We love to take pictures of courthouses as we travel.  It is understandable since I spent 30 years in the practice of law and was in many courthouses throughout the Southeast United States.

On a visit to Vicksburg, Mississippi, we saw the old Warren County Courthouse and decided to look around.  As we were leaving the courthouse, we saw a plaque in honor of the soldiers from Vicksburg and Warren County, Mississippi, who fought in World War II.  The poem at the top of the granite block is entitled SOLDIERS and it reads:

We were that which others did not want to be, we went where others feared to go, and did what others failed to do.  We were … AMERICAN SOLDIERS.

Monument to american soldiers outside vicksburg old courthouse
Monument in Vicksburg, Mississippi 

The word “soldier” brings up many different emotions, memories, experiences to people, but I suspect that for the vast majority of people, the word “soldier” encompasses the concept of one who is willing to deny themselves for the benefit of others.  That is certainly what is within the words on the Warren County monument to  Company B of the 106th Engineer (Combat) Battalion, 31st Infantry (Dixie) Division of the Mississippi National Guard in the 1940s.  

The Apostle Paul was certainly well acquainted with the role that soldiers had in the Roman world.  He, after all, was imprisoned on more than one occasion, and each time there were soldiers who guarded him who undoubtedly heard Paul’s witness for Christ. 

“And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.”

Acts 28:16

Therefore, it is not surprising that Paul used the analogy of being a soldier when referring to serving Christ Jesus in our walk through this life.  Specifically, in 2 Timothy, Paul told the young preacher:

“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

2 Timothy 2:3-4

Being a soldier for Jesus reminds me of a song that I sang as a young child.  It was sung to the tune of The Old Gray Mare and the words went like this: 

I may never march in the infantry;  Ride in the cavalry; .Shoot the artillery.

I may never fly o’er the enemy; But I’m in the Lord’s army! 

Yes Sir!  [with a child’s salute]

The concept of being a soldier is especially strong in my heart today as, this past weekend, one of our congregation’s covenant children and a recent high school graduate left our town and flew to the other side of the world so she could work with a mission organization in Asia. 

She will be in a culture totally foreign to her, away from her family, for a year.  She is, in the truest sense of the term, a soldier for Jesus Christ in a foreign land. 

I pray that the Lord will bless her work and will bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ because of her witness.  I pray that the Lord will give her peace and comfort as she is away from home for such a long time, and I pray that she will be supported through the prayers of the congregation that she left in our town.  [As a parent, I pray too that the Lord will give grace, comfort and peace to her family who will miss her presence daily.]

But, the fact that she left to do her work in the Lord’s army does not mean that there is no such work for me, or for you, to do.  We are all called to be soldiers for Jesus, no matter if it is in a foreign land or across the street.  To paraphrase the Vicksburg granite monument,

We are called to love those who others would not, we will go where others fear to go, and we will give witness even when others fail to do so.   We are … SOLDIERS OF THE KING. 

Listen to my husband’s favorite hymn as presented by 101 Strings on the album Amazing Grace Songs of Faith and Inspiration, “Onward Christian Soldiers”.

Father, I praise You for giving us the gift of Jesus Christ as our Savior, Redeemer and King.  I pray that I would be a soldier in your army who operates in accordance with your orders, and that I would be fruitful in my witness as I do your work in my world.



Did you ever hear someone say “He marches to his own drummer.”?  I think what they mean is that the individual is somewhat counter-cultural – he does not “go with the flow” – he is an independent thinker which takes him outside the group into which he otherwise would find himself.

Marching to your own drummer may be fine if we are speaking of an individual’s independent actions.  But it does not bode well for those who are supposed to be marching under orders.  For example, the middle school marching band does not look too bad in a still picture, but they were a bit muddled when they tried anything other than straight lines.  (I know about it since I was in that band many years ago.)

Junior High School marching band, while proud parents line the streets!


But marching takes on a whole different dimension when done by the U. S. Marine Corps at the closing-of-the-day ceremony at the Barracks in Washington D.C.  The band came marching out from the barracks in strict formation, all their feet were off the ground at the same time and their backs were straight, even when carrying their instruments.

U. S. Marine Corps band marching out of Main Barracks in Washington D. C.

The sight and sound when they lifted their instruments and followed the direction of their drum major was incredible.

U.S.M.C. Band standing tall while playing during parade at the Main Barracks in Washington, D.C.

Then the Corps itself came marching out from the Barracks in perfect alignment and timing.

Marines marching in formation. Thrilling to watch, hard to do!

And they came to a stop and stood at attention for inspection.

Standing at attention during parade at U.S.M.C. Barracks in Washington D.C.

Marching is frequently referenced in the Old Testament when the people of Israel were going from place to place in the wilderness and when they were settling down in the Promised Land.

Of course one of the miracles in the Old Testament is found in Joshua 6:1-6 where the people were told to march around the city of Jericho and God would give them the victory. While the instructions seemed strange, especially to a military people, they followed God’s command.  They were obedient and the city walls fell just as God had said.

The battle to take Jericho occurred after God told Joshua to be courageous and unafraid, that God would be with him.   We have that same promise that God will be with us in the person and presence of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. 

The overwhelming promise of peace came as Jesus was telling his disciples that He was going to suffer, die and be raised from the dead, and then He would be taken from them.  He would return, but they would be on their own for a time. 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

When Paul was in Corinth, the Lord came to him in a vision:

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

Acts 18:9-10.

In our world there are many wars that are ongoing and there are many soldiers marching to the orders of their superiors.  But there is a war that is greater than those raging between people on earth.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12.

Because the war waged against believers in Christ is from spiritual forces and cosmic powers in opposition to Christ, we human creatures are unprepared and unable to successfully fight in this battle. We are doomed if we are on our own – but if we are in God and covered in His armor, we will be able to withstand the battle.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. …  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;  and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,  praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

Ephesians 6:11. 13-18.

  • Praise God that He provides us with the tools we can use to fight the battle.
  • Praise God that He has promised to be with us as we do His will.
  • Praise our Lord that He has given us His peace and presence, even in the heat of battle.

Listen to “Onward Christian Soldiers” as sung on Amazing Grace Songs of Faith and Inspiration by 101 Strings Orchestra.


So, are you marching to your own drummer?   Or, are you marching under the cadence and direction of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

We are in a war of cosmic proportions and against spiritual powers that outmatch our human abilities hands-down. If we are marching in our own strength, we will be doomed.  We must march under the direction of our Risen Lord and Savior … only He has conquered sin and death, and we can rely on Him to help us conquer our fears and all the temptations that come our way.  March in the sure confidence that the armor God has provided will sustain you throughout the battle.


Father, I thank You that we do not have to face this battle alone.  Rather, I praise your holy name that You have provided us with the tools to effectively fight powers that we cannot see, beings that are too strong for us, through your Word and your Spirit.  Forgive me when I have tried to win the battle on my own.  Lead me as I march through my life so that I may be a Christian soldier who brings honor to my Sovereign Lord.