When Julius Caesar landed on the shores of Britain with his Roman legions, he took a
bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. Ordering his men to
march to the edge of the Cliffs of Dover, he commanded them to look down at the water
below. To their amazement, they saw every ship in which they had crossed the channel
engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any possibility of retreat. Now that
his soldiers were unable to return to the continent, there was nothing left for them to do
but to advance and conquer! And that is exactly what they did.
On a recent trip to Haiti, I heard a Haitian pastor illustrate to his congregation the
need for total commitment to Christ. His parable: A certain man wanted to sell his house
for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't
afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half
the original price with just one stipulation: He would retain ownership of one small nail
protruding from just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was
unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung
it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family
was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
The Haitian pastor's conclusion: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in
our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's
Dale A. Hays, Leadership, Vol. X, No. 3
(Summer, 1989), p. 35.
Forget about the concept of a town hall meeting to decide public policy. How about this
instead? In Ancient Greece, to prevent idiotic statesmen from passing idiotic laws upon
the people, lawmakers--legend has it--were asked to introduce all new laws while standing
on a platform with a rope around their neck. If the law passed, the rope was removed. If
it failed, the platform was removed.
Quality Press, August, 1992.
You must get involved to have an impact. No one is impressed with the won-lost record
of the referee.
John H. Holcomb, The Militant Moderate (Rafter).
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in
untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the 56 men, five were captured by
the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the
fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. Carter Braxton of Virginia,
a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships sunk by the British navy. He sold his home and
properties to pay his debts and died in poverty. At the battle of Yorktown, the British
General Cornwallis had taken over Thomas Nelson's home for his headquarters. Nelson
quietly ordered General George Washington to open fire on the Nelson home. The home was
destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt. John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she
was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and mill were
destroyed. For over a year, he lived in forest and caves, returning home only to find his
wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion.
L. Dodge, Resource, Sept./ Oct., 1992, p. 5.
Pliny the Elder, was a Roman writer who lived during the same time period as Jesus. He
told a story of the setting of an obelisk, which when erect would stand 99 feet tall.
Twenty thousand workers where chosen to pull on the ropes and activate the hoisting
apparatus. There was great responsibility and risk in the operation. Just one error could
cause the obelisk to fall, ruining years of work. The King demanded one act which insured
the complete attention and best direction of the engineer. He ordered the engineer's own
son to be strapped to the apex of the obelisk, so that his heart as well as his head would
be given to the task.
Pulpit Helps, August, 1992, p. 14.
"When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,"
tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. "He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice.
Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I
also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, 'Shall I be a
teacher or a singer?' "'Luciano,' my father replied, 'if you try to sit on two
chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.' "I chose
one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional
appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether
it's laying bricks, writing a book--whatever we choose--we should give ourselves to it.
Commitment, that's the key. Choose one chair."
A number of years ago Norman Cousins wrote an editorial in Saturday Review in which he
reported a conversation he had on a trip in India. He was talking with a Hindu priest
named Satis Prasad. The man said he wanted to come to our country to work as a missionary
among the Americans. Cousins assumed that he meant that he wanted to convert Americans to
the Hindu religion, but when asked, Satis Prasad said, "Oh no, I would like to
convert them to the Christian religion. Christianity cannot survive in the abstract. It
needs not membership, but believers. The people of your country may claim they believe in
Christianity, but from what I read at this distance, Christianity is more a custom than
anything else. I would ask that either you accept the teachings of Jesu in your everyday
life and in your affairs as a nation, or stop invoking His name as sanction for everything
you do. I want to help save Christianity for the Christian."
B. Clayton Bell, in Preaching, May-June, 1986.
In Russia, Christians are tested by hardship, but in America you are tested by freedom.
And testing by freedom is much harder. Nobody pressures you about your religion. So you
relax and are not so concentrated on Christ, on His teaching, how He wants you to
Pavel Poloz, recently (1987) exiled from Russia, Moody
Monthly, April, 1989.
April 7, 1965, 11 a.m.
Lieut. Gen Grant, General Sheridan says, "If the thing is pressed, I think that
Lee will surrender."
Let the thing be pressed.
C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, p. 200, 213.
Adoniram Judson sweated out Burma's heat for 18 years without a furlough, six years
without a convert. Enduring torture and imprisonment, he admitted that he never saw a ship
sail without wanting to jump on board and go home. When his wife's health broke and he put
her on a homebound vessel in the knowledge he would not see her for two full years, he
confided to his diary: "If we could find some quiet resting place on earth where we
could spend the rest of our days in peace. . ." But he steadied himself with this
remarkable postscript: "Life is short. Millions of Burmese are perishing. I am almost
the only person on earth who has attained their language to communicate salvation. .
Regions Beyond, Vol. 37, No. 1, p. 2.
The UnMarriage Contract "delineates just what belongs to whom, defines property
rights of parties entering into a live-together relationship, and spells out the
contributions of each person to the household." It retails for a paltry $24.95, and
once notarized, legally protects unmarried couples from the sort of alimony settlements
that they would try to gouge out of one another once the fun and games turned sour.
Saturday Review, quoted in February, 1980.
A missionary society wrote to David Livingstone and asked, "Have you found a good
road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men to join you."
Livingstone wrote back, "If you have men who will come only if they know there is a
good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."
Good News Broadcaster, April, 1985, p. 12.
The Bohemian reformer John Hus was a man who believed the Scriptures to be the
infallible and supreme authority in all matters. He died at the stake for that belief in
Constance, Germany, on his forty-second birthday. As he refused a final plea to renounce
his faith, Hus's last words were, "What I taught with my lips, I seal with my
February 15, 1921. New York City. The operating room of the Kane Summit Hospital. A
doctor is performing an appendectomy. In many ways the events leading to the surgery are
uneventful. The patient has complained of severe abdominal pain. The diagnosis is clear:
an inflamed appendix. Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane is performing the surgery. In his
distinguished thirty-seven-year medical career, he has performed nearly four thousand
appendectomies, so this surgery will be uneventful in all ways except two.
The first novelty of this operation? The use of local anesthesia in major surgery. Dr.
Kane is a crusader against the hazards of general anesthesia. He contends that a local
application is far safer. Many of his colleagues agree with him in principle, but in order
for them to agree in practice, they will have to see the theory applied.
Dr. Kane searches for a volunteer, a patient who is willing to undergo surgery wile
under local anesthesia. A volunteer is not easily found. Many are squeamish at the thought
of being awake during their own surgery. Others are fearful that the anesthesia might wear
off too soon. Eventually, however, Dr. Kane finds a candidate. On Tuesday morning,
February 15, the historic operation occurs.
The patient is prepped and wheeled into the operating room. A local anesthetic is
applied. As he has done thousands of times, Dr. Kane dissects the superficial tissues and
locates the appendix. He skillfully excises it and concludes the surgery. During the
procedure, the patient complains of only minor discomfort. The volunteer is taken into
post-op, then placed in a hospital ward. He recovers quickly and is dismissed two days
later. Dr. Kane had proven his theory. Thanks to the willingness of a brave volunteer,
Kane demonstrated that local anesthesia was a viable, and even preferable, alternative.
But I said there were two facts that made the surgery unique. I've told you the first:
the use of local anesthesia. The second is the patient. The courageous candidate for
surgery by Dr. Kane was Dr. Kane.
To prove his point, Dr. Kane operated on himself! A wise move. The doctor became a
patient in order to convince the patients to trust the doctor.
Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm, Word Publishing, 1991, pp. 35-36.