1490 B.C. – Moses was Commanded to Number the People at Sinai.
536 B.C. – The Approximate Date of the Starting of the Rebuilding of the Temple After Captivity.
1873 – The First United States Postal Card was Sent.
Once again, thank God for the postal system and the miracle of mail.
1893 – Moody Began His Six-Month World’s Fair Revival in Chicago.
What a revival! What an evangelist! What a needy city! Think of it – six months of revival! Pray for revival today in Chicago and for the preachers who labor faithfully in preaching the Gospel in this city. Also, pray for the saints in Chicago, as well as the churches.
1896 – Dewey Won the Battle of Manila Bay.
1931 – Empire State Building Dedicated.
On this day in 1931, President Herbert Hoover officially dedicates New York City’s Empire State Building, pressing a button from the White House that turns on the building’s lights. Hoover’s gesture, of course, was symbolic; while the president remained in Washington, D.C., someone else flicked the switches in New York.
The idea for the Empire State Building is said to have been born of a competition between Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation and John Jakob Raskob of General Motors, to see who could erect the taller building. Chrysler had already begun work on the famous Chrysler Building, the gleaming 1,046-foot skyscraper in midtown Manhattan. Not to be bested, Raskob assembled a group of well-known investors, including former New York Governor Alfred E. Smith. The group chose the architecture firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Associates to design the building. The Art-Deco plans, said to have been based in large part on the look of a pencil, were also builder-friendly: The entire building went up in just over a year, under budget (at $40 million) and well ahead of schedule. During certain periods of building, the frame grew an astonishing four-and-a-half stories a week.
At the time of its completion, the Empire State Building, at 102 stories and 1,250 feet high (1,454 feet to the top of the lightning rod), was the world’s tallest skyscraper. The Depression-era construction employed as many as 3,400 workers on any single day, most of whom received an excellent pay rate, especially given the economic conditions of the time. The new building imbued New York City with a deep sense of pride, desperately needed in the depths of the Great Depression, when many city residents were unemployed and prospects looked bleak. The grip of the Depression on New York’s economy was still evident a year later, however, when only 25 percent of the Empire State’s offices had been rented.
In 1972, the Empire State Building lost its title as world’s tallest building to New York’s World Trade Center, which itself was the tallest skyscraper for but a year. Today the honor belongs to Dubai’s Burj Khalifa tower, which soars 2,717 feet into the sky.
1939 – The Date of the Founding of the “Back to the Bible” Broadcast.
The “Back to the Bible” broadcast is now headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska. This is one of the great broadcasts of our generation. Theodore Epp is the founder and present preacher. Pray for him, for his broadcast, and for radio preachers everywhere. Send an offering today to Mr. Epp or to some faithful radio preacher.
1945 – The Murder of Adolph Hitler was Announced.
Ask God to help you in the month of May.
Child Health Day.
Here is an opportunity to thank God for the health of your children and to pray that God will keep them strong physically.
1012 B.C. – Solomon Started the Rebuilding of the Temple.
II Chronicles 3:2
1507 – Martin Luther was Ordained to the Priesthood.
Pray for our Lutheran friends today that God will bring some back to the Bible and keep the rest built on the Bible.
1863 – Stonewall Jackson was Shot.
1923 – The First Trans-Continental Flight was Made.
Thank God today for airplanes and commercial service.
1933 – Loch Ness Monster Sighted
Although accounts of an aquatic beast living in Scotland’s Loch Ness date back 1,500 years, the modern legend of the Loch Ness Monster is born when a sighting makes local news on May 2, 1933. The newspaper Inverness Courier related an account of a local couple who claimed to have seen “an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface.” The story of the “monster” (a moniker chosen by the Courier editor) became a media phenomenon, with London newspapers sending correspondents to Scotland and a circus offering a 20,000 pound sterling reward for capture of the beast.
Loch Ness, located in the Scottish Highlands, has the largest volume of fresh water in Great Britain; the body of water reaches a depth of nearly 800 feet and a length of about 23 miles. Scholars of the Loch Ness Monster find a dozen references to “Nessie” in Scottish history, dating back to around A.D. 500, when local Picts carved a strange aquatic creature into standing stones near Loch Ness. The earliest written reference to a monster in Loch Ness is a 7th-century biography of Saint Columba, the Irish missionary who introduced Christianity to Scotland. In 565, according to the biographer, Columba was on his way to visit the king of the northern Picts near Inverness when he stopped at Loch Ness to confront a beast that had been killing people in the lake. Seeing a large beast about to attack another man, Columba intervened, invoking the name of God and commanding the creature to “go back with all speed.” The monster retreated and never killed another man.
In 1933, a new road was completed along Loch Ness’ shore, affording drivers a clear view of the loch. After an April 1933 sighting was reported in the local paper on May 2, interest steadily grew, especially after another couple claimed to have seen the beast on land, crossing the shore road. Several British newspapers sent reporters to Scotland, including London’s Daily Mail, which hired big-game hunter Marmaduke Wetherell to capture the beast. After a few days searching the loch, Wetherell reported finding footprints of a large four-legged animal. In response, the Daily Mail carried the dramatic headline: “MONSTER OF LOCH NESS IS NOT LEGEND BUT A FACT.” Scores of tourists descended on Loch Ness and sat in boats or decks chairs waiting for an appearance by the beast. Plaster casts of the footprints were sent to the British Natural History Museum, which reported that the tracks were that of a hippopotamus, specifically one hippopotamus foot, probably stuffed. The hoax temporarily deflated Loch Ness Monster mania, but stories of sightings continued.
A famous 1934 photograph seemed to show a dinosaur-like creature with a long neck emerging out of the murky waters, leading some to speculate that “Nessie” was a solitary survivor of the long-extinct plesiosaurs. The aquatic plesiosaurs were thought to have died off with the rest of the dinosaurs. More likely, others suggested, it was an archeocyte, a primitive whale with a serpentine neck that is thought to be extinct. Skeptics argued that what people were seeing in Loch Ness were “seiches”–oscillations in the water surface caused by the inflow of cold river water into the slightly warmer loch.
Amateur investigators kept an almost constant vigil, and in the 1960s several British universities launched expeditions to Loch Ness, using sonar to search the deep. Nothing conclusive was found, but in each expedition the sonar operators detected large, moving underwater objects they could not explain. In 1975, Boston’s Academy of Applied Science combined sonar and underwater photography in an expedition to Loch Ness. A photo resulted that, after enhancement, appeared to show the giant flipper of a plesiosaur-like creature. Further sonar expeditions in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in more tantalizing, if inconclusive, readings. Revelations in 1994 that the famous 1934 photo was a hoax hardly dampened the enthusiasm of tourists and professional and amateur investigators to the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/loch-ness-monster-sighted
1952 – The First Jet-Liner Passenger Service was Started.
Oh, what a blessing this has been to me. I have flown on jets from Chicago to Jacksonville, to Tampa, to Atlanta, to New Orleans, to Dallas, to Fort Worth, to Houston, to Albuquerquo, to Phoenix, to Denver, to Los Angeles, to San Francisco, to Minneapolis, to New York, to Cleveland, to Detroit, to Canada, to Rome, to Paris, to Egypt, and countless other countries, and cities. Praise the Lord for this added asset with which to serve God better.
Resist the Devil Today.
Ask God to give you strength over Satan. Satan is real. Martin Luther found him so real that he once threw an ink bottle at him and splattered the ink on the wall. Ask God to give you victory over the Evil One today.
Tradition Says That This is the Date of the Invention of the Cross.
By that we mean the cross was invented as a means of execution. Let us thank God today for the Cross and for Jesus’ paying the debt for our sins.
1469 – Niccolo Machiavelli Born.
On this day in 1469, the Italian philosopher and writer Niccolo Machiavelli is born. A lifelong patriot and diehard proponent of a unified Italy, Machiavelli became one of the fathers of modern political theory.
Machiavelli entered the political service of his native Florence by the time he was 29. As defense secretary, he distinguished himself by executing policies that strengthened Florence politically. He soon found himself assigned diplomatic missions for his principality, through which he met such luminaries as Louis XII of France, Pope Julius II, the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and perhaps most importantly for Machiavelli, a prince of the Papal States named Cesare Borgia. The shrewd and cunning Borgia later inspired the title character in Machiavelli’s famous and influential political treatise The Prince (1532).
