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Contributed By:
James Wilson
 
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Those of us who pray for the persecuted church, mourned the loss of Cardinal Ignatius Kung who died last month at the age of 98. Though I’m not a Catholic, I admire Cardinal Kung who stood by his convictions, and withstood persecution for his faith.

He was ordained as a Bishop of Shanghai in 1949, shortly after the communists took over China. The Chinese government pressured him to align his loyalties to the "Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association," he refused, choosing to remain loyal to his church’s chain of command. In 1955, the authorities brought he and 200 other priests to a stadium in Shanghai. The government ordered them to "confess their crimes." Instead, Kung shouted "Long live Christ the King! Long live the Pope."

Shortly thereafter, he received a life sentence, where he spent the next 30 years in prison, most of the time in solitary confinement. He was freed in 1987 and finally arrived to his final resting place last month.

 
Contributed By:
James May
 
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In the year 1836, the Republic of Texas was fighting for its life after some very costly battles with the Mexican General Santa Anna. In the opening days of this campaign to reclaim Texas for Mexico, Santa Anna had to face the Texians, as they were called then, at a lonely mission outpost known as the Alamo.

Outnumbered greatly, legend says that the commander, Col. Travis drew a line on the ground with his sword and, after making a patriotic call, asked every man willing to give his life for Texas to cross that line. The same legend says that only one man did not cross the line. His name was Louis Rose and he was the one that supposedly told the story that the legend is based upon.

Within 24 hours every man who had crossed the line was dead. They had all given their best, their lives, their fortunes and their homes in an effort to bring freedom from the tyranny of the Mexican Army. Their lives were given for a cause that was great and a cause they deemed more important than life itself.

 
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UNSUNG HEROINES

In Tom Brokaw’s book "The Greatest Generation Speaks," Veronica Mackey Hulick tells of her service during World War II.

Veronica was 20 when she joined the Navy WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service]. She and about 1500 other bright young women worked for hours at the monotonous job of wiring red, yellow, green, and blue wire to small wheels. Later, they discovered they had helped build a set of Navy computers referred to as "the Bombe," even though the word "computer" had not been introduced into the American vocabulary.

Later the group was transferred to Washington D.C. They were all sworn to secrecy with the consequence of being shot if they leaked any information about their project.
It took about 500 women each shift to run the 120 computers that they had helped to build. When they got a printout from a computer, they couldn’t read it. But rather, they ripped off the printout, knocked on a door at the end of the room, and gave it to a hand that came out only long enough to grab the paper.

When the war was over, each young lady was taken into an office and had to swear on the Bible that they would never talk about their work. They were each given a letter instructing future employers not to ask about their activities during the war.

It took 50 years for these women to learn of their noble efforts to end the war.

In 1994, 80 of these women gathered in Dayton, Ohio for a reunion. It was then that a Navy historian told them about the fruits of their labor. They had been responsible for sinking between 750 and 800 German U-boats. They had helped to shorten the war by one or maybe even two years and had saved countless lives. Veronica was thrilled to at last be able to tell of her work during the war, but grieved for those ladies who died never knowing the huge role they had played in the war effort.

Veronica writes: "...It was a different time in our history. We were patriotic, disciplined, caring, and just so thrilled to know we were doing something special to help end the war. We never sought recognition. I always thought of us as the unsung heroines of WWII."

(SOURCE: Tom Brokaw, "The Greatest Generation Speaks." pp. 39-41. New York: Random House, 1999.)

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you are one of the unsung heroes of our day. He has called you to proclaim His name. Rest in His grace and sing the praises of Jesus to a lost and dying world.

(From a sermon by Terry Blankenship, The Demands of a Personal Ministry, 2/10/2011)

