1656 – The Quakers Arrived in the United States.
Pray for our Quaker friends. Of course, one of the great Quakers was George Fox. George Fox spent fifteen days in a trance alone with God. He was never the same upon returning. His friends said there was a glow about him they had not known before. Pray for the Quakers today.
1800 – The First Methodist Camp Meeting was Conducted.
The first Methodist camp meeting was conducted in Logan County, Kentucky. Would God many more of these would be held. The days of Peter Cartwright and the Methodist camp meetings were glorious ones. We could well pray for such days in our generation. Pray for the Methodists and pray for the camp meeting-type Christianity to come back to their churches.
1824 – The Ordination of Charles G. Finney.
The pastor who ordained Mr. Finney later said that he regretted this ordination. Finney became known as somewhat of a fanatic, embarrassing his old pastor. God give us more fanatics!
1864 – The Battle of Gettysburg.
1916 – General Eisenhower was Married.
1925 – Evangelist Lester Roloff was Converted.
Evangelist Roloff’s favorite Scripture is Hebrews 10:38, “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Let us thank God today that we too have been born again and saved by His matchless grace.
1997 – Hong Kong Returned to China.
At midnight on July 1, 1997, Hong Kong reverts back to Chinese rule in a ceremony attended by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Prince Charles of Wales, Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. A few thousand Hong Kongers protested the turnover, which was otherwise celebratory and peaceful.
In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic, social, and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, a sparsely inhabited island off the coast of southeast China. In 1841, China ceded the island to the British with the signing of the Convention of Chuenpi, and in 1842 the Treaty of Nanking was signed, formally ending the First Opium War.
Britain’s new colony flourished as an East-West trading center and as the commercial gateway and distribution center for southern China. In 1898, Britain was granted an additional 99 years of rule over Hong Kong under the Second Convention of Peking. In September 1984, after years of negotiations, the British and the Chinese signed a formal agreement approving the 1997 turnover of the island in exchange for a Chinese pledge to preserve Hong Kong’s capitalist system. On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was peaceably handed over to China in a ceremony attended by numerous Chinese, British, and international dignitaries. The chief executive under the new Hong Kong government, Tung Chee Hwa, formulated a policy based on the concept of “one country, two systems,” thus preserving Hong Kong’s role as a principal capitalist center in Asia. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hong-kong-returned-to-china)
1881 – President Garfield was Shot.
On this day in history President Garfield was shot. He died on September 19.
It is interesting that so many Presidents could be shot or assassinated in this so-called “Christian land.” It simply reminds us again that we ought to pray for our President. Pray for his safety and for God’s blessings upon him.
1937 – Amelia Earhart Putman was Lost in the Pacific.
A New Month.
Once again, we are in the early days of a new month. July is, of course, one of the hot summer months. It is also one of the months when we oftentimes place weekend vacations and pleasure before Jesus Christ. Of course, vacations are needed, but not vacations from Jesus Christ. Weekend trips might be profitable in some cases, but not a trip from Jesus Christ. We are admonished to be instant in season and out of season. We are also reminded that we must face God over every moment, every idle word, and every season of the year. Let us live every day this month as if it were our last. Let us win souls to Christ, spend much time in prayer and in the blessed Word of God, and pray for God to make the month of July one of the best in the year in His service.
1819 – The First Savings Bank was Established.
Thank God for the banks and all of the help they are to us. However, Christians have been laying up treasures in Heaven long before 1819 and one day, thank God, we shall withdraw our deposits!
1863 – Battle of Gettysburg Ends
On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.
In June 1863, following his masterful victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, General Lee launched his second invasion of the Union in less than a year. He led his 75,000-man Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River, through Maryland, and into Pennsylvania, seeking to win a major battle on Northern soil that would further dispirit the Union war effort and induce Britain or France to intervene on the Confederacy’s behalf. The 90,000-strong Army of the Potomac pursued the Confederates into Maryland, but its commander, General Joseph Hooker, was still stinging from his defeat at Chancellorsville and seemed reluctant to chase Lee further. Meanwhile, the Confederates divided their forces and investigated various targets, such as Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital.
On June 28, President Abraham Lincoln replaced Hooker with General George Meade, and Lee learned of the presence of the Army of the Potomac in Maryland. Lee ordered his army to concentrate in the vicinity of the crossroads town of Gettysburg and prepare to meet the Federal army. At the same time, Meade sent ahead part of his force into Pennsylvania but intended to make a stand at Pipe Creek in Maryland.
On July 1, a Confederate division under General Henry Heth marched into Gettysburg hoping to seize supplies but finding instead three brigades of Union cavalry. Thus began the Battle of Gettysburg, and Lee and Meade ordered their massive armies to converge on the impromptu battle site. The Union cavalrymen defiantly held the field against overwhelming numbers until the arrival of Federal reinforcements. Later, the Confederates were reinforced, and by mid-afternoon some 19,000 Federals faced 24,000 Confederates. Lee arrived to the battlefield soon afterward and ordered a general advance that forced the Union line back to Cemetery Hill, just south of the town.
During the night, the rest of Meade’s force arrived, and by the morning Union General Winfield Hancock had formed a strong Union line. On July 2, against the Union left, General James Longstreet led the main Confederate attack, but it was not carried out until about 4 p.m., and the Federals had time to consolidate their positions. Thus began some of the heaviest fighting of the battle, and Union forces retained control of their strategic positions at heavy cost. After three hours, the battle ended, and the total number of dead at Gettysburg stood at 35,000.
On July 3, Lee, having failed on the right and the left, planned an assault on Meade’s center. A 15,000-man strong column under General George Pickett was organized, and Lee ordered a massive bombardment of the Union positions. The 10,000 Federals answered the Confederate artillery onslaught, and for more than an hour the guns raged in the heaviest cannonade of the Civil War. At 3 p.m., Pickett led his force into no-man’s-land and found that Lee’s bombardment had failed. As Pickett’s force attempted to cross the mile distance to Cemetery Ridge, Union artillery blew great holes in their lines. Meanwhile, Yankee infantry flanked the main body of “Pickett’s charge” and began cutting down the Confederates. Only a few hundred Virginians reached the Union line, and within minutes they all were dead, dying, or captured. In less than an hour, more than 7,000 Confederate troops had been killed or wounded.
Both armies, exhausted, held their positions until the night of July 4, when Lee withdrew. The Army of the Potomac was too weak to pursue the Confederates, and Lee led his army out of the North, never to invade it again. The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point in the Civil War, costing the Union 23,000 killed, wounded, or missing in action. The Confederates suffered some 25,000 casualties. On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address during the dedication of a new national cemetery at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Civil War effectively ended with the surrender of General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in April 1865. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/battle-of-gettysburg-ends)
1890 – Idaho was Admitted to the Union.
1960 – Alfred H. Ackley Died.
Ackley wrote many of the most wonderful songs in our hymnbooks. “He Lives” is perhaps his greatest contribution. Let us sing it now.
I serve a risen Saviour, He’s in the world today;
I know that He is living, whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him, He’s always near.
In all the world around me I see His loving care,
And tho’ my heart grows weary I never will despair;
I know that He is leading, thru all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing will come at last.
Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, the Help of all who find,
None other is so loving, so good and kind.
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.
Other well-known songs by Ackley are, “Somebody Knows,” “At the End of the Road,” “God’s Tomorrow,” “Heartaches,” “It is Morning in My Heart,” and “Jesus is the Joy of Living.” He wrote both words and music to the above songs. He wrote the words to “In the Service of the King,” “Amazed,” and “You Cannot Hide from God.” It is said that he has written over 1,500 hymns and songs and many of them are world famous.
Thank God for men who can place our thoughts to music and lead us in praise to God. Song is a vital part of the Word of God and the work of God. Have you been blessed by someone’s musical number lately? Why not write and tell them.
1964 – Harland J. Odell Died.
Odell was defender of the faith and Pastor of the Canton Gospel Center, in Canton, Ohio. From 1955 until 1958 he was president of the American Council of Christian Churches. He prepared his farewell message, “Preparation for Dying,” which was delivered from his hospital bed three weeks before he died of a kidney condition. He pastored this church for approximately twenty-five years.
1776 – U.S. Declares Independence.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France’s intervention on behalf of the Patriots.
The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the banner of “no taxation without representation,” colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax. With its enactment in November, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest in the colonies, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766.
Most colonists continued to quietly accept British rule until Parliament’s enactment of the Tea Act in 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. In response, militant Patriots in Massachusetts organized the “Boston Tea Party,” which saw British tea valued at some 18,000 pounds dumped into Boston Harbor.
Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British.
With the other colonies watching intently, Massachusetts led the resistance to the British, forming a shadow revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony. In April 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located. On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired.
Initially, both the Americans and the British saw the conflict as a kind of civil war within the British Empire: To King George III it was a colonial rebellion, and to the Americans it was a struggle for their rights as British citizens. However, Parliament remained unwilling to negotiate with the American rebels and instead purchased German mercenaries to help the British army crush the rebellion. In response to Britain’s continued opposition to reform, the Continental Congress began to pass measures abolishing British authority in the colonies.
In January 1776, Thomas Paine published Common Sense, an influential political pamphlet that convincingly argued for American independence and sold more than 500,000 copies in a few months. In the spring of 1776, support for independence swept the colonies, the Continental Congress called for states to form their own governments, and a five-man committee was assigned to draft a declaration.
The Declaration of Independence was largely the work of Virginian Thomas Jefferson. In justifying American independence, Jefferson drew generously from the political philosophy of John Locke, an advocate of natural rights, and from the work of other English theorists. The first section features the famous lines, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The second part presents a long list of grievances that provided the rationale for rebellion.
On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to approve a Virginia motion calling for separation from Britain. The dramatic words of this resolution were added to the closing of the Declaration of Independence. Two days later, on July 4, the declaration was formally adopted by 12 colonies after minor revision. New York approved it on July 19. On August 2, the declaration was signed.
The American War for Independence would last for five more years. Yet to come were the Patriot triumphs at Saratoga, the bitter winter at Valley Forge, the intervention of the French, and the final victory at Yorktown in 1781. In 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.
1812 – John Jasper was Born.
1826 – Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Died.
How interesting that this should be on the same day. Pray for our present leaders today.
1826 – Stephen Foster was Born.
Some of our grandest old songs have come from the pen of this man.
1827 – Slavery was Abolished in the United States.
Pray for our black brethren today.
1828 – The First United States Railroad Passenger Service.
On this date the first United States Railroad passenger service was begun. It was horse-drawn.
1872 – The Birthday of Calvin Coolidge.
1904 – The First Pacific Cable was Opened.
President Theodore Roosevelt sent a message around the world. It came back to him in twelve minutes. Think of this miracle and thank God for this step of progress.
