Friday, April 18, 2014

True Heroes A to Z: Paul

True heroes are all around us, in our every day lives, but some people stand out. During this A-Z Challenge I hope to share several of my real life heroes, and invite you to share yours in the comments.

aul, as in break out your bible. One of the better chronicled members of the church established under Christ in the New Testament, Paul was a missionary to the end. When I think of his account, I see a fiery-eyed man who believes in his cause with all his heart and fights like a hornet.

You have to keep in mind, before he joined the cause of the Christians, he was their greatest opponent, seeking their total annihilation among the Jews. He moved political powers to obtain relocation and extermination orders, and was hugely successful...until he had a vision on the road wherein he saw the Christ and was struck immobile for three days after.

La conversion de Saint Paul by Luca Giordano
(1690), 
Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy.
From that point on, Paul went to war for the opposite cause. He defended the faith and spread the gospel until cost his very life. His final words get me every time. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith (2 Timothy, 4:7)."

My mom used to call me stubborn when I was young, I always insisted I was determined. I want to be like Paul--in whatever I do. I want to fight the good fight, stay my course, and leave a legacy of determination to those who follow after me.


I love it when characters battle their native circumstances, looking for something better. Alexia is a little bit like me.

EXCERPT:


“Why not send an invitation for your father’s ball?”

Alexia blanched. Ask him here?

Maurine lifted an elegant invitation, not yet addressed. “I can scribe your father’s hand. Even he can’t tell the difference.”

Alexia dropped her book and stepped to the bureau. She slid his card from the drawer, her fingers caressing the faded ink. She must either surrender to Father’s match and accept that she would be the wife of a stranger, commit herself to a loveless marriage with a friend, or open herself to the truth and fight for an alternative.

She wanted to fight. She would not be forced into a match like Sarah’s or steal away what future happiness Rupert might know. But mostly, she needed to see him again.

Disgusted with herself, she offered the card to Maurine. “Make it a good counterfeit.”

MOONLESS is on sale now for $1.99, but only for another couple days.

Quick heads up, if you'd like to know what a completely unbiased third party thought of the book, check out Bruce Gargoyle's review, posted today.


Do you have any heroes you love for their determination? Have you read the New Testament? Do you have any heroes from scripture?

77 comments:

  1. Paul's final words are very inspiring!

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  2. My favorite by him, is when he talks about love. Beautiful.

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  3. Agree with Nana, that is a beautiful piece. And I've always thought it so interesting and inspiring how he totally changed course in his life.

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    1. Goes to show you're never too far gone, eh?

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  4. Paul comes across as a very strong individual. Thanks for letting me know about Moonless, I will buy it on Amazon.

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    1. You just put a huge smile on my face. Like this --> =D

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  5. That stubbornness our parents accused us of having when we were little pays off in the tough world of writing, where you must weather rejections and persevere. I think stubbornness is a good quality!

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    1. I agree. I can't even imagine what I'd be without that determination to persevere.

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  6. Paul certainly did change the face of the faith.

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  7. Such a perfect choice of P....

    You excerpt is amazing Crystal.. go grab a hung of cheese to celebrate!

    Happy Easter!

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    1. Will do, and thank you, Michael. Happy Easter to you!

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  8. Amazing how God was able to change his heart. One of the greatest heroes in the Bible.

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  9. A hero indeed and perfect for today.
    Hope you have a happy, peaceful Easter with lots of cheese and chocolate.

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    1. I will, Suzanne--just because you told me to. ;)

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  10. I love it when Paul gets bit by the snake after being shipwrecked and he just shakes it off! Great excerpt. It's fun to see ourselves in our writing:) Happy Easter!

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    1. That's a pretty awesome story too--or how he predicted the shipwreck and the captain didn't want to listen so they ended up on that island for - how long was it - 2 years? Crazy.

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  11. Paul is a great example of pulling a total turnaround. :)

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  12. What a perfect choice for P as today is Good Friday and Easter is this weekend. Keeping fighting the good fight, Crystal! :D

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  13. Paul is certainly a great example to follow, not only in terms of his words, but also his life. Another amazing aspect of Paul's life is how quickly after his conversion he gained respect. Initially, the other disciples were suspicious of him, such that Barnabas had to advocate on his behalf (Acts 9:26-29). Later, we have Peter referring to Paul's letters as Scripture (2 Peter 3:14-16). What a great demonstration of the power of the gospel to reach even the hardest of hearts. :)

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    1. Yeah, they had every right to be suspicious of him after the stunts he'd been pulling, but when you meet a person, you can totally decipher their motives, know what I mean?

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  14. I am in an uplifting mood having read your wonderfully written post on Paul, a true follower of Christ. It must have been a shock to others when he switched sides, after being such a powerful force for the other team. Great theme post for Good Friday. Happy Easter.

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    1. I'm with you. People probably got whiplash from his split-second change, but he never faltered once he set upon a path. Happy Easter to you, Michelle!

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  15. I admire Helen Keller for her determination. And Annie Sullivan for sticking with her.

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    1. Oh, I would have SO loved to have highlighted one of those women. All time faves here!

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  16. I love Paul's last words, too. I very much hope to be able to say the same at the end of my life - what more could I want?

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    1. Agreed. To endure to the end...nothing better. Especially if there's cheese involved.

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  17. Great post! Paul is a wonderful example of fighting the good fight, and also an example of why we should never give up on others.
    Yes, I've read the New Testament. But my hero comes from the Old Testament - Ruth. Love her story and loyalty.
    " -for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God-" (Ruth 1:16)
    Have a wonderful Easter!
    Donna Smith
    The A-to-Z Challenge
    http://mainelywrite.blogspot.com
    Mainely Write

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    1. Ruth is such a selfless individual. I love her too - and look at the legacy she left as the great great etc grandmother of Jesus Christ. Awesome! Happy Easter to you, Donna!

