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Lost Episode for September 20

Andrew JacksonOn September 20, 1838, President Andrew Jackson received the news that his old friend, Ralph Earl, had suddenly died and wrote:

“I must soon follow him, and hope to meet him and those friends who have gone before me in the realms of bliss through the mediation of a dear Redeemer, Jesus Christ.”*

President Jackson’s confidence in Jesus Christ is another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read 2 Samuel 12:19-23 and reflect on David’s statement about going to his son in death and compare that with President Jackson’s statement about his friend.

Prayer: Eternal God, we praise you for your Son who is preparing a place for those who have turned from their sin and put their trust in Him. We thank you for a leader who not only recognized his mortality, but his immortality, and who trusted in Christ to take him to heaven. Give us leaders who have an eternal perspective, we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845 (New York: Harper & Row, 1981), 448.

 

Lost Episode for September 19

On September 19, 1796, President George Washington’s “Farewell Address” was first published in David Claypoole’s American Daily Advertiser. Originally titled: “The Address of General Washington to the People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States,” this Address was reprinted in newspapers across America and later appeared in pamphlet form.

The original draft in 1792 was prepared with the assistance of James Madison, under the assumption that Washington would only serve a single term. However, Washington felt compelled by the tenuous political climate to serve a second term, so the draft was updated in 1796 by Alexander Hamilton. Yet these are ultimately the words of the “Father of our Country” to America. To this day Washington’s Farewell Address is considered to be one of the most important documents in American history. In it Washington sets forth basic principles for success as a nation and addresses a number of important challenges facing the young republic. On the topic of religion, Washington declares:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens…

“And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

“Tis substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government… Who that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric?”*

Washington believed that America’s success depends on adherence to religion principle, which is the basis for public virtue and morality. His farewell warning against trying to separate religion from morality or subvert either is yet another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Hosea 4 and reflect on the cause of Israel’s moral problems, which were symptomatic of their departure from God, and compare that with George Washington’s advice concerning religion as the basis for morality.

Prayer: Father, we praise you for giving us wise and godly leaders like George Washington, who encouraged us to affirm religion and morality as a means to public happiness and national success. Raise up leaders like Washington in our day, we pray, 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, 12 vols., (Boston: American Stationer’s Company, 1837), 12:227-228.

 

Prayer Targets: Rev. Joshua Thomas; Obamacare Abortion; ISIS Strategy; China, IRS, Ebola, VVS, More

God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. Psalm 75:7

Dear Praying Friends,

Star Spangled Sunday, our 200th anniversary celebration of the National Anthem and the turning point in the War of 1812 was powerful. In September 1814, after burning the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and Washington, D.C., the British Army and Navy targeted Baltimore with all their firepower. But a sniper killed the leading British General and the Maryland Militia and U.S. Army effectively resisted. The Royal Navy then attacked Fort McHenry. Beyond reach of U.S. cannon, British warships barraged Fort McHenry with hundreds of tons of cannonballs, bombs, and rockets. Francis Scott Key, aboard a British ship on diplomatic business, slept lightly amid cannon fire, rose early and rushed to see if our flag “was still there,” flying over the Fort. Against all odds, it was. The fleet ceased fire and moved speedily out of Baltimore Harbor and down the Chesapeake Bay. Key was moved to pen what is now our National Anthem. As in previous and subsequent American wars, God’s Hand was evident. But a Maryland preacher named Joshua Thomas played an important role in this lost episode in our history. The Methodist circuit rider traveled by canoe from island to island on the Chesapeake Bay to preach the gospel. It was on Tangier Island, Thomas’ home, that the British fleet made their headquarters.

Before they left Tangier, they sent me word to be ready to hold a public meeting, and exhort the soldiers… I thought and prayed over the matter, and it came to me that I must stand up for Jesus as a good soldier… It was arranged to be on their last Sunday… Early that morning, the flags were hoisted, the drums beat… the soldiers were all drawn up in solid columns, about twelve thousand men… I stood on a little platform … nearest the shore, all the men facing me with their hats off… As I looked around on my congregation, I never had such feelings in my life; but I felt determined to give them a faithful warning, even if those officers… would cut me in ‘pieces… After singing and prayer… all fear and embarrassment were taken away… I said, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.’ I told… how He saved me from sin… and thanked them and their Admiral for the kindness they manifested to us… but I could not bid them God speed… I warned them of the danger and distress they would bring upon themselves and others by going to Baltimore with the object they had in view… that God said, “Thou shall not kill.” If you do, he will judge you at the last day; or, before then, he will cause you to “perish by the sword.” I told them it was given me from the Almighty that they could not take Baltimore, and would not succeed in their expedition… to prepare for death, for many of them would in all likelihood die soon, and I should see them no more till we met at the sound of the great trumpet before our final Judge.”

