February 1

1451 B.C. – The Approximate Date When Moses said, “Ye have dwelt long enough in this mount.”

Deuteronomy 1:6

1789 – The First President of the United States was Elected.

Let us pray for our President today.

1790 – The Beginning of the United States Supreme Court.

Here is a field that deserves and demands our prayers. Probably no Supreme Court ever needed our prayers as does the one at this writing. We have tampered with the Bible in the public school system; we have tampered with prayer in the schoolroom. Because of our need for spiritual men in the Supreme Court. let us pray today for the United States Supreme Court.

1884 – Oxford Dictionary debuts

“On this day in 1884, the first portion, or fascicle, of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), considered the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary of the English language, is published. Today, the OED is the definitive authority on the meaning, pronunciation and history of over half a million words, past and present

Plans for the dictionary began in 1857 when members of London’s Philological Society, who believed there were no up-to-date, error-free English dictionaries available, decided to produce one that would cover all vocabulary from the Anglo-Saxon period (1150 A.D.) to the present. Conceived of as a four-volume, 6,400-page work, it was estimated the project would take 10 years to finish. In fact, it took over 40 years until the 125th and final fascicle was published in April 1928 and the full dictionary was complete–at over 400,000 words and phrases in 10 volumes–and published under the title A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

Unlike most English dictionaries, which only list present-day common meanings, the OED provides a detailed chronological history for every word and phrase, citing quotations from a wide range of sources, including classic literature and cookbooks. The OED is famous for its lengthy cross-references and etymologies. The verb “set” merits the OED’s longest entry, at approximately 60,000 words and detailing over 430 uses.

No sooner was the OED finished than editors began updating it. A supplement, containing new entries and revisions, was published in 1933 and the original dictionary was reprinted in 12 volumes and officially renamed the Oxford English Dictionary.
Between 1972 and 1986, an updated 4-volume supplement was published, with new terms from the continually evolving English language plus more words and phrases from North America, Australia, the Caribbean, New Zealand, South Africa and South Asia.

In 1984, Oxford University Press embarked on a five-year, multi-million-dollar project to create an electronic version of the dictionary. The effort required 120 people just to type the pages from the print edition and 50 proofreaders to check their work. In 1992, a CD-ROM version of the dictionary was released, making it much easier to search and retrieve information.

Today, the dictionary’s second edition is available online to subscribers and is updated quarterly with over 1,000 new entries and revisions. At a whopping 20 volumes weighing over 137 pounds, it would reportedly take one person 120 years to type all 59 million words in the OED.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/oxford-dictionary-debuts (Feb 1, 2012).

1898 – First Auto Accident Insurance Policy was Issued.

The first auto accident insurance policy was issued to Dr. T. J. Martin in Buffalo, New York. Today would be a good day to thank God for the automobile and to pledge to drive it safely.

1957 – Approximate Date of the Starting of the “City of Refuge.”

The “City of Refuge” was founded by Evangelist Lester Roloff. This is a place given to the restoring of fallen men and to the salvation of their souls. Lester Roloff is a personal friend of mine and a faithful preacher of the Gospel. Pray for his ministry today.

This is National Freedom Day.

Pause for a few moments to pray for the freedom of our nation and ask God to help you do what you can to preserve this freedom. Many of us are concerned today that our freedom is in jeopardy. Would God we had some men to rise and defend it.

February 2

1887 – First Groundhog Day

“On this day in 1887, Groundhog Day, featuring a rodent meteorologist, is celebrated for the first time at Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. According to tradition, if a groundhog comes out of its hole on this day and sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter weather; no shadow means an early spring.

Groundhog Day has its roots in the ancient Christian tradition of Candlemas Day, when clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.

Groundhogs, also called woodchucks and whose scientific name is Marmota monax, typically weigh 12 to 15 pounds and live six to eight years. They eat vegetables and fruits, whistle when they’re frightened or looking for a mate and can climb trees and swim. They go into hibernation in the late fall; during this time, their body temperatures drop significantly, their heartbeats slow from 80 to five beats per minute and they can lose 30 percent of their body fat. In February, male groundhogs emerge from their burrows to look for a mate (not to predict the weather) before going underground again. They come out of hibernation for good in March.

In 1887, a newspaper editor belonging to a group of groundhog hunters from Punxsutawney called the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club declared that Phil, the Punxsutawney groundhog, was America’s only true weather-forecasting groundhog. The line of groundhogs that have since been known as Phil might be America’s most famous groundhogs, but other towns across North America now have their own weather-predicting rodents, from Birmingham Bill to Staten Island Chuck to Shubenacadie Sam in Canada.

In 1993, the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray popularized the usage of “groundhog day” to mean something that is repeated over and over. Today, tens of thousands of people converge on Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney each February 2 to witness Phil’s prediction. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club hosts a three-day celebration featuring entertainment and activities.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-groundhog-day (Feb 2, 2012).

1895 – A. J. Gordon Died.

A. J. Gordon was the famous pastor of a previous generation. The last word of this great servant of God on his deathbed was simply “Victory.” The story was told concerning A. J. Gordon and a dream he once had. In the dream his church met for worship. It was a cold formal church. At the end of the service an old man stood and said that he had come off the streets poor and hungry of soul to receive a blessing but that there had been nothing for his hungry soul. It is said that this experience changed the life of A. J. Gordon and made him the great preacher that he was. Pray for your church today and Bible preaching churches everywhere that God will keep our services warm and spiritual so that young and old, rich and poor, learned and unlearned may be blessed. Pray for your pastor today, for he carries a heavy load. It is not easy to guide hundreds or thousands of people. He needs your prayers.

1913 – The Grand Central Terminal Opened its Office for the First Time.

There are many things that trains do for us that oftentimes we forget. Much of our mail service, passenger service, and other conveniences are provided for us by the railway system. Let us thank God today for the railroads.

Ground-Hog Day.

Let us hope he won’t see his shadow.

February 3

February 4

1783 – The Revolutionary War Ended.

1861 – The Southern Confederacy was Born.

Pray for the South today.

1876 – Mordecai Ham was Ordained to Preach the Gospel.

Mordecai Ham was a great southern preacher. He was a hard-hitting preacher. He once said that if the Devil died, most churches would not find out about it for a year. He conducted great city-wide meetings across the South and other sections of the country. He was an old-fashioned sin fighter. He was like the Pentecostal preacher who got mixed up while preaching. He intended to say God has called him to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out devils. He got his “tongue all tangled up” and said, “God has called me to heal the dead, cast out the sick, and raise the devils.” Mordecai Ham was this kind of preacher.

One of the most interesting things about Mordecai Ham is that it was under his ministry that Billy Graham was converted.

1902 – Charles Lindbergh Was Born.

1974 – Patty Hearst kidnapped

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by two black men and a white woman, all three of whom are armed. Her fiance, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along with a neighbor who tried to help. Witnesses reported seeing a struggling Hearst being carried away blindfolded, and she was put in the trunk of a car. Neighbors who came out into the street were forced to take cover after the kidnappers fired their guns to cover their escape.

Three days later, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small U.S. leftist group, announced in a letter to a Berkeley radio station that it was holding Hearst as a “prisoner of war.” Four days later, the SLA demanded that the Hearst family give $70 in foodstuffs to every needy person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. This done, said the SLA, negotiation would begin for the return of Patricia Hearst. Randolph Hearst hesitantly gave away some $2 million worth of food. The SLA then called this inadequate and asked for $6 million more. The Hearst Corporation said it would donate the additional sum if the girl was released unharmed.

In April, however, the situation changed dramatically when a surveillance camera took a photo of Hearst participating in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank, and she was also spotted during a robbery of a Los Angeles store. She later declared, in a tape sent to the authorities, that she had joined the SLA of her own free will.

On May 17, Los Angeles police raided the SLA’s secret headquarters, killing six of the group’s nine known members. Among the dead was the SLA’s leader, Donald DeFreeze, an African American ex-convict who called himself General Field Marshal Cinque. Patty Hearst and two other SLA members wanted for the April bank robbery were not on the premises.

Finally, on September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the country with her captors–or conspirators–for more than a year, Hearst, or “Tania” as she called herself, was captured in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. Despite her claim that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, she was convicted on March 20, 1976, and sentenced to seven years in prison. She served 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. After leaving prison, she returned to a more routine existence and later married her bodyguard. She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001. – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/patty-hearst-kidnapped (Feb 4, 2012).

February 5

1812 – Ann and Adoniram Judson were Married.

Of course, all Christians know the story behind this great missionary couple. Let us thank God for what they have done for the cause of Christ. Pray for God’s blessings upon missionaries everywhere. Perhaps you know some missionaries today for whom you ought to pray. Ask God to bless them and give them power and grace and victory. Ann Judson’s favorite verse was Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” It was by this verse that Ann Judson was converted.

1837 – The Birthdate of Dwight L. Moody.

Moody was born on Sunday. Interestingly enough, this was also his mother’s birthday.

1861 – The First Movie Projector was Invented.

1893 – The Birthday of Dr. Ford Porter.

Dr. Porter, at this writing, is one of the patriarchs. His tract, “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation,” has gone around the world. He is one of the most warm-hearted Christians I have ever met. I have preached in his church many times and have delighted again and again in the sweet fellowship with this giant. Pray for his work today – for God’s blessings to rest upon the tract, “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.”

1900 – Adlai Stevenson was Born.

1901 – The Birthday of G. Beauchamp Vick.

Dr. G. B. Vick is one of the great men of our generation. Pastor of one of the world’s largest churches, the great Temple Baptist Church in Detroit, and president of one of the great schools of our day, the Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, Dr. Vick leads hundreds and thousands of people in God’s work. He is one of the most humble men and yet one of the greatest organizers I have ever met. It has been my privilege to know him well. Let us thank God for his great ministry and pray God to give him many years of service. Pray for the Baptist Bible Fellowship today and the many churches therein. Some of the greatest churches in the world and some of the finest preachers in the world are in this great fellowship.

1994 – Beckwith convicted of killing Medgar Evers

“On this day in 1994, white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith is convicted in the murder of African-American civil rights leader Medgar Evers, over 30 years after the crime occurred. Evers was gunned down in the driveway of his Jackson, Mississippi, home on June 12, 1963, while his wife, Myrlie, and the couple’s three small children were inside.

Medgar Wiley Evers was born July 2, 1925, near Decatur, Mississippi, and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After fighting for his country, he returned home to experience discrimination in the racially divided South, with its separate public facilities and services for blacks and whites. Evers graduated from Alcorn College in 1952 and began organizing local chapters of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In 1954, after being rejected for admission to then-segregated University of Mississippi Law School, he became part of an NAACP campaign to desegregate the school. Later that year, Evers was named the NAACP’s first field secretary in Mississippi. He moved with his family to Jackson and worked to dismantle segregation, leading peaceful rallies, economic boycotts and voter registration drives around the state. In 1962, he helped James Meredith become the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, a watershed event in the civil rights movement. As a result of his work, Evers received numerous threats and several attempts were made on his life before he was murdered in 1963 at the age of 37.

