God granted me an opportunity last month to speak at a retreat for some of the
cadets from West Point. These are young people who are being trained up to be
leaders in the Army.
I would like for you at this moment to stop reading this newsletter and pray
for our military personnel. However you feel led to pray for them, please do.
Please pray for the salvation of all of their souls and for the impact that
Christian soldiers can have reaching the lost around the world.
One time at the retreat, before I came up to speak the cadets were singing a
song called Onward Christian Soldiers. Some of the words are:
It was moving to hear the cadets’ voices powerfully raised up in song to the
Lord. But something began to hit me as I listened to the singing. I picked up
my Bible and turned to Hebrews 11. In that chapter, in what some call “the great
Hall of Fame of the Faithful,” it lists many servants of God who gave up
everything to follow the Lord. They literally lived a life that made the world
unworthy of them.
Then I took a look at Hebrews 12:1,2:
Last year I was watching a PBS special about West Point. One of the things mentioned
on that program was a West Point tradition called the “long gray line.” This refers
to the gray uniform worn by the cadets, and to the fact that there has been a long
history of continuous excellence of character and achievement among the men who have
worn that grey uniform.
West Point was founded in 1802. They have rigorously trained many young men to become
our leaders — in the military and in other spheres of influence. Generals, presidents,
and many high-ranking individuals have come through the Corps of Cadets. So there is
a high standard that these cadets have to live up to.
But it is not just that the “long gray line” extends into the past; it also extends
into the future. Cadets will always be representatives of this institution. When people
look at a graduate of West Point, they form an opinion of what West Point is about.
So it is ingrained in the cadets to uphold the tradition of West Point excellence into
In Hebrews, we read about a great “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us. Read
all of Hebrews 11 to see what this great cloud of witnesses have gone through. It is
an amazing chapter. But here is the implication of that verse: The cloud of witnesses
doesn’t just go into the past, but it goes on into the future.
Many men and women who have gone on before us have given their all for Jesus. Today,
you are part of that great cloud of witnesses, if you are a believer. How does that
great cloud of witnesses think of us who now carry their tradition of following the Lord?
How does our Lord rate our lives compared to these that have gone before us? Many of
them spilled their blood to follow Jesus. That blood has created a long red
we are attached to. There is martyrs’ blood all across this world, and that blood cries
out to God. There are people dying for Jesus right now all around our world.
How is the persecution going in your life? We mainly get verbal persecution, lose our
job, or get arrested for following Jesus in America. We have not yet really reached
the point of shedding our blood to follow Jesus. If that day comes, will you keep the
long red line going into the future?
Until the nets are full of souls that our Savior died for,