Tag Archive | soldiers in Iraq

Voices from the desert…

Steve "Blu" Mack, soldier in Iraq

“The happiness of this place comes and goes, and I find that sometimes this place gets the better of me and throws me face down in the dirt.  But I find that every time I get my eyes back on you I always see forgiveness in your eyes, and in your presence find the perfect peace,  and in your presence find joy that surpasses all the troubles of this place. ” ~~Steve “Blu” Mack, Facebook

Voices from the Desert….

Two soldiers in Iraq.  Steve (above) and Sean..

Sean on leave with his baby daughter, Caroline

Both Christians

Both learning to lean on their God

In the desert…

dust storm on base

Sometimes it’s hard to see…

“Lost and confused.” Sean Leach on Facebook

But, they are learning to make God their vision…

“Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art

And I stand here in your promise, that you will never leave me; watching as the storm rolls up on me, and your voice turns to a whisper.  I feel all alone but I still stand on your promise.  My sand castles come crashing down but the rock you have given me is strong till the end.  As the storm blows over, I see you standing next to me.  I hear you say in a voice so sweet that you love me and never once have you left me”  ~~Steve “Blu” on FB

“When you speak from your heart, and say the words your soul has only dared to whisper, that’s when miracles happen.” Sean Leach on FB

And over here in the states where we have all the water and comfort we could desire, their words have become water for our thirsty souls:

In the hopes of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”  Sean Leach on FB

“Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.” – Billy Graham ~ Sean Leach on FB

And how could such a king shine His light on me and make everything beautiful and I wanna shine.  I wanna be light.  I wanna tell you it’ll be alright… I got nothing of my own to give to you, but this light that shines on me shines on you and makes… everything beautiful, again. It’ll be alright, it’ll be alright.”  ~~Stephen Blu Mack on FB

“The light shines in the darkness…” John 1:5

Note: post still under construction… check back later for more encouragement from the desert.

Steve “Blu” Mack, soldier in Iraq

Stephen "Blu" Mack in Iraq

  My friend’s son, Stephen,  has recently traded his cozy midwest life for a ticket to Iraq, and his blue jeans for army-issue green. 

And in this note  posted on Facebook, Steve “Blu” Mack, soldier in Iraq,  shows he’s been, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses before him, meeting with God in the desert.  

 (Steve Mack, far right, above)
” Here’s a really easy question to answer:  When was the last time you read your Bible? … I mean really read it and not just sat down for five minutes and realized you had something else going on and then left, but I mean sat down and just talked to God.   

“That’s something that I have been really blessed with out here in Iraq, is a bunch of down time that I have been able to spend in Gods word and grow closer to Him. That’s the whole point of the Bible isn’t it? …

 “How can a young man keep his way pure by living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you O’Lord, teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statues as one rejoices in great riches.” Psalms 119:9-14.   

”  I love reading the Psalms because it shows a what a real relationship with God can be like. It shows us that God wants so much more of us then just Sunday mornings and a couple nights a week.   He wants our whole lives,  just like in a marriage.  When you get married you don’t say,  “I’ll love you for 5 out 7 days a week.”  If you did,  you wouldn’t be married that long. It’s the same thing with God. God’s calling on us isn’t just a 9-5 job, it’s a life style that we have to commit to.   

“We have to be willing to pick up our own crosses and follow Him. “For if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23.

Now that means getting into the Word and praying, not just on Sunday mornings, because when Friday rolls around, that daily bread you got on Sunday won’t do you any good. That’s pretty much it, and I’d really like to hear any input anyone has on this or anything else. Thanks and God Bless.” ~Stephen “Blu” Mack

Are you following The Leader?  Click on the pic below to learn how to fall into formation:


What trust feels like sometimes!

Trust is not a four-letter word, but you’d think it was, I avoid saying it so often, as in, “I trust you, Lord.”  In God I definitely do NOT put my trust, my whole trust and nothing but my trust as often as I should. 

When I was little, my oldest sister and her boyfriend (now her husband) pulled a trick on me.  I was years younger than they and so when they asked me to step up on a board they were holding between them and let someone blindfold me, I did. 

 I trusted them.  Afterall, the board wasn’t very far off the ground.   So, I stood there on the board, with my little right hand up on my sister’s shoulder and my left up on her boyfriend’s for balance while one of their friends knotted a handkerchief behind my head. 

Then my heart skipped a beat as I felt them lifting me high up into the air.  I must have been pretty high, too, I thought, because I had to bend my knees to keep my grip on their shoulders.  My legs were shaking and I was holding on for dear life when they said, “Jump.” 

What?!  They and the other teens in on the joke coaxed and coaxed assuring me I’d be fine.  “Come on!  You can do it!” 

 Finally, I let go and leaped into the air expecting to be falling to my death but was shocked and confused when I landed abruptly on the ground just a few inches beneath me where it’d been all along!  They had just bent down beneath me, making think they’d lifted me up! 

 I‘m sure they all had a good laugh at my expense and it probably took awhile before I’d trust them again.

Sometimes God’s  like that.  