Beckwith, a fertilizer salesman and Ku Klux Klan member widely believed to be the killer, was prosecuted for murder in 1964. However, two all-white (and all-male) juries deadlocked and refused to convict him. A second trial held in the same year resulted in a hung jury. The matter was dropped when it appeared that a conviction would be impossible. Myrlie Evers, who later became the first woman to chair the NAACP, refused to give up, pressing authorities to re-open the case. In 1989, documents came to light showing that jurors in the case were illegally screened.

Prosecutor Bobby DeLaughter worked with Myrlie Evers to force another prosecution of Beckwith. After four years of legal maneuvering, they were finally successful. At the third trial they produced a riflescope from the murder weapon with Beckwith’s fingerprints, as well as new witnesses who testified that Beckwith had bragged about committing the crime. Justice was finally achieved when Beckwith was convicted and given a life sentence by a racially diverse jury in 1994. He died in prison in 2001 at the age of 80.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/beckwith-convicted-of-killing-medgar-evers (Feb 5, 2012).

February 6

1788 – Massachusetts Entered the Union.

Pray for God’s people in this state. Pray for the Christians and preachers and Christian workers that you know in the state of Massachusetts.

1812 – Adoniram Judson was Ordained to Preach.

It is very interesting that Adoniram Judson was married one day before he was ordained to preach. Few missionaries have suffered more for Christ than Adoniram Judson. Pray for missionaries today wherever they may be. Pray for the great mission boards. There are many faith mission boards and fundamental mission boards that need our prayers. Let us pray for God’s blessings upon them today. Call some by name.

Also, it would be a wise idea to write some missionary today. Maybe you can even send an offering or gift. At least, you could send a word of encouragement. It may mean the difference between success and failure on a certain mission field.

1911 – Ronald Reagan was Born.

1952 – King George VI Died and Queen Elizabeth II Began Her Reign.

“On this day in 1952, after a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham. Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king’s two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was in Kenya at the time of her father’s death; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27.

King George VI, the second son of King George V, ascended to the throne in 1936 after his older brother, King Edward VIII, voluntarily abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. During World War II, George worked to rally the spirits of the British people by touring war zones, making a series of morale-boosting radio broadcasts (for which he overcame a speech impediment) and shunning the safety of the countryside to remain with his wife in bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace. The king’s health deteriorated in 1949, but he continued to perform state duties until his death in 1952.

Queen Elizabeth, born on April 21, 1926, and known to her family as Lilibet, was groomed as a girl to succeed her father. She married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, on November 20, 1947, at London’s Westminster Abbey. The first of Elizabeth’s four children, Prince Charles, was born in 1948.

From the start of her reign, Elizabeth understood the value of public relations and allowed her 1953 coronation to be televised, despite objections from Prime Minister Winston Churchill and others who felt it would cheapen the ceremony. Elizabeth, the 40th British monarch since William the Conqueror, has worked hard at her royal duties and become a popular figure around the world. In 2003, she celebrated 50 years on the throne, only the fifth British monarch to do so.

The queen’s reign, however, has not been without controversy. She was seen as cold and out-of-touch following the 1996 divorce of her son, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana, and again after Diana’s 1997 death in a car crash. Additionally, the role in modern times of the monarchy, which is largely ceremonial, has come into question as British taxpayers have complained about covering the royal family’s travel expenses and palace upkeep. Still, the royals are effective world ambassadors for Britain and a huge tourism draw. Today, the queen, an avid horsewoman and Corgi dog lover, is one of the world’s wealthiest women, with extensive real-estate holdings and art and jewelry collections.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/elizabeth-becomes-queen (Feb 6, 2012).

Pray for Queen Elizabeth today. Pray for kings and queens and national leaders everywhere. Pray for England who has mothered so many nations – including our own. Pray for the Christian work in England. So little evangelistic work is going on in this country today. England is the land of Spurgeon, the land of John Wesley, the land of Charles Wesley, the land of Whitefield, the land of hundreds of great men whose names are in the “hall of fame” for God’s servants. Pray for the work in England today and God’s servants there.

February 7

1812 – Ann and Adoniram Judson Sailed for India.

They were busy, were they not? On February 5 they were married; on February 6 he was ordained; and on February 7 they sailed for India.

1812 – The Birthdate of Charles Dickens.

1876 – Moody Began the Great New York Campaign.

This, of course, was one of the great campaigns of history. Pray for revival to come to New York again.

One of the most interesting stories told about Dwight L. Moody concerned a man who came to him and said he was not a believer. Mr. Moody quoted Mark 16:16 “…but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

“But,” said the man, “I do not even believe that the Bible is God’s Word.”

Mr. Moody simply replied, “…but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

The man said, “I do not even believe in Heaven or Hell or any of that foolishness.”

Mr. Moody said, “…but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Without any other comments and by simply quoting this verse, Mr. Moody finally lead the man to conviction. The Holy Spirit convicted him of sin. The man fell to his knees and received Christ as his Saviour.

1885 – Sinclair Lewis was Born.

Sinclair Lewis was the first American novelist to win the Nobel Prize.

1894 – Babe Ruth was Born.

1964 – Beatles arrive in New York

“On February 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York’s Kennedy Airport–and “Beatlemania” arrives. It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles, a British rock-and-roll quartet that had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit six days before with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” At Kennedy, the “Fab Four”–dressed in mod suits and sporting their trademark pudding bowl haircuts–were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans who caused a near riot when the boys stepped off their plane and onto American soil.

Two days later, Paul McCartney, age 21, Ringo Starr, 23, John Lennon, 23, and George Harrison, 20, made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular television variety show. Although it was difficult to hear the performance over the screams of teenage girls in the studio audience, an estimated 73 million U.S. television viewers, or about 40 percent of the U.S. population, tuned in to watch. Sullivan immediately booked the Beatles for two more appearances that month. The group made their first public concert appearance in the United States on February 11 at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C., and 20,000 fans attended. The next day, they gave two back-to-back performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and police were forced to close off the streets around the venerable music hall because of fan hysteria. On February 22, the Beatles returned to England.

The Beatles’ first American tour left a major imprint in the nation’s cultural memory. With American youth poised to break away from the culturally rigid landscape of the 1950s, the Beatles, with their exuberant music and good-natured rebellion, were the perfect catalyst for the shift. Their singles and albums sold millions of records, and at one point in April 1964 all five best-selling U.S. singles were Beatles songs. By the time the Beatles first feature-film, A Hard Day’s Night, was released in August, Beatlemania was epidemic the world over. Later that month, the four boys from Liverpool returned to the United States for their second tour and played to sold-out arenas across the country.

Later, the Beatles gave up touring to concentrate on their innovative studio recordings, such as 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band, a psychedelic concept album that is regarded as a masterpiece of popular music. The Beatles’ music remained relevant to youth throughout the great cultural shifts of the 1960s, and critics of all ages acknowledged the songwriting genius of the Lennon-McCartney team. In 1970, the Beatles disbanded, leaving a legacy of 18 albums and 30 Top 10 U.S. singles.

During the next decade, all four Beatles pursued solo careers, with varying success. Lennon, the most outspoken and controversial Beatle, was shot to death by a deranged fan outside his New York apartment building in 1980. McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 for his contribution to British culture. In November 2001, George Harrison succumbed to cancer.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/beatles-arrive-in-new-york (Feb 7, 2012)

Unfortunately, this has now crept into our churches. Take the opportunity this week to teach on the subject of good music versus rock-and-roll and so called contemporary Christian music.

February 8

1910 – The Founding of the Boy Scouts.

Pray for your boy today. Pray for some boy in whose life you have invested or in whom you are interested. Someone invested in me as a boy and helped me along the way. Immediately, I think of dear Dr. Rutherford, who was at one time my Sunday school teacher. Inside the Testament he once gave me he wrote Proverbs 1:10, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” This became the motto for my life. I had it printed and placed in my room as well as in the car that I drove when I got older. When I went in the Army, I took this verse with me. It was the motto for my life. Pray for boys everywhere today.

Well do I remember my mother taking the Bible off the shelf and reminding me that the Bible was the Word of God and that Jesus was God’s Son. As she rocked me in the rocking chair she read the Word of God to me.

Today’s boys are tomorrow’s men. Pray for boys everywhere today.

1941 – The Lend-Lease Bill was Passed.

1943 – Americans secure Guadalcanal

“On this day in 1943, Japanese troops evacuate Guadalcanal, leaving the island in Allied possession after a prolonged campaign. The American victory paved the way for other Allied wins in the Solomon Islands.

Guadalcanal is the largest of the Solomons, a group of 992 islands and atolls, 347 of which are inhabited, in the South Pacific Ocean. The Solomons, which are located northeast of Australia and have 87 indigenous languages, were discovered in 1568 by the Spanish navigator Alvaro de Mendana de Neyra (1541-95). In 1893, the British annexed Guadalcanal, along with the other central and southern Solomons. The Germans took control of the northern Solomons in 1885, but transferred these islands, except for Bougainville and Buka (which eventually went to the Australians) to the British in 1900.

The Japanese invaded the Solomons in 1942 during World War II and began building a strategic airfield on Guadalcanal. On August 7 of that year, U.S. Marines landed on the island, signaling the Allies’ first major offensive against Japanese-held positions in the Pacific. The Japanese responded quickly with sea and air attacks. A series of bloody battles ensued in the debilitating tropical heat as Marines sparred with Japanese troops on land, while in the waters surrounding Guadalcanal, the U.S. Navy fought six major engagements with the Japanese between August 24 and November 30. In mid-November 1942, the five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, died together when the Japanese sunk their ship, the USS Juneau.

Both sides suffered heavy losses of men, warships and planes in the battle for Guadalcanal. An estimated 1,600 U.S. troops were killed, over 4,000 were wounded and several thousand more died from disease. The Japanese lost 24,000 soldiers. On December 31, 1942, Emperor Hirohito told Japanese troops they could withdraw from the area; the Americans secured Guadalcanal about five weeks later.

The Solomons gained their independence from Britain in 1978. In the late 1990s, fighting broke out between rival ethnic groups on Guadalcanal and continued until an Australian-led international peacekeeping mission restored order in 2003. Today, with a population of over half a million people, the Solomons are known as a scuba diver and fisherman’s paradise.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/americans-secure-guadalcanal (Feb 8, 2012)

February 9

1773 – William Henry Harrison was Born.

He was the ninth President of our great nation. Pray for our President today. He needs our prayers constantly.

