Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waiting with Bated Breath...

I know. You can't wait for the next installment of WAR!

Sorry. I'm afraid...wait...

I should say, "I presently struggle with..."

At least that's what my new best friend Tony Horton says...

I presently struggle with getting in gear and writing something about WAR III.

Someone I know well made a remark that made good sense to me...

Brief...and to the point has not been my strong point.

Anyway...I was a FOOL and committed to a one hour presentation on Time Management to our local CPS office. Dave Ramsey calls it STUPID TAX, but, I said yes to a 60$ fee for a 1 hour presentation on a topic I not only know little about, but do not practice.

Counting preparation HOURS, I am now down to that 60$ being 7 $ an hour. By the end, I think I'll have to send them money.

One Dora Diane-ism:

"Daddy, I love you more than anything else in the whole world...even though your breath kind of stinks like fish..."

Yeah kid, I love you too, diaper changing and all!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

War II

Let me remind you of a fun game you can play with your 1 year old child.

Step 1) Wait until they pick up something you don't want them to put in their mouth (Like your game console controller).

Step 2) Approach them very carefully by getting their attention with a toy you know they will be interested in. (Sorry Mom, for the dangling participle....I'm getting lazy.)

Step 3) While handing them the toy with one hand, casually extract the controller with the other, hide it behind your back and "Voila!," they forget they had the controller in the first place.

Psychologists call this Re-di-rec-tion.

Normal people call it, distraction.

It is a powerful technique by any name.

Let's try it with war: Operation Overlord or D-Day occurred June 6, 1944. The build up to the ultimately successful invasion of Eastern Europe by allied forces required months and months of build up of forces and supplies. The allies were faced with the realization that the Nazis would know that "something" was coming and thus, turned to a remarkable and ingenious series of "redirections" or "distractions" to keep the Nazis from focusing on the real danger. For example:

"An entirely fictitious First U.S. Army Group ("FUSAG"), supposedly located in southeastern Britain under the command of General McNair and General Patton was created in German minds by the use of double agents and fake radio traffic. Dummy tanks (some inflatable), trucks, and landing craft, as well as troop camp facades (constructed from scaffolding and canvas) were placed in ports on the eastern and southeastern coasts of Britain, and the German Air Force was allowed to photograph them. The Allied Forces even went as far as to broadcast static over Axis accessible radioways and convinced Germany to expend efforts to try to decode white noise, further leading Germany away from the upcoming Normandy invasion." (Wikipedia "Operation Overlord") ((Yes...I use Wiki.)

Amazing what we humans can do; how wars are won, with lies.
I think our ability to "redirect" pales to white in comparison with our enemies'. One of the greatest weapons he has is his ability to convince us that we should be looking at all the "bright and shineys" over here rather than to the "boring stuff" over there. A few practical examples:

I could have spent 30 minutes this morning reading, but instead surfed the internet. I could have awakened early and prayed...just for 10 minutes or so...I slept that extra 10 minutes. I could have averted my eyes from the attractive pictures...but didn't. (That was just a made up example for the blog honey.)

Now. I don't know if we have a personal "demon" or "demons" which fly around after us with little red bat wings whispering temptations in our ears. Knowing just a little about human nature, I believe that would be overkill for most of us because the layers and layers of lies have been crafted to hit us right where we are weakest. Freud called it the Pleasure Principle and Immediate Gratification. We like what we like when we like it. It's unconscious, it's immediate, and, in the moment, it's Oh so good.

But it's all a mirage, a redirection. "Just one little smoke. Just one little drink. Just one little peek. Just one little...."

Just one little doesn't exist for most humans. If that "one little" feels good, our animal selves note that it didn't kill us, so, why not go for a second little...

So we who were "set free" decide to trade our chains for blindfolds and ear muffs.

Why practice the fight when we can watch TV instead? Why study when we can go out? Why listen to the truth when the lies feel so good, and seem so the moment.

The bible writers called it our "flesh." Over and over they drew a distinct divide between our flesh and our spirit. Our flesh, ruled by instinct and urges, and our spirit, able to be changed, filled, "born again."

Either way. "Born again" or not, I know most recognize this famous quote from the apostle Paul:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing. For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I do not find. For I do not do the good that I desire; but the evil which I do not will, that I do." Romans 7:18-19

In other words: When I pause to reflect, I know exactly what I should be doing...but 95% of the time, I choose the alternatives...and there are so many!

In a way, Paul seems to be identifying a battle with himself...yet we were created to not suffer this war. Thus, the war has been brought to us...the enemy preys on what have become our weaknesses.

We are at war against an enemy who simply has to turn up the volume, or shine a brighter light on those things which will tickle our desires...and we drop out of the fight.

So what weapons do we have against this enemy.

"So humble yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." James 4:7

Practically, what does this mean. Pray? Verbally rebuke "Satan?"

Whatever works...but I think once we realize we are faced with some temptation we need to resist, part of the battle has been turned in our favor. The curtain is pulled back, or the "veil over our eyes" has been lifted enough for us to realize and acknowledge that we are in a battle...a serious battle.

I used to, and still sometimes do say, "Shut up!" I've prayed before for strength and faith in those moments. Recently, what really seems to work for me when I do it is simply say clearly, "That's a lie." I don't know what that does on a "spirit" level...or even if it does anything at all. I do know that, on a flesh level...I HATE lies. And I HATE, HATE being lied too. The recognition that I (or maybe even the enemy) is trying to lie to me gives me the emotional "UMF" to "turn away" and go about my business.

That's my two cents on just one of the many weapons at the enemy's disposal...the invisible weapon of redirection.