Machiavelli’s political life took a downward turn after 1512, when he fell out of favor with the powerful Medici family. He was accused of conspiracy, imprisoned, tortured and temporarily exiled. It was an attempt to regain a political post and the Medici family’s good favor that Machiavelli penned The Prince, which was to become his most well-known work.
Though released in book form posthumously in 1532, The Prince was first published as a pamphlet in 1513. In it, Machiavelli outlined his vision of an ideal leader: an amoral, calculating tyrant for whom the end justifies the means. The Prince not only failed to win the Medici family’s favor, it also alienated him from the Florentine people. Machiavelli was never truly welcomed back into politics, and when the Florentine Republic was reestablished in 1527, Machiavelli was an object of great suspicion. He died later that year, embittered and shut out from the Florentine society to which he had devoted his life.
Though Machiavelli has long been associated with the practice of diabolical expediency in the realm of politics that was made famous in The Prince, his actual views were not so extreme. In fact, in such longer and more detailed writings as Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy (1517) and History of Florence (1525), he shows himself to be a more principled political moralist. Still, even today, the term “Machiavellian” is used to describe an action undertaken for gain without regard for right or wrong. – www.history.com/this-day-in-history/niccolo-machiavelli-born
1675 – A Law was Passed Requiring the Locking of Church Doors During Services.
It seems that too many people were leaving the services before they were over. I’m sure that many pastors would think positively toward the law. Certainly, it is a rude thing for a person to leave a church service unless it is for an emergency or a good reason. This law was passed in Massachusetts in 1675.
1850 – Charles Spurgeon Made His Public Profession in Christ.
This was the day that Charles Spurgeon made his public profession of faith and was baptized. What a day this was in the history of the church! You will recall, I’m sure, that Spurgeon was won to Christ on a snowy night by a lay preacher. Oh, for some Spurgeons today!
1856 – The Date That Dwight Moody Joined the Congregational Church in Boston.
It is said that before he was taken in he needed extra doctrinal instructions. It is interesting how many men are used of God who at first did not seem to catch on very well. Such is the case with Charles G. Finney, Billy Sunday, Dwight Moody, and others.
It is also interesting that it was the same month and the same day of the month that Spurgeon made his profession and was baptized, and that Moody joined the church. After a person is saved, the first thing he should do is be baptized. This is the first command of our Lord. A new convert should be obedient from the start.
1491 B.C. – The Approximate Date that Moses was on Mount Sinai.
You recall this wonderful story. Moses was called by God to Mount Sinai, where he received the Tablets of Stone on which were written the Ten Commandments and the instructions for building the Tabernacle. The Jews were on a march toward the Promised Land.
The leader must have a mountain-top experience. Every Christian leader must spend time on the mountain if he is to have success in the valley. There are two dangers here, however. One is that he will enjoy the mountain so much that he will not go back to the valley. Peter said this on the Mount of Transfiguration. He wanted to build three tabernacles and stay there. All of us have been to spiritual mountain peaks from which we hated to descend. Each of us has hated to go back to the valley, but the valley needs us. On the other hand, it is impossible to be successful in the valley unless there appears a refreshing and spiritual experience on the mountain peak. Before there was a Red Sea, there was a Moses alone with God in the desert for four years. Before there was an Apostle Paul, there was a Paul in Arabia for three years. Before there was a Pentecost, there were the ten days of waiting and praying in the upper room. Oh, to be on the mountain top, and then to go into the valley with the power of God for service.
Some Give This as the Date of Moody Joining the Mount Vernon Church.
At any rate, he was a member of Mr. Kimball’s Sunday school class. This was about the time that he united with the church.
1994 – Rabin and Arafat Sign Accord for Palestinian Self-Rule.
On May 4, 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat reached agreement in Cairo on the first stage of Palestinian self-rule.
The agreement was made in accordance with the Oslo Accords, signed in Washington, D.C. on September 13, 1993. This was the first direct, face-to-face agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and it acknowledged Israel’s right to exist. It was also designed as a framework for future relations between the two parties.
The Gaza-Jericho agreement signed on this day in history addressed four main issues: security arrangements, civil affairs, legal matters and economic relations. It included an Israeli military withdrawal from about 60 percent of the Gaza Strip (Jewish settlements and their environs excluded) and the West Bank town of Jericho, land captured by Israel during the Six-Day War of 1967. The Palestinians agreed to combat terror and prevent violence in the famous “land for peace” bargain. The document also included an agreement to a transfer of authority from the Israeli Civil Administration to the newly created Palestinian Authority, its jurisdiction and legislative powers, a Palestinian police force and relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The Israeli Defense Forces withdrew from Jericho on May 13 and from most of the Gaza Strip on May 18-19, 1994. Palestinian Authority police and officials immediately took control. During the first few days there was a spate of attacks on Israeli troops and civilians in and near the Strip. Arafat himself arrived in Gaza to a tumultuous, chaotic welcome on July 1.
As time went on, timetables stipulated in the deal were not met, Israel’s re-deployments were slowed and new agreements were negotiated. Israeli critics of the deal claimed “Land for Peace” was in reality “Land for Nothing.”
The momentum toward peaceful relations between Israel and the Palestinians was seriously jolted by the outbreak of the 2000 Palestinian uprising, known as “Second Intifada.” Further strain was put on the process after Hamas came into power in the 2006 Palestinian elections. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/rabin-and-arafat-sign-accord-for-palestinian-self-rule)
1821 – The Date Napoleon Died.
It was my privilege, not long ago, to visit the place of his burial in Paris.
1847 – The American Medical Association was Organized in Philadelphia.
Perhaps we should pause for a few moments today and thank God for good, faithful, medical doctors. Have you ever written your doctor who is interested in your family? This would be a good day to express appreciation to him and to thank God for him.
1917 – The Birthday of Joe Boyd.
Joe Boyd is a preacher who for many years was a most successful evangelist. He was an All-American football player at Texas A&M in 1939, and played for Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl game on New Year’s Day in 1940. He was licensed and ordained in the same church where I was, and he is one of the greatest soul winners I have ever met. Probably I learned more about personal soul winning from this man of God than any other person. Brother Boyd has emphasized personal soul winning through the years. How long has it been since you won a soul to Christ? Why not, today, make a concerted effort to lead someone personally to Jesus Christ. You have no idea the joy that it will bring to you.
1926 – The Birthday of Dr. Bob Gray.
Dr. Bob Gray is the successful pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida. He has been my personal friend for many years, and God has used him and blessed him wonderfully in His service. He is a gifted preacher and a friend of fundamentalists everywhere. Let us pray today for his ministry and the ministry of faithful pastors. Pray for your own pastor. Write him a letter of appreciation today. Assure him of your love. Do something kind for him.
1955 – West Germany was Made Independent.
Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in this nation.
1961 – The First American in Space.
From Cape Canaveral, Florida, Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. is launched into space aboard the Freedom 7 space capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to travel into space. The suborbital flight, which lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere, was a major triumph for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
NASA was established in 1958 to keep U.S. space efforts abreast of recent Soviet achievements, such as the launching of the world’s first artificial satellite–Sputnik 1–in 1957. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the two superpowers raced to become the first country to put a man in space and return him to Earth. On April 12, 1961, the Soviet space program won the race when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was launched into space, put in orbit around the planet, and safely returned to Earth. One month later, Shepard’s suborbital flight restored faith in the U.S. space program.
NASA continued to trail the Soviets closely until the late 1960s and the successes of the Apollo lunar program. In July 1969, the Americans took a giant leap forward with Apollo 11, a three-stage spacecraft that took U.S. astronauts to the surface of the moon and returned them to Earth. On February 5, 1971, Alan Shepard, the first American in space, became the fifth astronaut to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 14 lunar landing mission. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-first-american-in-space)
1626 – Manhattan was Purchased from the Indians.
Let us pray for our Indian friends and Indian brethren today.
1832 – Charles G. Finney Started an Evangelistic Center in New York City.
It was located on Chatham Street. It was called the Chatham Street Chapel. In seventy days between 1500 and 2500 people were attending the services. It is said that members were scattered all over the auditorium to witness during the services. Oh, to have some chapels and churches like this again! Oh, we need churches that major on reaching the souls of men and plucking people from the fires of Hell.
1840 – The Date of the First Postage Stamp.
Thank God for the Post Office system.
