Who Do You Belong To?

Back in the day,

I raised my right hand and swore allegiance to my country. I also promised to fulfill my responsibilities as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.

When the golden bars—defining me as a Second Lieutenant—were pinned on my blue uniform, I relinquished my rights as a private citizen.

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I belonged to Uncle Sam.

My job, where I lived, and what I wore to work was out of my hands. Even the length of my hair was regulated. It couldn’t fall below the bottom of my collar.

At a moment’s notice, I could be uprooted from my family and sent overseas. After all,  “If the military wanted you to have a family, they’d have issued you one.

I knew this when I raised my hand as a single woman. No one forced me to join the military.

Just like no one forced me to profess my faith in Christ and be baptized.

I served in the Air Force for ten years before I resigned my commission to become a stay-at-home mom.

But nothing can separate me from Christ. I am not my own. 

According to the Bible, I’ve been bought by the blood of Christ, adopted into God’s family; sealed by the Holy Spirit.

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Sadly, HOW I LIVE as a soldier of Christ will reflect who I belong to; the depth of my allegiance. Am I willing to… 

  • Surrender my rights
    Accept His will
    Obey at all costs

In his book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said,

Jesus stresses what we ought to do, but He never forces us to do it. That’s why our Lord used the word “If” whenever He spoke about discipleship.

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15)
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” (Luke 9:23)

Sobering words.

Especially If I claim to love Christ, but live “My Way” like Frank Sinatra’s song.

But, what if I didn’t do it my way?

What if I chose to consider and obey the “If” statements of Christ rather than worry about the “what if’s” in life that may or may not happen?

What if I vowed to…

  • Acknowledge Christ as Lord of my life.
    Bow to His supremacy.
    Behave like a bondservant and ambassador of Christ.

What if I followed Jesus…

Not because it’s my Christian duty, but with a heart filled with love for Him who died for me?

Can you imagine an army of Christ that truly belonged to Him?

2 Timothy 2:3

Three Responses to Prayer

When I was a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, fresh out of Officer Training School, I learned to respond to my superior officers with one of three phrases whenever they addressed me:

Yes Sir!” “No Sir!” “No excuse, Sir!

 

Those days of being a G. I. are long gone. I traded dog tags for diaper bags way back when. But I’m still faced with three responses to God’s commands: “Yes, Lord!” “No, Lord!” “No excuse, Lord!

Recently, I had no excuse.

We sat on the edge of the bed, her and me. We talked about the importance of prayer and the book she was reading on that subject.

As I scanned the synopsis on the book jacket, she shared her desire and need to pray more often, be more persistent.

We discussed prayer. Does prayer make a difference?

We discussed scripture about prayer.

We prayed over our meals. We bowed our heads in prayer during church. Can’t speak for her, but I silently voiced hasty, self-absorbed prayers.

But that weekend, we never prayed together for the issues that weighed heavily on both our hearts. Even when tension escalated and the need was great…prayer was absent.Praying Hands

No prayer? No power. No victory.

No Excuse.

Would there have been a different outcome, a different attitude and response toward our circumstances if we’d made prayer a priority instead of a subject for discussion?

 

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed….

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly….

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’” (Luke 22:39-46)  

Exhausted from sorrow? Sounds like a good excuse to me, but Jesus didn’t want excuses. He wanted them to get up and pray. He wanted them to respond, “Yes, Lord!”

After Jesus prayed, “an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”  

Earnest prayer didn’t change the outcome, but it enabled Jesus to accept God’s will and obey Him even to the point of death on a cross.

If the disciples had prayed that night, would they have run away and forsaken Jesus when he was arrested?

If the Apostle Peter had prayed that night, would he have denied knowing Christ three times before the cock crowed?

 

“Devote yourselves to prayer….” (Colossians 4:2)

“Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

“Pray to the Father…that from his glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit.” (Ephesians 3:16)

And every day, I either respond:

“Yes, Lord!” “No, Lord!” “No excuse, Lord!” 

Even in this……

Remember, and Carry On

DSCN2410A small crowd gathered on the cemetery’s green lawn,

Surrounded by red, white, and blue U.S. flags that waved valiantly from each Military Veteran’s grave.

We gathered to pay respect.

Mourn those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, casualties of war I’d never met.

A twenty-one gun salute blasted the silence, deafened our ears,

And was followed by the somber notes of a Bugler playing Taps.

Misty-eyed, we watched as the seven-year-old son of a deceased soldier helped his mother place a wreath on the War Memorial, then posed in front of the cold, black granite where his father’s name was engraved…

Along side the names of other people who had lived in our town, died in battle.

The crowd sighed while white doves were released and flew like angels heavenward into a grey sky

Where rain clouds shed cool tears on the bereaved shoulders of Gold Star families. www.goldstarfamilyregistry.com‎‎

A guest speaker shared words from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” 

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Ceremony over, I walked shy-footed between the graves of Military Veterans.

Row after row…

Headstones lined up  like platoons awaiting inspection

Rank, name, military branch, and years on Earth now etched on flat, stone tablets instead of metal dog tags.

Life summarized in epitaphs, religious faith professed in symbols.

I touched my red Poppy.

In remembrance of those who died for our nation in the name of freedom.

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

I touched my Cross necklace.

In remembrance of Christ who died to set men free from the power and penalty of sin.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

 In remembrance…I was touched. 

Persuaded to love and serve others for the greater good.

Encouraged by the still voices of those who’ve gone before me whispering in the morning breeze,

“Carry on.”