1867 – Nebraska Was Admitted To the Union.

As I dictate this portion of the book, it is a rainy day, and I am on my way to O’Hare Field in Chicago. I will preach twice today and twice tomorrow in Denver, Colorado. I will be flying over the state of Nebraska. As I fly over Nebraska, I will pray God’s blessings upon His workers in that state. I think now of friends whom I know in this great state. Perhaps you know some also. Pray for them and for God to use them.

1891- The Weather Bureau Was Established.

Let us thank God today for the weather reports and the weather forecasts we enjoy. Let us quote with the Psalmist, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

We complain a great deal about the weather and what kind of day it is. I know some people who would love to be out on any kind of day. Praise the Lord today that we are able to be out in the weather. It so happens that this is being dictated on about the worst kind of day as man calls days. Yet, I find myself rejoicing that I am able to be up to do God’s work. Let us thank Him today for His blessings on us.

1971 – Satchel Paige nominated to Baseball Hall of Fame

“On this day in 1971, pitcher Leroy “Satchel” Paige becomes the first Negro League veteran to be nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame. In August of that year, Paige, a pitching legend known for his fastball, showmanship and the longevity of his playing career, which spanned five decades, was inducted. Joe DiMaggio once called Paige “the best and fastest pitcher I’ve ever faced.”

Paige was born in Mobile, Alabama, most likely on July 7, 1906, although the exact date remains a mystery. He earned his nickname, Satchel, as a boy when he earned money carrying passengers’ bags at train stations. Baseball was segregated when Paige started playing baseball professionally in the 1920s, so he spent most of his career pitching for Negro League teams around the United States. During the winter season, he pitched for teams in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As a barnstorming player who traveled thousands of miles each season and played for whichever team met his asking price, he pitched an estimated 2,500 games, had 300 shut-outs and 55 no-hitters. In one month in 1935, he reportedly pitched 29 consecutive games.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier and became the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The following year, Paige also entered the majors, signing with the Cleveland Indians and becoming, at age 42, baseball’s oldest rookie. He helped the Indians win the pennant that year and later played for the St. Louis Browns and Kansas City A’s.

Paige retired from the majors in 1953, but returned in 1965 to pitch three innings for the Kansas City A’s. He was 59 at the time, making him the oldest person ever to play in the Major Leagues. In addition to being famous for his talent and longevity, Paige was also well-known for his sense of humor and colorful observations on life, including: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you” and “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

He died June 8, 1982, in Kansas City, Missouri.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/satchel-paige-nominated-to-baseball-hall-of-fame (Feb 9, 2012).

February 10

2349 B.C. – The Approximate Date that the Windows of the Ark were Opened and the Raven and Dove were Sent Out.

Genesis 8:5-6

1775 – The Birthday of Charles Lamb.

1859 – The Birthdate of Goforth of China.

Pray for China today. If any nation needs prayer, certainly, it is China. Oftentimes when we think of missions, we think of China. Let us pray for the peace of this great nation.

1861 – Jefferson Davis was Elected as the Confederate President.

Pray for the South today.

1899 – The Spanish Peace Treaty Was Signed.

There are Three Things that I Try to Do and I Recommend that Christians Do Every Day:

1. Every day we ought to read the Bible, not as a mathematics book but as a love story. I have heard Dr. Tom Malone say many times that he reads the Bible until his heart burns and God speaks to him. I try to read parts of Psalms, Proverbs, and Acts every day.

2. Spend some time in prayer today.

3. Talk to at least one soul about Jesus Christ today.

Let us make it a profitable day in the service of our Lord Jesus.

1996 – Kasparov loses chess game to computer

“On this day in 1996, after three hours, world chess champion Gary Kasparov loses the first game of a six-game match against Deep Blue, an IBM computer capable of evaluating 200 million moves per second.  Man was ultimately victorious over machine, however, as Kasparov bested Deep Blue in the match with three wins and two ties and took home the $400,000 prize. An estimated 6 million people worldwide followed the action on the Internet.

Kasparov had previously defeated Deep Thought, the prototype for Deep Blue developed by IBM researchers in 1989, but he and other chess grandmasters had, on occasion, lost to computers in games that lasted an hour or less. The February 1996 contest was significant in that it represented the first time a human and a computer had duked it out in a regulation, six-game match, in which each player had two hours to make 40 moves, two hours to finish the next 20 moves and then another 60 minutes to wrap up the game.

Kasparov, who was born in 1963 in Baku, Azerbaijan, became the Soviet Union’s junior chess champion at age 13 and in 1985, at age 22, the youngest world champ ever when he beat legendary Soviet player Anatoly Karpov. Considered by many to be the greatest chess player in the history of the game, Kasparov was known for his swashbuckling style of play and his ability to switch tactics mid-game.

In 1997, a rematch took place between Kasparov and an enhanced Deep Blue. Kasparov won the first game, the computer the second, with the next three games a draw. On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue came out on top with a surprising sixth game win–and the $700,000 match prize.

In 2003, Kasparov battled another computer program, “Deep Junior.” The match ended in a tie. Kasparov retired from professional chess in 2005.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/kasparov-loses-chess-game-to-computer (Feb 10, 2012)

February 11

1847 -The Birthday of Thomas A. Edison.

My, the contributions that this man has made to our society are innumerable. Let us thank God for each of these and for the life of this great man.

1861 – Abraham Lincoln Left Springfield for the White House.

It is said that Abraham Lincoln refused to allow liquor in the White House. There are many other stories about him, but this one is the most encouraging. Let us thank God for the life of this great American.

1915 – Fanny Crosby Died.

Fanny Crosby was blinded at the age of six weeks. She wrote many wonderful songs, among them “Rescue the Perishing,” “Blessed Assurance,” etc. One day she was sitting with a seeing friend; he was describing to her the sunset. She could see in her mind its beauty and from this she wrote the words, “Someday the silver cord will break… And I shall see Him face to face.” Look through your song book and find some of Fanny Crosby’s hymns. Sing one today and thank God for the contribution that she has made to our lives.

Visit, call, or write a blind person today. Also cover your eyes for a few minutes, then uncover them, and praise God for your vision.

1990 – Nelson Mandela released from prison

“Nelson Mandela, leader of the movement to end South African apartheid, is released from prison after 27 years on February 11, 1990.

In 1944, Mandela, a lawyer, joined the African National Congress (ANC), the oldest black political organization in South Africa, where he became a leader of Johannesburg’s youth wing of the ANC. In 1952, he became deputy national president of the ANC, advocating nonviolent resistance to apartheid–South Africa’s institutionalized system of white supremacy and racial segregation. However, after the massacre of peaceful black demonstrators at Sharpeville in 1960, Nelson helped organize a paramilitary branch of the ANC to engage in guerrilla warfare against the white minority government.

In 1961, he was arrested for treason, and although acquitted he was arrested again in 1962 for illegally leaving the country. Convicted and sentenced to five years at Robben Island Prison, he was put on trial again in 1964 on charges of sabotage. In June 1964, he was convicted along with several other ANC leaders and sentenced to life in prison.

Mandela spent the first 18 of his 27 years in jail at the brutal Robben Island Prison. Confined to a small cell without a bed or plumbing, he was forced to do hard labor in a quarry. He could write and receive a letter once every six months, and once a year he was allowed to meet with a visitor for 30 minutes. However, Mandela’s resolve remained unbroken, and while remaining the symbolic leader of the anti-apartheid movement, he led a movement of civil disobedience at the prison that coerced South African officials into drastically improving conditions on Robben Island. He was later moved to another location, where he lived under house arrest.

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk became South African president and set about dismantling apartheid. De Klerk lifted the ban on the ANC, suspended executions, and in February 1990 ordered the release of Nelson Mandela.

Mandela subsequently led the ANC in its negotiations with the minority government for an end to apartheid and the establishment of a multiracial government. In 1993, Mandela and de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One year later, the ANC won an electoral majority in the country’s first free elections, and Mandela was elected South Africa’s president.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nelson-mandela-released-from-prison (Feb 11, 2012).

February 12

1809 – Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Let us pray today for our President. Time and time again in this book we have called your attention to the President and asked you to pray for him. Perhaps he is not the man for whom you voted, perhaps he is not your choice; nevertheless, he is the President of your nation. In some respects, he holds your future, the future of your children, the future of your children’s children in his hands. He needs wisdom from God. Pray that he will have it today.

1880 – The Birthday of John L. Lewis.

1893 – General Omar Bradley was Born.

2002 – Milosevic goes on trial for war crimes

“On this day in 2002, former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic goes on trial at The Hague, Netherlands, on charges of genocide and war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. Milosevic served as his own attorney for much of the prolonged trial, which ended without a verdict when the so-called “Butcher of the Balkans” was found dead at age 64 from an apparent heart attack in his prison cell on March 11, 2006.

Yugoslavia, consisting of Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, became a federal republic, headed by Communist leader Marshal Tito, on January 31, 1946. Tito died in May 1980 and Yugoslavia, along with communism, crumbled over the next decade.

Milosevic, born August 20, 1941, joined the Communist Party at age 18; he became president of Serbia in 1989. On June 25, 1991, Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia and Milosevic sent tanks to the Slovenian border, sparking a brief war that ended in Slovenia’s secession. In Croatia, fighting broke out between Croats and ethnic Serbs and Serbia sent weapons and medical supplies to the Serbian rebels in Croatia. Croatian forces clashed with the Serb-led Yugoslav army troops and their Serb supporters. An estimated 10,000 people were killed and hundreds of Croatian towns were destroyed before a U.N. cease-fire was established in January 1992. In March, Bosnia-Herzegovina declared its independence, and Milosevic funded the subsequent Bosnian Serb rebellion, starting a war that killed an estimated 200,000 people, before a U.S.-brokered peace agreement was reached at Dayton, Ohio, in 1995.

In Kosovo, a formerly autonomous province of Serbia, liberation forces clashed with Serbs and the Yugoslav army was sent in. Amidst reports that Milosevic had launched an ethnic cleansing campaign against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, NATO forces launched air strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999.

Ineligible to run for a third term as Serbian president, Milosevic had made himself president of Yugoslavia in 1997. After losing the presidential election in September 2000, he refused to accept defeat until mass protests forced him to resign the following month.  He was charged with corruption and abuse of power and finally surrendered to Serbian authorities on April 1, 2001, after a 26-hour standoff. That June, he was extradited to the Netherlands and indicted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal. Milosevic died in his cell of a heart attack before his trial could be completed.

In February 2003, Serbia and Montenegro became a commonwealth and officially dropped the name Yugoslavia. In June 2006, the two countries declared their independence from each other.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/milosevic-goes-on-trial-for-war-crimes (Feb 12, 2012).

