Thursday, July 22, 2010


Another entry into the d$'s Random Emails of Encouragement series...

I'm working on my Disney blog, telling a few stories of note, but this afternoon, I kinda (re)stumbled onto this via the iPod.  After listening to the song for like, four times in a row, noticing it was getting a bit dusty in the room, I thought it might be good reading for you, Coffee Drinker.  Perhaps someone out there might get some use out of it. 

The band Watermark is one of the Top Five most influential artists of my lifetime.  The lyrics of Nathan Nockel and the voice of his wife Christy have done so much to my Spiritual Walk that I was brokenhearted when they announced their breakup.  In fact, the track "Welcome to Delaware" is not only the title of the soon-to-be-never-forthcoming soundtrack to my own life, but thoughts of changing this site to be called "Welcome to Delaware" have crossed my mind... but its too complicated to do so.  Anyway, Watermark, you are missed. (I have Christy Nockel's solo CD, its just not the same..)

If I’m not mistaken, this was written for Laura DeGarmo, a friend of mine who is now in Nashville. Her cousin is actually Diana DeGarmo of American Idol fame, and her uncle is the DeGarmo of DeGarmo and Key (for you old-schoolers out there). I’m guessing if your name is DeGarmo, somehow you are a) musically inclined and b) related to Laura.  

This one is for my dear friend who needed a Stronghold last night…

One of my all time favorite movies is A Few Good Men. No sex, not a whole lot of language, only a few f-bombs, violence is minimal… featuring stellar performances from Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Jack Nicholson and of course, Kevin Pollak, one of the truly great “That Guys”. (That Guy is a one of those actors or actresses in movies you see all the time but you don’t know who they are… That Guy Hall of Fame would include William H. Macy, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Philip Baker Hall, Don Cheadle and my favorite, Joe Pantoliano… you may not know any names, but you’d see them and say “Oh, That Guy!”… wait, I’m babbling)

Sidebar: Okay, so the most famous part of the A Few Good Men is Jack Nicholson’s “you can’t handle the truth” speech. Remember that one? Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) asks him about the incident, and Col. Jessep (Jack) says, “You want the truth?” and Kaffee says, “I want answers!” and Jessep says, “You want the truth?” and Kaffee says, “I think I’m entitled to it!” and then Jessep yells, “You can’t handle the truth!” and the proceeds to rant on about “we use words like honor, code, loyalty, we use those words as the backbone of a lifetime spent defending something, you use them as a punch line… who’s gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?... I’d rather you say thank you and be on your way, either way, I don’t give a darn to what you think you are entitled to…” After that incredible, powerful speech, you would think Kaffee would address it. No, he just skips it. His next question is, “Did you order the code red? “ After all that talking from Jessep, it could have been left out entirely, and it wouldn’t have mattered, because Kaffee’s line of questioning had nothing to do with his speech. Amazing.

  (warning, you might find these Non Emmy Turnbow Safe:  one illegitimate child reference, one d-word, one GD, and its on DIVX...)
Back to the point…

In this movie, two Marines are charged with the murder of a fellow Marine, a weaker guy who no one liked. Defending them is amateur lawyer Daniel Kaffee, and his partners are Lt. Sam Weinberg and Lt. Com. Jo Anne Galloway. There is a scene where Kaffee, Weinberg (Pollak) and Galloway (Moore) are standing in the courtroom, and Galloway asks Lt. Weinberg why he hates the defendants. He replies, “Because they picked on the little guy. They killed him. Why? Cause he couldn’t run fast.” Then he asks Galloway, “Why do you like them so much?”

“Because they stand on a wall. They say you can sleep tonight, because no one will harm you… not on my watch.”

That’s a powerful line. To know that someone is standing over you, saying, “It’s okay, you can relax. Nothing is going to harm you. Not while I’m here. Nothing.”

