607 B.C. – Jehoiakim Burned the Roll from Baruch That Jeremiah Had Dictated to Him.
588 B.C. – Ezekiel Began Lamentation for Pharaoh.
1798 – Albert Barnes was Born.
He was an American Presbyterian preacher and Bible expositor. Perhaps he was best known for his eleven-volume NOTES ON THE NEW TESTAMENT and NOTES ON THE OLD TESTAMENT. He was brought to trial for his belief of unlimited atonement, but was acquitted. He was a converted man. He fought for total abstinence and was a very active man in Sunday school work. Again let us pray for our Presbyterian brethren. Oh, for a revivaI in all of our churches and denominations of calling people to Jesus Christ and salvation through Him.
1829 – Robert W. Dale was Born in London, England.
He was an English Congregational preacher and an educational reformer.
1882 – Titus Coan Died.
He is reputed to have been Hawaii’s greatest missionary between 1838 and 1860. He baptized and received into church membership 11,960 members. He died at the age of 82. Some think he was one of the greatest missionaries of Christian church history. Again today pray for missionaries. Let us not fail them. Those who have left homeland, friends, and family to go to foreign fields need our prayers, our support, and our encouragement. Let’s pray for them today.
1884 – The Birthday of James W. Storer.
From 1931 until 1956 he pastored the First Baptist Church of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in 1953-54 was president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This calls our attention to our Southern Baptist brethren. Let us pray for them today that God will keep them faithful to the Word of God and after souls.
1922 – The Date of the Earthquake in Chile Killing 200 People.
1926 – The Ground Breaking Ceremonies were Conducted for the Opening of Bob Jones University.
The ceremonies were conducted nine miles from Panama City, Florida. As the ground was broken, the crowd sang:
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Why not pause now to sing the above stanza. Then, of course, you will want to pray for the great Bob Jones University: Thank God for Bob Jones, Sr.; Bob Jones, Jr.; and Bob Jones, III. Pray for every Christian College that remains faithful to the Word of God.
1934 – The Approximate Date of the Ordination of Dr. Monroe Parker.
Dr. Parker is one of the most versatile men in God’s work today. For a number of years he was Assistant to the President of Bob Jones University. He has been a successful pastor, a successful college president, and a spirit-filled evangelist. Let us thank God today for his ministry.
1935 – The Radio Bible Hour Began.
On this day the Radio Bible Hour, under the direction of J. Harold Smith began. Let us pray today for radio preachers. No doubt, each of us can think of several radio preachers in whom we have confidence. Let us pray for God to bless them today. Also, why not take this advantage to send an offering to some preacher who is on the radio by faith.
1823 – The Monroe Doctrine was Given.
Let us pray for our hemisphere and our nation. Oh, how we need a strong America. How we need a strong hemisphere. How we need to fight to see that Communism never invades the Americas. Let us pause to pray for our President and those who lead us. Pray for God to give them wisdom in the various decisions they must make.
1908 – The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America was Founded.
Thirty Protestant denominations were represented. Let us pray for God to stem the tide of the unscriptural ecumenical movement in our day. There is such a temptation confronting all denominations toward cooperation with unbelievers and with churches unfaithful to the Word of God. Let us pray for God to give us conviction to stand by the truth and to refrain from the unequal yoke with unbelievers. George Washington said many years ago, “America should avoid foreign alliances,” and certainly God’s people should avoid alliances that yoke them up with liberals, modernists, and unbelievers. Let us love all men, pray for all men; but let us limit our yoke to those who are born again. The tendency toward centralized power even in religion is a serious one today.
2001 – Enron Files for Bankruptcy.
On this day in 2001, the Enron Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court, sparking one of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history.
An energy-trading company based in Houston, Texas, Enron was formed in 1985 as the merger of two gas companies, Houston Natural Gas and Internorth. Under chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay, Enron rose as high as number seven on Fortune magazine’s list of the top 500 U.S. companies. In 2000, the company employed 21,000 people and posted revenue of $111 billion. Over the next year, however, Enron’s stock price began a dramatic slide, dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by closing on November 30, 2001.
As prices fell, Lay sold large amounts of his Enron stock, while simultaneously encouraging Enron employees to buy more shares and assuring them that the company was on the rebound. Employees saw their retirement savings accounts wiped out as Enron’s stock price continued to plummet. After another energy company, Dynegy, canceled a planned $8.4 billion buy-out in late November, Enron filed for bankruptcy. By the end of the year, Enron’s collapse had cost investors billions of dollars, wiped out some 5,600 jobs and liquidated almost $2.1 billion in pension plans.
Over the next several years, the name “Enron” became synonymous with large-scale corporate fraud and corruption, as an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Enron had inflated its earnings by hiding debts and losses in subsidiary partnerships. The government subsequently accused Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling, who served as Enron’s CEO from February to August 2001, of conspiring to cover up their company’s financial weaknesses from investors. The investigation also brought down accounting giant Arthur Anderson, whose auditors were found guilty of deliberately destroying documents incriminating to Enron.
In July 2004, a Houston court indicted Skilling on 35 counts including fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. Lay was charged with 11 similar crimes. The trial began on January 30, 2006, in Houston. A number of former Enron employees appeared on the stand, including Andrew Fastow, Enron’s ex-CFO, who early on pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and agreed to testify against his former bosses. Over the course of the trial, the defiant Skilling–who unloaded almost $60 million worth of Enron stock shortly after his resignation but refused to admit he knew of the company’s impending collapse–emerged as the figure many identified most personally with the scandal. In May 2006, Skilling was convicted of 19 of 35 counts, while Lay was found guilty on 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy. When Lay died from heart disease just two months later, a Houston judge vacated the counts against him. That October, the 52-year-old Skilling was sentenced to more than 24 years in prison. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/enron-files-for-bankruptcy)
1818 – Illinois was Admitted to the Union.
The church that I now serve is located only five blocks from the state of Illinois. There are many faithful preachers and Christians in this state. Let us pray God’s blessings to rest upon them.
1856 – Arthur J. Brown was Born.
Brown served as secretary on the foreign missionary society of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. from 1895 until 1929. He died in 1963 at the age of 106.
1902 – The Birthday of Mitsuo Fuchida.
He was born at Kashiwara-Shi, Japan. Fuchida was the leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He flew the lead plane. He was gloriously converted through the Pocket Testament League on April 14, 1950. It is said that Glen Wagoner led Fuchida to Jesus Christ in a hotel room. He was supposed to have been brought under conviction previously by reading a tract of the testimony of Jacob DeShazzer.
Fuchida was the sole surviving officer of the seven commanders and thirty-two squadron leaders whom he led in the Pearl Harbor raid. He had had six crashes at sea. Shortly before the battle of Midway, he underwent an appendectomy on board ship. A bomb hit the ship and broke both of his legs and hurled him into the sea again. He was rescued.
While pastoring in Garland, Texas, I invited Mr. Fuchida to come to speak to our people. This he did. One of the most exciting and thrilling experiences of my life took place that night. In our church we had a man who was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. This man remembered the first plane coming over. He too had been saved. These two men who had been enemies shook hands because of Calvary.
1907 – William Dillon was Born.
He became the superintendent of the Main Sunshine Gospel Mission of Chicago. His wife, Mildred, wrote many famous choruses. Among them is “Safe Am I.” Sing it now.
SAFE AM I
Safe Am I, safe am I
In the hollow of His hand.
With His love forevermore.
No ill can harm me,
No foe alarm me;
For He keeps both day and night.
Safe am I, safe am I,
In the hollow of His hand.
519 B.C. – Zechariah Said, ‘Ye Fasted and Prayed for Yourselves and Not Unto Me.’
God is saying that these people had a form of godliness but their hearts were not in it. May we examine our own hearts, our own motives, our own incentives and ask God to cleanse them. May we not go through the motions only and be routine in our service for God, but may our preaching, our singing, and our serving be from the heart for His glory.
1674 – The Date of the First Chicago, Illinois, Dwelling.
Chicago is the city of Moody, the city of some of the great works of Billy Sunday, the city of R. A. Torrey, the city of James M. Gray, the city of Paul Rader, the city of the famous Moody Bible Institute, the city of the famous Pacific Garden Rescue Mission, the city of the famous Moody Memorial Church, and the scene of many great revivals in the past. Yet, Chicago stands today in dire need of spiritual revival and soul-winning ministries. Pray for Chicago, the city in the heart of the nation. Pray for preachers and Christians by name with whom you are acquainted. Let us pray for Chicago.
