PRAYER PROCLAMATION:  ASSURED HOPE

Some living through America’s Civil War (1861-1865) believed the bloodshed, pain, and suffering of those years were a judgment from God. It had followed undeniable and sinful wrongs of slavery in our country and destructive forces to divide our nation that was meant to be a unified light for God’s purpose.

Today many believe that terrorist attacks on American soil on September 11, 2001, brought a judgment from God for the millions of innocent lives murdered in abortions. They believe that because that warning, that call to return to God, was not heeded, the result is this covid-19 pandemic as a greater judgment.

Thankfully God’s judgments have a purpose to restore, redeem, and forgive, both nations and individuals. A warning was initially directed to Israel who unfortunately chose to ignore it and suffered severe consequences.

2 Chronicles 7: 14 tells us God’s clear warning and plainly shows His love:  “If My people who are called by My name shall humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.”

In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day for Americans to follow 2 Chronicles 7: 14. Following is Lincoln’s prayer proclamation with assured hope that is needed today as much as it was then.

Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And inasmuch as we know that by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power to confess our national sins and to pray for clememency and forgiveness.

Now therefore in compliance with the request and finally concurring in the views of the Senate, I do by this my proclamation designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting, and prayer. And I do hereby request all the people to abstain on that day from their ordinary secular pursuits and to unite at their several places of public worship and their respective homes in keeping the day holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cries of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition and peace.”  (Abraham Lincoln)

History tells us that in 1863 Americans overwhelmingly united and sincerely prayed. Immediately following those prayers the turning point of the war came bringing the end closer.

Americans today should follow God’s call to humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways. If we will, then here is what we can expect to happen. God “will hear from heaven” and will forgive our sins and will heal our land. Assured hope indeed!

 

MOTHER TERESA QUOTE:  PEACE & HOPE

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”  (Mother Teresa)

I read the above quote by Mother Teresa recently. I highly respect her selfless example of a life of service to others and think that her writings are worthy of consideration. However regarding this particular quote, I will dare to make a slight change. My preferred quotation follows.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to God.”  (J. Gillum Foy)

My quotation offers more peace and hope. While we each are connected to our fellow humans, I think there is more truth in my quote. In fact, real peace in a human heart comes only when we belong to God our Father. Peace, hope, comfort, joy — all good things — result from that position.

I trust it is true, because the Bible teaches that it is, and I believe the Bible is the source of truth. Also I believe it, because it has been proven and experienced in my life.

We may listen to and learn from those who are highly esteemed, but we can still think for ourselves. Sometimes we may even improve original quotes as I believe I have this one.

I hope you’ll ponder these quotes then make your own judgment. Just make sure you belong to God. That is the distinction that makes mine true. Peace to you… Shalom!


For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world but that the world might be saved through Him.”  (John 3: 16-17)

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:  13)

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4: 7)

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3: 16, 17)

“THE ROSE BEYOND THE WALL”: COMFORT, FAITH, AND HOPE

A. L. Frink is credited with writing a beautiful thought-provoking poem that I discovered decades ago. It instantly spoke to my heart, and I have loved it ever since. The poet’s intent is that the reader receive faith and hope from his words.

I feature it today when “…claim of death cause us to grieve and make our courage faint or fall” and because a loved one who belongs to God continues to live “on the other side” and “will forever more.” May the poem’s deep meaning give comfort, faith, and hope today and always until our faith becomes sight.

THE ROSE BEYOND THE WALL

“Near a shady wall a rose once grew,

Budded and blossomed in God’s free light,

Watered and fed by morning dew,

Shedding its sweetness day and night.

As it grew and blossomed fair and tall,

Slowly rising to loftier height,

It came to a crevice in the wall,

Through which there shone a beam of light.

Onward it crept with added strength,

With never a thought of fear or pride;

It followed the light through the crevice length

And unfolded itself on the other side.

The light, the dew, the broadening view,

Were the same as they were before;

And it lost itself in beauties new,

Breathing its fragrance more and more.

Shall claim of death cause us to grieve

And make our courage faint or fall?

Nay, let us faith and hope receive;

The rose still grows beyond the wall,

Scattering fragrance far and wide,

Just as it did in days of yore.

Just as it did on the other side,

Just as it will forever more.”

(A. L. Frink)


Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
(Matthew 5: 4)

Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going to take your joy away from you.”  (John 16: 22)

Therefore, being always of good courage and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord — for we walk by faith not by sight — but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.”
(2 Corinthians 5: 6 – 8)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” ( Hebrews 11: 1)

“HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LAMB!”:  LIFE & HOPE

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ satisfied our perfect God’s requirement for paying the sin debt of imperfect humanity. That miraculous event gives us opportunity to know abundant life and hope on this planet now and experience eternal life and hope (-fufilled) in heaven forevermore.

The Easter story and its music remind me of life and hope that only God gives. They remind me to be thankful, to worship Him, and to praise the One Who is the Perfect Lamb of God.

Many songs express well the meaning of Easter and His mercy, grace, and love. “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LAMB!” was written by Dawn Thomas, Pam Thum, & Gary McSpadden and beautifully recorded by the Talley Trio.

“HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LAMB!”:

“From the moment man first disobeyed the Father,
We were then held captive by our sin.
The law of God demanded a sacrifice
Restoring to Himself His own again.

So the Lamb, His only Son, was freely offered
Atonement for our sins forever made.
The Innocent and Holy — still God and God only —
Would ransom and redeem us back again.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
My heart sings His praise again!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!

So to the cross they carried Him
With all our guilt and all our sin.
The Lamb of God was slain for our transgressions,
And on the cross those nail-pierced hands
Reached up to God and down to man.
And just as if I’d never sinned,
He took me in his arms
Embracing me He willingly forgave.

For mercy, grace, and love that know no bounds,
Though guilty and condemned I now am free.
Forever I’m forgiven for Christ the Lord is risen,
And risen with Him we shall one day be.

Oh, Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
My heart sings His Praise again!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
My heart sings His Praise again!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!

Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
My heart sings His praise again!
Hallelujah! Praise the Lamb!
Praise the Lamb!”
(Thomas, Thum, McSpadden)

May you know the Risen Christ of Easter, worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and join me in saying (or singing), “HALLELUJAH! PRAISE THE LAMB.”

“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1: 29)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter: 3)