For Many Years I Began Each Day by Quoting the Poem, “I Met God in the Morning.”

We would do well to bring it to our attention today.

I met God in the morning,
When the day was at its best; 
And His presence came like glory 
With His sunrise on my breast.

All day long His presence lingered, 
All day long He stayed with me. 
And we sailed in perfect calmness 
O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were torn and battered; 
Other ships were sore distressed, 
But the winds that seemed to drive them 
Brought to me a peace and rest.

And then I thought of other mornings 
With a keen remorse of mind 
When I too had left the blessing 
Of His presence far behind.

So I think I’ve learned the secret 
From many a troubled way: 
If you meet God in the morning, 
You can have Him all the day.

Let us meet God in the morning time and ask His blessings for the day.

February 13

1633 – Galileo in Rome for Inquisition

“On this day in 1633, Italian philosopher, astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome to face charges of heresy for advocating Copernican theory, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Galileo officially faced the Roman Inquisition in April of that same year and agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence. Put under house arrest indefinitely by Pope Urban VIII, Galileo spent the rest of his days at his villa in Arcetri, near Florence, before dying on January 8, 1642.

Galileo, the son of a musician, was born February 15, 1564, in Pisa, Italy. He entered the University of Pisa planning to study medicine, but shifted his focus to philosophy and mathematics. In 1589, he became a professor at Pisa for several years, during which time he demonstrated that the speed of a falling object is not proportional to its weight, as Aristotle had believed. According to some reports, Galileo conducted his research by dropping objects of different weights from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. From 1592 to 1630, Galileo was a math professor at the University of Padua, where he developed a telescope that enabled him to observe lunar mountains and craters, the four largest satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Jupiter. He also discovered that the Milky Way was made up of stars. Following the publication of his research in 1610, Galileo gained acclaim and was appointed court mathematician at Florence.

Galileo’s research led him to become an advocate of the work of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1573). However, the Copernican theory of a sun-centered solar system conflicted with the teachings of the powerful Roman Catholic Church, which essentially ruled Italy at the time. Church teachings contended that Earth, not the sun, was at the center of the universe. In 1633, Galileo was brought before the Roman Inquisition, a judicial system established by the papacy in 1542 to regulate church doctrine. This included the banning of books that conflicted with church teachings. The Roman Inquisition had its roots in the Inquisition of the Middle Ages, the purpose of which was to seek out and prosecute heretics, considered enemies of the state.

Today, Galileo is recognized for making important contributions to the study of motion and astronomy. His work influenced later scientists such as the English mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of universal gravitation. In 1992, the Vatican formally acknowledged its mistake in condemning Galileo.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/galileo-in-rome-for-inquisition (Feb 13, 2012).

1635 – The First Public School was Established in Boston.

Several things perhaps we could do today. First, we could pray for our public school system. Especially pray for the teachers who teach your children. Then, we could thank God for the public scheol system and for what it has meant to our nation. Third, we could write a letter of appreciation to the principal of our children. A similar letter could be sent to the teacher who teaches your child. Oftentimes, these go unrewarded. At the last count, there were 43 public school teachers in the membership of the church that I am pastoring. These (to the person) are godly people. Let us thank God for faithful public school teachers.

1741- The First United States Magazine was Published.

It was entitled “The American Magazine.” It was published in Philadelphia. Thank God today for good magazines. May we pray today that God will help the American press. There is so much smut, filth, and rot coming off the presses today. The average magazine stand is a cesspool of iniquity, sensuality, and vulgarity; nevertheless, we do have many good magazines for which we can thank God.

1877 – The First Long Distance Phone Message was Made.

It was made from Salem to Boston. We should thank God today for the telephone system and the privilege of long distance telephone service. Let us honor this day by calling some dear one long distance and assuring them of our love and prayers on their behalf. Perhaps your mother is many miles away today. Perhaps your father is across the country. Call them today and tell them of your love and concern.

February 14

278 – Valentine beheaded

“On February 14 around the year 278 A.D., Valentine, a priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed.

Under the rule of Claudius the Cruel, Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody campaigns. The emperor had to maintain a strong army, but was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. Claudius believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families.

To get rid of the problem, Claudius banned all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Valentine was arrested and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. The sentence was carried out on February 14, on or about the year 270.

Legend also has it that while in jail, Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine.”

For his great service, Valentine was named a saint after his death.

In truth, the exact origins and identity of St. Valentine are unclear. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under the date of 14 February.” One was a priest in Rome, the second one was a bishop of Interamna (now Terni, Italy) and the third St. Valentine was a martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Legends vary on how the martyr’s name became connected with romance. The date of his death may have become mingled with the Feast of Lupercalia, a pagan festival of love. On these occasions, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided to put an end to the Feast of Lupercalia, and he declared that February 14 be celebrated as St Valentine’s Day.

Gradually, February 14 became a date for exchanging love messages, poems and simple gifts such as flowers.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/st-valentine-beheaded (Feb 14, 2012).

1912 – Arizona Entered the Union

It has been my privilege to preach several times in the great state of Arizona. I am thinking of many fine preachers and Christian workers in this state. Perhaps you know some. Let us pray for God’s people, and especially God’s servants, in the state of Arizona today.

1915 – Oliver B. Greene was Born.

1929 – The Birthday of Mrs. Jack Hyles.

Beverly Joyce Hyles was born February 14, 1929, in Dallas, Texas. Pray for your pastor’s wife today. In many cases the pastor’s wife is one of the loneliest people in the church. Perhaps you should drop her a note of appreciation or call her on the telephone and tell her you love her, or even go by and see her and express appreciation to her.

Then, too, the Holy Spirit may lead you to do some kindness for her today. It will no doubt mean more to her than you know. Also, pray for the wives of fundamental preachers everywhere.

1932 – Dr. James Earls was Born.

This is Valentine’s Day

Of course, this is Valentine’s Day. Not only will you want to do something for your own Valentine, but you will also want to renew the gift of your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. Look up the word “heart” in a good concordance. There are many, many statements concerning the heart in the Bible: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” (Luke 10:27) There are many other Scriptures which remind us of the heart on Valentine’s Day.

While pastoring in Texas I made a heavy appeal for a special offering. The offering was a good one, but included was a small gold heart. Someone wrote a little note and said, “I have no money, but I give my heart.” It looked like it might have been used for a locket or maybe a charm, but of course the lesson was there. Each of us should give his heart to Christ. May we on Valentine’s Day make this surrender.

February 15

1888 – The United States Battleship Maine was Blown Up.

1898 – The Maine explodes

“A massive explosion of unknown origin sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor, killing 260 of the fewer than 400 American crew members aboard.

One of the first American battleships, the Maine weighed more than 6,000 tons and was built at a cost of more than $2 million. Ostensibly on a friendly visit, the Maine had been sent to Cuba to protect the interests of Americans there after a rebellion against Spanish rule broke out in Havana in January.

An official U.S. Naval Court of Inquiry ruled in March that the ship was blown up by a mine, without directly placing the blame on Spain. Much of Congress and a majority of the American public expressed little doubt that Spain was responsible and called for a declaration of war.

Subsequent diplomatic failures to resolve the Maine matter, coupled with United States indignation over Spain’s brutal suppression of the Cuban rebellion and continued losses to American investment, led to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in April 1898.

Within three months, the United States had decisively defeated Spanish forces on land and sea, and in August an armistice halted the fighting. On December 12, 1898, the Treaty of Paris was signed between the United States and Spain, officially ending the Spanish-American War and granting the United States its first overseas empire with the ceding of such former Spanish possessions as Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

In 1976, a team of American naval investigators concluded that the Maine explosion was likely caused by a fire that ignited its ammunition stocks, not by a Spanish mine or act of sabotage.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-maine-explodes (Feb 15, 2012).

1926 – The Original Guttenburg Bible was Sold.

This original Guttenburg Bible was sold for $100,000.00 and was presented to Yale University. Of course, we all know that it was Guttenburg who gave us the first printing press. Certainly, we should thank God for our Bibles. As we think of the Bible today, read the 119th Psalm, the great chapter on the Bible. Find the many things the Word of God has for us and then find the many things we are to do with the Word of God. Also, find how many titles the Word of God is called in this wonderful Psalm. Let us thank God for the Bible today. Let us use it, memorize it, read it, love it, treasure it, learn it, teach it, and thank God for it.

February 16

1923 – Archaeologist opens tomb of King Tut

“On this day in 1923, in Thebes, Egypt, English archaeologist Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen.

Because the ancient Egyptians saw their pharaohs as gods, they carefully preserved their bodies after death, burying them in elaborate tombs containing rich treasures to accompany the rulers into the afterlife. In the 19th century, archeologists from all over the world flocked to Egypt, where they uncovered a number of these tombs. Many had long ago been broken into by robbers and stripped of their riches.

When Carter arrived in Egypt in 1891, he became convinced there was at least one undiscovered tomb–that of the little known Tutankhamen, or King Tut, who lived around 1400 B.C. and died when he was still a teenager. Backed by a rich Brit, Lord Carnarvon, Carter searched for five years without success. In early 1922, Lord Carnarvon wanted to call off the search, but Carter convinced him to hold on one more year. 

In November 1922, the wait paid off, when Carter’s team found steps hidden in the debris near the entrance of another tomb. The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb’s interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. The men began exploring the four rooms of the tomb, and on February 16, 1923, under the watchful eyes of a number of important officials, Carter opened the door to the last chamber.

Inside lay a sarcophagus with three coffins nested inside one another. The last coffin, made of solid gold, contained the mummified body of King Tut. Among the riches found in the tomb–golden shrines, jewelry, statues, a chariot, weapons, clothing–the perfectly preserved mummy was the most valuable, as it was the first one ever to be discovered. Despite rumors that a curse would befall anyone who disturbed the tomb, its treasures were carefully catalogued, removed and included in a famous traveling exhibition called the “Treasures of Tutankhamen.” The exhibition’s permanent home is the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/archaeologist-opens-tomb-of-king-tut (Feb 16, 2012).

1945 – Bataan was Recaptured by the American Forces.

These were the turning days of World War II. Well do I recall that for I was in the service. The news would come day by day that the war was turning toward the Allies and that victory seemed soon inevitable. How happy it made us all. This was the war to end all wars, and yet, at this writing our boys are dying at Viet Nam. Let us pray to God to give our nation wisdom and to spare the lives of our boys. The thing that we ought to realize is that safety for a nation comes from God Almighty. We are not to trust in our bombs, but in God.

Several years ago I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pastor of a church there drove me to the Sangre de Christo mountains. He pointed to brown spots in the mountains. He said those were holes and inside those holes were many, many atomic bombs and weapons with which to defend our nation. As I looked at those holes and realized the tremendous amount of power and deadly weapons contained therein, I could not help but think of Psalm 121:1, 2. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” Our help does not come from the hills, but rather the Maker of the hills. Read the entire 121st Psalm now.

