What is courage? Webster says it’s bravery; fortitude; spirit. I think of late the world has confused courage with conquer. To conquer is to gain victory over; to defeat; to acquire by conquest; to overcome; to master. Some of the programs on TV of late, and over the past several years, show the amateur filming of some of the stupidest things people do, just so they can say they did it. Most of them end up in the hospital with broken body parts, testifying to what went wrong and looking forward to the day they can try it again. This courageous conquest of the unknown by these dimwitted video stars is world-renowned and affects all classes. Surprisingly, among all the drunken carnage, one can find greatness in those who have courageously conquered the ridiculous and in many cases a professional sport has emerged. I ask why and someone says, why not? I’m just not cut out for outrageous courageous conquering greatness.
The Pony Express ran from St. Joseph, Mo., to Sacramento, Calif., a long 1,900 miles. Forty courageous riders would cover the distance in ten days. Everything had to be light in weight. Saddles were small. Mail pouches were flat. No guns were carried. Letters were written on small pieces of paper. Yet, when a rider first signed on, he was given what was considered standard equipment, a full-sized Bible and it was taken on every trip. The Bible should always be considered standard equipment to everyone. It is the only book that meets the needs of man under all conditions of life. May I encourage you to carry it, read it, study it and live it. Life will change if you do.
[Hebrews 4:12; Romans 8:35-39; Revelation 3:7-13] An atheist asked a little boy, whom he knew had already had a hard life at home, “I hear your family started going to church.” With a big grin on his face the boy replied, “You bet!” The man asked, “Do you really believe Jesus turned water into wine?” “Oh, yes!” exclaimed the boy. The man tried to belittle the boy and the Bible, and just about the time the man thought he conquered the boy, he looked up at the man, still smiling, with tears in his eyes, and said, “I know Jesus changed a drunk into a father and whiskey into furniture.”
Jimmy Jividen writes: “I have seen a cowboy mount a wild bronco and ride him to a standstill. The bronco would buck, kick, paw and snort trying to throw the rider. It requires a great courage for him to risk life and limb to break a bronco, but that is not the most courageous thing a man can do. If the cowboy makes the ride, he has only conquered an animal. I have seen fighters in a boxing ring pit their skills against other fighters. The punishment a fighter receives sometimes is unmerciful. His flesh might be bruised and his body bleeding, but he ignores the pain and fights on. One might think this is a supreme act of courage, but it is not. The victor has only conquered another man. I have seen a man come before the church with head bowed low and tears of repentance flowing from his eyes. He had been cut to the heart by God’s Word. He had been made to know the misery and consequence of sin. He utters a painful and humbling statement, ‘I have sinned.’ He seeks forgiveness from God and man. It is in this scene one witnesses the supreme act of courage. You see, such a man has conquered himself.” “... For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing ... is hidden from God.” Nothing.
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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