Saturday, December 22, 2012

Every Choice Matters

As young men, we are responsible before God for the choices we make. One of the most prime times in our life is in our youth, and the prime time of that is between ages 13 and 20, the time that the most physical, mental and spiritual growth takes place. It is vastly important that we make wise choices during that time of growth, because it is those ones we will have to live with the rest of our lives.
On Friday Dec. 14 2012 a 20 year old school student walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown Connecticut, wearing black combat fatigues and a black Kevlar flak vest, carrying two handguns. In a matter of minutes he incapacitated 20 children and 6 adults, all unarmed, none able to effectively defend themselves. The gunman committed suicide shortly after.
This man made a choice to do what he did, and suffered the results. His choice determined his destiny.
Regardless of what we are taught and who teaches us the basics of life, we are still held responsible by God for our choices (Matt. 12:36). It is the Valiant, the ones who have great courage in the face of danger, that are willing to choose and learn from those choices. How can you make wise choices? How can you take practical steps to being a man of Valor?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Different shapes of Valor

Valor can be found on many levels, even on the grounds of kid fun! These photos are of my friends and I during some airsoft games. Our enjoyment in these games come from the use of good long range airsoft carbines, strong tactical teamwork, and good simulated combat realism. The more serious it gets the more fun we have, and that kind of fun even comes from a little bit of mature humor. We all have different capabilities and even group 'call signs' or nicknames. Starting from the right in the top photo is Groundhog, Marine, Priest (Me, with the small white patch on the back of my flak vest), 2Tall, Gunny, and Bossman. In the bottom photo, from the left, is Priest (Me in the Desert Camo), Laddie, The Kid, Pantha Man, and Bossman.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Generation

Have you ever observed an average modern day teenager? What are your conclusions? What is your first impression? Some might say 'cool' or 'rowdy' and some might say 'busy', and depending on who is observing the judgment can vary significantly. But what would a God fearing teenager, public or home educated, discern if he were to do the observing? The conclusion is generally the same accurate one: Lost. Today's teens are lost because they have not been taught discipline, they do not have the desire to do what is right. Doing what is right is never easy, especially when it involves personal sacrifice; which it generally does. As much as the parents want their teens to do what is right and make wise choices, these teens have been thrust into and saturated by a sinful feel-good culture, where they are more inclined to feel good than to do what is right. These results are only inevitable when the slogan 'Have it your way' is written on everything we get from Burger King. What kind of a generation would we have if it were willing to choose discipline? What if the young men in our society actually sacrificed their comfort and did what is right? It requires a simple but not easy choice. Several thousand years ago there was a young man who had one great desire in his heart, to do what is right. As a youth and eventually a man, he loved writing about his passions and desires for the Lord, much like a person would journal. One of his greatest entries can be found in Psalm 1:1-3, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law me meditates day and night, and he will be like a tree planted firmly by the water..." This young man's name was David (Pronounced Da-veed in Hebrew) son of Jesse. One thing he was perfectly familiar with was God's Law, or his Torah (Hebrew for 'teaching and instruction'), and as he mentioned in the Psalm, he also knew by education and experience that a man walks in strict faithfulness to God's Torah would be as a 'tree planted firmly by the water', never to be uprooted. David was a strong keeper of Torah, this was evident not only by his love for God but because he knew and lived the blessings of the Lord that came to those who kept God's Torah, as it is written, "If you keep my decrees and laws and are careful to obey my commands, I will send rain in its season..." (Lev. 26) The whole chapter of 26 is filled with just a glimpse of the blessings that come to those who keep Torah. All throughout the Old Testament God implores his people to keep his Torah that life may go well with them (Jo. 1:8), and one major fact displayed in Israel's history is that Torah is an example of God's grace given to man. Many times has Israel been placed into bondage by other kingdoms, such as Egypt and Babylon, due to lack of faith and obedience to God and his Torah. David understood from both history and experience that strict attention had to be given to to keeping in line with the way of life God had wrote out in Torah. One could not just 'keep' Torah as some sort of tradition without their heart being sincere and sensitive to the strong spiritual forces behind Torah. The Lord commanded, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength" (Deut. 6:5 ). Torah was and is a heart matter, if a man is to keep Torah he must love God and his Law with all his heart, just as David said in Ps.1 "...but his delight is in the Law (Torah) of the Lord..." Man's sinful desire resents anything holy, thus he must make a constant effort to sacrifice his flesh, sinful desires, to do what God has commanded. Only the valiant have the will and courage to overcome such obstacles. In 1st Sam. 17 David confronted a giant named Goliath, a colossus over 9 feet tall. David did not have to do what he did, he didn't have to challenge Goliath. David very well could have stayed in the ranks of the Israeli army wetting his pants from fear like everyone else. But out of his reverence for the Lord he was willing to destroy the Philistine blasphemer. Great courage in the face of danger. This is the valor that this generation is called for, the courage to keep and uphold God's Torah even in the face of danger, to remember the faith in which we invest and the Word of God we defend. As is written in 2 Ch. 16:9 "For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to him..." The Lord is constantly searching all over the earth for those who will do his will and when he finds a heart that is committed to him he strengthens that heart to be valiant. What do you think? Can we raise this generation up to love God so much that they would valiantly defend not only God's name but their faith and God's Torah in both simple and great challenges of everyday life? Or are we just another people of the church, passing through, filling the pues, here one day and gone the next, just hoping that sometime God will randomly step in and make something happen? Or can we count this generation among the valiant?