Of course, this is also Independence Day. The 4th of July has long been a great day in the life of our nation. Of course, it is a holiday. Many of us will want to have picnics; many will go on outings; many will see friends and loved ones for the first time in weeks, months, or maybe years; however, do not let this day pass without thanking God for our independence. Pray that God will keep us this way as long as there is an America or until Jesus comes.
595 B.C. – Ezekiel’s Vision at Chebar.
1801 – Admiral Farragut was Born.
Admiral Farragut was the first Admiral of the United States Navy.
1865 – William Booth Founded the Salvation Army.
General Booth is one of my heroes. The Salvation Army was founded to reach others for Christ and to help others in need. While in London not long ago, we found many of his footprints and grew to appreciate even more his great ministry. It is said that one day he was walking down the street and found a little
boy weeping in front of the grocery store. He asked the little boy why he was weeping.
The little boy said, “Mister, I was given some money by my mother to take to the grocery store to buy some groceries. I lost the money,” he whimpered with tears flowing down his cheeks, “and I am afraid to go home. That is all the money we have. We are poor.”
General Booth replaced the money. The little boy hugged his legs and looked up into his face with such a warm smile that it is said that General Booth walked around the block the rest of the day trying to find another little boy who had lost some money. We can be happy and find real joy only when we lose ourselves in service for others.
1867 – The Dominion of Canada was Established.
It has been such a thrill and blessing to my own ministry to preach in Canada many, many times. I have grown to love and appreciate the saints there. Pray for them today. Pray for God to bless this country and the Christians who serve Him there.
1415 – John Huss was Martyred at the Stake.
As the flames leaped around him and as he gave his life for the Gospel, John Huss said, “Jesus wore a crown of thorns for me. I will wear this crown for Him.” What a testimony! John Huss was a great Presbyterian preacher who stood for the Gospel at the risk of his own life and was faithful even unto death. Compare that with our kind of Christianity today – the kind of Christianity that does not give God the tithe but simply a tip occasionally or the kind of Christianity that comes to church on Sunday morning and leaves the religion at home the rest of the week. Oh, to have in our day John Huss type Christianity.
1747 – The Birthday of John Paul Jones.
1854 – A. C. Dixon was Born.
1854 – The Republican Party was Founded.
Let us pray for our Republican friends and for the Republican Party. Traditionally, Republicans have stood for conservatism in our politics and government. There has become a trend in our day toward liberalism. Pray for God to lead the Republicans, as well as the Democrats, to conservatism away from the centralized, socialistic-type government.
1928 – The First All-Talking Motion Pictures.
There is no instrument that could be used for Christ any better than the talking motion picture. What a shame the Devil has it almost under his control. My children, at this writing, are seventeen, fifteen, twelve, and ten. Not a one of them has ever been to a Hollywood movie, and I trust and pray God they can always say the same. The Devil loves to get an instrument that can be used for good and use it for much bad.
1957 – Althea Gibson if First African American to Win Wimbledon.
On this day in 1957, Althea Gibson claims the women’s singles tennis title at Wimbledon and becomes the first African American to win a championship at London’s All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.
Gibson was born on August 25, 1927, in Silver, South Carolina, and raised in the Harlem section of New York City. She began playing tennis as a teenager and went on to win the national black women’s championship twice. At a time when tennis was largely segregated, four-time U.S. Nationals winner Alice Marble advocated on Gibson’s behalf and the 5’11” player was invited to make her U.S. Open debut in 1950. In 1956, Gibson’s tennis career took off and she won the singles title at the French Open–the first African American to do so–as well as the doubles’ title there. In July 1957, Gibson won Wimbledon, defeating Darlene Hard, 6-3, 6-2. (In 1975, Arthur Ashe became the first African-American man to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon, when he defeated Jimmy Connors.) In September 1957, she won the U.S. Open, and the Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year in 1957 and 1958. During the 1950s, Gibson won 56 singles and doubles titles, including 11 major titles.
After winning Wimbledon and the U.S. Open again in 1958, Gibson retired from amateur tennis. In 1960, she toured with the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, playing exhibition tennis matches before their games. In 1964, Gibson joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the first black woman to do so. The trailblazing athlete played pro golf until 1971, the same year in which she was voted into the National Lawn Tennis Association Hall of Fame.
After serving as New Jersey’s commissioner of athletics from 1975 to 1985, Althea Gibson died at age 76 from respiratory failure on September 28, 2003, at a hospital in East Orange, New Jersey. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/althea-gibson-is-first-african-american-to-win-wimbledon)
Do a Kind Deed Today.
How long has it been since you did a kind deed for another? Do something nice for someone else today. Do a good deed that will help another and you will be surprised how much it will help you.
Days of Fasts and Cheerful Feasts for Judah.
Zechariah 8:19 tells us that these were the days of the fasts and cheerful feasts for Judah. Let us look at these one at a time:
1. The Fasts
Fasting was certainly a Bible doctrine. Not only was it helpful to the health and a part of religious exercise but the main thing is that a fast accompanied repentance, sorrow for sin, etc. One time when Jesus was on the mountain, His return found a boy running and gnashing his teeth for he was possessed with devils. His father told Jesus that he had been to the apostles and asked them to help, and they could not. Jesus healed the boy, and after a season the disciples came secretly to Jesus and said, “Why could not we do this?” And Jesus said, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29) There are some things that we can only get by prayer and fasting. Far too many of us try to do super-natural work in natural power. God help us to get back to New Testament Christianity.
2. Cheerful Feasts
There is a tremendous need for a revival of joy and cheerfulness in Christianity. We oftentimes leave the impression with the world that Christianity is something to endure and because we do endure it we may enjoy Heaven some day. This is certainly not true. Living for Christ on earth is Heaven on earth. Billy Bray, as he died, was asked, “What if you are wrong and you go to Hell?”
He simply shouted, “Bless God, I will just praise the Lord in Hell and thank Him for having such a wonderful time on earth being born-again.”
Then they suggested that the Devil would probably come to him and say, “Billy, you can’t shout down here.”
Then Billy declared he would say, “Well, I’d just as soon not stay here anyway so I will praise the Lord and shout His praises all the way to Heaven.”
How we need a taste of this! I have often thought that if there were no Heaven and no Hell, I would still want to be a child of God for the joy of serving Christ here on earth.
1898 – Hawaii was Annexed.
Pray for the Christians in Hawaii, especially for those who labor as missionaries and pastors.
1930 – Building of Hoover Dam Begins.
On this day in 1930, construction of the Hoover Dam begins. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest manmade structures in the world.
Although the dam would take only five years to build, its construction was nearly 30 years in the making. Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer from the Bureau of Reclamation, originally had his vision for the Hoover Dam back in 1902, and his engineering report on the topic became the guiding document when plans were finally made to begin the dam in 1922.
Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States and a committed conservationist, played a crucial role in making Davis’ vision a reality. As secretary of commerce in 1921, Hoover devoted himself to the erection of a high dam in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities.
Even with Hoover’s exuberant backing and a regional consensus around the need to build the dam, Congressional approval and individual state cooperation were slow in coming. For many years, water rights had been a source of contention among the western states that had claims on the Colorado River. To address this issue, Hoover negotiated the Colorado River Compact, which broke the river basin into two regions with the water divided between them. Hoover then had to introduce and re-introduce the bill to build the dam several times over the next few years before the House and Senate finally approved the bill in 1928.
In 1929, Hoover, now president, signed the Colorado River Compact into law, claiming it was “the most extensive action ever taken by a group of states under the provisions of the Constitution permitting compacts between states.”
Once preparations were made, the Hoover Dam’s construction sprinted forward: The contractors finished their work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second highest dam in the country and the 18th highest in the world. It generates enough energy each year to serve over a million people, and stands, in Hoover Dam artist Oskar Hansen’s words, as “a monument to collective genius exerting itself in community efforts around a common need or ideal.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/building-of-hoover-dam-begins)
1776 – The Liberty Bell First Rang for Independence.
May the Liberty Bell always ring in America, and may we ring the message loud and clear of freedom and liberty as a pattern for the entire world.
1800 – Washington D. C. was Made Our Capitol.
On this day in history Washington D. C. was made our Capitol. Pray for those in Washington with authority over us. Pray for the morals of our nation’s Capitol. Think what could happen if revival could sweep Washington D. C.
1914 – Bill Dowell was Born.
Here is one of America’s great preachers. For years he was pastor in Springfield, Missouri, having done one of America’s outstanding works there and then pastored in Jacksonville, Florida. Thank God today for Christian leaders. Thank God for men who are able to lead preachers, pastor preachers, and lead great groups of people and great numbers of churches toward the fundamental teaching and toward the Word of God. Pray for preachers everywhere but especially pray for Christian leaders, men of nationwide prominence and men of world renown who have gained respect of other Christian leaders and are responsible to God even for the leadership of Christian leaders. The Apostle Paul said that God had given him the care of all the churches. Pray for God to raise up men with a concern that is greater than their own work and that goes beyond the four walls of their own church building. May they have a concern for bringing preachers and churches of our land back to evangelism.
1951 – Paris Celebrates 2,000th Birthday.
On this day in 1951, Paris, the capital city of France, celebrates turning 2,000 years old. In fact, a few more candles would’ve technically been required on the birthday cake, as the City of Lights was most likely founded around 250 B.C.
The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii, who sometime around 250 B.C. settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, which eventually became Christianized and known as Lutetia, Latin for “midwater dwelling.” The settlement later spread to both the left and right banks of the Seine and the name Lutetia was replaced with “Paris.” In 987 A.D., Paris became the capital of France. As the city grew, the Left Bank earned a reputation as the intellectual district while the Right Bank became known for business.
During the French Renaissance period, from the late 15th century to the early 17th century, Paris became a center of art, architecture and science. In the mid-1800s, Napoleon III hired civic planner Georges-Eugene Hausmann to modernize Paris. Hausmann’s designs gave the city wide, tree-lined boulevards, large public parks, a new sewer system and other public works projects. The city continued to develop as an important hub for the arts and culture. In the 1860s, an artistic movement known as French Impression emerged, featuring the work of a group of Paris-based artists that included Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
Today, Paris is home to some 2 million residents, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city retains its reputation as a center for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, renowned for such sights as the Eiffel Tower (built in 1889 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution), the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral (built in 1163), Luxembourg Gardens and the Louvre Museum, home to Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Mona Lisa.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/paris-celebrates-2000th-birthday)
588 B.C. – Famine Prevailed and the Babylonians Took Israel.
Read II Kings 25:3, Jeremiah 39:2 and Jeremiah 52:6.
1819 – The Birthday of Elias Howe.
Today is the birthday of Elias Howe, the inventor of the sewing machine. Thank God today for the sewing machine. Think of the tremendous blessing it has been to our lives.
1838 – The Birthdate of P. P. Bliss.
