Five Fold Today Look To Me, Your God! - Iraq Vets Testify to War Atrocities - The Matter of Supply - Restoration - I'm Sorry - What I Truly Want From You - Knowing God the Hard Way - Old Rags

Look To Me, Your God!

James Donovan

This is the season to press into Me! Don't look at circumstances or situations, but focus on Me; for I am the Lord over every situation. I am the mountain-mover, so give your mountains to Me. Press into My throne room, call upon My name, despite everything you going through. Remember, I have called you out to be My mouthpiece upon this earth.

I am the great I am, press into Me, draw close and resist the world, the flesh and the devil. Get out of the usual place and come to Me, study My word, worship Me. Call out to Me, for I am a God that hears your cries, I shall bring you through stronger in faith and stronger in Me!

I have called you out and destined you to be My mouthpiece. So arise and shine; put on My armor in this hour. You shall go through many battles but you have victory in Me, for I am a big God. Despite the obstacles, you shall arise and come through as you call upon My Name. I am the Lord of breakthrough and open heavens. I speak to My people, who shall arise and be more than conquerors in Me. Give your all to Me! Focus on Me and I will calm the storms and depart the seas as you focus on Me!

Come into a new level of dependency and hunger and thirst for more of Me! Despite what you going through, I am there in the midst. So look to Me, My called ones. Come to Me and arise and sound the trumpet; let My words flow through you, My chosen ones who are called by My Name!

Iraq Vets Testify to War Atrocities,
Vow to Fight and Resist Bush Policy

By Liliana Segura

"I was ordered multiple times by commissioned officers and noncommissioned officers to shoot unarmed civilians if their presence made me feel uncomfortable," Sgt. Jason Lemieux told a panel of lawmakers last Thursday (May 15th) in a packed public hearing on Capitol Hill. "These orders were given with the understanding that my immediate chain of command would protect our subordinates from legal repercussions." Lemieux, a former Marine who was part of the invading force that entered Baghdad in March 2003, came to Washington, D.C., with Iraq Veterans Against the War, weeks after the fifth anniversary of President George Bush's declaration of "Mission Accomplished" to tell Congress enough is enough. Invited by Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., the veterans spoke firmly and eloquently before members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, telling stories that were just "the tip of the iceberg," as Lemieux put it, but which nevertheless offered a frightening range of accounts: violent house raids, the killings of innocent people, "drop weapons" used to make dead civilians look like insurgents, racism in the ranks, and their own process of dehumanization as they became inured to the humanity of those who they were supposedly sent to "liberate."

The morning was infused with a sense of urgency. "Every day that the occupation continues, more men, women and children will be killed, maimed, or forced to flee their country as refugees," said Kelly Dougherty, executive director of IVAW, in introductory remarks. "More veterans will return home with lifelong scars, emotional and physical, with little support to help them readjust.

"Many," she added, "will fall victim to suicide." Indeed, of the nine veterans who testified that day, two said they had tried to kill themselves after returning home.

Like the Winter Soldier hearings in March, when more than 200 service members gathered in Silver Spring, Md., to give their eyewitness accounts of the injustices occurring in Iraq and Afghanistan, "Winter Soldier on the Hill" was designed to drive home the human cost of the war and occupation -- this time, to the very people in charge of doing something about it. Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the rest of Congress was debating the next round of funding for the war -- whether to approve more than $160 billion in additional taxpayer money to continue the occupation. "I think you know that the very issue that we're talking about today is on the House floor today," Woolsey noted -- a partial explanation for the small hearing room and the small handful of lawmakers who showed up. Even for those politicians who have consistently criticized the war, however, a group like IVAW -- whose platform includes immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq, including contractors, as well as paying reparations to the Iraqi people -- is a politically risky ally. "I think we're generally viewed as too radical for most politicians," one IVAW field organizer and former military intelligence officer, T.J. Buonomo, said after the hearing. And this is a Congress where political courage has been in lethally short supply.

Not that IVAW expects Congress, after five years of cutting checks, to suddenly become the driving force that will end the war. Rather than lobbying politicians or pouring its energy into the presidential election, IVAW has focused on recruiting and chapter-building to fortify its ranks. Membership has reached 1,200, with members in all 50 states, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently, Germany. Concluding his remarks before the caucus, Washington, D.C., chapter head and nine-year veteran of the New York National Guard Geoffrey Millard spoke confidently about IVAW's role in fomenting an antiwar movement capable of ending the occupation. "The only remaining question is," he said, "will Congress be there to help us?"

