Hey Tough Guy!

Do you consider yourself to be tough?  What does it mean to be a tough guy?  Tough guy has sort of become a byword now.  It’s a label assigned to men who ACT TOUGH.  I emphasize the word ACT because that’s usually all it is.

Being tough was something I think most boys learn about pretty early.  When I was in first grade, Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man was the quintessential tough guy.  He was our model of what was tough, never mind that he had $6,000,000 worth of government enhancements that helped him be tough.  I was also a fan of Nick Barkley.  I remember the opening sequence of Big Valley clearly announcing that Nick was the strongest!  We all wanted to be Nick.

An unwritten rule of being a tough guy that all us tough guy wanna be’s learned in the first grade was that tough guys don’t smile in pictures.  I actually notices this first while observing an Elvis Presley album cover.  Just a little smirk…that’s all you get.  Big grins are not tough.  Apparently tough guys don’t get to show it when they’re happy.

As I grew older, I began to notice that in nearly every case where I met someone with admirable toughness, it wasn’t a tough guy attitude.  These people didn’t talk about being tough, because they never really thought about it.  They didn’t brag about how strong they were or who they could beat up.  Their toughness just showed up and made itself known by how they acted. It was in the way they lived.  Usually, when they were put under a heavy load or a high stress situation, they would respond with amazing self control and inner strength.  What we see in men like this is real toughness.

Acting tough.

Acting tough means putting on a show.  In my own experience, all through my childhood and school years, there were always boys that acted tough around other boys.  They would constantly be applying a mild threat to everyone around them.  The unspoken threat was “I can and will beat you up if you mess with me”.  This was usually a lie and when these guys would be put to the test, often there wasn’t any supporting evidence that they were either strong, or a good fighter.  What it proved was that they were all talk.  Their “tough” was just tough talk.  They were “All hat and no cattle”.  But that leaves us with a question.  What does it really mean to be a tough guy?

Being tough.

In my own mind, being a real tough guy means to have personal discipline. The men I have been most impressed with in my life are the men who did the things that were right, even when they were hard.  In some cases – really hard!  I’ve seen men love people who wanted to take a swing at them.  I’ve watched as people I know were wronged, hurt and publicly embarrassed; but then they almost immediately forgave, walked in love toward the one who hurt them, and never brought it up again.

Proverbs 19:11 says “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.  This to me represents what it means to really be tough.  The ability to pass over the offences that come at you every day, exercise forgiveness, and walk in love.  Even when you don’t necessarily like the person that offends you, you have the spiritual fortitude to obey God’s Word and do what’s right.

A tough guy understands that a good marriage is built sowing and showing love to his spouse.  I say this because loving your wife is not a feeling.  Does the Bible say that “For us that God so loved the world that He felt warm and fuzzy toward us?  Or that He shouted from Heaven “I Love You!”?  No! We see His Love because the Bible clearly states He Gave us His only begotten Son.  This leaves us a clear example.  We also see that we are to model ourselves after Jesus’ own example in Eph 5:25.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…   Love is expressed in giving – even when we don’t feel like it.

Love forgives – as many times as it takes.  True love in a marriage shows up in a thousand forgivenesses a day. Part of loving your spouse is the commitment to overlook and forgive.  It’s when a couple stop forgiving and begin to mark the offences, that serious contention starts.  Marriage is a type and a shadow of the believer’s relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Imagine how it would go if Jesus marked and held it against us every time we were offensive to Him. Thank God He doesn’t.  His forgiveness is everlasting.  There’s no one tougher than Him.  He did what was right even when it meant dying, and suffering the punishment for the sin of everyone.

He has become our example of what a tough guy really is.  Remember – “The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression”.


Four things that make America great.

To me, our political process has been exciting to observe as well as to participate in. I am deeply moved when I think about the men who established our country and set in order what I personally believe to be one of the finest governments to have ever existed on earth. While I think these men were some of the brightest, most intelligent people of the day, I also firmly believe that what was done 241 years ago to cause this country to be born was Divinely inspired.

sparkler flag

In the booklet “The Rebirth of America” published by the Arthur S. DeMoss foundation, the writers talk about the greatness of America’s land.

