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One of the earliest and the most outstanding intellectuals, leaders and defenders of the Christian faith was Augustine, the fourth century writer of the “Confessions of Saint Augustine,” one of the most famous tell-all autobiographies written. Young Augustine was a hedonist, a philosopher, an agnostic, and a rebel, but his mother Monica was a godly, persistent, and resourceful woman. Augustine often laughed at her mother’s pious ways, mocked her faith, and deliberately defied her continual pleading for him to repent of his pagan lifestyle, to convert to Christ, and to live an exemplary life. When Augustine wanted to leave the shores of Carthage, North Africa, for the bright lights of Rome, his mother feared the worst for her son, dreaded the outcome of his leaving, and often fled to the church for solace, prayer, and advice. In her despair, she would often weep uncontrollably for her son. One day a minister noticed her painful cries, and asked her why she was so bitter. She told him of his wayward son, but the bishop assured her with these words: “Go in peace; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.” Augustine avoided his mother as much as possible and ignored her warnings time and again, but he could not escape her continuous prayers. Monica painstakingly prayed, wept, and looked for her son for 30 years until Augustine surrendered his life to Christ. Life has its heartaches, and none is as heartbreaking as a rare, a stubborn, or an unspeakable illness that is dreaded for its physical onslaught, financial cost, and mental, emotional and physical toil. The Chinese saying, “Long-sick folks have no filial or obedient child by their bed.”

 
Contributed By:
Jeffrey Sturdivant
 
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IT DEPENDS WHOSE HANDS IT’S IN
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands is
worth about $33 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6
A baseball in Mark McGuire’s hands is worth $19 million
It depends whose hands it’s in

A tennis racket is useless in my hands
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands
is a Wimbledon Championship
It depends whose hands it’s in

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal
A rod in Moses’ hands will part the mighty sea
It depends whose hands it’s in

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy
A sling shot in David’s hand is a mighty weapon.
It depends whose hands it’s in

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands
is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s
hands will feed thousands It depends whose hands it’s in

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands will produce
salvation for the entire world.
It depends whose hands it’s in

As you see now it depends whose hands it’s in.
So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
your hopes, your dreams, your families and
your relationships in God’s hands because

It depends whose hands it’s in.(Author Unknown)

 
Contributed By:
Alan Perkins
 
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"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new." -Machiavelli, The Prince, 1515

 
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Brad Bailey
 
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IN GULF WAR THE GROUND OFFENSIVE WAS SUCCESSFUL DUE TO
AERIAL ATTACK THAT PRECEDED IT
On February 24, 1991, a lightning ground offensive was launched by the U.S. and allied forces in the Persian Gulf War. Its effectiveness shattered the defending Iraqi forces. Within days the world’s fourth largest army was crushed, tens of thousands of prisoners of war were taken and the conflict was ended. What explains this stunning defeat? For over a month a relentless air campaign had targeted the defending forces. Its strategic penetration had broken the defenders’ infrastructure and dissolved their power. These events speak a powerful truth about prayer to Christians today, as we seek to take our communities and world with the good news of Christ. We have weapons with "divine power to demolish strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4), as "we struggle... not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forc...

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Contributed By:
Victor Yap
 
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Augustine the fiery defender of the faith accepted Christ in the most unusual
way. After resisting God for a long time Augustine heard a child playing
nearby, saying, TOLLE LEGE, TOLLE LEGE, which means, Take, Read. He promptly
read a random verse from the Bible, Romans 13:13- 14, and gave his life to
Christ.

A friend who is a seminary professor in Hong Kong was converted watching the
ultraliberal, blasphemous movie "Jesus Christ Superstar." He wrote:
"In September 1978, as I was in a very desperate and low state of mind, I
went to the Ocean Theatre to watch a movie called "Jesus Christ Superstar".
The Spirit of God spoke to my heart powerfully through that movie! As I
looked to the life of Jesus, I found that Jesus loved me so much. Though I
strongly felt that I was a sinner, Jesus still loved me and died for me on
the cross. I still remember there was a shot showing Jesus¡¦ painful look as
he was hanging on the cross, but all of a sudden, Jesus prayed, " Father,
forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Lk. 23:34 ) I was cut to the
heart by this prayer and my tears came out as much as it can be. I accepted
Jesus¡¦ love and forgiveness deep down in my heart. Praise God! He saved me by
this unusual means and through this unexpected incident. (Via email 8/13/00)

 
Contributed By:
Russell Brownworth
 
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My favorite movie is “Shadowlands” – the story of the latter life of that great defender of the Christian faith, C. S. Lewis. In that movie we find the teacher, Dr. Lewis giving one of his famous speeches; he calls suffering a gift from God.

