Remembering

It has sat in my office for nearly forty years now. Always within my field of view; the beret I once wore serves as a solemn reminder. When I stop to look at it, I am taken back to a time when a strong, lean young soldier proudly wore it. Skilled? Perhaps more than some. Brave? Not as much as some may have thought.

Long before the U.S. Army, in its wisdom, decided all soldiers should don a black beret; it held a special place—signifying the warrior elite. It was worn by a group of hardened men who volunteered to subject themselves to whatever was needed to become the very best. They were a group willing to sacrifice everything, one hundred percent and then some, to achieve their objective. Today they wear tan berets; yet that same warrior spirit lives on in each young man.

I sometimes wonder why I keep that old beret around. Perhaps I should place it in a bin with other memorabilia out in the workshop; or with my rucksack and ALICE gear in the storm shelter. My answer is always the same. It reminds me that once in my life I was the very best I could be. I no longer make that statement with the bravado of youth, full of pride or arrogance. It has become the goal of my Christian life. I will never reach my goal to become like Christ in this life, but I must work to become a little more like Him with each passing day.

When this world starts to get the best of me, I pause to look at this old beret. I remember the sacrifice it took to earn the right to wear it; all the challenges I overcame to achieve my goal. Remembering all the pain, anguish, and suffering I endured makes any disappointments I feel these days seem minuscule. I am reminded of the satisfaction I felt that day when a small tab was pinned onto the shoulder of my uniform. I long for that same feeling when I am one day held by my Savior Jesus Christ upon my return home.

On this Veteran’s Day, like others, I paused to remember those I served with. I thanked God for the friendships and brotherhood; some of which last to this day. Another thanks is that I’m able to be called a veteran; thanking God He saw fit to keep me safe all these years. It reminds me how I have not yet achieved God’s plan for my life. I also paused to remember those veterans I served with who are no longer with us.

How often do you remember to give thanks for all that God has done for you? Click To Tweet

In speaking with some young people recently, it became obvious that the lines between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day have become blurred. Memorial Day, in May, honors those who gave their lives for our freedom. Veteran’s Day honors those who served or are serving in the military to protect and defend our Constitution and way of life. I explained the difference to them and right in the middle of my thoughts entered the Holy Spirit. What He brought to mind is there is one warrior; one man, who fought and died for our freedom and is alive today. Christ Jesus is worthy of being honored on both Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

While not American, our triune God is the foundation this nation was built upon. This makes Him worthy of being honored in this old soldier’s book. Christ sacrificed His human life to save our eternal lives; paying our sin debt. Christ, in death, descended to the depths of hell to win our freedom; and on the third day He arose to take His rightful place at the right hand of the Father. Without question, Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, is the most worthy veteran this world can ever seek to honor.

As you remember the veterans who mean so much in your life, I ask you to take a moment and remember the sacrifice God has made for you. Please thank Him in prayer for all He’s done for us. Remember to show Him the respect, honor, and admiration He deserves most of all.

God’s blessings,

40 thoughts on “Remembering

  1. J.D., first, thank you for your service. Honored to know you and grateful for your military service and how you serve the Lord, too.

    I love the analogy you make in striving to become more like Christ each day. To work to reach the goal and run the race set before us. This is my heart’s desire.

    1. Mine too Ms. Karen. Thank you so much for your comments ma’am. Some days, it feels as though I take two steps back from every step forward. Still, there’s great peace in knowing God is always there, with outstretched hand, waiting for us to catch up. One day soon, I pray, He’ll lead us over that threshold. God’s blessings ma’am.

  2. JD… I think your beret is right where it needs to be…as is your heart and your focus. Our sacrifices are minimal in light of the One who gave His ALL. It’s easy to take our earthly freedoms for granted and most important of all…our Eternal freedom. It came at an exorbitant cost. Thank you for this beautiful, heartwarming, and inspiring reminder… and for your service to God and country. God sees! Be blessed.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Diane. You’re right; these days Jesus Christ is definitely my Commander-in-Chief as I seek to follow His orders for my life. When I was a soldier I was duty bound to follow the President’s orders. And while I am still bound by the oath I took, I have elected, as Peter and the other apostles stated (Acts 5:29), “… we ought to obey God rather than man.” 🙂 Given all the turmoil in these end times (I believe), my allegiance is to God; as man has proven he (they) are not trustworthy and true. God’s blessings ma’am.

  3. “There is one warrior; one man, who fought and died for our freedom and is alive today.” — Is it okay for warriors of Christ to cry? Because that sentence hit me hard. That is absolutely beautiful, my friend.