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  18. I love those final words of Paul! I strive, like you, to be just like that!

    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    My A to Z
    Caring for My Veteran

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  19. I also love people/characters who battle their native circumstances. Whether they win or not is not even the point for me. I think you sleep better at night if you know you tried your best today and tomorrow is another day to fight again, rather than just giving up?

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    1. I agree. I think you also sleep better if you've worked out...but that's another thought for another day. ;)

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  20. Good choice, especially for Good Friday.

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    1. Crazy how that worked out, eh? It wasn't even planned, I swear.

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  21. The bible has countless intriguing personages, Paul among them. I'm also intrigued by lots of the Old Testament characters, but honesty how do you top Jesus? I mean, not to sound cliche, but a lot of his words still sound pretty revolutionary even today... which I think is a good thing:)

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    1. Yeah, he's pretty much impossible to top, but he doesn't start with "P." ;)

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  22. A perfect hero for today's post. I'd like to leave saying what he did.

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  23. I always liked Peter best, largely because he seems so realistic, the type of person average people can relate to. My 10th grade World History AP teacher once joked about how Paul was always writing to those Corinthians, since there are more letters to them than anyone else in the Bible. He suggested that might've meant they needed more checking up on than the other people he'd converted.

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    1. You know, Peter is my favorite too (he's such a rock!), but I chose Paul today because of his last words.

      Great insight on the epistles!

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  24. I really admire determination--it's something that I find to be one of the most important skills in success. (Maybe just because I'm a really difficult teacher though...or so my students tell me! :)

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    1. LOL! I'll keep that in mind next time you try to teach me something. ;)

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  25. Such an inspiring quote from Paul and one to live by! It's great to be determined/stubborn...I think it gets you further in life!

    As far as heroes from the scriptures, I'm with Mark on this one. Jesus Christ is the most amazing hero of all!

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    1. It totally does! Stick to it through thick and thin. (I second your favorite, but again, he doesn't start with "P.")

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  26. Fought like a hornet. Love that. I like it when good changes a man.

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    1. Rather than a man changing good? Oh wait, that didn't come out the way I intended... =P

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  27. Resolve and determination...we should all be so stubborn along the paths we make.

    The Immarcescible Word

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  28. Yes, make it a good counterfeit. :) I think what some people call stubborn is really better classified as determination. You can't achieve your goals without it!

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    1. Hey, isn't that line in a really good book? ;)

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  29. Okay-try again, typo-free. Lol!

    Golden. A legacy of determination. ^_^
    I swear I read the Bible sometimes. I didn't know this about Paul. This one Easter song I love makes so much more sense now.

    Yes! Forge it! She HAS to see him again!! ^_^

    I am also stubborn. And proud. Lol!

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    1. LOL. Yes, that one Easter song... Oh Krystal, you crack me up. ;)

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  30. Paul, once Saul, was an incredible man of God.

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  31. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus may not be the dramatic turn around we all experience, but his faith in the face of persecution, ship wreck, sickness, imprisonment - you name it, he probably faced it - is nothing short of inspiring. I read recently again these words of his: 'For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain', written when he was in prison awaiting trial for his beliefs. Those words are written on the headstone of my father's grave. I hope to learn the depths of faith those two great men (Paul and my dad) experienced.

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    1. Julia, what a beautiful thought and inscription. Thank you for sharing that.

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  32. My husbands favorite bible hero, after Jesus of course is Paul. Those final words will be with me forever now, we just read them to my best friend on her deathbed. Teary.
    I like Mark and the message of continuing to get up no matter how many times you fall. Have a blessed Easter.
    doreenmcgettigan.com

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  33. Stubborn in the eyes of one person is many times determination. I appreciate determination and people who are strong-willed to carry things through.

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    1. I like them too, unless their fighting me, and then I just want to throw cheese at them. ;)

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  34. I've read the bible many times and other writings. I've always felt a lack of enthusiasm for Paul because he seems so anti-female.

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    1. He was definitely that, but who knows why. He must have had some kind of early trauma that helped solidify those feelings. It would be interesting to know why.

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  35. I think that's the best we can hope for when it's our turn to pass - that we have lived our life fighting a good fight. Sometimes I think I am stubborn for stubborn's sake (especially when it comes to stupid disagreements), but I strive to be determined in a good way.

    Hope you’re having fun with the A to Z challenge,
    Jocelyn

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    1. That's the best we can do, eh? Aim for the best and try again when we fall down. =)

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  36. Nope, I haven't read any of the Bible. As for determined heroes... I'll have to think about that one.

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  37. I'm the same as Liz A. up there - I haven't read any version of any Bible, ever. My mum does recommend the O.T. as rather entertaining and action-packed, though. :)

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    1. There is definitely a great deal of action. =)

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  38. That's an inspiring hero."I love it when characters battle their native circumstances, looking for something better."-- so well said.

    Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge

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  39. It's an interesting balance, right? Because if Paul had "stayed the course" his whole life, he'd still be the hater he had been in his younger days. So I guess the trick is being open to hearing what your real life's mission is, and always being open to changes in it too. But still having the determination to go with the best you know thus far. Happy Easter!

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  40. Did you know Johnny Cash wrote a biography about Paul...it's entitled 'Man in White'. It's really good.

    There's so many interesting things about Paul...the fact that we call him The Apostle Paul, the fact that he held the coats while Stephen was stoned to death, the fact that he wrote more than half of the New Testament. I love that God saw this zealous young man and thought, all that heart and fire is being wasted with the Pharisees, it's time for me to intercede.

    I think we can learn from both sides of Paul's life...before the road to Damascus, and after.

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Hit me with your cheese!