1959 – Castro Became Premier of Cuba.

February 17

2349 B.C. – The Dove was Sent Out of the Ark the Second Time and Brought Back the Olive Leaf.

Genesis 8:10-11.

1546 – The Date of the Death of Martin Luther.

Martin Luther said on his deathbed, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit. Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of Truth.”

Dr. Johnson, a friend of Luther, bowed close to his ear and said, “Do you die firm in the faith you have taught?”

In a strong voice Luther replied, “Yes!”

Not only is the Gospel something to live by, but it is something to die by. Perhaps we owe more to Martin Luther than we realize. Let us thank God for his life.

Perhaps we should pray for God’s blessings today upon our Lutheran friends. Let us pray that they will stay faithful to the faith of Luther and that the tide of liberalism shall be stemmed.

1867 – The Suez Canal was Opened.

1897 – The P.T.A. (Parent-Teacher Association) was Formed.

May we pause a few moments and thank God for our schools and those who contribute to the lives of our boys and girls. 

1904 – Madame Butterfly premieres

“On this day in 1904, Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly premieres at the La Scala theatre in Milan, Italy.

The young Puccini decided to dedicate his life to opera after seeing a performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida in 1876. In his later life, he would write some of the best-loved operas of all time: La Boheme (1896), Tosca (1900), Madame Butterfly (1904) and Turandot (left unfinished when he died in 1906). Not one of these, however, was an immediate success when it opened. La Boheme, the now-classic story of a group of poor artists living in a Paris garret, earned mixed reviews, while Tosca was downright panned by critics.

While supervising a production of Tosca in London, Puccini saw the play Madame Butterfly, written by David Belasco and based on a story by John Luther Long. Taken with the strong female character at its center, he began working on an operatic version of the play, with an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. Written over the course of two years–including an eight-month break when Puccini was badly injured in a car accident–the opera made its debut in Milan in February 1904.

Set in Nagasaki, Japan, Madame Butterfly told the story of an American sailor, B.F. Pinkerton, who marries and abandons a young Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, or Madame Butterfly. In addition to the rich, colorful orchestration and powerful arias that Puccini was known for, the opera reflected his common theme of living and dying for love. This theme often played out in the lives of his heroines–women like Cio-Cio-San, who live for the sake of their lovers and are eventually destroyed by the pain inflicted by that love. Perhaps because of the opera’s foreign setting or perhaps because it was too similar to Puccini’s earlier works, the audience at the premiere reacted badly to Madame Butterfly, hissing and yelling at the stage. Puccini withdrew it after one performance. He worked quickly to revise the work, splitting the 90-minute-long second act into two parts and changing other minor aspects. Four months later, the revamped Madame Butterfly went onstage at the Teatro Grande in Brescia. This time, the public greeted the opera with tumultuous applause and repeated encores, and Puccini was called before the curtain 10 times. Madame Butterfly went on to huge international success, moving to New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1907.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/madame-butterfly-premieres (Feb 17, 2012).

February 18

1546 – Some Attribute This as the Death of Luther Rather than February 17.

Let us notice a few of the things about Luther of note. Luther was called the “Father of Protestantism.” He, himself, was the father of six children and adopted eleven more. It was his policy at the evening time to sit around the fireplace and sing and write hymns. Why not gather your family around this evening and sing some songs of Christ, and the hymns that all of us love.

Of course, one of the most interesting things about Martin Luther was his climbing up the sacred stairs in Rome. He was trying to gain forgiveness by climbing up the stairs on his hands and knees when the Scripture came to his mind, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) Over and over again he repeated this until off of his knees he got and received Christ by faith. These stairs are still in Rome. It was my privilege to see them and climb them. Let us reaffirm our pledge today to proclaim the Gospel that the just shall live by faith!

1678 – “The Pilgrims Progress” was Published in England.

This is the great book which is the second best seller only to the Bible today and has been for many years. “Pilgrims Progress” was written by John Bunyan. The blessed thing of it all is that John Bunyan wrote it on milk bottle stoppers taken from the milk that was brought to him while he was in prison for preaching the Gospel. Bunyan said, “If I am released from prison today, I will preach the Gospel tomorrow.”

1861 – Jefferson Davis was Inaugurated as President of the Confederacy.

1885 – Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

“On this day in 1885, Mark Twain publishes his famous–and famously controversial–novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain (the pen name of Samuel Clemens) first introduced Huck Finn as the best friend of Tom Sawyer, hero of his tremendously successful novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). Though Twain saw Huck’s story as a kind of sequel to his earlier book, the new novel was far more serious, focusing on the institution of slavery and other aspects of life in the antebellum South.

At the book’s heart is the journey of Huck and his friend Jim, a runaway slave, down the Mississippi River on a raft. Jim runs away because he is about to be sold and separated from his wife and children, and Huck goes with him to help him get to Ohio and freedom. Huck narrates the story in his distinctive voice, offering colorful descriptions of the people and places they encounter along the way. The most striking part of the book is its satirical look at racism, religion and other social attitudes of the time. While Jim is strong, brave, generous and wise, many of the white characters are portrayed as violent, stupid or simply selfish, and the naive Huck ends up questioning the hypocritical, unjust nature of society in general.

Even in 1885, two decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the end of the Civil War, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn landed with a splash. A month after its publication, a Concord, Massachusetts, library banned the book, calling its subject matter “tawdry” and its narrative voice “coarse” and “ignorant.” Other libraries followed suit, beginning a controversy that continued long after Twain’s death in 1910. In the 1950s, the book came under fire from African-American groups for being racist in its portrayal of black characters, despite the fact that it was seen by many as a strong criticism of racism and slavery. As recently as 1998, an Arizona parent sued her school district, claiming that making Twain’s novel required high school reading made already existing racial tensions even worse.

Aside from its controversial nature and its continuing popularity with young readers, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been hailed by many serious literary critics as a masterpiece. No less a judge than Ernest Hemingway famously declared that the book marked the beginning of American literature: ‘There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.'” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/twain-publishes-the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn (Feb 18, 2012).

February 19

1803 – Ohio was Admitted to the Union.

We should pause today and pray for God’s blessings upon the saints in Ohio. Again and again, I have traveled this fine state to preach the Gospel. Some of the largest and most evangelistic churches in the world are in the state of Ohio. Let us pray for our brethren and the saints in Ohio today.

1812 – Some Have Said That This is the Date of the Judsons’ Sailing for India.

One of the most unusual things about the Judsons’ ministry was that it took them five years to gain their first convert. Many of us could speculate as to the reason behind this, but the great thing to remember is that they did have thousands and thousands of them later. The thought of the great Judson family and their work on the mission field should remind us to pray for missionaries everywhere. Pray for the starving multitudes in India. Perhaps no nation under Heaven has been in such dire circumstances in our generation as has India.

Now pray by name for missionaries you know in India. Several names cross my mind. Let us hold them before the throne of grace as we think of the great work done by Adoniram and Ann Judson in this needy land.

1847 – Donner Party rescued

“On this day in 1847, the first rescuers reach surviving members of the Donner Party, a group of California-bound emigrants stranded by snow in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

In the summer of 1846, in the midst of a Western-bound fever sweeping the United States, 89 people–including 31 members of the Donner and Reed families–set out in a wagon train from Springfield, Illinois. After arriving at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, the emigrants decided to avoid the usual route and try a new trail recently blazed by California promoter Lansford Hastings, the so-called “Hastings Cutoff.” After electing George Donner as their captain, the party departed Fort Bridger in mid-July.  The shortcut was nothing of the sort: It set the Donner Party back nearly three weeks and cost them much-needed supplies. After suffering great hardships in the Wasatch Mountains, the Great Salt Lake Desert and along the Humboldt River, they finally reached the Sierra Nevada Mountains in early October. Despite the lateness of the season, the emigrants continued to press on, and on October 28 they camped at Truckee Lake, located in the high mountains 21 kilometers northwest of Lake Tahoe. Overnight, an early winter storm blanketed the ground with snow, blocking the mountain pass and trapping the Donner Party.

Most of the group stayed near the lake–now known as Donner Lake–while the Donner family and others made camp six miles away at Alder Creek. Building makeshift tents out of their wagons and killing their oxen for food, they hoped for a thaw that never came. Fifteen of the stronger emigrants, later known as the Forlorn Hope, set out west on snowshoes for Sutter’s Fort near San Francisco on December 16. Three weeks later, after harsh weather and lack of supplies killed several of the expedition and forced the others to resort to cannibalism, seven survivors reached a Native American village.

News of the stranded Donner Party traveled fast to Sutter’s Fort, and a rescue party set out on January 31. Arriving at Donner Lake 20 days later, they found the camp completely snowbound and the surviving emigrants delirious with relief at their arrival. Rescuers fed the starving group as well as they could and then began evacuating them. Three more rescue parties arrived to help, but the return to Sutter’s Fort proved equally harrowing, and the last survivors didn’t reach safety until late April. Of the 89 original members of the Donner Party, only 45 reached California.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/donner-party-rescued (Feb 19, 2012).

1881 – Kansas Adopted Statewide Prohibition of All Alcoholic Beverages.

Let us today reaffirm our opposition to the liquor traffic. Perhaps some time should be spent today in teaching our boys and girls the danger of this traffic and making a new pledge to God to do our best to lead men, women, and children from this evil.

February 20

1792 – The United States Mail Service Began.

We turn our attention to the miracle of the mail. A letter can be mailed on the Atlantic Coast and the next day be in the hands of a loved one 3,000 miles across the country. How we should thank God for this tremendous service we enjoy in our nation.

1914 – The Birthday of John Daly.

John Daly is a famous newscaster. For many years, he was one of my favorites. Being somewhat of a follower of news media myself, I thank God for the speedy way that the events of our day can be brought to our living rooms.

1957 – Ma Sunday Died.

Ma Sunday was a great woman. It was my joy to know her rather well before her death. Of course, she outlived her famous husband by many, many years and continued to bless the hearts of millions. On at least two occasions she came to a church that I was pastoring and spoke to my people. One of these times Life Magazine sent a photographer to photograph her and placed the picture in the magazine. I still have a file of letters which I received from Mrs. Sunday and some which I wrote to her. It was our joy to have her in our home. Many interesting stories came from her lips concerning the life of Billy. She told us one time how Billy would pray in his campaigns. He would often forget where he was and prayer was such a part of his life that he talked to God quite like he would talk to anyone else. He would be praying on the platform and say, “Dear Lord, we thank you for the great meeting you gave us last week down in … Ma, where were we last week?”

“Detroit, Paw.”