 
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UNSUNG HEROINES

In Tom Brokaw’s book "The Greatest Generation Speaks," Veronica Mackey Hulick tells of her service during World War II.
Veronica was 20 when she joined the Navy WAVES [Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service]. She and about 1500 other bright young women worked for hours at the monotonous job of wiring red, yellow, green, and blue wire to small wheels. Later, they discovered they had helped build a set of Navy computers referred to as "the Bombe," even though the word "computer" had not been introduced into the American vocabulary.
Later the group was transferred to Washington D.C. They were all sworn to secrecy with the consequence of being shot if they leaked any information about their project.
It took about 500 women each shift to run the 120 computers that they had helped to build. When they got a printout from a computer, they couldn’t read it. But rather, they ripped off the printout, knocked on a door at the end of the room, and gave it to a hand that came out only long enough to grab the paper.
When the war was over, each young lady was taken into an office and had to swear on the Bible that they would never talk about their work. They were each given a letter instructing future employers not to ask about their activities during the war.
It took 50 years for these women to learn of their noble efforts to end the war.
In 1994, 80 of these women gathered in Dayton, Ohio for a reunion. It was then that a Navy historian told them about the fruits of their labor. They had been responsible for sinking between 750 and 800 German U-boats. They had helped to shorten the war by one, or maybe even two years and had saved c...

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Contributed By:
suresh manoharan
 
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Some thrilling Davis cup matches!!!

First things first. Why are so many miracles recorded in the Scriptures? For us to be awed by the all-powerful ways of Almighty God and spontaneously praise Him in the spirit of adoration! The very purpose of our Creation is to worship Him (the very first declaration in Westminster Catechism, which encapsulates Christian faith best, testifies to this fact). Oh yes, reading about miracles also reinforces our faith in Him, to deliver us from our difficulties. Now permit me to sidetrack just a bit and visit the World of tennis or more precisely that of Davis cup!

Davis cup? Oh that poor country cousin of the Grand Slams, which the top stars usually shun? Whatever way one may view this team competition, I am a great fan of it for the simple reason, computer rankings go haywire once the DC tie begins, with patriotism ruling the roost. So you see “many upsets” in this competition, where a lower ranked player (high on patriotic adrenaline) often gets the better of a higher ranked one. Yet another fascinating aspect of Davis cup competition is that it packages and presents contests within contests. Confused? Let me explain. While Davis cup competition primarily pits a country against a country, essentially within this broad contest, what keeps the spectators engaged is a contest within a contest of two players representing their national flags. Let’s take the recent Davis cup final between Spain and Argentina for example. Even as an engaging contest was on between TWO COUNTRIES, there was that EXCITING CONTEST WITHIN A CONTEST between two baseline sluggers-Nadal and Del Porto. These two Grand slam champions going toe-to-toe provided for some lip-smacking stuff for many a tennis buff. Old timers would also nostalgically recall some classic DC contests…notably the 6-hour marathon featuring Becker and McEnroe in a 1987 tie between Germany and USA or the Wilander, McEnroe epic (also of 6 hrs) in a 1982 contest between Sweden and USA. All these bring me to the like sounding spiritual theme …“MIRACLES WITHIN MIRACLES” (high time some readers might say).

A bit dazed once again? Permit me to clarify at the outset before expounding this subject, further. We always praise God for many an awe-inspiring miracle in the Bible but have we praised Him for some “silent” miracles within “thundering” miracles. Not so much for felling a Goliath, as for silently “directing” the stone slung by the shepherd boy to its target!

 
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HOME, SWEET HOME

There was a time during the American Civil War, when the rival armies were encamped on the opposite banks of the Potomac River, the Union's band played one of its patriotic tunes, and the Confederate musicians quickly struck up a melody dear to any Southerner's heart. Then one of the bands started to play "Home, Sweet Home." The musical competition ceased, and the musicians from the other army joined in. Soon voices from both sides of the river could be heard singing, "There is no place like home." In a similar way, (all those with Christ as head), in spite of many divisions, is bound together by that one strong link--we are all going home, and to the same home. We have a common destiny.

[(Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (68). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.) From a sermon by Matthew Kratz, Hope that Stands in the Storm]

 
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LAW IS LOVE

We have a little 10 lb. Sheltie-Poo at home, and we all love him. He thinks he’s so macho as he stands in our bay window, looking out at the street. A big German Shepherd walks his owner down our sidewalk every day, and our little Teddy goes nuts trying to get thru that window and take him on. He barks fiercely like there’s no tomorrow, and I have translated what he’s saying: "Come on, you want a piece of me, you lookin’ at me, you think you’re tough?"

