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Into the Frey

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Mission Force exists to support our active duty military. Often people ask me what they can do to be more supportive. I always ask them to pray. Right now, someone is fighting for you! You can thank them by fighting for them in prayer. The email I received below underscores the power of YOUR prayers:

– As a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander on my fourth combat deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, I often called on my close family and friends back home for prayer.  On multiple occasions, my own life was closely threatened, and I quickly came to realize the absolute power and necessity of prayer.  Every prayer said made a difference and saved a life. One night in May was my own!  As I wrote home to my prayer warriors for immediate prayer, “I just don’t want to run out of miracles!  The situation here is much, much different than it has ever been before… Pretty much like I’d imagine being in hell!  I’d only ask that you please continue to pray for my platoon and me… specifically for strength, courage and bold, decisive leadership.  I ask that the Lord guide my hand, my eyes and judgment while leading my men into battle.  That he would give my team the wisdom and patience to out think, out maneuver and continue to destroy the terrorists we hunt every night.  I’d pray that our actions continue to bring quick and certain death to the enemy!  Pray that the Lord forge an impenetrable barrier, that his heavenly angels would shroud us with his protection to shield us from the enemy.”  We are absolutely in a war of good and evil.  We fight evil men every night, and they do everything to test our resolve and our righteousness.

Frozen

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This past weekend my 4-year-old granddaughter talked me into watching the movie Frozen with her. She climbed on my lap with a blanket which meant I wasn’t going anywhere until the movie was over. I’m sure most of you know what the movie is about, but for those of you who don’t, in short, it’s about a princess who freezes everything and everybody in her path. I must admit I was not fully present to the moment as my mind went where it usually does, asking myself the question, what can I take away from this which will be a useful mentoring tool.

I am aware of the power of the world to freeze us. For some reason, the past 2 years have been brutal on my family with over a dozen tragic situations. The most difficult happened ten months ago, when our oldest son died leaving behind a pregnant wife and three boys. His passing meant that as grandparents we were responsible for everything, beginning with his funeral. If you have lost someone you know how this freezes you in place and consumes your thoughts and actions. The grief process can be long, and for some, forever. My point is that life, the devil, etc. is really good at handing us experiences which freeze us in place. That being said, we cannot allow ourselves to stay frozen. We must force the thawing process through prayer and renewed hope- both in our belief in ourselves, and God’s providence of determination to move forward. The story of Mike is a great illustration.

SGT Mike Daquette served in the United States Army as a MP serving both in combat and law enforcement. Six years ago, his life changed in a blink of an eye in a horrific motorcycle accident leaving him with the worst documented traumatic brain injury recorded at Fort Campbell. His injuries have created a list of disabilities as well as restrictions both physically and mentally. With the help of his family, he has kept an amazing attitude. Mike had been essentially frozen by one tragic event. But even with his brain injuries, Mike was determined to thaw and move forward. One of the main goals he had was to obtain a service dog to aid him in all facets of life. The challenge Mike and his family had was obtaining the funds to purchase one. That is when an amazing company called Global K9, based in Franklin, Tennessee called me. They had decided to give away a service dog several times a year to a needy veteran or active duty serviceman. Through the resources of Mission Force, we were able to quickly find Mike.
We were able to bring these two wonderful souls together. It was nothing short of extraordinary to see Valor climb up into SGT Daquette’s lap with a kiss on the face and a look that clearly said, “I’m yours and you’re mine, and we will be there for each other.” Both Valor and SGT Daquette will now start training together to build an even greater bond before they both move on to their next adventure.

If this story fits you at the moment, please be encouraged. I promise you that you can move beyond this pain. And if you need help, reach out for a hand. Ours is always extended.

Posture & A Phone Call with a Demon

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Posture is everything to us if we are going to overcome in this life. Because the Enemy roams around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, our situational awareness, both in the spiritual and natural realms, cannot be overstated.

My wife is really good at giving me a list of tasks that need to be done around the house. Her ideas of a “task” are to build a barn or paint the upstairs in its entirety. When this happens, I almost always respond to her request like this: “Honey, I will look at my schedule and get back to you.” Usually that works for about a week, and then she begins the verbal part. Basically, my wife has learned that motivating me to do things I deem low on the priority list is to make me so fed up with hearing about it, I actually do it.

