Battle of the Alamo – The Incredible Journey

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It’s right here in San Antonio, Texas,
America. An ancient Cathedral but it’s really one of the most famous battle
sites in history. A few brave men taking on an entire army and what’s amazing is
that this disaster actually led to the creation of a new state and a new
country. This is the very place where Davy Crockett, the famed frontiersman and
James Bowie, the renowned knife fighter and Colonel William Travis, took a stand
for freedom and changed the course of history. Come with me and let’s take a
look at the intriguing Battle of the Alamo. Texas, it’s the second-largest American
state in both size and population, but it’s second to none when it comes to
state pride. When you visit Texas you soon find out that everything really is
bigger in Texas. Texas produces more crude oil than any other state in the US,
it’s also the leading cattle, cotton and wool producer. Texas has the largest
state capitol building of all the 50 states, the most airports, the largest
ranch, the first dome sports stadium and how about this, the first word spoken
from the moon was a Texas location. Texas is the only state in the US to have
flown the flag off six separate nations throughout its history Spain, France,
Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and the
United States of America. It’s all part of that pride of Texas; being bigger,
stronger, better, faster, richer. To understand this state pride and history
we’re going to visit where modern Texas actually began dramatically. Where it
began quite unexpectedly. In 1519 the Spanish explorer Alonso Alvarez de
Pineda was the first European to reach Texas. Other Spanish explorers soon
followed, they claimed the land for Spain. The Spanish wanted to protect their new
territory and guard against anyone else claiming it. They decided that the best
way to do this was to build a chain of five missions along the San Antonio
River. The mission system was developed with three major purposes in mind,
firstly to spread the Christian message and convert the Native Americans to the
Catholic faith, secondly to extend Spanish civilisation by introducing the
Spanish way of life to the Native Americans and thirdly to defend the northern border of the Spanish Empire in the
Americas. So, the five frontier mission complexes, established along a 12
kilometre stretch of the San Antonio River were the Spanish crowns effort to
evangelise, colonise and defend the northern frontier of New Spain. If Spain
could recruit the natives to become members of the Catholic Church and
citizens of Spain, it could claim and control the entire region of Texas.
Here the missionaries taught the local natives specific vocations. The men
learned farming skills, carpentry, blacksmithing, ranching, masonry, stone
cutting and building. The women were taught textile weaving, sewing, cooking
and hand crafts. The missionaries introduced the natives to the Spanish
way of life. They endeavoured to make life in the mission communities similar
to that of Spanish villagers. Military forces were often located in the
vicinity of each mission, to offer protection and enforce law and order.
This chain of missions became the largest concentration of Catholic
missions in North America. The southern most mission was San Francisco
de la Espada, it was established here in 1731 and was known for its beautiful
Chapel and unique stone entrance. It was the only mission to make bricks and so
the influence of the native artisans from this mission is evident throughout
the region. Several kilometres upstream Mission San Juan was established in the
same year, 1731. It became the supplier of iron, wood,
leather and cloth products made by the local Indians in its workshop.
It was also a centre for agriculture, with its rich farm and
pasture lands, it was a regional supplier of agricultural products. The next in the
chain is Mission San Jose, it was founded in 1720 and is the
largest mission in the area, it has an imposing church with large picturesque
arches. The size of the complex, along with unique architecture of the church
and the richness of its fields, ensure that it became a major social centre in
the region. Several kilometres further upstream, is Mission Concepcion, it’s
considered the most attractive of the missions,
it’s an imposing cross shaped structure with a beautiful interior. Of all the
missions, this is the only church building that is never collapsed, today
it’s the oldest unrestored stone church in America. The fifth and last of the
five missions is the oldest and unquestionably the most famous San
Antonio de Valero, this building attracts people from all over the world it has an
ornate facade and a distinctive architectural hump. This complex, this
church, this shrine, was established in 1718. But by the late 1700s the number of
native converts had dwindled at most of the Spanish missions and the rich lands
were coveted by others. In order to defend its land, Spain sent soldiers to
the region and in 1803 100 Spanish soldiers and their families from
Mexico moved into the mission. The mission’s old convent became an army
barrack and the second story became a military hospital, the first hospital in
Texas. Soon people were calling the old mission, the Alamo. But trouble was
brewing, Mexico’s people grew unhappy with Spanish rule, they wanted to govern
themselves. In 1821 Mexico finally won its independence from Spain and gained
control of Texas. Texas became a troubled area for the new Mexican government.
