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We Guard What We Cherish

Courage Shepherding Fatherhood

Source: "What Robs Men of Courage? Men today need to step up to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers," by Dennis Rainey, published by Washington Coalition of Men's Ministries

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Contributed By: Warren Koolson | Date Posted: 2024-07-04

Scripture: Ephesians 6:13 ; 1 Corinthians 16:13

Author: Dennis Rainey / Illustration Exchange


Every day, 24 hours a day, since the 1930s, the sentries of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary (badgeholders, as they are called) have honored their command to protect and defend that tomb. Regardless of circumstances, they have been ordered to hold their watch, and never abandon their post. Yet, on September 19, 2003, as Hurricane Isabel barraged the Nation's Capital with driving rain and nearly 100mph winds, the sentitels charged with guarding that sacred space were granted permission, for the first time in its history, to stand down to seek shelter.Yet that was not a permission they were willing to act on. NBC news reported at that time:

“They told us that. But that’s not what’s going to happen,” said Sgt. Christopher Holmes, standing vigil on overnight duty. “That’s never an option for us. It went in one ear and right out the other.” ...

With the fierce storm bearing down Thursday night, cemetery officials decided to let the guards move indoors if they felt they were in danger. Cemetery Superintendent John Metzler said he believed it was the first time they have been allowed to do so.

“We certainly didn’t want to put these guards in jeopardy unnecessarily,” Metzler said. ...

Holmes’ group was on duty for 24 hours, from 6 a.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday. They took turns patrolling the tomb in hourly shifts. ...

“Once you become a badgeholder, it’s like you’ll do whatever you have to do to guard the unknowns,” [Staff Sgt. Alfred] Lanier said. “For one, it’s my job. And for two, that’s just how much respect I myself have for the unknowns. That’s just something we cherish.

Famed Christian author and speaker, Dennis Rainey, had this to add:

In 2003, Hurricane Isabel slammed into the East Coast of the United States, lashing North Carolina and Virginia, then moving northward all the way to Canada, leaving 16 dead and cutting power to six million homes. The edges of the hurricane passed through Washington, D.C., prompting the president and members of Congress to find safer quarters.

That was not the case at Arlington National Cemetery, where guards have relentlessly stood vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns every hour of every day since July 1, 1937. When the hurricane hit, the soldiers remained at their posts even though they were given permission to seek shelter.

That’s what a soldier does. He acknowledges the storm, but he doesn’t give in to it. He stands firm. As a friend told me, 'If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living—my wife and children?'

Like these soldiers, we are called to stand and do our duty while staring down the very storms that seek to rob us of courage, taunting and tempting us to neglect our duty and abandon our posts. ...


We ALL have an obligation to stand firm in the storms of life. Yet how much greater is that obligation for husbands and fathers to stand guard over the welfare (physical, spiritual, and emotional) of their families, and for pastors and shepherds to stand guard over the welfare of their flocks?!

As Rainey's friend so aptly said, 'If these men can stand guard over the dead, how much more important is it that I stand guard over the living—my wife and children?' And indeed, pastors, of your congregations. 

As Sgt. Lanier suggested, we guard what "we cherish."

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6:13).

As faithful followers of Christ, and as Christian leaders — husbands, fathers, shepherds, we must:


"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV).


"So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory" (1 Peter5:1-4, ESV).


"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13, ESV).

Fighting For Souls

Fruitfulness Victory Courage

Source: Desmond Doss WW2 War Hero

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Contributed By: Mark Green | Date Posted: 2023-11-01

Scripture: Deuteronomy 20:4 ; Ephesians 6:12

Author: Mark Green


Many have seen the 2016 historical movie, Hacksaw Ridge. It tells the story of Private Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist pacifist, who found a way to answer the call to serve in WWII without ever carrying a gun. Believing in the sanctity of human life, and committed to the victory of the allied forces, Desmond enlisted to play his part in the war against the evil Axis powers as a battlefield medic.

He suffered much abuse for his stand of faith, but he stuck to his guns (excuse the pun). He went to the front lines without a gun, and entered into one of the worst fights the Allied Army faced in the Battle of Okinawa. The Allied Army had to withdraw in the first engagement, having faced a strong enemy, and suffered multiple casualties.