One day I was painting the upstairs. It’s literally impossible for me to even open a can of paint without it getting all over the place. I’m serious. Once I take on a painting job, it is guaranteed that not only will the walls get painted, but just about everything else near the work area. Once the job is done, I have to spend more time cleaning up my mess than I did on the job.

One particular day I was about half done with painting the upstairs when I received a phone call from a number I didn’t know. For some stupid reason I answered it, painting my iPhone in the process. I quickly attached my headset and began talking. The person on the other end was someone I had once known. I quickly began to tell him that I was unable to talk due to my situation. Now I want to warn you that I am about to take you into a conversation with a demon. I am going to tell you what the demon said and how I responded. My reason is not to give airtime to the lies of a devil but to show you by example what posture means.

The voice on the other end responded to my request to talk later by telling me that no pastor would talk to him now. I did not realize yet the man was demon possessed, and I didn’t want to offend him, so I agreed to talk. He then began to tell me that what he was about to say was intended to teach me something I really needed regarding my understanding of God. He then followed with the statement, “I have more wisdom than you could obtain in many lifetimes.” He told me that he was more than a thousand years old. Because I was postured correctly, I discerned correctly. I knew that I wasn’t just dealing with drugs, alcohol, or a psychological disorder. In thirty years of counseling I can tell when someone is suffering from such diseases. This was undoubtedly a demon.

Most people at this point would just hang up the phone. But a man who is postured for battle doesn’t run when the enemy shows up. If anyone was going to hang up, it was going to be the devil. He then began by asking me a number of questions: “Is the devil a man or a woman?” Being postured requires having the ability to stand against darkness but also knowing the strategy for dealing with the wiles of the devil. Here is an example: If a person asked me if the devil is a man or woman, I would give a biblical response. But since I was speaking to a demon, it was necessary that I fight him on spiritual terms. My response to the first question was a blunt, “I don’t care!” Since that answer didn’t give him anywhere to go, he asked his second question. “The Bible is a children’s book. In my 1000 years, I know that real truth cannot be found in that book.” I said, “Sorry, you are wrong.” It was then that he began to emphatically demand that I listen to what he was telling me because he was not wrong. When I told the demon that his opinion on life was not going to change one thing in me, he began to get verbally abusive. It was then that I told him to take all his opinions, along with his attitude, and go to hell. The next thing I heard was a click. Sweet! Posture is the only reason I was prepared to fight this fight. It felt good to give one of Satan’s imps a beating. Really good!

What Defines Us

By | Food for thought | One Comment

Every day each of us has to choose who or what defines us. There are a mountain of temptations vying for that place in our lives – political opinions, personal problems and challenges, the pressures of life, the past, the present, and on they go. Who or what we allow to define us determines who or what controls us. Some people are controlled by their political party. They do exactly what that party tells them to do no matter how ridiculous or unethical. Some allow the past to control them. And while I understand and sympathize with it, the past all too often takes its liberty to recreate the past’s pain repeatedly. Others allow the opinions of radio hosts, Hollywood stars, and pundits to define them, almost like a puppet to the puppet master. Drugs, fear, our insecurities, critical and negative people, and the incessant desire to please others; these are just a few things off the top of my head that I know can define people.

So, the question is, who or what really deserves to control us? Who or what deserves to define who we are?

The Creator is the only One who has the right to control us. He earned that right by sending us what no man ever has – Himself. He bore all the ugliness and sin known to man so we could be free. And His control is not like that of a slave to his or her master. His control is the essence of love. Under His control, our worldview and actions are the result of the absorption of the truths left to us in passages inspired by the Creator.

If we make it our number one goal to put Him in that position, we are PROMISED hundreds of times in scripture, that our lives will not only be better, but blessed.

PICKING A FIGHT

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In the movie Braveheart, change didn’t occur in Scotland until the hero, William Wallace, forced himself into the midst of the “nobles.” These men loved their titles, wealth and prestige, but they had no will to fight. Every time the tyrant English king wanted to take more freedom from them, they responded by making a truce. Their problem was they loved the status quo more than a life of victory.