“Oh, yes, Lord, thank you for the good meeting we had in Detroit. Now Lord, bless us here in this meeting in … Ma, where are we tonight?”

“We are in Cleveland, Paw.”

“Yes, Lord, bless us here in Cleveland.”

Ma said Billy would pray while walking down the street. He would talk to her awhile; then talk to God for awhile. What a blessing to have known this great saint!

1962 – John Glenn Orbited the Earth Three Times.

Let us pray today for America’s space program.

February 21

1801 – John Henry Newman was Born at London, England.

The main thing about this man was that he wrote the hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light.” This has been a very famous hymn through the years. Why not sing it now.


Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, 
Lead Thou me on! 
The night is dark, and I am far from home; 
Lead Thou me on! 
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see 
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that Thou 
Should’st lead me on; 
I loved to choose and see my path; but now 
Lead Thou me on! 
I loved the farlish day and, spite of fears, 
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years.

So long Thy pow’r hath blest me, sure it still 
Will lead me on 
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till 
The night is gone; 
And with the morn those angel faces smile, 
Which I have loved long since and lost awhile.

1831 – Robert Hall Died at Bristol, England.

Robert Hall was an outstanding example of a liberal preacher who got converted. He was a Baptist preacher who drew great crowds to his first pastorate in Bristol, England. He spent fifteen years at the Baptist Church in Glascow, Scotland. Some felt that he was the foremost preacher of his time. About 1806 he was converted and finished his preaching career as a fundamental believer. He died at 67 with “great bodily distress, but at perfect peace in soul.” Let us pray for God to save liberal preachers. Being born again will do the job. I think, in my mind, of numbers of men now preaching the Gospel who once were liberals. Pray for God to save sinners whether religious or not.

1848 – The Birthdate of James Stalker at Crieff, Scotland.

James Stalker was a minister and professor of the United Free Church of Scotland. He is the author of such volumes as “The Life of Jesus Christ,” “The Life of St. Paul,” “The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ,” etc. This last-mentioned book was a special blessing to me in the early days of my ministry. It is an excellent book on our Lord’s Passion. Let us thank God today for Calvary.

1918 – Robert (Bob) Evans was Born in Baltimore, Maryland.

Someone has said that he has been Europe’s greatest missionary enthusiast of our generation and more responsible perhaps than any other man for the establishment of the GREATER EUROPE MISSION. While in Europe in 1948 and realizing that there was no Bible school in Europe with evangelistic, soul-winning emphasis, he founded the European Bible Institute in Paris, with the home office in Wheaton, Illinois.

Pray for Christians in Europe today. Much of our Christian heritage comes from Europe, and yet Europe stands in such dire need of the Gospel at this time. Pray for missionaries and pastors who labor there. 

1965 – Malcolm X assassinated

“In New York City, Malcolm X, an African American nationalist and religious leader, is assassinated by rival Black Muslims while addressing his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in Washington Heights.

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1925, Malcolm was the son of James Earl Little, a Baptist preacher who advocated the black nationalist ideals of Marcus Garvey. Threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced the family to move to Lansing, Michigan, where his father continued to preach his controversial sermons despite continuing threats. In 1931, Malcolm’s father was brutally murdered by the white supremacist Black Legion, and Michigan authorities refused to prosecute those responsible. In 1937, Malcolm was taken from his family by welfare caseworkers. By the time he reached high school age, he had dropped out of school and moved to Boston, where he became increasingly involved in criminal activities.

In 1946, at the age of 21, Malcolm was sent to prison on a burglary conviction. It was there he encountered the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam, whose members are popularly known as Black Muslims. The Nation of Islam advocated black nationalism and racial separatism and condemned Americans of European descent as immoral “devils.” Muhammad’s teachings had a strong effect on Malcolm, who entered into an intense program of self-education and took the last name “X” to symbolize his stolen African identity.

After six years, Malcolm was released from prison and became a loyal and effective minister of the Nation of Islam in Harlem, New York. In contrast with civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X advocated self-defense and the liberation of African Americans “by any means necessary.” A fiery orator, Malcolm was admired by the African American community in New York and around the country.

In the early 1960s, he began to develop a more outspoken philosophy than that of Elijah Muhammad, whom he felt did not sufficiently support the civil rights movement. In late 1963, Malcolm’s suggestion that President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was a matter of the “chickens coming home to roost” provided Elijah Muhammad, who believed that Malcolm had become too powerful, with a convenient opportunity to suspend him from the Nation of Islam.

A few months later, Malcolm formally left the organization and made a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, where he was profoundly affected by the lack of racial discord among orthodox Muslims. He returned to America as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and in June 1964 founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity, which advocated black identity and held that racism, not the white race, was the greatest foe of the African American. Malcolm’s new movement steadily gained followers, and his more moderate philosophy became increasingly influential in the civil rights movement, especially among the leaders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.

On February 21, 1965, one week after his home was firebombed, Malcolm X was shot to death by Nation of Islam members while speaking at a rally of his organization in New York City.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/malcolm-x-assassinated (Feb 21, 2012).

February 22

1732 – The Birthday of George Washington, Known as the Father of Our Country.

Let us thank God for George Washington and the contribution he made to America. This causes us once again to think of our own President and to pray for him that God will give him leadership as he directs the affairs of our great nation.

1879 – The First F. W. Woolworth Store Was Opened.

Of course, the Woolworth stores and “Five and Ten’s” in general have had a big part in the lives of us common people.

1906 – The Birthday of Betty Stam, the Famous Missionary Martyr.

Betty Stam was a descendant of John and Priscilla Alden. She was a missionary to China. She was beheaded by the communists in China. She stands as one of the great missionary heroes of history. There was a slogan in their family which was one that any family could adopt, “Do it together.” In a day when each member of the family goes his own separate way, this should be a wonderful thing for us to adopt as a family slogan – “Do it together.”

Then too, we should pray for God’s blessings upon China and also upon missionaries everywhere. Thank God for missionaries in the past such as Betty Starn.

1980 – U.S. hockey team makes miracle on ice

“In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the finest in the world, fell to the youthful American team 4-3 before a frenzied crowd of 10,000 spectators. Two days later, the Americans defeated Finland 4-2 to clinch the hockey gold.

The Soviet team had captured the previous four Olympic hockey golds, going back to 1964, and had not lost an Olympic hockey game since 1968. Three days before the Lake Placid Games began, the Soviets routed the U.S. team 10-3 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Americans looked scrappy, but few blamed them for it–their average age, after all, was only 22, and their team captain, Mike Eruzione, was recruited from the obscurity of the Toledo Blades of the International League.

Few had high hopes for the seventh-seeded U.S. team entering the Olympic tournament, but the team soon silenced its detractors, making it through the opening round of play undefeated, with four victories and one tie, thus advancing to the four-team medal round. The Soviets, however, were seeded No. 1 and as expected went undefeated, with five victories in the first round.

On Friday afternoon, February 22, the American amateurs and the Soviet dream team met before a sold-out crowd at Lake Placid. The Soviets broke through first, with their new young star, Valery Krotov, deflecting a slap shot beyond American goalie Jim Craig’s reach in the first period. Midway through the period, Buzz Schneider, the only American who had previously been an Olympian, answered the Soviet goal with a high shot over the shoulder of Vladislav Tretiak, the Soviet goalie.

The relentless Soviet attack continued as the period progressed, with Sergei Makarov giving his team a 2-1 lead. With just a few seconds left in the first period, American Ken Morrow shot the puck down the ice in desperation. Mark Johnson picked it up and sent it into the Soviet goal with one second remaining. After a brief Soviet protest, the goal was deemed good, and the game was tied.

In the second period, the irritated Soviets came out with a new goalie, Vladimir Myshkin, and turned up the attack. The Soviets dominated play in the second period, outshooting the United States 12-2, and taking a 3-2 lead with a goal by Alesandr Maltsev just over two minutes into the period. If not for several remarkable saves by Jim Craig, the Soviet lead would surely have been higher than 3-2 as the third and final 20-minute period began.

Nearly nine minutes into the period, Johnson took advantage of a Soviet penalty and knocked home a wild shot by David Silk to tie the contest again at 3-3. About a minute and a half later, Mike Eruzione, whose last name means “eruption” in Italian, picked up a loose puck in the Soviet zone and slammed it past Myshkin with a 25-foot wrist shot. For the first time in the game, the Americans had the lead, and the crowd erupted in celebration.

There were still 10 minutes of play to go, but the Americans held on, with Craig making a few more fabulous saves. With five seconds remaining, the Americans finally managed to get the puck out of their zone, and the crowd began counting down the final seconds. When the final horn sounded, the players, coaches, and team officials poured onto the ice in raucous celebration. The Soviet players, as awestruck as everyone else, waited patiently to shake their opponents’ hands.

The so-called Miracle on Ice was more than just an Olympic upset; to many Americans, it was an ideological victory in the Cold War as meaningful as the Berlin Airlift or the Apollo moon landing. The upset came at an auspicious time: President Jimmy Carterhad just announced that the United States was going to boycott the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and Americans, faced with a major recession and the Iran hostage crisis, were in dire need of something to celebrate. After the game, President Carter called the players to congratulate them, and millions of Americans spent that Friday night in revelry over the triumph of “our boys” over the Russian pros.

As the U.S. team demonstrated in their victory over Finland two days later, it was disparaging to call the U.S. team amateurs. Three-quarters of the squad were top college players who were on their way to the National Hockey League (NHL), and coach Herb Brooks had trained the team long and hard in a manner that would have made the most authoritative Soviet coach proud. The 1980 U.S. hockey team was probably the best-conditioned American Olympic hockey team of all time–the result of countless hours running skating exercises in preparation for Lake Placid. In their play, the U.S. players adopted passing techniques developed by the Soviets for the larger international hockey rinks, while preserving the rough checking style that was known to throw the Soviets off-guard. It was these factors, combined with an exceptional afternoon of play by Craig, Johnson, Eruzione, and others, that resulted in the miracle at Lake Placid.

This improbable victory was later memorialized in a 2004 film, Miracle, starring Kurt Russell.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-hockey-team-makes-miracle-on-ice (Feb 22, 2012).

February 23

1685 – George Frideric Handel, the Author of Handel’s Messiah, was Born.

This is one of the great pieces of music ever penned.

1836 – The Siege of the Alamo Began.

1905 – The Founding of the Rotary Club.

1928 – The Federal Radio Commission was Established by Congress.

Here is something that we take for granted – the radio. Pause today to thank God for the radio. Thank Him for radio preachers and Christian radio broadcasts. Why not send a contribution today to some faithful preacher of the Gospel who proclaims the message of salvation on the radio. 

