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Illustration results for courageous men

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Ken Pell
 
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REMOVE THE HATE -- BE PURE

"And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood (Hebrews 13:2)."

Three years ago, Chris Simpson led a white pride march. Two years ago, he abandoned the white supremacist movement. This past April (2012), he was baptized.

Chris, a 38-year-old garbage man and former Marine had the words "PURE HATE" tattooed across his knuckles.

After the loss of his first child, Simpson had a lot of hatred and anger built up inside. The white pride movement gave Simpson a place to direct his anger and frustration—at people of other races.

After he and his family watched the movie “Courageous,” he began attending church. One month later he was baptized as a follower of Jesus Christ.

"Any kind of burdens I carried before, I let them go." Simpson said, "There’s no need to carry things that happen in the past. I forgave all those who wronged me and asked forgiveness from those that I have wronged."

Simpson has left hate behind. He’s even going through the Freedom Ink Tattoo removal program too -- starting with the word HATE.

(Source: Aaron Aupperlee, "Former White Supremacist Sheds Hate and Embraces Christianity," The Washington Post {7-2-12})

 
Contributed By:
John Dobbs
 
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Many years ago Charles G. Finney was preaching in Rochester, New York. Far up in the balcony was a brilliant and able lawyer. He was chief justice of the
court of New York. As he listened to the minister, he became convicted of his need to follow Christ. "That man is speaking the truth," he said to himself. "I ought to act up on it. Here and now I ought to make a public confession of Jesus Christ." But there was another voice that spoke, reminding him of the prominent position he held, also how humiliating it would be for him to go forward and make his confession just as any ordinary sinner. "But why not?" came the more manly voice! Then, lest his cowardice might get the better of him, while the minister was still speaking, he arose and went down the stairway and the long aisle. He stepped into the pulpit, plucked the minister by the sleeve, and said, "If you will call for decisions for Christ now, I am ready to come." By that courageous decision he not only found Christ for himself, but was the means of helping to bring a new spiritual springtime to his entire city.

 
Contributed By:
Rodney Buchanan
 
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Former NFL player Pat Tillman’s name has been in the news a lot lately. He played football for Arizona State University and then the Arizona Cardinals. But he had voluntarily enlisted with the Army Rangers following the terrorist attacks on September 11; turning down a $3.6 million contract with the NFL. He was just 27-years-old when he was killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on April 22. Pat Tillman was a man of extraordinary courage and determination — a national hero. Recent reports are now saying that he may have been killed by friendly fire. At his memorial service he was eulogized by family, friends and celebrities at a 2 ½ hour service in his hometown of San Jose, California. Pat’s father said in his brief remarks at the service: “I miss my son, and it’s not getting any better.” USA Today reported that Alex Garwood, a brother-in-law, opened his comments by pouring a glass of beer, setting it in front of the lectern, and then yelling to the large crowd which had gathered: “This (expletive) sucks.” He went on to say, “Part of me wants to give up, throw in the towel, but there’s no way Pat would accept that from us.” Richard Tillman, Pat’s brother, stood before the gathering in a white T-shirt and jeans and shocked the crowd when he said with his voice shaking: “It was amazing to be his baby brother. He was a champion. And Pat was not religious, so he’s not with God, he’s just (expletive) dead.”
When I read that story and felt the despair of those who felt the loss of Pat Tillman, I thought again of the words of the Bible that say: “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). It does not matter how strong, courageous or famous you are — if you are just dead, you’re just dead. And there is no hope for our family or the friends we leave behind. Things will not get better. We are to be pitied and might as well give up. But as we read the book of Acts, we find what is without a doubt the most transforming thought ever to come into the human mind and heart: This life is not the end, it is just the beginning, because Jesus Christ has conquered death. And because he has conquered death, he will conquer our death as well and raise us to life. There is more to life. There is more to come. Jesus Christ conquered death, rose from the grave and opened Paradise — all for our sakes.

 
Contributed By:
SermonCentral 
 
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The Unbaptized Arm

Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.

However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.

The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.

The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"

So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.

He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.

What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.

Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they w...

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Contributed By:
Tom Papez
 
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COLT McCOY: THE REAL McCOY

Eight days ago, college football experienced a masterpiece national championship game featuring the number one ranked Crimson Tide from Alabama against the undefeated ballers from the University of Texas. The Longhorns, led by their Heisman nominated quarterback Colt McCoy hoped to prove to the world that you...well...you don't mess with Texas.

But in front of a sellout crowd in Pasedena and millions more watching on television around the world, McCoy's dream turned into a nightmare. On the 5th play of the game, the gunslinger dropped back to make a throw when he was subsequently nailed by the hungry 'Bama linebacker Marcell Dareus. McCoy, who had been hit thousands of times before, knew something was different this time. And when he went to hoist his rifle arm up into a throwing position, his long cannon felt more like a soft, wet noodle.

As the Lone Star State went into tears of disbelief, medics and doctors went to work on the young man's arm with the same amount of vigilance horse trainers use when examining a tight tendon of a racehorse at the Breeder's Cup. The results remained negative. Diagnosis after diagnosis, stretch after stretch, all met with same excruciating answer, the boy could not play.

This is when the frustrated superstar demands one more shot, one more hope of re-entering the Rose Bowl in hopes of engineering a victory. "Give me a ball," he demanded. Colt's own father, the same man who had been there at his birth, raised him through childhood, coached him through high school, and raised him to become a warrior, now stood just 7 feet a way from McCoy's ferocious spirit and lifeless arm.

