Category Archives: General
On March 8, 1983, at the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida, President Ronald Reagan gave what many call his “Evil Empire” speech, so named because of the reference to the Soviet Union as the Evil Empire. However, what has been forgotten about President Reagan’s speech is what he had to say about the necessity of a vibrant faith to support our freedom in America. Reagan declared:
“There’s a great spiritual awakening in America, a renewal of the traditional values that have been the bedrock of America’s goodness and greatness.
“One recent survey by a Washington-based research council concluded that Americans were far more religious than the people of other nations; 95 percent of those surveyed expressed a belief in God and a huge majority believed the Ten Commandments had real meaning in their lives…. And this same study showed a deep reverence for the importance of family ties and religious belief.
“I think the items that we’ve discussed here today must be a key part of the Nation’s political agenda…
“There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past… The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith…
“I believe we shall rise to the challenge. I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages even now are being written. I believe this because the source of our strength in the quest for human freedom is not material, but spiritual. And because it knows no limitation, it must terrify and ultimately triumph over those who would enslave their fellow man. For in the words of Isaiah: ‘He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increased strength But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary[Isa. 40:29-31].’”*
President Reagan’s belief that the real crisis in America is spiritual in nature and that we would rise to that challenge is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Isaiah 40:29-31 and reflect on the encouraging words of Scripture and compare them to the word of encouragement from President Reagan.
Prayer: Holy Father, we thank for the example of Jesus, who came to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8) and that we are to do the same. We also thank you for strength that is beyond ourselves to accomplish the task, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: William Safire, ed., Lend Me Your Ears – Great Speeches in History (New York: W.W. Norton & Company 1992), 464. Watch the entire speech online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcSm-KAEFFA
Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, the French naval officer who founded New Orleans, died on March 7, 1768. Born in Montreal, Canada, Le Moyne helped to colonize French Louisiana and served as its Colonial Governor various times during the period between 1701 and 1743. Le Moyne also helped establish a Charity Hospital and headed relief efforts when two hurricanes hit the Gulf Coast in the fall of 1740. In his Last Will and Testament, Le Moyne declared:
“In the name of the Father, etc.
“Persuaded, as I am, of the necessity of death, and the uncertainty of the hour, I wish, before it arrives, to put my affairs in order. First, I consign my soul to God. I wish to live and die in the bosom of the Church. I implore the mercy of God and of Jesus Christ, my Saviour…”
Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, founder of New Orleans, professed his faith in Jesus Christ and that is a lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Eph. 2:4-7 and reflect on the great mercy of our Lord in saving us and compare that with the Le Moyne’s Last Will and Testament.
Prayer: Merciful Father, we praise you for your mercy toward us in Christ even though we deserve judgment. May we be merciful people in turn, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Grace King, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co. 1892), 325.
“As no truth is more clearly taught in the Volume of Inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the growing providence of a Supreme Being and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributer of rewards and punishments [Jer. 17:10] are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals and to the well-being of communities…
“I hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed throughout the United States of America as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; That the citizens on that day abstain, as far as may be, from their secular occupation, and devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private; That they call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer [1 Tim. 2:5], for our past transgressions, and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions…;That He would make us deeply sensible that ‘righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people’ [Proverbs 14:34]; That He would turn us from our transgressions and turn His displeasure from us;
“That He would bless all magistrates, from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil doers and a praise to them that do well [Rom. 13:1-7]; That He would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period…And that He would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion throughout the world.…”*
This proclamation by President Adams, written from a Biblical worldview, is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Jer. 17:5-10 and reflect on the God’s role as the searcher of hearts and righteous judge and compare it to the proclamation of President Adams.
Prayer: Almighty God, we submit to you as the Searcher of hearts and Righteous Judge, who distributes both rewards and punishments. May we as a people devote time to the sacred duties of religion, in private and in public, humbling ourselves in your presence, seeking your face in prayer, and turning from our wicked ways, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897, 11 vols., (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature and Art, 1907, 1910), 1:284-286.
On March 5, 1774, Founding Father John Hancock delivered the annual oration on the Boston Massacre from the pulpit of Old South Church. His remarks, which were printed and widely circulated, concluded with phrases that many would consider sermon-like:
“Some boast of being friends to government; I am a friend to righteous government, to a government founded upon the principles of reason and justice, but I glory in publicly avowing my eternal enmity to tyranny…
“I have the most animating confidence that the present noble struggle for liberty will terminate gloriously for America. And let us play the man for our GOD, and for the cities of our GOD [2 Sam. 10:12]; while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great LORD of the universe, who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. [Psalm 45:7]. And having secured the approbation of our hearts, by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave her important concerns in the hands of HIM who raiseth up and putteth down empires and kingdoms of the world as HE pleases [Dan. 2:21]; and with cheerful submission to HIS sovereign will, devoutly say,
“‘Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olives shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet we will rejoice in the LORD, we will joy in the GOD of our salvation.’” [Hab. 3:17-18]
John Hancock’s Scripture-filled speech on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Habakkuk 3:17-18 and reflect on the prophecy and compare it with Hancock’s speech.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for the faith of this Founding Father, who trusted you to the point that even if the British government should reign in tyranny, that he would continue to commit the American cause to you. May we do the same in the face of increasing government oppression of people of faith, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America: Or an Attempt to Collect and Preserve some of Speeches, Orations and Proceedings (Baltimore: William Ogden Niles, 1822), 13-17. Bracketed items added.
On March 3, 1797, George Washington responded to a letter he had received from Episcopal Bishop William White, Rev. Dr. Ashabel Green, and twenty-three other ministers of Philadelphia, thanking him for the nearly 50 years of public service rendered to a grateful nation. In his response, Washington made the statement:
“Believing, as I do, that religion and morality are the essential pillars of civil society, I view, with unspeakable pleasure, that harmony and brotherly love [Rom. 12:10] which characterizes the clergy of different denominations, as well in this, as in other parts of the United States; exhibiting to the world a new and interesting spectacle, at once the pride of our country and the surest basis of Universal Harmony.
“That your labors for the good of mankind may be crowned with success, that your temporal employments may be commensurate with your merits, and that the future reward of good and faithful servants may be yours [Matt. 25:21, 23], I shall not cease to supplicate the Divine Author of life and felicity.”*
Washington echoed his Farewell Address, stating that religion and the morality it produces are the twin pillars of civil society, and he pledged to pray that the ministers of Philadelphia would be successful in their endeavors so that they might hear the future commendation of Christ to good and faithful servants. His letter is a lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Rom. 12:9-10 and reflect on Paul’s admonition to brotherly love and compare it with George Washington’s letter.
Prayer: Father, we are grateful for this leader who had learned the Scriptures so well that he alluded to them in his communications. May we be inspired by his example, 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), 12:245.