1452 B.C. – Aaron Died.
Aaron was Moses’ brother. Perhaps we should pause today and thank God for brothers and sisters. I have two sisters in Heaven and one sister who works with me in my office. Let us all thank God for our brothers and sisters today.
518 B.C. – The Jews Began Mourning While in Babylon.
In the 137th Psalm we find that the citizens of Babylon, under whom the Jews were slaves, asked the Jews to sing them a song. They had heard of the musical talent of the Jews and how well they could sing. The Jews said that they could not sing the Lord’s song in a strange land. At the time when they needed to sing the Lord’s song, they refused to do so. We, too, are in a strange land and we, too, should sing the Lord’s song that people may know the joy of Christ that they hear and see in us.
Psalms 137:1-3, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
515 B.C. – Ezra Returned to Jerusalem to Rebuild the Temple.
Since the temple of our day is the body (I Corinthians 6:19 and II Corinthians 6:16), let us dedicate our bodies as living sacrifices unto God. Read Romans 12:1 today.
1779 – The Birthday of Francis Scott Key.
Pause now to sing the National Anthem and thank God for America.
1876 – Colorado was Admitted to the Union.
For a couple of years, I served as president of a college in Colorado. I have preached in most every section of this great state. Let us pray for God’s work and God’s people in Colorado. Pray that God’s work will flourish.
1961 – Texans Head for the Thrills at Six Flags.
On this day in 1961, amusement park lovers “head for the thrills” as Six Flags Over Texas, the first park in the Six Flags chain, opens. Located on 212 acres in Arlington, Texas, the park was the first to feature log flume and mine train rides and later, the first 360-degree looping roller coaster, modern parachute drop and man-made river rapids ride. The park also pioneered the concept of all-inclusive admission price; until then, separate entrance fees and individual ride tickets were the standard. During its opening year, a day at Six Flags cost $2.75 for an adult and $2.25 for a child. A hamburger sold for 50 cents and a soda set the buyer back a dime.
The park, which took a year and $10 million to build, was the brainchild of Texas real estate developer and oilman Angus Wynne Jr., who viewed it as a short-term way to make a buck from some vacant land before turning it into an industrial complex. Wynne reportedly recouped his personal investment of $3.5 million within 18 months and changed his mind about the park’s temporary status. With 17.5 million visitors in its first 10 years, the park became the Lone Star State’s top for-profit tourist attraction. Today, average annual attendance at the park is over 3 million.
One of Six Flags’ unique aspects was that it wasn’t just a random collection of rides; it was developed around a theme: the history of Texas. The park’s name was a nod to the six flags that had flown over the state at various times–France, Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, Texas and the United States. The park’s rides and attractions were grouped into six themed sections that represented the cultures of these governments and enabled visitors to experience everything from cowboy culture to Southern belles and pirates. Originally, the park was to be called Texas Under Six Flags, before it was decided that Texas should never be under anything.
Angus Wynne sold Six Flags in 1969 and in the coming years, the company expanded and was resold. Today, Six Flags, Inc. is the world’s largest regional theme park company and owns and operates 30 theme, water and zoological parks in North America. In 2005, almost 34 million people spent a combined 250 million hours at Six Flags parks. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/texans-head-for-the-thrills-at-six-flags)
1876 – The Death of Wild Bill Hickok.
1909 – United States Bought First Military Plane From Wright Brothers.
Thank God for this invention and modern convenience. Because of the change of time and the speed of air traffic, I have often gotten somewhere many hundreds of miles away “before I left.” I have left Chicago many times by plane at 10:00 and arrived in Denver, Colorado, at 9:55.
1923 – President Harding Died.
Pray for the President today in his many decisions. Just a few days ago, I received a letter from the White House. It was from a presidential assistant relaying a message of congratulations from the President, Lyndon B. Johnson, to our church. He was congratulating us upon a ground-breaking for a new half-million dollar education plant.
1935 – The Approximate Date of the Conversion of Dr. Tom Malone.
Here is one of the great preachers of our generation. Dr. Malone is Pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Pontiac, Michigan, where nearly 25 years ago, he and his wife looked through the windows of an old saloon, renovated it, and started what is now this great church. Dr. Malone is also President of Emmanuel Christian Schools – an elementary school, a junior high school, a high school, and a college. Pray for the work of this giant of the faith today. Pray for Christian schools everywhere.
Pray for your pastor. Right now he may be standing beside the grave comforting some bereaved ones. Even now he may be trying to lead a sinner to Jesus Christ. Even now he may be trying to salvage the life of a youth. Even now he may be comforting someone who has heard he has only a few months to live. No one except a pastor could know the heartbeat and heartbreak of a pastor. Pray for your pastor today.
1990 – Iraq Invades Kuwait.
At about 2 a.m. local time, Iraqi forces invade Kuwait, Iraq’s tiny, oil-rich neighbor. Kuwait’s defense forces were rapidly overwhelmed, and those that were not destroyed retreated to Saudi Arabia. The emir of Kuwait, his family, and other government leaders fled to Saudi Arabia, and within hours Kuwait City had been captured and the Iraqis had established a provincial government. By annexing Kuwait, Iraq gained control of 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves and, for the first time, a substantial coastline on the Persian Gulf. The same day, the United Nations Security Council unanimously denounced the invasion and demanded Iraq’s immediate withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 6, the Security Council imposed a worldwide ban on trade with Iraq.
On August 9, Operation Desert Shield, the American defense of Saudi Arabia, began as U.S. forces raced to the Persian Gulf. Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, meanwhile, built up his occupying army in Kuwait to about 300,000 troops. On November 29, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq if it failed to withdraw by January 15, 1991. Hussein refused to withdraw his forces from Kuwait, which he had established as a province of Iraq, and some 700,000 allied troops, primarily American, gathered in the Middle East to enforce the deadline.
At 4:30 p.m. EST on January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Storm, the massive U.S.-led offensive against Iraq, began as the first fighter aircraft were launched from Saudi Arabia and off U.S. and British aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. All evening, aircraft from the U.S.-led military coalition pounded targets in and around Baghdad as the world watched the events transpire on television footage transmitted live via satellite from Iraq. Operation Desert Storm was conducted by an international coalition under the supreme command of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf and featured forces from 32 nations, including Britain, Egypt, France, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
During the next six weeks, the allied force engaged in an intensive air war against Iraq’s military and civil infrastructure and encountered little effective resistance from the Iraqi air force or air defenses. Iraqi ground forces were helpless during this stage of the war, and Hussein’s only significant retaliatory measure was the launching of SCUD missile attacks against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saddam hoped that the missile attacks would provoke Israel to enter the conflict, thus dissolving Arab support of the war. At the request of the United States, however, Israel remained out of the war.
On February 24, a massive coalition ground offensive began, and Iraq’s outdated and poorly supplied armed forces were rapidly overwhelmed. By the end of the day, the Iraqi army had effectively folded, 10,000 of its troops were held as prisoners, and a U.S. air base had been established deep inside Iraq. After less than four days, Kuwait was liberated, and the majority of Iraq’s armed forces had either surrendered, retreated to Iraq, or been destroyed.
On February 28, U.S. President George Bush declared a cease-fire, and on April 3 the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 687, specifying conditions for a formal end to the conflict. According to the resolution, Bush’s cease-fire would become official, some sanctions would be lifted, but the ban on Iraqi oil sales would continue until Iraq destroyed its weapons of mass destruction under U.N. supervision. On April 6, Iraq accepted the resolution, and on April 11 the Security Council declared it in effect. During the next decade, Saddam Hussein frequently violated the terms of the peace agreement, prompting further allied air strikes and continuing U.N. sanctions.
In the Persian Gulf War, 148 American soldiers were killed and 457 wounded. The other allied nations suffered about 100 deaths combined during Operation Desert Storm. There are no official figures for the number of Iraqi casualties, but it is believed that at least 25,000 soldiers were killed and more than 75,000 were wounded, making it one of the most one-sided military conflicts in history. It is estimated that 100,000 Iraqi civilians died from wounds or from lack of adequate water, food, and medical supplies directly attributable to the Persian Gulf War. In the ensuing years, more than one million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the subsequent U.N. sanctions. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/iraq-invades-kuwait)
1492 – Columbus Left Spain.
1887 – The Birthday of Rupert Brooke.
1922 – The Birthday of Robert L. Sumner.
Robert L. Sumner is an evangelist and a contributing editor to the SWORD OF THE LORD. He is a faithful preacher of the cross. God has given him a powerful ministry, a mighty pen, and the gift of an evangelist. Pray for Brother Sumner today and for evangelists everywhere, especially for those whom you know personally. Call them by name. Remember them today.
1958 – The First Under-Sea Crossing of the North Pole.
On August 3, 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus accomplishes the first undersea voyage to the geographic North Pole. The world’s first nuclear submarine, theNautilus dived at Point Barrow, Alaska, and traveled nearly 1,000 miles under the Arctic ice cap to reach the top of the world. It then steamed on to Iceland, pioneering a new and shorter route from the Pacific to the Atlantic and Europe.
The USS Nautilus was constructed under the direction of U.S. Navy Captain Hyman G. Rickover, a brilliant Russian-born engineer who joined the U.S. atomic program in 1946. In 1947, he was put in charge of the navy’s nuclear-propulsion program and began work on an atomic submarine. Regarded as a fanatic by his detractors, Rickover succeeded in developing and delivering the world’s first nuclear submarine years ahead of schedule. In 1952, the Nautilus’ keel was laid by President Harry S. Truman, and on January 21, 1954, first lady Mamie Eisenhower broke a bottle of champagne across its bow as it was launched into the Thames River at Groton, Connecticut. Commissioned on September 30, 1954, it first ran under nuclear power on the morning of January 17, 1955.
Much larger than the diesel-electric submarines that preceded it, the Nautilus stretched 319 feet and displaced 3,180 tons. It could remain submerged for almost unlimited periods because its atomic engine needed no air and only a very small quantity of nuclear fuel. The uranium-powered nuclear reactor produced steam that drove propulsion turbines, allowing the Nautilus to travel underwater at speeds in excess of 20 knots.
In its early years of service, the USS Nautilus broke numerous submarine travel records and on July 23, 1958, departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on “Operation Northwest Passage”–the first crossing of the North Pole by submarine. There were 116 men aboard for this historic voyage, including Commander William R. Anderson, 111 officers and crew, and four civilian scientists. The Nautilus steamed north through the Bering Strait and did not surface until it reached Point Barrow, Alaska, in the Beaufort Sea, though it did send its periscope up once off the Diomedes Islands, between Alaska and Siberia, to check for radar bearings. On August 1, the submarine left the north coast of Alaska and dove under the Arctic ice cap.
The submarine traveled at a depth of about 500 feet, and the ice cap above varied in thickness from 10 to 50 feet, with the midnight sun of the Arctic shining in varying degrees through the blue ice. At 11:15 p.m. EDT on August 3, 1958, Commander Anderson announced to his crew: “For the world, our country, and the Navy–the North Pole.” The Nautilus passed under the geographic North Pole without pausing. The submarine next surfaced in the Greenland Sea between Spitzbergen and Greenland on August 5. Two days later, it ended its historic journey at Iceland. For the command during the historic journey, President Dwight D. Eisenhower decorated Anderson with the Legion of Merit.
After a career spanning 25 years and almost 500,000 miles steamed, the Nautilus was decommissioned on March 3, 1980. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1982, the world’s first nuclear submarine went on exhibit in 1986 as the Historic Ship Nautilusat the Submarine Force Museum in Groton, Connecticut. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nautilus-travels-under-north-pole)
Read the 91st Psalm.
My heart turns today toward the 91st Psalm and the protecting hand of our Father. Especially do I think of Psalm 91:7, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” Psalm 91:11: “For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
Many years ago, when I was in college, there was an Italian student who was reared across the street from Vatican City in Rome, Italy. She told me of the horrors of World War II and how as a little girl in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s she would be coming home from school and hear the sirens alerting them of a bombing attack. She would hide beneath the steps in some place, and as people were dying and debris was flying, she would read these verses and claim them for safety. Oh, the blessed promises that He gives us in His Word, thank God for them.
