Category Archives: General
“It has long been the custom of our people to turn in the fruitful autumn of the year in praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for His many blessings and mercies to us as a nation. The year that has elapsed since we last observed our day of thanksgiving has been rich in blessings to us as a people, but the whole face of the world has been darkened by war…
“Now, therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do appoint Thursday, the thirtieth of November, as a day of National Thanksgiving and Prayer, and urge and advise the people to resort to their several places of worship on that day to render thanks to Almighty God for the blessings of peace and unbroken prosperity which He has bestowed upon our beloved country in such unstinted measure….Our people could in no better way show their real attitude towards the present struggle of the nations than by contributing out of their abundance to the relief of the suffering which war has brought in its train.”*
President Wilson’s Thanksgiving proclamation during World War I is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 and reflect on the generosity of the Macedonian churches and compare that with President Wilson’s admonition.
Prayer: Father, you have blessed us with incomparable wealth in America. Help us to be a blessing to those in need and thus show our gratitude to you, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: James D. Richardson, et al, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 20 vols. (New York: Bureau of National Literature, Inc., 1923), 17:8182.
“The two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a day of public humiliation and fasting and of prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace, I have deemed it proper by this proclamation to recommend that Thursday, the 12th of January next, be set apart as a day on which all may have an opportunity of voluntarily offering at the same time in their respective religious assemblies their humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance and amendment.
“They will be invited by the same solemn occasion to call to mind the distinguished favors conferred on the American people in the general health which has been enjoyed, in the abundant fruits of the season, in the progress of the arts instrumental to their comfort, their prosperity, and their security, and in the victories which have so powerfully contributed to the defense and protection of our country, a devout thankfulness for all which ought to be mingled with their supplications to the Beneficent Parent of the Human Race that He would be graciously pleased to pardon all their offenses against Him…”
Despite being a favorite of liberals who claim him as an advocate for strict separation of church and state, James Madison’s proclamation for national fasting and prayer is evidence to the contrary. It is also a lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 103:1-5 and reflect on the goodness of our God to pardon our sins and who blesses us with countless benefits and compare that with Madison’s proclamation.
Prayer: Father, we praise you for your giving nature for we are the recipients of so many blessings, which the psalmist enumerates: forgiveness, healing, rescue, mercy, food, strength, and limitless other benefits. Your grace is truly amazing and for that we praise you, 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 1907-1910), 1:558.
“The President, Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, desires and enjoins the orderly observance of the Sabbath by the officers and men in the military and naval service. The importance for man and beast of the prescribed weekly rest, the sacred rights of Christian soldiers and sailors, a becoming deference to the best sentiment of a Christian people, and a due regard for the Divine will, demand that Sunday labor in the Army and Navy be reduced to the measure of strict necessity.
“The discipline and character of the national forces should not suffer, nor the cause they defend be imperiled, by the profanation of the day or name of the Most High. ‘At this time of public distress’—adopting the words of Washington in 1776—‘men may find enough to do in the service of God and their country without abandoning themselves to vice and immorality.’ The first General Order issued by the Father of his Country after the Declaration of Independence, indicates the spirit in which our institutions were founded and should ever be defended: “The General hopes and trusts that every officer and man will endeavor to live and act as becomes a Christian soldier defending the dearest rights and liberties of his country.”
Citing the example of George Washington, Lincoln followed suit with orders regarding observance of the Christian Sabbath by the Union military. That is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Ezekiel 20:12-20 and reflect on God’s desire to have the Sabbath honored and how Israel repeatedly broke the Sabbath and compare that with how President Lincoln wanted our Armed Forces to honor the Sabbath.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for great presidents like Washington and Lincoln who were careful to honor your commandments. Forgive us for selecting leaders, who like Israel of old, disregarded them and suffered the consequences, in Jesus Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Roy P. Basler, Jr., ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols., (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 5:497-98.
The longest living Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrolton died on November 14, 1832. Recently, Carroll was made famous by the movie National Treasure as having supposedly passed on the clues to the location of the treasure to the ancestor of Thomas Gates. Well that is the fiction, here is the fact:
Born at Annapolis, Maryland, Carroll became one of the richest men in the Colonies, supporting the American cause with his finances. He was selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention but did not participate. However, Carroll did serve as a U.S. Senator and helped frame the Bill of Rights. Carroll was the only Roman Catholic Signer of the Declaration.
In a letter to Charles W. Wharton, an Episcopalian Clergyman, Charles Carroll wrote on September 27, 1825:
“Too much of my time & attention have been misapplied on matters to which an impartial Judge, penetrating the secrets of hearts, before whom I shall soon appear, will ascribe merit deserving recompense. On the mercy of my redeemer I rely for salvation and on his merits; not on the works I have done in obedience to his precepts, for even these, I fear, a fallacy a mixture will render unavailing, and cause to be rejected.”*
Charles Carroll’s firm reliance upon the merits of Christ for his salvation is a lost episode on American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Hebrews 4:12; 9:27 and Ephesians 2:8-10 and compare what is said with what Charles Carroll wrote.
Prayer: Father, we too confess that “on the mercy of my Redeemer I rely for salvation and on His merits.” We thank you for your great salvation, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
*Source Citation: Manuscript in possession of David Barton of Wallbuilders. See the original here: http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=49.
“It is a very glad incident of the marvelous prosperity which has crowned the year now drawing to a close that its helpful and reassuring touch has been felt by all our people. It has been as wide as our country, and so special that every home has felt its comforting influence. It is too great to be the work of man’s power and too particular to be the device of his mind. To God, the beneficent and all-wise, who makes the labors of men to be fruitful, redeem their losses by His grace, and the measure of whose giving is as much beyond the thoughts of man as it is beyond his deserts, the praise and gratitude of the people of this favored nation are justly due.
“Now, therefore, I, Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November present, to be a day of joyful thanksgiving to God for the bounties of His providence, for the peace in which we are permitted to enjoy them, and for the preservation of those institutions of civil and religious liberty which He gave our fathers the wisdom to devise and establish and us the courage to preserve. Among the appropriate observances of the day are rest from toil, worship in the public congregations, the renewal of family ties about our American firesides, and thoughtful helpfulness toward those who suffer lack of the body or of the spirit.”*
President Harrison’s Thanksgiving Proclamation is another lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Psalm 92 and reflect on the fact that it is proper to give thanks to the Lord and that the righteous will bear fruit even in their old age and compare that to President Harrison’s proclamation.
Prayer: Father, we give you thanks for your grace, which enables our work to be fruitful and even makes up for our loss. We are indeed a favored nation and we owe you our deepest gratitude, 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), 9:162.