The service concluded, many stepped up… and said they hoped it would not go so hard with them as he had foretold. He shook his head, and said he felt that many that day had received their last call… (With) steady persistence… he predicted the defeat… The army had hitherto met with but feeble resistance… Bladensburg…Washington… Alexandria capitulated without resistance, and now with concentrated force, the whole squadron pours its flushed and confident thousands on Baltimore… In the face of all the probabilities… Joshua Thomas expressed a conviction… You cannot take it! …Perhaps he remembered that thousands in that city were on their knees, morning, noon, and night, interceding with God! That some of his acquaintances… who by their success in prayer… had displayed power with God, were in the city, and formed its rampart and defense, in unseen agency with the Lord Jehovah! …The proud fleet weighed anchor, and with pennants streaming, decks bristling with the machinery of war, stood up the Bay, and left the anxious islanders awaiting the issue (Adam Wallace, The Parson of the Islands, Ch.9 1861).

Numerous parallels exist between America in 1814 and today.

Read More

 

Lost Episode for September 18

Langdon croppedSigner of the United States Constitution John Langdon died on September 18, 1819. A sixth generation American, Langdon supplied arms and money during the War for Independence and fought as a colonel in the militia as well. He served as a U.S. Senator (1789-1801), and Governor of New Hampshire (1805-08 and 1810-11).

John Langdon was one of the founders and the first President of the New Hampshire Bible Society, whose goal was to place a Bible into every home in the state. As Governor, Langdon made Proclamations calling for thanksgiving and for fasting and prayer. On October, 10, 1805, he issued a Proclamation, declaring:

“I… appoint… a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer throughout the state, hereby exhorting the people of all sects and denominations to assemble with their pastors and religious teachers, at their respective places of public worship on that day, and devote a reasonable part thereof in praising and adoring Almighty God, and in offering up our thanks to Him as the great author of every good and perfect gift [James 1:17], for the many favors that he has been pleased to bestow upon us as individuals during the past year…”*

The actions of this Signer of the Constitution to promote Biblical faith in public life are another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read James 1:17 and reflect on the Providential goodness of God and compare that with Governor Langdon’s proclamation.

Prayer: Gracious Father, we praise you that every we praise you for every good and perfect gift that comes from your hand. Like this Founding Father, teach us to be thankful for your Providence, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: Edwin D Sanborn, History of New Hampshire: From Its First Discovery to the Year 1830; with Dissertations Upon The Rise Of Opinions And Institutions The Growth Of Agriculture And Manufactures And The Influence Of Leading Families And Distinguished Men To The Year 1874 ( Manchester, NH: John B. Clarke, 1875). See the original Proclamation at http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=17936.

 

Lost Episode for September 17

signing_1787On September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention meeting in “Independence Hall” in Philadelphia voted in favor of the United States Constitution. Thirty-nine of the 55 delegates signed it. By June 21, 1788, nine of the thirteen states had ratified it, thereby creating our new government, which is the longest running constitutional republic in existence. Nearly all of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention were members from orthodox Christian denominations. According to the late M. E. Bradford, a University of Dallas Professor of Literature and an avid political historian, there were:

29 Episcopalians
9 Presbyterians
7 Congregationalists
2 Lutherans
2 Dutch Reformed
2 Methodists
2 Roman Catholics
1 lapsed Quaker and sometimes Anglican
1 Unitarian – Dr. Franklin who called for Chaplain led prayer during the Convention, attended every kind of Christian worship, and contributed to all kinds of denominations.*

Since all the delegates had something of a Biblical worldview, it is not surprising that Biblical principles can be found that parallel a number of the provisions in the Constitution. For example, the three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial) have a Biblical parallel in Isaiah 33:22. The concept of separation of powers is based upon the doctrine of the depravity of humankind (See Jer. 17:9). For specific examples, compare the following sections of the Constitution with the Biblical references:

• Art. I, Sec. 7, par. 2 (no business on Sunday). See Exod. 20:8
• Art. I, Sec. 8, par. 4 (uniform immigration laws). See Lev. 19:34
• Art. I, Sec 8, par. 8 (tribunals – courts under the Supreme Court): See Deut. 16:18-20; 17:8-10
• Art. II, Sec. 1, par. 4 (president must be a natural born citizen). See Deu¬t. 17:15
• Art. III, Sec. 1, par. 1 (courts). See Deut. 16:18-20; 17:8-10
• Art. III, Sec. 3, par. 1-2, (witnesses and capital punishment). See Deut. 17:6
• Art. III, Sec. 3, par. 1 (provision against attainder). See Ezek. 18:20
• Art. IV, Sec. 4, par. 1 (representative government). See Exod. 18:21

Finally, the document concludes with “In the year of our Lord” (See Exod. 20:1; John 20:28; etc.) and is dated from our Independence, which recalls the foundational document declaring our freedom with its four mentions of God.

The fact that the framers of the United States Constitution were mostly professing Christians and established our government on principles that parallel Biblical truths is another lost episode in American history.

Read and reflect: Read Isaiah 33:22 and reflect on how it basically speaks of the three branches of government we have in America: Legislative, Judicial, and Executive.

Prayer: Father, we praise you for Founding Fathers who respected your word and who sought to frame our government upon its principles. Give us leaders today who will do the same, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

*Source Citation: M.E. Bradford, A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the United States Constitution (Marlborough, NH: Plymouth Rock Foundation, 1982), iv-v.

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