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Francesco de Pietro Bernadone was the fun-loving son of a wealthy merchant in Assisi. One day, as he was riding his horse, he encountered a dying leper. He was repulsed by the leper's open sores, but suddenly he saw a picture of himself as Jesus saw him. He jumped off his horse, put all his money into the leper's hand, and gently kissed the leper's hand. It was a profound spiritual experience as he died to self and set a foundation in his life to become Francis of Assisi.
On 2nd May, 1962, a lady by the name of Gladys Kidd put this advertisement in the San Francisco Examiner, “I don’t want my husband to die in the gas chamber for a crime he did not commit. I will therefore offer my services for ten years as a cook, maid, or housekeeper to any leading attorney who will defend him and bring about his vindication.” One of San Francisco’s best lawyers, Vincent Hallinan, saw the ad and contacted her. He took on the case and got her husband released from all charges. Later, the lawyer refused Gladys Kidd’s offer of ten years’ free service, saying that he was happy to have saved an innocent man from death.
In February 1952, Jim Elliot and his four fellow missionaries arrived in Ecuador to evangelise the Indians there. They were there for less than four years when they were attacked and massacred by Huaorani warriors. Jim Elliot was only 28 years old. He believed that Jesus was more important than life. In 1949, at age 21, he had written, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
I had a chance to speak at a pastors’ conference in Pakistan with Haik Hovsepian, an Assembly of God pastor in Iran. He had taken a very public position advocating for a pastor in prison, and he boldly shared the gospel all over Iran. At the end of our week together in Pakistan, Haik and I parted at the airport. The last thing he told me was, “Andrew, when they kill me, it will not be for being silent.” Haik knew, and he wasn’t going to be quiet. Two weeks later he was martyred. Brother Andrew God’s Smuggler
In 1555, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley (England) were sentenced to be burned at the stake for their faith in Christ. When the sentence was passed, Latimer said, "I thank God most heartily that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death." And because Ridley, his fellow believer, was burning much more slowly, even as Latimer was himself burning he called out to him, "Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out."
When Salvation Army people dedicated their children in the 1880s, they were warned, “You must be willing that the child should spend all its life in the Salvation Army, wherever God should choose to send it, that it should be despised, hated, cursed, beaten, kicked, imprisoned or killed for Christ’s sake.”
A 2,000 member congregation was stunned one Sunday morning to see two men enter during their service, both covered completely in black and carrying military weapons. One of the men promptly declared, "If anyone is willing to take a bullet for Christ, stay right where you are." Immediately, the deacons, the choir, and most of the congregation ran out. Out of the original 2,000 there were only about twenty left. The man who had spoken turned to look at the preacher and said, "Okay pastor, I got rid of all the hypocrites. Feel free to start your service and have a nice day!" And the two men turned and walked out.
Before you've got a girlfriend, you flirt with everybody. When you've got one, you only flirt with a few. When you're engaged, you're flirting is really limited. But when you're married (hopefully) you don't flirt with anyone.
Su Kim's teacher promised her a special prize. "After your parents go to bed tonight, if you can find a black book at home, bring it to school tomorrow. But don't tell anyone." She was excited about the possibility of winning a prize, and looked diligently. Su Kim found a book - a Bible - and the next day took it to her teacher. But when she returned home from school her parents were gone. They'd been arrested by the North Korean police. Their crime was owning a Bible. After a frightening night home alone Su Kim became a state orphan.
Towards the end of a march through a desert, Alexander the Great and his men were desperate for water. At last, a patrol found a spring with enough water to fill a helmet. They brought the water back to Alexander for him to drink. However, even though he was just as thirsty as they were, he refused to drink it, but poured it out on the ground in front of his army. This act of identifying with his men boosted their morale significantly.
The first man decided to die with his wife. The second man decided to die for his wife.
Gina had a calling to the mission field. She had it all worked out. She'd train as a nurse and that would put her in a prime position to be able to get into a lot of countries. Then along came Simon. She fell in love. They got engaged. Only problem was Simon was very clear that he felt no call to the mission field. Not long afterwards, a man came to their church to minister. As he was praying for her, God gave him a word: "You are called to the mission field. God wants you to know that the person whom you are planning to marry will lead you away from that calling." What to do? Choose the good thing and marry this guy, or break it off so that she could attain to God's best? Sadly, she married him. Sometimes the choice isn't between good and evil, it's between good and best.
Jesus is our supreme example of sacrifice. Mark 14:32-36 This was a tough call. Jesus didn't wake up that day excited about getting crucified - it was a sacrifice.
Sir Leonard Wood was visiting the King of France. The king was really pleased with him and invited him to dinner the next day. He went. But the king said, "Sir Leonard, I did not expect to see you. How is it that you are here?" "Did not Your Majesty invite me to dine with you?" "Yes, but you did not answer my invitation." "A king's invitation is never to be answered, but to be obeyed."
Have you heard the story of the hen and the hog? They were walking down the street and came to a church with a sign outside. "Help the needy." They started to talk about it. Hen: "I know how we could help. We could give them ham and eggs for breakfast." The hog was horrified: "That's okay for you. For you it's only a contribution, but for me it's total commitment."
A man complained that he was a man of good standing in his church and a known wife-beater. But when he got saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, he was kicked out of the church in 90 days. Related by Kenneth Copeland
A family was in a serious traffic accident. The youngest son, Mike, was seriously injured and needed blood. His big brother, Danny, was only 8-years-old, but had the same blood type. Danny's Dad explained carefully how important it was for Mike to have blood, and how great it would be if Danny could help out. There was silence for a while, then Danny said, "Yes, Daddy, I'll give my blood so Mike can get better." They put the needle in his vein and drew the blood they needed. Once the needle was back out, Danny looked up at his Dad, and with tears running down his cheeks said, "Daddy, when do I die?" It was only then that his Dad realised that Danny didn't know he was just giving some blood. He thought he was giving his life.
Telling of his experience as a prisoner of war, Ernest Gordon related how after work one evening a guard noticed a shovel missing. Insisting one of the prisoners had stolen it, he screamed for the guilty party to come forward, then he prepared to kill them one by one till someone confessed. Suddenly a Scottish soldier broke rank, stood to attention and said, "I did it." The guard beat him to death on the spot. When he'd exhausted his fury the other POWs picked up their friend's body along with their tools and returned to camp. At that point the shovels were recounted. The guard was wrong. None were missing!
Matthew, a tax collector, is making money hand over fist. Despised by all the people for collaborating with the Romans, he absorbs himself in his world of money. Then one day, Jesus passes by, looks at Matthew, and simply says, "Follow Me." And for one brief moment, Matthew has a dilemma. A split-second image of all his gold and his silver and his house and his possessions. Then he looks at Jesus and realises he's got to make a choice - he can't have both. But there was no comparison. He recognised instantly that he was looking at the True Treasure, the true riches. And he left everything: He made a sacrifice that turned out to be no sacrifice at all.
Every time you sit down at a meal, something has died that you may live. Trevor Chandler
As we shook hands and bade each other farewell at the end of the seminar, he looked me straight in the eyes, gripped my hand firmly, and said, "Andrew, when they kill me, it will be for speaking, not for being silent." When, not if. Brother Andrew in The Muslim Challenge p10
A Useful Vessel: It's not what we keep, but what we share. Not what we have, but what we spare. Not what we clasp, but what we lose. Not what we hide, but what we use.
You have to leave the first step before you can get to the second step.
The blood of Christians is seed. Tertullian
He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot (martyred by Auca Indians)