About ME

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Mansfield, Texas, United States
Mr. E is a Christian, Husband, Father of 2, former Army Officer and Texas Rangers Baseball fan.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tales from the Trip

Well, It's not Monday, so that means we have Internet connection at our motel. Tomorrow we will be heading home. Yeah!

Several things were interesting on the trip, so far! But one thing struck me in a special way.
While we were at a Wal-Mart in Kentucky, located next to a large field, we noticed a solitary deer just standing and eating in a large field next to the parking lot. Despite all the cars, and noises, the deer was just calmly eating with no fear of the humans around it. It was a peaceful picture in the middle of all the chaos of the moment. Earlier that day, while traveling to one of our tourist destinations, we saw several other deer and some wild turkeys standing on the side of the road or crossing the road. The reason the deer stood out to me, was that earlier that morning I had read in the Psalms, were it says, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O' God." (Psalm 42:1)

Even though the deer similarities were cool, it is the next verse Psalm 42:2, that hits me the most. It says, "My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When I can go and meet with God?" I eagerly long for the day when I can see my God face to face. Sometimes I just beg God in my prayers to come now and rescue His children from this temporary home we call Earth. When my life gets so bogged down with "stuff" that it seems that my days on earth (or in the car on a trip) will never end, I remind myself that I will one day get to spend an eternity with the Living God who lives in Heaven. I can hardly wait! Until then I will do my best to introduce others to this "Good News"! Maybe then, they, as I have done, will quit living for the here and now, but for the eternal future that awaits us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

See Ya Monday, Maybe?

I'm leaving tomorrow to go on a mini-vacation with my family and my in-laws to Kentucky. We are visiting my wife's grandmother, (her dad's mother), in Murray, KY. We plan to drive the entire way non-stop, except for potty breaks and eating breaks. That is about 12 hours. Ahhhhh! My wife is taking her lap-top computer, so if we get a good wireless connection somewhere I may do a quick blog while on the trip, thus the maybe in the title. We will get back late Sunday night. I will let you know how the trip went on Monday. Yes, I am taking my Bible and my book on how to become a Man After God's Own Heart. Gotta keep up my spiritual discipline ya' know.

My One Thing

As I was doing my Bible study this morning, as song popped into my head. It was a song by the late Christian singer, Rich Mullins, called "My One Thing". The particular verse that stuck out was the verse, "The pure in heart shall see God."

Through out my life I have counted on many things; My parents would never fail me, My marriage would never have major problems, I would always have a good job, I would always have control over my life, and GOD would always love me. As you can guess most of these have let me down in one form or another. My parents divorced (although they are now remarried). My marriage has gone through some major problems, (although we are stronger now than ever), and will probably go through others. I have gone through periods without work and my family has struggled. Through all this I have learned I am not in control of much in my life.

The one constant thing that has stood firm in all the years of my life is this... GOD has always loved me. HIS grace has never left me or my family. When things were at their toughest, GOD was there. When things were at their best, GOD was there. GOD will be there when my kids reach the teenage years and I panic over the dating, and the pressures they will face. GOD is here now, while our car is broken down and as I look for a new career to support my family.

My realization that I have no control over my life, has led me to start a 12 Step Program to help turn my life over to GOD. Along with helping me with specific areas of my life, the program is also helping me to develop a closer relationship with GOD and others. I just have to let GOD have control, and continue to trust in the "One Thing" that has never let me down before; GOD's love and grace.

King David realized the same thing. In all his sins, family problems, and years of warfare, he never lost sight of the one thing that mattered the most to him, "GOD's faithfulness. With all the problems he had, he realized that he could not hold full confidence in anything or anyone except GOD. Because of his faith David wrote this in Psalm 27:13, "I am still confident of this, I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."

When family, jobs, parents, friends, and life in general let you down, never loose sight of the "One Thing" Rich Mullins sang about, the "One Thing" that David was confident in, and the "One Thing" that will never fail us; GOD loves us, and we will see GOD one day!" This I am sure of.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Who I Want to Be

As I am striving to become a man after God's own heart, I ask myself what kind of person is a man after God's own heart. Psalm 15 from the Bible tells me what kind of man this is.

1. He who does what is righteous.
2. He who speaks the truth from his heart, with no slander coming from his tounge.
3. He who does his neighbor no wrong.
4. He who cast no slur on his fellow man
5. He who despises a vile man, and honors those who fear the LORD.
6. He who keeps his oath, even when it hurts.
7. He who lends money without charging interest.
8. He who does not accept bribes against the innocent.