1783 – The Date of Washington’s Farewell Address.
Let us pause today to thank God for George Washington. Let us thank Him for the men who founded our nation. Let us thank Him for the leaders He has given us through the years. Then, let us pray for the leaders of today. Pray for the President and those who hold authority over us. May God give them leadership in their decisions.
1854 – Mary Reed, the Famous Leper Missionary, was Born.
This turns our attention today toward missionaries. No doubt you have personal friends on the mission field. Perhaps there are those from your church for whom you ought to pray. May we today pause to pray for the missionaries, for God’s blessings, God’s comfort, and God’s power to rest upon their lives.
1991 – Hostage Terry Anderson Freed in Lebanon.
On this day in 1991, Islamic militants in Lebanon release kidnapped American journalist Terry Anderson after 2,454 days in captivity.
As chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press, Anderson covered the long-running civil war in Lebanon (1975-1990). On March 16, 1985, he was kidnapped on a west Beirut street while leaving a tennis court. His captors took him to the southern suburbs of the city, where he was held prisoner in an underground dungeon for the next six-and-a-half years.
Anderson was one of 92 foreigners (including 17 Americans) abducted during Lebanon’s bitter civil war. The kidnappings were linked to Hezbollah, or the Party of God, a militant Shiite Muslim organization formed in 1982 in reaction to Israel’s military presence in Lebanon. They seized several Americans, including Anderson, soon after Kuwaiti courts jailed 17 Shiites found guilty of bombing the American and French embassies there in 1983. Hezbollah in Lebanon received financial and spiritual support from Iran, where prominent leaders praised the bombers and kidnappers for performing their duty to Islam.
U.S. relations with Iran–and with Syria, the other major foreign influence in Lebanon–showed signs of improving by 1990, when the civil war drew to a close, aided by Syria’s intervention on behalf of the Lebanese army. Eager to win favor from the U.S. in order to promote its own economic goals, Iran used its influence in Lebanon to engineer the release of nearly all the hostages over the course of 1991.
Anderson returned to the U.S. and was reunited with his family, including his daughter Suleme, born three months after his capture. In 1999, he sued the Iranian government for $100 million, accusing it of sponsoring his kidnappers; he received a multi-million dollar settlement. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hostage-terry-anderson-freed-in-lebanon)
1782 – Martin Van Buren was Born.
Let us once again turn our thoughts toward the office of presidency. Pray for our President today.
1860 – C. T. Studd was Born.
1901- Walt Disney was Born.
1934 – John and Betty Stam were Beheaded by Communists in China.
It has been many years since the Christians were thrown to the lions in the Colosseum and yet people still die for their faith in Jesus Christ and the proclamation of this Gospel. I stood in the famous Colosseum in Rome. For a moment, it seemed to me that the Christians were brought to the middle of the field. For a moment, it seemed that the crowds filled the stadium again. For a moment, I could see the lions as they came. It seemed that I could hear the Christians singing, “Amazing Grace,” or some comparable song of testimony. It seemed that I could see the lions tearing Christians’ bodies apart and devouring them for prey. We stand upon the blood of those who died on the truth of the Gospel, first upon the blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and then on the blood of those who have died to spread the truth that those of us afar off might hear of Jesus Christ. Read Acts 5:41 today and rejoice in every opportunity to take a stand for Jesus.
Then it might be well for us to pray again today for the missionaries. There is a missionary now who is having a difficult time, and needs your prayers. Pray for those by name whom you know and whom you support through your church.
1945 – Aircraft Squadron Lost in the Bermuda Triangle.
At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.
Two hours after the flight began, the leader of the squadron, who had been flying in the area for more than six months, reported that his compass and back-up compass had failed and that his position was unknown. The other planes experienced similar instrument malfunctions. Radio facilities on land were contacted to find the location of the lost squadron, but none were successful. After two more hours of confused messages from the fliers, a distorted radio transmission from the squadron leader was heard at 6:20 p.m., apparently calling for his men to prepare to ditch their aircraft simultaneously because of lack of fuel.
By this time, several land radar stations finally determined that Flight 19 was somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast, and at 7:27 p.m. a search and rescue Mariner aircraft took off with a 13-man crew. Three minutes later, the Mariner aircraft radioed to its home base that its mission was underway. The Mariner was never heard from again. Later, there was a report from a tanker cruising off the coast of Florida of a visible explosion seen at 7:50 p.m.
The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida. No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.
Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.
1951 – Birthday of Becky Hyles.
Becky is the oldest child in our family. At this time she is a student in Tennessee Temple College. She is a lovely Christian girl and a constant source of joy to her dad. Let us thank God today for our children, especially the eldest.
1847 – Abraham Lincoln Took a Seat in the House of Representatives.
Abraham Lincoln took a seat in the thirtieth Congress in the House of Representatives. Let us thank God for the life and work of Abraham Lincoln. Let us pray for our House of Representatives today that God will lead and give direction.
1884 – Washington Monument Completed.
On this day in 1884, in Washington, D.C., workers place a nine-inch aluminum pyramid atop a tower of white marble, completing the construction of an impressive monument to the city’s namesake and the nation’s first president, George Washington. As early as 1783, the infant U.S. Congress decided that a statue of George Washington, the great Revolutionary War general, should be placed near the site of the new Congressional building, wherever it might be. After then-President Washington asked him to lay out a new federal capital on the Potomac River in 1791, architect Pierre L’Enfant left a place for the statue at the western end of the sweeping National Mall (near the monument’s present location).
It wasn’t until 1832, however–33 years after Washington’s death–that anyone really did anything about the monument. That year, a private Washington National Monument Society was formed. After holding a design competition and choosing an elaborate Greek temple-like design by architect Robert Mills, the society began a fundraising drive to raise money for the statue’s construction. These efforts–including appeals to the nation’s schoolchildren–raised some $230,000, far short of the $1 million needed. Construction began anyway, on July 4, 1848, as representatives of the society laid the cornerstone of the monument: a 24,500-pound block of pure white marble.
Six years later, with funds running low, construction was halted. Around the time the Civil War began in 1861, author Mark Twain described the unfinished monument as looking like a “hollow, oversized chimney.” No further progress was made until 1876–the centennial of American independence–when President Ulysses S. Grant authorized construction to be completed.
Made of some 36,000 blocks of marble and granite stacked 555 feet in the air, the monument was the tallest structure in the world at the time of its completion in December 1884. In the six months following the dedication ceremony, over 10,000 people climbed the nearly 900 steps to the top of the Washington Monument. Today, an elevator makes the trip far easier, and more than 800,000 people visit the monument each year. A city law passed in 1910 restricted the height of new buildings to ensure that the monument will remain the tallest structure in Washington, D.C.–a fitting tribute to the man known as the “Father of His Country.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/washington-monument-completed)
1889 – Jefferson Davis Died.
1933 – The Official End of Prohibition.
People crowded in the liquor stores to buy the first legal liquor in thirteen years. For thirteen years liquor had been illegal in our nation. It had been the law of the land that no one could make alcoholic beverages or sell them. Many arguments have been advanced about prohibition days, but there is one that is irrefutable – at least wrong was illegal. Maybe the law concerning this wrong could not be enforced. Many doubt the sincerity of the efforts. To say the least it was against the law and was considered wrong. What a shame that today on practically every block in our big cities liquor is made available. Even a great percentage of our high school boys and girls drink. From the time a youngster is out of college it is the acceptable, social thing to do. God help us to pray for America. I know what it is to have liquor break up a home. My father and mother were separated by this deathly sin. Would God the liquor traffic would realize the broken homes, automobile accidents, serious diseases, etc., caused by this wicked practice.
1779 – Jacob Knapp was Born.
Jacob Knapp was a New York evangelist about whom it was said that the atmosphere seemed impregnated by the divine influence. God gave him a wonderful ministry in the East and especially in the state of New York. Let us pray today for evangelists everywhere. There is an evangelist whom you know by name. Pray for him. May God bless this faithful band of men who carry the message from place to place.