P. P. Bliss was a famous song writer, especially gifted in the writing of beautiful hymns. In 1875 his royalties were $60,000.00. Moody advised him to keep $5,000.00 for himself. “Not a cent, it all belongs to God,” said P. P. Bliss. He wrote “Almost Persuaded,” “”Whosoever Will,” and “The Light of the World.” Why not sing with the family today or with some friends the great song “Whosoever Will.”
Whosoever heareth, shout, shout the sound!
Spread the blessed tidings all the world around;
Tell the joyful news wherever man is found.
“Whosoever will may come.”
Whosoever cometh, need not delay,
Now the door is open, enter while you may;
Jesus is the true, the only Living Way:
“Whosoever will may come.”
“Whosoever will!” the promise is secure;
“Whosoever will!” forever must endure;
“Whosoever will!” ’tis life forevermore;
“Whosoever will may come.”
“Whosoever will, whosoever will”
Send the proclamation over vale and hill;
Tis a loving Father calls the wanderer home:
“Whosoever will may come.”
1838 – The Birthday of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
1850 – President Zachary Taylor Died.
1865 – Some Give This as the Date the Salvation Army was Founded.
How we thank God for General William Booth and the founding of the Salvation Army. Pray for this organization today, especially that God will keep it fundamental, faithful to the truth, and after souls.
1877 – Wimbledon Tournament Begins.
On July 9, 1877, the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club begins its first lawn tennis tournament at Wimbledon, then an outer-suburb of London. Twenty-one amateurs showed up to compete in the Gentlemen’s Singles tournament, the only event at the first Wimbledon. The winner was to take home a 25-guinea trophy.
Tennis has its origins in a 13th-century French handball game called jeu de paume, or “game of the palm,” from which developed an indoor racket-and-ball game called real,or “royal,” tennis. Real tennis grew into lawn tennis, which was played outside on grass and enjoyed a surge of popularity in the late 19th century.
In 1868, the All England Club was established on four acres of meadowland outside London. The club was originally founded to promote croquet, another lawn sport, but the growing popularity of tennis led it to incorporate tennis lawns into its facilities. In 1877, the All England Club published an announcement in the weekly sporting magazine The Field that read: “The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, propose [sic] to hold a lawn tennis meeting open to all amateurs, on Monday, July 9, and following days. Entrance fee, one pound, one shilling.”
The All English Club purchased a 25-guinea trophy and drew up formal rules for tennis. It decided on a rectangular court 78 feet long by 27 feet wide; adapted the real tennis method of scoring based on a clock face—i.e., 15, 30, 40, game; established that the first to win six games wins a set; and allowed the server one fault. These decisions, largely the work of club member Dr. Henry Jones, remain part of the modern rules.
Twenty-two men registered for the tournament, but only 21 showed up on July 9 for its first day. The 11 survivors were reduced to six the next day, and then to three. Semifinals were held on July 12, but then the tournament was suspended to leave the London sporting scene free for the Eton vs. Harrow cricket match played on Friday and Saturday. The final was scheduled for Monday, July 16, but, in what would become a common occurrence in future Wimbledon tournaments, the match was rained out.
It was rescheduled for July 19, and on that day some 200 spectators paid a shilling each to see William Marshall, a Cambridge tennis “Blue,” battle W. Spencer Gore, an Old Harrovian racket player. In a final that lasted only 48 minutes, the 27-year-old Gore dominated with his strong volleying game, crushing Marshall, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. At the second Wimbledon in 1878, however, Gore lost his title when his net-heavy game fell prey to a innovative stroke developed by challenger Frank Hadow: the lob.
In 1884, the Lady’s Singles was introduced at Wimbledon, and Maud Watson won the first championship. That year, the national men’s doubles championship was also played at Wimbledon for the first time after several years at Oxford. Mixed doubles and women’s doubles were inaugurated in 1913. By the early 1900s, Wimbledon had graduated from all-England to all-world status, and in 1922 the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, as it was then known, moved to a large stadium on Church Road. In the 1950s, many tennis stars turned professional while Wimbledon struggled to remain an amateur tournament. However, in 1968 Wimbledon welcomed the pros and quickly regained its status as the world’s top tennis tournament.
The Wimbledon Championships, the only major tennis event still played on grass, is held annually in late June and early July. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wimbledon-tournament-begins)
1878 – The Birthday of H. V. Kaltenborn, Famous Radio Commentator.
1916 – Birthday of J. B. Williams of the Sudan Interior Missions.
Mr. Williams is the deputation secretary of the Sudan Interior Missions.
1509 – John Calvin was Born.
John Calvin, the founder of Presbyterianism and a great defender of the faith, is deserving of our praise and of our thanksgiving. Thank God today for John Calvin and for Presbyterians. There are many different groups of Presbyterians. Ask God’s blessings upon those who believe the Bible and pray for revival for those who doubt the Word of God.
1890 – Wyoming was Admitted to the Union.
There are many precious Christians in the State of Wyoming. It was my privilege a few years ago to speak to the state convention of the Conservative Baptists of Wyoming. Many people of all fundamental groups were present and the fellowship with many of them was sweet. Pray for God’s blessings upon these friends, among whom are some of the friendliest people in America.
1913 – The Hottest Day in the History of the United States.
The hottest day in the history of the United States was recorded on this day in Death Valley, California. It was 134 degrees.
1920 – David Brinkley was Born.
David Brinkley is of the famous Huntley-Brinkley team of news commentators. Thank God for those who relay to us the news around the world. It is amazing how that almost as soon as something happens, we can have it in our own living rooms.
1925 – Monkey Trial Begins.
In Dayton, Tennessee, the so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law.
The law, which had been passed in March, made it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” With local businessman George Rappalyea, Scopes had conspired to get charged with this violation, and after his arrest the pair enlisted the aid of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to organize a defense. Hearing of this coordinated attack on Christian fundamentalism, William Jennings Bryan, the three-time Democratic presidential candidate and a fundamentalist hero, volunteered to assist the prosecution. Soon after, the great attorney Clarence Darrow agreed to join the ACLU in the defense, and the stage was set for one of the most famous trials in U.S. history.
On July 10, the Monkey Trial got underway, and within a few days hordes of spectators and reporters had descended on Dayton as preachers set up revival tents along the city’s main street to keep the faithful stirred up. Inside the Rhea County Courthouse, the defense suffered early setbacks when Judge John Raulston ruled against their attempt to prove the law unconstitutional and then refused to end his practice of opening each day’s proceeding with prayer.
Outside, Dayton took on a carnival-like atmosphere as an exhibit featuring two chimpanzees and a supposed “missing link” opened in town, and vendors sold Bibles, toy monkeys, hot dogs, and lemonade. The missing link was in fact Jo Viens of Burlington, Vermont, a 51-year-old man who was of short stature and possessed a receding forehead and a protruding jaw. One of the chimpanzees–named Joe Mendi–wore a plaid suit, a brown fedora, and white spats, and entertained Dayton’s citizens by monkeying around on the courthouse lawn.
In the courtroom, Judge Raulston destroyed the defense’s strategy by ruling that expert scientific testimony on evolution was inadmissible–on the grounds that it was Scopes who was on trial, not the law he had violated. The next day, Raulston ordered the trial moved to the courthouse lawn, fearing that the weight of the crowd inside was in danger of collapsing the floor.
In front of several thousand spectators in the open air, Darrow changed his tactics and as his sole witness called Bryan in an attempt to discredit his literal interpretation of the Bible. In a searching examination, Bryan was subjected to severe ridicule and forced to make ignorant and contradictory statements to the amusement of the crowd. On July 21, in his closing speech, Darrow asked the jury to return a verdict of guilty in order that the case might be appealed. Under Tennessee law, Bryan was thereby denied the opportunity to deliver the closing speech he had been preparing for weeks. After eight minutes of deliberation, the jury returned with a guilty verdict, and Raulston ordered Scopes to pay a fine of $100, the minimum the law allowed. Although Bryan had won the case, he had been publicly humiliated and his fundamentalist beliefs had been disgraced. Five days later, on July 26, he lay down for a Sunday afternoon nap and never woke up.
In 1927, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the Monkey Trial verdict on a technicality but left the constitutional issues unresolved until 1968, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a similar Arkansas law on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment.
1934 – Dr. Curtis Hutson was Born.
1767 – John Quincy Adams was Born.
1804 – The Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr Duel.
In a duel held in Weehawken, New Jersey, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots his long-time political antagonist Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, a leading Federalist and the chief architect of America’s political economy, died the following day.
Alexander Hamilton, born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, came to the American colonies in 1773 as a poor immigrant. (There is some controversy as to the year of his birth, but it was either 1755 or 1757.) In 1776, he joined the Continental Army in the American Revolution, and his relentless energy and remarkable intelligence brought him to the attention of General George Washington, who took him on as an aid. Ten years later, Hamilton served as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and he led the fight to win ratification of the final document, which created the kind of strong, centralized government that he favored. In 1789, he was appointed the first secretary of the treasury by President Washington, and during the next six years he crafted a sophisticated monetary policy that saved the young U.S. government from collapse. With the emergence of political parties, Hamilton was regarded as a leader of the Federalists.
Aaron Burr, born into a prestigious New Jersey family in 1756, was also intellectually gifted, and he graduated from the College of New Jersey (later Princeton) at the age of 17. He joined the Continental Army in 1775 and distinguished himself during the Patriot attack on Quebec. A masterful politician, he was elected to the New State Assembly in 1783 and later served as state attorney. In 1790, he defeated Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law in a race for the U.S. Senate.
Hamilton came to detest Burr, whom he regarded as a dangerous opportunist, and he often spoke ill of him. When Burr ran for the vice presidency in 1796 on Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican ticket (the forerunner of the Democratic Party), Hamilton launched a series of public attacks against Burr, stating, “I feel it is a religious duty to oppose his career.” John Adams won the presidency, and in 1797 Burr left the Senate and returned to the New York Assembly.
In 1800, Jefferson chose Burr again as his running mate. Burr aided the Democratic-Republican ticket by publishing a confidential document that Hamilton had written criticizing his fellow Federalist President John Adams. This caused a rift in the Federalists and helped Jefferson and Burr win the election with 73 electoral votes each.
Under the electoral procedure then prevailing, president and vice president were not voted for separately; the candidate who received the most votes was elected president, and the second in line, vice president. The vote then went to the House of Representatives. What at first seemed but an electoral technicality–handing Jefferson victory over his running mate–developed into a major constitutional crisis when Federalists in the lame-duck Congress threw their support behind Burr. After a remarkable 35 tie votes, a small group of Federalists changed sides and voted in Jefferson’s favor. Alexander Hamilton, who had supported Jefferson as the lesser of two evils, was instrumental in breaking the deadlock.
