What It Still Means

The tattered old scroll lives in a drawer in the workshop these days. Its days of excitement and glory lost to the ages. Forty-two years ago, it adorned the shoulder of a strong, confident, fiery young soldier. The old veteran holds it in his hand. His mind floods with memories of times past. Running his fingers along the embroidered characters and borders, he remembers where it’s been.

Before the now famous 75th Ranger Regiment existed, there was one unit; formed at Ft. Benning and moved to Hunter Army Airfield in 1978. While many Rangers earned the coveted Ranger Tab, a qualification for completing Ranger School, only those selected to serve in a Ranger battalion wore the scroll. There’s a difference between Ranger-qualified and Ranger-tested, the old man thinks.

He wonders as he sits silently with a cup of coffee in his hand, Do I still remember? Can I still recite it? As he rattles off The Ranger Creed from memory, a hint of a smile comes across his face. Even after all these years, there’re some things a veteran never forgets. He reminds himself that the version he memorized during morning PT, marching everywhere, and drilled into him by his NCOs included “of my Ranger battalion.”

Having never met Command Sergeant Major Neal R. Gentry (1932-1990), the old soldier reflects on these words, first written in 1974. They sustained him during some of the most difficult situations a warrior can face. This creed was more than inspiring words to a young soldier. They were the model upon which he was to live out his life. Something interesting about the Ranger Creed is that it is an acrostic. The first letter of each stanza of the creed spells out the word R-A-N-G-E-R.

If you look up “creed” in a dictionary, it defines it as “a core set of beliefs; also a guiding principle.” Creeds have been around for a very long time. Two that come to mind are the Apostle’s Creed, written in the 2nd century A.D. and the Nicene Creed, written around 325 A.D. In thinking about these three, I found some striking similarities. They each model a way of life for those who choose to adhere to them. Another is that applying them to your life will cost you something.

The wonderful thing about a creed is its ability to bring a group of individuals together; each dedicating themselves to a common ideal. A creed teaches us to understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To achieve the goal of each benefitting the other by helping the team do more than the individual, we must sacrifice ourselves. We must surrender our will for God’s. We must lay down our goals for Christ’s.

Of all the stanzas in the Ranger Creed, one of my favorites is the start of the third stanza; “Never shall I fail my comrades.” I wonder; can we as Christians live out that solemn promise? If so, how might you apply those words in your home, family, and church? What results might that bring?

What is the goal of your Christian life? Is it to help others or only yourself? Click To Tweet

Before we can lift our brothers and sisters in Christ above ourselves, we must first ensure we are the best we can be. When all the individuals come together to achieve a common objective, it becomes much easier. This is the manner in which Christ designed the church body to operate. Not as a divided, disjointed band of individuals and denominations (as Satan tries so hard to do within the church), but as a family of faith, each dedicated to helping the other achieve our common goal. To do this, we must retrain ourselves to focus on what joins us together, rather than on what divides us.

Our common focus must be our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we Americans pause on November 11th to observe Veteran’s Day, my prayer is that all Christians around the world reflect on the words of my beloved Ranger Creed. How might these words inspire you to live out your Christian life?

Ranger Creed

Recognizing that I volunteered as a Ranger, fully knowing the hazards of my chosen profession, I will always endeavor to uphold the prestige, honor, and high “esprit de corps” of my Ranger battalion.

Acknowledging the fact that a Ranger is a more elite soldier, who arrives at the cutting edge of battle by land, sea, or air, I accept the fact that as a Ranger my country expects me to move further, faster, and fight harder than any other soldier.

Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight; and I will shoulder more than my share of the task. Whatever it be, one hundred percent and then some.

Gallantly will I show the world that I am a specially selected and well trained soldier. My courtesy to superior officers, neatness of dress, and care of equipment shall set the example for others to follow.

Energetically will I meet the enemies of my country. I shall defeat them on the field of battle for I am better trained and will fight with all my might. Surrender is not a Ranger word. I will never leave a fallen comrade to fall into the hands of the enemy and under no circumstances will I embarrass my country.

Readily will I display the intestinal fortitude required to fight on to the Ranger objective and complete the mission, though I be the lone survivor.

The words of this creed mean more to me today than they did as a soldier. Modern day Rangers have two mottos; they are “Rangers Lead the Way” (used by Ranger-qualified soldiers) and “Sua Sponte” (a Latin regimental motto that means “of their own accord”). As a Christian-veteran, I try to apply both each day in service to my Lord. I must choose each day whom I serve and I do my best to set an example others might follow. Was I the best Ranger ever? Far from it. Am I the best Christian? Not even close. Yet, with your support and prayers, I press toward the goal (Philippians 3:14).

To all of America’s veterans who have served with honor, I offer a heartfelt Thank You for what each of you gave up to achieve the common goal of defending our Constitution and keeping our nation free.

