November…I’m so glad you’re here. The crispness of the air, the browns…oranges…reds of the trees…the smell of pumpkin pie (of course from all the pumpkins that survived Halloween…only to be carved up and cooked for dessert)…all serve as subtle reminders that winter is slowly approaching and, more importantly…Thanksgiving! As Americans, we have so much to be thankful for. We’re rich beyond comprehension and live and worship freely in the greatest country in the history of the world…protected by the greatest fighting force the world has ever known…the United States Military.  This Veterans Day (Nov 11) and every day, I want to express my humble thanks to warriors, past-present-future, and their families, for their service to this country and for being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice that so many have made…to lay down their life for another.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV).

There is a powerful parallel between Christ’s words to His disciples and the brave men and women who serve in our nation’s Armed Forces. You know, there are many reasons why people join the military. Some do it out of a feeling of patriotism or duty. Others see the military as an opportunity and/or pathway to a better life. Whatever the reason that caused the ‘called’ to step forward…to join something that’s bigger than themselves…to put their right hand in the air and swear to serve and defend America from all enemies, foreign and domestic…so help them God, it doesn’t take long before we realize that it’s not necessarily the “what” we serve and fight for…but the “who”…our friends…our fellow warriors…often they are one in the same…our families…those that we share the battles with on so many more fronts than just the battle front…that become our primary motivation and the fuel that drives us and becomes something much more powerful than the idea or ideal that first sparked our actions.

I’ll always have a very special place in my heart for the chapel on the Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) Parris Island, SC. During Boot Camp, Sunday service was a very special time. Every recruit went to church…whether they were believers or not. For some, it was the first time they ever walked through the doors of a church. For others, it was a reprieve from the training…the Drill Instructors…the stress. For me, there was an aspect of it that provided a sense of normalcy and a taste of home. More so, it was about an aspiring servant warrior wanting to get closer to and worship the mightiest Warrior, the first Servant Warrior, and bring Him into my new world. Of course, He was already there with me. I remember, like it was yesterday, standing in that chapel singing the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the indescribable feeling of pride that rushed through me. I can also feel the tears that literally streamed down my face as I was a part of a Marine congregation singing: “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the Sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me; As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on. They weren’t tears of fear…but of pride…and willing sacrifice. They were tears of the realization that Jesus Christ willingly went to the cross and gave His life for me…for my freedom from the bondage of sin…and that I, if necessary, was willing to give my life for another. While I was never called upon to give my life for another…so many others were. They followed the ultimate example of sacrifice and of love for each other…for those they knew…and even more they didn’t.

In the years since my time at Parris Island and in the Marine Corps, God has revealed so many things to me. One overwhelming truth is that the military community desperately needs a Savior…a Friend…THE Friend. They need to know “…there is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24(NIV). While bodies have been damaged…it is the spirits and hearts that have suffered the gravest wounds. The greatest casualty is not being forgotten. It’s forgetting that the only One who can truly heal a heart and restore a spirit has never left nor forsaken us…but stands at the door…knocking…waiting. All that is required of us to do…is open it.

Oh yea…one more thing…To all fellow Marines, past and present…Happy 239th Birthday. Semper Fi. “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”Marine’s Hymn. Ooorah!! Until next time, Rock On…& Armor Up!

Don’t miss Servant Warrior Radio each Wednesday at 11:00 AM EST on its new ho3R Radio white backme at Righteous Rock Radio – 3r-radio.com

The above article was published in the November 2012 issue of Power Source Magazine and can be viewed HERE.

Servant Warrior® Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Tax ID 27-0234581. Servant Warrior® is a registered trademark. Servant Warrior® Ministries, 2014. www.TeamServantWarrior.com

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