Burr became vice president, but Jefferson grew apart from him, and he did not support Burr’s renomination to a second term in 1804. That year, a faction of New York Federalists, who had found their fortunes drastically diminished after the ascendance of Jefferson, sought to enlist the disgruntled Burr into their party and elect him governor. Hamilton campaigned against Burr with great fervor, and Burr lost the Federalist nomination and then, running as an independent for governor, the election. In the campaign, Burr’s character was savagely attacked by Hamilton and others, and after the election he resolved to restore his reputation by challenging Hamilton to a duel, or an “affair of honor,” as they were known.
Affairs of honor were commonplace in America at the time, and the complex rules governing them usually led to an honorable resolution before any actual firing of weapons. In fact, the outspoken Hamilton had been involved in several affairs of honor in his life, and he had resolved most of them peaceably. No such recourse was found with Burr, however, and on July 11, 1804, the enemies met at 7 a.m. at the dueling grounds near Weehawken, New Jersey. It was the same spot where Hamilton’s son had died defending his father’s honor two years before.
There are conflicting accounts of what happened next. According to Hamilton’s “second”–his assistant and witness in the duel–Hamilton decided the duel was morally wrong and deliberately fired into the air. Burr’s second claimed that Hamilton fired at Burr and missed. What happened next is agreed upon: Burr shot Hamilton in the stomach, and the bullet lodged next to his spine. Hamilton was taken back to New York, and he died the next afternoon.
Few affairs of honor actually resulted in deaths, and the nation was outraged by the killing of a man as eminent as Alexander Hamilton. Charged with murder in New York and New Jersey, Burr, still vice president, returned to Washington, D.C., where he finished his term immune from prosecution.
In 1805, Burr, thoroughly discredited, concocted a plot with James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army, to seize the Louisiana Territory and establish an independent empire, which Burr, presumably, would lead. He contacted the British government and unsuccessfully pleaded for assistance in the scheme. Later, when border trouble with Spanish Mexico heated up, Burr and Wilkinson conspired to seize territory in Spanish America for the same purpose.
In the fall of 1806, Burr led a group of well-armed colonists toward New Orleans, prompting an immediate U.S. investigation. General Wilkinson, in an effort to save himself, turned against Burr and sent dispatches to Washington accusing Burr of treason. In February 1807, Burr was arrested in Louisiana for treason and sent to Virginia to be tried in a U.S. court. In September, he was acquitted on a technicality. Nevertheless, public opinion condemned him as a traitor, and he fled to Europe. He later returned to private life in New York, the murder charges against him forgotten. He died in 1836. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/burr-slays-hamilton-in-duel)
It is such a shame that people have to have hard and bitter feelings toward each other. This duel was simply an outward expression of the inward hatred and bitterness that can creep into a life. Hamilton was injured unto death and died the next day. What a waste of talent! Only eternity will reveal what has been caused by hard feelings, malice and bitterness in the heart. Maybe there is someone today against whom you hold malice or bitterness. May each of us examine his own heart today and ask God to help us to be right with Him and also right with our fellowman.
Read Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
1922 -Dr. W. E. Biederwolf Became Director of Winona Lake Christian Retreat.
Dr. Biederwolf was a famous evangelist and author. The Winona Christian Retreat is perhaps the best known of its kind in the world today. Pray for Winona Lake and its work. Thank God for Dr. Biederwolf and all faithful evangelists of our day as well as his.
100 B.C. – The Birthday of Julius Caesar.
As I toured the ruins of Rome and the Roman empire, I was reminded of the Caesars and the great powerful Roman Empire. One stands in awe as he sees the old Roman Forum and its ruins, realizing that the Apostle Paul walked that way. It was there that Mark Anthony said, “I come not to praise Caesar but to bury him.” Pray for the Roman people and for God’s people in Italy. One of the most intriguing cities in all the world is Rome, and yet it is one of the most needy cities for the Gospel.
1854 – The Birthday of George Eastman.
George Eastman is the inventor of the Kodak. Think what his work has meant to us. Thank God today for his invention. At our house we have a camera, a slide camera, and a movie projector, all of which are built upon the foundation of George Eastman. Think of the many pictures of children, of infancy, of happy family outings, of important and sacred events, the babies’ pictures, the wedding pictures, the graduation pictures, and others that mean so much all made possible by this invention and this inventor. Thank God today for him.
1934 – The Birthday of Van Cliburn, Pianist.
Van Cliburn is from Kilgore, Texas, where I have preached and just a few miles from where I attended college. As we think of a pianist today, may we pause to thank God for our church pianist and our church organist. Perhaps a letter of appreciation would be in order. These unsung heroes deserve our attention and our appreciation. Sit down now and write a letter or do a kind deed for your church accompanists. It will mean so much to them. Their labor deserves our praise as well as our prayers.
1787 – The Opening of the Northwest Territory.
Pray for the Christians in the Northwestern part of our nation. Pray for the pastors there. Pray for the fundamental churches in this area. Pray for God’s hand of blessing to rest upon each of them. It is difficult to think of the Northwest without thinking of the great Christian, David Brainard, who was burdened so much for the Northwest and who was considered one of the great men of prayer in all the history of our nation.
1821 – The Birthday of Nathan B. Forrest.
1833 – Wm. Elbert Munsey was Born.
Think on these things for awhile today. I often speak to young preachers or preachers groups and, one discussion that I use is the one concerning “threes” for a preacher. These “threes” could be applicable to laymen and clergy alike. For example there are three things that a Christian should do regularly:
1. Win souls
3. Read his Bible
I try to spend the same number of hours each week doing each of these activities.
There are three things that top my prayer list:
Every Christian needs an abundance of these things.
Then there are three books in the Bible that I think are the most important books in the Bible to know:
Genesis tells us from whence we came; Revelation tells us where we are going, and Romans tells us how to get there.
Then there are three books in the Bible that I read regularly.
1. Psalms – This keeps my heart full of praise and love.
2. Proverbs – This is used to build character and integrity.
3. Acts – This is used to keep one living the life of the New Testament Church.
There are many other important “threes” for the Christian, but these could be applicable and appropriate for you today.
1789 – French Revolutionaries Storm Bastille.
Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution, a decade of political turmoil and terror in which King Louis XVI was overthrown and tens of thousands of people, including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette, were executed.
The Bastille was originally constructed in 1370 as a bastide, or “fortification,” to protect the walled city of Paris from English attack. It was later made into an independent stronghold, and its name–bastide–was corrupted to Bastille. The Bastille was first used as a state prison in the 17th century, and its cells were reserved for upper-class felons, political troublemakers, and spies. Most prisoners there were imprisoned without a trial under direct orders of the king. Standing 100 feet tall and surrounded by a moat more than 80 feet wide, the Bastille was an imposing structure in the Parisian landscape.
By the summer of 1789, France was moving quickly toward revolution. There were severe food shortages in France that year, and popular resentment against the rule of King Louis XVI was turning to fury. In June, the Third Estate, which represented commoners and the lower clergy, declared itself the National Assembly and called for the drafting of a constitution. Initially seeming to yield, Louis legalized the National Assembly but then surrounded Paris with troops and dismissed Jacques Necker, a popular minister of state who had supported reforms. In response, mobs began rioting in Paris at the instigation of revolutionary leaders.
Bernard-Jordan de Launay, the military governor of the Bastille, feared that his fortress would be a target for the revolutionaries and so requested reinforcements. A company of Swiss mercenary soldiers arrived on July 7 to bolster his garrison of 82 soldiers. The Marquis de Sade, one of the few prisoners in the Bastille at the time, was transferred to an insane asylum after he attempted to incite a crowd outside his window by yelling: “They are massacring the prisoners; you must come and free them.” On July 12, royal authorities transferred 250 barrels of gunpowder to the Bastille from the Paris Arsenal, which was more vulnerable to attack. Launay brought his men into the Bastille and raised its two drawbridges.
On July 13, revolutionaries with muskets began firing at soldiers standing guard on the Bastille’s towers and then took cover in the Bastille’s courtyard when Launay’s men fired back. That evening, mobs stormed the Paris Arsenal and another armory and acquired thousands of muskets. At dawn on July 14, a great crowd armed with muskets, swords, and various makeshift weapons began to gather around the Bastille.
Launay received a delegation of revolutionary leaders but refused to surrender the fortress and its munitions as they requested. He later received a second delegation and promised he would not open fire on the crowd. To convince the revolutionaries, he showed them that his cannons were not loaded. Instead of calming the agitated crowd, news of the unloaded cannons emboldened a group of men to climb over the outer wall of the courtyard and lower a drawbridge. Three hundred revolutionaries rushed in, and Launay’s men took up a defensive position. When the mob outside began trying to lower the second drawbridge, Launay ordered his men to open fire. One hundred rioters were killed or wounded.
Launay’s men were able to hold the mob back, but more and more Parisians were converging on the Bastille. Around 3 p.m., a company of deserters from the French army arrived. The soldiers, hidden by smoke from fires set by the mob, dragged five cannons into the courtyard and aimed them at the Bastille. Launay raised a white flag of surrender over the fortress. Launay and his men were taken into custody, the gunpowder and cannons were seized, and the seven prisoners of the Bastille were freed. Upon arriving at the Hotel de Ville, where Launay was to be arrested by a revolutionary council, the governor was pulled away from his escort by a mob and murdered.
The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum. Joined by four-fifths of the French army, the revolutionaries seized control of Paris and then the French countryside, forcing King Louis XVI to accept a constitutional government. In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.
By order of the new revolutionary government, the Bastille was torn down. On February 6, 1790, the last stone of the hated prison-fortress was presented to the National Assembly. Today, July 14–Bastille Day–is celebrated as a national holiday in France.
1820 – Dr. Frank James Ascended Pikes Peak.
I can hardly see the beauty of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains without thinking of Psalms 121: “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. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand, The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
This has long been one of the favorites of the Hyles’ family. It has been our custom of many years before we take a trip to ask God’s blessings upon the trip and then when I fly I always begin my flight by quoting the last verse of this Psalm. Why not spend some time today looking at the beauties of nature and realizing that it is the handiwork of our Heavenly Father.
Also commit to memory the first two verses and the last verse of the 121st Psalm. If you have time, commit the entire Psalm to memory. It is one of the most beautiful.
1918 – The Birthday of Ann Landers.
1520 – Martin Luther made His Final Break with Rome.
The Scripture that did it was “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). We are justified by faith. We become Christians by faith. We become just in the sight of God by faith. Our righteousness will not do. We must have an imputed righteousness. This righteousness is the righteousness of Jesus Christ which is imputed to every person who puts his faith in Christ. God sees us in Him. Truly the just begin living by faith.
Then the just keep living by faith. Our very life is by faith. God’s provisions are claimed by faith. God’s power is claimed by faith. It is not enough to realize that we are saved by faith. We must live daily by faith. It does not mean that we fall from grace if we have less faith than yesterday. It simply means that we cannot have all that God wants us to have if we fail to live daily by faith. Read the eleventh chapter of Hebrews today. Ask God to build your faith. Then turn to Romans 10:17 and find that faith cometh by hearing the Word of God. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Thank God today for Martin Luther. Pray for the Lutheran friends who believe and preach the Bible. Live today by faith.
