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Personal Growth:

I write a monthly column for our local VFW Post newsletter as their post chaplain. I have no formal pastor training. During three tours of duty with the infantry in Vietnam (27 months) between 1964 and 1970 my units operated beyond friendly lines daily and sometimes for extended periods. We often had no access to the assigned battalion chaplain so depended on volunteer lay leaders. I was one. The Lord sustained me at times miraculously. Back then I only knew him in a religious sense though thought of myself as a believer. My desire was to please him, but I was not then born again so had no real supernatural power operating in my life. Eight years after the “fall of Saigon” (1982) I was on active duty stationed in Washington State. One Sunday I was reading an eight page article in the Everett Herald on the history of what was happening in the aftermath of Vietnam. I had an epiphany after reading two statistics. That since the “fall’ in the latest year counted 70 percent of all the fatal single car accidents, the driver was a Vietnam Vet (a form of suicide). Also, since the “fall” three times as many Veterans, as had died during the entire war, had committed suicide since. This startled me. I realized for the first time, while I was training for some future war, a spiritual war was going on, far more lethal. I did not have spiritual eyes to see. I told the Lord that morning I would get involved in that war. I retired shortly thereafter entering civilian life and began to learn all I could about spiritual warfare and wrote my first article on spiritual warfare. Satan took me seriously and began to attack me in a more personal way. Until then I had not been much of a threat to him. But God began to reveal Himself to me in a more personal way. The lessons I share in my monthly VFW columns are what I have learned about spiritual combat and its benefits. At seventy two neither I nor my wife take any prescription drugs, have no major health issues, and are rarely sick. I do not suffer from PTSD. I look to a supernatural source for help. God has given us supernatural tools to combat sickness, disease, poverty, and other dangers and He is faithful. Everything bad that happens to believers comes from hell, not from heaven. Only the use of supernatural power can overcome the hidden powers of darkness.

Power:

Veterans know the importance of power or strength. The military taught us how to generate power to help subdue the enemy. Just this particular word, power, is used 281 times in the Bible. Following that particular word through the Bible is interesting. The first time it is used is in Genesis 37:4. There its use is about personal strength in a difficult situation.  I can’t speak for women. But for men, it seems to be a lifetime pursuit; be it physical, mental, social, political or all the above types of power. My personal observation is that most of us seem to have little interest in the only real power that counts: spiritual power. In our pursuit to become a stronger person we seem to look in all the wrong directions. All the signs the prophetic scriptures tell us to look for toward the end of the age seem to indicate we are living in that final generation before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (Mark 13:30, Isaiah 41:4, etc.)Yes, there is a last generation before His Coming.  In this last generation we seem to be in, it is critical our personal focus be a righteous one. I myself have sought all these different types of power. As a young athlete it was for more physical strength. As a student the focus was mental strength. In pursuit of popularity more charisma was the need. I have sought and attained political office. During all these pursuits I was religious. I thought I was righteous. But God’s ways are not our ways. He has a way of bringing us all to our knees so that we will hopefully turn truly to Him, the source of all strength and power. At a desperate point in my life I finally turned to the Bible for strength. All my natural fall backs until that crisis had deserted me.  In my desperation I looked to Him and He sustained me, Looking back later it seemed miraculous. I recently read  I Corinthians 1: 18-31, a very interesting passage dealing with this subject. Let’s focus on I Corinthians 1:27: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty….”   There is deep truth in this entire passage about the pursuit of power. Certainly this is about the power of the old rugged cross. But the insight I also got from the highlighted verse was that it was about a hidden power overlooked by the world: the power of the prayers of God’s believers. This power is the reason so many of the plans and timing of the World Powers to bring in the New World Order are mysteriously interrupted and delayed in spite of the elite’s increasing boldness. It is the reason that like with Lott before the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19:22) we who are found righteous in Christ must be raptured before what is foretold in Revelation 6-18 will come to pass. Like with any army that is being overwhelmed, a good general has an escape plan for those who he has put in harm’s way. Power is critical to success in life at any age. But who and what we look to in these final days for strength is absolutely critical for survival.

Provision:

Most of us remember well when we were overseas, unaccompanied. Meal times were a definite highlight most days. I didn’t think much at the time, of the long hours behind providing us guys with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner week in and week out. Much organizational planning was behind this huge effort. In the rear areas dining was much more of a treat than in the field where we spent most of our days. When the infantry crossed the line of departure into enemy territory, we carried three days of rations in our packs. We depended on helicopter resupply. One time because of weather and enemy action my rifle company went two weeks without a resupply. It was always a treat when we stopped to eat one of our C-rations. A General, Colonel, or Lt Colonel was in overall charge of providing necessary provisions for the combat element in his particular organization be it battalion, regiment or division. With the mission focus of combat organizations meal time was the best opportunity for the fellowship most of us seems to hunger for. Do you know that just like when we pledged allegiance to the military making them responsible for our well being; so too when we surrender our life to God, he is similarly responsible for our well being. Matthew 6:31-34 pretty well sums up that we are to take no thought for the things we need. We have a supernatural superior who is well able to look after us. We found this true in the natural army in which we served, and it is even more true in the heavenly army. We can have trust and confidence in the God of the Bible. Philippines 4:19 says: “My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Have you really given your life to Christ? Are you worrying right now about something? Well just remember who is responsible for taking care of you and your family. God is faithful. He is trustworthy. Hebrews 11;6 tells us: but without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. Do you believe that he is? Are you diligently seeking him? Than don’t worry.

Dave Winecoff
Chaplain

P.T.S.D.

I first deployed into Vietnam in 1964. I was twenty-six and never heard the acronym: PTSD. Combat stress was only an academic term from my study of prior wars. I made three separate deployments into Vietnam as an infantry leader. I saw men killed, wounded and in distress. Only much later did I reflect on why some men escape trauma while others don’t. Is it just a matter of luck or more complicated than that? I never earned a Purple Heart, but some wounds are more invisible. They leave open wounds but they are psychological and emotional. The Bible deals with this. I was a Christian during my war years, but a naive one. Only later did I come to realize how biblically ignorant of God’s promises of protection I was. Following Vietnam I have become increasingly aware of the reality of spiritual warfare in the aftermath of my direct combat experience over 27 months. God records detailed instructions for his people to ensure our survival. Hosea 4:6 tells us that “his people perish for lack of knowledge.” There is no word for luck in Hebrew. Everything that happens good and bad is under the direct control of the Lord. He responds to biblical prayers, but Satan works very hard keeping men away from these important instructions for daily living. If one is seeking wisdom and knowledge this is the place to turn to. God uses the word “you” many times to personalize his instructions. The bottom line is this: secular help is not the real answer for men with PTSD issues. Professional counseling, drugs, exercise, finding meaningful work and countless other secular attempts to help those experiencing the aftermath of traumatic events brings tolerable recovery at best. The only lasting source of help comes from God. He alone can fill the void. Many who experience life altering trauma remain stuck in the past. There they try to make sense of what happened to them or someone dear. For the rest of their lives many recycle endlessly through what happened trying to make sense of what happened. They need to be set free. This power is fully discussed in God’s word. Few get through life without the need for supernatural help at some point. Such help only comes from turning to the Living God. If you are having difficulties on the other side of some bad times and need a boost turn now to the only one who can save you. His name is Jesus Christ.