"Welcome America to the second Vietnam"

Growing up, all Kristofer Goldsmith wanted was to join the Army. "I wanted to be in the military my entire life," he recalled, showing a photograph of himself at age 10 in military garb. But whatever sense of patriotism inspired him to want to wear the uniform as a young boy became something different after 9/11; the Bush administration's lies linking the terrorist attacks with Saddam Hussein inspired a willing foot soldier for its "war on terror."

Goldsmith was 16 years old when the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and he recalls thinking that the United States ought to use biological weapons to take out the entire Middle East. "I joined the Army to kill people," he admitted, "to kill Iraqis, to kill Muslims." Trained to use artillery -- "some of the most destructive weapons that the army has" -- he deployed in 2005, only to find himself in Sadr City doing "supposed humanitarian aid," which he described as becoming "trumped by presence patrols" -- a daily reminder for Iraqis that they were surrounded by an "armed and dangerous army" patrolling their streets."

"It's basically fear tactics," Goldsmith said. The violence against civilians and the degrading conditions the occupation imposed on Iraqis became appalling to him. Slides he presented during his testimony showed raw sewage covering the floor at schools and the ground outside a hospital. "We made no attempts to repair it," he said. "We were unable to." In fact, the armored vehicles used by the military tore up the streets, exposing drinking water pipes to raw sewage. Goldsmith also showed a photograph he took of graffiti written on the side of a school in Sadr City that read, "Welcome America to the second Vietnam." It's not only critics in the United States who have drawn such comparisons, he said. Iraqis, he says, "are smart, educated people that are dying every day."

As the gross reality of the occupation hit home, rather than bloodlust, he felt unable to cope with the war as he experienced it. When Bush announced the "surge" in January 2007, Goldsmith had just gotten home. "I was stop-lossed the same week that I was supposed to get out of the army for an 18-month deployment," he said. But he never went. "I attempted suicide. I never deployed a second time. And because of that I received a general discharge. And I lost my college benefits; the $40,000 promised to me in the Montgomery GI Bill, I will not be eligible to receive." Going to college after serving in the military, he said, had been his "one hope and dream."

A number of veterans cited their involvement in IVAW and the chance to tell their stories as a critical outlet, a way to make up for what one veteran called his own "moral death." It's clearly a process: The first time IVAW member James Gilligan told his story in public, at the March Winter Soldier hearings, he broke down. As a Marine corporal in Afghanistan, he had radioed in an erroneous target for a mortar attack that ended up striking a village and killing innocent civilians. As he spoke that day, his whole body appeared wracked with guilt. He too had attempted suicide. He has since spoken out many other times. After his testimony Thursday, he showed me a photograph of himself on "Mission Accomplished Day" and said he remembered thinking that he would soon be going home. Instead, five years later, he has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and is now a committed speaker against the war. "I fly this flag upside down because my nation is in distress," he told the representatives, holding up an American flag.

"If you want to do something about PTSD, stop sending people into unjust wars"

According to former Sgt. Adam Kokesh, who served in Fallujah during the height of the siege, post-traumatic stress disorder can be attributed to three things: "lack of confidence in equipment, lack of confidence in leadership, and lack of confidence in the mission." He added: "In Iraq, we have all three." The alarming rate of veteran suicide -- which has only recently begun to be reported -- loomed heavy over the hearing. Former Marine sniper Sergio Kochergin's voice strained as he told the story of a roommate who had been placed on suicide watch "on and off," only to be taken off in anticipation of "family day," so that he would not say anything to his parents -- "and he did not say anything to them." He was deployed not long after, only to shoot himself in the head in a shower stall, one month after arriving in Iraq. "The Marine should have never been deployed to Iraq in the first place," Kochergin said, "and nobody was held responsible for his death."