1735 – The Great Freedom of the Press Trial.
Thank God for this freedom and for the many hours of pleasure brought by the newspapers.
1790 – The Coast Guard was Established.
Pray for the men in the coast guard today. Pray for God’s blessings and leadership to rest upon their lives.
1792 – The Birthday of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Today is the birthday of P. B. Shelley, the English poet. While in Rome we were privileged to see the house where Shelley and Keats lived.
1944 – Anne Frank Captured.
Acting on tip from a Dutch informer, the Nazi Gestapo captures 15-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family in a sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse. The Franks had taken shelter there in 1942 out of fear of deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. They occupied the small space with another Jewish family and a single Jewish man, and were aided by Christian friends, who brought them food and supplies. Anne spent much of her time in the “secret annex” working on her diary. The diary survived the war, overlooked by the Gestapo that discovered the hiding place, but Anne and nearly all of the others perished in the Nazi death camps.
Annelies Marie Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on June 12, 1929. She was the second daughter of Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander, both of Jewish families that had lived in Germany for centuries. With the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in 1933, Otto moved his family to Amsterdam to escape the escalating Nazi persecution of Jews. In Holland, he ran a successful spice and jam business. Anne attended a Montessori school with other middle-class Dutch children, but with the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940 she was forced to transfer to a Jewish school. In 1942, Otto began arranging a hiding place in an annex of his warehouse on the Prinsengracht Canal in Amsterdam.
On her 13th birthday in 1942, Anne began a diary relating her everyday experiences, her relationship with her family and friends, and observations about the increasingly dangerous world around her. Less than a month later, Anne’s older sister, Margot, received a call-up notice to report to a Nazi “work camp.” Fearing deportation to a Nazi concentration camp, the Frank family took shelter in the secret annex the next day. One week later, they were joined by Otto Frank’s business partner and his family. In November, a Jewish dentist—the eighth occupant of the hiding place—joined the group.
For two years, Anne kept a diary about her life in hiding that is marked with poignancy, humor, and insight. The entrance to the secret annex was hidden by a hinged bookcase, and former employees of Otto and other Dutch friends delivered them food and supplies procured at high risk. Anne and the others lived in rooms with blacked-out windows, and never flushed the toilet during the day out of fear that their presence would be detected. In June 1944, Anne’s spirits were raised by the Allied landing at Normandy, and she was hopeful that the long-awaited liberation of Holland would soon begin.
On August 1, 1944, Anne made her last entry in her diary. Three days later, 25 months of seclusion ended with the arrival of the Nazi Gestapo. Anne and the others had been given away by an unknown informer, and they were arrested along with two of the Christians who had helped shelter them. They were sent to a concentration camp in Holland, and in September Anne and most of the others were shipped to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. In the fall of 1944, with the Soviet liberation of Poland underway, Anne was moved with her sister Margot to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Suffering under the deplorable conditions of the camp, the two sisters caught typhus and died in early March 1945. The camp was liberated by the British less than two months later.
Otto Frank was the only one of the 10 to survive the Nazi death camps. After the war, he returned to Amsterdam via Russia, and was reunited with Miep Gies, one of his former employees who had helped shelter him. She handed him Anne’s diary, which she had found undisturbed after the Nazi raid. In 1947, Anne’s diary was published by Otto in its original Dutch as Diary of a Young Girl. An instant best-seller and eventually translated into more than 50 languages, The Diary of Anne Frank has served as a literary testament to the nearly six million Jews, including Anne herself, who were silenced in the Holocaust.
The Frank family’s hideaway at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam opened as a museum in 1960. A new English translation of Anne’s diary in 1995 restored material that had been edited out of the original version, making the work nearly a third longer. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/anne-frank-captured)
Read a Chapter in Proverbs Today.
I am presently enjoying a study in the Book of Proverbs. No book in the Bible does as much to strengthen character as does Proverbs. Pick out one chapter in Proverbs today and read it. List the things that God reminds you of that would improve your Christian life.
1858 – The First Atlantic Cable was Completed.
1898 – R. G. Lee was Baptized.
Just two days ago, I was reading Dr. Lee’s book BREAD FROM BELVIEW OVEN, which describes the blessings of God upon him through the years at the great Belview Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee. To hear Dr. Lee preach is like touring an art gallery, hearing a symphony, or watching a sunset. Thank God for this great man and his leadership for the cause of Christ in our generation. In every sense of the word, he is a pulpiteer, and we do need pulpiteers today. This is a day when many preachers do not enjoy preaching. One preacher said, “Preaching is a necessary evil of the ministry. I will only do as much of it as my profession requires.” Until the preachers enjoy preaching, the people will not be convicted by it.
Hershell Ford has said, “Preaching is pouring back to the people in a flood what they send you in a vapor.” Someone has said, “Preaching is teaching with a tear in the eye.” Another has written a book called, THE EXCITED VOICE. All of these we need today. Thank God for preachers.
1939 – The Death of William Bagby.
William Bagby was the famous Southern Baptist missionary. Going to a Baptist Study Course and studying the life of Bagby is among my earliest memories as a boy. The word “Bagby” and “missions” consequently have been synonymous words to me through the years. It has been several days now since our attention has been drawn to our missionaries. Hence, let us pause to pray for God’s blessings upon missionaries everywhere.
A little boy asked his Sunday School teacher one Sunday, “Teacher, what is a missionary?”
The teacher asked, “Johnny, did you ever tell anyone about Jesus?”
The boy replied, “Oh, yes, at school the other day I told one of my schoolmates how to be saved. He prayed a prayer of forgiveness and asked God to save him. Oh, yes, teacher, I have told many about Jesus.”
With a tear in his eye, the teacher replied, “Johnny, you are a missionary.”
In a real sense, each of us is to be a missionary. Our field may be our home, our neighborhood, our town, our place of business, or our school, but each of us is to be a missionary.
2002 – Divers recover U.S.S. Monitor Turret.
On this day in 2002, the rusty iron gun turret of the U.S.S. Monitor broke from the water and into the daylight for the first time in 140 years. The ironclad warship was raised from the floor of the Atlantic, where it had rested since it went down in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, during the Civil War. Divers had been working for six weeks to bring it to the surface.
Nine months before sinking into its watery grave, the Monitor had been part of a revolution in naval warfare. On March 9, 1862, it dueled to a standstill with the C.S.S. Virginia (originally the C.S.S. Merrimack) in one of the most famous moments in naval history–the first time two ironclads faced each other in a naval engagement. During the battle, the two ships circled one another, jockeying for position as they fired their guns. The cannon balls simply deflected off the iron ships. In the early afternoon, the Virginia pulled back to Norfolk. Neither ship was seriously damaged, but the Monitor effectively ended the short reign of terror that the Confederate ironclad had brought to the Union navy.
Designed by Swedish engineer John Ericsson, the Monitor had an unusually low profile, rising from the water only 18 inches. The flat iron deck had a 20-foot cylindrical turret rising from the middle of the ship; the turret housed two 11-inch Dahlgren guns. The shift had a draft of less than 11 feet so it could operate in the shallow harbors and rivers of the South. It was commissioned on February 25, 1862, and arrived at Chesapeake Bay just in time to engage the Virginia.
After the famous duel, the Monitor provided gun support on the James River for George B. McClellan’s Peninsular Campaign. By December 1862, it was clear the ship was no longer needed in Virginia, so she was sent to Beaufort, North Carolina, to join a fleet being assembled for an attack on Charleston. The Monitor served well in the sheltered waters of Chesapeake Bay, but the heavy, low-slung ship was a poor craft for the open sea. The U.S.S. Rhode Island towed the ironclad around the rough waters of Cape Hatteras. As the Monitor pitched and swayed in the rough seas, the caulking around the gun turret loosened and water began to leak into the hull. More leaks developed as the journey continued. High seas tossed the craft, causing the ship’s flat armor bottom to slap the water. Each roll opened more seams, and by nightfall on December 30, the Monitor was in dire straits.
That evening, the Monitor’s commander, J.P. Bankhead, signaled the Rhode Island that he wished to abandon ship. The wooden side-wheeler pulled as close as safety allowed to the stricken ironclad, and two lifeboats were lowered to retrieve the crew. Many of the sailors were rescued, but some men were terrified to venture onto the deck in such rough seas. The ironclad’s pumps stopped working, and the ship sank before 16 of its crew members could be rescued. The remains of two of these sailors were discovered by divers during the Monitor’s 2002 reemergence.
Many of the ironclad’s artifacts are now on display at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/divers-recover-uss-monitor-turret)
32 A.D. – The Almanac Gives This as the Date of the Transfiguration.
It was on this day that Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a mountain. There He was transfigured. They saw Him in His glorified body. Elijah and Moses came to speak to Him concerning His coming death. Peter made his impetuous statement concerning the building of three tabernacles – one for Elijah, one for Moses, and one for Jesus – and he made the suggestion that they stay on the mountain.
Of course, this was not satisfactory with the Master. The mountain top is a good place to be, but not a good place to stay. It is a necessary place to go, but not the best place to live. There was even at that time a man possessed of devils foaming at the mouth and crying at the foot of the mountain. In the valley there are those waiting for us. We must not stay on the mountain top. Of course, we must go to the mountain top to gain strength to serve in the valley, but the most of our time should be spend helping those in need who live in the valley. We all love our mountain-top experiences, and yet we must come down from them to serve those who wait.
1806 – The Holy Roman Empire Ended.
1809 – The Birthday of Alfred Lord Tennyson.
1945 – The Dropping of the First Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima.
On this day in 1945, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb, over the city of Hiroshima. Approximately 80,000 people are killed as a direct result of the blast, and another 35,000 are injured. At least another 60,000 would be dead by the end of the year from the effects of the fallout.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman, discouraged by the Japanese response to the Potsdam Conference’s demand for unconditional surrender, made the decision to use the atom bomb to end the war in order to prevent what he predicted would be a much greater loss of life were the United States to invade the Japanese mainland. And so on August 5, while a “conventional” bombing of Japan was underway, “Little Boy,” (the nickname for one of two atom bombs available for use against Japan), was loaded onto Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets’ plane on Tinian Island in the Marianas. Tibbets’ B-29, named the Enola Gay after his mother, left the island at 2:45 a.m. on August 6. Five and a half hours later, “Little Boy” was dropped, exploding 1,900 feet over a hospital and unleashing the equivalent of 12,500 tons of TNT. The bomb had several inscriptions scribbled on its shell, one of which read “Greetings to the Emperor from the men of theIndianapolis” (the ship that transported the bomb to the Marianas).
There were 90,000 buildings in Hiroshima before the bomb was dropped; only 28,000 remained after the bombing. Of the city’s 200 doctors before the explosion; only 20 were left alive or capable of working. There were 1,780 nurses before-only 150 remained who were able to tend to the sick and dying.
According to John Hersey’s classic work Hiroshima, the Hiroshima city government had put hundreds of schoolgirls to work clearing fire lanes in the event of incendiary bomb attacks. They were out in the open when the Enola Gay dropped its load.
There were so many spontaneous fires set as a result of the bomb that a crewman of the Enola Gay stopped trying to count them. Another crewman remarked, “It’s pretty terrific. What a relief it worked.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/american-bomber-drops-atomic-bomb-on-hiroshima)
Pray that man will have enough spiritual strength to use properly his mental and scientific accomplishments. Pray for Japan and for those still affected by the dropping of this bomb. Oh, to have peace! Oh, that men could live together in harmony!
Concerning the word “peace,” one day I was in the auditorium of my church reading Isaiah and a commentary on Isaiah. When I came to the ninth chapter where our Lord was called the “Prince of Peace,” I noticed that a commentary said this means “tranquilizer.” In a day of tranquilizing pills, we have our Tranquilizer. I jumped to my feet and shouted, “Praise the Lord!” Someone passed by and rushed in to see what was wrong. Nothing was wrong. We have a Christ, a Prince of Peace, but more than that, a “Tranquilizer” for these troubled days.
