Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Is Your God big enough?

So, here we are again, time has past us by while I failed to write yet again on a regular basis. I have come to the conclusion that my writing is just going to be an irregular thing. I would love to be one of those people that have the ability to sit down and write on a whim regularly with meaning. Oh believe me I actually sit down and write almost daily but I just never seem to be able to take my personal rants that I use to attempt to understand my life better, and put them into a format that I deem acceptable for public consumption. Of course I would say that there are many people out there that have read my blog and decided that it is not ready no acceptable for public consumption and to them I only can say I am sorry. 

I do ultimately write to help clear thoughts in my head and hopefully glorify the one God that has brought me through the fires and created the person I am today. I share this stuff with others because I feel that if I am able to help one person by my trials and travels then I am doing what God has asked me to do. “God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours.” 
― David Livingstone 

Lately I have been working through the Judgment and Glory thoughts. What does that really mean to me and how does it relate to my world?

I read more than the average person, (The average number of books read a year, varies between 4-12 books depending on where you look). I read an average of 2-4 a week but that is because I am retired and have the time and have found that reading has given me back the ability to put thoughts straight in my messed up brain. For those that have never read my blog or know my history I have a TBI so memory and recall are a major issue. Over the past 2 years I have made leaps and bounds in my ability to recall things by lowering my stress and increasing my brain activity. I will also add that my mission to serve others has increased ten fold, which has healed me in ways I never saw coming. It is absolutely a miracle to think that by changing the focus away from me and looking towards others to help as a tool for God, heals me. All I had to do was get out of my own way.

Here we go I guess that is as good a lead in as any for what seems to be touching my heart today. I read a book “You Don’t Get Your Own Personal Jesus” By J.D. Greer, and in that book there were some great thoughts on God that I had been wrestling with over the years. I have always understood that God is Almighty and all Powerful but yet sometimes when people explained “their god”, how they understood him I would recoil. I have over the years done my fair share of reshaping my vision of “my god” to fit into “my world”. I wanted to be comfortable with “my god” so I would pick and chose the parts of the bible and stories that appealed to my way of thinking. (Not something that is all that unusual, we are humans and well we like to think things to our level.)
This last book really struck me to the core. I am sure that those that have read my blog over time have seen the changes in how I have become much more God centered and less Kent centered. Hopefully everyone agrees that is a good thing. While I do not think that Kent was the worst thing on the block I know that I was not what God wanted me to be. He has been pushing me for sometime and I have been resisting with all my might. Guess who has been fighting the losing battle? 

   “It's not about finding ways to avoid God's judgment and feeling like a failure if you don't do everything perfectly. It's about fully experiencing God's love and letting it perfect you. It's not about being somebody you are not. It's about becoming who you really are.” 
― Stormie Omartian

In the reading of this book one of the illustrations given was during a conversation, where Christ was mentioned as the only way to salvation. Not directly quoting but the understanding the other person in the conversation had was that no God would ever be so narrow as to have only one way to salvation. They happen to have been flying during this conversation and Greer made a comment about being grateful that the pilot was not as open minded about his job and decide that they could land the plane in other places other then the runway the Air traffic controller had just told them to. While this conversation may seem off the wall for some it hit home for me. How often had I placed my own human understandings and values on “my god” so I could fit my life into what I wanted. 
Time and again I landed or should I say crashed because I always knew better or knew that my god knew better than to be so rigid. I was thinking about my own experience as a father. As my children were growing up I made rules so that they would remain safe and stay on a path that would hopefully grow them to adulthood. When they did not live up to those rules I would punish them in some way because they had not done what was expected of them. So often I forget that God does not have grandchildren, every one of us is his precious child. How come it is so easy for me to understand the logic of rules and rigidness when I am in the position as father yet as the child I fail to accept it?
Once we as humans can understand that last paragraph the forgiveness of God has to be the next thought, at least in my mind it does. In my last blog, I mentioned about the reboot program and coming to terms with so many of the things I had to do and experience while in the military. Today as most days I still wrestle with my humanness. That inability to accept that God, therefore myself can truly be forgiven is a concept that blows my mind. Also what is forgiveness all about is another huge sticky mess some days. We all do things “wrong” on a regular basis if you’re like me. I was out driving earlier today and I was doing the mental sparring on forgiveness in my noggin, you know the why must I and how can I be forgiven for the things that I have done. Not because I am in that place at the moment but because it all came up in the readings I have been doing. I love how God has this ability to spur thoughts in my head that touch my heart not always when I am struggling but when my head is in a good place also. 