Native Indians who lived here often fought with
Mexicans who moved into the area. The government decided that the solution was
to develop the area. Now to do this they needed more people, more settlers, living
in Texas, so they offered cheap land to US citizens who promised to settle
here. But then in 1830 Mexico’s president, Bustamante, banned US citizens from
immigrating to Texas. The land was so cheap and plentiful here and apparently
too many Americans were coming in and settling here. In fact there were more
Americans than Mexicans living in Texas and the Mexican President saw them as a
threat, so he outlawed them. Now this made the American colonists very angry, they
held a convention and proposed that Texas break away and become a separate
state. This city of San Antonio, a little colony back then, was captured by the
rebellious Texans with Stephen Austin in 1835. Now Austin was the commander of the
Texan army and they fortified this Alamo, this former mission, that was a bit like
a fortress in the centre of town. In 1836 the Texans formally declared
independence at Washington on the Brazos. Now the battles really began, but this is
rather odd because General Sam Houston had felt that holding San Antonio and
the Alamo was impossible and unnecessary, because most of the US colonists were
settled far to the east of this city in Texas. So he sent Jim Bowie, famous knife
fighter, here. Orders were to destroy the Alamo and returned with all the men and
artillery stationed here. But Bowie decided to ignore Houston’s orders, he
felt San Antonio should be defended, it seemed the most important town in Texas
and these men had accurate rifles and a handful of cannons,
maybe this small number of Texans could hold the city indefinitely against all
the odds. The official commander here was
Lieutenant Colonel William Travis, he had about 200 defenders and half of them
weren’t even enlisted soldiers, just volunteers technically they could come
and go as they pleased, they also wanted to listen to the famous knife fighter
and frontiersman, Jim Bowie, more than Travis. Mexican general Santa Ana came
here with a big army and laid siege to the area, the defenders had to retreat
into the relative safety of the Alamo. The men looked out from these walls and
saw something, a red flag, what did that mean? Well it meant no quarter would be
given from Santa Ana, no life would be spared even with surrender, everyone was
going to die and under siege these men had to sometimes forage to get supplies,
fortunately they did have a well the convento dug in the 1700s, those 200 Alamo
defenders got their water here sometimes gathered here, but they needed more, more
soldiers, Colonel Travis busied himself sending out requests for help and just a
few groups managed to come in through enemy line. Inside the Alamo compound
there’s a monument, just outside the long barrack, to 32 brave men who made their way
somehow from the nearby settlement of Gonzales and yes they would perish like
the others. Now here’s where legend begins, this plaque commemorates the
William Travis line, Colonel Travis realised that the situation of the Alamo
defenders was hopeless, they were all going to die and so on the night of
March 5 he took his sword and he drew a line in the sand he challenged his
battle weary men this way, as the plaque says, “Those prepared to give their lives
in freedom’s cause, come over to me!” Every man stepped across that line,
well it seemed like everyone, one man actually fled the Alamo that night. Now by
then Jim Bowie was sick in bed with a debilitating illness, but he asked his
men to carry him across the line, he just had to still be one of the
defenders, those defenders made a statement they took a stand, they were
committed to the cause of independence, they wanted freedom and they were
willing to die for it. Now let’s look at the actual Alamo battle, in 1836 this
building saw the battle begin and get more and more brutal, the people inside
the Alamo were surrounded, the defenders had to retreat inside once these outer
walls had been breached, they held off the Mexican forces for thirteen days,
then early in the morning on March 6 Santa Ana’s soldiers fully attacked from
their siege, they attacked the Alamo’s walls from all sides, these 200 Alamo men put
up quite a fight. They had rifles, they had cannons, they blazed out from these
walls and cut down many enemy soldiers, but more and more kept coming and soon
the Mexican soldiers had succeeded in climbing the walls, in the end there were
just too many soldiers in that enemy army, in 90 minutes they’d broken into
the Alamo. Yes, broken through the gates on the
north side, broken through the stone walls, the Mexicans poured into the
compound. The Texans retreated to the long
barracks to make a stand, they piled mattresses up against the doors the
Mexicans simply rolled cannons up to the doors and fired, killing just about all
the defenders, only a handful were taken as prisoners, but they were quickly
executed, just some women and children in this compound were spared. Now this seems like a disaster, right? Men who didn’t actually need to be here, half
of them volunteers putting up a hopeless fight, all of them killed, the Alamo was
indeed a tragedy and yet it would lead to the independence of this state, it
would lead to Texas becoming essentially a nation. It would lead to freedom. Yes
Texans made quite a stand here for freedom and I believe there’s a way that