588 B.C. – Nebuchadnezzar Burned the Temple and All the Houses in Jerusalem.
II Kings 25:8, 9 and Jeremiah 52:12, 13
Sometime in your leisure time read the story of Nebuchadnezzar. Read how God punished him and actually made him an animal for a season because of his sins. Read how he repented of his sins. This reminds us again, “Your sins will find you out,” “The wages of sin is death,” and “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Numbers 32:23; Romans 6:23; and Ezekiel 18:4)
When I was a boy, I would help plant a garden. I would be given some seed by Mother or by my Aunt Octa to go out and plant in the garden. I would put a seed here and a seed there only to find that I was not dropping the seeds fast enough. In an effort to get all the seeds planted, I recall at least one time that I dropped the rest of the seeds in one place. I covered and hid the seeds realizing that no one could see beneath the soil and that my sin would be hidden. Weeks passed and one day I was called in and asked if I had planted the seed properly. My answer was, “Yes.” I still thought that my sin was hidden. I was taken to the garden, and to my surprise the place where I had planted a handful of seeds had plants growing in bunches, and I had been found out. We may think that our acts are hidden, but they are not. Let us remember to sow righteousness so that we might reap the same.
1789 – The Creation of the War Department.
1825 – The Locomotive was Invented by Stephenson.
1947 – Wood Raft Makes 4,300-Mile Voyage.
On this day in 1947, Kon-Tiki, a balsa wood raft captained by Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl, completes a 4,300-mile, 101-day journey from Peru to Raroia in the Tuamotu Archipelago, near Tahiti. Heyerdahl wanted to prove his theory that prehistoric South Americans could have colonized the Polynesian islands by drifting on ocean currents.
Heyerdahl and his five-person crew set sail from Callao, Peru, on the 40-square-foot Kon-Tiki on April 28, 1947. The Kon-Tiki, named for a mythical white chieftain, was made of indigenous materials and designed to resemble rafts of early South American Indians. While crossing the Pacific, the sailors encountered storms, sharks and whales, before finally washing ashore at Raroia. Heyerdahl, born in Larvik, Norway, on October 6, 1914, believed that Polynesia’s earliest inhabitants had come from South America, a theory that conflicted with popular scholarly opinion that the original settlers arrived from Asia. Even after his successful voyage, anthropologists and historians continued to discredit Heyerdahl’s belief. However, his journey captivated the public and he wrote a book about the experience that became an international bestseller and was translated into 65 languages. Heyerdahl also produced a documentary about the trip that won an Academy Award in 1951.
Heyerdahl made his first expedition to Polynesia in 1937. He and his first wife lived primitively on Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas Islands for a year and studied plant and animal life. The experience led him to believe that humans had first come to the islands aboard primitive vessels drifting on ocean currents from the east.
Following the Kon-Tiki expedition, Heyerdahl made archaeological trips to such places as the Galapagos Islands, Easter Island and Peru and continued to test his theories about how travel across the seas played a major role in the migration patterns of ancient cultures. In 1970, he sailed across the Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados in a reed boat named Ra II (after Ra, the Egyptian sun god) to prove that Egyptians could have connected with pre-Columbian Americans. In 1977, he sailed the Indian Ocean in a primitive reed ship built in Iraq to learn how prehistoric civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and Egypt might have connected.
While Heyerdahl’s work was never embraced by most scholars, he remained a popular public figure and was voted “Norwegian of the Century” in his homeland. He died at age 87 on April 18, 2002, in Italy. The raft from his famous 1947 expedition is housed at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wood-raft-makes-4300-mile-voyage)
1829 – The Running of the First Locomotive.
Our lives have been wonderfully affected by the train. We should thank God for the passenger service, the mail service, the freight service, and other services rendered by this miracle invention. Occasionally, I find it easier to travel by train than by plane. This is not often but on occasion when traveling at night I choose this means of transportation. What a luxury it is to catch a train after a service, in a distant city, sleep in a bed all night on the train, eat breakfast on the diner, and arrive at my destination refreshed and rested the next morning. I would rather live in this generation than any generation in history. What a thrill to live in our day!
1901 – The Birthday of E.O. Lawrence.
1974 – Nixon Resigns.
In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”
Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.
On June 17, 1972, five men, including a salaried security coordinator for President Nixon’s reelection committee, were arrested for breaking into and illegally wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Washington, D.C., Watergate complex. Soon after, two other former White House aides were implicated in the break-in, but the Nixon administration denied any involvement. Later that year, reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of The Washington Post discovered a higher-echelon conspiracy surrounding the incident, and a political scandal of unprecedented magnitude erupted.
In May 1973, the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina, began televised proceedings on the rapidly escalating Watergate affair. One week later, Harvard law professor Archibald Cox was sworn in as special Watergate prosecutor. During the Senate hearings, former White House legal counsel John Dean testified that the Watergate break-in had been approved by former Attorney General John Mitchell with the knowledge of White House advisers John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, and that President Nixon had been aware of the cover-up. Meanwhile, Watergate prosecutor Cox and his staff began to uncover widespread evidence of political espionage by the Nixon reelection committee, illegal wiretapping of thousands of citizens by the administration, and contributions to the Republican Party in return for political favors.
In July, the existence of what were to be called the Watergate tapes–official recordings of White House conversations between Nixon and his staff–was revealed during the Senate hearings. Cox subpoenaed these tapes, and after three months of delay President Nixon agreed to send summaries of the recordings. Cox rejected the summaries, and Nixon fired him. His successor as special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leveled indictments against several high-ranking administration officials, including Mitchell and Dean, who were duly convicted.
Public confidence in the president rapidly waned, and by the end of July 1974 the House Judiciary Committee had adopted three articles of impeachment against President Nixon: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential powers, and hindrance of the impeachment process. On July 30, under coercion from the Supreme Court, Nixon finally released the Watergate tapes. On August 5, transcripts of the recordings were released, including a segment in which the president was heard instructing Haldeman to order the FBI to halt the Watergate investigation. Three days later, Nixon announced his resignation.
Would you like guaranteed success today and every other day? There is a passage of Scripture that I have claimed again and again and again in my life. It is the first Psalm. Read the chapter with me: “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Notice the words, “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (verse 3) This is God’s promise. If we will not walk in counsel of the ungodly, nor sit in the seat of the scornful, nor stand in the way of sinners, but will make the Bible our delight, we have a guaranteed promise from God that we shall prosper. How many times during a building program, in a Sunday school drive, or some other phase of the work I have placed my hands on this verse and claimed its promise. You claim it today.
1788 – The Birthday of Adoniram Judson, the Famous Missionary.
Pray for missionaries today. Pray for those supported by your church. Write a letter to some missionary. Send a love gift and assure him of your prayers and interest.
Judson’s father was a preacher and his mother was a godly woman. If God has given you such a heritage, and if your parents are still living, thank them for it.
1831 – The First Train was Drawn by Stearn.
1945 – Nagasaki was Hit by the Atomic Bomb.
1974 – Unusual Succession Makes Ford President.
In accordance with his statement of resignation the previous evening, Richard M. Nixon officially ends his term as the 37th president of the United States at noon. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president to resign from office.
Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”
Ford, the first president who came to the office through appointment rather than election, had replaced Spiro Agnew as vice president only eight months before. In a political scandal independent of the Nixon administration’s wrongdoings in the Watergate affair, Agnew had been forced to resign in disgrace after he was charged with income tax evasion and political corruption. In September 1974, Ford pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/unusual-succession-makes-ford-president)
A Lesson from a Stop Light.
I am dictating this portion sitting at a stop light waiting for it to turn green. What a sermon is found in the stop light. We should go only when God gives us the green light. If we are not told by the Bible or led by the Holy Spirit to do something, we should certainly proceed with caution as we take off. If God puts up the red light, let us not move. Let us not do that which He says stop doing. Do only that which He leads us to do. Live today by God’s stop light. Go where He says to go. Stop what He says to stop. Be cautious where He says to be cautious. In this kind of surrendered life, there is joy and victory.
594 B.C. – The Elders of Israel Came to Ezekiel and God Rebuked Them.
1821 – Missouri was Admitted to the Union.
Pray for God’s people in Missouri and for the work of the Gospel there.
1846 – Smithsonian Institution Created.
After a decade of debate about how best to spend a bequest left to America from an obscure English scientist, President James K. Polk signs the Smithsonian Institution Act into law.
In 1829, James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson’s curious bequest to a country that he had never visited aroused significant attention on both sides of the Atlantic.
Smithson had been a fellow of the venerable Royal Society of London from the age of 22, publishing numerous scientific papers on mineral composition, geology, and chemistry. In 1802, he overturned popular scientific opinion by proving that zinc carbonates were true carbonate minerals, and one type of zinc carbonate was later named smithsonite in his honor.
Six years after his death, his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, indeed died without children, and on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson’s gift. President Andrew Jackson sent diplomat Richard Rush to England to negotiate for transfer of the funds, and two years later Rush set sail for home with 11 boxes containing a total of 104,960 gold sovereigns, 8 shillings, and 7 pence, as well as Smithson’s mineral collection, library, scientific notes, and personal effects. After the gold was melted down, it amounted to a fortune worth well over $500,000. After considering a series of recommendations, including the creation of a national university, a public library, or an astronomical observatory, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history. On August 10, 1846, the act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.
Today, the Smithsonian is composed of 19 museums and galleries including the recently announced National Museum of African American History and Culture, nine research facilities throughout the United States and the world, and the national zoo. Besides the original Smithsonian Institution Building, popularly known as the “Castle,” visitors to Washington, D.C., tour the National Museum of Natural History, which houses the natural science collections, the National Zoological Park, and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Museum of American History houses the original Star-Spangled Banner and other artifacts of U.S. history. The National Air and Space Museum has the distinction of being the most visited museum in the world, exhibiting such marvels of aviation and space history as the Wright brothers’ plane and Freedom 7, the space capsule that took the first American into space. John Smithson, the Smithsonian Institution’s great benefactor, is interred in a tomb in the Smithsonian Building. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/smithsonian-institution-created)
1874 – The Birthday of Herbert Hoover.
Pray for your President today.
1883 – Robert Moffat Died.
Robert Moffat was the only convert in a small rural church one year. The church thought that the year had been a failure, but wee Bobby Moffat, as they called him, became a great missionary and made this perhaps the greatest year in the history of the church. Pray for missionaries everywhere today.
When we think of wee Bobby Moffat, we think that we should not despise little things. God used a little lad to feed the five thousand. He used a little lunch brought by the lad. He used a few water pots to feed the guests at the marriage in Cana Galilee. He used a rod to smite the Red Sea. He used an ox goad to slay the Philistines. He used a little David to kill Goliath. He used a little nation to take over the land of Canaan. Never despise little things. God can use them.
1891 – The First Electric Street Railway was Operated.
Some of my fondest memories of childhood are riding the “street car” and the “interurban.” Let us thank God for these and other modes of transportation.
1778 – Augustus Toplady Died.
Toplady was a hymnist and churchman of the Church of England. He is best known for the immortal words of one of the world’s most beloved hymns, “Rock of Ages.” Your day will be brighter if you will sing it.
ROCK OF AGES
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Could my tears forever flow,
Could my zeal no languor know,
These for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone;
In my hand no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When my eyes shall close in death,
When I rise to worlds unknown,
And behold Thee on Thy throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
1872 – Lowell Mason Died at Orange, New Jersey.
Mason was an American music composer and educator who wrote some of our most beautiful hymns and Gospel songs. Among them, “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” “Nearer My God to Thee,” “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “Work for the Night is Coming,” “From Greenland’s Icy Mountains,” etc. The song he wrote that I love the best is, “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” Read its wonderful words and thank God for its message.
