing
Melchi – my king, my counselor
Levi – joined
Matthat – gift of God
Heli - ascending

Special Boat Team 22

There's something exciting going on in Pearl River County, Mississippi. The Stennis Space Center also houses The Western Maneuver Area--WMA--which is a LIVE fire riverine training range. It's in the northwest corner of the John C. Stennis Space Center. That range, which is bordered by the Pearl River and Mike River is operated by Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22). It's the only one in all the U.S. military that conducts special ops in a riverine environment. Today, I learned so many accronyms I'm rather hard pressed to unscramble them. These guys specialize in extractions, insertions, personnel recovery, recon, and humanitarian extractions along rivers and streams. And I, ladies and gentlemen, (in case you can't tell from the picture above) got to go ride on one of those special boats today. Talk about a great experience! Commander James Emerett briefed us on all the unclassified things about SBT-22. So let me explain a bit. Right now, the SBT-22 trains in the Pearl River Basin using blank fire. The Navy has acquired more than 3,500 acres so they can now train with Live fire. Did you know that 50 caliber fire can travel about 4 miles when fired at a 45 degree angle? With the Short Range fire, it will only travel about 700 meters and the lasers they will be using are camoflaged by all the heavy vegatation. It's a jungle out there, and the good guys are training in our backyard. I feel safe. After talking to these guys, after seeing what they do, how they train, and knowing that most of them have had several tours in Iraq, I can't help but feel safe. They are good at what they do. You are safe. One young lieutenant told me that they all loved what they did. I told him, "Thank you so much for standing between us and the bad guys. You'll never know how much we appreicate it because there are no words that can express it."

Trembling in My Sandals


Trembling in my sandals…

...I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, "Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this." 2 Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. (Revelation 4:1-3)

Then a voice like a trumpet called out, “Come up here!”

I ask you, who wouldn’t tremble in their sandals or boots hearing that voice, seeing the door in Heaven standing wide open, and seeing God sitting on His throne in Heaven?

I tremble just thinking how cavalier people are today with God’s name and with the day He set aside for worshiping Him. Even Christians are having trouble with keeping their garments white.

Today, society is defining sin.

That isn’t new. The Jews added layer upon layer to the Law to keep a deep pad of protection so they would not accidently break the Law. A lot of good that did them. God as good as told them their hearts were as stone when He told them, “In that day I will give you tenderized hearts, and I will write my commands on your hearts.” (Deuteronomy 30:3-6) That was centuries before they were exiled to Babylon, before Christ was born and died and raised, and before the destruction of Jerusalem. God knew what they would do.

One Thousand Years of Peace

I look at the headlines and violence abounds. Not only violence, but bloodshed in accidents, and natural disasters, intrigues, and power struggles. This is our lot until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. When that will be, not even Jesus knew while He was with His disciples. We know several facts about when the second coming of Christ is, when He comes in wrath and cleaves bone from marrow with just His breath. It is precisely 3.5 years from the breaking of the written agreement between the Antichrist and the Jews. It comes on the day of the abomination of desecration. It comes 45 days before the beginning of the Millennium of Peace.  I believe Jesus is eagerly anticipating when He can come retrieve His Bride... but, for now, we live in a world of sin because the prince of this world is Satan.

What about after Satan is bound? What happens during that one thousand years? I do believe the Bible is literal in prophecies, and is actually clear when the Holy Spirit is the guide to understanding.

I have run across a few things in Isaiah to chew on... 

We know that the outer courtyard of the Temple was the only place Gentiles could go. The inner courtyard all the way into the Holy of Holies was reserved for the Jews. This is one reason it was so horrific to the Jews at what Antiochus Epiphanes did and later in 70 AD what Titus of Rome did...
So, in Isaiah 56:6-7 "6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to serve him, to love the name of the LORD, and to worship him, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant-- 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations." 

Isaiah is speaking about a time in the future when the Gentiles are welcomed into the Temple to worship Jehovah and to offer burnt offerings and sacrifices upon His altar. This, of course, means another Temple will be built. We get a beautiful picture of that Temple in Ezekiel chapters 40-48, as well as some clues to the millennial sacrifices.

In Isaiah 66:18-24 we get another clue. Jehovah will gather all nations and tongues (Not just Israel) these are Gentiles that haven't "seen" the Glory of Jehovah... and it looks like God is going to use the Gentiles as "carriers" to bring the Jews to Jerusalem. Verse 20 this is done as an "offering" to the Lord, just "as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD." 

Since Jesus is our Sacrifice, and His blood covers our sins, and all our sins are paid for, then why sacrifices? What purpose do they serve? Can we even make sense of them if, perhaps, the sacrifices God requires are sacrifices of praise and prayer in His house of prayer? What is God talking about in Ezekiel? Isaiah?

Could this be speaking about a time when Jews and Christians will be like-minded and worship and pray together? -- maybe like the Jews who come to accept Christ? Hopefully those Christians will not denounce Christ as the Messiah and adopt Judaism, but is that really what is happening when sacrifices are made? 

I would welcome any insight you guys have. Hopefully over the next few days we can make some kind of sense from this muddle.