1941 – Pearl Harbor Bombed.
At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise attack struck a critical blow against the U.S. Pacific fleet and drew the United States irrevocably into World War II.
With diplomatic negotiations with Japan breaking down, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his advisers knew that an imminent Japanese attack was probable, but nothing had been done to increase security at the important naval base at Pearl Harbor. It was Sunday morning, and many military personnel had been given passes to attend religious services off base. At 7:02 a.m., two radar operators spotted large groups of aircraft in flight toward the island from the north, but, with a flight of B-17s expected from the United States at the time, they were told to sound no alarm. Thus, the Japanese air assault came as a devastating surprise to the naval base.
Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed. A total of 2,400 Americans were killed and 1,200 were wounded, many while valiantly attempting to repulse the attack. Japan’s losses were some 30 planes, five midget submarines, and fewer than 100 men. Fortunately for the United States, all three Pacific fleet carriers were out at sea on training maneuvers. These giant aircraft carriers would have their revenge against Japan six months later at the Battle of Midway, reversing the tide against the previously invincible Japanese navy in a spectacular victory.
The day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, President Roosevelt appeared before a joint session of Congress and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a brief and forceful speech, he asked Congress to approve a resolution recognizing the state of war between the United States and Japan. The Senate voted for war against Japan by 82 to 0, and the House of Representatives approved the resolution by a vote of 388 to 1. The sole dissenter was Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, a devout pacifist who had also cast a dissenting vote against the U.S. entrance into World War I. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war against the United States, and the U.S. government responded in kind.
The American contribution to the successful Allied war effort spanned four long years and cost more than 400,000 American lives. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pearl-harbor-bombed)
The Farmers’ Almanac Gives Today as the Day of Conception in the Virgin Mary of the Christ Child.
Whether this be true or not, no one knows, but we can thank God for the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and vow to stand for it until He comes again.
1765 – Eli Whitney was Born.
Let us thank God today for the tremendous help we have received from cotton products and the influence Mr. Whitney had on the cotton industry.
1776 – George Washington Crossed the Delaware.
1840 – David Livingstone Sailed for Africa.
This great missionary had perhaps as much influence on the cause of missions and the Gospel of Christ around the world as any man since Bible times. Let us thank God for his life and ministry. Pray today for missionaries whom you know.
1940 – Four Hundred Bombers Raided London.
The House of Commons was damaged for the first time in World War II. Let us pray for our friends in England.
1941 – The United States Declared War on Japan.
1608 – The Birthday of John Milton.
1793 -Noah Webster Published “The American Minerva.”
“The American Minerva” was New York’s first newspaper. Someone has said the greatest bargain in the world is the daily newspaper. This is probably true. If there is a better bargain, it would have to be the Sunday newspaper. This is another thing we take for granted. For many, many years now, at our house we have taken a morning newspaper. It is just an accepted fact that the paper will be at our front door when we get up. Let us thank God for this convenience and pray for God to give America the freedom of the press as long as there is an America. Witness to your paper boy this week.
1863 – The Birthday of the Great G. Campbell Morgan.
G. Campbell Morgan was a great theologian, Bible expositor, and preacher. His influence upon the world, especially England and America, will be felt for many generations.
1907 – Christmas Seals Went on Sale for the Fighting of Tuberculosis.
Maybe you know someone today afflicted with this dread disease. Thank God for the many improvements made in the fighting of this disease in our generation.
1992 – U.S. Marines Storm Mogadishu, Somalia.
On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.
Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighboring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country’s inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia’s civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.
In early December 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent the contingent of Marines to Mogadishu as part of a mission dubbed Operation Restore Hope. Backed by the U.S. troops, international aid workers were soon able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations. Sporadic violence continued, including the murder of 24 U.N. soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. As a result, the U.N. authorized the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid, leader of one of the rebel clans. On October 3, 1993, during an attempt to make the arrest, rebels shot down two of the U.S. Army’s Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.
As horrified TV viewers watched images of the bloodshed—-including footage of Aidid’s supporters dragging the body of one dead soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, cheering—-President Bill Clinton immediately gave the order for all American soldiers to withdraw from Somalia by March 31, 1994. Other Western nations followed suit. When the last U.N. peacekeepers left in 1995, ending a mission that had cost more than $2 billion, Mogadishu still lacked a functioning government. A ceasefire accord signed in Kenya in 2002 failed to put a stop to the violence, and though a new parliament was convened in 2004, rival factions in various regions of Somalia continue to struggle for control of the troubled nation. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-marines-storm-mogadishu-somalia
1735 – John Wesley Sailed for Georgia.
Thank God for John Wesley, for the books he left us, for the movement he started, for the songs he wrote, and for his influence upon even our generation.
John Wesley had some wonderful meetings in Georgia. After he left to go hack to England, it is said that a black man traveled hundreds of miles to come to the very spot where Wesley had preached in a Georgia city. Kneeling at this spot, a tear rolling down his cheeks, looking up into Heaven, he cried, “Lawd, do it again!” Let us pray the same prayer today.
1817 – Mississippi was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray for our brethren in Mississippi. Pray for your friends there and for the preachers whom you know in this great state.
1901 – First Nobel Prizes Awarded.
The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.” Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.
Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833, and four years later his family moved to Russia. His father ran a successful St. Petersburg factory that built explosive mines and other military equipment. Educated in Russia, Paris, and the United States, Alfred Nobel proved a brilliant chemist. When his father’s business faltered after the end of the Crimean War, Nobel returned to Sweden and set up a laboratory to experiment with explosives. In 1863, he invented a way to control the detonation of nitroglycerin, a highly volatile liquid that had been recently discovered but was previously regarded as too dangerous for use. Two years later, Nobel invented the blasting cap, an improved detonator that inaugurated the modern use of high explosives. Previously, the most dependable explosive was black powder, a form of gunpowder.
Nitroglycerin remained dangerous, however, and in 1864 Nobel’s nitroglycerin factory blew up, killing his younger brother and several other people. Searching for a safer explosive, Nobel discovered in 1867 that the combination of nitroglycerin and a porous substance called kieselguhr produced a highly explosive mixture that was much safer to handle and use. Nobel christened his invention “dynamite,” for the Greek word dynamis,meaning “power.” Securing patents on dynamite, Nobel acquired a fortune as humanity put his invention to use in construction and warfare.
In 1875, Nobel created a more powerful form of dynamite, blasting gelatin, and in 1887 introduced ballistite, a smokeless nitroglycerin powder. Around that time, one of Nobel’s brothers died in France, and French newspapers printed obituaries in which they mistook him for Alfred. One headline read, “The merchant of death is dead.” Alfred Nobel in fact had pacifist tendencies and in his later years apparently developed strong misgivings about the impact of his inventions on the world. After he died in San Remo, Italy, on December 10, 1896, the majority of his estate went toward the creation of prizes to be given annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The portion of his will establishing the Nobel Peace Prize read, “[one award shall be given] to the person who has done the most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” Exactly five years after his death, the first Nobel awards were presented.
Today, the Nobel Prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards in the world in their various fields. Notable winners have included Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela. Multiple leaders and organizations sometimes receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and multiple researchers often share the scientific awards for their joint discoveries. In 1968, a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science was established by the Swedish national bank, Sveriges Riksbank, and first awarded in 1969.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the prizes in physics, chemistry, and economic science; the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute determines the physiology or medicine award; the Swedish Academy chooses literature; and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament awards the peace prize. The Nobel Prizes are still presented annually on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel’s death. In 2006, each Nobel Prize carried a cash prize of nearly $1,400,000 and recipients also received a gold medal, as is the tradition. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-nobel-prizes-awarded)
1911 – Chet Huntley was Born.
Let us thank God today for the news commentators who keep us informed of the events of our day.
1952 – Jack Hyles Became Pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church.
On December 10, 1952, I became pastor of the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. Forty-four people welcomed me that first Sunday. Twenty-two voted in the election of the pastor; nineteen for me, two neutral, and one undecided. We had one building valued at $6,000. There were no pews; only concrete was on the floors. There was no choir. We had just a crude building made of old-fashioned Arkansas block tile. For six years, eight months and two weeks, I pastored this great church.