THERE IS A FOUNTAIN
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave:
Lies silent in the grave,
Lies silent in the grave;
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
1883 – Robert Ingersol Died at Dresden, New York.
Ingersol was the great atheist who gave his life to refuting the Word of God. He, supposedly, once said, “I can explain away anybody’s argument about the Bible except the life of my mother.”
When a sinner walked the aisle for salvation one time, the pastor asked, “What part of my preaching converted you?” The answer was, “Twern’t your preaching, Pastor, it was Grandma’s practicing.”
1934 – Federal Prisoners Land on Alcatraz.
A group of federal prisoners classified as “most dangerous” arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.
Alcatraz was an uninhabited seabird haven when it was explored by Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1775. He named it Isla de los Alcatraces, or “Island of the Pelicans.” Fortified by the Spanish, Alcatraz was sold to the United States in 1849. In 1854, it had the distinction of housing the first lighthouse on the coast of California. Beginning in 1859, a U.S. Army detachment was garrisoned there, and from 1868 Alcatraz was used to house military criminals. In addition to recalcitrant U.S. soldiers, prisoners included rebellious Indian scouts, American soldiers fighting in the Philippines who had deserted to the Filipino cause, and Chinese civilians who resisted the U.S. Army during the Boxer Rebellion. In 1907, Alcatraz was designated the Pacific Branch of the United States Military Prison.
In 1934, Alcatraz was fortified into a high-security federal penitentiary designed to hold the most dangerous prisoners in the U.S. penal system, especially those with a penchant for escape attempts. The first shipment of civilian prisoners arrived on August 11, 1934. Later that month, more shiploads arrived, featuring, among other convicts, infamous mobster Al Capone. In September, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, another luminary of organized crime, landed on Alcatraz.
In the 1940s, a famous Alcatraz prisoner was Richard Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz.” A convicted murderer, Stroud wrote an important study on birds while being held in solitary confinement in Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. Regarded as extremely dangerous because of his 1916 murder of a guard at Leavenworth, he was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942. Stroud was not allowed to continue his avian research at Alcatraz.
Although some three dozen attempted, no prisoner was known to have successfully escaped “The Rock.” However, the bodies of several escapees believed drowned in the treacherous waters of San Francisco Bay were never found. The story of the 1962 escape of three of these men, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin, inspired the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. Another prisoner, John Giles, caught a boat ride to the shore in 1945 dressed in an army uniform he had stolen piece by piece, but he was questioned by a suspicious officer after disembarking and sent back to Alcatraz. Only one man, John Paul Scott, was recorded to have reached the mainland by swimming, but he came ashore exhausted and hypothermic at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Police found him lying unconscious and in a state of shock.
In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered Alcatraz closed, citing the high expense of its maintenance. In its 29-year run, Alcatraz housed more than 1,500 convicts. In March 1964 a group of Sioux Indians briefly occupied the island, citing an 1868 treaty with the Sioux allowing Indians to claim any “unoccupied government land.” In November 1969, a group of nearly 100 Indian students and activists began a more prolonged occupation of the island, remaining there until they were forced off by federal marshals in June 1971.
In 1972, Alcatraz was opened to the public as part of the newly created Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is maintained by the National Park Service. More than one million tourists visit Alcatraz Island and the former prison annually. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/federal-prisoners-land-on-alcatraz)
1877 – Thomas A. Edison Patented the Phonograph.
Probably no man of the recent past has had as much influence in our way of life as has Thomas A. Edison. He gave to us such things as electric lights, phonographs, and other things that we take for granted. Thank God today for the phonograph. Play some Christian records on yours today. Dedicate your phonograph to Jesus Christ.
Few things tell the character of a person as much as the music to which he listens. Music is a reflection of the condition of the times and the heart. There are certain songs that are written in times of war, times of depression, times of peace, times of plenty, etc. The songs of a nation reflect the circumstances of the nation. The songs of an individual reflect his condition before God. The Bible has a great deal to say about music. Moses wrote a song upon the crossing of the Red Sea. Deborah and Barak sang a song at the defeat of Sisera. Elizabeth sang when she heard of John the Baptist’s coming. The Psalmist said the Lord would put a new song in his mouth. Revelation speaks concerning the new song that we will sing in Heaven. Let us dedicate our music and our voices to the Lord Jesus Christ.
1898 – Hawaii was Annexed.
Once again we turn our attention toward this beautiful part of the world and pray for God to bless the dear ones who serve Him there.
The Sin of Ingratitude.
Many years ago a poll was taken as to the sin most often committed in America. Though no one could quite be perfectly accurate in such a poll, the results revealed that the sin of ingratitude was the sin most often committed. How ungrateful we are. How we forget to be thankful to God for His blessings and His goodness. There were ten that were cleansed of leprosy but only one returned. Ask God to let you be that one today. Let us praise Him for His goodness and thank Him for His provisions and love.
1521 – Cortez Took Mexico.
1908 – Ira Sankey Died.
Ira Sankey was Moody’s song leader. He was called “the golden voice.” It is said that people often gathered beneath his window just to hear him practice. One of his favorite songs is one that we should sing today.
BENEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS
Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And the burden of the day.
Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears
Two wonders I confess –
The wonders of His glorious love
And my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.
1910 – Florence Nightingale Died.
She said, “Thou knowest in all of these horrible years I have been supported by the belief that I was working with Thee, O God.” Let us be laborers together with Christ also.
1927 – The Birthday of Fidel Castro.
1961 – Berlin is Divided.
Shortly after midnight on this day in 1961, East German soldiers begin laying down barbed wire and bricks as a barrier between Soviet-controlled East Berlin and the democratic western section of the city.
After World War II, defeated Germany was divided into Soviet, American, British and French zones of occupation. The city of Berlin, though technically part of the Soviet zone, was also split, with the Soviets taking the eastern part of the city. After a massive Allied airlift in June 1948 foiled a Soviet attempt to blockade West Berlin, the eastern section was drawn even more tightly into the Soviet fold. Over the next 12 years, cut off from its western counterpart and basically reduced to a Soviet satellite, East Germany saw between 2.5 million and 3 million of its citizens head to West Germany in search of better opportunities. By 1961, some 1,000 East Germans–including many skilled laborers, professionals and intellectuals–were leaving every day.
In August, Walter Ulbricht, the Communist leader of East Germany, got the go-ahead from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to begin the sealing off of all access between East and West Berlin. Soldiers began the work over the night of August 12-13, laying more than 100 miles of barbed wire slightly inside the East Berlin border. The wire was soon replaced by a six-foot-high, 96-mile-long wall of concrete blocks, complete with guard towers, machine gun posts and searchlights. East German officers known as Volkspolizei (“Volpos”) patrolled the Berlin Wall day and night.
Many Berlin residents on that first morning found themselves suddenly cut off from friends or family members in the other half of the city. Led by their mayor, Willi Brandt, West Berliners demonstrated against the wall, as Brandt criticized Western democracies, particularly the United States, for failing to take a stand against it. President John F. Kennedy had earlier said publicly that the United States could only really help West Berliners and West Germans, and that any kind of action on behalf of East Germans would only result in failure.
The Berlin Wall was one of the most powerful and iconic symbols of the Cold War. In June 1963, Kennedy gave his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”) speech in front of the Wall, celebrating the city as a symbol of freedom and democracy in its resistance to tyranny and oppression. The height of the Wall was raised to 10 feet in 1970 in an effort to stop escape attempts, which at that time came almost daily. From 1961 to 1989, a total of 5,000 East Germans escaped; many more tried and failed. High profile shootings of some would-be defectors only intensified the Western world’s hatred of the Wall.
Finally, in the late 1980s, East Germany, fueled by the decline of the Soviet Union, began to implement a number of liberal reforms. On November 9, 1989, masses of East and West Germans alike gathered at the Berlin Wall and began to climb over and dismantle it. As this symbol of Cold War repression was destroyed, East and West Germany became one nation again, signing a formal treaty of unification on October 3, 1990. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/berlin-is-divided)
1875 – Moody and Sankey Returned From the Great England Revival.
This was called the greatest revival since Pentecost. Oh, how good it would be to have it done again, to feel the breath of Heaven, and to see God’s power once again.
1935 – The Social Security Act was Signed.
One wonders if the increase in Social Security and government benefits does not depict a losing of our faith in Christ to supply our needs. Does not the Bible say, “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) He is sufficient. Let us trust Him for our provisions. Remember His promise, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness: and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Could it be that dependence upon the flesh is needed because we are not seeking first the kingdom of God? Trust Him in simple childlike faith today.
1941 – The Date of the Atlantic Charter.
1945 -Japan Surrendered.
Those of us who are old enough to remember this day will remember it as one of the great days in the history of the world. I was on a rifle range during maneuvers when the message came. There was dancing in the streets. There was rejoicing and shouting. World War II was over. The war to end all wars had ended, and yet, we find our men fighting and dying today on foreign battlefields. Pray for peace.
1962 – The Largest Cash Robbery In History Was Committed.
The U.S. mail truck was robbed of $1,551,277.00 near Boston, Massachusetts.
2003 – Blackout Hits Northeast United States.
On this day in 2003, a major outage knocked out power across the eastern United States and parts of Canada. Beginning at 4:10 p.m. ET, 21 power plants shut down in just three minutes. Fifty million people were affected, including residents of New York, Cleveland and Detroit, as well as Toronto and Ottawa, Canada. Although power companies were able to resume some service in as little as two hours, power remained off in other places for more than a day. The outage stopped trains and elevators, and disrupted everything from cellular telephone service to operations at hospitals to traffic at airports. In New York City, it took more than two hours for passengers to be evacuated from stalled subway trains. Small business owners were affected when they lost expensive refrigerated stock. The loss of use of electric water pumps interrupted water service in many areas. There were even some reports of people being stranded mid-ride on amusement park roller coasters. At the New York Stock Exchange and bond market, though, trading was able to continue thanks to backup generators.
Authorities soon calmed the fears of jittery Americans that terrorists may have been responsible for the blackout, but they were initially unable to determine the cause of the massive outage. American and Canadian representatives pointed figures at each other, while politicians took the opportunity to point out major flaws in the region’s outdated power grid. Finally, an investigation by a joint U.S.-Canada task force traced the problem back to an Ohio company, FirstEnergy Corporation. When the company’s EastLake plant shut down unexpectedly after overgrown trees came into contact with a power line, it triggered a series of problems that led to a chain reaction of outages. FirstEnergy was criticized for poor line maintenance, and more importantly, for failing to notice and address the problem in a timely manner–before it affected other areas.
Despite concerns, there were very few reports of looting or other blackout-inspired crime. In New York City, the police department, out in full force, actually recorded about 100 fewer arrests than average. In some places, citizens even took it upon themselves to mitigate the effects of the outage, by assisting elderly neighbors or helping to direct traffic in the absence of working traffic lights.
In New York City alone, the estimated cost of the blackout was more than $500 million. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/blackout-hits-northeast-united-states)
1769 – Napoleon Bonaparte was Born.
1771 – The Birthday of Sir Walter Scott.
Sir Walter Scott lay dying. They asked him if they could grant him any requests. He said, “Bring me the Book.”
When someone asked him what book he had in mind, he answered, “There really is only one Book.”
There is only one Book inspired by God, only one Book that is infallible, only one Book that is the final authority, only one Book that is the source of all other good books, and only one Book that is the rule by which all other books may be based.
Last night in our family devotions we learned another verse in the Bible. This one was Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Oh, we ought to know, love, read, memorize, and meditate upon the Bible.
1914 – The Panama Canal was Opened.
1935 – Will Rogers was Killed in an Air Crash in Alaska.
Will Rogers, in my opinion, was one of the great men in our history. It would do one well to read his life and writings. Especially would this be true for young people.
1859 – The Cornerstone was Laid on Spurgeon’s Tabernacle in London.
