Marine Hubert Self

You make me proud. I used to be proud to be an American because the foundations of our nation were biblical and designed for the good of the people and the glory of God. The ideals of freedom and patriotism still stir me, but it is easy to find fault with our politics, our economy, our culture, and our nation today. In spite of her imperfections, however, there are those like you who serve for the benefit of others—others who may not even appreciate your sacrifice. I thank you for protecting us, our freedoms, and keeping oppression at bay. You who have served are what make me proud now. 

As these photos reveal, my family heritage is rich in military service. Both of my grandfathers left the farm, one in Missouri and one in Texas, to serve in WWI. My father, father-in-law, two aunts and several uncles all served during WWII. One uncle survived Pearl Harbor. Later, my dad kept the radars working in Kaneohe, Hawaii while his brother flew a spotter plane out of Midway. My brother and husband both served in Vietnam, one servicing helicopters on an aircraft carrier’s flight deck while the other kept troops supplied on the ground by operating landing craft. My nephews and nieces have been repeatedly deployed to serve in the Middle East and elsewhere. My family makes me proud.

Sailor Conrad Miller

Serving in the military changes a person. Putting oneself in harm’s way seems to clearly delineate one’s principles as well as those on which our nation was founded. If every citizen served in our military as they do in Israel, I believe our nation would be in a different place right now, a more principled place. I thank all veterans for doing the unpleasant, hard things and for taking the risk of not coming home. You are the reason I salute our flag and stand straight to do so. You make me proud.

In reality, we are all called to serve—the Commander of the Lord’s army, the Lord Jesus Christ. Sadly, some efforts to make the gospel attractive have soft-pedaled, even obliterated, the authority of our King and His call upon our lives. Missionaries and pastors serve, of course, but many of us professing Christians seem to be AWOL (absent without leave). There is no doubt this life is full of distractions. How differently might Christ’s church function if His people showed up, trained and discipled, listening for His instructions, and ready for deployment? Deployment might be—Guatemala, the local food bank, the Portland Rescue Mission, Teach One to Lead One, Wycliff outposts, or the lonely widow next door. We do not wear visible uniforms, but we are either on mission or AWOL. Let’s make our Father proud.

Navy Pilot Jerry Wilson

Whatever stage of life, how better to prepare yourself for deployment in ministry than by completing HERITAGE OF HOPE? Write letters of blessing to your spouse and children. Put your legal and financial papers in order to simplify your executor’s job and provide for your loved ones. Collect and preserve your family heritage as a precious gift that only you can give. Be bold and make your final arrangements. Be even bolder and come up with a plan for your care should you become seriously ill or injured. Capture your faith in words. Write out His story in your story so it can be shared wherever you may be deployed and at your memorial service. There is power in your witness, your story, your testimony of God’s search and rescue.  Get ready to roll.

Christians around the world are being persecuted, imprisoned, and killed for their faith. We fight the same enemy. Let us prepare for deployment in ministry with the prayer that we may be as bold and courageous as was Joshua when he reclaimed the Promised Land. Let’s make our brothers and sisters proud.

Joshua 1:9 Haven’t I ordered you, “Be strong, be bold?”  So don’t be afraid or downhearted, because ADONAI your God is with you wherever you go.

2 Timothy 2:1-3 So then, you, my son, be empowered by the grace that comes from the Messiah Yeshua. And the things you heard from me, which were supported by many witnesses, these things commit to faithful people, such as will be competent to teach others also. Accept your share in suffering disgrace as a good soldier of the Messiah Yeshua. No soldier on duty get involved with civilian affairs, since he has to please his commanding officer. CJB

Revelation 12:11 They defeated him because of the Lamb’s blood and because of the message of their witness. Even when facing death they did not cling to life.