At that moment our little Teddy is despising this window which won’t let him charge the other dog...and there’s nothing he’d like more than to break thru that window. But let me ask you, what’s the only thing saving his life? That window! Because the big dog calmly trots by that window and as he glances at Teddy he’s thinking, “I had two like you for lunch today!”

We don’t keep our dog separate from that other dog because we hate him or are trying to spoil all his fun, but because we love him, and love and law go together.

All of us humans need to realize that God is not a cosmic killjoy trying to spoil our fun. When God says "Thou shalt not" it’s only because He knows that particular behavior is destructive and will bring misery into our lives.

(From a sermon by Jerry Shirley, "Laying Down the Law-Independence Day-Patriotic-7/3/08" SermonCentral.com)

 
Contributed By:
Ross Cochrane
 
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THE DIVERSE DISCIPLES

I have always been a bit of a loner. I was not the sort of person you wanted in your team. I didn't fit. If Jesus hadn't come into my life, I am sure I would have ended up as a starving artist or at least a hermit - a recluse with a long beard, black jeans, T-shirt and sandals. It still sounds kind of good. I like my own company.

Strange that Jesus called me to be a Pastor and that I love it. I love people. Oh, there are times when relationships can get a bit strained, but I can be friends with the most diverse range of people. Sometimes the only thing they have had in common is me.

A couple of days ago I sat around a table as people from many backgrounds talked. One was from the outback and called herself a bushy. Another was from Adelaide and had a more cultured upbringing. They all accepted each other and me into their midst. What a great time we had as we talked and laughed together as we ate lunch - unity in diversity.

And speaking about A DIVERSE GROUP OF PEOPLE, what about the disciples of Jesus. In Matthew 10:2-4 we are given their names...

"Here are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (also called Peter), then Andrew (Peter's brother), James (son of Zebedee), John (James's brother), Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew (the tax collector), James (son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon (the zealot), Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him)."

It's interesting to me that there were 3 SETS OF BROTHERS among the disciples - Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John (the sons of Zebedee), and the other James and Thaddeus. Why choose brothers? What's with the FAMILY thing? Wouldn't there have been A CONFLICT OF INTEREST? Not when Jesus is leading. The only conflicts that arose were because of sin and selfishness. James and John seemed to quarrel at one stage. I wonder if Jesus separated them and paired them up with others when He sent them out? But the thing they all had in common was Jesus and HIS LEADERSHIP AND AUTHORITY over them. Without Him this disciple and apostle thing would not have worked.

Can you imagine the conflicts without Jesus? Simon the Zealot who had once belonged to a very Patriotic band of Jews would have hated Matthew if not for Jesus. I wonder if they were paired together when Jesus sent them out? That would have TESTED THE RELATIONSHIP!

When I give my past to Jesus I can begin to see others through His eyes. I can also give perspective to others concerning their relationships. When all of us realise that SIN DISTORTS OUR FRIENDSHIPS, it makes a great deal of difference to how we view others. WHAT DID JESUS SEE IN JUDAS? Surely He must have known what would happen? Come to think of it - What does He see in me? The most unlikely of disciples WAS STILL GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY. Unfortunately for Judas,...

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THE LAW SHOWS US THE WAY HOME

During World War II American planes flew from British airbases to missions over Germany. Finding their way home to base was often difficult because of horrible weather conditions. Churches with tall, stately spires dotted the English landscape. On overcast days the American pilots used the churches to guide them home. As planes descended through a gray sky the churches told the pilots if they were on the right course.

Our world is in a moral fog. The spiritual weather is horrible. The Ten Commandments are God’s signposts to show us the way home.

(SOURCE: from a sermon by Jerry Shirley, "Laying Down the Law-Independence Day-Patriotic, 7/3/08) SermonCentral.com

 
Contributed By:
Bruce Howell
 
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Former Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird, has called the Polaris Submarine a “priceless asset” in the Cuban Missile Crisis. The man responsible for the development of the Polaris was Rear Admiral William Raborn, Jr. He carefully recruited his top management personnel. When they came on the job he would give them and their families a patriotic pep talk on the importance of their assignments. On those occasions when it appeared that someone was not doing his best, he would call him into his office for what he termed, “rededication.” One officer, recalling one of those emotional sessions, said, “When I walked out, I knew I was ready to die for someone. I didn’t know whether it was for the admiral, the ...

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