This tabernacle seated 5,000 people. They placed a Bible and a hymn in the foundation. Whether a Bible is placed in the concrete or not, a Bible certainly needs to be the foundation of our churches. I could have wept as I stood in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle not long ago and realized how far they have slipped. Oh, I long for a Spurgeon today and for great churches that win souls by the hundreds today.
1875 – Charles G. Finney Died.
Here was one of the most powerful men that ever stood behind the pulpit. He died on a Sunday looking at the lights of the city. Once in Boston in one of Mr. Finney’s meetings there were 50,000 conversions in one week. Pray for evangelists today.
1896 – Gold was Discovered in Klondike.
While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.
Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim–Carmack’s brother-in-law–actually made the discovery.
Regardless of who spotted the gold first, the three men soon found that the rock near the creek bed was thick with gold deposits. They staked their claim the following day. News of the gold strike spread fast across Canada and the United States, and over the next two years, as many as 50,000 would-be miners arrived in the region. Rabbit Creek was renamed Bonanza, and even more gold was discovered in another Klondike tributary, dubbed Eldorado.
“Klondike Fever” reached its height in the United States in mid-July 1897 when two steamships arrived from the Yukon in San Francisco and Seattle, bringing a total of more than two tons of gold. Thousands of eager young men bought elaborate “Yukon outfits” (kits assembled by clever marketers containing food, clothing, tools and other necessary equipment) and set out on their way north. Few of these would find what they were looking for, as most of the land in the region had already been claimed. One of the unsuccessful gold-seekers was 21-year-old Jack London, whose short stories based on his Klondike experience became his first book, The Son of the Wolf (1900).
For his part, Carmack became rich off his discovery, leaving the Yukon with $1 million worth of gold. Many individual gold miners in the Klondike eventually sold their stakes to mining companies, who had the resources and machinery to access more gold. Large-scale gold mining in the Yukon Territory didn’t end until 1966, and by that time the region had yielded some $250 million in gold. Today, some 200 small gold mines still operate in the region. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/gold-discovered-in-the-yukon)
1761- William Carey was Born.
It was William Carey who was called the “prophet to India.” He was the one who said, “I make shoes for expenses and serve God for a living.” Perhaps he was more interested in making a life than a living. This should be the case with each of us.
1786 – The Birthday of David Crocket, Who was Born in Hawkins County, Tennessee.
1807 – Robert Fulton’s “Clermont” Went From New York to Albany and Back by Steam in 62 Hours.
This was the beginning of successful steam navigation. Thank God today for this invention which has provided many people and missionaries an opportunity to travel.
1875 – Some Writers Give This as the Date of the Death of Charles G. Finney Instead of August 16.
It is not important as to which day he died; it is important as to where he went and how he died. The day of his death he took a walk, and as he walked he sang, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.”
JESUS, LOVER OF MY SOUL
Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide,
Till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last.
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah, leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy name,
I am all unrighteousness;
Vile and full of sin I am,
Thou art full of truth and grace.
Plenteous grace with Thee is found,
Grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound;
Make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art,
Freely let me take of thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart,
Rise to all eternity.
Sing it now and rejoice in the salvation we have.
1587 – Virginia Dare was Born.
Virginia Dare was supposedly the first child born in the United States.
1688 – John Bunyan Preached His Last Sermon.
It was preached in London, England, at the hour of 7:00 a.m. The text was John 1:33, “And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the Same said unto me, Upon Whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.”
John Bunyan, who wrote THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS on milk bottle stoppers delivered to him in prison, said, “If I were released from prison today, I would preach the Gospel tomorrow.”
1856 – Charles Gabriel was Born.
1920 – Woman Suffrage was Adopted.
It went into effect August 26.
1927 – The Day of the Conversion of Theodore Epp.
Theodore Epp is the founder of the “Back to the Bible” broadcast. Someone has said that he speaks to more people every day than any other living man. This may or may not be true but we can thank God for him and his radio ministry. Pray for radio preachers everywhere and for God’s blessings upon these faithful men who hold forth the banner of the Cross.
1991 – Soviet Hard-Liners Launch Coup against Gorbachev.
On this day in 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest during a coup by high-ranking members of his own government, military and police forces.
Since becoming secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 and president of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1988, Gorbachev had pursued comprehensive reforms of the Soviet system. Combining perestroika (“restructuring”) of the economy–including a greater emphasis on free-market policies–and glasnost (“openness”) in diplomacy, he greatly improved Soviet relations with Western democracies, particularly the United States. Meanwhile, though, within the USSR, Gorbachev faced powerful critics, including conservative, hard-line politicians and military officials who thought he was driving the Soviet Union toward its downfall and making it a second-rate power. On the other side were even more radical reformers–particularly Boris Yeltsin, president of the most powerful socialist republic, Russia–who complained that Gorbachev was just not working fast enough.
The August 1991 coup was carried out by the hard-line elements within Gorbachev’s own administration, as well as the heads of the Soviet army and the KGB, or secret police. Detained at his vacation villa in the Crimea, he was placed under house arrest and pressured to give his resignation, which he refused to do. Claiming Gorbachev was ill, the coup leaders, headed by former vice president Gennady Yanayev, declared a state of emergency and attempted to take control of the government.
Yeltsin and his backers from the Russian parliament then stepped in, calling on the Russian people to strike and protest the coup. When soldiers tried to arrest Yeltsin, they found the way to the parliamentary building blocked by armed and unarmed civilians. Yeltsin himself climbed aboard a tank and spoke through a megaphone, urging the troops not to turn against the people and condemning the coup as a “new reign of terror.” The soldiers backed off, some of them choosing to join the resistance. After thousands took the streets to demonstrate, the coup collapsed after only three days.
Gorbachev was released and flown to Moscow, but his regime had been dealt a deadly blow. Over the next few months, he dissolved the Communist Party, granted independence to the Baltic states, and proposed a looser, more economics-based federation among the remaining republics. In December 1991, Gorbachev resigned. Yeltsin capitalized on his defeat of the coup, emerging from the rubble of the former Soviet Union as the most powerful figure in Moscow and the leader of the newly formed Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviet-hard-liners-launch-coup-against-gorbachev)
1688 – Some Give This as the Date of the Death of John Bunyan.
John Bunyan is author of the second best seller of the world, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS. We know him best for this; however, he was one of the greatest preachers of his time. Someone said that with one day’s notice he would fill any auditorium in his country. God give us preachers! A preacher should be first and foremost a preacher. He may be an author, but he should be first a preacher. He may be a pastor, but he should be first a preacher. He may be a radio speaker, but he should be first a preacher. He may be a theologian, but he should be first a preacher. God give us some preachers.
Pray for your pastor today. The hardest form of public speaking is preaching. A preacher must speak simply enough so that a child can understand and yet profoundly enough so the college graduate can be challenged. He must speak with enough zeal to keep the attention of the youth and with enough tenderness to give strength to the aged. Pray for your preacher today. Pray for him as he walks in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday.
1843 – C. I. Scofield was Born.
1870 – This is the Birthday of Bernard Baruch.
1871 – The Birthday of Orville Wright.
He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and, of course, helped to give us the airplane.
1909 – First Race is Held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
On this day in 1909, the first race is held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, now the home of the world’s most famous motor racing competition, the Indianapolis 500.
Built on 328 acres of farmland five miles northwest of Indianapolis, Indiana, the speedway was started by local businessmen as a testing facility for Indiana’s growing automobile industry. The idea was that occasional races at the track would pit cars from different manufacturers against each other. After seeing what these cars could do, spectators would presumably head down to the showroom of their choice to get a closer look.
The rectangular two-and-a-half-mile track linked four turns, each exactly 440 yards from start to finish, by two long and two short straight sections. In that first five-mile race on August 19, 1909, 12,000 spectators watched Austrian engineer Louis Schwitzer win with an average speed of 57.4 miles per hour. The track’s surface of crushed rock and tar proved a disaster, breaking up in a number of places and causing the deaths of two drivers, two mechanics and two spectators.
The surface was soon replaced with 3.2 million paving bricks, laid in a bed of sand and fixed with mortar. Dubbed “The Brickyard,” the speedway reopened in December 1909. In 1911, low attendance led the track’s owners to make a crucial decision: Instead of shorter races, they resolved to focus on a single, longer event each year, for a much larger prize. That May 30 marked the debut of the Indy 500–a grueling 500-mile race that was an immediate hit with audiences and drew press attention from all over the country. Driver Ray Haroun won the purse of $14,250, with an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.
Since 1911, the Indianapolis 500 has been held every year, with the exception of 1917-18 and 1942-45, when the United States was involved in the two world wars. With an average crowd of 400,000, the Indy 500 is the best-attended event in U.S. sports. In 1936, asphalt was used for the first time to cover the rougher parts of the track, and by 1941 most of the track was paved. The last of the speedway’s original bricks were covered in 1961, except for a three-foot line of bricks left exposed at the start-finish line as a nostalgic reminder of the track’s history. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-race-is-held-at-the-indianapolis-motor-speedway)
National Aviation Day.
Because Orville Wright’s birthday is today, it is also national aviation day. Once again, we can thank God for the miracle of the airplane.
1741- Alaska was Discovered.
Pray for our Christian friends and the work of Christ in this part of our world.
1833 – The Birthday of Benjamin Harrison.
Benjamin Harrison, of course, was the twenty-third president of the United States. Pray for our President today. Last night I read an article about our President and the decisions he has to make, the questions he has to answer, and the many problems he faces. All of us will not agree with our President, but we will all agree that his job is profound and that it affects the lives of all of us. Pray for our President today.
1866 – The Civil War Ended.
1911 – First Around-the-World Telegram Sent, 66 Years Before Voyager II Launch.
On this day in 1911, a dispatcher in the New York Times office sends the first telegram around the world via commercial service. Exactly 66 years later, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sends a different kind of message–a phonograph record containing information about Earth for extraterrestrial beings–shooting into space aboard the unmanned spacecraft Voyager II.
The Times decided to send its 1911 telegram in order to determine how fast a commercial message could be sent around the world by telegraph cable. The message, reading simply “This message sent around the world,” left the dispatch room on the 17th floor of the Times building in New York at 7 p.m. on August 20. After it traveled more than 28,000 miles, being relayed by 16 different operators, through San Francisco, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Saigon, Singapore, Bombay, Malta, Lisbon and the Azores–among other locations–the reply was received by the same operator 16.5 minutes later. It was the fastest time achieved by a commercial cablegram since the opening of the Pacific cable in 1900 by the Commercial Cable Company.
On August 20, 1977, a NASA rocket launched Voyager II, an unmanned 1,820-pound spacecraft, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was the first of two such crafts to be launched that year on a “Grand Tour” of the outer planets, organized to coincide with a rare alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Aboard Voyager II was a 12-inch copper phonograph record called “Sounds of Earth.” Intended as a kind of introductory time capsule, the record included greetings in 60 languages and scientific information about Earth and the human race, along with classical, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll music, nature sounds like thunder and surf, and recorded messages from President Jimmy Carter and other world leaders.
The brainchild of astronomer Carl Sagan, the record was sent with Voyager II and its twin craft, Voyager I–launched just two weeks later–in the faint hope that it might one day be discovered by extraterrestrial creatures. The record was sealed in an aluminum jacket that would keep it intact for 1 billion years, along with instructions on how to play the record, with a cartridge and needle provided.
More importantly, the two Voyager crafts were designed to explore the outer solar system and send information and photographs of the distant planets to Earth. Over the next 12 years, the mission proved a smashing success. After both crafts flew by Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager I went flying off towards the solar system’s edge while Voyager II visited Uranus, Neptune and finally Pluto in 1990 before sailing off to join its twin in the outer solar system.