On the same day of the hearing, a story broke that revealed a disturbing new strategy for dealing with the influx of veterans reportedly suffering from PTSD: Stop diagnosing it. In an e-mail dated March 20 out of an office of the Department of Veterans Affairs (subject header: "suggestion"), a VA employee wrote: "Given that we are having more and more compensation-seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that we refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder, R/O PTSD." The National Institutes of Health defines adjustment disorder as an "abnormal and excessive reaction to a life stressor, such as starting school, getting divorced, or grief" and says that symptoms "usually do not last longer than six months." Compare that to the definition for PTSD, which "can occur after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death" and which, in some cases, "can last for many years." Now, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which broke the story, has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests seeking "all records pertaining to any guidance given regarding the diagnosis of PTSD." "It is outrageous that the VA is calling on its employees to deliberately misdiagnose returning veterans in an effort to cut costs," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.

"If you want to do something about PTSD," said Kokesh after the hearing, "stop sending people into unjust wars."

Who really supports the troops?

Perhaps more than the question of additional funding for the occupation, the debate that riles veterans the most is the current political battle over the GI Bill, which, in at least one version -- that of Democrat Jim Webb of Virginia -- proposes full scholarships for service members to any in-state public university. Bush and the Defense Department oppose it, primarily because they claim it would provide too large an incentive to leave the military and go to college. In an interview last month, paralyzed Iraq war vet Tomas Young (also of IVAW, and the subject of the powerful documentary "Body of War") recalled the reaction of his brother, who is currently in Iraq, to such twisted logic: "Just being in Iraq is an incentive to leave the military!" he exclaimed. The notion that sending soldiers to college would be a bad thing is the worst brand of cynicism.

Many veterans have turned their indignation into action. Last month a petition featuring some 30,000 veterans' signatures arrived at the office of John McCain, urging him to get behind in Webb's legislation. But the candidate who wraps himself in the banner of patriotism and support for the troops has refused to back it, parroting Bush's line that it could lead enlistees to choose college over war. "There is a senator in Congress, currently running for president, who is fighting to kill our Webb GI bill," said Goldsmith. "And I'm one of the soldiers who will never get that money." In fact, by the end of the day Thursday, the House had passed its version of the Webb GI bill by a vote of 256 to 166. But the $163 billion for the war was ultimately blocked.

Members of IVAW are not naive to the political context of last week's hearings -- nor are they content to see their day on the Hill as a largely symbolic development. When U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, a Texas Democrat, asked the second panel of veterans if they would be willing to bring out 100,000 people to march on the National Mall against the war, all of them answered respectfully, but frankly. "Beyond amassing hundreds of thousands of people here -- which has been done before to no avail -- there has to be clear objectives," said former Army Capt. Luis Montalvan, who worked extensively for General David Petraeus. Indeed, for those in the room who have marched countless times against the war -- sometimes alongside the very building where the hearing took place -- the exchange contained a sad irony.

"I think it's important to take everything with a grain of salt," Buonomo said when asked how much faith can be placed in Congress. At the same time, he called the hearing a "great opportunity." "To me, it was very encouraging that we have legislators who are taking a principled stand." To what end may remain unclear, but for starters, the possibility that IVAW members will have a chance to testify again -- this time before a committee -- seems much more likely. When Jackson-Lee asked if the veterans would return to Capitol Hill to testify under oath -- and provide documents -- the answers were unequivocal: "Absolutely, yes." And although "Winter Soldier on the Hill" was billed as the first official testimony by IVAW before members of Congress, a handful of other members had spoken to members of Congress the day before, at a two-part hearing sponsored by Jackson-Lee and Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. The subject was protecting whistle-blowers; Buonomo was one of three IVAW members who testified, having been involuntarily discharged for, as he called it, "speaking out against the occupation of Iraq and the policies of our government."

"This soldier will not be deploying to Iraq"

Perhaps one of the most significant statements of the day was made after the hearing, in the rotunda of an adjacent congressional building. There, Sgt. Matthis Chiroux stood before cameras and the public to announce his decision to refuse to deploy to Iraq. It was a move that Gilligan described as "momentous" -- especially as it had been inspired by the Winter Soldier hearings back in March. "As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter service members' stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq," said Chiroux. "For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand."

"In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq."

"This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal, and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate, as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq."

Liliana Segura is an AlterNet staff writer.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

The Matter of Supply

Mary Lloyd

Philippians 4:19

"But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

The manner in which God supplies our needs as spiritual men and women is a rather beautiful mystery. Being born again, we have a new hunger and a thirst inside us for the things of God, upon which the inner man must continuously be fed and sustained, supported, refreshed and renewed. As God's children, there is no other way to grow.