I mentioned the scenario of the father and the child and the bridge to my thoughts on forgiveness now let me see if I can actually complete this thought.  When I was deep in my depressions and not wanting to believe that I was forgivable, I could not wrap my head around the concept that God would actually forgive me. I understood that he gave his only son to wipe away my sins, not just forgive but abolish, remove, give me a clean slate. I understood that but then I still held myself to the fire, held in my brain like a poker that would continue to push and prod me every time I thought of the things I did, even though I said I understood Gods level of forgiveness.  I then thought of my children, trying to think of some transgression that would allow me to close the door on them and make it so I could not forgive them. I could not come up with anything. No matter what happened I afforded them forgiveness in my mind. It was a no brainer. My love for them outweighed the crimes that they could possibly do. No matter how bad I would be there to support them. I would be there with Gods words of forgiveness also being one of the first in line to make sure they understood that God is so loving that he gave his only Son to die on a Cross. Die with common criminals so that we all could find salvation in him. 
When I look at my reaction and understanding with my own children it makes my relationship with God so much easier to understand. It is so easy to over complicate things and over simplify things. Forgiveness is not for others it is for me! When I forgive, it is to release me of the bondage of self. Each and every one of us will stand in front of our maker as individuals and be held accountable for our own actions. My forgiveness towards others releases my mind and body of the sins of humanness. The thing inside of me that I hold above someone else when I do not forgive, that thing that stands between God and myself if I do not forgive others until I allow God his place as the judge. 

Needless to say I have written more this time then normal that is for sure. Hopefully some of this makes sense but the bottom line is that I write to glorify his name and make all this stuff a more understandable everyday in my mind. I am so grateful today to have all these tools in my bag to live life in a Godly manner. Stay tuned as I continue to grow and of Course God in dyslexia doG IE… Mike is forever showing me how to really forgive and live a peaceful life. You should have seen him this past weekend working the crowd as I took pictures at a church function. What a blessing he is in helping to bridge the gap of my personality and other people. 

God Bless

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Reboot, Combat Recovery Revelations!

 So here’s a blog like I doubt I have ever done before. I am in a Reboot, Combat Recovery class that has been absolutely wonderful and very eye opening. While it has been many years since I served on Active Duty in the Army the Military still lives inside of me. It was a piece of my person something that I became not just something that I lived through. Many other Veterans will probably understand that statement civilians probably not so much. Last nights “Homework Assignment was to start writing about my life” Not just as a soldier but life as a whole. So that is what I am doing here and sharing openly in hopes to get others to see how my changes and life today may be able to guide them to seek out and make changes in their lives. 

When I joined the Army I was 17 and knew I wanted to be a soldier more than anything. I was looking for the Challenge that I had seen immortalized on Screen and Books. I knew nothing of true brotherhood, comrades or anything about being a man. I was a boy seeking to find myself by meeting someone else’s, standards. As I succeeded and met the standards I sought higher standards. I knew no other way except to challenge myself as I moved along this path I was on. I became addicted to the adrenaline that was produced by doing the dangerous and succeeding. This became my way of feeding my inner self and how I based my value system.

I was a Christian, spelled with the lower case on purpose. I went to church when I would I read the Bible sometimes but never really studied it (unless there was an alternate purpose for my being in a study group). I was self-absorbed self- centered and based most of my values on what was in it for me. So pretty much I was a fairly normal young man. I had a good upbringing as a youngster which I thank God for today. Yes I had a father that was an Alcoholic when I was young but that is not an excuse for who I am or was. It is just a fact of how my life was when I was a child. I did not have an exclusive hold on a bad experience in life allowing me to be something I should not have been. I say that because I did believe for a longtime that in fact my “Story” was unique and did allow me to be special with special circumstances I could justify bad behavior.

I myself delved into alcohol and thanks to that same man I just mentioned who was an alcoholic while I was growing up (he had sobered up by the time I was 13) I found my way to AA and was able to find a way to stop myself from a long life of abuse of drugs and alcohol. I stopped drinking at 16 which probably also kept me from being killed in many other situations. Tell me that God doesn't look out for fools cause I won on all counts there.

