A little background for why this hit me so hard… back in 2006 when I went on the offense in prayer... I thought (operating word here is “thought”) I was coming from a place of complete weakness… I was not physically charging at the enemy…swinging a sword… nor was I organizing meetings, running around in Christian Circles (pun intended) in some attempt to get the entire church to see my great revelation and go on the offensive in prayer.
I saw offensive prayer as the declaring of truths to principalities and powers and I wrote out a whole bunch of prayers filled with those truths… there are 6 pages of them here on my web-site, where I break it down during the day, in order to continually attack the enemy… all day long. I read these prayers almost every day from my “position of weakness”... some of the “declarations” even say the weakness words in one way or another… look at these…. everything depends on Him…
For me to live…. is Christ! You are the one who does all things in me… the one who strengthens me…. thank you that your strength is made perfect… in my weakness.
bring me into your rest where I stop all my work and watch… as you do the work that you want done
because our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers and their rules
My weakness is your strength…any strength I have is simply your strength… I will pray at all times in the Spirit… because I don’t know how to pray what needs to be prayed… but you do… Lord,
Father, bless us … diminish us… increase yourself…in us
I present myself as a living sacrifice… my act of worship to you…
Obviously there was more to this than everything I had already seen… all I had thought I understood… and all I had experienced up to this moment.
This is where I left off yesterday… gonna try to tackle some more of the story … just been emotional for the old fella… He said: “I want you to be the first one on every battlefield and the last one to leave… I want you to lead every charge…” “What? What battlefield? What charge? What are you talking about Lord?”
When I was approaching my 80th birthday, watching my health deteriorating pretty rapidly, I found myself writing to friends and saying this: “I always had asked Him if I could be His Caleb…. but right now It doesn’t look like I will be leading any charges up any hills at 85!!!!” The reference was to this scripture below…. and until the other night, I had just been waiting for the Lord to touch me and bring me back to some semblance of my former health.
10“Now behold, the LORD has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. 11“I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. 12“Now then, give me this hill country about which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps the LORD will be with me, and I will drive them out as the LORD has spoken.”
So…. once again… I started to go over all this with the Lord and explain to Him what had to happen if He really wanted me to be the first one on every battlefield… leading charges… or any of that kind of stuff…. I had no strength to do anything even remotely resembling something like that… He responded: “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and still you do not know me?” oooops… that is one of His favorite verses that he has quoted to me almost too often… I could hardly wait for what He would say next…. didn’t have to wait very long.
” I am not waiting for you to become strong, Philip… I am waiting for you to become weak… to see that your weakness is what I am looking for… not your strength… for my strength is released in your weakness… I can do nothing when you are operating in your own strength.”
That brought me to my…. “Oh… my…” and began quite a time together…
Could simply not get away from it… back again and again… Ia Drang Valley… then Little Big Horn…. Custer… then Moore.. back and forth…. “Lord… what am I missing here… what is it you want me to see?” Slowly I begin to understand… humble brave leader Hal Moore… concerned about his men… and arrogant brave leader George Custer looking for his next accolade… what a difference in leadership. I start to think about what kind of leader I had been over those earlier years… hmmmm….
In a speech to his men prior to leaving their base, Moore promises his men that he will be first to step onto the battlefield… and the last to leave… he will lead them into battle… and this is exactly what he does… it is beautifully depicted in the movie.
Does the same thing in the final battle… he gives the command fix bayonets… then gets up, goes over the top first and charges the enemy… now followed closely by his men. “I see that Lord… I understand… but what has this got to do with Philip?”
He said: “I want you to be the first one on every battlefield and the last one to leave… I want you to lead every charge…”
“What? What battlefield? What charge? What are you talking about Lord?”
It turned into quite a night.. I was never so humbled by any discussion with Him like I was last night…. last night was totally different from any previous experience… I was totally mush last night.. tried to explain it to Ellen this morning but broke down in tears again.
I’ll give it a try again tonight or maybe tomorrow… we shall see…
Not sure where this journey thru the Ia Drang Valley in Vietnam and the Little Big Horn in Montana is going to take me…just another of the Lord’s “not knowing whither” experiences for me… but… I do know I am enjoying every minute of it… and… He is showing me things… so many things… that I have never touched before…
Each day, it is clear what the next step is… what to reflect on… what to talk about… keeping it short and specific as possible… then enjoying all that He has just shown me. Tonight.. He said “choices”… and it was very clear what those choices were that He was referring to.
In 1953 I left college and went to work for the local newspaper. In order to avoid the draft and not end up in Korea… Philip joined the New Jersey National Guard… my CO really liked me and in 1955 (20 years old) he offered me a National Guard appointment to West Point…. choices to be made here… on top of the other choices already made. Today… as I am looking at We Were Soldiers, I can easily see myself by 1965 (finished with school and doing my required military service) being one of Hal Moore’s young Lieutenant’s in the Ia Drang Valley.