1851 – The First Refrigerator was Patented.
Now here is something that should be the object of our gratitude. We should thank God for the refrigerator. Many of us can remember the old ice box. The ice man would come by every day and put ice in the top. There was a drain at the bottom which led to the underneath, where there was a pan. If we forgot to empty the pan it would run over on the floor. My, what an improvement we have today! We should never cease to thank God for conveniences such as this.
1867 – The Birthday of George W. Truett.
George W. Truett was for over forty years the famous pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, and many count him as the greatest Southern Baptist of all. His was a compassionate heart. He was a great leader. Upon his death, a black man whom I had known, came to me weeping and said, “Some of you young men should enter the ministry and have a compassion for the lost like Dr. Truett did.” This impressed me greatly. I never got away from it. The Lord used it to call me to preach.
1994 – English Channel Tunnel Opens
In a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel was officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time.
The channel tunnel, or “Chunnel,” connects Folkstone, England, with Sangatte, France, 31 miles away. The Chunnel cut travel time between England and France to a swift 35 minutes and eventually between London and Paris to two-and-a-half hours.
As the world’s longest undersea tunnel, the Chunnel runs under water for 23 miles, with an average depth of 150 feet below the seabed. Each day, about 30,000 people, 6,000 cars and 3,500 trucks journey through the Chunnel on passenger, shuttle and freight trains.
Millions of tons of earth were moved to build the two rail tunnels–one for northbound and one for southbound traffic–and one service tunnel. Fifteen thousand people were employed at the peak of construction. Ten people were killed during construction.
Napoleon’s engineer, Albert Mathieu, planned the first tunnel under the English Channel in 1802, envisioning an underground passage with ventilation chimneys that would stretch above the waves. In 1880, the first real attempt was made by Colonel Beaumont, who bore a tunnel more than a mile long before abandoning the project. Other efforts followed in the 20th century, but none on the scale of the tunnels begun in June 1988.
The Chunnel’s $16 billion cost was roughly twice the original estimate, and completion was a year behind schedule. One year into service, Eurotunnel announced a huge loss, one of the biggest in United Kingdom corporate history at the time. A scheme in which banks agreed to swap billions of pounds worth of loans for shares saved the tunnel from going under and it showed its first net profit in 1999.
Freight traffic was suspended for six months after a fire broke out on a lorry in the tunnel in November 1996. Nobody was seriously hurt in the incident.
In 1996, the American Society of Civil Engineers identified the tunnel as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/english-channel-tunnel-opens)
1812 – The Birthday of Robert Browning.
One of the most touching stories is the story of his love for Elizabeth Barrett Browning. She was an invalid. She could not even lift her head from her pillow. Robert Browning came to see her and they fell in love It is said that on his first visit she lifted up her head. On his second visit she sat up in bed. On his third visit she eloped with him. There is strength in love, is there not? Let us be strengthening people by loving them.
1837 – The Birthday of Johannes Brahms.
This directs our attention toward great music and should stir our gratitude toward those who have provided it for us. Let us spend some time today singing or listening to good music.
1863 – General Grant Opened His Campaign to Capture Vicksburg.
This, of course, was during the Civil War. Once again, let those in the North pray for those in the South, and vice versa today as we ask God to give us love toward all men from all places.
1994 – Munch’s The Scream Recovered.
On May 7, 1994, Norway’s most famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from a museum in Oslo. The fragile painting was recovered undamaged at a hotel in Asgardstrand, about 40 miles south of Oslo, police said.
The iconic 1893 painting of a waiflike figure on a bridge was stolen in only 50 seconds during a break-in on February 12, the opening day of the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Two thieves broke through a window of the National Gallery, cut a wire holding the painting to the wall and left a note reading “Thousand thanks for the bad security!”
A few days after the theft, a Norwegian anti-abortion group said it could have the painting returned if Norwegian television showed an anti-abortion film. The claim turned out to be false. The government also received a $1 million ransom demand on March 3, but refused to pay it due to a lack of proof that the demand was genuine.
Eventually, police found four pieces of the painting’s frame in Nittedal, a suburb north of Oslo, and what may have been a cryptic messages that the thieves wanted to discuss a ransom. Finally, in January 1996, four men were convicted and sentenced in connection with the theft. They included Paal Enger, who had been convicted in 1988 of stealing Munch’s “The Vampire” in Oslo. Enger was sentenced this time to six-and-a-half-years in prison. He escaped while on a field trip in 1999, and was captured 12 days later in a blond wig and dark sunglasses trying to buy a train ticket to Copenhagen.
In August 2004, another version of “The Scream” was stolen along with Munch’s “The Madonna,” this time from the Munch Museum in Oslo. Three men were convicted in connection with that theft in May 2006. Police recovered both works in August with minor marks and tears. Yet another version of “The Scream” remained in private hands and sold on May 2, 2012, for $119.9 million, becoming the most expensive work of art to sell at auction.
Munch developed an emotionally charged style that served as an important forerunner of the 20th century Expressionist movement. He painted “The Scream” as part of his “Frieze of Life” series, in which sickness, death, fear, love and melancholy are central themes. He died in January 1944 at the age of 81. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/munchs-the-scream-recovered)
1541 – De Sota Discovered Mississippi.
There are many precious friends in Mississippi, and many wonderful Christians who serve there. It has been my joy to preach there several times. Even now I think of precious Christians who reside there. Perhaps, you know of some for whom you ought to pray. Pray for Christian leaders, pastors, evangelists, and all of God’s people in this state.
1846 – The First Battle of the Mexican War at Palo Alto, Texas.
1884 – The Birthday of Harry Truman.
Pause once again to thank God for the President. It is not easy to carry the load of the nation as well as the load of much of the world on your shoulders. Your President is probably the most powerful man in the world today. Let us hold him before the throne of grace.
1945 – V-E Day is Celebrated in America and Britain.
On this day in 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.
The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark–the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.
The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, to keep from being taken prisoner. About 1 million Germans attempted a mass exodus to the West when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians took approximately 2 million prisoners in the period just before and after the German surrender.
Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released and sent back to Great Britain.
Pockets of German-Soviet confrontation would continue into the next day. On May 9, the Soviets would lose 600 more soldiers in Silesia before the Germans finally surrendered. Consequently, V-E Day was not celebrated until the ninth in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Stalin himself: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations…has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/v-e-day-is-celebrated-in-american-and-britain)
Germany surrendered at 6:01 p.m. What a day this was for those of us in America! The fear of Nazism had been thwarted, at least temporarily. The fear of the Hitler regime, the concentration camps, and human slavery was interrupted. There was rejoicing in the streets. Let us praise God for our freedom and pray for God’s blessings on our German Christian friends today.
1700 – Nicholas Ludwig Zinzendorf Died.
He was the reorganizer of the Bohemian Brethren. His life’s motto was, “I have but one passion – it is He – He only.” Let us make the same statement today and make Christ our everything.
1882 – The Birthdate of Henry J. Kaiser.
Kaiser was a famous ship builder as well as a Christian layman.
1900 – The Birthday of D. Ray Edman.
Ray Edman served for many years as president of Wheaton College.
1905 – The Birthday of Merrill Dunlop.
Mr. Dunlop was born in Chicago, Illinois. He was long-time music director of the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle, and one of the greatest hymn writers of his generation. Among his famous hymns and songs, perhaps none stands out above, “My Sins Are Blotted Out.” Why not pause to sing it now and thank God for the truth of its message.
MY SINS ARE BLOTTED OUT, I KNOW!
What a wondrous message in God’s Word!
My sins are blotted out, I know!
If I trust in His redeeming blood,
My sins are blotted out, I know!
My sins are blotted out, I know
My sins are blotted out, I know.
They are buried in the depths of the deepest sea;
My sins are blotted out, I know.
Once my heart was black but now, what joy,
My sins are blotted out, I know!
I have peace that nothing can destroy,
My sins are blotted out, I know!
I shall stand some day before my King,
My sins all blotted out, I know!
With the ransomed host I then shall sing:
“My sins are blotted out, I know!”
1910 – The Birthday of Eric Hutchings.
Hutchings is a great English evangelist. His radio program, “Hour of Revival,” has been heard across the British Isles. Pray today for your favorite Gospel radio program and Gospel radio preachers today. Support them financially and with your prayers.
1926 – Admiral Byrd Discovered the North Pole.