On a side note, I will tell anyone today that life is not a test, there is no bad thrown in to lives to see how we will act, react or get through some things. Life is Life. God knows us before we know us and he has his plan for us before we ever take our first breath. What happens while we have free will and we learn to become his children is part of growing up and testing our boundaries. Much like when we raise our children they test their boundaries and we as parents have to allow them to work things out so that they can come to us willingly in love for help. I always heard and said there was no book on how to parent from my parents and then from my own mouth. Well today I beg to differ I just didn’t have the understanding to grasp the Bible and what is was really saying. It was not my time. I have said many times TIME means Till It Means Enough and it took my life going down the road I traveled to get me where I am.

Back to the Timeline-Army life. As I grew in the Army and was sent to do things for the U.S.A. I questioned the morality but the adrenaline junky and success junky in me pushed everything down deep so that I continued to do more and more. Being a soldier was who I was. I was good at it, I got the accolades I never got when I was younger and I loved it. I did try to be “Normal” when in country I even got married, had children and continued to go to church as I could. I guess autopilot would be a good way to explain my way of living. I was very set in my ways, I did not like to change my normal routines that was for sure. I was angry, selfish and discontent even with all the loving support that I had around me. I stuffed all the feelings that I had and put on a mask of what I thought I should look like.

Needless to say, God has his plan and when his plan is not our

plan things will always change on our end. In 1996 my world came crashing down. In my sarcastic way I guess I should say something like my heart was no longer up to the game. Yep I had to go in for a major open heart surgery which curtailed my ability to be the soldier I was. I was medically retired from the Army, Angry and lost. My family took the brunt of my anger and denial. Overtime this lead to a shutdown of communications and a breakup of the marriage. In time the kids have forgiven me the Ex will probably never but there is nothing I can do about that other than prayer for God’s will to be done and a good life for all that I may have hurt in my living. I am in no way saying that I was a terrible person or a unforgivable sole. On the contrary I know that Jesus died to forgive all my sins and for that I am eternally grateful. 

Romans 5:8
But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I have been knocked down a number of times during my life; the end of my Army career was really just the beginning. The huge test was after 9/11 when my brain decided to go on strike and start reacting to an injury that occurred years before. Unfortunately when dealing with doctors the treatment path can be a long road especially when your symptoms don’t jump out and scream here I am. When I started to have seizures the doctors classified them as cardiac syncope because well it made sense at the time. I had been retired from the military with a cardiac related issue and had never displayed any other issues that would point in another direction. The seizures all presented as heart issues, I.E… all sorts of types of Cardiac Arrhythmia’s. So many actually that I had 6 more heart surgeries where the doctors did Ablations to stem the ability of the heart to go into these Arrhythmia’s. All four chambers of the heart have been worked on prior to God coming into my life as if Dyslexic namesake, Dog. My first service dog was actually the first to pick up on the root cause and stem through a simple licking of my face, the actual event from going into full stage event. Once that happened I was able to finally push the button on the recording device installed in my chest and get readings that the doctors were able to work with. Prior to that I would go out before I knew what was happening. Iris would pull me back to reality so to speak and my life changed.
I had gotten to the point where I was playing with suicide as my ticket out. I no longer wanted to play this game. The rules had changed to the point that I could not even see a trains light at the end of a tunnel I saw only darkness. My family my friends no human power could relieve me of the bondage of self at that point. Only God through his minion (Iris) was able to show me enough light to keep me hanging on. In no time flat my life turned around. The doctors were able to change meds to address the brain issues not the heart issues. I saw my license come back and the freedoms I had lost come back being allowed to go out and be with others on my terms because I had a Service Dog. (What I knew beyond a shadow of a DOUBT was God attempting to remain anonymous.) I could not hide any longer inside my own walls that I had built up; I had to share my transformation with others.
This was not the end of my story in a long run. I am still a human being with all the faults of said human race inside fighting. I had a renewed license on life but I was not well yet. As I have pointed out I am hard headed and had to take back the reins of life often just to make sure that I remember who is really in charge. I had this renewed belief and understanding in God but I still had to prove to myself I could do things. See that is my biggest downfall in life is it has taken me 55 years to realize that the difference between God and me is he never pretends to be me! For some reason I try to jump back into that role of Kent knows best. “Oh my Me”, life is so much better when I get out of my own way.  When I was gifted the presence of Iris then Mike I was gifted a tool to help me help others. My biggest issue is two fold. One I knew I was not the message just the messenger but I was human and let myself get into the message. What I got often while doing that was a Mess! The saying of there is no I in team comes to mind and boy did I miss that. My EGO ran wild more often than not. I had to battle with depression often while attempting to look good on the outside. I was missing the key ingredient but I did not know it till recently.