The church grew to 4,128. Literally thousands of people were saved. The original building was enlarged twice; a one-story educational building was built; another story was added to this educational building; five houses and lots were purchased; a chapel seating two hundred was built; an auditorium seating nearly one thousand was built; and later this auditorium was doubled. Some of the greatest Christians I ever met came from this great church. There are now many pastors, full-time workers, and missionaries who were saved during these six years, eight months and two weeks. One of the greatest works that was done, however, was done in the heart of this author as these dear people patiently followed in spite of mistakes and human weaknesses.
1958 – The First Domestic Jet Airline Passenger Service in the United States.
‘What a tremendous blessing this has been. It is nothing unusual for me to fly three or four thousand miles between Sundays. My, how much we ought to get done for God with this help in speeding up our travel. Let us thank God for this means of transportation and the privilege of living in the same generation with it.
1816 – Indiana was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray for the brethren in Indiana. Let us pray for faithful preachers in Indiana and the fundamental churches who hold forth the Word of life.
1895 – The Birthday of Dr. John R. Rice.
Author of more books and pamphlets than any man in our generation, evangelist who has conducted great city-wide campaigns across America, pastor who has built numerous soul-winning churches, and Bible teacher who knows the English Bible perhaps as well as any man in this generation is Dr. John R. Rice. He is my personal friend. I count him as one of the greatest Christians I ever met. One of the great privileges of my life has been to know him personally. He has stood in the gap. He has defended the faith. He has not changed when others changed. He has been faithful. May God increase his tribe.
1927 – R. G. Lee Preached His First Sermon at the Belview Baptist Church.
For approximately thirty years this great prince of preachers served this great church in Memphis, Tennessee. He baptized over 300 converts a year for many years.
1941- Germany and Italy Declared War on the United States.
1787 – Pennsylvania was Admitted to the Union.
There are many Christians in this state. Let us pray for them. Just recently, it was my privilege to fly to Philadelphia, rent a car and drive up to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where I spoke at the Lehigh Valley Sunday School Convention. There I met some splendid Christians. There are some great Christians, fine preachers, and good churches in this state. Let us hold them up before the throne of grace today.
1901 – Marconi Signaled Across the Atlantic for the First Time.
1908 – The First Bible Society was Organized.
Let us pray today for all Bible societies who are faithful to the Word of God. As we think of Bible societies, let us think of the Bible. All that God has ever done He has done through His Word. All that God will ever do He will do through His Word. How we need to build our lives, our homes, and our churches on the Word of God. Let us pledge to do the following things with the Bible:
1. Read it every day.
2. Memorize a portion every day.
3. Read it in our homes every day.
4. Pray for God to allow it to be brought back into our schools.
5. Meditate upon its truths.
6. Think about its words.
May we on this birthday of Bible societies realize that it is not the Bible in the hand or the Bible on the table that counts, but the Bible in the heart.
1818 – Today is the Birthday of Mary Todd Lincoln.
1862 – The Battle of Gettysburg.
1887 – My (Jack Hyles) Mother’s Birthday.
At this writing, my mother has been spared to the age of 81. One of the great influences of my life has been my godly mother. I was raised in poverty. My mother worked for fifty cents a day and walked two miles to the job to provide the very necessities of life for me. She taught me things about life and character building. I will be indebted for eternity and will express my gratitude for eternity and pay my debt for eternity to my mother for her influence on my life. Thank God for your mother today. Pray for her. Sit down and write her a letter. Call her long distance. Go see her.
1897 – The Birthday of Drew Pearson.
1714 – George Whitefield was Born.
George Whitefield was one of the great preachers of England. I have read much of his life and count him as one of the great preachers of history, especially of England. It is said that he preached three thousand times on the subject, “Ye Must Be Born Again.”
He preached to crowds of over 10,000 without a public address system. Oftentimes he would preach with blood streaming down his face where stones had been thrown at him. He was a fearless preacher and a great preacher. He was a contemporary of Wesley and one whom the Lord used to open doors for Wesley. Some, yea, many, giye him much credit for Wesley’s great ministry.
1799 – George Washington Died.
Again let us pause to thank God for his life and to pray for our President today.
1819 – Alabama was Admitted to the Union.
Pray today for preachers, churches, and Christians in Alabama. There are many wonderful people in this state. It has been my joy to preach there several times, and I have always found a warmth among God’s people. Let us pray for the brethren of Alabama today.
1911: Amundsen reaches South Pole
Norwegian Roald Amundsen becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole, beating his British rival, Robert Falcon Scott.
Amundsen, born in Borge, near Oslo, in 1872, was one of the great figures in polar exploration. In 1897, he was first mate on a Belgian expedition that was the first ever to winter in the Antarctic. In 1903, he guided the 47-ton sloop Gjöa through the Northwest Passage and around the Canadian coast, the first navigator to accomplish the treacherous journey. Amundsen planned to be the first man to the North Pole, and he was about to embark in 1909 when he learned that the American Robert Peary had achieved the feat.
Amundsen completed his preparations and in June 1910 sailed instead for Antarctica, where the English explorer Robert F. Scott was also headed with the aim of reaching the South Pole. In early 1911, Amundsen sailed his ship into Antarctica’s Bay of Whales and set up base camp 60 miles closer to the pole than Scott. In October, both explorers set off – Amundsen using sleigh dogs, and Scott employing Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. On 14 December 1911, Amundsen’s expedition won the race to the Pole and returned safely to base camp in late January.
Scott’s expedition was less fortunate. The motor sleds broke down, the ponies had to be shot, and the dog teams were sent back as Scott and four companions continued on foot. On 18 January 1912, they reached the pole only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by over a month. Weather on the return journey was exceptionally bad, and two members perished, one voluntarily. Captain Lawrence Oates was aware that he was a burden on the team, barely able to walk and slowing the rest down from making base camp before rations ran out. The others refused to leave him behind. On the morning of 16 March, Scott reports that Oates remarked “I am just going outside. I may be some time,” and left the tent in the teeth of a -40 degree Celsius blizzard, without his boots. His sacrifice made no difference to the rest of the party: a storm later trapped Scott and the other two survivors in their tent only 11 miles from their base camp. Their frozen bodies were found later that year.
After his historic Antarctic journey, Amundsen established a successful shipping business. He later made attempts to become the first explorer to fly over the North Pole. In 1925, in an airplane, he flew within 150 miles of the goal. In 1926, he passed over the North Pole in a dirigible just three days after American explorer Richard E. Byrd had apparently done so in an aircraft. In 1996, a diary that Byrd had kept on the flight was found that seemed to suggest that the he had turned back 150 miles short of its goal because of an oil leak, making Amundsen’s dirigible expedition the first flight over the North Pole.
In 1928, Amundsen lost his life while trying to rescue a fellow explorer whose dirigible had crashed at sea near Spitsbergen, Norway. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history.html)
588 B.C. – Ezekiel Started Lamentation for Egypt.
How we ought to lament and be burdened for the sins of our people. Let us ask God to break our hearts because of sin. Let us remember that “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34)
1791 – The Bill of Rights was Declared In Force.
The following ten amendments compose the Bill of Rights:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by an oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital or other infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land of naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right of a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which districts shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witness against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
In suits at common law where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration of the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
1770 – The Birthday of Ludwig Von Beethoven.
Of course, this is one of the masters in the music field. Let us thank God today for good music and for those who have given us this treasure. Why not play some of the classics today; also, play some good spiritual songs and spend a while in private meditation thanking God for good music.
1773 – The Boston Tea Party.
In Boston Harbour, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into the harbour.
The midnight raid, popularly known as the “Boston Tea Party,” was in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny.
When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbour, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organised the “tea party” with about 60 members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British tea dumped in Boston Harbour on the night of 16 December was valued at some $18,000.
Parliament, outraged by the blatant destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history.html).
1836 – The New York City Fire Destroyed 674 Buildings.
How long has it been since you thanked God for the Fire Department? We take so much for granted, don’t we? Let us pause today to thank God for this security we have.
Christmas is Approaching.
Christmas is approaching. There are gifts to buy. There are loved ones to think about. It would be wise, I think, to ask God to help us to have His leadership in our selection of gifts. Let us pray that we will not be extravagant but wise and loving in our gifts for each other.
