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A Soldier’s Welcome

Last night, er, rather this morning at 1:45 AM, I accompanied my daughter on a photo shoot.  She was taking pictures of a soldier’s homecoming for friends.  We met the wife and the soldier’s parents at the specified hanger.  I was expecting a much larger group of people to be present at the welcome home ceremony.  Perhaps the time of day was a discouraging factor for some.  However, for me and my daughter it was an honor to be present to welcome these men and women home from duty.  We have our own soldier currently on tour in Afghanistan that we expect home sometime in the near future.

American flag

There were welcoming banners hung around the perimeter of the hanger and of course a few of my favorite symbols also.  Like, this enormous American flag which was hung as a most excellent backdrop for the speaker’s platform.

airborne patch

Being as this is Fort Campbell, Kentucky, this is the home of the 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles!

We spent about an hour together waiting for the plane to arrive.  Three of us were armed with cameras and kept ourselves busy practicing and experimenting with exposure and aperture settings and comparing notes.  About 15 minutes before the plane was to arrive we sneaked out through a less conspicuous exit to the outside greeting area.  This way we were able to acquire the BEST spot for observing the skies and snapping the soldiers when they would disembark.

soldiers returning to America by plane

After what seemed like a long time, we saw the bright, white light in the distance that signaled to us that the plane was arriving.  The rest of the crowd from inside the hanger had also found their way outside with us.  The taxi down the runway, also, seemed to be laboriously slow.  I heard multiple comments along the line of “get that plane down here already!” Then, we waited for the door to open and the soldiers to disembark.  This plane is filled with some of America’s ‘guardians’.  These men and women serve in the military to protect the freedoms that allow you to enjoy simple pleasures like driving around in your beautiful car, eating at your favorite restaurant, or even sitting in peace on your comfortable couch watching your favorite show or movie.

If you have never been to a welcome home party, you can now see that there is a LOT of waiting.  But, it just seems to add to the excitement.  The soldiers soon filed off of the airplane and grouped in formation at the side of the building after a lot of hooting and hollering by the waiting families and friends.

soldier's wife and mom waiting

At that time we all headed back into the building to, AGAIN, wait for the soldiers to enter the hanger. Tap, tap, tap, came the sound from many an impatient toe!  😉

American soldiers homecoming

Here they come! FINALLY, they are here!!  My soldier is here!  Wait, what?  I have to wait some more?  Really?  Yup.  Now we stand while they play a couple of songs.  Then we sit while they share a few words.  Then we stand again for this and sit some more for that.  Toes are definitely tapping!

woman runs to greet her husband

Yes!  We are released to give that long awaited greeting to our amazing soldier.  RUN! And you know the wait was worth every second.

crowd of people

After all of the waiting, the soldiers and their families eventually find each other.  Since I was just an observer on this occasion, I sat down on the bleachers and just watched all of the interaction.  On this particular night, I witnessed a small example of the suffering that our soldiers can experience.  In the foreground of the above photo, there is a woman dressed in black holding a baby.  She is waiting for her soldier to find her and he does.  His little son is about one year old.  He doesn’t know his daddy at all.  In his mind he has never seen this man before.  I watched as the dad tried to say hello to the baby with gentleness and smiling.  The little baby just cried every time and turned away in his momma’s arms.  I know this is temporary, but it reminded me of the parts of life that we can take for granted.  Having our loved ones close most of the time.  Seeing our children as they grow up.  Many of these soldiers are missing from their homes, on deployment, multiple times during their term of service.

Screaming Eagles Fort Campbell KY

Thank you Screaming Eagles for the price you pay to serve our country for my freedom.  Many people are not so appreciative, but I, for one, am thankful for you everyday.  God bless you.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Psalm 91:1&2

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2 Corinthians 3:1-11

Today’s sermon was titled “A Heart of Flesh or a Heart of Stone”.  Our pastor is currently teaching through 2 Corinthians.  Following is a bit of notes that I took during the service.

