Bible, Life's Moments, Uncategorized

The Ethos of a Navy Seal

The Navy Seals have been in the news a lot lately. They cause us to stand in wonder. And standing in wonder has caused me to wonder what drives these guys? Well, perhaps, the statement of the Navy Seal ethic can help. Here it is:

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time.  I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed. I will not fail.

Wow! Awesome! I am absolutely thrilled with the whole, but these words from the sixth paragraph are off the chart: I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity…if knocked down, I will get back up, every time… I am never out of the fight.

I believe the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write a similar motto for fully devoted followers of the Savior. You can find it in Philippians 3:7-16. Here it is:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Passion. Does anyone doubt that Navy Seals possess it? Does anyone doubt followers of Christ possess it? As Arsenio used to say, “Just something that makes you go hmmmm.”

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Bible, Life's Moments

A Glimpse of Heaven

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A dear friend of mine sent me a slide show of the magnificent statue “Christ the Redeemer” that stands atop Mt.Corcovado overlooking Rio de Janeiro. The statue—standing 38 meters from foot to head—was designed by Brazilian Heitor da Silva Costa and created by Frenchman Paul Landowski. Their work not only stands as a testament to their genius, but to our Savior. In my friend’s email, I read, “I will hold this dream close to my heart to one day make this climb and see this in person. I can only imagine !!!!!”

I can not agree with her more. I believe I would stand in absolute awe if I ever had the privilege of visiting this monument to Jesus. The pictures she sent stirred my heart…but not simply for a visit to Rio de Janeiro. It was something else. The pictures made me wonder, so I answered my friend’s email. The words I wrote then are for everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus.

“I hope you will one day fulfill your dream. I can only imagine what standing at the base of that giant statue must be like…but how much more so walking into the out-stretched arms of our Savior Jesus in heaven. Can you imagine? He embraces you. You melt into his hug. Your eyes peer over his shoulder…and you behold the vista of heaven. Rolling on and on before you is the splendor of eternity. Inhabiting the landscape is Moses…Solomon…Deborah… Rahab… Peter…Gideon…angels, my oh my, angels… seraphim and cherubim…and look, there’s Michael.

Dotting the hills and valleys and plains and mountains are mansions prepared for each of the Savior’s followers. Almost overlooked, because you gaze upon this magnificence, are the loved ones who inhabit some of those houses of holiness. On earth, you missed them ever so greatly. Now they surround the throne of God with their hands reaching toward you. No, not you. They reach toward Jesus. And then, then—only after they have filled their eyes with the Lamb of God—they turn their eyes upon you and you glory in their welcome.

Nearly undone with the millions of sensory inputs cascading through your very soul, you glance down ever so briefly only to behold that upon which you stand. Could it be? A sea of crystal? You see into it. Down into it. Deep, deep, deep down…as if it might descend to infinity. It undulates with the rhythm of heaven. Yet it is more solid than any place you have ever before placed your feet.

Having witnessed infinity at the feet of Jesus, you think to look up. The glow of the light of Christ illuminates an expanse so vast no eye can penetrate its reach. At one and the same time you see worlds flickering in the distance as you once did on earth, but you also see them up close and personal as if you were walking upon them…and at once you realize you are no longer exercising earthly eyesight, but heavenly eyesight. Never again will you see as through a mirror darkly. All of this. All of this is yours, but not yours. It is the Lord’s—and he gives it to you without reservation. You see it. You experience it. You revel in it. You long to explore it…and then that wonder fades. You look no longer upon the vistas of heaven. You no longer peer over the shoulder of Jesus. You lift your head. You turn it ever so slightly. You lift your eyes…and they meet his…can you imagine…you look into the very eyes of love and compassion and sacrifice and wisdom and grace and peace and righteousness and mercy. Yet none of these compares to something else you see.

You see God. The eternal. The infinite. The Spirit. And you finally understand. The limits of time and space and matter have been stripped away. You observe the very mystery of creation and all that was eternal before creation. Your heart accelerates. The love you feel is overwhelming. If it were not for his hug, you would fall upon your face before him. Yet still you look into his eyes…deep into an endless gaze…and you see one more thing. You see something no other will ever see. You see into the heart of the everlasting second member of the Trinity. You see him spreading his arms out wide upon that old rugged cross. You see into his soul and mind…and you see you. There in that most important moment of history…in all of his agony…as he became a sin sacrifice for the world…you were front and center in his thoughts. As blood spilled upon his now unrecognizable face, the corners of his lips lifted, because…because he smiled.

Oh my God, my marvelous God, he smiled. He smiled for you. He did. He does. He always will.

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