Sometimes he asks us to try something a little scary, like lead a Bible study (I’m not equipped for that!), or help at an orphanage (I’ve never really liked kids…), or fly half-way around the world to love on a people that are COMPLETELY different than us (I can’t!  I just can’t, Lord!).  Or it can be something as simple as speaking kindly to our family (Now, you know they won’t listen to me unless I yell!), or trusting Him enough to stay pure till the wedding day (I’ll die!). It can feel a little like balancing on the edge of a cliff, ’till you take that first step…

When I look back on my life, I can clearly see that when I’ve taken that leap of faith I’ve landed safely every time. 

But when I’ve followed other voices, my own or the devil’s or people’s I thought I could trust, BAM!  I’ve come up dazed and confused and wondering what would have happened if I’d just trusted and obeyed in the first place,  like that old hymn ,

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey.”

I recently read this status about trust on Facebook.  It’s a heart’s cry from my friend’s son, a young soldier in Iraq:

He wrote, “Sometimes I’m so scared of what will happen if I put all my trust in You, but I am terrified of what will happen if I don’t!  What will happen if I keep on living in this rut that I’m in? What will happen if I never put my trust completely in You? How many blessings will I miss?  How many chances will I miss to give your name glory? How many chances will I miss to show your love to those who need it?”  Steve “Blu” Mack.

How ’bout you? Has God asked you to step up on the board and you’re afraid if you do you’ll end up like that guy in the picture at the top of the page?

  I bet, though, if you looked up, you’d see that instead of a jagged cliff, you were holding onto a warm hand all along; the hand of Someone you could trust.

The cliffhanger’s prayer:   “Oh, Father in heaven.  I want to trust you.  I want to agree with the psalmist who wrote, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ ” (Psalms 31:14)  Help me to trust in You at all times, and pour my heart out to You, for You are my refuge. (Psalm 62:8).  And David wrote some of those words when he was besieged in a city with enemies all around.  So, help me to trust you right in the heat of battle when all looks hopeless.  Help me to be still and know You are my God. (Psalm 46:10)  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”

Read the following verses slowly.  Let them speak to your soul: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah”  (Psalm 62:5-8)

Do you know the Lord?  Click on the pic below to be introduced.  Come on!  Trust Him! Jump!! 🙂

Special 9-9-09 Edition: Prayers for Iraq

“The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”  Psalm 9:9 KJV


A child in Iraq.

Happy 9-9-09!  In honor of 9-9-09, and because it’s so close to 9-11, and because we’re STILL at war in Iraq, I say it’s a good time to pray for the people of Iraq.

With me?!  Ok, to set the tone, read this song of lament, written by an ancient Mesopotamian (the location of modern-day Iraq).  It was written thousands of years ago, but could have been written by a heart-broken Iraqi today —

Dead men, not potsherds
littered the way.
In the wide streets
where the crowds once gathered and cheered,
the corpses lay scattered.
In the fields where the dancers once danced
the dead were heaped up in piles…….

This is my house:

where food is not eaten,
where drink is not drunk,
where seats are not sat in,
where beds are not made,
where jars lie empty,
and cups are overturned,
where harps no longer vibrate
and tunes no longer sing.

This is my house:

without a husband,
without a child,
without even

Let’s pray…..I’ll put some facts in bold, followed by a prayer. (All verses are links to full passages on BlueletterBible.org.)

“Oh Father in heaven, thank you for this day, this special day, 9-9-09.  Thank you for putting it on my heart to pray for our brothers and sisters in Iraq….”

Iraq is located in Mesopotamia, “the land between the waters”, the waters of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. “As the people there depend on those  waters for life, may they learn to depend on your spirit for eternal life.” (John 3:5)

Adam and Eve gave birth to mankind here in the “cradle of civilization”, “Mmay the Iraqi’s that know you be “fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 9:7) spiritually; “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:13)

Iraq is part of the “Fertile Crescent”, the ancient “agricultural heartland” out of which rose “the world’s first civilizations”**   “Oh, may the hearts of the Iraqi people be fertile soil for your Word —“As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so [may Your] word [be] that goes out from [Your] mouth [to the people of Iraq]: [May it] not return to [You] empty, [may it rather] accomplish what [You] desire and achieve the purpose for which [You] sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

playing cards given to soldiers by Defense Department to encourage respect of archaelogical sites of culture of Iraq and its people.

Playing cards issued to soldiers by the defense department to encourage respect of the history in Iraq. The cards identify several rare archaeological sites and artifacts reminding troops “that these areas are not only a part of Iraqi and Afghan cultural history, but also their own.”

Father, thank you for all the ancient history preserved in Iraq’s museums, cemeteries, ancient buildings, and ruins; a beginning point in  history, some of it, for all modern civilizations.  May the soldiers sent to protect the people, also protect and respect their heritage and ours, an important part of fulfilling their mission there.***

And, finally, please protect the moms, dads, grandparents and children of Iraq.  May they have food, water, roads, and homes.  Peace and safety in their streets, In Jesus’ name, amen. 

** Answers.com/fertile crescent

*** “…according to a Training for In-Theatre Cultural Resource Protection fact sheet. “In military operations where winning hearts and minds is a critical component of success, protection of cultural property becomes vital to the success of the mission.”