Dirk Willems was arrested in his hometown of Asperen, Netherlands in 1569. His crime – choosing to be re-baptized as a devoted follower of Christ and hosting worship services in his home – was completely unacceptable to the religious and governmental leaders of his day. The young Dutchman was carted off to a palace that had been converted into a prison to stand trial alongside other religious “troublemakers.”
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When Michael Jordan stepped onto the court, he played for nothing short of victory. He was a driven, committed, passionate athlete who was intolerant of mediocrity. But he didn’t just play that way; he lived that way, as well.
Just ask his most-trusted friend, Fred Whitfield.
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When the gorgeous Kylie Bisutti won Victoria’s Secret Model Search in 2009, the young “angel” was fitted with a pair of the company’s iconic – and highly coveted – “wings.” She’d bested ten thousand other hopefuls in the competition and had become a professional model for the world’s most famous line of lingerie.
Then she stunned everyone by hanging up her wings and walking away from a very lucrative career.
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“It is a fundamental human right, a privilege of nature, that every man should worship according to his own convictions; one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is assuredly no part of religion to compel religion – to which free-will and not force should lead us.”
It doesn’t matter who you are or how good of a driver you are. When you see a police car behind you in traffic – even without its lights on – you automatically get nervous. It’s just human nature; all of us tense up in the presence of the law.
The weird thing is, we do the same thing with God’s Law, too.
Mrs. Rawlings stood in front of her class of second graders and said, “Today’s word is definitely. The word definitely means ‘absolutely, positively, without a doubt.’ Can anyone use the word definitely in a sentence?”
And that’s when the “train left the track.”
Around 175 AD, a girl of noble descent named Perpetua was born at Carthage, which happened to be the epicenter of Christianity’s growth in northern Africa. Believing Christianity undermined Roman patriotism, Emperor Septimius Severus began a focused persecution of the Christians in that province.
Perpetua and a few friends were immediately arrested…but that was only the beginning of their troubles.
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Do you know anybody who claims to have “core values” or “high standards” or “particular ethics”? The better question is, do you know anybody who actually lives by the standards he/she boasts?
John Woolman did. His convictions led him to alter everything about his life…and in the process, he changed thousands of lives.