“Some say the land itself has made America great. One of our most moving patriotic hymns cites the beauty of America – a beauty that all who have traveled across the continent surely recognize. Katherine Lee Bates stood atop Pike’s Peak and scanned the sweep of the land, then wrote of the “Purple Mountain Majesties”, and the “amber waves of grain.” She concluded that God had shed His grace on this land – a vast unexplored wilderness that, in an astonishingly short period, grew into a great nation. It would be foolish to deny that the rich natural resources of the land itself have not helped to make America. The oil, the ore, the timber, the water, the soil, the climate, all have combined to nourish a civilization that would eventually spread from sea to shining sea. Other nations too, though, have been blessed with fine resources; yet some how these have not risen to such greatness.”

So what is it that has made America great? What is it that stands behind freedoms so great that they are the envy of the world? Why has America been blessed with such abundance when so much of the world goes to bed hungry each night? Here are a few things that I believe have made America great.

  • The Foundation of Our Law. Our founders firmly believed in the Creator and believed that He had endowed them with inalienable rights. They also believed that man was “fallen” and therefore could not be trusted to be his own law or judge. They therefore used the Divinely inspired Holy Scripture as the foundation for the law of the land. The law can not be simply what a judge or dictator says it is, It must comply with the Constitution which was based on God’s laws in scripture.  I think it’s important to point out that a country can’t have morality without religion and even though something is legal doesn’t mean that it’s moral. Our government is designed to give liberty, but with a moral fence.Calvin Coolidge – “The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country”.
  • The Generosity of the American People. America has been and continues to be very generous. Whether it has been to help rebuild countries that have been ravaged by war, or help with relief for countries that have been ravaged by natural disasters, the generous spirit of the American people can be seen. America is blessed because many Americans continue to sow good seeds, be generous, and help the less fortunate.
  • The American Dream. America has been called the “land of Opportunity” and rightly so. The dream that a person can excel and become something in this country has been the driving force behind the immigration to our country for as long as it’s been in existence. The Free Enterprise system has ensured that everyone has a fighting chance to be successful if they will only take the opportunities. The ingenuity of the American people over the last 200 years has given the world well build, low cost goods, provided good jobs to millions and has given Americans the income to buy the goods they produce.
  • The Hand of God. All of our blessings really point back to this. In his writing “The Bulletproof George Washington” David Barton wrote: “Washington’s part in the battle of the Monongahela is indisputably one of the most significant events of his early life–his life literally hung in the balance for over two hours. Fifteen years after the battle, the chieftain of the Indians Washington had fought sought him out and gave this account to Washington of what had happened during the battle:“I am chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief [Washington]…I called to my young men and said…Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss–’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you…I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”We read accounts of the British destroying the Capital during the summer of 1814. It really looks like just 38 years after America declared independence from Britain, we’re going to lose our place and be put back in subjection to the Crown. The British captured and set on fire the public buildings in Washington. Then the storm blew in. Weather experts indicate that this storm probably spawned several tornadoes. One hit Washington, destroying buildings that the British soldiers were hiding in. Some accounts indicate that canons were lifted & hurled through the air. On his blog “Historical Digression” Patrick Browne writes:

As the storm began to subside, one of the British officers in command of the invasion emerged from his shelter and said to one of the inhabitants of Washington, “Great God, Madam, is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?!”

She responded, “No, sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from the city.”

I don’t know about Providence. But there can be no doubt that the tornado that struck Washington that day did more to save the capital than the United States Army ever did. The fires were largely extinguished. And the British limped back to their ships.

As you celebrate this Independence day, take a moment to stop and thank God for your country. Thank Him for His continued hand of protection and His continual guidance as we move forward as a Nation. We are here by His will and by His help. God Bless America.

What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods, and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. – Thomas Payne, 1776.

The Rebirth of America – Published by The Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation
A Tornado Saves Washington during the War of 1812
Originally published in part July 2014.