 
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On May 23, 1863, nearly 30,000 Union soldiers were camped in a semi-circle around one of the most unlikely places in the country. Just 35 miles north of where we are right now there was a fort built on a high bluff overlooking a sharp bend in the Mississippi River. From the earthen walls of that fort bristled a multitude of cannon, most of them aimed at the river itself. Nearly 7000 men called that fort home. Their mission and purpose was to keep the river open for the Confederacy. The river was the main artery into the heart of the South and it must remain free at all costs. For 48 days the siege went on. Day after day, artillery would rain down on the defenders. Time and again waves of blue uniformed men would throw themselves against the defenders of Port Hudson, but they never penetrated the walls. After many days, the defenders became weak because of lack of food. They were forced to eat anything that they could find including dogs, horses, mules, cats and even rats. Their last stand was made at a point of the defenses called Fort Desperate. Finally, the siege came to an end as Vicksburg fell. The defense of Port Hudson was no longer important. I know that not all of you like Civil War history and perhaps you tire of hearing about it but I went to that area this week with my grandson’s class from school. I was reminded of the price that many have paid as they made their last stand for what they believed. The soldiers, from both sides of this siege, knew what their objective was and they were prepared to pay the price. There are stories of men who made their last stand throughout history and nearly every one of them have given us the names of heroes that live on beyond their lifetime. Men like Davy Crocket at the siege of the Alamo and General McAuliffe at the siege of Bastogne in World War II. When the German’s surrounding the 101st Airborne in that little French town demanded that the American’s either surrender or die, McAuliffe’s answer was short but pointed. All he said was, “Nuts”. That “eloquent speech” forever wrote his name in history.

 
Contributed By:
Mark Brunner
 
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“Broken Hearts Don’t Need Vince Lombardi!” Mark 5:35-43 Key verse(s) 41:“He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koumi!’ (which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’).”

I did not know what to do for her. Her heart was breaking right in front of me. She so much wanted to be held, yet she shunned the embrace. Cradling her head in her hands, she sobbed, “I just don’t know what I am going to do! Nothing is working out the way I wanted it to. I’m so lost, so alone. I just don’t know what to do.”

My daughter had been struggling with so many things for so long. She had bottled them up in her tender heart and just couldn’t contain them any longer. She had wanted to be brave, to face everything on her own. But now, her second year of college nearly under her belt, she wanted to chuck everything into the dust bin and call it quits. It seems that life had been pretty hard on her for some time now and she just couldn’t face another semester of competing, doing and just being who she was. More than anything else she wanted to throw in the towel and stop the fight. Yet, sensing that she needed someone with which to share her deep sorrow, she had given me a call. “Dad, I need your help!”

“Dad, I need your help!” These are five little words that makes the adrenaline flow in any fathers’s being. The fact that a child puts you into the role of knight and defender can really become the wind beneath your wings. It can also become the fire within as it strikes a fear in your heart, not knowing what that help might require. As soon as I had taken the phone call I drove down to campus and found her sitting on the grass near her dorm. I could see that she was struggling and was deeply troubled. I sensed pretty quickly that nothing I said would have much of an immediate effect if any at all. How do you respond to “I just can’t go on!” Having nearly raised four children, three of them daughters, I had learned long ago that the locker room pep talk is a pretty ineffective tool at times like this. Broken hearts don’t need Vince Lombardi. Trying my best to comfort her, I encouraged her to think clearly before making a decision to quit everything. She was a top student on nearly a full scholarship. It seemed like such a waste. It wasn’t long before I began to grasp the tenor of the situation. It seemed that father and daughter were really not there for discourse at all. We were there merely to labor and work at the pain; to place our spades deep within the sorrow and shovel it out. Not knowing what else to do, and not wanting to leave her alone, I slipped my hand into her’s and began a long silence. Soon there were two sets of tears. The vulnerability within her had reached out and pulled me deep into the hurt. There was nothing I could do but go with the flow.

In The Four Loves, author C. S. Lewis writes, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must given your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket––safe, dark, motionless, airless––it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” (The Four Loves, chap. 6, para. 13, p. 169)

Compassion is more than doing good or being charitable. Although there is a place for the civic “do-gooder,” being compassionate is more than just showing u...

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Contributed By:
Martin Dale
 
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On 13th September 1759, one of the most significant battles of the 18th Century was fought – the Battle of the Heights of Abraham.
The Heights of Abraham were (and still are) the cliffs above the St. Lawrence river in front of the strategic city of Quebec.

Louis, the Marquis de Montcalm - who was in charge of the French defenders of the city Quebec - felt secure because of the natural protection against a river side attack afforded by the Heights of Abraham.

And so he sent only a small detachment of French soldiers to watch the cliffs and repel anyone foolish enough to try and scale the Heights and attack

However, Wolfe found a route up the cliffs, that led to the top. When he got to the top, he found the French guard asleep and they were quickly overwhelmed.

And by dawn, Wolfe had four thousand eight hundred and twenty eight men on the top of the Heights of Abraham - west of the city.

And, of course the rest is history.

The French attacked Wolfe but grossly underestimated the force that he had led to the top and were soon in disarray.

Wolfe was mortally wounded leading his men into battle, as was Montcalm as he attempted to rally his troops.

The following day Quebec surrendered and with it, the French lost Canada

And that loss came about primarily because the French guard - at the top if the Heights of Abraham - were asleep on duty.

Had they been alert that day – Quebec would not have fallen.

 
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"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the animosity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions and merely lukewarm defenders in those who should gain by the new ones."

 
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