Thanks to the Voyager program, NASA scientists gained a wealth of information about the outer planets, including close-up photographs of Saturn’s seven rings; evidence of active geysers and volcanoes exploding on some of the four planets’ 22 moons; winds of more than 1,500 mph on Neptune; and measurements of the magnetic fields on Uranus and Neptune. The two crafts are expected to continue sending data until 2020, or until their plutonium-based power sources run out. After that, they will continue to sail on through the galaxy, barring some unexpected collision. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-around-the-world-telegram-sent-66-years-before-voyager-ii-launch)
I am dictating this page as I sit in a car-wash place. At least a dozen men are working on my car. The harmony is something to behold. They are working together. Working together expedites matters. I am wondering how much the church could do and God’s people could do if the born-again ones would truly work together.
Just last night I read about a little girl who was lost in the mountains. It reminded me of another story of a little girl who was lost. A search party hunted for her by the hour to no avail. Finally, someone suggested that they join hands and form a line across the town and search for the little girl. It was in this way that they found her. When she was rescued, someone told her the story. The little girl, weeping for joy, said, “When you joined hands, you found me.” Let us join hands in seeking the lost.
1858 – The Date of the Famous Lincoln-Douglas Debate.
1860 – The First Meeting in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle.
As I entered Spurgeon’s Tabernacle, I was impressed upon seeing a large bust of Spurgeon in the vestibule. My heart was blessed to know that on this very location Spurgeon had preached his great sermons. After talking to one of the staff members and finding the Sunday school ayeraged around a hundred and just a handful of people gathered for the preaching each Sunday, I praised God that the work of a preacher is not a building or not even a church, but that our work is building lives. Here is a motto by which I have tried to live through the years: “I will not use my people to build my work, but I will use my work to build my people.”
Truly, the work of a preacher or a church is not in its building program or in its physical plant; rather it is in the lives of people influenced by the ministry of the church. Spurgeon’s tabernacle may be dying, but Spurgeon will live forever through his writings, his converts, and their converts, and their converts; Spurgeon will not die.
Yes, the old passes away. The great churches of yesterday oftentimes live only in memories. There must be new Spurgeon’s Tabernacles, new Moody Memorial churches, new A. B. Simpson Tabernacles. Though you may not write a finished chapter to all of these places, nevertheless, there must be new Spurgeons and new Metropolitan Tabernacles and new Billy Sundays and new Moodys. God help us to have them.
1930 – The Birthday of Princess Margaret.
1959 – Hawaii Became the 50th State.
The modern United States receives its crowning star when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star rows. The new flag became official July 4, 1960.
The first known settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were Polynesian voyagers who arrived sometime in the eighth century. In the early 18th century, American traders came to Hawaii to exploit the islands’ sandalwood, which was much valued in China at the time. In the 1830s, the sugar industry was introduced to Hawaii and by the mid 19th century had become well established. American missionaries and planters brought about great changes in Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. In 1840, a constitutional monarchy was established, stripping the Hawaiian monarch of much of his authority.
In 1893, a group of American expatriates and sugar planters supported by a division of U.S. Marines deposed Queen Liliuokalani, the last reigning monarch of Hawaii. One year later, the Republic of Hawaii was established as a U.S. protectorate with Hawaiian-born Sanford B. Dole as president. Many in Congress opposed the formal annexation of Hawaii, and it was not until 1898, following the use of the naval base at Pearl Harbor during the Spanish-American War, that Hawaii’s strategic importance became evident and formal annexation was approved. Two years later, Hawaii was organized into a formal U.S. territory. During World War II, Hawaii became firmly ensconced in the American national identity following the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
In March 1959, the U.S. government approved statehood for Hawaii, and in June the Hawaiian people voted by a wide majority to accept admittance into the United States. Two months later, Hawaii officially became the 50th state. – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hawaii-becomes-50th-state
Pray for God’s people in Hawaii. Pray for the mIssIonaries there. Pray for the hand and the power of God to rest upon them.
Let Us Not Be Offended Today.
I have been meditating recently on Psalm 119:165, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” I am sure that most of us are too easily offended. We should be careful today and every day not to wear our feelings on our sleeves and not to be sensitive and susceptible to hurt feelings. May God help us to love His law and in nothing be offended.
1792 – Charles G. Finney was Born.
We have spoken about Finney several times already, but certainly a ministry such as his demands oft recognition. Finney would walk down the street and people would fall under conviction. His presence would change a town’s atmosphere almost immediately.
1918 – The Birthday of Durwood Williams.
Durwood Williams is a pastor in the South. My last contact with Brother Williams was when he was pastoring in Atlanta, Georgia.
So again today we turn to think about our pastors. Pray for yours today. Express your love and appreciation to him. For a number of years, now, I have been, in some sense, a pastor’s pastor. Almost everyday at least one or more calls, letters, or conferences are brought to my desk from pastors who have problems and who need a pastor. Remember your pastor is the only person in your church that has no pastor. Pray for him and for godly pastors everywhere.
1950 – Althea Gibson Becomes First African-American on U.S. Tennis Tour.
On this day in 1950, officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) accept Althea Gibson into their annual championship at Forest Hills, New York, making her the first African-American player to compete in a U.S. national tennis competition.
Growing up in Harlem, the young Gibson was a natural athlete. She started playing tennis at the age of 14 and the very next year won her first tournament, the New York State girls’ championship, sponsored by the American Tennis Association (ATA), which was organized in 1916 by black players as an alternative to the exclusively white USLTA. After prominent doctors and tennis enthusiasts Hubert Eaton and R. Walter Johnson took Gibson under their wing, she won her first of what would be 10 straight ATA championships in 1947.
In 1949, Gibson attempted to gain entry into the USLTA’s National Grass Court Championships at Forest Hills, the precursor of the U.S. Open. When the USLTA failed to invite her to any qualifying tournaments, Alice Marble–a four-time winner at Forest Hills–wrote a letter on Gibson’s behalf to the editor of American Lawn Tennis magazine. Marble criticized the “bigotry” of her fellow USLTA members, suggesting that if Gibson posed a challenge to current tour players, “it’s only fair that they meet this challenge on the courts.” Gibson was subsequently invited to participate in a New Jersey qualifying event, where she earned a berth at Forest Hills.
On August 28, 1950, Gibson beat Barbara Knapp 6-2, 6-2 in her first USLTA tournament match. She lost a tight match in the second round to Louise Brough, three-time defending Wimbledon champion. Gibson struggled over her first several years on tour but finally won her first major victory in 1956, at the French Open in Paris. She came into her own the following year, winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open at the relatively advanced age of 30.
Gibson repeated at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open the next year but soon decided to retire from the amateur ranks and go pro. At the time, the pro tennis league was poorly developed, and Gibson at one point went on tour with the Harlem Globetrotters, playing tennis during halftime of their basketball games. In the early 1960s, Gibson became the first black player to compete on the women’s golf tour, though she never won a tournament. She was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.
Though she once brushed off comparisons to Jackie Robinson, the trailblazing black baseball player, Gibson has been credited with paving the way for African-American tennis champions such as Arthur Ashe and, more recently, Venus and Serena Williams. After a long illness, she died in 2003 at the age of 76. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/althea-gibson-becomes-first-african-american-on-us-tennis-tour)
1956 – General Eisenhower was Nominated for the Presidency.
Thank God for the memory of this great leader. Then pray for the President, and for the office of the presidency. Pray that God will lead in the selection of presidents in the future. Whisper a prayer of thanksgiving for General Eisenhower and his life and work.
1819 – Commander Perry Died.
1902 – Fannie Farmer Opens Cooking School.
On this day in 1902, pioneering cookbook author Fannie Farmer, who changed the way Americans prepare food by advocating the use of standardized measurements in recipes, opens Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery in Boston. In addition to teaching women about cooking, Farmer later educated medical professionals about the importance of proper nutrition for the sick.
Farmer was born March 23, 1857, and raised near Boston, Massachusetts. Her family believed in education for women and Farmer attended Medford High School; however, as a teenager she suffered a paralytic stroke that turned her into a homebound invalid for a period of years. As a result, she was unable to complete high school or attend college and her illness left her with a permanent limp. When she was in her early 30s, Farmer attended the Boston Cooking School. Founded in 1879, the school promoted a scientific approach to food preparation and trained women to become cooking teachers at a time when their employment opportunities were limited. Farmer graduated from the program in 1889 and in 1891 became the school’s principal. In 1896, she published her first cookbook, The Boston Cooking School Cookbook, which included a wide range of straightforward recipes along with information on cooking and sanitation techniques, household management and nutrition. Farmer’s book became a bestseller and revolutionized American cooking through its use of precise measurements, a novel culinary concept at the time.
In 1902, Farmer left the Boston Cooking School and founded Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. In addition to running her school, she traveled to speaking engagements around the U.S. and continued to write cookbooks. In 1904, she published Food and Cookery for the Sick and Convalescent, which provided food recommendations for specific diseases, nutritional information for children and information about the digestive system, among other topics. Farmer’s expertise in the areas of nutrition and illness led her to lecture at Harvard Medical School.
Farmer died January 15, 1915, at age 57. After Farmer’s death, Alice Bradley, who taught at Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery, took over the business and ran it until the mid-1940s. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook is still in print today. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fannie-farmer-opens-cooking-school)
1959 – This was My (Jack Hyles) Last Day as Pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas.
Nearly seven years of a blessed ministry was over. When Mrs. Hyles and I visited the Miller Road Baptist Church for the first time there were 44 in Sunday 8chool, and the total property was valued at a little over $6,000. From these 44, we saw a membership grow to 4,128 and many buildings were built and much property bought. We thought we were there for our entire lives and had no idea that God was going to move us. The last Sunday we were to be there was August 23, 1959. After the morning service we found the heartbreak unbearable. We simply could not go back. We left town that afternoon and brought our family toward Chicago. It was the saddest day of my life. I had not known such sorrow. The people were as my own heart and life and I was not prepared for separation. It made it so difficult upon not only my own life and the lives of my family, but even upon the church there and my successor, Tom Landers. The tie was so close between all of us and especially was my own heart knit as one with the precious people. Words could not express the sorrow of my heart as I left.
Thank God for Heaven, where there will be no separation and where all of us can be together forever around the Throne. Thank God for a place where there will be no tears and no sad goodbyes. Let us join in praising the Lord for Heaven today.
79 – Vesuvius Erupts.
After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts in southern Italy, devastating the prosperous Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum and killing thousands. The cities, buried under a thick layer of volcanic material and mud, were never rebuilt and largely forgotten in the course of history. In the 18th century, Pompeii and Herculaneum were rediscovered and excavated, providing an unprecedented archaeological record of the everyday life of an ancient civilization, startlingly preserved in sudden death.
The ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum thrived near the base of Mount Vesuvius at the Bay of Naples. In the time of the early Roman Empire, 20,000 people lived in Pompeii, including merchants, manufacturers, and farmers who exploited the rich soil of the region with numerous vineyards and orchards. None suspected that the black fertile earth was the legacy of earlier eruptions of Mount Vesuvius. Herculaneum was a city of 5,000 and a favorite summer destination for rich Romans. Named for the mythic hero Hercules, Herculaneum housed opulent villas and grand Roman baths. Gambling artifacts found in Herculaneum and a brothel unearthed in Pompeii attest to the decadent nature of the cities. There were smaller resort communities in the area as well, such as the quiet little town of Stabiae.
At noon on August 24, 79 A.D., this pleasure and prosperity came to an end when the peak of Mount Vesuvius exploded, propelling a 10-mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice into the stratosphere. For the next 12 hours, volcanic ash and a hail of pumice stones up to 3 inches in diameter showered Pompeii, forcing the city’s occupants to flee in terror. Some 2,000 people stayed in Pompeii, holed up in cellars or stone structures, hoping to wait out the eruption.
A westerly wind protected Herculaneum from the initial stage of the eruption, but then a giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down the western flank of Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all who remained. This lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock, burying the city.
The people who remained in Pompeii were killed on the morning of August 25 when a cloud of toxic gas poured into the city, suffocating all that remained. A flow of rock and ash followed, collapsing roofs and walls and burying the dead.