But, as is often the case when week men rule, God raised up a real man. William Wallace, a man of no nobility, rose up in their midst and called them out on their weakness. One day while facing the British army Wallace and his men took to the front lines. Their only mission was to fight. And while the weak nobles were only there to increase their lands and titles, Wallace and his men knew that as long as evil was left unabated, the people would continue to be oppressed. Wallace galloped into the “negotiations” and onto the battlefield and PICKED A FIGHT!

He was not a man of compromise because he had learned a powerful lesson. Peace cannot come through truces but only through victory! While the nobles were perfectly happy making truces with the enemy, Wallace determined that he would never accept a truce with the tyrant king, Longshanks – no matter how outmatched he was in battle!

One man’s courage caused those who loved compromise to fight like they were supposed to. One man with a heart for freedom raised the bar for everyone around him. Wallace’s heroism brought the fight back into the Scottish people. It gave them hope and a reason to live. It caused them to regain their dignity and honor.

Questions: What status quo do you have around you needing a hero to expose? Are you willing to be the one who picks a fight? Are you willing to lead the way?

This is the story of Christ. He came to this earth to free men. But to do so he had to pick a fight with men who loved the status quo, as well as the author of compromise, Satan. He then led the way to true freedom.

World View

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In the past couple years, I (along with my wife and family) faced some unimaginable tragedies. Dealing with each of them, I was faced with a decision, to move forward and stay in the fight, or close my eyes to the world and the responsibility I have to reach it.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world. This call NEVER came with a promise that in doing so we would be protected from loss, pain and suffering. But it did come with a promise, repeated over and over again. A faithful man will abound with blessings. There is something supernatural which happens when we “go.”

We simply won’t be satisfied in our faith without the whole world in our view. In the past two years I have traveled to Ukraine three times; Israel five times; the borders of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, France three times; London 4 times; Ferguson, MO; Cambodia and Nepal. Each of these trips were made in times of war, disaster, riots and poverty. If I learned anything in my numerous trips, it is we are never to be out of the fight. The BEST place for us to be is in the fight. And this is among the suffering, wounded, and those hungry for the true God. This is where our lives and faith can carry the only hope available to the world.

With this mindset, we may take a hit or two as the enemy fires at us. But the heart of the warrior stays with us whether we are conscious or not. All of us are God’s voice to a world hungering to hear Him. We have a duty to carry on with the mission declaring defeat to the enemy by saying what God says. We carry the sword of the Spirit and must run to the battle and fight. That is the mission. That is the call.

On the mountain of transfiguration, a Voice came from heaven and said, “Hear Him.” Our mission is to hear, and then boldly and in faith declare (to both our community and the entire world) what God has to say.
Today I pray that your eyes would be opened to what God has on His heart. May we replicate the fire that began at Pentecost and fan those flames into an all-consuming fire.

Manhood

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We do not have to look too far into history to see an example of what real manhood is. In World War II, men from their late teens to their forties flocked to protect a nation and fight tyranny. Boys from farms to the big city didn’t have to be convinced or coerced to join the military forces and fight. They willingly left weeping parents and ran to the fields and waterways of war. It was not in their DNA to do anything else. And so many died a good death in that war, giving it all so that others could live. But something began to happen to men after that. In the decades since the World War I and II, most men have become acclimated to activities that keep them from engagement in righteous conflict. And technology has helped them.

When a person gives their soul to fantasy, they effectively surrender to ineptitude. Video gaming companies make billions of dollars producing visuals intended to occupy a person’s God-given need to fight evil.

Imaginary wars control the lives of millions of men. Sitting at a computer and losing oneself in fantasy roles have become a favorite pastime. “A questionnaire asked gamers found on video game websites what they got out of the gaming. They got a huge number of respondents: over 1,600. The survey justified stereotypes: Participants were 87 percent male.”

The apostle Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child: now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 (AMP).

