“Those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Whereas the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the supreme authority and just government of Almighty God in all the affairs of men and of nations, has by a resolution requested the President to designate and set apart a day for national prayer and humiliation; and

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, insomuch 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 clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully 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 cry 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 of unity and peace. In witness 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 30th day of March, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-seventh.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

By the President:

WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State .

Fast and Pray for America!

Tomorrow. the first Thursday of May, is the National Day of Prayer.

In 1952, Congress passed a bill stating that every president would proclaim a Day of National Prayer on a date of his/her choosing. The first Thursday of May was set as the National Day of Prayer in 1988, but days of fasting, humiliation, and prayer have been practiced since before our nation’s founding. John Adams, on March 23, 1798, issued the following proclamation.

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed. . .

I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

Fast and Pray for America!

Pray!

Politicians can talk freely of what they will do to rebuild America — grand plans and designs, budget reforms and tax reforms, imports and exports, peace at home and peace abroad, safety and security. “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a  certain town and will stay there a year.   We will do  business there and make a profit.’   How do you know what your life will be like  tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a  little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are  boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16)

Now is the time to trust God instead of the plans of those who do nothing but boast of what they will do.

How to Respond to the Evil in Our World

Evil is real. Demonic forces are active in ways we witness everyday in every aspect of our lives. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) So, if that’s the case, our response to the evil in our world must be in the realm of the demonic and the response to evil must be in the name and power of Jesus. In Luke 8 we see one of many times when Jesus displayed His authority over demons. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in our own power, we lose. When we go up against Satan’s demonic forces in the power and name and authority of Jesus we win. Furthermore, the only hope that our family, friends, and acquaintances have in this realm of such forces is in Jesus. Therefore, we must be diligent in introducing them to Him. A chaotic life that ends in eternal death is what lies before them. The man in Luke 8 was living in chaos and headed for a tragic end before he met Jesus. Our world, our nation, our state, our county, our town, our neighbors, our work associates, and our family members need to know the victorious power found only in Jesus. That’s how we should respond to the evil in our world.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 26, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

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In All Things – Trust God

As I was reading Psalm 46 this morning I was reminded of all disasters around the world which appear on my daily newsfeed – floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, droughts – and the list goes on and on. I do not wish to engage in any arguments over what is man-made and what is natural when it comes to disasters. What I saw this morning in Psalm 46 is simply that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, whatever the cause.

We tend to fret and worry over the disasters that may or may not come our way when what we should do is trust God no matter what lies on the horizon. We can perhaps do some things to mitigate the effects of nature’s force but ultimately we must trust God before, during, and after the storm. Verse 10 of Psalm 46 tells us to be still and know that He is God and that He will be exalted in all the earth. If nothing else, surely the magnitude of a hurricane the size of the Gulf of Mexico or an earthquake that rocks the very ground of several states should remind us of how big God is and how small we are in comparison.

So while we in our human impotence try to determine what we should do in the face of disaster, we should first and foremost seek God in his omnipotence and trust him over and above anything that our finite minds can conceive.

1God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 46 (NKJV)


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Jesus, Teach Us to Pray

It’s almost mind-boggling that Jesus prayed. Jesus knew the Father more intimately than any other man who walked on this earth, because He and the Father are One. And still He prayed. If was so important for Jesus to pray it is even more so for us. We will be looking at the teachings of Jesus concerning prayer from Luke 11 & 18. At the beginning of Luke 11, one of the disciples came to Jesus with a profound request – teach us to pray. That should be our request as well. And so we say, “Jesus, Teach Us to Pray.” This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 5, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Jesus, Teach Us to Pray – Agape Life Bible Study – 09.05.2021

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Respond to Injustice with Prayer

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. Perhaps we should take a page from our founding fathers and humbly seek God’s face in the face of injustice.

After the Boston Tea Party, King George punished the city by instituting the Boston Port Act, March 7, 1774, effectively closing the harbor to all commerce.

Upon hearing of the Boston Port Act, Thomas Jefferson drafted a Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution, to be        observed the same day the blockade was to commence.  It was introduced in the Virginia House of Burgesses by Robert Carter Nicholas, May 24, 1774 and was supported by   Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and George Mason. It passed unanimously.  It was to be “a Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition, for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights.” 

The King’s appointed Royal Governor, Lord Dunmore, was so angered by this Day of Fasting, Humiliation & Prayer resolution that two days later he dissolved Virginia’s House of Burgesses. Virginia’s colonial  leaders went down the street and gathered in Raleigh Tavern, where they decided to form a Continental Congress which met in       Philadelphia a little over three months later. Less than two years after that, the Continental Congress voted for Independence.