And it’s that way with God. He stands firm in front of us, and declares, “Child, no harm will come to you. Not while I’m here. Not on my watch.” And the most awesome, comforting thing to know is that, it’s always His watch. He’s always there. It’s not as if He’s going to go on break, so we have a few minutes we have to worry, until He comes back… He stands there like an ironclad Warrior and says, “I dare anything to come against you.”

Of course, things do come. He sometimes lets things go by Him. He allows things to happen to us because He knows it will glorify Himself in the long run… but those things go by with His knowledge. They don’t slip past Him undetected, where they can destroy us without Him even knowing about it. He stands and sometimes allows things to come, but then cautions those things, saying, “Don’t get cocky… I will protect my child.”

During worship, I often scribble in my notebook just whatever is in my head. Sometimes it’s the beginning of an encouragement that I feel I should write later, sometimes its just a thought I think I should remember later, sometimes its just whatever… last night it was a song lyric. There is a song by Watermark called Stronghold, and I began to write down the chorus…

Oh Lord, You’re my protection from my enemies
You set my high upon the rock and defend my soul
When their waves advance against me I am confident
They cannot make me less for You have made me whole
You are my Stronghold

You are my Stronghold

Then I began to realize how powerful this is… He is our stronghold. Stronghold. Two words, one meaning strength, power, might, the other meaning grasp, grip… Stronghold.

God then gave me a name to share this chorus with, so I did. She asked me to write it down for her, and I did. Some time later, I glanced over at her, and noticed she sat, notebook in hand, just stared at the words that I had written on the page. It was as if she were soaking it in, telling herself over and over that she had a Stronghold… reminding herself of that very fact. And the cool thing is we both have Strongholds in God. He is a rock that is our protection from all enemies. When the enemies advance, threatening to tear us down, they may succeed… but only with provision from the Stronghold.

There are some reading this that are being torn down right now. They are falling apart, no matter how great they look on the outside, on the inside they are in tatters, in pieces, in doubt that God is even listening to them… they know God listens to them, but only because its been drilled in their head from a lifetime of church, not because of recent experience. You feel sick, you feel weary, you feel disappointing, you feel that by now you should be so far ahead spiritually than where you are, but yet, you aren’t… Right now, you may feel less than worthy, right now you may feel less than anything God wants of His children…

But no matter what the enemy does to us, they cannot make us less than what we are, and that is complete in Christ. As a Christ-follower, we have been made whole in Him, and that cannot be taken away, no matter what is done to us, no matter how hard we crash on our knees, no matter what presses us… He has made us whole. He is your Stronghold. He has promised to make us everything we are to be. He is your Stronghold. He has promised to lift us up, He has promised to hug us, hold us, allow us to crawl in His lap, rest our head on His chest and just be. He is your Stronghold. His hug, his embrace is unlike that of anything that will ever diminish, unlike that of anything that is less than forever… for He is our Stronghold. He is your Stronghold. Our Father is so powerful, powerful enough to obliterate those that would hurt His children, gentle enough to calm us with a touch when we feel obliterated. He is our Stronghold.

Lord, You are my Light and my Salvation
Whom shall I fear if You are near?
Lord, You are my peace when there is war all around me
Even here inside me I will have no fear

Lord, You are my strength so let my head be lifted up
So that I may glory in the ways You’ve overcome
Lord, You are my hope, cause You created in me
A heart that lives the victory that You’ve already won

Oh Lord, You’re my protection from my enemies
You set me high upon the rock and You defend my soul
When their waves advance against me I am confident
That they cannot make me less for You have made me whole
You are my Stronghold, You are my Stronghold

A heart that lives the victory that You’ve already won. I just wiped a tear from my eyes as I read that line… A Victory You’ve Already Won. Wow. My Stronghold.

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear, though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

For in the day of trouble, he will keep me safe in his dwelling, he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me. Psalm 27: 1-3, 5-6

Written July 9th, 2002

1 comment:

  1. D$, I love the new "look and feel" of the blog. I also loved this post. These are my favorite kind of D$ posts. You are a writer and what better way to be used by the Father, than to write. Keep at it, my friend.


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