Much of what we know about the eruption comes from an account by Pliny the Younger, who was staying west along the Bay of Naples when Vesuvius exploded. In two letters to the historian Tacitus, he told of how “people covered their heads with pillows, the only defense against a shower of stones,” and of how “a dark and horrible cloud charged with combustible matter suddenly broke and set forth. Some bewailed their own fate. Others prayed to die.” Pliny, only 17 at the time, escaped the catastrophe and later became a noted Roman writer and administrator. His uncle, Pliny the Elder, was less lucky. Pliny the Elder, a celebrated naturalist, at the time of the eruption was the commander of the Roman fleet in the Bay of Naples. After Vesuvius exploded, he took his boats across the bay to Stabiae, to investigate the eruption and reassure terrified citizens. After going ashore, he was overcome by toxic gas and died.
According to Pliny the Younger’s account, the eruption lasted 18 hours. Pompeii was buried under 14 to 17 feet of ash and pumice, and the nearby seacoast was drastically changed. Herculaneum was buried under more than 60 feet of mud and volcanic material. Some residents of Pompeii later returned to dig out their destroyed homes and salvage their valuables, but many treasures were left and then forgotten.
In the 18th century, a well digger unearthed a marble statue on the site of Herculaneum. The local government excavated some other valuable art objects, but the project was abandoned. In 1748, a farmer found traces of Pompeii beneath his vineyard. Since then, excavations have gone on nearly without interruption until the present. In 1927, the Italian government resumed the excavation of Herculaneum, retrieving numerous art treasures, including bronze and marble statues and paintings.
The remains of 2,000 men, women, and children were found at Pompeii. After perishing from asphyxiation, their bodies were covered with ash that hardened and preserved the outline of their bodies. Later, their bodies decomposed to skeletal remains, leaving a kind of plaster mold behind. Archaeologists who found these molds filled the hollows with plaster, revealing in grim detail the death pose of the victims of Vesuvius. The rest of the city is likewise frozen in time, and ordinary objects that tell the story of everyday life in Pompeii are as valuable to archaeologists as the great unearthed statues and frescoes. It was not until 1982 that the first human remains were found at Herculaneum, and these hundreds of skeletons bear ghastly burn marks that testifies to horrifying deaths.
Today, Mount Vesuvius is the only active volcano on the European mainland. Its last eruption was in 1944 and its last major eruption was in 1631. Another eruption is expected in the near future, and could be devastating for the 700,000 people who live in the “death zones” around Vesuvius. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vesuvius-erupts)
1572 – St. Bartholomew’s Day.
This is one of the most famous dates in church history. On this day 30,000 protestants were killed in a massacre (5,000 in Paris alone). The day may come when we too may have to die for the Gospel and our faith in Jesus Christ. Let us pray God to make us willing to do so, when, and if, we are called upon.
1759 – The Birthday of William Wilberforce.
Wilberforce was an English statesman and philanthropist who worked persistently for the Negro race. He founded the Christian journal, “The Christian Observer,” and was an evangelical leader.
1879 – Paul Rader was Born at Denver, Colorado.
1891 – Thomas Edison Got a Patent on Movies.
Much controversy has risen over the use of movie projectors in Gospel work; however, beyond a shadow of a doubt, much good has been done through the use of Christian movies. Pray that God will continue to use them to His glory.
1901 – Russell D. Delong was Born in Dover, New Hampshire.
He has been a famous Nazarene evangelist. Starting in 1947 he became the radio speaker of “Showers of Blessings” on five hundred stations in sixteen countries. He is a well-known soul winner and an outstanding personality of the Nazarene movement. He has become well-known outside his own denomination. Thank God for such broadcasts as this and for faithful radio preachers and soul winners in every fundamental denomination.
Now Summer is Coming to an End.
Let us pray God to help us make the most of every day in His service, summer or winter, fall or spring, hot or cold, rain or shine, we should be busy in the Master’s service.
1781 – The French Joined Washington.
1835 – The Great Moon Hoax.
On this day in 1835, the first in a series of six articles announcing the supposed discovery of life on the moon appears in the New York Sun newspaper.
Known collectively as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles were supposedly reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science. The byline was Dr. Andrew Grant, described as a colleague of Sir John Herschel, a famous astronomer of the day. Herschel had in fact traveled to Capetown, South Africa, in January 1834 to set up an observatory with a powerful new telescope. As Grant described it, Herschel had found evidence of life forms on the moon, including such fantastic animals as unicorns, two-legged beavers and furry, winged humanoids resembling bats. The articles also offered vivid description of the moon’s geography, complete with massive craters, enormous amethyst crystals, rushing rivers and lush vegetation.
The New York Sun, founded in 1833, was one of the new “penny press” papers that appealed to a wider audience with a cheaper price and a more narrative style of journalism. From the day the first moon hoax article was released, sales of the paper shot up considerably. It was exciting stuff, and readers lapped it up. The only problem was that none of it was true. The Edinburgh Journal of Science had stopped publication years earlier, and Grant was a fictional character. The articles were most likely written by Richard Adams Locke, a Sun reporter educated at Cambridge University. Intended as satire, they were designed to poke fun at earlier, serious speculations about extraterrestrial life, particularly those of Reverend Thomas Dick, a popular science writer who claimed in his bestselling books that the moon alone had 4.2 billion inhabitants.
Readers were completely taken in by the story, however, and failed to recognize it as satire. The craze over Herschel’s supposed discoveries even fooled a committee of Yale University scientists, who traveled to New York in search of the Edinburgh Journal articles. After Sun employees sent them back and forth between the printing and editorial offices, hoping to discourage them, the scientists returned to New Haven without realizing they had been tricked.
On September 16, 1835, the Sun admitted the articles had been a hoax. People were generally amused by the whole thing, and sales of the paper didn’t suffer. The Sun continued operation until 1950, when it merged with the New York World-Telegram. The merger folded in 1967. A new New York Sun newspaper was founded in 2002, but it has no relation to the original. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-great-moon-hoax)
1864 – John Henry Jowett was Born.
1912 – The Birthday of Dr. Bill Rice.
Few men in the world today are as colorful and as refreshing as Dr. Bill Rice. Of course, he is the brother of the famous John R. Rice, but he is more than that. He is Dr. Bill Rice, evangelist, soul winner, and “Christian Deluxe!” Dr. Rice has had many evangelistic campaigns across America. He has traveled around the world, but one of the most unique things about his blessed ministry is the Cumberwood Christian Retreat, located on the beautiful property of the Bill Rice Ranch near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. For many years, I have preached there annually and how I thank God for Cumberwood and Dr. Rice.
Having seen their own daughter lose her hearing at an early age, Dr. Bill Rice and Mrs. Rice (God bless her) felt a burden to start a work for the deaf. This they have done. They have one of the largest works with the deaf in the world today. Dr. and Mrs. Bill Rice have been used of God to win many thousands of deaf people to the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Christian should see the Bill Rice Ranch and should attend the Cumberwood Christian Retreat. Bible conferences of all kinds are conducted. There are youth weeks, deaf weeks, work weeks, sign language weeks, conference weeks, preachers’ weeks, etc. Let us thank God today for the ministry of Dr. Bill Rice, for Mrs. Rice – Cathy – (Princess, as Dr. Bill calls her), and for the work there.
Dr. Bill Rice’s favorite Scripture is Colossians 1:18, “And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that is all things He might have the preerninence.”
1832 – Adam Clarke Died.
Adam Clarke was a Methodist preacher, commentator, and theologian. His eight-volume commentary on the Bible was the result of 45 years of work. He preached on conversion and also the sanctification of souls. He died of cholera and is supposedly one of the forerunners of modern Methodism.
Years ago, I was out soul winning one day and won a lady to Christ who was nearing eighty. After she was saved she looked at me and said, “I have something I bet you would like.” Then she opened the closet and showed me an old, weather-beaten set of Clarke’s commentaries. She gave them to me as a love gift on the day of her conversion. Then she told me how they belonged to an uncle of her who was a preacher, and she wanted me to have them. To this day I use them in preparation for my sermons and find them very helpful.
1867 – The Birthday of Robert R. Moton.
Robert Moton was a black educator who said, “Whatever may be the disadvantage of my race in America, I would rather be a Negro in America than anybody else in any other country in the world.” Pray for our black brethren today.
1873 – The Birthday of Lee DeForest.
Mr. DeForest was the inventor of the audio tube for radio broadcasting. Ah, here is something for which we ought to thank God. Thank God for radio. Think of all the shut-ins whose church is their radio. Think of all the people who have been blessed by great radio broadcasts through the years. Thanks be to God for this wonderful way of getting out the Gospel.
1920 – Women’s Suffrage was Ratified.
1939 – First Televised Major League Baseball Game.
On this day in 1939, the first televised Major League baseball game is broadcast on station W2XBS, the station that was to become WNBC-TV. Announcer Red Barber called the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.
At the time, television was still in its infancy. Regular programming did not yet exist, and very few people owned television sets–there were only about 400 in the New York area. Not until 1946 did regular network broadcasting catch on in the United States, and only in the mid-1950s did television sets become more common in the American household.
In 1939, the World’s Fair–which was being held in New York–became the catalyst for the historic broadcast. The television was one of fair’s prize exhibits, and organizers believed that the Dodgers-Reds doubleheader on August 26 was the perfect event to showcase America’s grasp on the new technology.
By today’s standards, the video coverage was somewhat crude. There were only two stationary camera angles: The first was placed down the third base line to pick up infield throws to first, and the second was placed high above home plate to get an extensive view of the field. It was also difficult to capture fast-moving plays: Swinging bats looked like paper fans, and the ball was all but invisible during pitches and hits.
Nevertheless, the experiment was a success, driving interest in the development of television technology, particularly for sporting events. Though baseball owners were initially concerned that televising baseball would sap actual attendance, they soon warmed to the idea, and the possibilities for revenue generation that came with increased exposure of the game, including the sale of rights to air certain teams or games and television advertising.
Today, televised sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, with technology that gives viewers an astounding amount of visual and audio detail. Cameras are now so precise that they can capture the way a ball changes shape when struck by a bat, and athletes are wired to pick up field-level and sideline conversation. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-televised-major-league-baseball-game)
1948 – Maud Booth Died at Greatneck, Long Island, New York.
Along with her husband, Dallington Booth, she founded the Volunteers of America in 1896. This was a split off the Salvation. She served as Commander and Chief from 1940 until 1948 upon her husband’s death. She was known as the “Little Mother of the Prisons.”
551 B.C. – The Traditional Date For the Birth of Confucius.
1859 – The First Oil Well, near Titusville, Pennsylvania, was Opened.
This first oil well was opened by Mr. Edwin Drake. Thank God today for oil, gasoline, and the products derived from them.
1883 – Krakatau Explodes.
The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia, on this day in 1883. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people.
Krakatau exhibited its first stirrings in more than 200 years on May 20, 1883. A German warship passing by reported a seven-mile high cloud of ash and dust over Krakatau. For the next two months, similar explosions would be witnessed by commercial liners and natives on nearby Java and Sumatra. With little to no idea of the impending catastrophe, the local inhabitants greeted the volcanic activity with festive excitement.
On August 26 and August 27, excitement turned to horror as Krakatau literally blew itself apart, setting off a chain of natural disasters that would be felt around the world for years to come. An enormous blast on the afternoon of August 26 destroyed the northern two-thirds of the island; as it plunged into the Sunda Strait, between the Java Sea and Indian Ocean, the gushing mountain generated a series of pyroclastic flows (fast-moving fluid bodies of molten gas, ash and rock) and monstrous tsunamis that swept over nearby coastlines. Four more eruptions beginning at 5:30 a.m. the following day proved cataclysmic. The explosions could be heard as far as 3,000 miles away, and ash was propelled to a height of 50 miles. Fine dust from the explosion drifted around the earth, causing spectacular sunsets and forming an atmospheric veil that lowered temperatures worldwide by several degrees.
