DFO 1685 19/10/77—Dad's Army Days!
1. KING DAVID SAID "IT IS BETTER TO BE A DOORKEEPER IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD THAN TO DWELL IN THE TENTS OF WICKEDNESS!" (Ps.84:10) So it is better to be a dishwasher in the house of the King than to be washing dishes someplace else! PTL! TYL! I'll never forget when I first got that verse. I had been in the Lord's work & church work, kind of a general flunky, janitor, sign changer, doorkeeper & everything else for the church, so I was really quite happy when the Army came along & drafted me. I thought, "Now maybe I'm going to have a change & a little variety & a little more fun!"
2. WELL, I LANDED IN A TENT WITH WHAT I FELT WERE THE WICKEDEST MEN IN THE ARMY WHEN THAT VERSE CAME TO ME & CONVICTED ME! I heard these men in the army telling dirty stories & swearing & cursing, taking Christ's name in vain, & I got that Scripture, Ah ha! "Better to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness!" The Lord really let me get my fill of that before He finally released me. I had some really interesting experiences.
3. I'LL NEVER FORGET WHEN I REALLY GOT DESPERATE IN THAT LITTLE TENT THERE IN FLORIDA, where the big huge induction base is, up near Leesburg. The cook who was one of the roughest foul mouths of all bunked in our tent & I was really getting desperate & I really needed prayer to keep me going. I thought, "My God‚ I've gone from Heaven to Hell! Lord, somehow get me out of this thing!"
4. SO WHEN ALL THE GUYS WERE GONE OUT TO TOWN I WOULD GET DOWN ON MY KNEES & PRAY. I like to get on my knees & pray sometimes, when I get desperate enough, & it is a good position for your body as well as your heart. I tried not to pray in front of any-one like I was showing off or something, so I waited until they were all gone. But while I was praying the cook came back to the tent & saw me on my knees.
5. AND PRETTY SOON I HEARD A STRING OF CURSES & OATHS & VOICES OUTSIDE THE DOOR, the men apparently coming back from wherever they had been, & the cook was saying: "If one of you guys goes in there & makes one little crack about him, I am going to knock your blankety, blankety, blankety block off!" So there's a testimony!
6. LATER I WAS IN A BIGGER BARRACKS UP IN VIRGINIA, ABOUT 40 MEN, & I WOULD WAIT UNTIL THEY TURNED THE LIGHTS OUT & THEN I WOULD PRAY. You talk about big tough guys!—All this bull & cursing & everything! And they must have finally seen me somehow when I prayed after lights out, & one night about the worst guy—I thought he was, at least, but apparently he was mostly all blow—came crawling over on his hands & knees, it was the sweetest thing, & he said‚ "I wish you would pray for me!" He was the last one in the whole barracks I expected! So the Lord even can use you in a place like that!
7. THEN IN THE ARMY HOSPITAL I COULD REALLY BE A BLESSING BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN GUYS REALLY NEED TO LISTEN, WHEN THEY ARE REALLY SICK. There was quite an epidemic of meningitis at that time on the base & usually you either go quick or it cripples you, one or the other‚ or it goes to your brain & you go crazy. So it was a good chance to talk to some of those guys, TTL! No matter where you are, you are going to have to be a witness, sometimes in the worst & toughest & darkest places you can possibly be in!
8. I WOULD SAY MOST OF THE DISCUSSIONS WE EVER HAD IN THE ARMY IN THE BARRACKS, OR THE FIELD, OR IN THE HOSPITAL WERE ABOUT RELIGION. The guys were really interested when they were facing going up to the front in the early days of the war. Well‚ my whole outfit was sent to North Africa & 80-some-percent of them were killed in the battle for North Africa with Rommel. It was at the time when Rommel & the Germans were way ahead & winning & he won. So the British & the Americans began pouring in to try to stop him, but they almost didn't until Patton came along. Our Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Thompson & the head nurse of our company were killed, & most of the guys I witnessed to. So the Lord gave me the chance to witness, & I always hoped that maybe on the battlefield some of them would finally accept the Lord.
9. THE LORD SPARED ME FROM THE BATTLEFRONT—I didn't want to go out there & shoot anybody! They begged me to go because I was a crack shot with a rifle & they needed good shots, but the doctors saved me, TTL, from that‚ at least, & told them I couldn't go. They sent me home to die with heart trouble, & look what happened!
10. SO PRAISE THE LORD‚ "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE THE LORD!" (Rom.8:28) We learn by our mistakes, in fact sometimes I think that's where you learn the best lessons of all‚ the hard way, at least you sure learn! You don't forget them very easily that way, that's for sure!