1779 – The Birthday of Clement Moore.
Today is the birthday of Clement Moore, author of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
1971 – Nixon Announces Visit to Communist China.
During a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stuns the nation by announcing that he will visit communist China the following year. The statement marked a dramatic turning point in U.S.-China relations, as well as a major shift in American foreign policy.
Nixon was not always so eager to reach out to China. Since the Communists came to power in China in 1949, Nixon had been one of the most vociferous critics of American efforts to establish diplomatic relations with the Chinese. His political reputation was built on being strongly anti-communist, and he was a major figure in the post-World War II Red Scare, during which the U.S. government launched massive investigations into possible communist subversion in America.
By 1971, a number of factors pushed Nixon to reverse his stance on China. First and foremost was the Vietnam War. Two years after promising the American people “peace with honor,” Nixon was as entrenched in Vietnam as ever. His national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, saw a way out: Since China’s break with the Soviet Union in the mid-1960s, the Chinese were desperate for new allies and trade partners. Kissinger aimed to use the promise of closer relations and increased trade possibilities with China as a way to put increased pressure on North Vietnam–a Chinese ally–to reach an acceptable peace settlement. Also, more importantly in the long run, Kissinger thought the Chinese might become a powerful ally against the Soviet Union, America’s Cold War enemy. Kissinger called such foreign policy ‘realpolitik,’ or politics that favored dealing with other powerful nations in a practical manner rather than on the basis of political doctrine or ethics.
Nixon undertook his historic “journey for peace” in 1972, beginning a long and gradual process of normalizing relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States. Though this move helped revive Nixon’s sagging popularity, and contributed to his win in the 1972 election, it did not produce the short-term results for which Kissinger had hoped. The Chinese seemed to have little influence on North Vietnam’s negotiating stance, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on until U.S. withdrawal in 1973. Further, the budding U.S.-China alliance had no measurable impact on U.S.-Soviet relations. But, Nixon’s visit did prove to be a watershed moment in American foreign policy–it paved the way for future U.S. presidents to apply the principle of realpolitik to their own international dealings. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nixon-announces-visit-to-communist-china)
1790 – The District of Columbia was Established.
Pray for God’s people in the District of Columbia.
1821 – The Birthday of Mary Baker Eddy.
Mary Baker Eddy was the founder of the Christian Science cult.
1882 – The Death of Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.
Pray for the President’s wife today. Pray for God to bless and use her.
1931 – The Death of C. T. Studd, the Famous Missionary – Athlete.
C. T. Studd gave away a fortune to become a plain, simple missionary. If you can find a copy of his life’s story, read it and rejoice in the blessings of God in his life. To him material possessions meant little. Spiritual power and God’s will meant everything. Ask God today to keep us from thinking that life consists of the abundance of possessions. Meditate upon Matthew 6:33 and live in the Spirit today. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
1945 – The First Atomic Bomb Successfully Tested.
On this day in 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
Plans for the creation of a uranium bomb by the Allies were established as early as 1939, when Italian emigre physicist Enrico Fermi met with U.S. Navy department officials at Columbia University to discuss the use of fissionable materials for military purposes. That same year, Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin Roosevelt supporting the theory that an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction had great potential as a basis for a weapon of mass destruction. In February 1940, the federal government granted a total of $6,000 for research. But in early 1942, with the United States now at war with the Axis powers, and fear mounting that Germany was working on its own uranium bomb, the War Department took a more active interest, and limits on resources for the project were removed.
Brigadier-General Leslie R. Groves, himself an engineer, was now in complete charge of a project to assemble the greatest minds in science and discover how to harness the power of the atom as a means of bringing the war to a decisive end. The Manhattan Project (so-called because of where the research began) would wind its way through many locations during the early period of theoretical exploration, most importantly, the University of Chicago, where Enrico Fermi successfully set off the first fission chain reaction. But the Project took final form in the desert of New Mexico, where, in 1943, Robert J. Oppenheimer began directing Project Y at a laboratory at Los Alamos, along with such minds as Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, and Fermi. Here theory and practice came together, as the problems of achieving critical mass-a nuclear explosion-and the construction of a deliverable bomb were worked out.
Finally, on the morning of July 16, in the New Mexico desert 120 miles south of Santa Fe, the first atomic bomb was detonated. The scientists and a few dignitaries had removed themselves 10,000 yards away to observe as the first mushroom cloud of searing light stretched 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT. The tower on which the bomb sat when detonated was vaporized.
The question now became-on whom was the bomb to be dropped? Germany was the original target, but the Germans had already surrendered. The only belligerent remaining was Japan.
A footnote: The original $6,000 budget for the Manhattan Project finally ballooned to a total cost of $2 billion. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/atom-bomb-successfully-tested)
Perhaps nothing has cast the shadow of fear over our generation as much as the atomic bomb. We realize that man has learned how to destroy himself, his own generation, and civilization. Pray that God will give us spiritual wisdom and depth to know how to use properly the scientific knowledge that we have achieved and inventions that we have made. Pray for the moral integrity of our world to catch up in progress with the scientific advancement.
1674 – The Birthday of Isaac Watts.
Isaac Watts was a famous hymn writer. He wrote the beloved song, “At the Cross.” Sing this song today, maybe in your family devotions, maybe in your private devotions, but sing it and thank God for the many songs He has given us through Isaac Watts.
At the Cross
Alas! and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done,
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity, grace unknown,
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide,
And shut his glories in
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord I give myself away,
‘Tis all that I can do.
At the cross, at the cross
Where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith
I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day.
1821 – Florida was Ceded to the United States by Spain.
Pray for God’s people in Florida.
1917 -The Date of the Conversion of Charles E. Fuller.
Charles E. Fuller is the founder of the “Old Fashioned Revival Hour” and has been used of God for many years to bless the lives of many. Pray for him today and for his work.
1919 – The Birthday of Dolphus Price.
Dolphus Price is a successful preacher in Florida. Since we are thinking of him, our thoughts turn to pastors. Pray for your pastor today. He needs your prayers and your support. If he is a faithful Bible preacher, thank God for him. If he does not believe the Bible, then, of course, you should seek membership in a church pastored by a man who believes the Word of God.
1945 – The Potsdam Conference.
1955 – Disneyland Opens.
Disneyland, Walt Disney’s metropolis of nostalgia, fantasy, and futurism, opens on July 17, 1955. The $17 million theme park was built on 160 acres of former orange groves in Anaheim, California, and soon brought in staggering profits. Today, Disneyland hosts more than 14 million visitors a year, who spend close to $3 billion.
Walt Disney, born in Chicago in 1901, worked as a commercial artist before setting up a small studio in Los Angeles to produce animated cartoons. In 1928, his short film Steamboat Willy, starring the character “Mickey Mouse,” was a national sensation. It was the first animated film to use sound, and Disney provided the voice for Mickey. From there on, Disney cartoons were in heavy demand, but the company struggled financially because of Disney’s insistence on ever-improving artistic and technical quality. His first feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938), took three years to complete and was a great commercial success.
Snow White was followed by other feature-length classics for children, such as Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), and Bambi (1942). Fantasia (1940), which coordinated animated segments with famous classical music pieces, was an artistic and technical achievement. In Song of the South (1946), Disney combined live actors with animated figures, and beginning with Treasure Island in 1950 the company added live-action movies to its repertoire. Disney was also one of the first movie studios to produce film directly for television, and its Zorro and Davy Crockett series were very popular with children.
In the early 1950s, Walt Disney began designing a huge amusement park to be built near Los Angeles. He intended Disneyland to have educational as well as amusement value and to entertain adults and their children. Land was bought in the farming community of Anaheim, about 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and construction began in 1954. In the summer of 1955, special invitations were sent out for the opening of Disneyland on July 17. Unfortunately, the pass was counterfeited and thousands of uninvited people were admitted into Disneyland on opening day. The park was not ready for the public: food and drink ran out, a women’s high-heel shoe got stuck in the wet asphalt of Main Street USA, and the Mark Twain Steamboat nearly capsized from too many passengers.
Disneyland soon recovered, however, and attractions such as the Castle, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Snow White’s Adventures, Space Station X-1, Jungle Cruise, and Stage Coach drew countless children and their parents. Special events and the continual building of new state-of-the-art attractions encouraged them to visit again. In 1965, work began on an even bigger Disney theme park and resort near Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney died in 1966, and Walt Disney World was opened in his honor on October 1, 1971. Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom were later added to Walt Disney World, and it remains Florida’s premier tourist attraction. In 1983, Disneyland Tokyo opened in Japan, and in 1992 Disneyland Paris–or “EuroDisney”–opened to a mixed reaction in Marne-la-Vallee. The newest Disneyland, in Hong Kong, opened its doors in September 2005. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/disneyland-opens)
1747 – The Birthday of John Paul Jones.
1918 – The Allies Began the World War I Western Offensive.
This chapter is being dictated the day after Memorial Day. Yesterday our attention and thoughts were turned to our beloved war dead. Thank God today for those who died in the battlefields. Then spend a few moments thinking of those whom you know personally. Pray for the widows and parents who have lost loved ones on the battlefields.
Now pray for the servicemen who even at this writing fight in Viet Nam. Many of our own precious boys of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, where I now pastor, are dodging bullets in Viet Nam. “Oh, God, bless them. Care for them and bring them home safely to us,” is our prayer.
1938 – The Date of Corrigan’s Flight.
1940 – FDR Nominated for Unprecedented Third Term.
On this day in 1940, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who first took office in 1933 as America’s 32nd president, is nominated for an unprecedented third term. Roosevelt, a Democrat, would eventually be elected to a record four terms in office, the only U.S. president to serve more than two terms.
Roosevelt was born January 30, 1882, in Hyde Park, New York, and went on to serve as a New York state senator from 1911 to 1913, assistant secretary of the Navy from 1913 to 1920 and governor of New York from 1929 to 1932. In 1932, he defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover to be elected president for the first time. During his first term, Roosevelt enacted his New Deal social programs, which were aimed at lifting America out of the Great Depression. In 1936, he won his second term in office by defeating Kansas governor Alf Landon in a landslide.
On July 18, 1940, Roosevelt was nominated for a third presidential term at the Democratic Party convention in Chicago. The president received some criticism for running again because there was an unwritten rule in American politics that no U.S. president should serve more than two terms. The custom dated back to the country’s first president, George Washington, who in 1796 declined to run for a third term in office. Nevertheless, Roosevelt believed it was his duty to continue serving and lead his country through the mounting crisis in Europe, where Hitler’s Nazi Germany was on the rise. The president went on to defeat Republican Wendell Wilkie in the general election, and his third term in office was dominated by America’s involvement in World War II.