    Thank you for wearing that beret. Thank you for leaving your family so I could be free to live In freedom with mine. Thank you for serving our nation.

    But I thank you even more for serving our King And our eternal kingdom. The encouraging words you write every week are a weapon against spiritual darkness. You are still a warrior, my brother. And I thank you for that.

    1. Am humbled Pastor Joshua. When I watch your podcasts, read your posts, and learn from your many wonderful lesson in faith, I thank God then men such as you stand each day. I watch you and my many writing friends around the world push back the darkness of this world with your words each day. I stand in awe of a God who can bring such spiritual gifts together in such a way that we form a mighty army of faith; able to stand firm in our faith. I sure hope it’s okay that we cry brother, for each day I am in the presence of my mighty Creator and God, I shed tears of joy. Am not sure if I ever said it here on my blog or not, but when I shed tears in God’s presence, I realize they are simply God squeezing a bit more of the world out of me. God’s blessings my friend.

    1. I have no idea why your comment required approval Ms. Jeannie, but we’re all set now ma’am. Thank you so much for your sweet comments ma’am. I am blessed indeed. God’s blessings ma’am.

  4. My son is currently deployed, it gives me strength to rely on Jesus and know that He has gone before us and paid the ultimate price. Thank you J.D. for reminding me to be more thankful and grateful to all who serve, served and gave it all for us.

    1. Thank you Ms. Denise. Will be praying for your son ma’am. May I ask which branch he is serving with? My mom prayed for my brother and me every day we served. I have a story about it in a book entitled Feed Your Soul With the Word of God, Collection 1 from Lighthouse Bible Studies. The prayers of a faithful servant go far ma’am. Praying God’s will and protection for your dear son.

  5. May your life continue to be an example that honors not only our Lord but your fallen comrades. Your service for our country is admirable as is your willingness to press onward in service to the Kingdom always striving for excellence. Beautiful post and analogy, my friend.

  6. What a beautiful post and what a wonderful perspective of your beret – what you willingly endured and achieved to be the best. Those of us who have never served don’t understand. Thank you.
    Your daily surrender to Christ will certainly be rewarded.

    1. Thank you Ms. Cathy. I certainly consider my goal of sanctification to be a more worthwhile goal my friend. In both cases, it won’t be achieved by myself, but I have to be willing to sacrifice myself each day in the crucible my learned friend. I think perhaps this is what Christ meant in Matthew 16:24-25, when He said “…take up thy cross and follow Me.”

  7. I love the reminder to honor the true Savior who championed our cause and ever lives to make intercession for us. Thank you for this, and for your service, Sir.

    1. Thank you for yours Ms. Lori. You serve in God’s army every day my friend. With your lessons, your smile, and the testimony that is the way you live your life. Am so blessed to call you my friend.

  8. Thank you for your service and for putting others ahead of your personal comfort. I am adding sacrificial and brave to the many fine character qualities I have observed in you. I appreciated this post and the insight it offers to our allegiance to Christ.

    1. Thank you for commenting Ms. LuAnn; much appreciated ma’am. And I hear CONGRATULATIONS are in order. A new publishing contract with your name on it. What a blessing ma’am. Answered prayers. Am so happy for you. Now comes all the hard work my friend. 🙂 I know you’ll face it with much grace.

  9. Thank you for your service, J.D. We owe a debt of gratitude to veterans that we can never truly repay. All of you were willing to sacrifice your lives for us. As you remind us, how much more we owe a debt to Jesus for His sacrifice. Even in times of trial, we have so much to be thankful for. Thank you for your inspiring message.

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. Good to hear from you ma’am. We so often forget to share our thanks with God; letting the world and all our daily challenges blind us from all His mercy and grace. Wonderful point ma’am. God’s blessings!

  10. Memorial Day & Veteran’s Day = Jesus.
    I love this thought and hope to remember to celebrate HIM on those days, as well as the fallen and living brave military men.
    And… thank you for faithfully serving two great “Commanders.”

  11. Such a powerful post, J.D. Grateful for the Commander and Warrior who loves us and for those who have given so much to provide us with our freedoms here.

    Thank you for your service, friend.

    Peace and grace,
    Tammy

    1. Wow! Coming from a top flight athlete like yourself, these words are inspiring Ms. Kelly. Thank you so much for your encouraging thoughts ma’am. Thank you also for the well wishes and kindness ma’am. Do me a favor though… stay away from those “hippies.”

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