War III will involve the weapon which all of us know all too well...which threatens to defeat me even today. It bears a little more resemblance to false threat warfare (E.g. "You don't have time to pray, you're about to lose your job!")

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Of course you know...THIS MEANS WAR!"

That's one of my daughter's and my favorite things to say to each other. (That and "You're a booger head." to which the proper reply is: "No, YOU'RE a booger head!")

Anyway, I just picked up a book by John Eldredge called Waking The Dead. I picked it up initially because he also wrote one of my very favorite books of all time, Wild At Heart. If you are a man, and have never read this must.

Allow me to emphasize that: I have a 25 year old step-son. He is a wonderful young man...but as you can imagine, he and I have a history as all step-children and their parents have. I gave him a copy of Wild at Heart two years ago with the inscription that it was one of the most important books I had ever read. Well, he read it and recently told his mom; "Everyone should read that book!"'s worth the risk to pick it up.

I didn't get but 3 pages into Waking the Dead before being hit with an amazing sentence. I quote:

"The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion." (p. 16)

BAM! I put the book down in stunned silence and felt pieces fall into place in my mind that I never knew were out of place.

I've always known that life is a battle. It became crystal clear with the birth of my daughter. Everything I want for her, there are forces mounted to steal it away...even her safety. So her mother and I are vigilant, we carry guns (literally), and we say "no" a lot.

That's an obvious war.

The war human kind is in is deeper than that, and it is entirely hidden from our view because we have been taught from a very early age to accept the casualties, the collateral damage, as a part of life.

"Accidents happen." "That's the way God made them." I've said those multiple times to ... protect my daughter from the truth... Sometimes really, really, really bad things happen. Some people are destroyed, or nearly destroyed (physically, psychologically) through no fault of their own. I know my intent is also to get her ready for whatever may befall her. We expect these things. We tolerate them. Because we have no choice. And we blame....God, life, our parents, fate, the stars, ghosts, our past, randomness...

But we are in the middle of a war. We didn't declare it, but we are in it.

"The birth of Christ was an act of war, an invasion."

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 (Jesus speaking)

Only dead people need life. Jesus came because the thief was already here, stealing, killing, and destroying. I notice He didn't say..."I came to get rid of the thief." He didn't though, He came to give me my life back. And to do so, was to declare war on the thief.

"just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28

I like this verse. A ransom. Rather than lead soldiers in the charge against the thief, the final battle was won with an act of ransom. If the question arises whether or not He was prepared for battle:

"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" Matthew 26:52-54

A full strength legion was 6000 soldiers so, more than 72,000 angelic warriors were standing at the ready (I imagine they were just begging to be cut loose.)

No. Christ came to declare war by setting us free. Paying the ransom so that we could no longer be condemned for our sin. He came to pay the ultimate price for us.

Why? Why not just wipe out the enemy then and there?

I think the answer is that He didn't have too. He set us free so that we could win fight the thief, and help free those who don't know they are free.

Who am I in the war...or who might I be?

The answer to this question is simple if I view the enemy as a thief...not engaged in open warfare but in massive subversion, subterfuge, and propaganda. This enemy is not allowed to kill me...(but can use every means at his disposal to get me to kill myself.)

If I was such an enemy, I would use everything I could to make sure that the best and brightest of the warriors destroy themselves. I would convince them first and foremost that the idea that they are in a battle is ridiculous and a little hyper-religious. "Come on!" I might goad, "What's next, are you going to become a bible-thumper?" "Only the most radical religions believe they are in a war."

Then I would start in on the weapons: "Ummm," I might say, "That sword of yours...kind of looks pathetic." "And....well, your shield...looks like you forgot it." "You can't can't even fight!"

Then, I'd remind my prey that there are others who can better handle this battle.

Then I would dangle all the great things this world has to offer and thus, distract them from the battle in the first place. "Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll man, that's where it's at!" "The world is a scary better just get what you can while you are alive. You don't want to die unhappy do you?"

Then all I would have to do is sit back and watch as my prey miserably but inevitably implodes...taking as many people with them as I can keep connected.

I'd be a good Satan...I know it. I've agreed with him all too often.

But I'm in a war. Spectators get rolled over. I want in the fight. Even if I have to get dirty, to sweat, to bleed, I'm tired of believing ALL of the lies!

You see, I'm not just a warrior.....I'm on the winning team.

"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" (Jesus) Matthew 10:34

To be continued...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

You Know You're In Trouble When...

I noticed just now that I LOST A FOLLOWER!!!

It is my own fault...seeing as how I have neglected to blog for over 3 months! I have a few really good excuses...but I feel guilty giving excuses. The phrase, "Quit making excuses." reverberates in my head when I try.

(I love it when people, including myself in the past preface a statement by saying, "I'm not making excuses but...")

How about a reason:

I have not blogged due to several distractions, none of which include the loss of my ability to blog...simply my motivation to do so. I have several great ideas...and of course, much inspiration due to my darling daughter.

A quick story:

Last night, we discovered a very small number of very small critters in Little One's room. We were busy relocating her temporarily to her big brother's room (AKA our guest room, weight room, etc.) when we found her scraping something off of the wall next to the bed. When asked what she was doing, she stated,
"I'm trying to get these boogers off the wall." Sure enough...what she was working on did look like dried boogers which had been wiped on the wall (I KNOW you all remember doing this as kids.) When we asked her how she knew they were boogers she said, "Because I used to do that too."

Ahhh, honesty. I love it.

To those of you who stop by and read this: Thank you for hanging in there and waiting. I really do have some thoughts I will be composing and sharing. And to those of you I follow, sorry that I have not checked in on your blogs recently...I will be doing so more frequently. I enjoy reading what you have to say.

God Bless.