As night fell and darkness covered the area, Private Doss stayed on the battlefield while Japanese soldiers roamed through the carnage, shooting wounded survivors. Doss crawled around looking for these survivors and one by one dragged them off that mountain, and let them down the side of the cliff, ultimately saving 75 soldiers who would have otherwise died horrible deaths!

As he crawled around he prayed, Lord, give me one more, just one more. And if that wasn’t enough, Doss suffered a left arm fracture from a sniper's bullet while being carried back to Allied lines, and at one point had seventeen pieces of shrapnel embedded in his body after attempting to kick a grenade away from himself and his comrades. 

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Okinawa.

*Actual photo of Doss receiving his medal of honor from President Harry Truman, October 12, 1945.


Private Doss believed in the sanctity of human life, and the value of every soul. When we step into the fight of faith, God fights on our behalf and gives us victory and fruitfulness. 

“Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be alarmed or terrified because of them. For the LORD your God goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory” (Deuteronomy 20:4, BSB).

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).

"This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle does not belong to you, but to God" (Chronicles 20:15, BSB).

Silently Serving

Servanthood Sacrifice Courage

Source: "The French Resistance's Secret Weapon? The Mime Marcel Marceau" as posted on, retrieved 8/1/22

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2022-08-13

Scripture: Romans 10:4 ; 2 Timothy 4:2

Author: Illustration Exchange


Marcel Marceau, the famed French entertainer of the early 20th century, was best known for his pantomime, bringing his silent character, Bip the Clown, to stages around the world for over 6 decades. He referred to his miming as “the art of silence.”

Few, however, know him for his heroism during the Nazi occupation of France. 

Recruited to help the French Resistance by his cousin, Georges Loinger, he became part of the ultra-secret unit called the Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants (Children's Relief Work), a Jewish relief group that smuggled Jewish children from occupied France to neutral countries. Their mission was to evacuate Jewish children who had been hiding in a French orphanage and get them to the Swiss border.

“But traveling with large groups of children was anything but easy. Marceau had a secret weapon: His training as a mime,” reports History.lcom. 

“The kids loved Marcel and felt safe with him,” his cousin, Loinger reminesced to the Jewish Telegraph Agency. “He had already begun doing performances in the orphanage …  The kids had to appear like they were simply going on vacation to a home near the Swiss border, and Marcel really put them at ease.” … 

"He mimed “to keep children quiet as they were escaping,” remembered another. 

At times, he posed as a Boy Scout leader taking groups of boys on nature outings (which just happened to find them hiking near the Swiss border!). On one occasion, he was confronted by German troops, at which time he tapped into his acting talents, pretended to be a French Army commander, and demanded that the German troops surrender to him immediately. And they did! All 30 of them!

In all, Marceau rescued over 70 children, while his cousin Loinger rescued more than 350.

He could not, however, save his own father, who was executed while imprisoned at Auschwitz. 



Marcel's heroic actions bring to mind the famed quote oft attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.”

While it might be possible to lead a band of children to a safer border without words, words are essential in order to bring the saving message of the Cross to the world. 

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" (Romans 10:4, NIV). 

"Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2, NIV). 

Don’t Touch My Brisket!

Witness Risk Courage

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-09-30

Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:10

Author: Illustration Exchange

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Cheyenne Dog Soldiers

Courage Spiritual Leadership Spiritual Warfare

Contributed By: Scott Roberts | Date Posted: 2015-09-25

Scripture: Joshua 1:6 ; 1 Kings 2:1

Author: Mike Ford / Scott Roberts

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How Virtue Becomes Virtue

Courage Testing Character

Contributed By: Mitchell Dillon | Date Posted: 2015-03-03

Scripture: Proverbs 17:3

Author: C.S. Lewis / Mitchell Dillon

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The Paradox of Courage

Courage Die To Self Death

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-03-03

Scripture: Joshua 1:9 ; Matthew 16:25

Author: G.K. Chesterton

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He ISN'T Safe, But He IS Good

Trust (In God) Courage God's Protection

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-02-06

Scripture: Deuteronomy 33:27

Author: John Eldredge / Illustration Exchange

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Overcoming The Past

Persistence Courage Faith

Contributed By: John Fitts | Date Posted: 2014-08-23

Scripture: Philippians 3:13

Author: Jim Donovan

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The Heart of a Mouse

Fear Courage Circumstances

Contributed By: Pat Sage | Date Posted: 2013-07-15

Scripture: Joshua 1:9

Author: Max Lucado

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