In 1944, with the war still in progress, Roosevelt defeated New York governor Thomas Dewey for a fourth term in office. However, the president was unable to complete the full term. On April 12, 1945, Roosevelt, who had suffered from various health problems for years, died at age 63 in Warm Springs, Georgia. He was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman. On March 21, 1947, Congress passed the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which stated that no person could be elected to the office of president more than twice. The amendment was ratified by the required number of states in 1951. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-nominated-for-unprecedented-third-term)
Talk to someone about Jesus today. Oh, be a soul winner and bring people to Him. Spend some time today talking to someone about the Saviour and help by showing him the way of Heaven.
1799 – Rosetta Stone Found.
On this day in 1799, during Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign, a French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing near the town of Rosetta, about 35 miles north of Alexandria. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in three different scripts: Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The ancient Greek on the Rosetta Stone told archaeologists that it was inscribed by priests honoring the king of Egypt, Ptolemy V, in the second century B.C. More startlingly, the Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.
When Napoleon, an emperor known for his enlightened view of education, art and culture, invaded Egypt in 1798, he took along a group of scholars and told them to seize all important cultural artifacts for France. Pierre Bouchard, one of Napoleon’s soldiers, was aware of this order when he found the basalt stone, which was almost four feet long and two-and-a-half feet wide, at a fort near Rosetta. When the British defeated Napoleon in 1801, they took possession of the Rosetta Stone.
Several scholars, including Englishman Thomas Young made progress with the initial hieroglyphics analysis of the Rosetta Stone. French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832), who had taught himself ancient languages, ultimately cracked the code and deciphered the hieroglyphics using his knowledge of Greek as a guide. Hieroglyphics used pictures to represent objects, sounds and groups of sounds. Once the Rosetta Stone inscriptions were translated, the language and culture of ancient Egypt was suddenly open to scientists as never before.
The Rosetta Stone has been housed at the British Museum in London since 1802, except for a brief period during World War I. At that time, museum officials moved it to a separate underground location, along with other irreplaceable items from the museum’s collection, to protect it from the threat of bombs. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/rosetta-stone-found)
1865 – Dr. Charles Mayo was Born.
This is the famed Rochester, Minnesota, surgeon. This gives us a splendid opportunity to thank God for our doctors and for the progress medical science has made.
1908 – The Birthday of Myron Boyd.
He has served as radio pastor of the “Light and Life Hour,” which has reached millions. Some think he was the most famous Free Methodist personality of our century. His headquarters have been at Winona Lake, Indiana. Pray for God’s blessings upon the Free Methodist brethren, and then upon those who preach the Gospel by radio.
1910 – Harold Boon was Born at New Castle, Pennsylvania.
He has served as president at Nyack Missionary College and has been very influential in the Christian and Missionary Alliance movement.
1938 – Paul Rader Died.
Paul Rader pastored the Moody Church in Chicago from 1914 until 1921, and then he founded the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, which was for years the evangelistic center of Chicago. He was one of the greatest evangelical, soul-winning Christian leaders of the 20th century and one of the greatest preachers who ever lived. He also was a song writer having written the little chorus, “Only Believe.” Let us sing it now.
“Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible
“Only believe, only believe;
All things are possible,
1965 – Syngman Rhee Died at Honolulu, Hawaii.
Rhee was from 1919 to 1960 the President of Korea. He was the country’s first President and supposedly was a Christian. Some say the Korean Christianity owes much to his leadership. Pray for your President today. You may not agree with him, but we can all agree that he is our President. Let’s pray for him.
1789 – The First United States Navigation Act was Approved.
1838 – The Death of Christmas Evans.
Evans was a Welsh Baptist preacher. In great revival preaching he made several tours to South Wales and brought great numbers to the Lord Jesus Christ. The story is told that when Evans was on his deathbed some young preachers came to him and asked for advice before he went to Heaven. He supposedly raised his head and said, “Young men, preach the blood in the basin.” The day Evans was converted he lost his sight in one eye while being stoned by the old crowd. What have we suffered for Jesus Christ and our testimony for Him?
When Christmas Evans lay at the point of death, he gave the above advice. This is, of course, a necessary part of the preaching of the Gospel. Many make light of the blood and its importance. This, however, does not take away the necessity of the blood of Christ. It has always been God’s law that a sinner die or a substitute pay the price. Jesus is God’s substitute and the only acceptable offering for sin. Truly we should “preach the blood in the basin.”
Christmas Evans was called “the dear old Christian of Wales.” He died singing a song of victory.
1944 – Adolph Hitler was Wounded.
One of the earliest fears of my childhood was a fear of Adolph Hitler. He came into power when I was a lad approaching my early teens. He put fear in the hearts of the whole world. Thank God that this menace was put down and the fear of Nazism no longer hangs over America. Pray for peace today. Pray for our German friends. Pray for God’s blessings to rest upon them and for God to bless the work of fundamental preachers and missionaries in this great country.
1969 – Armstrong Walks on Moon.
At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.
The American effort to send astronauts to the moon has its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy’s bold proposal.
In 1966, after five years of work by an international team of scientists and engineers, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the first unmanned Apollo mission, testing the structural integrity of the proposed launch vehicle and spacecraft combination. Then, on January 27, 1967, tragedy struck at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, when a fire broke out during a manned launch-pad test of the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rocket. Three astronauts were killed in the fire.
Despite the setback, NASA and its thousands of employees forged ahead, and in October 1968, Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, orbited Earth and successfully tested many of the sophisticated systems needed to conduct a moon journey and landing. In December of the same year, Apollo 8 took three astronauts to the dark side of the moon and back, and in March 1969 Apollo 9 tested the lunar module for the first time while in Earth orbit. Then in May, the three astronauts of Apollo 10 took the first complete Apollo spacecraft around the moon in a dry run for the scheduled July landing mission.
At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, with the world watching, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, theEagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:18 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a famous message: “The Eagle has landed.”
At 10:39 p.m., five hours ahead of the original schedule, Armstrong opened the hatch of the lunar module. As he made his way down the lunar module’s ladder, a television camera attached to the craft recorded his progress and beamed the signal back to Earth, where hundreds of millions watched in great anticipation. At 10:56 p.m., Armstrong spoke his famous quote, which he later contended was slightly garbled by his microphone and meant to be “that’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” He then planted his left foot on the gray, powdery surface, took a cautious step forward, and humanity had walked on the moon.
“Buzz” Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 p.m., and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard M. Nixon via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon–July 1969 A.D–We came in peace for all mankind.”
At 5:35 p.m., Armstrong and Aldrin successfully docked and rejoined Collins, and at 12:56 a.m. on July 22 Apollo 11 began its journey home, safely splashing down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51 p.m. on July 24.
There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972. The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today’s dollars). The expense was justified by Kennedy’s 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the moon, and after the feat was accomplished ongoing missions lost their viability. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/armstrong-walks-on-moon)
1861 – The First Battle of Bull Run.
In the first major land battle of the Civil War, a large Union force under General Irvin McDowell is routed by a Confederate army under General Pierre G.T. Beauregard.
Three months after the Civil War erupted at Fort Sumter, Union military command still believed that the Confederacy could be crushed quickly and with little loss of life. In July, this overconfidence led to a premature offensive into northern Virginia by General McDowell. Searching out the Confederate forces, McDowell led 34,000 troops–mostly inexperienced and poorly trained militiamen–toward the railroad junction of Manassas, located just 30 miles from Washington, D.C. Alerted to the Union advance, General Beauregard massed some 20,000 troops there and was soon joined by General Joseph Johnston, who brought some 9,000 more troops by railroad.
On the morning of July 21, hearing of the proximity of the two opposing forces, hundreds of civilians–men, women, and children–turned out to watch the first major battle of the Civil War. The fighting commenced with three Union divisions crossing the Bull Run stream, and the Confederate flank was driven back to Henry House Hill. However, at this strategic location, Beauregard had fashioned a strong defensive line anchored by a brigade of Virginia infantry under General Thomas J. Jackson. Firing from a concealed slope, Jackson’s men repulsed a series of Federal charges, winning Jackson his famous nickname “Stonewall.”
Meanwhile, Confederate cavalry under J.E.B. Stuart captured the Union artillery, and Beauregard ordered a counterattack on the exposed Union right flank. The rebels came charging down the hill, yelling furiously, and McDowell’s line was broken, forcing his troops in a hasty retreat across Bull Run. The retreat soon became an unorganized flight, and supplies littered the road back to Washington. Union forces endured a loss of 3,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action while the Confederates suffered 2,000 casualties. The scale of this bloodshed horrified not only the frightened spectators at Bull Run but also the U.S. government in Washington, which was faced with an uncertain military strategy in quelling the “Southern insurrection.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-first-battle-of-bull-run)
1898 – The Birthday of Ernest Hemmingway.
1950 – Dr. Bob Gray’s Anniversary of His Pastorate of the Trinity Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida.
In these years Dr. Bob Gray was a young preacher. Pray for young preachers today and for pastors everywhere. The night before this is being dictated, we had an ordination service at the First Baptist Church of Hammond. Three young men were ordained. One was a middle-aged man who was called to preach in the First Baptist Church in Hammond and at this writing is pastoring a fine church at Terre Haute, Indiana. Also ordained vvas a young man, a friend of our church and a graduate of Tennessee Temple Seminary in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He has great confidence in the ministry of the First Baptist Church and sought ordination from our church. Also ordained was one of our own boys who was reared in our church. When he was born his parents were faithful members of the First Baptist Church. He has been through the entire departmental set-up of our Sunday school and at this writing is pastoring a church in Tennessee. It is certainly one of the pride-and-joys of my life to have young preachers to go out from our churches. Perhaps you have preacher boys for whom you ought to pray today. You have no idea what a letter or gift might mean to them. Also pray for God to bless your pastor today. Pledge to God your loyalty to him.
1680 – Madam Guyon was Converted.
The favorite Scripture verse of this great Christian was Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”
1742 – Susannah Wesley Died.
On this date Susannah Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, died. When John and Charles left for America and their preaching campaigns here, their mother said, “Had I twenty sons, I would rejoice they were all so employed though I should never see them again.” What a wonderful mother Susannah Wesley must have been. Pray for your mother today and thank God for her. Write her a letter expressing your love.
1896 – The Statue of Liberty was Unveiled.
Thank God today for the liberty of our country and pray that it shall ever be so.
1916 – James Whitcomb Riley Died.
2003 – Jessica Lynch Gets Hero’s Welcome.
On this day in 2003, U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, a prisoner-of-war who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, receives a hero’s welcome when she returns to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. The story of the 19-year-old supply clerk, who was captured by Iraqi forces in March 2003, gripped America; however, it was later revealed that some details of Lynch’s dramatic capture and rescue might have been exaggerated.