God’s blessings,

Signature

 

Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

www.pjnet.tv

 

60 thoughts on “What It Still Means

    1. Most days, I feel like I’m the most blessed man in the world Ms. Martha. Now, if I can only hold on until we’re called home. Thank you, and God’s blessings ma’am. Best to Mr. Danny.

    1. This tour of duty (serving God) is the greatest honor I’ll ever experience in this life. Praise Him, it’s a lifetime enlistment. 🙂 All the best Ms. Cathy. Not sure if your Mr. Brian is a vet or not, but if so, please thank him for his service to our nation; and thank you both for your service to God.

  1. Having not been where you’ve been, but having admired all that you, and others who have made the same commitments, represent, I am challenged, sobered, inspired, and disappointed. I’m disappointed because I never had the kind of relationship that warriors in the heat of battle share. It’s easy to talk about warfare and to watch staged re-enactments, but most of us have never been in a situation where some enemy we never met is bent on killing us. We sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” but most of us don’t know how to relate to the kind of commitment that being a soldier demands–warriors like you, do. I am grateful not only for what you did to defend the freedoms we’re trying to hang onto, but for the illustration your life continues to be. Those of us who have enlisted as followers of Jesus crave the insights and leadership that only seasoned warriors can offer. God bless you, my friend, for a stirring testimony, for not being weakened by enemies that have infiltrated our ranks, and for demonstrating the kind of infectious courage that those for us who stand with you desperately need.

    1. Ahh, but you have my friend. You’ve knelt beside sinners fighting the greatest battle of their lives, to surrender themselves to God, repent of their sins, and beg His merciful gift of grace. You’ve stood beside bedsides as friends and loved one passed from this life into eternity. You’ve shed gallons of tears while praying intercessory prayers for others, putting their needs before your own. Tis I that owe you a debt of gratitude my friend. For the many times my name has passed through your lips in prayer as you lifted me up to God. Your words, your encouragement, your wisdom, your counsel, and most importantly your prayers both humble and inspire me sir. God’s blessings Mr. Ron.

  2. I have to wonder how many in our culture even desire to be held to a creed or any set of beliefs that require undying commitment to ethical values. If we did, what a beautiful world it would be! I’m not surprised to learn you served in this capacity and continue to serve without an official uniform but bearing the name of Jesus Christ – in your posts, around the ranch, and interactions with others. Grateful for your persistent effort to hold His name high and prayers that call forth angel armies to intercede against Satan, a powerful enemy.

    1. Oh, so very true Ms. Mary. It seems the world has become even more deceived as it no longer accepts responsibility for itself, and it no longer accepts any sort of moral standard of right and wrong. Instead, many (even in our churches) have been convinced that they themselves are God and they are free to do what feels good to them. Oh how I pray for this lost world. Thank you ma’am. I join you in praying that we can hold God’s standard high above the world for all to see. God’s blessings.

    1. Am humbled dear friend. Please be sure to thank “Chaps” for me. As I recall, Mr. Lance was a Chaplain and served to comfort, guide, and help a great many. He, more than most, knows what war can do to a person’s soul.

  3. I can picture this man as I read your wonderful post. I love the words of our Christian creeds too. Their words inspire me and keeps me moving forward in my faith walk. It also reminds that I am a soldier for Christ. Thanks JD. God bless.

    1. Oh yes ma’am. I’ve often wondered how many of our military creeds (I remember both Airborne and Ranger creeds), were inspired by the Apostles and the later Nicene creeds. I too can’t help but consider the similarities between them. I have both on my computer and refer to them now and again. It’s important to me, along with God’s word of course, to remind myself of the standard I am committed to living up to.

  4. I’ve been told that I missed my calling. Almost every employee I hired was former military from all branches of the service. Each told me that I would have made a great soldier. Until I read this blog, I was never sure if they were right. Now I know that I – and all of us – are soldiers. We all must measure up to the high standards expressed in the Ranger’s Creed. It’s not a one time emotional commitment. It’s a lifetime of dedication and sacrifice.

    Thank you J. D. for your service to our country. I would go to any battle, anywhere, against any enemy alongside you.

  5. I so very much appreciate your service for our country!
    I love the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed as they remind us, just like The Ranger’s Creed, to always do our best in everything, as unto the Lord.

    1. Amen Ms. Edwina. I refer to both Christian creeds to remind myself of how I’m supposed to live. Of course, God’s word itself sets the standard; one that only Christ was able to achieve during his human life.

  6. Such a beautiful post, J.D.! Thank you for sharing your memories of being a young Ranger and sharing how meaningful those experiences still are to you today. Thank you so much for your service as a Ranger and as an encourager to so many of us!
    Happy Veteran’s Day, J.D.!