In the past 2 years I have changed so much. Early on in todays writing I said I had not ever really studied the Bible. I was exposed to it yes but studied the word and lived inside the realm of what it says, no way. That was something that was way outside of human capability and definitely not something I thought I could ever even attempt to do. Yes I tried to live by the basic tenets of what I knew to be true but I never used it as a measuring stick for my life. Remember, I always lived to a standard, I could not really understand how I could set myself up for such a failure as to live by the standard set forth in the Bible. My God the last person to live to the standard I saw in the Bible was crucified on a cross! How could I, someone who did the things I did in the Military, the things I did as a Child and since I am still here today still a Human living in this human condition live up to the standards I saw in the Bible.

Yep, I was pretty hard on myself. Still am actually as I sit here typing with sweat rolling out my eyes thinking about how much I have had to go through to come to understand where I am sitting today. I am in a Reboot class now and learning so much about me it is awe-inspiring. Not because I am any more special than anyone else but I am special to God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am learning about how to forgive myself for the things I thought were unforgivable. Here’s a line from one of our leaders last night.
Forgiveness is vitally important to God.

Hebrews 12:15 tells us “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and through it many become defiled”. Bitter people only hurt themselves. Unforgiven people are unforgiving; and hurt people hurt people.

I did not see myself as bitter but today I understand so much more about who I am in the scheme of things. I am a Child of God just like my children are each children of God, not grandchildren but his direct children. I am but a servant that is here to do his work until my time comes to go on to my room in heaven. Wow how great is that? I have been forgiven; the only things I have to do is forgive myself and do his work for him. That brings me to that time during my travels when that pastor called me a Missionary and I fought it with everything inside because I didn’t want the job. I have always felt the tug of Jesus inside and always blocked it and denied it was there. Today I accept the salvation that God gave us through Christ. The forgiveness of all forgiveness

That first Gift is Salvation! After Salvation on the cross so many other gifts are available to us all. The gifts of the spirits are Diverse. Our gifts are like our brotherhood of being a Veteran. The common good of His Glory unites us all. The Bond we share as Veterans having served as warriors to protect others places us in situations that test our being. Test our sole. Once we realize that those same tests of being a soldier actually bond us together and show us how God has hardened us to become his messengers can give us true strength to help others. I have been talking about helping others in my blog for a long time but I finally have an understanding that supersedes all others as to why I need to do service for others. I hope that this particular blog may help someone else struggling with their own issues, get past them and see that there is a power so much greater than ourselves. All we have to do is accept him into our lives.

 Well, I hope that today's blog was as special for you all as it was for me to write. I sweat a few drops while writing today and that is a good thing for me. Sharing from the heart to a public forum is always a scary venture but if this has the ability to touch someone in a way to help them jump over the walls that lock us into our own worlds then I am grateful I felt the tug to write. Thank you all for the support and prayers I have gotten even when I did not feel I deserved them. There is so much more to this story, stay tuned I have a feeling it won't take another lifetime to get out now that the dams are breaking.

God Bless. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Today’s light

Today I feel moved in my heart to share how I’ve been touched by so many around me. I’m sitting at our legion post waiting on yet another veteran who I’m supposed to be helping guide, yet somehow they always seem to guide me to where I should be. They have a way of placing my heart back where it belongs.

A few years ago I realized that I had to give back because I had been given life back. So often throughout my life I had said the words “I live life one day at a time” yet my focus was never on today or the person in front of me that needed help. It was always on the prize at the end of the rainbow. That rainbow had to do with what was in it for me, not God, you or even the family. As I look back on life it’s the very reason I lost everything I was working for because when you put yourself ahead of you lose. 

