Posts Tagged ‘Come Ye Apart’

“The Saving Power of God at Work in the Marine Corp”

September 28, 2009

In November of 2002 our son graduated from Boot Camp in Parris Island, SC. That same month Solid Ground published its first edition of J.R. Miller’s classic devotional “Come Ye Apart,” the book that was used to confirm God’s call upon our first born son to join the Marines. Now for the rest of the story.


The Lord was gracious to use the Marines in the life of our son, as he was challenged every day concerning his faith in Christ. He had numerous opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ to others he would never have met had he not joined the Marines. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan he had men join him in his room while I would lead a Bible Study over the speaker phone. Because he was 14 hours ahead of me I would lead the study at 6:00 in the morning. It was a wonderful time that I will never forget.


The year he completed his four years of active service I went out to spend a long weekend with him in California. On the Saturday Night before Easter Sunday we sat at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He reminded me that this was the very place he called me to tell me that one of his Marine buddies had come to faith in Christ and was preparing to be baptized. This man came to the Lord after hearing our son give his testimony at a Corporal’s course just a month or so earlier. 


As we were preparing to leave his cell phone rang and it was another of his Marine buddies calling from Minnesota. They had been stationed together in Okinawa and he was one of those who gathered in his room for our long-distance Bible Studies. He said to my son, “Guess what I am doing tomorrow?” Before my son could guess he said, “I have been asked to share my testimony before my church. Guess what I am going to tell them?” My son said he did not know. His friend said, “I am going to tell them how the Lord used you to open my eyes to see my need for Jesus Christ.” When my son shared this with me, with tears in both our eyes I said, “Can you now see why the Lord directed me to Psalm 15?” 


A P.S. to this story is that recently, three years after leaving the Marines, my son received a phone call from his former roommate at Camp Pendleton. This man had been relentless in his ridiculing my son’s faith in Christ. After three years he was calling to tell my son that he had recently come to Christ, and he wanted to apologize for the way he treated him because of his faith, and to thank him for being such an example to him. Truly the Lord is good and the Lord is great. What a joy it is to serve Him!


“The Righteous Man Swears to His Own Hurt, and Does Not Change”

September 25, 2009


Seven years ago these words from Psalm 15 came home to me in a way that I will likely never forget. My oldest son was faced with a very important decision in his life: should he enter the US Marines? He asked me to pray about his decision, knowing that he had recently become a Christian, and thus was questioning his early enlistment which he did some seven months earlier. I asked him one simple question: Did you raise your right hand and take an oath to defend this country? He said yes.


That night I prayed for my son and his decision, and the Lord brought to my memory the words from Psalm 15, “The righteous man swears to his own hurt, and does not change.” I then went and read over the passage and prayed for my son’s decision. In the middle of the night I woke up with these words from Psalm 15 repeating themselves louder and louder. I was beginning to sense that this contained the Lord’s answer to my son’s dilemma.


Come Ye Apart - J.R. Miller

Come Ye Apart - J.R. Miller

The next morning I rose and turned to the July 11th reading from the book “Come Ye Apart” by J.R. Miller, a book I was considering making into a Solid Ground reprint. The reading for that morning was taken from Matthew 14:9 and entitled A Royal Coward. The text expounded that morning was, “For the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.” That which was to be given to Herodias’ daughter was the head of John the Baptist. The devotional for the morning began:

“Herod called himself a king, and yet see what a poor slave he was, what a craven coward! He was sorry he had made the oath, exceedingly sorry. His conscience was not altogether dead. He did not want to kill John…He hated himself for having been caught by Herodias in her plot, to have her long-cherished revenge. Yet, he was so much a slave that, although he claimed to be a king, he had not the courage to refuse such a request.”


As I read this devotional my thought immediately turned to my son, his dilemma, and Psalm 15. It was then that I read the last paragraph of Miller’s devotion:

“There are some things we have no right to swear away. Things that are our own we are always to do with as we have sworn. According to the Scriptures, a good man, having sworn to his own hurt, changes not.” 


I sat there stunned. A third time this passage had come to me as my son prayed for wisdom. That morning he called me and asked for my advice. I simply said to him: “Son, I want you to get to a quiet place and open your Bible to Psalm 15. Before you read that entire Psalm, pause and ask the Lord to open your eyes to see what He would have you do.” Less than an hour later he called me back and told me that he was going to follow through and enter the Marines. After he made his decision I told him about the way the Lord brought that text to me, and read him Miller’s devotional. Next time I will tell you the rest of that story.