16 A. D. – Lazarus Died.
This is the date that Lazarus was supposed to have died for the second time. Of course, this is only traditional. There are those who think that Lazarus was raptured into Heaven because he had already died. We will leave the answer to this until we get to Heaven.
1807 – The Birthday of John Greenleaf Whittier.
1879 – Gypsy Smith Married.
When I think of Gypsy Smith, I think of the blessed story told me by Dr. John R. Rice. Gypsy Smith preached on soul winning in the First Baptist Church of Dallas when John R. Rice was a young man. When the service was over, Dr. Rice resolved he would go out and witness to the first person he saw. After the closing prayer, he witnessed to the first person he saw. When asking the person if he were a Christian, this person replied, “Yes, a gypsy just came out of the speaker’s door and lead me to Jesus Christ.” Gypsy Smith beat him to it. What a great testimony this is.
It was Gypsy Smith who said, “Anyone can preach to a crowd, but it takes the grace of God to preach to one man.”
Gypsy Smith as an older man married a very young lady. When someone asked him why, he replied, “I’d rather smell perfume than liniment.”
1903 – The Date of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight.
Near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the petrol-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.
Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world’s first airplane.
After exhaustively researching other engineers’ efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and air-frames of different shapes and designs. The brothers’ systematic experimentation paid off – they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.
In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on 14 December Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on 17 December, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.
During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps purchased a specially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever in 1912; Orville lived until 1948.
The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-17.html).
Certainly, I must thank God today for the airplane, and the amazing opportunity we have for spreading the Gospel because of this means of travel.
1620 – Mayflower Pilgrims come ashore at Plymouth Harbor
On 18 December 1620, passengers on the British ship Mayflower come ashore at modern-day Plymouth, Massachusetts, to begin their new settlement, Plymouth Colony.
The famous Mayflower story began in 1606, when a group of reform-minded Puritans in Nottinghamshire, England, founded their own church, separate from the state-sanctioned Church of England. Accused of treason, they were forced to leave the country and settle in the more tolerant Netherlands. After 12 years of struggling to adapt and make a decent living, the group sought financial backing from some London merchants to set up a colony in America. On September 6, 1620, 102 passengers – dubbed Pilgrims by William Bradford, a passenger who would become the first governor of Plymouth Colony – crowded on the Mayflower to begin the long, hard journey to a new life in the New World.
On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor Cape Cod. Before going ashore, 41 male passengers – heads of families, single men and three male servants – signed the famous Mayflower Compact, agreeing to submit to a government chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the good of the colony. Over the next month, several small scouting groups were sent ashore to collect firewood and scout out a good place to build a settlement. Around December 10, one of these groups found a harbor they liked on the western side of Cape Cod Bay. They returned to the Mayflower to tell the other passengers, but bad weather prevented them reaching the harbor until December 16. Two days later, the first group of Pilgrims went ashore.
After exploring the region, the settlers chose a cleared area previously occupied by members of a local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag. The tribe had abandoned the village several years earlier, after an outbreak of European disease. That winter of 1620-21 was brutal, as the Pilgrims struggled to build their settlement, find food and ward off sickness. By spring, 50 of the original 102 Mayflower passengers were dead. The remaining settlers made contact with returning members of the Wampanoag tribe and in March they signed a peace treaty with a tribal chief, Massasoit. Aided by the Wampanoag, especially the English-speaking Squanto, the Pilgrims were able to plant crops – especially corn and beans – that were vital to their survival. The Mayflower and its crew left Plymouth to return to England on April 5, 1621.
Over the next several decades, more and more settlers made the trek across the Atlantic to Plymouth, which gradually grew into a prosperous shipbuilding and fishing center. In 1691, Plymouth was incorporated into the new Massachusetts Bay Association, ending its history as an independent colony. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-18.html)
1707 – Charles Wesley was Born.
1787 – New Jersey was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray for our Christian friends in New Jersey and for those who labor in the vineyard there.
1853 – The Date of Charles H. Spurgeon’s First Sermon.
Charles H. Spurgeon has been called the “Prince of Preachers.” In his early twenties, he was pastor of the largest Baptist Church in London. It was during this pastorate that he was married to one of his parishioners. For many years he thrilled the hearts of the people of England who came by the thousands to hear his great messages. He certainly influenced not only England, but the entire world and his influence is felt today in his writings. A young preacher came to Spurgeon one time and voiced discontent because he was having so few conversions. Spurgeon said, “Young man, you don’t expect to have conversions every time you preach, do you?”
“Why, no,” replied the man, “Not every time.”
“That is why you don’t!” snapped Spurgeon.
May God revive the spirit and power of Spurgeon!
1891 – The Birthday of C. M. Slaughter, Sr., Jack Hyles’ Father-in-law.
For seventeen years, my wife had prayed daily for the salvation of her father. While on a preaching trip to Texas, I went to his home and did what I had done many times before – witnessed to him and told him how to be saved. This time, however, it was different. God had spoken to his heart and he was receptive. Here he received Christ as his Saviour and prayed the sinner’s prayer. This is the prayer he prayed: “Heavenly Father, I am an old man. I have always believed in you; now I trust you as my Saviour. Thank you for my daughter and my son and for a son-in-law in whom I can trust. Please forgive me for all the wrongs that I have done. In the presence of my son-in-law, a minister of the Gospel, I now receive you as my Saviour.”
This was on a Tuesday afternoon. We called the Galilean Baptist Church in Dallas, and asked the pastor, Brother Bob Keyes, if we could use his baptistry that evening.
At eleven o’clock that evening, nine of us walked into the church building. Mr. Slaughter and I went to the dressing room and prepared for the baptism. As we walked down into the baptismal waters, he said “Son, I have two birthdays today. Seventy years ago today, I was born, and today, I have been born again.” As the seven others sang, “Happy Birthday to You,” he was lowered into the waters of baptism and baptized into the membership of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, This was one of the high days of my life!
1909 -The Birthdate of Dr. W. A. Criswell.
Dr. W. A. Criswell has for many years been pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Dr. Criswell had the unenviable task of following the great George W. Truett, who was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Dallas, for nearly half a century.
Dr. Criswell’s favorite Scripture is Isaiah 40:8, “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God will stand forever.”
457 B.C. – The Approximate Date When Judah Repented of Her Strange Wives.
This was the approximate date when Judah repented of her strange wives at the preaching of Ezra in Ezra 10:9-17. Would God this adulterous generation would do the same.
1803 – The Date of the Louisiana Purchase.
1894 – Mrs. John R. (Lloys) Rice was Born.
1896 – Dr. Walter Wilson was Converted.
Dr. Walter Wilson of Kansas City, Missouri, was for many years a medical doctor. More and more his life turned to the ministry of preaching. Consequently, he has traveled across the world preaching. One of the most unusual things about Dr. Wilson is his soul-winning ministry. One time he told me personally that he interpreted Psalm 126:6 to say, ‘He that goeth forth and weepeth having a leaky seed basket, will doubtless come again rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.’ The words, “bearing precious seed,” in the original seem to mean having a leaky seed basket. Certainly, his seed basket has been leaky, and some of the most unusual stories of souls being saved come from his lips and his books. Let us thank God for the ministry of this faithful soul winner and pray that God will make us soul winners. It was my joy to have Dr. Wilson in the First Baptist Church in Hammond and to become acquainted personally with him.
1620 – The Pilgrims Landed.
Thank God today for the great heritage of our nation. Thank God for those who founded it upon Christian principles. Pray God to help us preserve that heritage.
1795 – Robert Moffat was Born.
Robert Moffat was a great missionary. It is said that he cleared a way through the jungles of Africa.
An interesting story about Robert Moffat concerns a small country church. The old pastor had preached for a year without any visible results. The church voted to ask for the pastor’s resignation because of this bad record. The old pastor said in his closing words, “We have not had a good year. Of course, we did have wee Bobby Moffat come forward.” No one, however, took this seriously. This wee Bobby Moffat became the great missionary to Africa who cleared the way through the jungles for the Gospel. This may have been the greatest year this church ever had. Let us pray today for missionaries in Africa. Perhaps, you know some by name. Ask God to bless them today.
Another winter is upon us. Let us thank God for warm homes, warm beds, warm fires, and many provisions we have to keep us from the cold winter.