Of the estimated 36,000 deaths resulting from the eruption, at least 31,000 were caused by the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The greatest of these waves measured 120 feet high, and washed over nearby islands, stripping away vegetation and carrying people out to sea. Another 4,500 people were scorched to death from the pyroclastic flows that rolled over the sea, stretching as far as 40 miles, according to some sources.
In addition to Krakatau, which is still active, Indonesia has another 130 active volcanoes, the most of any country in the world. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/krakatau-explodes)
1908 – Birthday of President Lyndon Johnson.
Certainly, we should spend some time today praying for our President and for God’s blessings to rest upon his life.
1910 – The First Radio Message was Sent From an Airplane.
Thank God for Your Health.
Let each of us pause today and spend a few moments thanking God for health. This was called to my attention as I was guest speaker recently at a church. I was having dinner with a pastor when he was informed that one of his members had undergone surgery and was found to have cancer of both lungs. This reminded me of the many times I have had similar messages come to me concerning people in my churches. There are so many shut-ins and so many that are unable to enjoy the health that we enjoy. Let us thank God today for our own health and for the health of our families. If you have healthy children, look at them and praise God. If you, yourself, were able to get out of bed this morning and go to work or do your regular household chores, bow your head and say, “Blessed be the Lord.” Thank God for health.
430 – Augustine Died.
He said, “What I pray God for is that … He will call me from this world to Himself.” When he was too weak to read the Psalms he ordered them printed in large letters and placed them on his wall.
1840 – The Birthday of Ira B. Sankey.
Ira Sankey was called “the golden voice singer” and was associated with Dwight Moody. He wrote the beautiful song, “The Ninety and Nine” along with “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” and “O, Safe to the Rock” and others.
THE NINETY AND NINE
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care,
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “Tis of mine
Has wondered away from me,
And although the road be rough and steep
I go to the desert to find my sheep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry –
Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”
But all thro’ the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There rose a cry to the gate of Heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”
When Sankey would practice people would gather outside of his house just to hear him sing in his “golden voice.”
1906 – The Death of the Blind George Matheson.
George Matheson was the author of “O, Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”
O LOVE THAT WILT NOT LET ME GO
O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul on Thee;
I give Thee back the life l owe,
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O Light that follow’st all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to Thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in Thy sunshine’s glow
May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me thro’ pain,
I cannot close my heart to Thee;
I trace the rainbow thro’ the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to hide from Thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
1928 – W. A. Criswell was Ordained.
W. A. Criswell has for many years been pastor of the famous First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, and is a warm-hearted Gospel preacher. Pray for him today.
1996 – Charles and Diana Divorce.
After four years of separation, Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne, and his wife, Princess Diana, formally divorce.
On July 29, 1981, nearly one billion television viewers in 74 countries tuned in to witness the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English schoolteacher. Married in a grand ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the presence of 2,650 guests, the couple’s romance was, for the moment, the envy of the world. Their first child, Prince William, was born in 1982, and their second, Prince Harry, in 1984.
Before long, however, the fairy tale couple grew apart, an experience that was particularly painful under the ubiquitous eyes of the world’s tabloid media. Diana and Charles announced a separation in 1992, though they continued to carry out their royal duties. In August 1996, two months after Queen Elizabeth II urged the couple to divorce, the prince and princess reached a final agreement. In exchange for a generous settlement, and the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of “Princess of Wales,” Diana agreed to relinquish the title of “Her Royal Highness” and any future claims to the British throne.
In the year following the divorce, the popular princess seemed well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming “a queen in people’s hearts,” but on August 31, 1997, she was killed with her companion Dodi Fayed in a car accident in Paris. An investigation conducted by the French police concluded that the driver, who also died in the crash, was heavily intoxicated and caused the accident while trying to escape the paparazzi photographers who consistently tailed Diana during any public outing.
Prince Charles married his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, on April 9, 2005. (http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/charles-and-diana-divorce)
The Approximate Date That John the Baptist was Beheaded.
1792 – The Date Some Give for the Birthday of Charles G. Finney.
Charles G. Finney was such a powerful man of God that it is said while sitting at the table once he asked the blessing and the family fell under conviction. All of them were converted. This same type conviction was seen in public schools, in factories, and on street corners when he was present. Oh, pray for the power of God to rest upon our lives today.
1809 – The First Indian Reservation was Established.
1809 – The Birthday of Oliver Wendell Holmes.
1945 – The First American Flag was Raised over Japan.
Pray for Japan today and for missionaries who serve the Lord there. Pray for God’s power to rest upon them.
2005 – Hurricane Katrina Slams into Gulf Coast.
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on August 25 as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on August 29. In addition to bringing devastation to the New Orleans area, the hurricane caused damage along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city on August 28, when Katrina briefly achieved Category 5 status and the National Weather Service predicted “devastating” damage to the area. But an estimated 150,000 people, who either did not want to or did not have the resources to leave, ignored the order and stayed behind. The storm brought sustained winds of 145 miles per hour, which cut power lines and destroyed homes, even turning cars into projectile missiles. Katrina caused record storm surges all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The surges overwhelmed the levees that protected New Orleans, located at six feet below sea level, from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Soon, 80 percent of the city was flooded up to the rooftops of many homes and small buildings.
Tens of thousands of people sought shelter in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome. The situation in both places quickly deteriorated, as food and water ran low and conditions became unsanitary. Frustration mounted as it took up to two days for a full-scale relief effort to begin. In the meantime, the stranded residents suffered from heat, hunger, and a lack of medical care. Reports of looting, rape, and even murder began to surface. As news networks broadcast scenes from the devastated city to the world, it became obvious that a vast majority of the victims were African-American and poor, leading to difficult questions among the public about the state of racial equality in the United States. The federal government and President George W. Bush were roundly criticized for what was perceived as their slow response to the disaster. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, resigned amid the ensuing controversy.
Finally, on September 1, the tens of thousands of people staying in the damaged Superdome and Convention Center begin to be moved to the Astrodome in Houston,Texas, and another mandatory evacuation order was issued for the city. The next day, military convoys arrived with supplies and the National Guard was brought in to bring a halt to lawlessness. Efforts began to collect and identify corpses. On September 6, eight days after the hurricane, the Army Corps of Engineers finally completed temporary repairs to the three major holes in New Orleans’ levee system and were able to begin pumping water out of the city.
In all, it is believed that the hurricane caused more than 1,300 deaths and up to $150 billion in damages to both private property and public infrastructure. It is estimated that only about $40 billion of that number will be covered by insurance. One million people were displaced by the disaster, a phenomenon unseen in the United States since the Great Depression. Four hundred thousand people lost their jobs as a result of the disaster. Offers of international aid poured in from around the world, even from poor countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Private donations from U.S. citizens alone approached $600 million.
The storm also set off 36 tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, resulting in one death.
President Bush declared September 16 a national day of remembrance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hurricane-katrina-slams-into-gulf-coast)
Summer is Nearly Over.
In a few days school will start and fall will begin. Are there things you had planned to do this summer that you have not done for Christ? Do them today. Talk to someone about Christ. Spend some time in prayer. Do a kind deed for another and end the summer on a spiritual plane.
1781 – The French Fleet Arrived to Help the Americans Fight for Independence.
1894 – The Approximate Date of the Conversion of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.
When Bob Jones, Sr. was three years old, he went to church one day and said, “Let me preach, let me preach.” As a young lad he was converted. I have heard him tell about it many times. One of the sweetest experiences of my life has been to know personally Dr. Bob Jones, Sr: and to hear him tell the wonderful experiences of his life. He started preaching when he was thirteen years of age. He founded the great Bob Jones University and has seen more men saved than perhaps any man in our generation. He was one of the kindliest, sweetest men whom I have ever known.
1959 – My First Sunday as Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
With many apprehensions, a young Texas pastor assumed the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Hammond. He was homesick, afraid, and lonesome. How we praise Him for His blessings upon our labors here. What a miracle it is that He can take so little and do so much with it. God has given me the greatest collection of soul winners I have ever seen in one church. He has given me some of the most faithful and precious people in all the world. Many times through this book I have suggested that people pray for their pastor and thank God for his ministry. Today, I suggest that every pastor spend some time thanking God for his people. It has been my policy for a number of years to spend a couple of hours each week praying specifically for my people as they turn their prayer requests in to me. Let every pastor thank God for his people today and pray God’s blessings upon them. Thank God for followers. Thank God for prayer warriors. Thank God for helpers. How I praise the Lord for the great honor of having been pastor for many years, and now, especially, for pastoring the great First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Let each of us praise the Lord for his own church today and thank God that Jesus saw fit to found the local church.
1688 – John Bunyan Died.
John Bunyan was one of the great preachers in history. Someone has said that John Bunyan preached many times every day. He was thrown in prison for his preaching and for his stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and while in prison he wrote THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS, second best seller in the world today. It has been for many generations now second only to the Bible. He wrote it on milk bottle stoppers that he took off the milk that was brought to him in his prison cell. John Bunyan said, “I was put in prison for preaching. If you let me out of jail today, I’ll preach tomorrow.”
1776 – Benjamin Franklin Wrote His Epitaph.
Benjamin Franklin wrote Samuel Morris in Philadelphia and asked that this epitaph be placed on his tombstone: “The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book. its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and, gilding, lies here, food for worms. But the work shall not be lost, for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and elegant edition, corrected and improved, by the author.”
1980 – Polish Government Signs Accord with Gdansk Shipyard Workers.
On this day in 1980, representatives of the communist government of Poland agree to the demands of striking shipyard workers in the city of Gdansk. Former electrician Lech Walesa led the striking workers, who went on to form Solidarity, the first independent labor union to develop in a Soviet bloc nation.
In July 1980, facing economic crisis, Poland’s government raised the price of food and other goods, while curbing the growth of wages. The price hikes made it difficult for many Poles to afford basic necessities, and a wave of strikes swept the country. Amid mounting tensions, a popular forklift operator named Anna Walentynowicz was fired from the Lenin Shipyard in the northern Polish city of Gdansk. In mid-August, some 17,000 of the shipyard’s workers began a sit-down strike to campaign for her reinstatement, as well as for a modest increase in wages. They were led by the former shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, who had himself been fired for union activism four years earlier.
Despite governmental censorship and attempts to keep news of the strike from getting out, similar protests broke out in industrial cities throughout Poland. On August 17, an Interfactory Strike Committee presented the Polish government with 21 ambitious demands, including the right to organize independent trade unions, the right to strike, the release of political prisoners and increased freedom of expression. Fearing the general strike would lead to a national revolt, the government sent a commission to Gdansk to negotiate with the rebellious workers. On August 31, Walesa and Deputy Premier Mieczyslaw Jagielski signed an agreement giving in to many of the workers’ demands. Walesa signed the document with a giant ballpoint pen decorated with a picture of the newly elected Pope John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla, the former archbishop of Krakow).
In the wake of the Gdansk strike, leaders of the Interfactory Strike Committee voted to create a single national trade union known as Solidarnosc (Solidarity), which soon evolved into a mass social movement, with a membership of more than 10 million people. Solidarity attracted sympathy from Western leaders and hostility from Moscow, where the Kremlin considered a military invasion of Poland. In late 1981, under Soviet pressure, the government of General Wojciech Jaruzelski annulled the recognition of Solidarity and declared martial law in Poland. Some 6,000 Solidarity activists were arrested, including Walesa, who was detained for almost a year. The Solidarity movement moved underground, where it continued to enjoy support from international leaders such as U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who imposed sanctions on Poland. Walesa was awarded the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, and after the fall of communism in 1989 he became the first president of Poland ever to be elected by popular vote. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/polish-government-signs-accord-with-gdansk-shipyard-workers-)
School Is About To Start.
Let us thank God for summer and its blessings. Let us thank God for the blessings of the past month, and then may we pause to thank God for His goodness and provisions for us through the summer season. Then we ought to pause also at the beginning of the school term to ask God to bless our school children, and their teachers.