each one of us can identify with another stand that creates a remarkable kind of
freedom. Do you realise that God actually made a stand in the person of Jesus
Christ? He came into a world of cruelty and bloodshed he came into a world of
constant war and endless conflicts in the human heart and he gave himself up
at a certain spot a hill called Golgotha. He laid his body down on a cross. Yes the
Battle of the Alamo strikingly pictures the stand made by Jesus Christ at
Golgotha, that Messiah, that hero, enables each of us, no matter what our losses,
what our problems, to get into a new Kingdom a new Kingdom of Heaven. This is
what Jesus proclaimed in Mark chapter 1 and verse 15, “The time has come.” He said.
“The kingdom of God is near. Repent, and believe the good news.” Accepting Christ,
accepting his sacrifice in our place does create a new Kingdom for us, we
belong as beloved sons and daughters to this divine royalty. We have an identity
in heaven, we have a place where we can find peace and be secure. Yes it can come
to us, in the midst of our worst troubles, when Jesus freed individuals from
oppression, when he brought them peace, he said in Luke chapter 11 and verse 20, “No
doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.” The stand that Jesus Christ made on
that hill, it did indeed create a new nation and each of us can be citizens of
his kingdom. Let me tell you specifically how the Battle of the Alamo led to
freedom, that fight actually proved quite costly to Santa Ana the Mexican general,
he lost about 600 soldiers that day and several of his officers were appalled
that he didn’t wait for some cannons being brought to the battlefield, wait
for a much better bombardment, but here’s what made a real impact in Texas, the
martyrdom of those inside this Alamo, word got out about the heroic defence
mounted by 200 outnumbered men, it’s spread, it inspired many new recruits to
flock to the cause, the ranks of the Texan army swelled.
In less than two months general Sam Houston would crush the
Mexicans in the Battle of San Jacinto, he destroyed a large part of the Mexican
army and captured general Santa Ana himself, and as they ran into battle
those Texans shouted, “Remember the Alamo!” as a battle cry. That battle ended the
war and gave birth to the Republic of Texas on April 21 1836, so the Alamo
played an important part in the formation of America and impacted world
history. It led to the annexation of Texas by the United States and
ultimately to America expanding its border to the Pacific Ocean, it gave the
United States vast new territories full of wealth and promise that contributed
to its role as a world power that has played a major role in world affairs. This tower celebrates that. It’s the Spirit of
Sacrifice Cenotaph, sculpted from Georgia marble, it stands
on a base of pink Texas granite you see sculptures around it paying tribute to
the men who died rather than surrender to overwhelming odds. According to
tradition this Alamo Cenotaph marks the very spot where the slain defenders of
the fortified mission were piled after the battle and burned in great funeral
pyres. Their remains were later collected by local citizens and today are located
in a marble casket at nearby San Fernando Cathedral and here’s what it
says, “They chose never to surrender nor retreat, these brave hearts with flags
still proudly waving, perished in the flames of immortality, that their high
sacrifice might lead to the founding of this Texas.” Yes,
today the Battle of the Alamo has achieved legendary status, particularly
in Texas, the defenders are remembered as great heroes, Bowie and Travis and others
all have things named after them including cities, counties, parks, schools
and more. Well what about that other stand? That stand of Christ on a hill
called Golgotha, I believe each of us has a choice to make when were confronted
with this remarkable life, that spills out before us at the cross. What are we
going to do with this God, who sacrifices himself? With this God who takes on the
penalty of our sins? With this God who takes a stand for our freedom? You see
the Bible says that were all sinners, that we’ve all made mistakes and
rebelled against God and deep down we know that’s true, the Bible also tells us
that the penalty for sin, for rebellion against God, is death. But God is love and
he couldn’t bear the thought of us dying for our sins and so he took a stand
against sin and evil and He gave His Son Jesus to die in our
place and pay the penalty for our sins and now he offers us the gift of
forgiveness and gives us freedom. Please notice what the Bible says here in
Romans chapter 6 and verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of
God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” So how do we respond to God and his
offer? Well I believe we have to take a stand ourselves, each of us must choose
this place as our starting point, here where Christ poured out his life, I’m
going to begin my life. It’s true if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall
for anything and plenty of people are falling in our world today. They’re
falling into animosity, into conflict, but we can make a stand and the cross is the
place to make it. It’s where we stand for freedom, it’s where we accept our
responsibility for our problems, it’s where we find forgiveness, it’s where we
can stake a claim to the love the Heavenly Father offers his lost children.