Lynch, who was born April 26, 1983, was part of the 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas. On March 23, 2003, just days after the U.S. invaded Iraq, Lynch was riding in a supply convoy when her unit took a wrong turn and was ambushed by Iraqi forces near Nasiriya. Eleven American soldiers died and four others besides Lynch were captured.
Lynch, who sustained multiple broken bones and other injuries when her vehicle crashed during the ambush, was taken to an Iraqi hospital. On April 1, she was rescued by U.S. Special Forces who raided the hospital where she was being held. They also recovered the bodies of eight of Lynch’s fellow soldiers. Lynch was taken to a military hospital in Germany for treatment and then returned to the United States.
Lynch’s story garnered massive media attention and she became an overnight celebrity. Various reports emerged about Lynch’s experience, with some news accounts indicating that even after Lynch was wounded during the ambush she fought back against her captors. However, Lynch later stated that she had been knocked unconscious after her vehicle crashed and couldn’t remember the details of what had happened to her. She also said she had not been mistreated by the staff at the Iraqi hospital and they put up no resistance to her rescue. Critics–and Lynch herself–charged the U.S. government with embellishing her story to boost patriotism and help promote the Iraq war.
In August 2003, Lynch received a medical honorable discharge. She collaborated on a book about her experience, I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story, which was released later that year. In April 2007, Lynch testified before Congress that she had falsely been portrayed as a “little girl Rambo” and the U.S. military had hyped her story for propaganda reasons. According to Lynch: “I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary.” She added: “The truth of war is not always easy to hear but is always more heroic than the hype.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jessica-lynch-gets-heros-welcome
Birthday of Mary Magdalene.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac this is the birthday of Mary Magdalene, the woman possessed by seven devils who was forgiven and saved by the Lord Jesus Christ.
1742 – The Date of the Burial of Susannah Wesley.
She said on her deathbed, “Children, as soon as I am released, sing a song of praise to God.” What a way to go into the presence of God! Charles Wesley wrote the epitaph that was placed on the tombstone as follows:
“In sure and certain hope to rise
and claim her mansion in the skies.
A Christian here her flesh laid down,
Her cross exchanging for a crown.”
According to some authors the following letter was one written from Susannah to her son John:
According to your desire, I have collected the principle rules I observed in educating my family; which I now send you as they occurred to my mind and you may (if you think they can be used to any good) dispose of them in what order you please.
When turn a year old (and some before) they were taught to fear the rod and to cry quietly. By which means they escaped abundance of correction they might otherwise have had. And that most odious noise of the crying of children was rarely heard in the house; but the family usually lived in as much quietness as if there had not been a child among them.
In order to form the minds of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will and bring them to obedience …
1847 – Salt Lake City was Founded.
1862 – Martin Van Buren Died.
1898 – Amelia Earhart was Born.
1911 – Machu Picchu Discovered.
On July 24, 1911, American archaeologist Hiram Bingham gets his first look at Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca settlement in Peru that is now one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a summer retreat for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years afterwards, its existence was a secret known only to the peasants living in the region. That all changed in the summer of 1911, when Bingham arrived with a small team of explorers to search for the famous “lost” cities of the Incas.
Traveling on foot and by mule, Bingham and his team made their way from Cuzco into the Urubamba Valley, where a local farmer told them of some ruins located at the top of a nearby mountain. The farmer called the mountain Machu Picchu, which meant “Old Peak” in the native Quechua language. The next day–July 24–after a tough climb to the mountain’s ridge in cold and drizzly weather, Bingham met a small group of peasants who showed him the rest of the way. Led by an 11-year-old boy, Bingham got his first glimpse of the intricate network of stone terraces marking the entrance to Machu Picchu.
The excited Bingham spread the word about his discovery in a best-selling book, sending hordes of eager tourists flocking to Peru to follow in his footsteps up the Inca trail. The site itself stretches an impressive five miles, with over 3,000 stone steps linking its many different levels. Today, more than 300,000 people tramp through Machu Picchu every year, braving crowds and landslides to see the sun set over the towering stone monuments of the “Sacred City” and marvel at the mysterious splendor of one of the world’s most famous man-made wonders. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/machu-picchu-discovered)
Importance of Time.
The thought came to me today concerning the importance of time. Actually time is all we have. The money that we earn simply represents the time it took to make it. The Apostle Paul suggested that we redeem the time for the days are evil. What we do today can never be returned. We only pass this way once. Let us be careful today to live every moment of it.
Many years ago a preacher asked me if I would like to be in the will of God ten years from now.
I answered, “Yes.”
He said, “Here is the way you can be. Stay in the will of God today.”
If you are in the will of God today, you will be in the will of God ten years from today because it will be today then. Spend this day carefully, remembering that we must answer for every moment.
1894 – The Chinese-Japanese War Began.
Pray for peace between nations. Pray for God to hasten the day when men shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and shall not war against each other any more. Pray for God’s people in China. Pray for Christians in Japan and for missionaries who labor in this needy field. One of our own young men in the First Baptist Church labors in Japan. This young man was reared in our church. Perhaps you know some missionaries in this area for whom you could pray today. There was never a day Japan was as westernized as it is today. Would God we could give them the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
1908 – The First Flight Across the English Channel.
Often it has been my privilege to fly across the English Channel. May we thank God today for the miracle of the airplane. The day before this was written I returned from a trip to West Virginia. In twenty-four hours I left my home, drove to the airport fifty miles away, flew from Chicago to Cincinnati. flew from Cincinnati to Charleston, West Virginia and was met at the airport by three preachers who rushed me to Boomer, West Virginia, where I preached to a crowd of 225 including fifty preachers at Boomer Baptist Church that afternoon. After dinner I preached to a crowd of several hundred in a public service. After the service I was rushed back to the Charleston airport and caught a plane for Cincinnati. I slept seven hours in Cincinnati at the airport hotel, got up to catch a plane the next morning, flew back to Chicago, and drove home. All of this was done in twenty-four hours because of the miracle of the airplane. Thank God for it.
1919 – The First Plane Service From New York to Chicago Began.
1915 – The Date of the Birth of Bruce Talley.
Bruce Talley is Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Tarrant, Alabama. Once again our minds turn to our pastors. Let us pray for them and uphold them as they labor in God’s service.
1925 – Bruce Cummons was Born.
Let Each of Us Spend Some Time Today in Praise to God.
More and more lately with the passing of days my heart has been abounding with praise. I find myself increasingly wanting to clap my hands and praise the Lord. This does not come forth in an open shouting, but rather my heart seems to overflow with praise to God for His goodness to me. Praise Him today. Read the last six Psalms. Read the first five verses of the 103rd Psalm. Let us join in praising His Name together.
1775 – United States Postal Service Began.
On this day in 1775, the U.S. postal system is established by the Second Continental Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first postmaster general. Franklin (1706-1790) put in place the foundation for many aspects of today’s mail system. During early colonial times in the 1600s, few American colonists needed to send mail to each other; it was more likely that their correspondence was with letter writers in Britain. Mail deliveries from across the Atlantic were sporadic and could take many months to arrive. There were no post offices in the colonies, so mail was typically left at inns and taverns. In 1753, Benjamin Franklin, who had been postmaster of Philadelphia, became one of two joint postmasters general for the colonies. He made numerous improvements to the mail system, including setting up new, more efficient colonial routes and cutting delivery time in half between Philadelphia and New York by having the weekly mail wagon travel both day and night via relay teams. Franklin also debuted the first rate chart, which standardized delivery costs based on distance and weight. In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain. President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
Today, the United States has over 40,000 post offices and the postal service delivers 212 billion pieces of mail each year to over 144 million homes and businesses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, the American Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The postal service is the nation’s largest civilian employer, with over 700,000 career workers, who handle more than 44 percent of the world’s cards and letters. The postal service is a not-for-profit, self-supporting agency that covers its expenses through postage (stamp use in the United States started in 1847) and related products. The postal service gets the mail delivered, rain or shine, using everything from planes to mules. However, it’s not cheap: The U.S. Postal Service says that when fuel costs go up by just one penny, its own costs rise by $8 million. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-postal-system-established)
Thank God today for the Post Office and for mail senice. Take advantage of this day and write a letter of love and appreciation to someone dear to you.
1788 – New York was Admitted to the Union.
Pray for God’s people in this beautiful state. Pray for preachers who labor there. In many respects New York is the heartbeat of the nation. Think what revival there could mean to America.
1856 – The Birthday of George Bernard Shaw.
Today is the birthday of George Bernard Shaw, the famous English author. Thank God today for authors and take advantage of the privilege of reading good books. One with little formal education could become well educated by reading. Let us thank God today for the blessing of reading. In our church in Hammond we have three blind people who attend services regularly and who are members of our church. Every time I see them I want to shout the praises of God for my eyesight. As I see them read in Braille, I thank God for my vision. They never see the sunrise or sunset, the beauty of the trees budding in the springtime, the flowers, the meadows, the beauty of nature. I am dictating this page driving on Lake Shore in Chicago. Lake Michigan is to my right. What a scene! What a blessing it is to be able to see and enjoy the blessings of God’s handiwork! What a blessing it is to be able to read! Take advantage of this blessing today.
Meditate Today on Psalm 8.
I was meditating today on Psalm 8, which is one of my favorites. Read the 8th Psalm and realize that all of God’s creation was made for man. In spite of the fact that God has a huge universe and there are millions of people on the earth, God is conscious of each of us. Bask in the sunlight of His love for you personally today. Thank Him for a personal relationship with Him. He tells us to call Him “Abba, Father,” which is much like our word “Papa.” He wants us to call Him by a personal name. He leads us personally, feeds us personally, and loves us individually. Praise His name for this blessed truth today.
1789 – The Creation of the State Department.
This department needs our prayers. Pray for the Secretary of State today as he leads us in international affairs.
1865 – The Laying of the Atlantic Cable was Completed.
1953 – Korean Armistice was Signed.
Pray for Korea. Pray for those who labor there on the mission field. The other day I was speaking in Port Huron, Michigan, at a Sunday School Convention. Before I spoke a precious girl dressed in Korean costume stood to sing. I found myself weeping with joy and thanksgiving because the Gospel had reached this girl. The Gospel is for all nations.
1974 – House Begins Impeachment of Nixon.
On this day in 1974, the House Judiciary Committee recommends that America’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon, be impeached and removed from office. The impeachment proceedings resulted from a series of political scandals involving the Nixon administration that came to be collectively known as Watergate.
The Watergate scandal first came to light following a break-in on June 17, 1972, at the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in the Watergate apartment-hotel complex in Washington, D.C. A group of men linked to the White House were later arrested and charged with the crime. Nixon denied any involvement with the break-in, but several of his staff members were eventually implicated in an illegal cover-up and forced to resign. Subsequent government investigations revealed “dirty tricks” political campaigning by the Committee to Re-Elect the President, along with a White House “enemies list.” In July 1973, one of Nixon’s former staff members revealed the existence of secretly taped conversations between the president and his aides. Nixon initially refused to release the tapes, on grounds of executive privilege and national security, but a judge later ordered the president to turn them over. The White House provided some but not all of the tapes, including one from which a portion of the conversation appeared to have been erased.