    1. How very kind. Thank you Ms. Gena. It was an honor to serve ma’am, but I think it would have meant even more had I been a little wiser. Gave my best, just as I try and do in my Christian life ma’am. God’s blessings.

  7. J.D. Thank you for your service. I pray we all will remember the sacrifice each veteran makes. I am lifting up each veteran in prayer. My Daddy was in the Army Air Corp. He has gone on to Heaven now. He didn’t share much about his time in the military. He saw things I can’t imagine. We have several family members who have served in the Army and Navy. Also, one in the Coast Guard. God bless all veterans.

    1. So well said Ms. Melissa. No matter what your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was, your job was important. The same as in the body of Christ; it’s when each of us bring our unique talents and gifts together to help one another that we bring the greatest glory to God.

    1. I join you in the prayer ma’am. There’s still many vets living is squalor on the streets; some by choice, some by circumstance. But whatever the reason, they deserve our respect, admiration, and support for all they’ve done.

    1. Much too kind sweet friend. Like when we get to heaven, I pray I’ve earned the right to hear these words, “Well done My good and faithful servant.” I pray daily that I make a much better soldier for Christ than I was a soldier for this nation.

  8. I’ve never read the Ranger’s Creed before, and am touched by it. This attitude of heart applies to us as believers in Christ. Thank you, J.D. for these thought provoking words.

  9. Your message reminds me of Joshua’s words to his people in Joshua 24:15: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will seve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” We choose our path and we can only be “the best we can be” by choosing to follow Jesus. Thank you for your service, J.D. and for being a wonderful role model as a soldier for Christ.

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. Yes; in a way we must each choose to make a stand like Joshua did. Let us always #StandUpForChrist and adhere to the example He sat for us. While we can never reach it in this life, I thank God for His promise that we will at heaven’s upward call. God’s blessings my friend; and thank you also for your heartfelt post honoring veterans this week.

  10. To be the best we can be is so true. Philippians 1:9-10 TPT tells us, “I continue to pray for your love to grow and increase beyond measure, bringing you into the rich revelation of spiritual insight in all things. This will enable you to choose the most excellent way of all–becoming pure and without offense until the unveiling of Christ.” Thanks for sharing this post and thanks for your service, J.D., and to all veterans everywhere.

    1. Yes ma’am Ms. Barbara. Like the various creeds themselves; they set the standard that we must endeavor to live up to. In the case of the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed, we have God’s promise that on that day, we will achieve glorification if we endure to the end. Our reason for hope! God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. Perhaps your best ever, but then I am biased. I appreciate you for the dear friend and man of God you are. There is so much in what you write that I am struggling just to grasp a small portion of the wisdom God has given you.

  12. Thank you for your service, J.D. And for your continued ministry as an encourager who finds so many wonderful lessons on the Cross Dubya that give us insights into how to live as Christians. God bless you and Diane!

    1. You get what you give Ms. Kathy. Thank you so much ma’am. Ms. Diane and I are so very blessed to call you friend, and to learn from your amazing and creative posts. Devotions, lessons, crafts, and reflection. You’re the total package my friend.

  13. Thank you, J.D. for your service to our country and to our Lord. You hold His banner high and serve well. May we all follow the call of Christ well.

    1. You’re a blessing. Thank you Ms. Kathy. I sure miss the America I once served so proudly. I oft wonder what more I could have done, what more I should have said to have helped prevented what has happened to this nation.

    1. Amen Ms. Marilyn. I ask myself at the end of each day if the world saw more of God than me this day. Oh, how I pray I can answer that in the affirmative one day. God’s blessings ma’am.

  14. Such a powerful introduction and beautiful message, J.D. Loved every single word. And I relish in that part of the Ranger creed. “Never shall I fail my comrades.” It shows a sense of comradery, something those of us in God’s infantry should take pride in promoting. Thank you for your service.

    1. Yes ma’am Ms. Karen. As the body of Christ, we need to read and re-read the book of Acts I think. And more, we need to apply those words to our hearts, which will lead to applying them in our lives. I can’t wait until that day in the coming Millennium reign of Christ here on earth when we will once again all act in one accord, focused on the well-being of the other and praising God more than self. God’s blessings ma’am.

  15. I may be late in reading and responding but I am at least dedicated! May I just add to those who have already said how much they appreciate you for your role in the fight for justice and freedom. I much appreciate you as a spiritual friend, a personal friend, a knowledgeable mentor, fellow Christian writer, and major encourager/supporter. I think I admire you more with every post! How is that possible?

    1. And I you my sweet and encouraging friend. Since we’ve met, we’ve had an uncanny ability to know just when one of us needs lifting up. Thank you for ALWAYS being there to encourage and lift me up during this journey we call our writing life. I pray God keeps me around long enough to try and even out the scales of kindness, which are heavily in your favor dear lady. God’s blessings and give Mr. Parky and your dear mama all my very best this blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *