The Proclamation of Thanksgiving and Praise

24 11 2015

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

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 of 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 defence, 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 consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel 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 that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to 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, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, 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 Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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Holy Water

16 08 2015
Holy Water

Holy Water

 

“Truly, truly I say to you, unless someone is born of water and spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Jesus the Nazarene





Merry Christmas!

19 12 2014

Cranberry 2

And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring good news to you of great joy which will be for all the people: that today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.  And this will be the sign for you: you will find the baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:10-12  (Lexham English Bible)

 

 Think this in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,

 who, existing in the form of God,
    did not consider being equal with God something to be grasped,
 but emptied himself
    by taking the form of a slave,
    by becoming in the likeness of people.
And being found in appearance like a man,
 he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to the point of death,
        that is, death on a cross.
 Therefore also God exalted him
    and graciously granted him the name above every name,
 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
    of those in heaven and of those on earth and of those under the earth,
 and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 (Lexham English Bible)

 

 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace
    among people with whom he is pleased!”

Luke 2:14 (Lexham English Bible)





A Child’s Prayer

13 12 2014

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee.

Fain I would to Thee be brought,
Dearest God, forbid it not;
Give me, dearest God, a place
In the Kingdom of Thy grace.

Put Thy hands upon my head,
Let me in Thine arms be stayed,
Let me lean upon Thy breast,
Lull me, lull me, Lord to rest.

Hold me fast in Thine embrace,
Let me see Thy smiling face,
Give me, Lord, Thy blessings give,
Pray for me, and I shall live.

Lamb of God, I look to Thee,
Thou shalt my example be;
Thou art gentle, meek, and mild,
Thou wast once a little child.

Fain I would be as Thou art,
Give me Thy obedient heart;
Thou art pitiful and kind,
Let me have Thy loving mind.

Let me, above all, fulfil
God my heavenly Father’s will,
Never His good Spirit grieve;
Only to His glory live.

Thou didst live to God alone,
Thou didst never seek Thine own,
Thou Thyself didst never please:
God was all Thy happiness.

Loving Jesus, gentle Lamb,
In Thy gracious hands I am;
Make me, Saviour, what Thou art,
Live Thyself within my heart.

I shall then show forth Thy praise,
Serve Thee all my happy days;
Then the world shall always see
Christ, the Holy Child, in me.

 

Charles Wesley’s poem hearkens further back to a brief story contained in the New Testament. Here it is, as presented in one of the three Gospels that record it:

 

Mark 10:13-16  Lexham English Bible (LEB)

 And they were bringing young children to him so that he could touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the young children come to me. Do not forbid them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  Truly I say to you, whoever does not welcome the kingdom of God like a young child will never enter into it.”  And after taking them into his arms, he blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Wesley’s poem also hearkens to a brief, but potent teaching contained in three of the four Gospels. Here is one rendering:

Matthew 18:1-4  Lexham English Bible (LEB)

At that time the disciples came up to Jesus, saying, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling a child to himself, he had him stand in their midst and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you turn around and become like young children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven! Therefore whoever humbles himself like this child, this person is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software)

What Jesus is saying in His teaching is that a person must recognize his/her utter dependence on God the Heavenly Father. The human being is as dependent upon God as a little child is dependent upon his/her father and mother. A child may tell his parents, “I want my own way,” or “I can do it myself,” or more simply, “No!” But doing so is folly; it is foolish and as deadly as letting a child play with matches or a loaded gun or sharp knives.

Note: childlike does not mean

  • naïve,
  • simplistic,
  • ignorant,
  • uneducated,
  • unsophisticated,
  • juvenile,
  • gullible,
  • immature, and/or
  • puerile

 

Childlike does mean

  • trusting and
  • guileless

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Your Fruit

3 12 2014

cypress overstory

 

I myself have answered and looked after you.
I am like a luxuriant cypress;
    your fruit comes from Me.

Hosea 14:8  (LEB)





Advice Old and Older

28 09 2014

And these few precepts in thy memory see thou character.

Give thy thoughts no tongue, nor any unproportioned thought his act.

A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh  with a froward mouth. (Proverbs 6:12)

The heart of the righteous studieth to answer, but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. (Proverbs 15:28)

He that hath knowledge spareth his words, and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise, and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. (Proverbs 17:27-28)

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead…. He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:16, 21)

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

It is as sport to a fool to do mischief, but a man of understanding hath wisdom. (Proverbs 10:23)

A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips, and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue. (Proverbs 17:4)

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbor and saith, “Am I not in sport?”

(Proverbs 26:18-19)

The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17)

A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Provers 18:24)

Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful…. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel…. Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. (Proverbs 27: 6, 9, 17)

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment of each new-hatched, unfledged comrade.