McCoy raised the ball like he had done a million times in the backyard growing up, geared back his shoulder, and tossed a ball that putted the ground half way to his father. Colt gripped the ball a second time thinking to himself, "it's just a basic throw, throw it." He did. The ball rolled a few feet. Finally a third time, with his face tightened and teeth griping down on his mouthpiece, Colt threw with everything he had, but the ball just dropped. It fell in the same way a boxing manager throws in the towel during a vicious fight to protect his fighter. McCoy, a quarterback that could throw the football 70 yards on the money, couldn't even through it 7.

Colt McCoy's injury would have allowed him to play any other position on the field that night. Free safety, linebacker, running back, even kicker. But in his still quiet moment of destination, the position he had trained to play for ages was absolutely not possible. And through all the hurt, pain, and turmoil, his father was there.

God is our father. And the Bible clearly states in Deuteronomy 31 for us to "be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified...for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." For those that believe in Him, for those who have given their life to Him, to those who are fully devoted to Him, He will leave us or abandon us. He will never forsake us. In the moments of our crises, whether it is griping a football or griping the lifeless body of a perished child, God will be there. Please put your faith in him today. Amen.

 
Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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Sixty years ago America was engulfed in a struggle for survival. Swindoll notes, "We were sandwiched between two massive military powers bent on world domination. Our fighting forces were at their peak, performing at heroic levels of determination. Every magazine, every newspaper, every radio news report (there was no television), and virtually every conversation between neighbors and fellow employees included words about the war. It was, except for the bloody Civil War, the most significant war in our nations history. Such a conflict called for stouthearted leaders who were not afraid¡Kwho could see the big picture, who were able to make tough and lonely decisions as well as motivate others who were willing to carry them out to the point of sacrifice. Happily, Americans were not alone during those difficult and demanding years. Across the Atlantic the people of the United Kingdom remained staunch allies. A major part of the reason they stood with us so firmly was the courageous commitment of England's prime minister, a man whose leadership was nothing short of remarkable. William Manchester refers to that man in his excellent volume. The Last Lion- Winston Spencer Churchill" (3,4).

For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org

 
Contributed By:
Ed Vasicek
 
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TOUGH LADIES AND HUMAN NATURE

I used to enjoy the old "Where's the Beef?" commercial.
Everyone, it seems, knows a "where's the beef" type of lady. Germany has them, too:

BERLIN (Reuters) - A feisty 90-year-old German woman chased away three would-be burglars from her rural farmhouse with her cane, police said on Monday.

The retired farmer was moving around her house with the help of a walking frame and spotted the intruders -- two men and one woman.

She grabbed her cane and started beating the burglars with it. The trio fled the house in a town outside Muenster.
"It was quite courageous of her," a police spokeswoman said. "But on the other hand it was also quite dangerous. She was quite fortunate that nothing serious happened."

Tough little old ladies are universal; human nature is human nature.

 
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AN INADEQUATE CONSTITUTION

For most of our history we have remained a religious people. From the very first moment that Americans officially declared themselves before the world to be one people, they appealed to the “Creator” and the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” From the brave pilgrims who left their homeland in pursuit of religious liberty to the courageous men and women who struggled to win the Revolutionary War, the first Americans never abandoned their faith in God as a provider of instruction and sustenance.
One of [William Bennett’s] favorite—and surprising—examples of this rock-solid faith involves Benjamin Franklin, easily the most irreverent of the Founders. At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the delegates reached an impasse, threatening an end to their efforts to construct a more secure union. Franklin’s solution was to ask his fellow delegates to pray for “the assist...

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Contributed By:
David Ward
 
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One of the most beloved and colorful sports personalities of our time was a man named Jim Valvano, "Jimmy V" as he was known affectionately to sports fans around the country. Jim Valvano tragically died just a few years ago after a year-long battle with cancer. He was just 47 years old. He will be remembered as a great basketball coach. His North Carolina State team won the national championship in 1983. Jim Valvano will also be remembered as an outstanding TV analyst, an eloquent inspirational speaker, and as a lovable, wisecracking humorist. But, most of all, he’ll be remembered for the courageous way he faced a debilitating illness.
A few weeks before he died, he was honored on national television and to that vast viewing audience, he said this: "Today, I fight a different battle. You see, I have trouble walking and I have trouble standing for a long period of time. Cancer has taken away a lot of my physical abilities. Cancer is attacking and destroying my body, but what cancer cannot touch is my mind, my heart, and my soul. I have faith in God and hope that things might get better for me. But even if they don’t, I promise you this: I will never, ever give up. I will never, ever quit. And if cancer gets me, then I’ll just try my best to go to heaven and I’ll try my best to be the best coach they’ve ever seen up there." Then, pointing to his 1983 championship team, he said, "I learned a great lesson from these guys. They amazed me. They did things I was not sure they could do because they absolutely refused to give up. That was the theme of our championship season: ’Never, ever give up!’ That’s the lesson I learned from them, and that’s the message I leave with you. Never give up. Never, ever give up!"

 
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As the movie Brian’s Song depicted, the friendship between Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo deepened into one of the best relationships in the history of sports. During the 1969 season, Piccolo was cut down with cancer. He fought to play the season out, but he was in hospitals more than he was in the games. Gale Sayers flew to be beside him as often as possible. They had planned, to sit together at the Professional Football Writers annual dinner in New York, where Sayers was to be given the George S. Halas Award as the most courageous player in pro football. However, Pick was confined to his bed at home. As he stood to receive the award, tears sprang to Sayers’ eyes. He said, "You flatter me by giving me this award, but I tell you here and now that I accept it for Brian Piccolo. Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas Award. I love Brian Piccolo and I’d like you to love him. Tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him too." "I love Brian Piccolo." How often do we hear men say words such as those? But how much more enriched our lives could be if we dared to declare our affection as Sayers did.

Jesus’ greatest _expression of love was His death.
Someone asked Jesus, "How much do you love me?" He spread out His arms, said, "This much" and died.

 
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