Friday, October 12, 2012

My older brother, Lance Corporal Austin Eplett, 3rd Battalion 8th Marines, Marjah Afghanistan. Valiantly fighting for our freedom.

Be counted Among the Valiant.

Connecting Young Christian Bloggers: Add your favourite blogs here!
Courage in the face of great danger. This is Valor.
I am a 19 year old young man who has dedicated his life to the calling God has upon him: to be a voice in the wilderness. I have learned more than I can explain in my very short life so far, and am looking forward to learning more from other strong Valiants who have a passion for Truth. Therefore I am rallying Valiant young men so that we may find greater strength through learning from each other.
I plan to post about once a week on it, but it will also be open to others as well, to post and share their thoughts. Write me to see the terms of public posting. The Lord bless all of you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great Courage in the Face of Danger

Valor is a word that has been strong in nature but unchanged in definition throughout history, a word that has retained a complex but simple meaning: Great courage in the face of danger.
So valor is an action of character, an outflow of a person's beliefs. A person who believes strongly in something and is willing to defend it or its cause against all odds and even death is a person of valor, a valiant. This characteristic is built into all God's creations, and from animals to humans, one can always find examples of valor. Many of these examples can be found all throughout history, from warriors and kings to men and women of every day life. Perhaps some of the best examples of valiant men can be found in Scripture, God's Word. Men such as David, Moses, Elijah, Joshua, Paul the Apostle, John the Baptist, Gideon and of course Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah. All these are biblical models of valor, great courage in the face of danger. When I began the idea of making this blog I set two things before the Lord: What should I name the blog and what should I write about? After long thinking the Lord put it on my heart: Among the valiant. But why that title? Because that is what I want to be, Among the Valiant. I am only 19 years old, I am homeschooled and live in the farm and country land of Michigan. But as a God fearing teen and young adult there is one characteristic that has been long missing from this generation of young men: Valor. Our young men are lacking great courage in the face of danger. I long to see this character value restored to our generation, to see these young men become become valiant, willing to stand and fight for what is right and true. Someone once said that the Church is always one generation away from extinction. This is true because the next generation has to be willing to carry on the Church, without valiant men the Church will be left without a body. Thus this generation has to be raised up to be counted among the valiant. That is what we do here, this is a meeting ground for young men who want to learn or help others know what it means to be righteously valiant. All young men are free to share their thoughts and perspectives on valor, to encourage one another in it. And no matter who you are your input is invaluable, speaking into the lives of other young men. Just as David rallied valiant men around him so here we rally young men who are hungry to be counted Among the Valiant.