For the last 17 years, my love for our nation’s history has grown and grown. It really took off when I was in my junior year of high school. My teacher, Mr. Swangel, had a very “old school” approach to education…an overhead projector, notes, and lecture. There wasn’t much else to our year. As soon as the bell rang, we would get out our 5-subject notebook and begin taking copious notes until the bell rang again, 50 minutes later. There was however a break in the monotony of note-taking that split up the year. We were given the opportunity to watch the movie, “Glory” (one of my favorites to this day). Despite the lack of technology in the classroom, projects, group work, reports, or other engaging activities, Mr. Swangel had a way of imparting his knowledge of the subject that drew me in. It was, and is, one of my most favorite history classes I have ever taken.
I do remember the day however, where teaching history became my focus. I was at Azusa Pacific University in my Civil War and Reconstruction class. My professor at the time had such a sincere passion for the subject, and it came through in his teaching. The day he was lecturing on slavery and how the slave market worked, he told us a story of how a young slave was ripped from his mother’s arms to be sold to a plantation owner. It brought tears to my eyes and from then on, I knew I wanted to teach our history.
In teaching our nation’s history for 9 years, so much was learned and covered, it’s hard to point out just one thing that I learned from all those notes, lectures, reading, studying, preparing lessons, etc. If I were to choose one of the many themes portrayed in our illustrious history, it’s that we never give up! The American story has been built by those who have refused to throw in the towel and relinquish their God-given rights to freedom and happiness. There are just too many examples to list. From war, poverty, civil rights, voting, abortion, wages, and on and on, people have stood up for what they believe in and in many cases did not give up the fight until they were victorious. It is those that have shaped, and in many cases, changed the course of history.
In 2007, I spoke at our school’s graduation ceremony and used Winston Churchill’s famous encouragement,
“never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never- in nothing, great or small, large or petty- never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
This is what we have done as Americans since the original settlers at Jamestown in 1607 decided to not give up and make this new adventure prosper.
As Christians, we need to have the same mentality. We must never given in! However, before we begin to make a stand in society for our faith and what we believe in, we must take a critical first step…Surrender everything!! What?! That’s right, we need to surrender who we are, and everything about us to our Lord Jesus Christ before we can allow ourselves to be used by Him. We must get on our knees, throw up our hands in complete, unconditional surrender to our Lord Almighty! Not until then will be able to live sold out and NEVER GIVE IN to societies demands for mediocrity.
Do you think that you can live your life on your own? Think you can take on the world without help? I sincerely doubt you’ve got that much strength to do this on your own. Reach out for help. Cry out to the One who is all and in all. Jesus took the weight on Himself so that you wouldn’t have to. You just have to give up your pride and accept the fact that you need Him. Surrender today! You will become stronger than ever! God bless you!