Ready To Die

His wife called him her “Renaissance Man”. James Dunckley was first a Marine Sgt. and later an Army Sgt. He was a patriot and a military man, a loving husband, a devoted father, a counselor and a confidant to young people. He was a medaled black belt in karate, a martial arts and self-defense teacher. He loved young people and they loved him. He brought joy and laughter wherever he went.

Death held no fear for James. His motto was “Ready to die”.  Why was he not afraid of death? This began with a decision as a boy.

James memorized Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” One morning, he came to his mother saying, “Mom, I am a sinner, and I know that I am going to go to hell. I need Jesus.”  That day he repented of his sins, and asked Jesus to be his Savior. He received what God promises in Romans 6:23. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

At age 14 he decided on the motto “Ready to die”.  He shortened it to RTD 7, seven being God’s number. At 17, prompted by some parents, he started a self-defense class for teens who were being bullied. The first night of class, he told them that the only way to be a fearless fighter was to be unafraid of death and to be “Ready to die”.
What was James’ secret to overcoming fear?

Fearless and “Ready to Die”

“Fear not them which kill the body; but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell” (Matt. 10:28). James shared that fear comes from one of three sources:
The Fear of Death – the remedy for fearing death is salvation in Christ. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

The Fear of Loneliness – the remedy for loneliness is the promise of God’s presence. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. …we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5,6).

The Fear of Pain – the remedy for pain is having God’s strength. “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” (Psalm 73:26).

A warrior who has no fear of pain, death or loneliness is a valiant soldier. He can go into battle unafraid because he is ready to die. Christ is willing to give anyone that source of strength.

When 9/11 happened, it changed the world and James’ life. He was 19 and he joined the Marines.   He wanted to fight terrorism and keep his family and country safe.

In September of 2002, James was married, and by January of 2003, he was in Iraq and in battle. James was a marine scout reporting on enemy actions and he was in most of the major firefights. This tour he came through unscathed.
Soon after returning home he informed his family that he and his wife were expecting a baby. Becoming a father excited him, but there was also sadness. His unit would be in Afghanistan when the baby would be born in March.


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