1945 – U.S. flag raised on Iwo Jima

“During the bloody Battle for Iwo Jima, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Regiment of the 5th Division take the crest of Mount Suribachi, the island’s highest peak and most strategic position, and raise the U.S. flag. Marine photographer Louis Lowery was with them and recorded the event. American soldiers fighting for control of Suribachi’s slopes cheered the raising of the flag, and several hours later more Marines headed up to the crest with a larger flag. Joe Rosenthal, a photographer with the Associated Press, met them along the way and recorded the raising of the second flag along with a Marine still photographer and a motion-picture cameraman.

Rosenthal took three photographs atop Suribachi. The first, which showed five Marines and one Navy corpsman struggling to hoist the heavy flag pole, became the most reproduced photograph in history and won him a Pulitzer Prize. The accompanying motion-picture footage attests to the fact that the picture was not posed. Of the other two photos, the second was similar to the first but less affecting, and the third was a group picture of 18 soldiers smiling and waving for the camera. Many of these men, including three of the six soldiers seen raising the flag in the famous Rosenthal photo, were killed before the conclusion of the Battle for Iwo Jima in late March.

In early 1945, U.S. military command sought to gain control of the island of Iwo Jima in advance of the projected aerial campaign against the Japanese home islands. Iwo Jima, a tiny volcanic island located in the Pacific about 700 miles southeast of Japan, was to be a base for fighter aircraft and an emergency-landing site for bombers. On February 19, 1945, after three days of heavy naval and aerial bombardment, the first wave of U.S. Marines stormed onto Iwo Jima’s inhospitable shores.

The Japanese garrison on the island numbered 22,000 heavily entrenched men. Their commander, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, had been expecting an Allied invasion for months and used the time wisely to construct an intricate and deadly system of underground tunnels, fortifications, and artillery that withstood the initial Allied bombardment. By the evening of the first day, despite incessant mortar fire, 30,000 U.S. Marines commanded by General Holland Smith managed to establish a solid beachhead.

During the next few days, the Marines advanced inch by inch under heavy fire from Japanese artillery and suffered suicidal charges from the Japanese infantry. Many of the Japanese defenders were never seen and remained underground manning artillery until they were blown apart by a grenade or rocket, or incinerated by a flame thrower.

While Japanese kamikaze flyers slammed into the Allied naval fleet around Iwo Jima, the Marines on the island continued their bloody advance across the island, responding to Kuribayashi’s lethal defenses with remarkable endurance. On February 23, the crest of 550-foot Mount Suribachi was taken, and the next day the slopes of the extinct volcano were secured.

By March 3, U.S. forces controlled all three airfields on the island, and on March 26 the last Japanese defenders on Iwo Jima were wiped out. Only 200 of the original 22,000 Japanese defenders were captured alive. More than 6,000 Americans died taking Iwo Jima, and some 17,000 were wounded.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-flag-raised-on-iwo-jima (Feb 23, 2012).

1957 – Ma Sunday was Buried.

This was a rather sad day in my life. Having known Ma quite well, I was saddened by her death. 

February 24

2349 B.C. – The Dove Left the Ark the Third Time and Never Returned.

Of course, the ark is a beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that it was three stories high represents the Trinity. The fact that it had a window on the top side pictures the fact that we look up for our safety. The fact that it had only one door pictures the one way of salvation. The fact that this door was in the side of the ark, pictures the truth that our salvation comes from the wounded side of the Lord Jesus Christ. Read the story of the ark today. Find how many pictures of salvation can be found in this beautiful story.

520 B.C. – Zechariah Received His Vision.

Zechariah received his vision of the man on a red horse standing among myrtle trees. This is a type of Israel scattered among the Gentile nations as found in Zechariah 1:7. Pray for Israel today. Pray for Jewish people everywhere. Maybe you know some Jewish friends who need your prayers. Maybe some missionaries among the Jews could be the object of your prayers for a few moments.

Of course, we could pray today as we think of Israel for the Kingdom to come as we are admonished in the “Model Prayer.” This is the Kingdom when Jesus shall reign from Jerusalem and the Jews shall inhabit the Promised Land safely, and we shall rule and reign with Him on the earth for a thousand years. You can say with the Model Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9)

Say with the Apostle John, “Even so come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20b)

1836 – Alamo defenders call for help

“On this day in 1836, in San Antonio, Texas, Colonel William Travis issues a call for help on behalf of the Texan troops defending the Alamo, an old Spanish mission and fortress under attack by the Mexican army.

A native of Alabama, Travis moved to the Mexican state of Texas in 1831. He soon became a leader of the growing movement to overthrow the Mexican government and establish an independent Texan republic. When the Texas revolution began in 1835, Travis became a lieutenant-colonel in the revolutionary army and was given command of troops in the recently captured city of San Antonio de Bexar (now San Antonio). On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican force commanded by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana arrived suddenly in San Antonio. Travis and his troops took shelter in the Alamo, where they were soon joined by a volunteer force led by Colonel James Bowie.

Though Santa Ana’s 5,000 troops heavily outnumbered the several hundred Texans, Travis and his men determined not to give up. On February 24, they answered Santa Ana’s call for surrender with a bold shot from the Alamo’s cannon. Furious, the Mexican general ordered his forces to launch a siege. Travis immediately recognized his disadvantage and sent out several messages via couriers asking for reinforcements. Addressing one of the pleas to “The People of Texas and All Americans in the World,” Travis signed off with the now-famous phrase “Victory or Death.”

Only 32 men from the nearby town of Gonzales responded to Travis’ call for help, and beginning at 5:30 a.m. on March 6, Mexican forces stormed the Alamo through a gap in the fort’s outer wall, killing Travis, Bowie and 190 of their men. Despite the loss of the fort, the Texan troops managed to inflict huge losses on their enemy, killing at least 600 of Santa Ana’s men.

The brave defense of the Alamo became a powerful symbol for the Texas revolution, helping the rebels turn the tide in their favor. At the crucial Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 910 Texan soldiers commanded by Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana’s army of 1,250 men, spurred on by cries of “Remember the Alamo!” The next day, after Texan forces captured Santa Ana himself, the general issued orders for all Mexican troops to pull back behind the Rio Grande River. On May 14, 1836, Texas officially became an independent republic.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/alamo-defenders-call-for-help (Feb 24, 2012).

February 25

1836 – The First Revolver Was Patented.

1870 – The First United States Black Senator Was Elected.

This should cause us to pause and pray for our black friends. Pray for the racial strife in our world. Pray that God will help us to love each other as brothers and find the Scriptural answer to our racial differences and prejudices.

Pray for faithful black preachers everywhere. I have long had a burden for the black people. As a young person, I wanted to be a missionary to Africa. My call to preach was aided by a dear black brother. Many years ago I was a softball pitcher for the Dallas Railway and Terminal softball team. I was employed by them in order for me to pitch. A black brother who was a fine Christian often came by our company. He said that God had told him that I ought to be a preacher. Though I did not surrender at that time, I did feel the call of God through this faithful black brother.

When I was in college I would drive out to a black church and preach every Wednesday night. I was pastor of a church a hundred miles away where I drove for the weekends, but would preach for these black brethren on Wednesday nights. Some of my most precious memories revolve around these experiences. Pray for missionaries in Africa. Pray for the African Christians. Pray for black Christians everywhere.

1964 – Clay knocks out Liston

“On February 25, 1964, 22-year-old Cassius Clay shocks the odds-makers by dethroning world heavyweight boxing champ Sonny Liston in a seventh-round technical knockout. The dreaded Liston, who had twice demolished former champ Floyd Patterson in one round, was an 8-to-1 favorite. However, Clay predicted victory, boasting that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and knock out Liston in the eighth round. The fleet-footed and loquacious youngster needed less time to make good on his claim–Liston, complaining of an injured shoulder, failed to answer the seventh-round bell. A few moments later, a new heavyweight champion was proclaimed.

Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1942. He started boxing when he was 12 and by age 18 had amassed a record of over 100 wins in amateur competition. In 1959, he won the International Golden Gloves heavyweight title and in 1960 a gold medal in the light heavyweight category at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome. Clay turned professional after the Olympics and went undefeated in his first 19 bouts, earning him the right to challenge Sonny Liston, who had defeated Floyd Patterson in 1962 to win the heavyweight title.

On February 25, 1964, a crowd of 8,300 spectators gathered at the Convention Hall arena in Miami Beach to see if Cassius Clay, who was nicknamed the “Louisville Lip,” could put his money where his mouth was. The underdog proved no bragging fraud, and he danced and backpedaled away from Liston’s powerful swings while delivering quick and punishing jabs to Liston’s head. Liston hurt his shoulder in the first round, injuring some muscles as he swung for and missed his elusive target. By the time he decided to discontinue the bout between the sixth and seventh rounds, he and Clay were about equal in points. A few conjectured that Liston faked the injury and threw the fight, but there was no real evidence, such as a significant change in bidding odds just before the bout, to support this claim.

To celebrate winning the world heavyweight title, Clay went to a private party at a Miami hotel that was attended by his friend Malcolm X, an outspoken leader of the African American Muslim group known as the Nation of Islam. Two days later, a markedly more restrained Clay announced he was joining the Nation of Islam and defended the organization’s concept of racial segregation while speaking of the importance of the Muslim religion in his life. Later that year, Clay, who was the descendant of a runaway Kentucky slave, rejected the name originally given to his family by a slave owner and took the Muslim name of Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad Ali would go on to become one of the 20th century’s greatest sporting figures, as much for his social and political influence as his prowess in his chosen sport. After successfully defending his title nine times, it was stripped from him in 1967 after he refused induction into the U.S. Army on the grounds that he was a Muslim minister and therefore a conscientious objector. That year, he was sentenced to five years in prison for violating the Selective Service Act but was allowed to remain free as he appealed the decision. His popularity plummeted, but many across the world applauded his bold stand against the Vietnam War.

In 1970, he was allowed to return to the boxing ring, and the next year the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Ali’s draft evasion conviction. In 1974, he regained the heavyweight title in a match against George Foreman in Zaire and successfully defended it in a brutal 15-round contest against Joe Frazier in the Philippines in the following year. In 1978, he lost the title to Leon Spinks but later that year defeated Spinks in a rematch, making him the first boxer to win the heavyweight title three times. He retired in 1979 but returned to the ring twice in the early 1980s. In 1984, Ali was diagnosed with pugilistic Parkinson’s syndrome and has suffered a slow decline of his motor functions ever since. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1996, he lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremonies of the Summer Games in Atlanta, Georgia. Ali’s daughter, Laila, made her boxing debut in 1999.

At a White House ceremony in November 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/clay-knocks-out-liston (Feb 25, 2011).

Today is the Birthday of Our Long-Time Friend, Dorothy Lyons.

Dorothy is the wife of Evangelist Jim Lyons, who served with Jack Hyles for many years. Dorothy was pianist for churches that he pastored for approximately twelve years. Pray for the work of Evangelist Lyons and faithful evangelists everywhere today.

