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A Good Soldier

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A Good Soldier’s Practice

November 11 – Remembrance Day

2 Timothy 2:3-4

 

 Most of us have heard the haunting song, “Taps” played at a military funeral or other occasions. It’s the song that gives us the lump in our throats and usually tears in our eyes. But, do you know the story behind the song?  If not, I think you will be interested to find out about its humble beginnings.

But, first, I’ll read our Scripture for this morning:   Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. And as Christ's soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army.

Now, back to “Taps”. Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the American Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Ellicombe was with his men near Harrison's Landing in  Virginia  .  The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.

During the night, Captain Ellicombe heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field.  Not knowing if it was a  Union  or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment. 

When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. 

The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock.  In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.  Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army. 

The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted.

The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral. 

The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. 

But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician.

The Captain chose a bugler.  He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth's uniform. 

This wish was granted. 

The haunting melody, we now know as 'Taps' used at military funerals was born. 

The words are: 

Day is done. 
Gone the sun. 
From the lakes  
From the hills.   
From the sky. 
All is well.   
Safely rest.   
God is nigh. 

Fading light. 
Dims the sight. 
And a star. 
Gems the sky. 
Gleaming bright.   
From afar.   
Drawing nigh.   
Falls the night. 

Thanks and praise.   
For our days.   
Neath the sun   
Neath the stars.   
Neath the sky 
As we go. 
This we know.   
God is nigh.

I too have felt the chills while listening to 'Taps' but I have never seen all the words to the song until now.  I didn't even know there was more than one verse.  I also never knew the story behind the song and I didn't know if you had either so I thought I'd pass it along. 

I now have an even deeper respect for the song than I did before. 

It’s a special privilege for us today to remember those lost and harmed while serving their country and to remember those who have served and returned; and for those presently serving in the Armed Forces.

Military imagery is prevalent in Paul's writings. In Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul says  A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power. Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms. Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.  Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words as I boldly explain God's secret plan that the Good News is for the Gentiles, too. I am in chains now for preaching this message as God's ambassador. But pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. revealing that we are in a war where the stakes are high and the outcome - God's glory — is sure. The commitment, self-control, discipline, and preparedness of a soldier is necessary if we are to share in our commander's reward.

What are some marks of a good soldier? Let me share a few.
I. He Is A Follower. In Mark 8:34 it says, Then he called his disciples and the crowds to come over and listen. "If any of you wants to be my follower," he told them, "you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.

 No one can be a good leader who cannot first be a good follower. In the military there is almost always someone in rank above you, whose orders you must follow. According to the Bible, following Jesus is no option, it is a command. In the military refusal to obey an order is not allowed. Court martial will follow; yet we take obedience to God so very lightly don’t we?

II. He Is A Fighter. He is trained and taught to be aggressive when necessary. He will not cower or retreat in the face of the enemy. He will defend his own honor and that of his country. In 1 Timothy 6:12 the Bible tells us to “Fight the good fight of faith”

III. He Is Familiar. First, he is familiar with the strategy of the enemy.  (2 Cor.2:11) Secondly, he is familiar with the skills concerning his weaponry (Eph.6:10-18). Thirdly, he is familiar with the shadows of his friends (Heb.10:25). The good soldier is not only looking out for himself, but also for his friends–there is a mutual need for being close to other soldiers as you fight the enemy.

IV. He Is Faithful. He remains true even when he must “endure hardness” as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Tim.2:3). That expression means, “to take one’s share of rough treatment; to suffer or endure affliction together.” It actually means to “suffer hardship in company with” — the good soldier is always true and loyal.

The single-minded devotion that we are to have to the Lord and His cause is not developed overnight. In fact, it is something we are ever striving toward and yet will not reach perfectly in this life. Nevertheless, that we seek to put Him first shows that we have hearts that have been made to love Him, and so we should be encouraged every time we encounter idolatry. Let us be confident that He empowers us to commit ourselves to Him more each day.

Let’s pray

Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus, we have received Your power — ability, efficiency, and might — because the Holy Spirit has come upon us; and we are Your witnesses in and to the ends of the earth.

We fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in good time for every need.

Father, we seek the peace and welfare of Cut Knife and the surrounding area. We pray to You for the welfare of this town and do our part by getting involved in it. We will not let the forces of evil deceive us.

Holy Spirit, we ask You to visit our town and open the eyes of the people, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Jesus.

In the name of Jesus, we stand victorious over the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.

Father, You said that morning after morning You will root up all the wicked in the land, that You may eliminate all the evildoers from the city of the Lord. We ask You, Holy Spirit to sweep through the gates of our town and convince us, its people, about sin and about righteousness and about judgment.

Father, You said, For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, ... thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome (Jer. 29:11 AMP).

We pray these things in Jesus name. Amen

Would you now join me in praying the Lord’s prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

'Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in

heaven.

'Give us this day our daily bread.

'And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

'And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom

and the power and the glory

forever and ever. Amen.


 

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