Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 23 Number 1 January 2021
Page 8

What Are Your General Orders, Soldier?

Cliff Holmes

Cliff HolmesWhen I enlisted in the military service of the United States of America some 64 years ago, we knew that we would have to stand duty as sentries (i.e., a watchman). We soon learned that there were certain orders โ€“ standing orders, as it were. The same orders applied to every sentry on every post to which a man might be assigned. Failure to understand and observe these orders brought sure and strict discipline to that erring watchman.

Listed below are the eleven general orders that every sentry had to memorize in proper numerical sequence because he knew he could be called upon to recite them whenever asked simply by the number. A good soldier knew he had better know the number as well as the stated order. Below that list I have suggested a similar list of eleven general orders for watchmen in the service of the army of the Lord.

Eleven General Orders
for a Military Sentry

  1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
  2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guard house than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
  6. To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the Commanding Officer, Command Duty Officer, Officer of the Deck and Officers and Petty Officers of the watch only.
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
  8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
  9. To call the Officer of the Deck in any case not covered by instructions.
  10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
  11. To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

Eleven General Orders for a
Watchman in the Army of the Lord

  1. To take charge of this post and all of God’s property and doctrines over which He made me the watchman that I should protect, defend and serve.
  2. To walk my post in a vigilant manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the Lord’s house than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved by the Supreme Commander.
  6. To receive, obey and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from Supreme High Commander โ€“ God.
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty, which is to spread the Gospel to all persons with whom I come in contact.
  8. To give the alarm in case of disorder within the brotherhood, as well as strife and contentions from without.
  9. To call for the Lord’s help in any case not covered by instructions.
  10. To salute all fellow watchmen in the Lord’s service.
  11. To be especially watchful at all times to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to blaspheme or defile the service of the Supreme Commander โ€“ Jesus Christ.

In comparison of these two lists, how would we stack up as watchmen for our Lord and our God?

[Editor’s Note: Though not a perfect match, the two sets of “Eleven General Orders” above encourage a devotion and a degree of service worthy of every child of God. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]


The Poet’s Prayer

Cliff Holmes

How you put the words into my head, I cannot understand.
You seem to open up my heart and guide my writing hand.
I write of truth and love divine the true and living way.
My words are merely mortal, as I think of you each day.
Lord, let me never fail with paper and pen to say,
Words of truth and beauty, as you lead me day by day.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.


You May Be That One

Cliff Holmes

One song will spark a moment,
One flower can wake a dream.
One tree can begin a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile can bring forth a friendship,
One handclasp can lift a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam can light a room.
One candle can remove the darkness,
One laugh will surely conquer gloom.

One step is the start of a journey,
One word will start an ardent prayer.
One hope can lift the sagging spirit,
One touch can let another know you care.

One voice can speak truth and wisdom,
One heart can know what is really true.
One life can make the difference,
You may be that one, it’s all up to you.

Cliff Holmes has served variously over the years as a minister, a deacon and a song leader. He resides in Decatur, Alabama, USA.


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