This reminds us that no matter where one goes, he cannot escape the presence of God. God is everywhere. He is with you today. He knows your name. He knows the name of the street on which you live. He knows your house number. He knows your telephone number. He knows what your thoughts are. He loves you. Trust Him today as your companion and guide.
1960 – The Death of Charles Rosenbury Erdman.
Erdman was Professor of Practical Theology at Princeton Seminary from 1906 to 1936. He authored many expositional books on the Bible and was a well-known Presbyterian leader.
1869 – The Date of the First Trans-continental Railroad Completed.
We do not realize the influence that the railway has upon our lives. Many of the things that we take for granted are brought to us by rail. Our modern conveniences are made possible largely through this medium of transportation. Also, the comfort and convenience of rail travel is a blessing for which we ought to thank our heavenly Father.
“On this day in 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train, and the West would surely lose some of its wild charm with the new connection to the civilized East.
Since at least 1832, both Eastern and frontier statesmen realized a need to connect the two coasts. It was not until 1853, though, that Congress appropriated funds to survey several routes for the transcontinental railroad. The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer, as North-South tensions prevented Congress from reaching an agreement on where the line would begin.
One year into the Civil War, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act (1862), guaranteeing public land grants and loans to the two railroads it chose to build the transcontinental line, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. With these in hand, the railroads began work in 1866 from Omaha and Sacramento, forging a northern route across the country. In their eagerness for land, the two lines built right past each other, and the final meeting place had to be renegotiated.
Harsh winters, staggering summer heat, Indian raids and the lawless, rough-and-tumble conditions of newly settled western towns made conditions for the Union Pacific laborers–mainly Civil War veterans of Irish descent–miserable. The overwhelmingly immigrant Chinese work force of the Central Pacific also had its fair share of problems, including brutal 12-hour work days laying tracks over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On more than one occasion, whole crews would be lost to avalanches, or mishaps with explosives would leave several dead.
For all the adversity they suffered, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific workers were able to finish the railroad–laying nearly 2,000 miles of track–by 1869, ahead of schedule and under budget. Journeys that had taken months by wagon train or weeks by boat now took only days. Their work had an immediate impact: The years following the construction of the railway were years of rapid growth and expansion for the United States, due in large part to the speed and ease of travel that the railroad provided.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/transcontinental-railroad-completed)
1940 – Churchill Took Over as the Leader of England.
There have been some great men in our generation, but few would have the universal renown of Mr. Churchill. We will not soon forget his leadership in World War II. We will not soon forget the speech he made that challenged us to defend ourselves and to fight to the death if need be. Today, the world still has her leaders. They need our prayers. Let us pause today to pray for the leaders of our own nation, the leaders of England, and the leaders of other great nations of the world.
Once again, pray for God’s people in England and for God’s work there. Thank God for the heritage she gave us. Thank God for the Spurgeons, the Wesleys, the Whitefields, and others who were given to us by England.
Are You Reading the Bible Through This Year?
Are you praying every day? Are you winning souls regularly? Pledge yourself again today to read the Bible some every day, to pray some every day, and to witness some every day. It has been my desire and plan for years to equalize my time each week between these three activities. I’ve tried to pray ten hours a week, to study my Bible ten hours a week, and to win souls ten hours a week. This, I feel, would make a worthy goal for a Christian.
Tradition Says That May 11 is the Date of the Ascension of Christ.
Whether this be true or not, we can thank God for the ascension of our Lord. It was my joy to stand on the Mount of Olives at the place of the ascension and remember the words of the two men in white apparel who watched the men of Galilee gazing up into Heaven watching Jesus go back to the Father. We are reminded that we are not to gaze up into Heaven, but rather to be witnesses to those without Christ. These are days of astronauts and space flights. Blessed be God for Jesus, our Astronaut, who took his space flight all the way to Heaven and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
1858 – Minnesota was Admitted to the Union.
There are many godly people in this state. Let us pray for them today. It has been my joy to preach in Minnesota and to meet many fine Christian friends. Pray for the work of Christ and the workers for Christ in this state.
1934 – Dust Storm Sweeps from Great Plains across Eastern States
On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.
At the time the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, which held moisture in the earth and kept most of the soil from blowing away even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, however, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland with the newly invented tractor. The plowing continued after the war, when the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors sped up the process. During the 1920s, wheat production increased by 300 percent, causing a glut in the market by 1931.
That year, a severe drought spread across the region. As crops died, wind began to carry dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed lands. The number of dust storms reported jumped from 14 in 1932 to 28 in 1933. The following year, the storms decreased in frequency but increased in intensity, culminating in the most severe storm yet in May 1934. Over a period of two days, high-level winds caught and carried some 350 million tons of silt all the way from the northern Great Plains to the eastern seaboard. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.
The dust storms forced thousands of families from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico to uproot and migrate to California, where they were derisively known as “Okies”–no matter which state they were from. These transplants found life out West not much easier than what they had left, as work was scarce and pay meager during the worst years of the Great Depression.
Another massive storm on April 15, 1935–known as “Black Sunday”–brought even more attention to the desperate situation in the Great Plains region, which reporter Robert Geiger called the “Dust Bowl.” That year, as part of its New Deal program, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration began to enforce federal regulation of farming methods, including crop rotation, grass-seeding and new plowing methods. This worked to a point, reducing dust storms by up to 65 percent, but only the end of the drought in the fall of 1939 would truly bring relief. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dust-storm-sweeps-from-great-plains-across-eastern-states)
1949 – The United Nations Admitted Israel.
This certainly was a red-letter day in history. What a struggle it had been through the centuries for God’s scattered people. Now they have their flag and their nation. It is a thrill to drive down the highways of Israel and to see the orchards flourishing, the orange trees laden, and the desert as if it were blossoming as a rose. Pray for the Jews today. Witness to those whom you know and tell them about Jesus being the Messiah and Saviour.
1820 – The Birthday of Florence Nightingale.
Florence Nightingale has been called the forerunner of nursing. She was wealthy, yet walked among the slums. She worked among “down-and-outers.” What an example this is to us!
She was born in Florence, Italy, and was named after the city. At the age of seventeen she was teaching the Bible. She said concerning her life, “I have done nothing. God has done everything. I have worked very hard; that is all. I have never refused God anything.” May we pause to thank God for Florence Nightingale and for nurses everywhere. Let us also take her example of sacrificial service for Christ.
1898 -The Birthday of Walter Hughes.
Walter Hughes is a Canadian Bible teacher. It has been my joy to share the pulpit with him and to feel the heartbeat of his great ministry. Then, on occasion, it has been my privilege while preaching in Canada, to fellowship with his fine family. Pray for Bible teachers today, especially those who believe in evangelism and for whom the Bible is not a mathematics book but a love story.
1937 – The Coronation of King George VI of England.
1957 – Race Car Driver A.J. Foyt Gets First Pro Victory
On this day in 1957, race car driver A.J. Foyt (1935- ) scores his first professional victory, in a U.S. Automobile Club (USAC) midget car race in Kansas City, Missouri.
A tough-as-nails Texan, Anthony Joseph Foyt, Jr. raced midget cars–smaller vehicles designed to be driven in races of shorter distances–and stock cars before moving up to bigger things in 1958, when he entered his first Indianapolis 500 race. Foyt won his first Indy 500 crown in 1961, when rival Eddie Sachs was forced to make a tire change in the final laps, giving Foyt the chance to overtake him and win with a then-record average speed of 139.13 mph.
The 1964 season saw Foyt earn a record-setting winning percentage of .769 with 10 wins in 13 races. His most important win that year came in the Indy 500, which he finished with an average speed of 147.45 mph. After a near-fatal crash in a stock car race in 1965–in which he broke his back, fractured his ankle and suffered severe chest injuries–Foyt came back to continue his string of impressive achievements. In 1967, he won his third Indy 500 in a car he had designed himself, with his father Tony as chief mechanic. Two weeks later, he traveled to France and won the 24 Hours of LeMans international competition with teammate Don Gurney. With a win at the Daytona 500 in 1972, Foyt became the first driver to win all three major races in motor sports: the Indy 500, the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans.
In addition to the records for most total victories (67), most national championships (7) and most victories in one season (10), Foyt also has the most consecutive Indy 500 starts: He competed in the race for 35 straight years. His fourth win came in 1977, when the 42-year-old Foyt screamed around the track at an average speed of 161.331 mph. Only two other men have equaled his record of four Indy 500 wins.
