Christopher Columbus  (1451-1506)

     Columbus made his fourth voyage from Spain to the Americas in 1502. He was such a sure navigator by then that the 3500-mile voyage took a mere 21 days. But he did not arrive happy. At Santo Domingo on June 29 Columbus requested entry into the harbor for his five ships, and he urged the governor to detain a 30-ship fleet ready to sail to Spain. He warned a terrible storm was brewing. The governor and his retinue mocked Columbus as a phony fortune-teller. Not only did the governor order the fleet to sail but denied Columbus entry into the harbor.
     "May God take you!' fumed Columbus. That was always his strongest curse.
     Once again Columbus was thwarted by dull, proud people. He was no gypsy fortune-teller but the sea captain supreme. The mix of oily swells from the southeast, abnormal tide, heaviness in the air, aching arthritis, wispy cirrus clouds streaming high overhead, and a magnificent crimson sunset meant only one thing: a savage hurricane was coming from the north or east! Denied the harbor, Columbus anchored his ships off the southwest shore of the island with protection from north and west. If anchors broke loose the winds would drive them out to sea, not into shore. The 30 ships of the fleet sailed east, then north through the Mona Passage. Barely underway into the Atlantic the gold-laden fleet was hammered by ferocious winds. Within hours 20 ships sank with all hands. Nine others were driven ashore and battered to bits. One ship of the fleet survived. A fortune in gold, 29 ships and 500 men were lost.
     Columbus, with every anchor of his five caravels down, bitterly wrote in his journal during the raging hurricane: 'What man ever born, not excepting Job, would not have died of despair when in such weather - seeking safety for son, brother shipmates and self - was forbidden the land and the harbors that he, by God's will and sweating blood, had won for Spain!'
     But once again the master of the sea prevailed. Columbus lost not one ship from the deadly storm, not one man…

Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher Columbus by Samuel Eliot Morison, 1942]

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Frederick the Wise (1463-1525)

The anecdote for Frederick the Wise is available HERE.

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Billy Graham (1918-alive)

     After Billy committed himself to Christ in 1938 he became very bold. He returned to Palatka, Florida, where as a student he had embarrassed himself with a poor sermon. He was still a student but now he billed his return a 'revival'.  He urged local preachers to tout him. So one preacher told a local newspaper Billy was 'causing quite a sensation'. Another convinced a  newspaper that Billy had lead 'the greatest meeting in the history of the church'. Billy promoted himself relentlessly. He cried from the roof tops. 'What good did it do to preach to empty pews?' he reasoned. He had brochures printed: 'Hear Billy Graham' and 'Young Man with a Burning Message'. His brochures became brasher: 'Dynamic Youthful Evangelist'. Finally modesty was thrown aside. 'Great Gospel Preacher' and 'One of America's Outstanding Young Evangelists' crowed his brochures. 
     Once he mailed his old buddy Grady Wilson one of his brochures for 'First Baptist Church of Capitola'. On it Billy had scribbled 'Big Baptist church in the capitol of Florida. Pray for me.'. Grady impulsively drove all the way to the revival. Billy was stunned to see Grady strolling down Capitola's one dusty street. Grady was a relentless needler. He had brought high-flying Billy down to earth many times.
     "Capitola is just a tiny logging town, buddy," observed Grady, grinning. 
     Billy laughed. "That's not all. The revival got canceled. The local pastor had to leave unexpectedly. Do you need a thousand brochures?"
     Grady smiled wickedly. "I'm not going to let you forget the 'capitol of Florida' for a long time, buddy."

A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story by William Martin, 1991]

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T. D. Jakes  (1957-alive)

     Because his mother Odith taught school as well as doted on her own children it was no surprise T. D. was reading and writing before he ever started school. Because mother taught home economics it was no surprise either that young T. D. could clean house, sew and cook. He never thought of these skills as 'women's work'. Older brother Ernest, Jr., had to do them too. All these skills taught by his mother - reading, writing, keeping house - were deep in his earliest memories. In his early years he often accompanied his mother to women's clubs too, where she was a guest speaker. Was he bored? After one of these occasions the six-year-old T. D. revealed the fire that flamed up inside him.
     "Someday you will travel with me and I will speak!" he declared to his mother.
     His workaholic father Ernest instilled a feeling he must be busy, busy, busy. So young T. D. attacked everything with fiery energy. A woman neighbor attested years later that "you could hear it all over the street" when he was inside his home memorizing Scripture with his foghorn voice. She added in understatement he was "kind of pushy". He delivered newspapers, and at nine he also sold greens he grew in the family garden. He sold the greens for one dollar a bag. He even issued a receipt. There were few who could refuse his insistence.
     "He could convince the devil himself to buy," asserted his former neighbor.

Can You Stand To Be Blessed? by T.D. Jakes, 1994, and Wall Street Journal, August 21, 1998]

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The Spaniards mocked Columbus as a fortune-teller!




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