1807 – The First Embargo Act was Passed.
1862 – Billy Sunday’s Father Died.
Billy Sunday’s father did not know that he had a great evangelist in the making. We do not know what our influence will be on the lives of others and what our influence can be upon the lives of our children. Let us pray for each of our children by name today. Thank God for them and for their health, and pray God’s blessings upon their lives. Pray that God will keep them clean and pure and in His perfect will for their lives.
1899 – Dwight L. Moody Died.
Moody was a seventeen-year-old lad working in a Boston shoe store. A Mr. Kimball was his Sunday school teacher. Burdened for the soul of his Sunday school pupil, he timidly came to the shoe store and witnessed to Dwight Moody. Through this, Moody became a Christian.
It is said that one day while walking down Wall Street, Mr. Moody was so overcome with the Holy Spirit that he had to ask God to withhold His power until he could get alone. He found refuge in a room of a friend. From that day, he was never the same.
1989 – Romanian Government Falls as Ceausecu is Swept from Power
The Romanian army defects to the cause of anti-communist demonstrators, and the government of Nicolae Ceausescu is overthrown. The end of 42 years of communist rule came three days after Ceausescu’s security forces opened fire on demonstrators in Timisoara. After the army’s defection, Ceausescu and his wife fled from Bucharest in a helicopter, but were captured and convicted of mass murder in a hasty military trial. On December 25th, they were executed by a firing squad. Ceausescu, ruler of Romania since 1965, had resisted the liberalization of the USSR and other Soviet bloc countries in the late 1980s. By the time of his government’s downfall in 1989, Romania was the most repressive and economically backward country in Europe. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-22.html;jsessionid=CBE1A0CED74EA475094EEECE7AA7AE3E)
1744 – John Wesley Preached at Snow Fields.
He was chased out of the church. He went to the graveyard and preached with his father’s tombstone as a pulpit.
Mr. Wesley once said, “Give me ten men who hate nothing but sin, love nothing but God, and seek nothing but souls, and we will turn the world upside down.”
Wesley was the seventeenth child of nineteen children. His mother, Susannah, spent an hour every week with each child teaching them character building. Certainly, in a day of apostasy and falling away, let us pray for God to stir the hearts of Methodists and bring them back to faithfulness to the Word of God and the evangelism of John Wesley. Let us thank God for the influence of this great man and pray today for God to raise up more Wesleys in our generation.
1888: Van Gogh cuts off his ear
On this day in 1888, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cuts off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France. He later documented the event in a painting titled ‘Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear’. Today, Van Gogh is regarded as an artistic genius and his masterpieces sell for record-breaking prices; however, during his lifetime, he was a poster boy for tortured starving artists and sold only one painting.
Vincent Willem van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in the Netherlands. He had a difficult, nervous personality and worked unsuccessfully at an art gallery and then as a preacher among poor miners in Belgium. In 1880, he decided to become an artist. His work from this period – the most famous of which is ‘The Potato Eaters’ (1885) – is dark and somber and reflective of the experiences he had among peasants and impoverished miners.
In 1886, Van Gogh moved to Paris where his younger brother Theo, with whom he was close, lived. Theo, an art dealer, supported his brother financially and introduced him to a number of artists, including Paul Gauguin, Camille Pisarro and Georges Seurat. Influenced by these and other painters, Van Gogh’s own artistic style lightened up and he began using more color.
In 1888, Van Gogh rented a house in Arles in the south of France, where he hoped to found an artists’ colony and be less of a burden to his brother. In Arles, Van Gogh painted vivid scenes from the countryside as well as still-lifes, including his famous sunflower series. Gauguin came to stay with him in Arles and the two men worked together for almost two months. However, tensions developed and on 23 December, in a fit of dementia, Van Gogh threatened his friend with a knife before turning it on himself and mutilating his ear lobe. Afterward, he allegedly wrapped up the ear and gave it to a prostitute at a nearby brothel. Following that incident, Van Gogh was hospitalized in Arles and then checked himself into a mental institution in Saint-Remy for a year. During his stay in Saint-Remy, he fluctuated between periods of madness and intense creativity, in which he produced some of his best and most well-known works, including ‘Starry Night’ (1889) and ‘Irises’ (1889).
In May 1890, Van Gogh moved to Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris, where he continued to be plagued by despair and loneliness. On July 27, 1890, he shot himself in the chest and died two days later, aged only 37. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history.html)
1948 – Tojo was Hanged.
520 B.C. – The Approximate Date That Haggai Rebuked the Priests.
Haggai rebuked the priest for the unclean nation and warned of coming destruction. Haggai 2:10.
1274 – Robin Hood Died.
1486 – Savanarola Sat in His Pulpit Five Hours Waiting for Power.
Savanarola would not preach without the power of God!
1784 – The Methodist Denomination was Organized in America.
1865 : The first KKK is founded
In Pulaski, Tennessee, a group of Confederate veterans convenes to form a secret society that they christen the Ku Klux Klan. The first incarnation of the KKK rapidly grew from a secret social fraternity to a paramilitary force bent on reversing the federal government’s progressive Reconstruction Era-activities in the South, especially policies that elevated the rights of the local African American population.
The name of the Ku Klux Klan was derived from the Greek word kyklos, meaning “circle,” and the Scottish-Gaelic word “clan”, and not, as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle speculated in ‘The Five Orange Pips’ (1891), derived from “the fanciful resemblance to the sound produced by cocking a rifle”. which was probably chosen for the sake of alliteration. Under a platform of philosophized white racial superiority, the group employed violence as a means of pushing back Reconstruction and its enfranchisement of African Americans. Former Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest was the KKK’s first Grand Wizard; in 1869, he unsuccessfully tried to disband it after he grew critical of the Klan’s excessive violence.
Most prominent in counties where the races were relatively balanced, the KKK engaged in terrorist raids against African Americans and white Republicans at night, employing intimidation, destruction of property, assault, and murder to achieve its aims and influence upcoming elections. In a few Southern states, Republicans organized militia units to break up the Klan. In 1871, the Ku Klux Act passed Congress, authorizing President Ulysses S. Grant to use military force to suppress the KKK. The Ku Klux Act resulted in nine South Carolina counties being placed under martial law and thousands of arrests. In 1882, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Ku Klux Act unconstitutional, but by that time Reconstruction had ended and the KKK had faded away.
The 20th century witnessed two revivals of the KKK: one in response to immigration in the 1910s and 20s, and another in response to the African American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-24.html)
1866 – Annie Johnson Flint was Born.
Miss Flint was a poet and a cripple. She wrote the poem, “Hands and Feet for Him.”
Christ has no hands but our hands
To do His work today;
He has no feet but our feet
To lead men in His way;
He has no lips but our lips
To tell men how He died;
He has no help but our help
To bring them to His side.
We are the only Bible
The careless world will read;
We are the sinner’s gospel;
We are the scoffer’s creed;
We are our Lord’s last message,
Written in deed and word;
What if the type be crooked?
What if the print be blurred?
What if our hands be busy
With other work than His?
What if our feet be walking
Where sin’s allurement is-
If our lips be speaking
Of things His lips would spurn,
How can we hope to help Him,
Or hasten our Lord’s return?
1871- The Northside Tabernacle in Chicago was Dedicated by Moody.
This tabernacle was the father of what is now the famous Moody Memorial Church.
1943 – General Eisenhower was Appointed the European Commander.
Let us thank God for this great man and his influence on our nation.
1642 – Sir Isaac Newton Made Known the Principle of Universal Gravitation on This Day.
1766 – Christmas Evans was Born.
Christmas Evans, a famous old preacher, was born on Christmas day. Christmas Evans was a circuit-riding preacher. He lost the sight in one eye by being beaten by the old crowd with whom he used to run. This happened shortly after his conversion.
As Christmas Evans died, some young preachers came by his bedside and asked what advice he would leave with them. He raised up and with his last words said, “Young men, preach the blood in the basin.”
1821 – Clara Barton was Born Christmas Day.
1914 : The Christmas Truce
Just after midnight on Christmas morning, the majority of German troops engaged in World War I in the region of Ypres, Belgium cease firing their guns and artillery and commence to sing Christmas carols, including ‘Stille Nacht’ (‘Silent Night’). At certain points along the eastern and western fronts, the soldiers of Russia, France, and Britain even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.