In 1989, Foyt became the first driver inducted into the brand-new Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Novi, Michigan. He practiced at the Indy 500 track in 1993, but retired on the first day of qualifying races. Apart from auto racing teams, Foyt’s later business interests have included car dealerships, funeral homes, oil investments and thoroughbred racehorses. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/race-car-driver-aj-foyt-gets-first-pro-victory)
1607 – Jamestown, Virginia was Founded.
1846 – The United States Declared War on Mexico.
On May 13, 1846, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly votes in favor of President James K. Polk’s request to declare war on Mexico in a dispute over Texas.
Under the threat of war, the United States had refrained from annexing Texas after the latter won independence from Mexico in 1836. But in 1844, President John Tyler restarted negotiations with the Republic of Texas, culminating with a Treaty of Annexation.
The treaty was defeated by a wide margin in the Senate because it would upset the slave state/free state balance between North and South and risked war with Mexico, which had broken off relations with the United States. But shortly before leaving office and with the support of President-elect Polk, Tyler managed to get the joint resolution passed on March 1, 1845. Texas was admitted to the union on December 29.
While Mexico didn’t follow through with its threat to declare war, relations between the two nations remained tense over border disputes, and in July 1845, President Polk ordered troops into disputed lands that lay between the Neuces and Rio Grande rivers. In November, Polk sent the diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to seek boundary adjustments in return for the U.S. government’s settlement of the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico and also to make an offer to purchase California and New Mexico. After the mission failed, the U.S. army under Gen. Zachary Taylor advanced to the mouth of the Rio Grande, the river that the state of Texas claimed as its southern boundary.
Mexico, claiming that the boundary was the Nueces River to the northeast of the Rio Grande, considered the advance of Taylor’s army an act of aggression and in April 1846 sent troops across the Rio Grande. Polk, in turn, declared the Mexican advance to be an invasion of U.S. soil, and on May 11, 1846, asked Congress to declare war on Mexico, which it did two days later.
After nearly two years of fighting, peace was established by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed on February 2, 1848. The Rio Grande was made the southern boundary of Texas, and California and New Mexico were ceded to the United States. In return, the United States paid Mexico the sum of $15 million and agreed to settle all claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico.
1867 – Moody Began His Noon-Day Prayer Meetings in London.
Moody began his noon-day prayer meetings in London at Aldersgate Street YMCA. What a place to begin! Aldersgate was the place where Wesley was converted. It is a very famous name to followers of John Wesley. Why not spend some time today praying during the noon hour.
1850 – Charles Spurgeon was Baptized in the River.
Charles Spurgeon was baptized in the river on his mother’s birthday by W. W. Cantlow, a returned missionary. Spurgeon said, “I lost a thousand fears and in keeping his commandment there is great reward.” If you have not been baptized, do so immediately.
1918 – The Post Office Issued the First Air-Mail Stamp.
May we thank God again today for our postal system.
1924 – The Birthday of Walt Handford.
Walt Handford is now a successful pastor at the Southside Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina. The work that God has done there through him has been exceptional. He is the son-in-law of Evangelist John R. Rice, and has served as Assistant Editor of the SWORD OF THE LORD as well as Vice President of the SWORD OF THE LORD FOUNDATION.
1950 – The Date of the Death of My Father, Willis Hyles.
My father died while hanging dry-wall on the ceiling of a house in Grand Prairie, Texas. His death changed my ministry.
1490 B.C. – The Substitute Passover Date for Those Who had been Out of the Country.
This is a most interesting thing. Those who had been out of the country at the first Passover were allowed to have one on this date.
1796 – Smallpox Vaccination was Discovered by Edward Jenner.
What a change this has made in our nation and in our health. Though smallpox is no longer a scourge, let us bless God for this discovery today.
1804 – The Date of the Beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
One year after the United States doubled its territory with the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean.
Even before the U.S. government concluded purchase negotiations with France, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to lead an expedition into what is now the U.S. Northwest. On May 14, the “Corps of Discovery”–featuring approximately 45 men (although only an approximate 33 men would make the full journey)–left St. Louis for the American interior.
The expedition traveled up the Missouri River in a 55-foot long keelboat and two smaller boats. In November, Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian fur trader accompanied by his young Native American wife Sacagawea, joined the expedition as an interpreter. The group wintered in present-day North Dakota before crossing into present-day Montana, where they first saw the Rocky Mountains. On the other side of the Continental Divide, they were met by Sacagawea’s tribe, the Shoshone Indians, who sold them horses for their journey down through the Bitterroot Mountains. After passing through the dangerous rapids of the Clearwater and Snake rivers in canoes, the explorers reached the calm of the Columbia River, which led them to the sea. On November 8, 1805, the expedition arrived at the Pacific Ocean, the first European explorers to do so by an overland route from the east. After pausing there for the winter, the explorers began their long journey back to St. Louis.
On September 23, 1806, after almost two and a half years, the expedition returned to the city, bringing back a wealth of information about the largely unexplored region, as well as valuable U.S. claims to Oregon Territory.
1491 B.C. – The Israelites Came To the Wilderness of Sin and Approached Sinai.
Perhaps, someone is in the wilderness today. Perhaps it is hard to tell which way to turn. God knows the way through the wilderness.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow.
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow,
Strength for today is mine all the way,
And all that I need for tomorrow;
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow.
Mount Sinai looms ahead. Look at it and find your way through the wilderness.
1602 – Cape Cod was Discovered by Gosnold.
1862 – The Date of the Founding of the Department of Agriculture.
1915 – The Birthday of Harold Sightler.
Dr. Harold Sightler is pastor of the Tabernacle Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina. His is one of the most unusual works in America and, yea, he is one of the great pulpiteers of our day. Humility, devotion, love for Christ, and open joy characterize the life and ministry of this great preacher. Pray for your pastor today. Write him a letter of appreciation. Express your love to him, and then, bow your head and pray God’s blessing upon him. Dr. Sightler’s favorite verse is Romans 3:26, “To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
1918 – The First Air Mail Service Began.
The first service was between New York and Washington. I find my own heart rejoicing and praising God for air mail. Thank God today for air-mail service.
1963 – Gordon Cooper was Tossed into Space for Twenty-two Orbits.
The Traditional Date for the Birth of Noah. (According to the Farmer’s Almanac)
Let us think of Noah. In the first place, he walked with God. It is said that Enoch walked with God and that Noah walked with God. Both of them were delivered from the flood. Enoch was called out before the flood, and Noah was preserved through the flood. Enoch was a type of the Gentile bride called out before the tribulation. Noah is a type of the Jew who will be preserved through the tribulation.
Secondly, Noah is an example to each of us as to the way we ought to live. He not only walked with God but he was an upright man. He was a man that feared God. He was a man after God’s own heart. He was a man whom God spared through the flood. May we follow his example in our lives.
1860 – Abraham Lincoln was Nominated for President.
Again, we think of the office of President. Again, we thank God for this office. Again, we pray God’s leadership upon our present President as he leads us.
1866 – The Nickel (Five Cent Piece) was Authorized.
Here is something we seldom think about. We should thank God for our monetary system and our system of exchange in this nation.
1870 – Mel Trotter was Born.
2349 B.C. – The Sky Cleared after the Flood.
Thanks be to God the Sky always clears. The storms may come, the clouds may hang low, the rains may fall, but the sky always clears. Maybe the clouds are low for you today. The day will come, thank God, when they will clear.
1792-The New York Stock Exchange was Formed.
1864 – Money Orders were Established.
1947 – The Organization of the Conservative Baptist Association.
These brethren withdrew from the American Baptist Convention and organized a convention or association for independent Bible believing churches. There are still hundreds of these. Let us pray for our Conservative Baptist brethren. I have preached in many of their churches. I have preached in many of their state meetings. I have spoken to their annual meetings in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana, and have a great admiration for many of these fine brethren.
Pray for their work today.
1954 – Racial Segregation was Ruled Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
“In a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court hands down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities is unconstitutional. The historic decision, which brought an end to federal tolerance of racial segregation, specifically dealt with Linda Brown, a young African American girl who had been denied admission to her local elementary school in Topeka, Kansas, because of the color of her skin.