February 26

1811 – The First Naval Hospital was Authorized.

Thank God today for hospitals and for those who give themselves to the health of humanity.

1846 – Buffalo Bill was Born.

He was also known by his real name, William Cody.

1846 – The Birthdate of George C. Stebbins.

George C. Stebbins was a faithful music director and song writer. He was music director for the First Baptist Church in Chicago; for the Clarendon Street Chapel in Boston, where the famous A. J. Gordon was pastor; and he was the author of many of our fine songs. He wrote the famous song, “Must I Go Empty-Handed?” Why not sing a stanza or two of it.


Must I go, and empty-handed, 
Thus my dear Redeemer meet? 
Not one day of service give Him, 
Lay no trophy at His feet?

Not at death I shrink nor falter, 
For my Savior saves me now; 
But to meet Him empty-handed, 
Tho’t of that now clouds my brow.

O the years in sinning wasted, 
Could I but recall them now, 
I would give them to my Savior, 
To His will I’d gladly bow.

O ye saints, arouse, be earnest, 
Up and work while yet ’tis day; 
Ere the night of death o’er-take thee,
Strive for souls while still you may.


Must I go, and empty-handed? 
Must I meet my Savior so? 
Not one soul with which to greet Him: 
Must I empty-handed go?

He also wrote a great song, “Saved by Grace.” Have you thanked God for your own music director lately? Have you thanked God for your choir? Today would be a good time to thank God for those who have blessed you in the field of music and a good day to write a letter of appreciation to them.

1919 – Two national parks preserved, 10 years apart

“On this day in history, two national parks were established in the United States 10 years apart–the Grand Canyon in 1919 and the Grand Tetons in 1929.

Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the product of millions of years of excavation by the mighty Colorado River. The chasm is exceptionally deep, dropping more than a mile into the earth, and is 15 miles across at its widest point. The canyon is home to more than 1,500 plant species and over 500 animal species, many of them endangered or unique to the area, and it’s steep, multi-colored walls tell the story of 2 billion years of Earth’s history.

In 1540, members of an expedition sent by the Spanish explorer Coronado became the first Europeans to discover the canyon, though because of its remoteness the area was not further explored until 300 years later. American geologist John Wesley Powell, who popularized the term “Grand Canyon” in the 1870s, became the first person to journey the entire length of the gorge in 1869. The harrowing voyage was made in four rowboats.

In January 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt designated more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon a national monument; it was designated a national park under President Woodrow Wilson on February 26, 1919.

Ten years later to the day, President Calvin Coolidge signed into law a bill passed by both houses of the U.S. Congress establishing the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Home to some of the most stunning alpine scenery in the United States, the territory in and around Grand Teton National Park also has a colorful human history. The first Anglo-American to see the saw-edged Teton peaks is believed to be John Colter. After traveling with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter left the expedition during its return trip down the Missouri in 1807 to join two fur trappers headed back into the wilderness. He spent the next three years wandering through the northern Rocky Mountains, eventually finding his way into the valley at the base of the Tetons, which would later be called Jackson Hole.

Other adventurers followed in Colter’s footsteps, including the French-Canadian trappers who gave the mountain range the bawdy name of “Grand Tetons,” meaning “big breasts” in French. For decades trappers, outlaws, traders and Indians passed through Jackson Hole, but it was not until 1887 that settlers established the first permanent habitation. The high northern valley with its short growing season was ill suited to farming, but the early settlers found it ideal for grazing cattle.

Tourists started coming to Jackson Hole not long after the first cattle ranches. Some of the ranchers supplemented their income by catering to “dudes,” eastern tenderfoots yearning to experience a little slice of the Old West in the shadow of the stunning Tetons. The tourists began to raise the first concerns about preserving the natural beauty of the region.

In 1916, Horace M. Albright, the director of the National Park Service, was the first to seriously suggest that the region be incorporated into Yellowstone National Park. The ranchers and businesses catering to tourists, however, strongly resisted the suggestion that they be pushed off their lands to make a “museum” of the Old West for eastern tourists.

Finally, after more than a decade of political maneuvering, Grand Teton National Park was created on February 26, 1929. As a concession to the ranchers and tourist operators, the park only encompassed the mountains and a narrow strip at their base. Jackson Hole itself was excluded from the park and designated merely as a scenic preserve. Albright, though, had persuaded the wealthy John D. Rockefeller to begin buying up land in the Jackson Hole area for possible future incorporation into the park. In 1949, Rockefeller donated his land holdings in Jackson Hole to the federal government that then incorporated them into the national park. Today, Grand Teton National Park encompasses 309,993 acres. Working ranches still exist in Jackson Hole, but the local economy is increasingly dependent on services provided to tourists and the wealthy owners of vacation homes.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/two-national-parks-preserved-10-years-apart (Feb 26, 2012).

February 27

1773 – The Christ’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia was Completed on This Day.

This was the church of George Washington. In fact, George Washington and his family purchased a pew for the price of $100.00. Because of this thought, let us direct our thinking and prayers today to our spiritual heritage – to those who brought the Gospel to America and to those who have faithfully propagated the Gospel in our land. Perhaps in your own denomination you can think of some great men for whom you should praise God. These are men who laid the foundations for your denomination – for our Christian heritage. For example, Methodists can well thank God for John and Charles Wesley; Presbyterians can thank God for John Calvin; Christian and Missionary Alliance members can look with thanksgiving to the life of A. B. Simpson; Quakers, to George Fox; Baptists, to Roger Williams, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and others.

1807 – The Birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

1827 – New Orleanians take to the streets for Mardi Gras

“On this day in 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city’s famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

The celebration of Carnival–or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent–spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

Though early French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to Louisiana at the end of the 17th century, Spanish governors of the province later banned the celebrations. After Louisiana became part of the United States in 1803, New Orleanians managed to convince the city council to lift the ban on wearing masks and partying in the streets. The city’s new Mardi Gras tradition began in 1827 when the group of students, inspired by their experiences studying in Paris, donned masks and jester costumes and staged their own Fat Tuesday festivities.

The parties grew more and more popular, and in 1833 a rich plantation owner named Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration. After rowdy revelers began to get violent during the 1850s, a secret society called the Mistick Krewe of Comus staged the first large-scale, well-organized Mardi Gras parade in 1857.

Over time, hundreds of krewes formed, building elaborate and colorful floats for parades held over the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. Riders on the floats are usually local citizens who toss “throws” at passersby, including metal coins, stuffed toys or those now-infamous strands of beads. Though many tourists mistakenly believe Bourbon Street and the historic French Quarter are the heart of Mardi Gras festivities, none of the major parades have been allowed to enter the area since 1979 because of its narrow streets.

In February 2006, New Orleans held its Mardi Gras celebrations despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina had devastated much of the city with massive flooding the previous August. Attendance was at only 60-70 percent of the 300,000-400,000 visitors who usually attend Mardi Gras, but the celebration marked an important step in the recovery of the city, which counts on hospitality and tourism as its single largest industry.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/new-orleanians-take-to-the-streets-for-mardi-gras (Feb 27, 2012).

1922 – Voting by Women was Declared Legal.

Once again our thoughts are turned to womanhood. Have there been ladies who have influenced your life a great deal? Thank God for them today. Spend a few moments in praise of them. How I thank God for the influence of godly women in my life! Let us pause to call them blessed today.

February 28

1747 – Birthday of John Tyler.

1854 – The Republican Party was Started at Ripon, Wisconsin.

Whether you are a Republican or Democrat, as a Christian you will know the need of Christian politicians today. How we should pray to God to give us politicians who have Christian character, integrity, and honesty and who will lead our nation away from socialism and communism toward freedom. Many of us are alarmed at the rising trend of socialism in our nation, and the rising trend toward compromise and communism. Many hold the Republican Party very dear. Pray for politicians everywhere.

1865 – The Birthday of Wilfred Grenfell.

Another Month is Ending.

Take stock of what you did for Christ in this month and what Christ did through you this month. Tomorrow (unless this is leap year) begins another month. Thirty-one days of opportunity lie ahead of you. Dedicate yourself to make March a great month in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now bow your head and thank God for His blessings in February.

1953 – Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

“On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA–short for deoxyribonucleic acid–was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn’t demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.    In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that “we had found the secret of life.” The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science–how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick’s solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals. 

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson’s book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/watson-and-crick-discover-chemical-structure-of-dna (Feb 28, 2012).

February 29

1940 – McDaniel wins Oscar

“On February 29, 1940, Gone with the Wind is honored with eight Oscars by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. An epic Southern romance set during the hard times of the Civil War, the movie swept the prestigious Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, and Actress categories. However, the most momentous award that night undoubtedly went to Hattie McDaniel for her portrayal of “Mammy,” a housemaid and former slave. McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award, was the first African American actress or actor ever to be honored with an Oscar.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1895, McDaniel demonstrated her talents as a singer and actress while growing up in Denver, Colorado. She left school while a teenager to become a performer in several traveling minstrel groups and in 1924 became one of the first African American women to sing on U.S. radio. With the onset of the Great Depression, she was forced to take work as a ladies’ washroom attendant in a Milwaukee club. The club, which hired only white performers, eventually made an exception and let her sing, and she performed there for a year before setting her sights on Hollywood.

In Los Angeles, she won a small role on a local radio show called The Optimistic Do-Nuts and before long had become the program’s main attraction. In 1932, she made her film debut as a Southern house servant in The Golden West. In American movies at the time, African American actors and actresses were generally limited to house servant roles, and McDaniel apparently embraced this stereotype, playing the role of maid or cook in nearly 40 films in the 1930s. Responding to criticism by groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) that she was perpetuating stereotypes, McDaniel responded that she would rather play a maid on the screen than be one in real life. Furthermore, she often subverted the stereotype by turning her maids into sassy, independent-minded characters who sometimes made white audiences shift uncomfortably in their seats.

Her most famous role was as Mammy in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind. Directed by Victor Fleming and based on the best-selling Margaret Mitchell novel of the same name, the movie remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when inflation is taken into account. Although she was honored with an Oscar, liberal African Americans sharply criticized McDaniel for accepting a role in which her character, a former slave, spoke nostalgically about the Old South.

McDaniel’s film career declined in the late 1940s, and in 1947 she returned to radio as the star of the nationally broadcast The Beulah Show. In the program, she again portrayed an effervescent Southern maid but in a markedly un-stereotypical manner that won praise from the NAACP. In 1951, while filming the first episodes of a television version of the popular show, she had a heart attack. She recovered to do a few more radio programs but in 1952 died of breast cancer at the age of 57.” – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mcdaniel-wins-oscar (Feb 29, 2012).