Clearly we have bodily needs of food and clothing and shelter which are basic to all human life, but Jesus would not have us preoccupied with these things at the expense of the growth of the spiritual man. The needs of the spiritual man are of far greater importance than temporal and temporary concerns which are destined to perish.

Matthew 6:19-21

(19)"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and dust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: (20) But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (21) For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Matthew 6:31-33

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Turning our attention then to the needs of the inner man, we must ask ourselves whether we are in receipt of supply. By supply I mean spiritual supply, not that which satisfies a desire for religious form or ritual or tradition: these things will never feed us. They may pacify, dangerously, but they will never feed us.

If, in taking an honest look at our interior, we have to conclude that we are spiritually impoverished or in want, it is an urgent matter to put this right. It is best not to assume that God would feed you if He wanted to, and therefore put the blame on Him for any miserable spiritual lack: He is waiting for you to enter into that dynamic relationship which consists essentially of man's spiritual need, and God's inexhaustible supply.

If you are born again you will already know of this.

While God may feed you according to your body needs, it is a terminal state of poverty that exists among those not born again. Jesus said "ye MUST be born again" (John 3): it was not an option that the fanatical or obsessed may take up if they wish to continue in their spiritual excess: it is a command. Without being born again, there is no continuation with God; without being born again, there is no Holy Spirit given; without the Holy Spirit, there is no spiritual supply. Not in giving or in receiving, no supply.

We may trot along to church on Sundays and pass a pleasant hour thinking about different issues and feeling affection towards our like-minded friends: but this is not being born again. This is not supplying or receiving supply. But if we are born again, God will feed us because we are His own. And we will find ourselves with enough to feed others. We may be inside a church building, outside on the street, or locked up in a room at home..and God will be able to feed us, by His Spirit Who lives in us.

We may find ourselves without friends, without work or income, without a home, without food or without any other normal human thing that ordinary men and women need: but if we have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, God Himself will supply all our need, and especially for those things that will build us spiritually into those persons that He wants us to be.

Praise His Wonderful Name!

Love, Mary


Joan Ray

I am the God of restoration.
My desire is to restore what the enemy has stolen,
as well as anything you have given away.

In order to receive,
All you need to do is come to Me.
Sit at My feet and listen,
with your heart open to hear My heart.
At times, I will show you an area of repentance,
or a place where new direction is needed.
At other times I will simply come
and pour into you that which you need
at that time--for that time.

Each time, there is restoration.
There will also be a new level of intimacy with Me.

I'm Sorry

By Michael Kwiatkowski

Here's something you'll never hear from any pundit, news reporter, or politician this Memorial Day: an apology.

To all the soldiers who have been maimed and killed in the wars of the Bush-Cheney regime:

I'm sorry.

I'm sorry I didn't do more to voice my opposition when it mattered.

I'm sorry I have kept paying for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan with my tax dollars, without doing more to ensure that you had all the equipment and training you needed to stay alive. I'm sorry I didn't do more to prevent all the money spent so far from being written in the form of blank checks to Halliburton and other war profiteers.

I'm sorry for all the pain, suffering, and death you've had to endure.

I'm sorry you were sent in without a clear mission, without an objective, and without constraints on your behavior so you could avoid being put in the position of committing war crimes on the orders of your inferiors in Washington.

I'm sorry some of you were allowed to be in the military, when your recruiters and training instructors knew you had little or no moral compass, when they knew you might gladly mistreat prisoners at places such as Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. The actions carried out by these disgraces to their uniforms have tarnished the reputation of the military as a whole.

I'm sorry many of you who were maimed -- mentally, physically, or both -- were tricked out of your health care benefits by a Pentagon so greedy for money that it decided it could get away with fraudulently listing your conditions as pre-existing.

I'm sorry I didn't make a bigger, louder, and more effective effort to call for the impeachment, prosecution, and conviction of those whose lies sent you into the hell of Iraq and Afghanistan with no way out.

To the families who have lost loved ones to these horrific wars and occupations:

I'm sorry your friends and relatives have suffered and died in vain. I'm sorry their sacrifices have been swept under the rug, their true stories and their names and faces hidden away so that the public feels little connection to what's being done in our name. I'm sorry your loved ones have been turned into instruments of propaganda and political posturing.

To the people of Iraq:

I'm sorry for everything you've had to endure.

