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Summary: Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and makes no promise that following him is safe, only that he’s good.

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Not Safe, But Good

On April 10, 2002, the first battalions of US soldiers forced their way into Baghdad. The night before, their chaplain gathered them together for prayer and worship and he gave a message from Psalm 91 which is a psalm set in the context of literal warfare and it’s all about God’s protection and how he is our shield and defender. It’s the psalm that says; “though a thousand may fall at your side…” no harm will befall you... “he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways… These verses were foremost in the thoughts of these young Marines as they stormed Baghdad. Amazing stuff happ’ned. There were almost no U.S. casualties.

You say, Why, what happened?? There are scores of stories like this one… A Marine Humvee was creeping through the streets of Baghdad. Several soldiers were manning guns but exposed from about the waist up and later said they never felt so vulnerable in all their lives. Bullets were whizzing by from all directions. They came to an intersection and…

…Something told me to look to my right, and when I did, I could see the silhouettes of a small band of Iraqi men less than 25 feet away. They were kneeing with machine guns and RPG’s pointed right at our Humvee (rocket-propelled grenade launcher). The moment stretched into eternity and the fear of death riveted my insides. I prayed knowing that a direct RPG impact upon a Humvee would leave nothing behind but a little puff of smoke. What happened next was simply unexplainable. As soon as Batke could whirl his Mark-19 around and start shooting, the men, for no good reason, stood up as if they’d seen a ghost. They dropped their weapons and ran full-speed into a dark alleyway. It was nothing short of bizarre.

At first they wondered - what did they see that was so terrible to cause this band of fully armed Iraqi’s to turn ghost white and drop their weapons and run? Then they remembered how God said he would send his angels concerning us…

That same day a convoy was heading up under an overpass and the unit operations officer looked up and saw that the overpass was lined with AAVs from end to end, like a steel wall. But something caught his attention that made him take a second look: the AAV’s were not marked....

Whereas all of our battalion vehicles have the distinct and clear markings of our unit painted in bold white letters and numbers, the ones I saw had nothing painted on them at all. They were unmarked and out of place, and none of it added up, except for the fact that their position on the bridge provided a perfect shield from the incoming enemy rounds that were hailing down from the surrounding rooftops and balconies. In the heat of the battle, I simply sloughed it off and kept fighting. But days after the battle, going back to that same intersection, I tried to locate the overpass on which the strange AAV’s had been lined up in a steel column. To no avail I searched, no matter what direction I looked – north, south, east, west – the overpass simply wasn’t there.

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