Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Victory or Death

Whether it be a myth or not, the act of Colonel Travis using his sword to draw a line in the dirt at the Alamo is still a powerful testimony.  It is a call to make the choice to stand up against every tyranny that faces us - even to the point of death.  

As the members of the Texas Apostolic Prayer Network council finished their meetings this past weekend, I was compelled to take a sword and exhort them to make the same decision.  But our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the forces of evil and death that seek to destroy us.  Several references to the Alamo came up in our meetings (and none of those referred to our present or past relationship with Mexico).  The context was always - are you willing to take the necessary stand for the Lord and His kingdom?

This truth became explicitly clear last night as I visited a dear friend who was taken to the hospital with a possible heart attack.  It turned out that it was not a heart issue and he is home now, BUT both of us felt a tremendous sense of foreboding and dread as we made our way to the hospital (he in an ambulance and I in my car).  We both sensed a spirit of death directly challenge us. We both had to fight off the power of that spirit.  Through the strong arm of our Lord of Life - Jesus, we saw death crumble once again under our feet.  But the fight is real and the choice to stand for the Lord is real.  As real as it was in 1836.

Nearly 175 years ago, William Barret Travis and almost two hundred other defenders found themselves surrounded at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio in late February of 1836. Refusing to surrender, they held off the invading armies of Mexican Dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna for almost two weeks.
On March 6, the courageous Texans were overrun and slaughtered by well over 2000 Mexicans. The resulting delay of Santa Anna's eastward movement gave other Texans more time to organize, both politically and militarily, and to ultimately defeat and capture Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto, fought April 21, 1836.
The letter below was written by Travis soon after the Mexicans first appeared in the area around San Antonio. It is often referenced as a supreme example of the virtues of courage and self-sacrifice.

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world — 
Fellow Citizens & compatriots —

I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna — I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man — The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken — I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls — I shall never surrender or retreat.  Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch — The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country — VICTORY OR DEATH.

William Barrett Travis, Lt. Col. comdt. 

We shall never surrender or retreat.  Victory or death! What will you choose?
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