"Here are some of the officers directing U.S. fighting against the Japanese on tiny Tulagi Island in the Solomons. Tulagi lies off Florida Island and is important for its harbor facilities. Seated on the steps of the staff house are, left to right, front row: Lieut. Colonel O.K. Pressley, Colonel M.A. Edson, Lieut. Col. H.E. Rosecrans, and Lieut. Colonel R.E. Hill, all USMC. Second row: Lieut. E.B. McLarney (MC) USN and Brig. General W.H. Rupertus, Colonel R.C. Kilmartin, Major William Enright, all USMC. Third row: Captains Ralph Powell, Daryle Seeley and Thomas Philpott, USMC."
The above quoted text is from the original picture's caption, which is dated Oct. 28, 1942. The photograph was probably taken soon after the Marines captured Tulagi in August 1942.
The original photograph came from Rear Adm. Samuel Eliot Morison's World War II history project working files. The official U.S. Marine Corps photograph is from the collections of the Naval Historical Center.
Now I know you are checking to see if you are reading in the right part of the newspaper. The questions going through your mind go something like this: "Isn't this the clergy corner?" "What is this piece of ancient history doing here?" "What spiritual application is in this picture?"
Application 1: These are real people who signed up to do a job on behalf of an otherwise helpless nation. We all acknowledge that God is the real defense of the nation, but after that we recognize God uses people. These officers, these men, volunteered to do a nasty job so their nation, the United States of America, might be a free and happy people.
Just as Jesus lived on earth as a real man who volunteered to do a nasty job on Golgotha Hill that all men of whatever race or geography might be a free and happy people.
Application 2: You will notice not one of these officers is smiling for this picture. These men have been in the battle. They have been responsible for sending men to their deaths and wounds to achieve victory. On their shoulders is the responsibility for victory or defeat.
Just so, the KJV Bible records these words in Luke 9:51, "... when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem ..."
Jesus knew what sacrifice he would have to make and he knew that, barring an incredible miracle of God, his job was to die for the well-being of the world. Jesus knew the battle would require his death to self that others would live in peace.
Application 3: You do not see these men appearing to glory in their achievements. Theirs was an ugly, nasty, dirty job against an enemy that would not be placated, cajoled or convinced that surrender was in their best interest. Lives were cut off, bodies were destroyed, hopes and dreams vanished in the smoke of artillery, grenade and satchel charges.
The enemy of our soul will never admit defeat and can only be conquered through the overwhelming power of the blood of Jesus Christ. People will never believe the claims of the gospel are true unless they see it in you. These men made believers of the enemy.
How shall we do the same in the battle for men's souls? How can we win men and women to the love of God and transformed lives?
Application 4: Today, we are the beneficiaries of the battles these men fought and their descendants now fight the battles of freedom for the Iraqi people. May God bless them all.
But where are you as a Christian? Are you on the front lines of prayer and intercession for the salvation and freedom of your family and friends? Are you in the artillery pits of fasting and prayer that the lives ruined by abortion, sexual deviation, drugs, pornography, alcohol, gambling might be rescued and saved from the final end of total destruction?
Jesus paid for our freedom and deliverance with his life. Where are we in the ranks? Are you answering roll call in the pews Sunday morning for the marching orders? Are you in the classrooms teaching the students the important words of life? Are you reading the Manual of Arms for proper disposition of the weapons God has given you? Are you part of the force that Jesus assembled with the formation of his disciples and sent out a call for volunteers?
If so, God bless you. If not -- join the winning team. Be a Christian.
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