Category Archives: General
“While the House of Representatives contemplate the flattering prospects of abundance from the labors of the people by land and by sea, the prosperity of our extended commerce notwithstanding the interruptions occasioned by the belligerent state of a great part of the world, the return of health, industry, and trade to those cities which have lately been afflicted with disease, and the various and inestimable advantages, civil and religious, which, secured under our happy frame of Government, are continued to us unimpaired, we can not fail to offer up to a benevolent Deity our sincere thanks for these the merciful dispensations of His protecting Providence….
“We offer up our fervent prayers to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for the success of their embassy, and that it may be productive of peace and happiness to our common country…”*
The grateful prayer of the House of Representatives in response to President Adams’ address is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Deuteronomy 8:6-20 and reflect on the ways God providentially provided for and protected Israel and the warning against forgetting God and then compare it with the acknowledgement of God by the House or Representatives.
Prayer: God we praise you that you are not only great but you are also good. Your merciful providence in our nation’s affairs is evident to those of us with the eyes of faith to see and we are grateful. Make it obvious to all Americans, we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907, 1910), 1:293-295.
“Another year of health and of sufficiently abundant harvests has passed. For these, and especially for the improved condition of our national affairs, our renewed and profoundest gratitude to God is due…
“Sundry treaties have been negotiated, which will in due time be submitted for the constitutional action of the Senate… It is hoped that the effect of these treaties will result in the establishment of permanent friendly relations with such of these tribes as have been brought into frequent and bloody collision with our outlying settlements and emigrants. Sound policy and our imperative duty to these wards of the Government demand our anxious and constant attention to their material well-being, to their progress in the arts of civilization, and, above all, to that moral training which under the blessing of Divine Providence will confer upon them the elevated and sanctifying influences, the hopes and consolations, of the Christian faith.”
President Lincoln’s third annual address is noted by historians for the Proclamation, but his desire to see hostile Indians come under the sway and enjoy the benefits of the moral teachings of the Christian faith is a lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Zechariah 2:10-11 and reflect on the prophecy that many peoples will come to the Lord and compare that with Lincoln’s desire for the Indian tribes.
Prayer: Lord of all nations, we look forward to the day when people from every people, tribe, and nation will be gathered into your Kingdom by your grace and their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose Name we pray, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907, 1910), 6:179, 87.
Today marks the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought America into World War II. Five American battleships and three destroyers were sunk, some 400 planes were damaged or destroyed, and nearly 3,000 were killed. In the midst of the attack, Chaplain Howell M. Forgy encouraged the men as they were handling the ammunition on Sunday, December 7, 1941:
“Well, I was stationed aboard the USS New Orleans, and we were tied up at 1010 dock in Pearl Harbor when we attacked again. We were having a turbine lifted, and all of our electrical power wasn’t on, and so when we went to lift the ammunition by the hoist, we had to form lines of men — form a bucket brigade — and we began to carry the ammunition up through the quarterdeck into the gurneys, and I stood there and directed some of the boys down the port side and some down the starboard side, and as they were getting a little tired, I just happened to say, ‘Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.’”*
“Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” became the basis for and title of a song by Frank Loesser in 1942.
The day following the attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the American people:
“December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….
Our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger. With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph. So help us God.”*
Chaplain Forgy’s popular phrase and President Roosevelt’s speech appealing to God in the face of attack are a couple of lost episodes in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 124 and reflect on the psalmist’s confidence in God’s deliverance and compare it with the attitude expressed by the Chaplain and the President.
Prayer: Lord of Heavenly Armies, we trust in you to protect us and defend us against our enemies. May our leaders realize that our hope is in you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1855, 1980), 871; John Graham, ed., Great American Speeches 1898-1963 (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1970), 221.
“As you have been called on to be grateful for the bounties of Providence, at few periods have they been more abundantly or extensively bestowed than at the present….
“Let us be grateful for these blessings to the beneficent Being who has conferred them… If we may dare to judge of His future designs by the manner in which His past favors have been bestowed, He has made our national prosperity to depend on the preservation of our liberties, our national force on our Federal Union, and our individual happiness on the maintenance of our State rights and wise institutions. If we are prosperous at home and respected abroad, it is because we are free, united, industrious, and obedient to the laws. While we continue so we shall by the blessing of Heaven go on in the happy career we have begun….
“A comparatively small sum is stipulated on our part to go to the extinction of all claims by French citizens on our Government….The frank acknowledgement and provision for the payment of those…affords a practical illustration of our submission to the divine rule of doing to others what we desire they should do unto us [Matt. 7:12]….
“In conclusion permit me to invoke that Power which superintends all governments to infuse into your deliberations at this important crisis of our history a spirit of mutual forbearance and conciliation. ”*
President Jackson’s address to Congress included a call to gratitude to God and an acknowledgment that our policy toward France in repaying a debt is based on the Golden Rule. That is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Matt. 7:12 and compare the Golden Rule with President Jackson’s statement on foreign policy.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for the wise teaching of the Master, to treat people like we would like to be treated. We also thank you for a President who incorporated that teaching into his foreign policy. Give us leaders who value the practical benefits of obeying your word, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907, 1910), 2:544-549, 555-558.
“A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind can have any real Good Will towards Man, can he be a patriot who by an openly vicious conduct is undermineing the very bonds of Society corrupting the Morals of Youth and by his bad example injuring that very Country he professes to patronize more than he can possibly compensate by his intrepidity Generosity and honour? The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.” [Prov. 13:34]
Abigail Adams’ use of Scripture to define true patriotism is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Deut. 8:6 and reflect on Moses’ instructions and compare them with the letter written by Abigail Adams.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to fear you, keep your commandments and walk in your ways so that we might be good neighbors and citizens, giving a positive example to those around us, we pray in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Henry Cabot Lodge, Winslow Warren, Worthington Chauncey Ford, eds., Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence between John Adams, Samuel Adams and James Warren, vol. 1, 1743-1777 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919), 180. Bracketed item added.