At the first light of dawn, many of the German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across no-man’s-land, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans unarmed they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of football. The truce also allowed both sides to gather and bury their dead with honor At one funeral, soldiers from both sides gathered to recite a passage from the 23rd Psalm.
The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the outbreak of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in warfare. There is anecdotal evidence of an informal armistice observed by both sides along the Western front, especially in the latter stages of the war, where artillery shelling was conducted at precise points and at precise times so that casualties were limited. With great advances made in technology in the years between World War I and II, opposing forces no longer had to face each other in the trenches, and thus an informal truce on the scale of that seen in 1914 never happened again. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-25.html;jsessionid=002B5CD7834648C073E7987426CBDE4B)
Read the Christmas Story Today.
Read the Christmas story with your family. Then read it alone and thank God for Jesus. It has long been my policy on Christmas Day to go through my Christmas cards one by one and pray by name for “each person from whom I received a card. Spend some time in meditation today.
1776 – General Washington Crossed the Delaware.
Let us thank God for General George Washington. His knee prints were left in the snow in Valley Forge where he prayed for divine guidance. Let us pray today for our President and those who have authority over us that God will give them divine guidance. Let us pray for God to give us great national leaders, men of character, wisdom, and spiritual depth. Pray for God to give us men who will not fog their minds with alcoholic beverages. Pray for men who will lead us under God. How we need them today!
1928 – Commander Byrd Reached the Ice Layer of the Antarctic.
1961 – Dr. and Mrs. Shelton Smith Married.
2004: Tsunami sweeps through Asia
On the day after Christmas in 2004, a massive undersea earthquake occurs just off the coast of Indonesia at a few minutes before 8 a.m. local time. With a magnitude of 9.3, the quake was the most powerful of the last 40 years and the second largest earthquake in recorded history. It set off a deadly tsunami that, in the final estimate, killed an estimated 230,000 people and wreaked untold devastation on a wide swath of coastline ranging from Somalia on the east African coast to Sumatra in Southeast Asia.
While most earthquakes last for only a few seconds, it is reported that the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, as it is known to the scientific community, lasted almost ten minutes, triggering other earthquakes as far away as Alaska and causing the entire planet to move at least a few centimeters. The epicenter of the earthquake was 100 miles west of Sumatra, at the western end of the area known as the “Ring of Fire” for its intense seismic activity. That region has been home to more than 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes. Since 1900, when accurate measurements began to be made, only three or four earthquakes have rivaled the Sumatra-Andaman in power.
It is estimated that the quake caused the sea bed of the Indian Ocean to rise almost 10 feet, causing seven cubic miles of water to be displaced. The resulting tsunami (from the Japanese words for “harbor” and “waves”) sent waves of up to 100 feet crashing into the shores of the Indian Ocean, hitting Somalia, Indonesia, Sumatra, Sri Lanka, southern India, and Thailand, and flooding a series of islands, including the Maldives. In deep water, tsunami waves are barely noticeable and mostly harmless, but in the shallow water near coastlines, tsunamis slow down and form large destructive waves.
Despite scientists reporting the quake about 15 minutes after it struck, there was no tsunami warning system in place in the Indian Ocean with which to track possible tsunamis. A warning system in the Pacific Ocean – where most tsunamis occur – has proven successful in minimizing deaths from tsunamis since it was installed in the mid-1950s. However, the warning systems are difficult and expensive to set up and, despite some requests for aid, one had never been built in the Indian Ocean, located in a relatively poor part of the world.
Within 30 minutes, the tsunami had hit Sumatra and, within two hours, it had battered the coasts of Thailand, Sri Lanka, and southern India. Despite the time lag, the vast majority of victims had no idea that the tsunami was on the way. Although initial news reports severely underestimated the death toll, it became clear within days that the tsunami had created a disaster of unprecedented proportions – killing an estimated 230,000 people and leaving more than a million homeless. Thousands – most likely swept out to sea – will never be found. It has been reported that one third of the victims were children, due to both the region’s demographics and children’s relative inability to protect themselves. The tsunami also killed more women than men, a statistic that is chalked up to the fact that more men may have been working out at sea in deep water, where they were safer. In addition to natives of the region, an estimated 9,000 people from outside the area, mainly Europeans, were killed while on vacation at the region’s resorts.
Although there were no official government warnings of the impending disaster, some communities were able to read nature’s signs and knew to evacuate. On the Indonesian island of Simeulue, the oral tradition of the native islanders contained references to a tsunami that occurred in 1907 and the incidents that preceded it. They recognized the receding tide that followed the earthquake as a sign of a coming tsunami and retreated to higher ground, surviving the massive waves.
Most, however, were not so lucky. Despite substantial relief efforts, with public and private aid to the affected areas totaling in the billions of dollars, it will take decades or longer for the shattered infrastructures and economies of the affected regions to be rebuilt. As part of their response to the disaster, the United Nations is currently planning the implementation of a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean. Scientists believe that other large earthquakes are likely in the area of the sea floor near the epicenter of the Sumatra-Andaman quake.
The Day After Christmas.
This being the day after Christmas, there is certainly a let-down. The excitement is over, the gifts are unwrapped, and the Christmas tree has lost its beauty and glamour. The climax is over. Let us spend a few moments today in meditation, thanking God for the Christmas season and asking God to bless our lives to His glory.
1822 – Louis Pasteur was Born.
Mr. Pasteur gave us many things, one of which we call pasteurized milk. Have you thanked God lately for your milkman and for the convenience of buying milk at the corner store? Let us thank God today for such a little thing as milk. Witness to your milkman.
The things given to us by this great man are innumerable. Let us thank God today for the contributions he made to us. Thank God for the scientific progress of our generation. Let us pray God to give us spiritual character to know how to use our scientific progress.
1843 – B. H. Carroll was Born.
1979: Soviet backed coup in Afghanistan leads to doomed invasion
As invading Soviet troops pour into Afghanistan, Afghan President Hafizullah Amin is murdered in a Soviet-backed coup. Afghan Babrak Karmal, a product of the KGB, was installed in his place. Despite early gains, the Soviet army met with unanticipated resistance from Muslim guerrillas, who launched a jihad, or holy war, against the foreigners. Armed by the United States, Britain, China and several Muslim nations, the Muhajadeen, or holy warriors, inflicted heavy casualties on the Russians. In April 1988, after years of stalemate, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a peace accord with Afghanistan. The last Soviet soldier left Afghanistan in 1989, where civil war continued until the Taliban’s seizure of power in the late 1990s
The New Year is Near.
It is time to think about resolutions. It is time to reflect over the past year. It is time to repent of failures and give God the glory for successes. It is time to make a list of our resolutions for the new year and begin seeking God’s power to keep them. It is time to reflect and time to look forward. It is time to repent and to promise. It is time to forgive and time to be forgiven. Let us think today what God would have us be next year and point toward that.
1846 – Iowa was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray today for our Christian friends in Iowa and for the preachers who serve there. I am thinking of preachers whom I know in Iowa and of places where I have preached in this great state. Let us pray for God’s work there today.
1856 – Woodrow Wilson was Born.
Woodrow Wilson was a President of our great nation. He was the founder of the League of Nations, yet, led America from the League of Nations. He was a man of wisdom. I think he was a Christian. The thought should lead us to pray for our President again today. We have prayed for him many times through the year. Let us end the year holding him before the Lord and asking God to give him wisdom and spiritual discernment.
Then let us thank God for Woodrow Wilson. It is said that his last words were: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
1895: First commercial movie screened
On this day in 1895, the world’s first commercial movie screening takes place at the Grand Cafe in Paris. The film was made by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers who developed a camera-projector called the Cinematographe. The Lumiere brothers unveiled their invention to the public in March 1895 with a brief film showing workers leaving the Lumiere factory. On December 28, the entrepreneurial siblings screened a series of short scenes from everyday French life and charged admission for the first time.
Movie technology has its roots in the early 1830s, when Joseph Plateau of Belgium and Simon Stampfer of Austria simultaneously developed a device called the phenakistoscope, which incorporated a spinning disc with slots through which a series of drawings could be viewed, creating the effect of a single moving image. The phenakistoscope, considered the precursor of modern motion pictures, was followed by decades of advances and in 1890, Thomas Edison and his assistant William Dickson developed the first motion-picture camera, called the Kinetograph. The next year, 1891, Edison invented the Kinetoscope, a machine with a peephole viewer that allowed one person to watch a strip of film as it moved past a light.