In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that “separate but equal” accommodations in railroad cars conformed to the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. That ruling was used to justify segregating all public facilities, including elementary schools. However, in the case of Linda Brown, the white school she attempted to attend was far superior to her black alternative and miles closer to her home. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) took up Linda’s cause, and in 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka reached the Supreme Court. African American lawyer (and future Supreme Court justice) Thurgood Marshall led Brown’s legal team, and on May 17, 1954, the high court handed down its decision.
In an opinion written by Chief Justice Earl Warren, the nation’s highest court ruled that not only was the “separate but equal” doctrine unconstitutional in Linda’s case, it was unconstitutional in all cases because educational segregation stamped an inherent badge of inferiority on African American students. A year later, after hearing arguments on the implementation of their ruling, the Supreme Court published guidelines requiring public school systems to integrate “with all deliberate speed.”
The Brown v. Board of Education decision served to greatly motivate the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and ultimately led to the abolishment of racial segregation in all public facilities and accommodations.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/brown-v-board-of-ed-is-decided)
Regardless of your opinion about segregation, we can certainly pray for all races, and especially for our black brethren. One has really never heard preaching until he hears an old-fashioned, black, fundamental preacher preach the Gospel. I bless God for them. I trust we will pray for them today.
1933 – The Tennessee Valley Association was Established.
Today is Peace Day.
Pray for peace in the world. Pray for peace in your life. Pray that God will help you to live at peace with all men. If there is someone today with whom you’re not at peace, make it right. Go see them, call them, write them, and be reconciled.
There are several meanings to the word “peace” in the Bible. There is what we call the “peace of God,” “the peace that passeth understanding,” which is the peace that Jesus gives. There is also what we call “peace with God.” This was made by Jesus on the cross.
An old lady lay dying. She was asked by a pastor if she had made her peace with God.
“No,” she replied.
The pastor asked, “Why don’t you get saved then before you die?”
“Oh, I am saved,” she replied.
“But you said you had not made your peace with God.”
“I have not,” said she, “Jesus made my peace with God two thousand years ago when He died for me on the Cross.”
1643 – The First American Federation was Formed.
What a privilege we have as Americans. We ought to thank God for our forefathers, our heritage, and those men that laid the foundation for what we enjoy today. Spend some time thanking God for America. Sing the “National Anthem.” Let your spirits soar and your heart be proud that you’re an American.
1848 – The United States and Mexico Signed a Peace Treaty.
1935 – Lawrence of Arabia Dies
T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident six days before.
Thomas Edward Lawrence was born in Tremadoc, Wales, in 1888. In 1896, his family moved to Oxford. Lawrence studied architecture and archaeology, for which he made a trip to Ottoman (Turkish)-controlled Syria and Palestine in 1909. In 1911, he won a fellowship to join an expedition excavating an ancient Hittite settlement on the Euphrates River. He worked there for three years and in his free time traveled and learned Arabic. In 1914, he explored the Sinai, near the frontier of Ottoman-controlled Arabia and British-controlled Egypt. The maps Lawrence and his associates made had immediate strategic value upon the outbreak of war between Britain and the Ottoman Empire in October 1914.
Lawrence enlisted in the war and because of his expertise in Arab affairs was assigned to Cairo as an intelligence officer. He spent more than a year in Egypt, processing intelligence information and in 1916 accompanied a British diplomat to Arabia, where Hussein ibn Ali, the emir of Mecca, had proclaimed a revolt against Turkish rule. Lawrence convinced his superiors to aid Hussein’s rebellion, and he was sent to join the Arabian army of Hussein’s son Faisal as a liaison officer.
Under Lawrence’s guidance, the Arabians launched an effective guerrilla war against the Turkish lines. He proved a gifted military strategist and was greatly admired by the Bedouin people of Arabia. In July 1917, Arabian forces captured Aqaba near the Sinai and joined the British march on Jerusalem. Lawrence was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In November, he was captured by the Turks while reconnoitering behind enemy lines in Arab dress and was tortured and sexually abused before escaping. He rejoined his army, which slowly worked its way north to Damascus, which fell in October 1918.
Arabia was liberated, but Lawrence’s hope that the peninsula would be united as a single nation was dashed when Arabian factionalism came to the fore after Damascus. Lawrence, exhausted and disillusioned, left for England. Feeling that Britain had exacerbated the rivalries between the Arabian groups, he appeared before King George V and politely refused the medals offered to him.
After the war, he lobbied hard for independence for Arab countries and appeared at the Paris peace conference in Arab robes. He became something of a legendary figure in his own lifetime, and in 1922 he gave up higher-paying appointments to enlist in the Royal Air Force (RAF) under an assumed name, John Hume Ross. He had just completed writing his monumental war memoir, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and he hoped to escape his fame and acquire material for a new book. Found out by the press, he was discharged, but in 1923 he managed to enlist as a private in the Royal Tanks Corps under another assumed name, T.E. Shaw, a reference to his friend, Irish writer George Bernard Shaw. In 1925, Lawrence rejoined the RAF and two years later legally changed his last name to Shaw.
In 1927, an abridged version of his memoir was published and generated tremendous publicity, but the press was unable to locate Lawrence (he was posted to a base in India). In 1929, he returned to England and spent the next six years writing and working as an RAF mechanic. In 1932, his English translation of Homer’s Odyssey was published under the name of T.E. Shaw. The Mint, a fictionalized account of Royal Air Force recruit training, was not published until 1955 because of its explicitness.
In February 1935, Lawrence was discharged from the RAF and returned to his simple cottage at Clouds Hill, Dorset. On May 13, he was critically injured while driving his motorcycle through the Dorset countryside. He had swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles. On May 19, he died at the hospital of his former RAF camp. All of Britain mourned his passing. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lawrence-of-arabia-dies)
Armed Forces Day.
As this is being written, six or seven of my own church members are fighting in Viet Nam. These are boys who were saved in our church. Some grew up in our church. Our soldier boys, as well as our sailors and marines and the boys in all classes of service need our prayers. Pray for the servicemen whom you know. Write them today. Send them a gift. Let us not forget them on Armed Forces Day.
1490 B.C. – The Cloud Lifted and the Journey Started from Sinai for the Children of Israel.
This is Considered by Some the Traditional Date of Pentecost.
Of course, Pentecost was an annual occasion celebrated by the Jews, but we normally associate Pentecost with the great revival of Acts 2 when 3,000 were saved. Oh, to have this kind of revival again! Oh, to see people saved by the hundreds and thousands. Oh, to feel the breath of the power of God. What a need there is today for this kind of Christianity.
1506 – Columbus Died in Poverty in Spain.
1749-The First Fire Engine was Used in America.
The first fire engine was used in America at Salem, Massachu¬setts. This should lead us to think about our faithful fire depart¬ments. Early in the wee hours of June 5, 1964, I was awakened by the ring of the telephone. The fire chief was on the other end of the line reporting to me that our church building was on fire. Two buildings were completely destroyed valued at $619,000.00. Each of them was connected to our new auditorium dedicated two months earlier. The work of these faithful firemen, no doubt, saved our new auditorium. Thank God for the fire department and the firemen.
1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis Receive Patent for Blue Jeans
On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.
Born Loeb Strauss in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in 1829, the young Strauss immigrated to New York with his family in 1847 after the death of his father. By 1850, Loeb had changed his name to Levi and was working in the family dry goods business, J. Strauss Brother & Co. In early 1853, Levi Strauss went west to seek his fortune during the heady days of the Gold Rush.
In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family’s firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco.
Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points–at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly–to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.
Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501 brand jean–known until 1890 as “XX”–was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi’s denim waist overalls were the top-selling men’s work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn by men and women, young and old, around the world.
1927 – Lindbergh Flew Non-Stop from New York to Paris.
1943 – The Date of Dr. Myron Cedarholm’s Ordination.
Dr. Cedarholm is presently the president of the Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, Wisconsin. For many years he was director of the Conservative Baptist Association of America. He is one of my dear friends, and he is a faithful Gospel preacher. Pray today for his work and the work of the Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Also, pray for Christian colleges everywhere.
1832 – Hudson Taylor was Born.
On this day Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission, was born. Pray for the China Inland Mission and for mission boards everywhere who hold the truth of the Gospel. Pray for missionaries around the world. Also, pray for China.
