The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God

Archive for November, 2013

Thanksgiving: Every Day A Day To Give Thanks

    girl-and-pumpkin

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:4-2 (NASB)

Notwithstanding all that I have suffered, notwithstanding all the pain and weariness and anxiety and sorrow that necessarily enter into life, and the inward errings that are worse than all, I would end my record with a devout thanksgiving to the great Author of my being. For more and more am I unwilling to make my gratitude to Him what is commonly called “a thanksgiving for mercies”, — for any benefits or blessings that are peculiar to myself, or my friends, or indeed to any man. Instead of this, I would have it to be gratitude for all that belongs to my life and being, — for joy and sorrow, for health and sickness, for success and disappointment, for virtue and temptation, for life and death; because I believe that all is meant for good. Orville Dewey

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords. His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the heavens so skillfully. His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who placed the earth among the waters. His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to Him who made the heavenly lights– His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.”
Psalm 136:1-9 (NLT)

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Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving

AbeLincoln
By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human council hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them while offering up the ascriptions justly due Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.

In testimony thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

George

[New York, 3 October 1789]

By the President of the United States; a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor — and whereas both houses of congress have by their joint committee requested to me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the people of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be — that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks — for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation — for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war — for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed — for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted — for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions — to enable us all, whether in private or public stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually — to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed — to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord — To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among us — and generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the city of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Geo. Washington

Affliction and Tribulation

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I would venture to say that few, if any, have suffered tribulation as Paul suffered for the glory of Christ. Speaking against false teachers in Corinth, Paul told the Corinthians, “Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one — I am talking like a madman — with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:22-28 (RSV)

“For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.” 2 Corinthians 7:5 (NASB). Why does God allow true believers to be “afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within?”
One of His purposes is to show us His all-sufficient grace, strength and comfort. In verse 6 (2 Cor. 7:6) he says, “But, God who comforts the depressed, comforts us…” (NASB). Whether it be illness, a sad heart, a heavy burden — we are to cast our cares on Him.

“However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be of God and not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (Amplified).
Another reason Christians suffer affliction and tribulation is to teach us to be dependent upon Him. He wants us to know that we are in His hands, that we are to rely upon Him. That is where Jesus was on earth — remember His prayer in the Garden — “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” That is where we must be. We cannot stand on our own strength. We must trust in God.

I found this short poem several years ago. I do not know the author, but it helps give us an understanding of why we have to face trials in life.
Why must I weep when others sing?
“To test the depths of suffering.”
Why must I work while others rest?
“To spend my strength at God’s request.”
Why must I lose while others gain?
“To understand defeats sharp pain.”
Why must this lot of life be mine
When that which is fairer seems is thine?
“Because God knows what plans for me
Will blossom in eternity.”

“Judge not, that ye be not judged”

Many misunderstand and misuse Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged,”(NASB). I am certain that someone at sometime in your lifetime has said to you, “Do not judge.”
My grandpa used to say, “I’d rather see a sermon than hear one.” I think all of us have recognized the inconsistency between the way we act and the way we expect others to act. It is easy for us to judge others because we see ourselves as good people and it is easy to see the faults of others.
The poet Robert Burns once wrote, “Oh, would some power the Giver give to us, to see ourselves as others see us.” This is what Jesus is saying in Matthew 7:3-5. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (NASB). But, because of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:2, “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (NASB). I believe it goes beyond Burns’ statement “To see ourselves as others see us.” We should see ourselves as God sees us.
So, are we as Christians to “judge” others? Certainly. The Greek term used here is krino and does not imply indifference to the moral condition of others. It does not mean we are not to appraise those with whom we live.
This command, “Do not judge,” is followed by two further commands. “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” Matthew 7:6 (NASB). “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (NASB). It would be impossible to obey those commands without judging. We must be able to recognize dogs, swine, and false prophets.
Jesus does not forbid His followers from forming opinions concerning the character and conduct of other men — such judgment is always right if we have the means of judging…
“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.” Matthew 7:16-18 (NASB).

Too soon old — Too late smart


“Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18.” Mark Twain

John Q. Adams Pro-God Anti-Slavery


If you have an opportunity to read any books written about (or written by) John Quincy Adams, please take time to do so. Adams, 6th President of the United States, was not afraid to speak his mind on any subject.
The following is an excerpt from “Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Sons on the Bible and its Teachings”…

“The first point of view in which I have invited you to consider the Bible, is the light of Divine Revelation. And what are we to understand by these terms? I intend as much as possible, to avoid the field of controversy, which I am not well acquainted with, and for which I have little respect, and still less inclination. My idea of the Bible as a Divine Revelation, is founded upon its practical use to mankind, and not upon metaphysical subtleties. There are three points of doctrine, the belief of which, forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is, a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of those articles of faith, and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark; the laws of man may bind him in chains, or may put him to death, but they can never make him wise, virtuous, or happy…
It is so obvious to every reasonable being, that he did not make himself, and the world which he inhabits, could as little make itself, that the moment we begin to exercise the power of reflection, it seems impossible to escape the conviction that there is a Creator. It is equally evident that the Creator must be a spiritual, and not material being; there is also a consciousness that the thinking part of our nature is not material, but spiritual — that it is not subject to the laws of matter, nor perishable with it.”

Adams believed that all men have the same God-given rights. He worked for years to end slavery. In a speech delivered on the 61th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, he stated…

“The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction than by the author of the Declaration himself. No charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllable of attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country and they saw that before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the Memoir of HIs Life, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves. “Nothing is more certainly written,” said he, “in the book of fate than that these people are to be free.”

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