Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton
On December 21, 1949, President Harry S. Truman surveyed the headstones marking the graves of thousands of fallen heroes at Arlington National Cemetery and declared: “This is an age where faith in one’s self, faith in freedom, faith in the kinship of man and God, are more important to our survival that all the mighty armaments of war.”* President Truman’s statement came just a few years after the atomic bomb, the most powerful weapon ever developed, was dropped on Japan, effectively ending World War II. Consequently, his view that faith is more important to our survival than having weapons of mass destruction is a lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Prov. 21:31 and reflect on the truth that God brings deliverance, not military might, and compare that with President Truman’s statement. Prayer: Father, we thank you that we have the greatest military force and yet deliverance only comes from you. May we return to you as our Shield and Defender, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: T.S. Settel, et al, ed., The Quotable Harry Truman (New York: Droke House Publishers, Inc., 1967), 70.
On December 20, 1858, in writing to the United States Senate, President James Buchanan made a surprising declaration regarding morality in the military: “Under the act of January 17, 1858, the courts of inquiry were directed to investigate “the physical, mental, professional, and moral fitness” of each officer who applied to them for relief….In performance of my duty I found the greatest difficulty in deciding what should be considered as ‘moral fitness’ for the Navy….There has been but one perfect standard of morality on earth, and how far a departure from His precepts and example must proceed in order to disqualify an officer for the naval service is a question on which a great difference of honest opinion must always exist.”* In his discussion of moral fitness for naval officers, President Buchanan said there would always be room for debate but one thing is clear: Jesus Christ is the perfect standard for morality and that is a lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read 1 John 2:3-6 and reflect on the encouragement to “walk as He walked” and compare that to the admonition of President Buchanan. Prayer: Father, we thank you for Jesus and for the challenge to “walk as He walked.” We also thank you for your Holy Spirit who makes it possible to do what we could not do on our own. May we yield to His prompting and leading, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and […]
On December 19, 1796, President George Washington wrote to his adopted son, George Washington Parke Custis: “But as you are well acquainted with my sentiments on this subject, and you know how anxious all your friends are to see you enter upon the grand theatre of life, with the advantages of a finished education, a highly cultivated mind, and a proper sense of your duties to God and man, I shall only add one sentiment more before I close this letter (which, as I have others to write, will hardly be in time for the mail), and that is, to pay due respect and obedience to your tutors, and affectionate reverence to the president of the college, whose character merits your highest regards.”* President Washington’s acknowledgment that his adopted son received an education that included a “proper sense of your duties to God and man” alludes to the Great Commandment and is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Mark 12:28-34 and reflect on the twofold Great Commandment and compare that with Washington’s advice. Prayer: Father, we pray that you would help us keep the Great Commandment. May we love you with all that is within us and may we love others as we love ourselves, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., The Writings of George Washington, 14 vols., (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1889-93), 13:355.
Born on December 18, 1707, Charles Wesley was a prolific hymn writer and the brother of John Wesley, who was the founder of Methodism. Both were influential in the First Great Awakening that swept colonial America beginning in the 1730s and lasting for a generation. Charles wrote an estimated 6,500 hymns, of which some 500 are still in use. Among his holiday themed hymns, a favorite at Christmas is one Charles wrote in 1753: “Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies; With th’ angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem. Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King.”* The birth of Charles Wesley, who penned a carol about the birth of Christ and helped fan the flames of the Great Awakening in America, is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Luke 2:8-14 and reflect on the angels praising God and compare that to the song Wesley wrote. Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for these angelic messengers, heralding the birth of the new-born King and for Charles Wesley’s gift to us in song, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1855, 1980), 350.
In his General Orders to the Continental Army, freshly encamped at Valley Forge, General George Washington directed on December 17, 1777: “Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise: and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us. The General directs that the army remain in its present quarters, and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and brigades; and earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.”* General Washington’s general orders to the troops in Valley Forge to observe the Day of Thanksgiving and Praise is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read Nehemiah 8:9-18 and reflect on the leadership’s call for the people to observe the feast of tabernacles with rejoicing and compare that with General Washington’s call for his troops to observe the thanksgiving proclaimed by Congress. Prayer: Father, we thank you for General Washington’s faithfulness to call his soldiers to worship you and to give you thanks and praise, even in a time of great difficulty, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: Jared Sparks, ed., The Writings of George Washington: Being His Correspondence, Addresses, Messages, and Other Papers, Official and Private, Selected and Published from the Original Manuscripts, with a Life of the Author, 12 vols., (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837), 5:524.