When Hudson Taylor died, it is said that the one who attended him made this statement, “It was not death at all.”
1881- The Date of the Founding of the American Red Cross.
When we think of the Red Cross, we think of helping those who are in need. Thus, it would be a good day for us to help someone in need. Maybe we could take some food to a poor friend or some clothes to one who is underprivileged. Why not do some deed for someone today. It is not enough for the people of God to send Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas baskets; rather, everyday we ought to be feeding and clothing the underprivileged. Maybe you could go to the hospital and take some flowers to some sick person. Perhaps, a trip to a rest home would be in order. A blind friend, a deaf friend, a shut-in, or a convalescing one could be the object of your attention today.
“In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons founded the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.
Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.
She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/american-red-cross-founded)
1927 – Lindbergh Completed His Solo Flight Across the Atlantic.
1807 – The Date of the Treason Trial of Aaron Burr.
Aaron Burr was a well-known politician. It is said that while at Princeton University, revival services were conducted. Aaron Burr was under conviction. He lifted his face toward God one night and said, “God, you leave me alone and I will leave you alone.” It is said that God did leave him alone. He never again felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
This is the same Aaron Burr of the duel with Alexander Hamilton. It is really a shame for one with such talent and gifts to waste his life and to become less than what he could have been because of not being rightly related to his God.
1843 – Great Emigration Departs for Oregon.
A massive wagon train, made up of 1,000 settlers and 1,000 head of cattle, sets off down the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. Known as the “Great Emigration,” the expedition came two years after the first modest party of settlers made the long, overland journey to Oregon.
After leaving Independence, the giant wagon train followed the Sante Fe Trail for some 40 miles and then turned northwest to the Platte River, which it followed along its northern route to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. From there, it traveled on to the Rocky Mountains, which it passed through by way of the broad, level South Pass that led to the basin of the Colorado River. The travelers then went southwest to Fort Bridger, northwest across a divide to Fort Hall on the Snake River, and on to Fort Boise, where they gained supplies for the difficult journey over the Blue Mountains and into Oregon. The Great Emigration finally arrived in October, completing the 2,000-mile journey from Independence in five months.
In the next year, four more wagon trains made the journey, and in 1845 the number of emigrants who used the Oregon Trail exceeded 3,000. Travel along the trail gradually declined with the advent of the railroads, and the route was finally abandoned in the 1870s. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/great-emigration-departs-for-oregon)
1865 – The Date of the Last Civil War Skirmish.
In every person there goes on a little Civil War. For to day’s devotions read the 7th Chapter of Romans. Notice the warfare that was raging within Paul. This same warfare rages within every Christian. As the Indian said, “There’s a white dog and a black dog fighting inside of me.” So, I asked him who won the fight and he said, “The one I say sic’em to, and the one I feed the most.” Let us feed the new man and live after the Spirit. Look forward to that day when the last skirmish of our Civil War shall be fought and we shall be changed to His likeness.
1906 – The Wright Brothers Patented the First Airplane.
Pause to thank God for air travel, for air mail, for air freight, for our air force, and for this marvelous invention of the airplane.
Today is National Maritime Day.
1498 – Girolamo Savonarola was Burned at the Stake in Florence, Italy.
Savonarola was an Italian reformer whose story was one of the greatest in the history of Christian martyrs. While the fire was being prepared, he was asked if he expected to die in peace.
He replied, “My Saviour, though innocent, died for my sins, and should I not give up this poor body out of love to Him?” He was told that he was excluded from the militant and triumphant church. He replied, “From the church militant thou mayest, but from the church triumphant thou canst not.”
He was hanged and then burned for his crime which was “reforming the government and cleansing the temple.” It is said that Savonarola on one occasion sat in his pulpit for five hours waiting for the power of God to come on him. Would God today the power of God would come upon our preachers.
1788 – South Carolina was Admitted to the Union.
Pray for Christian friends from South Carolina and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ there. Perhaps you know some of them personally.
1926 – Norman Nelson was Born in Denver, Colorado.
Nelson has been used of God to be a Gospel soloist and has served as a missionary with Overseas Crusades in the Philippines. Pray for your song leader today. Many times the unsung hero is the music director. Pray for God’s blessings to rest upon your music director and music directors everywhere. How long has it been since you wrote your music director a letter of appreciation? Do so today. God will bless you for it.
1934 – Police Kill Famous Outlaws Bonnie and Clyde.
On this day in 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana.
Bonnie Parker met the charismatic Clyde Barrow in Texas when she was 19 years old and her husband (she married when she was 16) was serving time in jail for murder. Shortly after they met, Barrow was imprisoned for robbery. Parker visited him every day, and smuggled a gun into prison to help him escape, but he was soon caught in Ohio and sent back to jail. When Barrow was paroled in 1932, he immediately hooked up with Parker, and the couple began a life of crime together.
After they stole a car and committed several robberies, Parker was caught by police and sent to jail for two months. Released in mid-1932, she rejoined Barrow. Over the next two years, the couple teamed with various accomplices to rob a string of banks and stores across five states–Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico and Louisiana. To law enforcement agents, the Barrow Gang–including Barrow’s childhood friend, Raymond Hamilton, W.D. Jones, Henry Methvin, Barrow’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche, among others–were cold-blooded criminals who didn’t hesitate to kill anyone who got in their way, especially police or sheriff’s deputies. Among the public, however, Parker and Barrow’s reputation as dangerous outlaws was mixed with a romantic view of the couple as “Robin Hood”-like folk heroes.
Their fame was increased by the fact that Bonnie was a woman–an unlikely criminal–and by the fact that the couple posed for playful photographs together, which were later found by police and released to the media. Police almost captured the famous duo twice in the spring of 1933, with surprise raids on their hideouts in Joplin and Platte City, Missouri. Buck Barrow was killed in the second raid, and Blanche was arrested, but Bonnie and Clyde escaped once again. In January 1934, they attacked the Eastham Prison Farm in Texas to help Hamilton break out of jail, shooting several guards with machine guns and killing one.
Texan prison officials hired a retired Texas police officer, Captain Frank Hamer, as a special investigator to track down Parker and Barrow. After a three-month search, Hamer traced the couple to Louisiana, where Henry Methvin’s family lived. Before dawn on May 23, Hamer and a group of Louisiana and Texas lawmen hid in the bushes along a country road outside Sailes. When Parker and Barrow appeared, the officers opened fire, killing the couple instantly in a hail of bullets.
All told, the Barrow Gang was believed responsible for the deaths of 13 people, including nine police officers. Parker and Barrow are still seen by many as romantic figures, however, especially after the success of the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/police-kill-famous-outlaws-bonnie-and-clyde)
1948 – Christopher Balfe (Lucky Baldwin) Died at Williamsbay, Wisconsin.
He was one of the great soul winners of the 20th century. From 1912 to 1948 he was chaplain of the House of Correction at the Bridewell Prison and Cook County Jail of Chicago. His prison converts numbered over twelve thousand. He influenced Chicago for many years. It is said that he was a personal soul winner. Be sure to witness to someone and win someone to Christ today.
1965 – Henry Halley Died in Chicago, Illinois.
Halley was the compiler and author of the famous HALLEY’S HANDBOOK OF THE BIBLE. Over two million copies have been sold. Why not thank God today for Halley’s Bible Handbook.
1429 – Joan of Arc was Captured.
1738 – John Wesley was Converted.
The Scripture that lead to his conversion was II Peter 1:4, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Since John Wesley has been brought to our attention, let us pray for our Methodist friends, and pray for them to return to the ministry of John Wesley.
1819 – The First Steam Ship Crossed the Atlantic.
Thank God today for the shipping industry, for our navy, and for this mode of travel.
1844 – Samuel Morse Sent the First Electric Telegraph.
It was sent from Washington to Baltimore. The words were, “What God hath wrought.” This should lead us to give God all the victory in our lives. We have done nothing. He has done everything.
1883 – The Date of the Opening of Brooklyn Bridge.
After 14 years and 27 deaths while being constructed, the Brooklyn Bridge over the East River is opened, connecting the great cities of New York and Brooklyn for the first time in history. Thousands of residents of Brooklyn and Manhattan Island turned out to witness the dedication ceremony, which was presided over by President Chester A. Arthur and New York Governor Grover Cleveland. Designed by the late John A. Roebling, the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest suspension bridge ever built to that date.