A Band of Brothers

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“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ (I Corinthians 12:21)”

It is possible to live, work, and play among many people and still be alone. I know this because for many years I was that man. From the age of 12 when my mother died, I made an unconscious decision to need no one and could do everything on my own. In my mind, I had two choices- live as a victim and whine about my difficult life or get through life on my own. The problem was, for many years I wasn’t aware of this mindset until God revealed it to me, required me to face it, and, by His grace, overcome it. Being healed from that mindset was a life-changing experience.

Many people today attend church and do the “Christian thing”, but they don’t want anyone to get too close. They manipulate their lives in such a way leaving an excuse to keep others at bay. While we all have the choice to live this way, it is not the way we were created by God to live. Additionally, living that way guarantees we will not reach our full potential as an individual.

Whether we like it or not, we need others to be complete, especially if we accept God’s call to be warriors in this life. We are created this way. We are a part of the Body of Christ. When we find our part, life for us will change for the better, and we will be more fulfilled than we can imagine.

PTSD

PTSD, Re-acclimation and Understanding our Heroes

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Re-acclimation from combat to civilian life is very difficult both for those returning and those welcoming them. As I travel and speak I am often asked why PTSD and other problems exist today with military personnel when it seemed absent before Vietnam war. This is a difficult question to answer. But my usual response confronts the speed of the return from the battlefield to home. From World War One to Vietnam, it often took months for the combatants to return home. This gave them time to sit and talk about their experiences with those who shared them. Men haunted with visions of war could debrief in an environment where there was no judgment, total acceptance, and freedom to release pent up emotions. This debriefing would not erase the memories; it would just help bring them into a manageable place before arriving home. This was important because the families would then not have to deal with a traumatized returnee. This is not to say that those returning to civilian life didn’t struggle. Combat is a life altering experience. It affects all the senses. The taste and smells of war, the sights and feelings of war, and certainly the sounds of war all lead to a life change. And there are triggers which can cause each one of these to appear throughout the soldier’s lifetime. These flashbacks can lead to panic attacks and hyper-vigilance, which is the perpetual scanning of the environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviors, smells or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma.

Today, a soldier can be in brutal combat one day, and at home the next day. This creates the potential for serious problems which can be seen in the rise in suicides and divorces among those who have served in war. That’s the problem – so what is the answer?

First, as civilians, we must educate ourselves to help. And everyone can be part of making life better both for those returning and those welcoming them home. The most important thing is to learn to listen. Listening is the act of hearing both what is said and that which is unsaid. A good listener is adept at reading those communicating and speaking only when they have a well thought out response. Secondly, it is important to provide an environment where it is safe to open up. This is exactly why Mission Force has centers which operate around military installations. We provide the environment for openness and camaraderie for the warrior and families. When possible, we purchase properties which have rivers and lakes, streams, fire pits and walking trails. These are helpful when attempting to mitigate some of the tensions warriors have.

Bottomline: As civilians, we owe those who serve in the military. Whether you agree with the situation surrounding their service or not, our nation is free because of them. My encouragement is that you engage in the battle for those who give us our freedoms. Please don’t believe the lie that you can’t do anything — because you can.

Something to think about: “The hardest part, by far, is to make the bad pictures go away.  In war time, the world is one big long horror movie, image after image. If this is anything like Vietnam, I’m in for a lifetime of wee-hour creeps.”

 — Tim O’Brien, Vietnam Veteran.

Greg Wark, Executive Director Mission Force

To learn more about Mission Force or to donate to our rebuild campaign, please visit  https://missionforce.org

About Mission Force: 

Since 1996, Mission Force has helped service men and women across America successfully transition to civilian life so that they can truly come back home —  body, mind and soul.  We offer a variety of programs, what we call “Warrior Reintegration” which includes:  Transition Assistance,  helps veterans convert their military training, skills, and talents into valuable skills that can be applied to civilian life; Emergency Crisis Support, addressing the everyday battle that some of our service members face once returning home; Marriage and Family Development to strengthen marriage and families;  Equine Therapy, which encompasses a range of treatments through activities with horses. Donations welcome! https://missionforce.org/product/donation/

 

Intersection of sacrifice and freedom

Lincoln Letter

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Abraham Lincoln took it upon himself to write the following letter to the grieving mother who lost all five of her boys – she and they offered up the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of a young nation.

The letter is as follows:

Executive Mansion,

Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

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