Why do I want to become a man like this? How can I know for sure the God's words are the right choice for me? Psalm 19 tells me;

1. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
2. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making the wise simple.
3. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
4. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
5. The fear (respect) of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
6. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous, they are more precious than pure gold, and sweeter than honey from the comb.
7. Being warned by these words, keeping them leads to great rewards.

Most of the words people of the world listen to are not perfect, they come from man and only lead away from God. Only the Bible is true and perfect. No other book can be fully trusted like the Bible. As I continue my efforts to become a man of God, I will study to put HIS words into my heart daily.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Proud To Be A Veteran!

Yes, I am a veteran! I served in the U.S. Army Reserves for 10 years from February, 1989 - October 1999. I joined the Army Reserves in college while attending Abilene Christian University in Feb. 1989. I attended BASIC Training at Ft. Leonard Wood "Lost in the Woods", Missouri that summer, as a Private First Class (PFC). After returning from BASIC, I was officially assigned to the 490th Civil Affairs Company (now a Battalion) in Abilene, TX. Later this year the first Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, started. I was worried my Reserve Unit would be called into combat, but I was told as a Civil Affairs Unit we would probably not be deployed to Iraq or Kuwait until near the war's end.

In January of 1990, I started training to become an officer and I joined the ROTC unit at Hardin-Simmons University, while still part of the 490th and attending classes at ACU. The next summer I attended an ROTC Training Course at Ft. Riley, Kansas. After a year and a half of ROTC classes, I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1991. My Uncle Quincy, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, and my Uncle George, a Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, pinned my gold bars on my uniform.

As the Gulf War was coming to an end, my Reserve unit was notified that about 25 of us would be called into active service to support the military's rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Kuwait. In preparation of this call-up the Army sent me to an Officer's BASIC Course in Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. While I was at this training, about 1/3 of the 490th was called into active duty. By the time I finished this training, I was no longer needed overseas. However I did get a Army Service Ribbon for being on active duty during a time of war.

Upon returning from Ft. Ben Harrison, I took a job teaching in Winnsboro, TX. I was transferred to the 755th AG Postal Company headquartered in Texarkana, Texas. Since I lived closer to the detachment unit in Longview, Texas I was assigned there by the Company Commander, as the Detachment Commander and Platoon Officer over the 2 platoons stationed there. I was a member of the 755th for just over a year, when I moved back to Abilene and reassigned to the 490th, during this time I was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. I also got a chance to travel to Germany during this time. About a year later the 490th was upgraded from Company strength to Battalion strength. Because the 490th was now at Battalion strength, most of the spots held by 1st Lieutenants were now being filled by Captains, who needed placement within the unit. Due to a lack of a "job" so to say, I was placed into the Inactive Reserves. (BIG MISTAKE!, in my opinion by accepting this assignment.) I was told I would stay in the Inactive Reserves until I reached the rank of Captain or I was assigned to another Reserve Unit elsewhere.

While in the Inactive Reserves, necessary training I needed for promotion, came few and to far between. President Clinton and the Congress were cutting back on on the military budget and the training I needed was being given to Active duty officers first, which left no room for me. After three years of trying to get necessary training, I missed my promotion to Captain. I attempted to rejoin the 755th Postal Company after moving back to East Texas, but I was Honorably Discharged by the Army before I could rejoin the unit.

Now the reason I wrote all this was not to brag on myself, but to let you know I was proud of my service to my country. I wasn't always so proud. During a Veteran's Day ceremony at the school I was teaching at, I chose not to sit on the floor of the gym with the other Veterans who were being honored. I felt that I was not worthy to sit next to men and women who had served in combat during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and other military actions. A veteran, who knew of my service, noticed me in the stands with the kids. After the ceremony he came up to me and asked why I was not sitting with the other veterans on the floor. When I told him why, he was a little angry with me. He told me I had signed on the dotted line to serve my country just like every other man on that floor. He reminded me that I was willing to serve and die for my country and just because I was "lucky" enough not to have served in combat to prove it, I should not be ashamed that I served my country in the Army, even if it was in the Reserves. After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, I attempted to rejoin the military to serve my country once again, but I was turned down due to age.

Now I am proud of my service to my country, and every time there is a Veteran's Ceremony or Veterans are asked to stand at a ball-game or a church service, I stand with pride. I do this not just because I can, but to honor those who are no longer able to stand and be remembered for their sacrifices, I was lucky enough to avoid combat, but I was more than willing to risk my life to serve the greatest country on the earth, The United States of America.