Under the Old Covenant, God wrote the Law on tablets of stone.  Under the New Covenant, God is writing salvation on human hearts.  The Old Testament Law brought the knowledge of sin and death and showed the desperate need for a Savior.

“For by the works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20 ESV

“Therefore, the law became our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”  Galations 3:24 NASB

He gave a great analogy about a man looking into a mirror and seeing dirt on his face.  He doesn’t pull the mirror off the wall and begin to clean his face with it, but rather uses the soap to clean his face.  The mirror’s job is to show him the dirt, and the soap is there to clean his face.  The Old Testament Law reveals sin and the New Testament Covenant (through the blood of the Jesus) cleanses sin.

All of the countless animal sacrifices offered under the Old Covenant could only cover sin, not cleanse sin.

“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.” Hebrews 10:4 ESV

The entire Old Testament points forward to the Messiah who will fulfill and obey the entire Old Testament Law perfectly, and Who will usher in the New Covenant making the Old Covenant obsolete.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17 ESV

“In the same way He took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'” 1 Corinthians 11:25 ESV

So, why do we still study the Old Testament?  Because the New Testament encourages us to do it.

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 ESV

Which of the Old Testament’s commands and laws are we as New Covenant believers called to follow?  We are to obey any Old Testament commands that are repeated or intensified in the new Testament.   For example, the OT Law states that “You shall not commit adultery”.  Jesus says in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

And for self examination, we can ask ourselves:

Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a hard heart?

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” Philippians 2:14 ESV

Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a cold heart?

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you…” 2 Timothy 1:6a ESV

“Keep yourselves in the love of God..”  Jude 21a ESV

Instead of a soft, pliable heart of flesh, have I developed a wandering heart?

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21 ESV

“Do not love the world or the things of the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 ESV

And so, we begin another week, new in Christ, in which to become more like Him in all things.  And let us encourage one another to love and good deeds as we are told in the Scriptures.  And all the more as we see the day drawing near!

Thanks for stopping by.  You can also chat with me on Facebook or Twitter and follow me on Pinterest.

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About the ads that follow: They are not placed by me  and are not associated with this post.  They are placed by WordPress on blogs that are free.  Thank you for your understanding.


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It’s a Party!

My birthday was Friday last, and was celebrated on Saturday with a portion of my wonderful family.  Having grandchildren is a major blessing in many ways.  Because they are young, and I being young at heart, we had a Star Wars party complete with costumes.

They arrived on Friday night and we began by making a jedi robe for my son.  He likes being a last minute kind of guy!   He and I stayed up until 1:30 AM, but the results were worth it.

Jedi fight

We trekked outdoors to play at some lightsaber fighting and to take photos.  We had characters from the ‘dark side’ and some from the ‘light’ as well.

Light saver fight

However, the light was outnumbered as you can see in the pictures.  Very much like ‘real life’, don’t you think? What is it about the dark side that is so intriguing?

group

John 3:19 says “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

darth

Darth Vader turned back to the light on his death bed.  I think this is part of what makes his character one of the favorites in the Star Wars Trilogy.  While it’s just a movie, there are many analogies that can be applied to ‘real life’.  The dark is battling against the light with people taking sides.

We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in Whom we have redemption through His blood.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

And the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it. That was the true Light that gives light to every man coming into the world.  Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”  This is the message that we have heard from Him, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

It is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  If we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.

Although we are chosen, we are given a free will to choose to accept the free gift of salvation through Christ.  So, choose you this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The Star Wars ‘chronicles’ will remain a favorite of mine.   The party was fun and a wonderful memory.  For dessert, we ate Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Imperial trooper cookies.  And of course ice cream!

Thanks for stopping by.  You can also chat with me on Facebook or Twitter and follow me on Pinterest.

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About the ads that follow: They are not placed by me  and are not associated with this post.  They are placed by WordPress on blogs that are free.  Thank you for your understanding.