Moore was a very devout Catholic… and… very nicely portrayed in the movie… Philip was more desperate than devout in his Catholicism back in 1955… he could not imagine going to school for 4 years and not being able to marry while there… Philip could also not imagine going to Hell by having pre-marital sex… so a choice was made.
Philip turned down his CO’s offer… and decided to get married instead. That choice probably kept me from being killed in that Valley of Death… on the other hand… that choice did, in fact, kill a whole bunch of other things in my life…
Choices do end up forming our lives…. how do we handle our reflections on those choices… later on in our lives…. hmmmmm….
In the movie, We were Soldiers, you will never actually hear the Garryowen being played… the music in the movie is all very haunting… sober…. sombre… Garryowen would not fit… this little bit of history below should pretty much explain why… 🙂
“Garry Owen” is an old Irish quick-step that can be traced back to the 1800s. it is known to have been used by Irish regiments as a drinking song. So the story goes, one of the Irish “melting pot” members of the 7th was singing the song under the influence of spirits, and Custer happened by, liked the cadence, and soon began to hum the tune himself. Garryowen is derived from Gaelic meaning Owen’s garden, is a suburb of Limerick. The tune has a lively beat, that accentuates the cadence of marching horses, and for that reason was adopted as the regimental song soon after Custer arrived to take over the 7th Cavalry. It was the last song played by the band for Custer’s men as they left the Terry column at the Rosebud River and rode into history.”
On the other hand, Garryowen (by the time Vietnam rolled around), had moved along to be used more like…. semper-fi… ooh-rah… a battle cry…. an encouragement. We see that a couple times in the movie. After the Lieutenant (acting like Fetterman) charges up the ridge following the VietCong decoy (playing Crazy Horse) they are then totally surrounded by the enemy… cut off from all the others. A platoon is sent out later to rescue them… when they get to the base of the hill, this lieutenant then charges up the hill with the battle cry… “Garryowen”….
The other time it is used in the movie, is when the 2 survivors of the ridge, volunteer to rejoin the front line for what they all knew would be the final battle… the 2nd one is very young, buried under his helmet… Colonel Moore taps him on the shoulder… the young man looks up at Moore… and says quietly…. “garryowen, sir“….
Time for Philip to rejoin his unit on the line…. garryowen…. see you tomorrow…
I think I have watched every movie ever made about Custer…. and every movie plays the 7th Cavalry’s March … the Garyowen… aka the Garryowen. We had purchased a tape at the Little Big Horn which took us thru the battlefield, explaining each stop… at the end they finish the tape, playing the Garyowen… Philip lowered all 4 windows… cranked the volume to the max… and we drove out of the Park….
I know… I’m a little weird… but I got even weirder…
I asked Ellen, if she would mind if we went around the battlefield a second time… somehow… the Lord gave her the grace to say… OK… midst some rolling of the eyes… and facial expressions I did not want to ask about… 🙂
The music even seemed louder the second time we drove out from the battle field…
yesss…. I am weird… but my wife loves me…. as does the Lord…. 🙂
“Here is the famous “Garryowen” that was originally an Irish tune, but when it reached America it was used as the 7th cavalry’s march. Many can relate this “Garryowen” to the American defeat at the battle of the Little Big horn in 1876.”
I had always been fascinated by the massacre at the Little Big Horn… Custer’s arrogance … just our whole military’s arrogance… it was the one place I always wanted to visit… to see the battlefield… to try to visualize what happened there… except… Philip never took vacations… he was always much too busy doing important things... you know… saving the world… making money to solve all of God’s problems in the world… things like that… ad nauseum…
Ellen and I took our first vacation together after we shut down the restaurant in 1994… celebrated her 50th birthday and our 25th anniversary… and spent the summer by driving out West… where… of course… we would end up at the Little Big Horn... it was a great experience… saw many other things than the Little Big Horn.
We stopped at Fort Phil Kearny in Wyoming on the way to Montana. We discovered that there was another massacre 10 years before Custer… the Fetterman Massacre… Captain William Fetterman (with the same military arrogance) led 81 men from the Fort to chase a warrior daring them to come out and fight… the warrior was a very young Crazy Horse used as a decoy to bring the soldiers along a ridge where they were surrounded by a thousand Indians… it was all over in an hour. I enjoyed walking that battlefield even more than the Little Big Horn.
The point of all this, is simply background to all the allusions to Custer in the movie We Were Soldiers…. so many… Colonel Hal Moore was commanding the 7th Cavalry... their horses were their helicopters as they prepared to bring their 395 soldiers into a trap where they would be surrounded by 2000 VietCong regulars…
Tomorrow, I will also let you know about how Fetterman appeared as well… amazing how that military arrogance just continues on and on… well… not really amazing … just my natural man showing itself off.
Glad I finally learned that the only way out of all my disasters is by His divine interference…. so many stories…
More details tomorrow…