Let me show you one of the most fascinating stands in San Antonio.
This is the Tower of the Americas a 250 meter observation tower and restaurant
located in downtown San Antonio. Looking out these windows you get a very clear
view of how much Texas has grown since that Battle of the Alamo, how much it has
taken in through freedom and the Tower of the Americas also reflects the tower
of Golgotha, that cross of Christ, so much can come our way when we stand fast in
the true grace that comes to us from the cross. The cross is where peace begins,
it’s where grace begins, it’s where freedom spreads out, listen to Paul’s
great challenge in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 1 “Stand fast therefore in the
Liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the
yoke of bondage.” Christ paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
He made a stand. He carried the cross to Calvary. He hung alone there between
heaven and earth, so please make a stand there, don’t go back to a life of bondage,
rather, focus on Jesus and the life that speaks to you at Calvary. When Christ
gave up his life he was stretching out his arms to the end not just because
they were nailed to the wood, no, he was stretched out in forgiveness, “They know
not what they do,” he was stretched out in acceptance, “You will be with me in
paradise,” that’s the kind of stand he made and we need to make a stand with
the one who gave himself up, who stands for freedom. Are you ready to go to that
place? Are you ready to bring your life to a hill called Calvary? Are you ready
to confess your sins? Are you ready to look the crucified Christ in the eye and
say ‘Here I am’? I invite you to make your stand right
now with the God of grace and freedom. I invite you to place your trust entirely
in the one who takes on all your burdens and gives you freedom right now as we
pray. Dear father, we come just as we are to the cross of Jesus Christ, we come not
because we’re good enough, but because we need the life that is poured out there
for each one of us, we need your forgiveness, we need your
accepting us as sons and daughters of God. Thank you for making this
sacrificial stand at Calvary, thank you for dying in our place and laying down
your life for our Redemption, we accept this gladly and gratefully in the name
of our saviour Jesus, amen. The Battle of the Alamo, where 200 brave
men took a stand for freedom and changed the course of history, continues to
inspire people around the world, their story resonates with us because we value
freedom and understand its importance. Freedom allows us to speak, act, pursue
happiness and live life as we choose. God intends that we should be free and happy
and has placed the desire for freedom in our hearts. That’s his plan for our lives
and in the Bible he shares the secrets of freedom and true happiness. If you
would like to know more about God’s plan for your life and the freedom that he
offers, then I’d like to recommend the free gift we have for all our viewers
today, it’s a booklet called Secrets of Freedom – Worth the Sacrifice. This booklet
is our gift to you and is absolutely free. There are no costs or obligations
whatsoever. This booklet will provide you with a new
insight into the importance of true freedom and happiness and how to find it.
So please, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the free gift we
have for you today. Here’s the information you need. Phone us now on 0481 315 101 or text us on 0491 222 999
or visit our website: theincrediblejourney.tv to request today’s free offer. So don’t delay contact us right now. If you’ve enjoyed today’s journey, be
sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys
together and experience another new and thought-provoking perspective on the
peace, insight, understanding and hope that only the Bible can give us, The
Incredible Journey truly is television that changes lives.
Until next week, remember the ultimate destination of life’s journey. “Now I saw
a new heaven and a new earth and God will wipe away every tear from their
eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow nor crying, there shall be no more
pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 

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