What I Truly Want From You

Jim Grayson

We have come to a time in this season where you need to truly understand what your relationship with Me concerns. I know you seek to please Me with your obedience and well it does. You already know I seek that more than sacrifice. You can lay yourself on an altar of sacrificial fire but if you're not obedient to Me, your sacrifice will be for naught.

I want to go deeper with you. Listen to Me- truly, your obedience is so very important, both now and in the future but what I truly want from you is your whole heart, to hold your heart of hearts against My Own. When your heart is totally given over to Me, then obedience is not a problem for you at all; in fact, you will obey My Will for you gladly, even if it means the ultimate in obedience. I tell you truly, some are called to that ultimate in obedience, in the giving up of your life for the sake of the Gospel and you know who you are. It has been in your heart, simmering through the power of My Spirit for years and when the time comes, the gift of your life will be made and when you get Home...well...just wait...

I urge you, My Beloved, to simply let go of any remaining hindrances between you and Me. You know what they are. I have spoken to you about them and I have sent others to speak to you as well. Nothing is worth putting a wedge between you and Me. You can hold no earthly thing so dear as that. You have much to do and you cannot drink from two cups; it didn't work in the early church and it doesn't work now. I want your whole heart. I deeply desire your whole heart, to show you the greatest depths of fellowship with Me you can know on this earth. Look at what I have done for you so far. There is so much more to you and Me. Remember the term, 'Joy unspeakable and full of glory. That is what I AM saying to you, My Beloved. Turn loose and see," says the Lord.

A Freshening Wind

Knowing God the Hard Way

by Olufunso J. Omidiran
  Psalms 83:15-18
  15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.
  16  Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.
  17  Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:
  18  That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
  Many people refuse to know God at ease, nevertheless the Lord loves them! The Lord does not delight in the destruction of any erring soul; He is indeed willing to help the weak and the meek. He will transform all those who are spiritually and morally weak and beautify them with His grace. But the heart of most people is several miles away from God. Hence, the Lord inevitably to draws our attention to Himself through the hard way. The hard way is not always the best way, but when our heart is at variance with God, we are due for the hard. When we are transgressors before the Lord, our way becomes hard:
  Proverbs 13:15
   ¶Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
  The heart of man can be so hardened that it takes him a long while to hear and obey the word of the Lord. At times, he waits for God to allow the door of troubles and distress to be opened before obeying a simple instruction! God does not want His children to be like mere animals who can only be tamed by force; He wants all of us to be willing and obedient children who will act at His immediate bidding. He is indeed a loving Father who does not want His beloved children to go astray.
  Psalms 32:8-9  
  8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
  9  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
  Why are we seeing large scale catastrophe and unprecedented natural disasters in different parts of the globe today? Could it be that when men refused God at ease, they are being made to cry after Him in their pains? In the very recent years and months the world has experienced recurrent hurricane, cyclone, typhoon, earthquakes, flood disaster and mass destruction. Besides, we also experience economic hardship, food crisis, fuel crisis, inflation, rise in unemployment and political upheavals. Is it not highly probable that the Lord is speaking to all men in the midst of the rubbles and troubles? Do you suppose that the Lord is delighted in the destruction of the nations? Is it not wiser for all of us to take advantage of the current distresses and perplexities in the nations to humbly seek the face of the Lord?
  Our Lord is certainly NOT the author of confusion, but His voice would not be silenced in spite of the pervading confusion we find ourselves in. The nations are languishing and their hope is being dimmed by day. The love of those who seemingly love the Lord is now waxing cold because they are not spared the brunt. Meanwhile the mighty One of Israel is calling every one of us once again to seek Him, amend our ways and seek for the truth. Shall we not turn aside and see the great sight at the back of the desert? For now the salvation of God´s people is nearer than when we first believed. Let the need to seek the Lord begin with each individual first. Let the urgently needed change begin with you in particular. It is time to tell it to the hearing of every one ‘Behold thy God´. Shalom.

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Old Rags

Allen Sanders

Let go of the old rags that you have held on to,
They represent the past,
Look at your hands and see what it is you are holding on to
Now let them go and see that I have turned them to a pile of ashes,
I am blowing the ashes away to reveal beauty.

Look now to see that where the ashes were is now gold,
This is your future.

Hold on the iron rod, for this is My word.
The iron rod will be your stability,
Hold on to it as you walk in the paths
that I have foreordained and set before you.
It will be your guide.

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