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A Soldier's Story

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10 replies to this topic

#1
Mcgyver

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I have given much thought as to writing my testimony here, but I hope that through it, someone may find encouragement. If God could save and change my heart; He can change anyone!

Briefly, I was a career Soldier, a paratrooper serving with some of the most elite units in the United States Army. I was also an extremely hard man. I lived by the "Spirit of the Bayonet" and became skilled in art and artifice of war....constantly seeking better ways to kill my fellow man. I used to have a sign over my CP that had the words: "Pray for war". The best times that I had were the times in combat. Enemy combatants were not people to me, simply pop-up targets to be engaged and killed. Death, gore, etc. didn't bother me in the least...because at some level perhaps I had lost my humanity.

I defined myself by the uniform that I wore. I graduated just about every "high speed" school the Army had to offer; Had numerous awards and decorations (the joke was that I looked like a third world general when I put on my Class A's because of all the "fruit salad" and badges), and as one may imagine I excelled during the course of my career! I loved every minute of it!

Well, having expressed a desire to do a tour as a Drill Sergeant; The Army assigned me to recruiting instead (this was kind of like having Charlie Manson teach family values!). But as I was to find out, God had His hand in all of it....

I was stationed in New England, and I used to have to drive by one of those old New England graveyards every day going to work. One day I glanced out at the weathered tomb-stones, and a feeling of utter despair such as I have never felt hit me. I remember thinking "is that all there is?". For the first time in my life I found no comfort in the uniform or the mission. The next day I happened to run into a Southern Baptist pastor (who later told me that it was the first time in about 6 months he had been at that particular place); and as he shared the glorious Gospel, the words impacted me like so many bullets... I knew they were true. After wrestling with it for several days, I bowed my knee at the foot of the cross, and in that moment I knew something had changed.

But it doesn't end there. Fast forward several years to the time I made the decision to leave the Army.

I started my own business, and made more money than I had ever made in my life, but alas money became my idol and I forgot about God and what He had done for me. I back slid so hard that I swear that one could see marks on my back!
In a couple of years though, I found it all gone. I lost my wife, my home, my business, everything! I at one point was living in the back of a broken down Box-truck parked in an empty lot....And I give God the glory for it!!! You see, He by His own hand was taking away the pride that I had and preparing me to do His work, although it took one more thing to get through this thick Irish skull of mine....(It was a tough time, but in retrospect I see that God was Faithful, even when I wasn't).

I moved to Florida at the invitation of my brother (out of desperation) with nothing but the clothes on my back; and found a job as a mechanic. Shortly after, I was contemplating the medicinal properties of my (15th?) beer at a local bar when it hit me: I don't really want this! So (after finishing my beer of course); I figured that the "cure" was to get back to church.
As I walked into a Southern Baptist church near where I was living, I was hit with conviction like a ton of bricks. Completely broken now, I talked to the pastor. I remember telling him that I just wanted to serve....that I'd mop out the bathrooms, sweep the hallways, it didn't matter; I just wanted to serve God. I had reached that point of being absolutely broken before Him who is King of Kings.

Fast forward again: God honored that brokeness, and turned me from what I was into an under-shepherd of His flock. I now pastor a Southern Baptist Church here in Florida. Although I struggle with things now and again, I have truly found that "Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world"; and have come to know precious Victory in Jesus on a daily basis.

I have written this for several reasons: I know that there are those who are in dire straights, those who are hurting, those who are ready to throw in the towel, those who are ready to lose hope. Maybe there is a relationship that is tearing you apart, maybe you are ready to declare with Job "that thing I feared most has come upon me" (I've been there). Maybe you are seeking that elusive contentment that can only come from Knowing Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Speaking as one who has been there...Take comfort and hope in knowing that "all things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose" Rom 8:28; and that there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from His love! (Rom 8:35 and following).

May the God of all comfort and peace guard your heart and renew your mind in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Your Brother in Christ, John

#2
LightofJesus

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John,

This is what God does best is turn a life upside down just to make it right. I was drawn to tears my brother of your testimony! I am a widow of 2 1/2 years and I am not liking being alone at all and at times really find it hard to want to keep going. When I first came to the Lord this was my greatest fear and that was to be alone. I must admit I am not experiencing the fear for I know the King of joy and He keeps me safe. But I do not like being alone still. I do believe God is working something in me right now and it is for His glory, Amen?
May I ask how old you are? Sometimes you can get an idea cognitively where someone is so as they can understand you better. If you do not wish to tell that is OK.
thanks for your testimony I was inspired!!! :thumbsup: :24:

#3
Thysia

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Wow.... this one was touching....thank you so much for sharing.
I hope God will break me as He did with you aswell.... that i will be able to surrender completely.
Thanks again for sharing... there is hope.

:whistling:

Edited by Thysia, 05 December 2006 - 05:21 PM.


#4
salos

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One of my sons is in the army, and this gives me hope for his faith. Thanks for sharing your story, John. It means a lot.

#5
Akabu

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AMEN!!!

After 8 years in the USMC I can certainly understand where you are, and were, coming from.


Blessings to you in all things!

#6
Candi770

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God is Goood!

#7
Iryssa

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Amazing testimony...left me speechless.

Totally off-topic, but your SN makes me think of the TV MacGyver, actually...Richard Dean Anderson pre-Stragate.

#8
mrp1948

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Well John it is always good to see another soldier blessed as I was...maybe being used to adversity is what makes us more valuable to him thanks for the blessing...God Bless

#9
Mcgyver

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Thank you so much for all your kind comments..All the Glory goes to God!!! :)

LightofJesus: 49; and I guarantee that God is working in you for His glory! "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil 1:6 NKJV) :D

Thysia: Already sounds like your heart is in the right place for service to Him! :rolleyes:

Salos: Praying for your son's safety, and God's work in his life! :D

Akabu: Semper Fi, brother! :thumbsup:

Candi770: "All the time!" :huh:

Iryssa: My sn is the nickname my soldiers gave me when I was active duty...Any guess as to why? ^_^

Mrp1948: The refiner's fire, my brother! :)

Glory to the Most High God!!!

#10
buzzbee

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Thank you for sharing this! God is faithful and isn't afraid to give us the shake down :wub: . He loves you!

#11
JustinM

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Thank you for your testimony. God bless.




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