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)

Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man thou shalt not go, lest thou learn his ways and get a snare to thy soul.

(Proverbs 22:24-25)

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint. (Proverbs 25:19)

Beware of entrance to a quarrel…

Only by pride cometh contention, but with the well-advised is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10)

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32)

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling. (Proverbs 20:3)

But, being in, bear it that the opposed beware of thee.

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death and those that are ready to be slain, if thou sayest, “Behold, we knew it not,” doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? And He that keepeth thy soul, doth He not know it? And shall not He render to every man according to his works? (Proverbs 24:10-12)

A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring. (Proverbs 25:26)

The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;

In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise. (Proverbs 10:19)

Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge, but a fool layeth open his folly. (Proverbs 13:16)

He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame to him. (Proverbs 18:3)

Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish… The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:1, 15)

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction, but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. (Proverbs 13:18)

Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way, and he that hateth reproof shall die. (Proverbs15:10)

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, but not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy: for the apparel oft proclaims the man…

Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get Wisdom, and with all thy getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee; she shall bring thee honour when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. (Proverbs 4:7-9)

Neither a borrower nor a lender be: for loan oft loses both itself and friend; and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)

This above all – to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not be false to any man.

Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool. (Proverbs 19:1)

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness, but a faithful man, who can find? (Proverbs 20:6)

Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21)

William Shakespeare (Hamlet:  Act 1, scene 3)





True Love

6 09 2014

Before the JESUS film can be dubbed into any language, the essential work of translation into the mother tongue must occur. Our partners at Wycliffe Bible Translators are instrumental in the work of helping us translate JESUS into new languages. Because nearly every word that Jesus says in the JESUS film is taken from the Biblical book of Luke, we take seriously the importance of communicating clearly and accurately what Scripture says. The pursuit of just the right term for a theological concept is critical for a culture truly to understand the Gospel. Sometimes the treasure is present, but prayer and God’s directing hand reveal the awaiting gem.

Lee Bramlett and his wife are Wycliffe Bible translators in Cameroon who have been working on Scripture and the JESUS film translation into the Hdi language. Lee was confident that God had left His mark on the Hdi culture somewhere *, but though he searched, he could not find it. Where was the footprint of God in the history or daily life of these Cameroonian people? What clue had God planted to let the Hdi know who He is and how He wants to relate to them?

Then one night in a dream, God prompted Lee to look again at the Hdi word for love. Lee and his wife had learned that verbs in Hdi consistently end in one of three vowels. For almost every verb, they could find forms ending in i, a, and u. But when it came to the word for love, they could only find i and a. Why no u?

Curious, Lee asked the Hdi translation committee, which included the most influential leaders in the community, “Could you ‘dvi’ your wife?”

“Yes,” they said. That would mean that the wife had been loved, but the love was gone.

“Could you ‘dva’ your wife?” Lee asked.

“Yes,” they said. That kind of love depended on the wife’s actions. She would be loved as long as she remained faithful and cared for her husband well.

“Could you ‘dvu’ your wife?” Lee asked.

Everyone laughed. “Of course not!” they said. “If you said that, you would have to keep loving your wife no matter what she did, even if she never got you water, never made you meals. Even if she committed adultery, you would be compelled to just keep on loving her. No, we would never say ‘dvu.’ It just doesn’t exist.”

Lee sat quietly for a while, thinking about John 3:16, and then he asked, “Could God ‘dvu’ people?”

There was complete silence for three or four minutes, and then tears started to trickle down the weathered faces of these elderly men. Finally they responded. “Do you know what this would mean?” they asked. “This would mean that God kept loving us over and over, millennia after millennia, while all that time we rejected His great love. He is compelled to love us, even though we have sinned more than any people.”

One simple vowel, and the meaning was changed from “I love you based on what you do and who you are,” to “I love you based on who I am. I love you because of Me and not because of you.”

God had encoded the story of His unconditional love right into their language. For centuries, the little word was there—unused but available, grammatically correct and quite understandable. When the word was finally spoken, it called into question their entire belief system. If God was like that, did they need the spirits of the ancestors to intercede for them? Did they need sorcery to relate to the spirits? Many decided the answer was no, and the number of Christ-followers quickly grew from a few hundred to several thousand. One word. One vowel. All the difference.

Praise God for His Unconditional Love.

Reprinted from a prayer letter recently issued by Bryan Augsburger, Cru studio technician for The Jesus Film Project.

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John 3:16  King James Version (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

* For more on this concept, see Don Richardson’s book entitled Eternity In Their Hearts: Startling Evidence of Belief in the One True God in Hundreds of Cultures Throughout the World, published by Regal Books in 1981 and in revised form in 1984.

D. Raymond-Wryhte