It sounds so cliché but in reality it’s so simple that we has humans with the human condition fail to see it. I’m not real good at quoting scripture or even finding the right words at the moment I want it most of the time but over the past 3 years my focus has changed. With the change of focus somehow the words or actions when they were needed came not because I did anything but because God is in charge today really One Day At a Time. Myself left alone will pick the wrong path 90% of the time yet somehow today through prayer (which believe me is something that scare the daylights out of me if asked to do out loud) happens in spite of my poor decisions. 

2 Corinthians 4:1-4. Because of this, since we* have this ministry, just as we have been shown mercy, we do not lose heart, 2 but we have renounced shameful hidden things, not behaving with craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but with the open proclamation of the truth commending ourselves to every person’s conscience before God. 3 But if indeed our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that they would not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Yesterday I had the privilege to go see a movie I knew nothing about. I had heard no reviews just that some friends were going and it would be a good one. So I did not question it I went. WOW talk about a blow your doors off make you sweat out your eyeballs and give you lots to think about after walking out the door! If you haven’t seen it, go! Don’t research it just go! I Can Only Imagine. That’s the name not going to tell you anything else don’t peek just go. It will be worth your time and money. 

So that’s my rant for today hope you enjoyed.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

2018 Where are We?

 Here we are again after a long hiatus, time well spent traveling and doing what needed to be done. Unfortunately I did not have the spark to write all that often and when I did think about it I just could not bring myself to open up the laptop and write. Blogging has been something between challenging and downright impossible to keep myself motivated to do. So today I find myself after some prodding from friend and family finally getting around to the keyboard.

Mike and I have been very busy attempting to get the word out to as many minds & souls that might be willing to be to listen and then pass on to others. Nothing we do is groundbreaking but we do attempt to listen and help others wherever given the opportunity. All to often in life today we see so many people being cast to the wayside because they "have nothing to offer" or they are to challenging to engage with. Life is meant to be lived as a part of not separately in our own little worlds.

Over the past months Mike and I have spoken at a number of different venues from Churches to Veterans groups along with and a couple Hospitals. We have even been up to Washington DC 3 different times to do a number of things. This last trip to DC I was able to grab a few really neat pictures of Mike the one in reflection of the Vietnam Wall was a great capture and will soon be on my website for sale for those interested. (Along with may other pictures that all go to help pay for gas and other expenses to fund much of the traveling we do.)

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.” 
― Maya Angelou

Some of the issues that we have been able to be involved with recently are traumatic brain injury panels to help come up with new and exciting treatments. In this hopefully some of the major problems that TBI patients see today won't happen in a few years. If this type of program continues to happen and is funded by congress some of the major issues our heroes face could be greatly reduced. I am very grateful to be a part of the veteran community that has been able to give back and hope to continue.

Our American Legion here in NC continues to make strides to grow and help the younger veterans understand why being apart of such organizations is so important. The continues support to the USS NC and also the Veterans Fund are just two small but huge programs that show the local community how involved our Veterans are and how much they believe in the communities they live. If you know a Veteran that is a member at large of the American Legion but does not have a local affiliation April is a great month to comet to one of our national membership drives and do a transfer. Unlike the normal 2-3 hold that post 1981 keeps on national unaffiliated we will be able to get instant transfers to a local post helping local post with their membership drives for this year.

On a similar note, as a Post Service Officer I get the opportunity to see many Veterans of all Era's who may not be getting access to some or all of the benefits they are due. Many Veterans do not know that they can pre-qualify for burial into a national cemetery. While this may not sound like something that is very important it will save your loved ones time if you would like to be interned upon your passing. While Arlington is getting filled up and the requirements are tougher to get in, there are many other National cemeteries all over this country that you can be interned in. Take a moment to contact your local PSO or drop me a line and I will be happy to forward the information to you. Why not help your loved ones now for when that time comes.

If you are a Local Post member, please take a moment to think about possibly looking into a planned giving program for your post. They are a Non Profit and a 501C3, Nation American Legion has a team that can help you with planned giving to your post or any other programs that you would like to support.

 I know I sound like I am putting out a lot of information here today but it has been a longtime since I have written and I am sorry for that. Please feel free to contact me @ if you have specific question or would like me to look into anything for you.

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty -- it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There's a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.” 
― Mother Teresa

Post 65 My Legion Post is running a raffle you can buy tickets through PayPal if you are interested.