In May 1974, the House Judiciary Committee began formal impeachment hearings against Nixon. On July 27 of that year, the first article of impeachment against the president was passed. Two more articles, for abuse of power and contempt of Congress, were approved on July 29 and 30. On August 5, Nixon complied with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring that he provide transcripts of the missing tapes, and the new evidence clearly implicated him in a cover up of the Watergate break-in. On August 8, Nixon announced his resignation, becoming the first president in U.S. history to voluntarily leave office. After departing the White House on August 9, Nixon was succeeded by Vice President Gerald Ford, who, in a controversial move, pardoned Nixon on September 8, 1974, making it impossible for the former president to be prosecuted for any crimes he might have committed while in office. Only two other presidents in U.S. history have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
Things We Ought to Do.
I have in my car a machine that converts the cigarette lighter into a wall plug. I plug my tape recorder in and dictate letters as well as books. This portion of this book is being dictated in this manner. As I look out the front of my car, I see several things that I have typed and pasted on the window glass to remind me of what I ought to do. These are things I try to do daily. I recommend your joining me in these things as follows:
1. Pray for power.
2. Talk to someone today about Christ.
3. Be kind to everyone you meet today.
4. Quote a Bible verse now.
5. Pray for your family by name.
These things are listed in order as reminders for me as I drive down the street. Let each of us do these things today. We will be better Christians for it.
1862 – The First Railway Mail Car was Put into Service.
1868 – 14th Amendment Adopted.
Following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S. states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans citizenship and all its privileges, is officially adopted into the U.S. Constitution.
Two years after the Civil War, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided the South into five military districts, where new state governments, based on universal manhood suffrage, were to be established. Thus began the period known as Radical Reconstruction, which saw the 14th Amendment, which had been passed by Congress in 1866, ratified in July 1868. The amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of African American citizenship by stating that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States…are citizens of the United States and of the state in which they reside.” The amendment then reaffirmed the privileges and rights of all citizens, and granted all these citizens the “equal protection of the laws.”
In the decades after its adoption, the equal protection clause was cited by a number of African American activists who argued that racial segregation denied them the equal protection of law. However, in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that states could constitutionally provide segregated facilities for African Americans, so long as they were equal to those afforded white persons. The Plessy v. Ferguson decision, which announced federal toleration of the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine, was eventually used to justify segregating all public facilities, including railroad cars, restaurants, hospitals, and schools. However, “colored” facilities were never equal to their white counterparts, and African Americans suffered through decades of debilitating discrimination in the South and elsewhere. In 1954, Plessy v. Ferguson was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/14th-amendment-adopted)
1914 – World War I Started.
Pray for peace. Thank God for those who gave their lives in World War I for the peace of America. As I have traveled from country to country and have met so many wonderful people, I have wondered why nations cannot get along with each other. As I have traveled to Mexico, Canada, England, France, Italy, Greece, Jordan, Israel, Germany, Turkey, Austria, and other nations I pray for God to help us to get along with each other. What is the answer for peace? The answer, of course, rests in the hearts of men. The condition of the world simply reflects the condition of our hearts. As man gets right, the world gets right. For the world is but a combination of many people.
Each of us wonders at times why nations cannot get along with nations. The answer is often found in the fact that we cannot expect nations to get along with each other if we cannot get along with each other in our families, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods. As long as men will hate other men, nations will fight other nations. As long as we war in our hearts, we will fight on the battlefields of our nations. May God help my heart today to be filled with peace and love toward all men everywhere. Romans 13:8 reminds us, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Since we are indebted to every man to love him, and because honest people pay their debts, let us pay ours by loving all men.
1883 – The Birthday of Benito Mussolini.
1905 – The Birthday of Dag Hammarskjold.
1914 – The Cape Cod Canal was Opened.
1928 – The Date of the Conversion of Dr. Monroe Parker.
It has been my joy to hear his testimony. What a wonderful testimony of the grace of God.
1929 – Dr. Monroe Parker was Licensed to Preach the Gospel.
What a preacher! Dr. Parker is an evangelist. So we turn our attention again to evangelists. Pray for some by name. God bless this great group of warriors of the Cross and especially the ministry of dear Dr. Parker.
1955 – Plans For the First Earth Circling Satellite were Announced.
It was to be launched in 1957.
1958 – NASA Created.
On this day in 1958, the U.S. Congress passes legislation establishing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a civilian agency responsible for coordinating America’s activities in space. NASA has since sponsored space expeditions, both human and mechanical, that have yielded vital information about the solar system and universe. It has also launched numerous earth-orbiting satellites that have been instrumental in everything from weather forecasting to navigation to global communications.
NASA was created in response to the Soviet Union’s October 4, 1957 launch of its first satellite, Sputnik I. The 183-pound, basketball-sized satellite orbited the earth in 98 minutes. The Sputnik launch caught Americans by surprise and sparked fears that the Soviets might also be capable of sending missiles with nuclear weapons from Europe to America. The United States prided itself on being at the forefront of technology, and, embarrassed, immediately began developing a response, signaling the start of the U.S.-Soviet space race.
On November 3, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik II, which carried a dog named Laika. In December, America attempted to launch a satellite of its own, called Vanguard, but it exploded shortly after takeoff. On January 31, 1958, things went better with Explorer I, the first U.S. satellite to successfully orbit the earth. In July of that year, Congress passed legislation officially establishing NASA from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and other government agencies, and confirming the country’s commitment to winning the space race. In May 1961, President John F. Kennedy declared that America should put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, NASA’s Apollo 11 mission achieved that goal and made history when astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon, saying “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
NASA has continued to make great advances in space exploration since the first moonwalk, including playing a major part in the construction of the International Space Station. The agency has also suffered tragic setbacks, however, such as the disasters that killed the crews of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 and the Columbia space shuttle in 2003. In 2004, President George Bush challenged NASA to return to the moon by 2020 and establish “an extended human presence” there that could serve as a launching point for “human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nasa-created)
Praise the Lord Today.
Just a few moments ago I came from a children’s hospital where one of our three-year-old Sunday School girls had serious heart surgery. After praying with the parents a few minutes, my heart began to leap with joy and thanksgiving and praise to God for the health of my own children. Each of us who has good health and whose families are in good health should praise the Lord Jesus today for this unspeakable blessing.
1863 – The Birthday of Henry Ford.
When we think of the word “Ford,” we think of automobiles. When we think of automobiles, we ought to thank God for this convenience and luxury.
1907 – The Date of the First Motor Coaches in New York.
We are again reminded of means of conveyance. I can recall In the early days of my life the kinds of car and conveyances we had. I remember the old Model T. Ford with a “choke” and a “spark” and a “crank.” I compare that with my nice air-conditioned Oldsmobile today, and I say, “Thank you, dear Lord, that common people today live as nicely as rich people did 25 years ago.” We should praise God for things we so often take for granted.
A Poem For Today.
For a good while today the poem, “I saw God Wash the World Last Night,” has been on my mind. It goes like this:
I saw God wash the world last night
With His sweet showers on high,
And then when morning came
He hung it out to dry.
He washed each tiny blade of grass
And every trembling tree;
He flung His showers against the hills,
And the billowy sea.
The white rose is cleaner white,
The red rose is more red,
Since God washed every fragrant face
And put them all to bed.
There is not a bird, there is not a bee
That wings along the way
But is a cleaner bird and bee
Than it was yesterday.
I saw God wash the world last night.
Ah, would He have washed me
As clean of all my dust and dirt
As that old white birch tree.
May we ask God to wash and clean us and make us usable for His service today.
1790 – The First United States Patent was Issued.
1975 – Jimmy Hoffa Disappears.
On July 31, 1975, James Riddle Hoffa, one of the most influential American labor leaders of the 20th century, disappears in Detroit, Michigan, never to be heard from again. Though he is popularly believed to have been the victim of a Mafia hit, conclusive evidence was never found, and Hoffa’s death remains shrouded in mystery to this day.
Born in 1913 to a poor coal miner in Brazil, Indiana, Jimmy Hoffa proved a natural leader in his youth. At the age of 20, he helped organize a labor strike in Detroit, and remained an advocate for downtrodden workers for the rest of his life. Hoffa’s charisma and talents as a local organizer quickly got him noticed by the Teamsters and carried him upward through its ranks. Then a small but rapidly growing union, the Teamsters organized truckers across the country, and through the use of strikes, boycotts and some more powerful though less legal methods of protest, won contract demands on behalf of workers.
Hoffa became president of the Teamsters in 1957, when its former leader was imprisoned for bribery. As chief, Hoffa was lauded for his tireless work to expand the union, and for his unflagging devotion to even the organization’s least powerful members. His caring and approachability were captured in one of the more well-known quotes attributed to him: “You got a problem? Call me. Just pick up the phone.”
Hoffa’s dedication to the worker and his electrifying public speeches made him wildly popular, both among his fellow workers and the politicians and businessmen with whom he negotiated. Yet, for all the battles he fought and won on behalf of American drivers, he also had a dark side. In Hoffa’s time, many Teamster leaders partnered with the Mafia in racketeering, extortion and embezzlement. Hoffa himself had relationships with high-ranking mobsters, and was the target of several government investigations throughout the 1960s. In 1967, he was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
While in jail, Hoffa never ceded his office, and when Richard Nixon commuted his sentence in 1971, he was poised to make a comeback. Released on condition of not participating in union activities for 10 years, Hoffa was planning to fight the restriction in court when he disappeared on July 31, 1975, from the parking lot of a restaurant in Detroit, not far from where he got his start as a labor organizer. Several conspiracy theories have been floated about Hoffa’s disappearance and the location of his remains, but the truth remains unknown. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/jimmy-hoffa-disappears)
How Much Influence Do You Have?
It was once said that people were healed by stepping in the shadow of Peter. What will it mean for people today to step in your shadow? The power of influence cannot be exaggerated. Each of us has his little circle of influence. Each of us casts a shadow across the path of others. Someone will be influenced by you and by me today. May our influence be for the good. Someone will be made happy or sad by you today. As your shadow is cast across the lives of others, may it be the kind of influence that will bring glory to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is amazing what a friendly smile, a happy “good morning,” a warm handshake, or a pat on the back can do for others. Many years ago a man was saved because of five words I said in passing him. A ‘Western Union boy was saved once because of four words that I used in greeting him. Neither of these were saved immediately but both were led to Christ after thinking about the brief words I had spoken.
An alcoholic was saved in a country church of mine. After the service I asked him who had won him. I had never met him and he had never met me, but he said that I won him to Christ simply by waving to him each day as he drove his yellow car by the parsonage. After months of this, he wanted the Christ that prompted that kind of friendliness.