In 1894, Antoine Lumiere, the father of Auguste (1862-1954) and Louis (1864-1948), saw a demonstration of Edison’s Kinetoscope. The elder Lumiere was impressed, but reportedly told his sons, who ran a successful photographic plate factory in Lyon, France, that they could come up with something better. Louis Lumiere’s Cinematographe, which was patented in 1895, was a combination movie camera and projector that could display moving images on a screen for an audience. The Cinematographe was also smaller, lighter and used less film than Edison’s technology.
The Lumieres opened theaters (known as cinemas) in 1896 to show their work and sent crews of cameramen around the world to screen films and shoot new material. In America, the film industry quickly took off. In 1896, Vitascope Hall, believed to be the first theater in the U.S. devoted to showing movies, opened in New Orleans. In 1909, The New York Times published its first film review (of D.W. Griffith’s ‘Pippa Passes’), in 1911 the first Hollywood film studio opened and in 1914, Charlie Chaplin made his big-screen debut.
In addition to the Cinematographe, the Lumieres also developed the first practical color photography process, the Autochrome plate, which debuted in 1907. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history.html)
1808 – The Birthday of Andrew Johnson.
Andrew Johnson was the only President of the United States to be impeached. Again let us pray for our President.
1845 – Texas was Admitted to the Union.
Texas was a country of its own with its own President. It came into the union by treaty. This is a unique situation. I (Jack Hyles) was born in Texas, I was reared in Texas, and I pastored four churches in Texas. I have preached in literally hundreds of pulpits across the state. From the Mexican border on the south to the top of the Panhandle; from EI Paso on the west to Texarkana on the east (over 900 miles apart), I have preached. Naturally, I love Texas. Pray for the work there and for the many preachers who faithfully proclaim the Gospel and the Christians there who serve the Lord faithfully.
1876 – P. P. Bliss and His Wife were Killed.
P. P. Bliss and his wife were killed in a railroad accident in Ashlabula, Ohio. P. P. Bliss was Moody’s contemporary. He wrote such songs as “Hold the Fort,” “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning,” etc. He was a great man who gave away most of this earnings. Why not sing with your family or with some friends one of his songs today. Start with “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”
1890 – U.S. Army massacres Indians at Wounded Knee.
On this day in 1890, in the final chapter of America’s long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.
Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.
On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under the Sioux Chief Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it’s unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it is estimated almost 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.
The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it is unlikely that Big Foot’s band would have intentionally started a fight. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment’s defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last major confrontation in America’s deadly war against the Plains Indians.
Conflict came to Wounded Knee again in February 1973 when it was the site of a 71-day occupation by the activist group AIM (American Indian Movement) and its supporters, who were protesting the U.S. government’s mistreatment of Native Americans. During the standoff, two Indians were killed, one federal marshal was seriously wounded and numerous people were arrested. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history.html)
1980 – Dr. John R. Rice Died.
1823 – Finney was Licensed to Preach.
Charles G. Finney was the great evangelist upon whom the power of God was so strong in the early days of our country. Thank God for Finney. God give us more Finneys.
1847 – The First Postage Stamps were Issued.
Thank God for the miracle of the Post Office Department. Think of the tremendous blessing derived by being able to keep in contact with those whom we love through the mail. This is something that we take for granted far too often. Let us thank God for this blessing. Write a friend today.
1865 – The Birthday of Rudyard Kipling.
1873 – Alfred E. Smith was Born on This Day.
1918 – The Birthday of Hugh Pyle.
Hugh Pyle has been an evangelist, a successful pastor, a faithful preacher of the Gospel, and a good sermon builder. At this writing he is pastor in Panama City, Florida.
1922 : The USSR is established
In post-revolutionary Russia, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is established, comprising a confederation of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation (divided in 1936 into the Georgian, Azerbaijan, and Armenian republics). Also known as the Soviet Union, the new communist state was the successor to the Russian Empire and the first country in the world to be based on Marxist socialism. On February 1, 1924, the USSR was recognized by the British Empire.
During the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent three-year Russian Civil War, the Bolshevik Party under Vladimir Lenin dominated the Soviet forces, a coalition of workers’ and soldiers’ committees that called for the establishment of a socialist state in the former Russian Empire. In the USSR, all levels of government were controlled by the Communist Party, and the party’s politburo, with its increasingly powerful general secretary, effectively ruled the country. Soviet industry was owned and managed by the state, and agricultural land was divided into state-run collective farms.
In the decades after it was established, the Russian-dominated Soviet Union grew into one of the world’s most powerful and influential states and eventually encompassed 15 republics – Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. The USSR would go on to engage in almost seven decades of Cold War with Western, capitalist nations, where both sides would attempt to influence the politics and economies of various countries around the world. In 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved following the collapse of its communist government.
1738 – The Birthday of Lord Cornwallis.
1880 – The Birthday of General George C. Marshall.
1944 – Jack Hyles was Called to Preach.
I was called to preach on December 31, 1944. I was at a watch-night service at the Hillcrest Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. I was sitting beside my girl friend (who is now my wife). I felt the call of God as I had not felt it before. I surrendered my life to preach the Gospel. I was not a very gifted young man, and not very talented, but I gave what I had to Him. Praise His name, He has used it.
1949 – Jack Hyles Went to a Tavern to Find My Father.
I found him and took him to a little country church where I pastored. He attended the watch night service and the services on the Lord’s Day, January 1, 1950. These were the only two sermons I ever preached to him.
1999 – Panama Canal handed over to Panama
On this day in 1999, the United States, in accordance with the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, officially hands over control of the Panama Canal, putting the strategic waterway into Panamanian hands for the first time. Crowds of Panamanians celebrated the transfer of the 50-mile canal, which links the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and officially opened when the SS Arcon sailed through on August 15, 1914. Since then, over 922,000 ships have used the canal.
Interest in finding a shortcut from the Atlantic to the Pacific originated with explorers in Central America in the early 1500s. In 1523, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V commissioned a survey of the Isthmus of Panama and several plans for a canal were produced, but none were ever implemented. U.S. interest in building a canal was sparked with the expansion of the American West and the Californian gold rush in 1848. (Today, a ship heading from New York to San Francisco can save about 7,800 miles by taking the Panama Canal rather than sailing around South America.)
In 1880 a French company run by the builder of the Suez Canal started digging a canal across the Isthmus of Panama (then a part of Colombia). More than 22,000 workers died from tropical diseases such as yellow fever during this early phase of construction and the company eventually went bankrupt, selling its project rights to the United States in 1902 for $40 million. President Theodore Roosevelt championed the canal, viewing it as important to America’s economic and military interests. In 1903, Panama declared its independence from Colombia in a U.S.-backed revolution and the U.S. and Panama signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, in which the U.S. agreed to pay Panama $10 million for a perpetual lease on land for the canal, plus $250,000 annually in rent.
Over 56,000 people worked on the canal between 1904 and 1913 and over 5,600 lost their lives. When finished, the canal, which cost the U.S. $375 million to build, was considered a great engineering marvel and represented America’s emergence as a world power.
In 1977, responding to nearly 20 years of Panamanian protest, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Panama’s General Omar Torrijos signed two new treaties that replaced the original 1903 agreement and called for a transfer of canal control in 1999. The treaty, narrowly ratified by the U.S. Senate, gave America the ongoing right to defend the canal against any threats to its neutrality. In October 2006, Panamanian voters approved a $5.25 billion plan to double the canal’s size by 2015 to better accommodate modern ships.
Ships pay tolls to use the canal, based on each vessel’s size and cargo volume. In May 2006, the Maersk Dellys paid a record toll of $249,165. The smallest-ever toll – 36 cents – was paid by Richard Halliburton, who swam the canal in 1928. (www.history.co.uk/this-day-in-history/December-31.html;jsessionid=A2A3D3EA37F6119119664DC42151897C)
Attend a Watchnight Service Tonight.
Why not attend the watchnight service tonight. What a good way to see the old year out and the new year in.