John Roebling, born in Germany in 1806, was a great pioneer in the design of steel suspension bridges. He studied industrial engineering in Berlin and at the age of 25 immigrated to western Pennsylvania, where he attempted, unsuccessfully, to make his living as a farmer. He later moved to the state capital in Harrisburg, where he found work as a civil engineer. He promoted the use of wire cable and established a successful wire-cable factory.
Meanwhile, he earned a reputation as a designer of suspension bridges, which at the time were widely used but known to fail under strong winds or heavy loads. Roebling is credited with a major breakthrough in suspension-bridge technology: a web truss added to either side of the bridge roadway that greatly stabilized the structure. Using this model, Roebling successfully bridged the Niagara Gorge at Niagara Falls, New York, and the Ohio River at Cincinnati, Ohio. On the basis of these achievements, New York State accepted Roebling’s design for a bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan–with a span of 1,595 feet–and appointed him chief engineer. It was to be the world’s first steel suspension bridge.
Just before construction began in 1869, Roebling was fatally injured while taking a few final compass readings across the East River. A boat smashed the toes on one of his feet, and three weeks later he died of tetanus. He was the first of more than two dozen people who would die building his bridge. His 32-year-old son, Washington A. Roebling, took over as chief engineer. Roebling had worked with his father on several bridges and had helped design the Brooklyn Bridge.
The two granite foundations of the Brooklyn Bridge were built in timber caissons, or watertight chambers, sunk to depths of 44 feet on the Brooklyn side and 78 feet on the New York side. Compressed air pressurized the caissons, allowing underwater construction. At that time, little was known of the risks of working under such conditions, and more than a hundred workers suffered from cases of compression sickness. Compression sickness, or the “bends,” is caused by the appearance of nitrogen bubbles in the bloodstream that result from rapid decompression. Several died, and Washington Roebling himself became bedridden from the condition in 1872. Other workers died as a result of more conventional construction accidents, such as collapses and a fire.
Roebling continued to direct construction operations from his home, and his wife, Emily, carried his instructions to the workers. In 1877, Washington and Emily moved into a home with a view of the bridge. Roebling’s health gradually improved, but he remained partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. On May 24, 1883, Emily Roebling was given the first ride over the completed bridge, with a rooster, a symbol of victory, in her lap. Within 24 hours, an estimated 250,000 people walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, using a broad promenade above the roadway that John Roebling designed solely for the enjoyment of pedestrians.
The Brooklyn Bridge, with its unprecedented length and two stately towers, was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world.” The connection it provided between the massive population centers of Brooklyn and Manhattan changed the course of New York City forever. In 1898, the city of Brooklyn formally merged with New York City, Staten Island, and a few farm towns, forming Greater New York. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/brooklyn-bridge-opens)
1787 – The United States Constitutional Convention Began.
There seemed to be a snag in the writing of the constitution. It is said that Benjamin Franklin interrupted and suggested that they seek help from Almighty God. This they did, and help they received.
1803 – The Birthday of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
1824 – The American Sunday School Union was Established.
Here is an organization that has had a profound influence on American life. Sunday school should be a part of the life of every family. What a joy it is to pastor a church with a thriving Sunday school. The Sunday before this was dictated we had an attendance of 4914 in our Sunday School. How we need to return to the Word of God and teach the Bible to people of all ages. Thank God for the Sunday school. As a little boy, I attended Sunday school. Strangely enough, the first Sunday schools I attended were Methodist ones. Shortly thereafter, I began attending Baptist Sunday schools. I thank God for every truth I’ve learned in Sunday school and every person who has invested his life in teaching through this medium.
1892 – The Birthday of Tito of Yugoslavia.
1925 – The Ordination of Charles E. Fuller.
He is the founder and director of the “Old-Fashioned Revival Hour.”
1977 – Star Wars Opens
On this day in 1977, Memorial Day weekend opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American theaters.
The incredible success of Star Wars–it received seven Oscars, and earned $461 million in U.S. ticket sales and a gross of close to $800 million worldwide–began with an extensive, coordinated marketing push by Lucas and his studio, 20th Century Fox, months before the movie’s release date. “It wasn’t like a movie opening,” actress Carrie Fisher, who played rebel leader Princess Leia, later told Time magazine. “It was like an earthquake.” Beginning with–in Fisher’s words–“a new order of geeks, enthusiastic young people with sleeping bags,” the anticipation of a revolutionary movie-watching experience spread like wildfire, causing long lines in front of movie theaters across the country and around the world.
With its groundbreaking special effects, Star Wars leaped off screens and immersed audiences in “a galaxy far, far away.” By now everyone knows the story, which followed the baby-faced Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) as he enlisted a team of allies–including hunky Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and the robots C3PO and R2D2–on his mission to rescue the kidnapped Princess Leia from an Evil Empire governed by Darth Vader. The film made all three of its lead actors overnight stars, turning Fisher into an object of adoration for millions of young male fans and launching Ford’s now-legendary career as an action-hero heartthrob.
Star Wars was soon a bona-fide pop culture phenomenon. Over the years it has spawned five more feature films, five TV series and an entire industry’s worth of comic books, toys, video games and other products. Two big-screen sequels, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and The Return of the Jedi (1983), featured much of the original cast and enjoyed the same success–both critical and commercial–as the first film. In 1999, Lucas stretched back in time for the fourth installment, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, chronologically a prequel to the original movie. Two other prequels,Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) followed.
The latter Star Wars movies featured a new cast–including Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen–and have generally failed to earn the same amount of critical praise as the first three films. They continue to score at the box office, however, with Revenge of the Sith becoming the top-grossing film of 2005 in the United States and the second worldwide. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/star-wars-opens)
1890 – Spurgeon Said, “There has not been a single day but what I have heard two, three, or four being converted . . . for the last ten years.”
Spurgeon believed in winning souls daily and the great Metropolitan Tabernacle practiced it. Read Acts 2:47and you will find that soul winning is a daily ministry, “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Acts 5:42, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ,” leads us to believe the same thing.
Acts 8:4, “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.”
From these verses, we can see that the job of the church is to be after souls daily and to be leading people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ daily. I can say truthfully that people are won daily by the members of the First Baptist Church of Hammond.
How I thank God for the privilege of pastoring a soul-winning church. The laymen as well as the pastor seek people for the Saviour. For many months now, we have averaged over eighty people a Sunday professing faith in Christ in our services. I could say conservatively that fifty percent of these are won before the services or during the service before the sermon. Nearly all of them are invited or brought by someone that is burdened about their soul. God give us soul-winning churches and pastors as was Spurgeon.
2349 B.C. – The Earth Dried After the Flood.
After this God gave the rainbow which is a reminder that the earth will not be destroyed by water again. The rainbow is a type of a cross. The cross is a constant reminder that our sins have been paid for and that we will never face them again.
1564 – John Calvin Died.
On his grave were written simply the words, “John Calvin, father of the Reformed Churches.” This, of course, turns our attention toward our Presbyterian friends. Pray for them. Pray for those who believe the Bible that the Father will bless their ministry. Pray for those who doubt the Bible that God will lead them to a faith in the Word of God as held by John Calvin.
1668 – Massachusetts Exiled Baptists.
Yes, you read it right. In 1668 Baptists were exiled in the state of Massachusetts. Immersion was an unpopular mode of baptism and brought much persecution to the Baptist in the early days of our nation. Such men as John Farnum, William Turner, and Thoman Gold were objects of this persecution. Let us pray for Baptists. There is a dangerous trend today toward conformity on the part of Baptists. Baptists historically have been known as evangelistic people and separated people. How sad that in some cases today this is not true. Pray for Baptists everywhere.
1941 – Bismarck Sunk by Royal Navy
On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000.
On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler hoped that the state-of-the-art battleship would herald the rebirth of the German surface battle fleet. However, after the outbreak of war, Britain closely guarded ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, and only U-boats moved freely through the war zone.
In May 1941, the order was given for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic. Once in the safety of the open ocean, the battleship would be almost impossible to track down, all the while wreaking havoc on Allied convoys to Britain. Learning of its movement, Britain sent almost the entire British Home Fleet in pursuit. On May 24, the British battle cruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales intercepted it near Iceland. In a ferocious battle, the Hood exploded and sank, and all but three of the 1,421 crewmen were killed. The Bismarck escaped, but because it was leaking fuel it fled for occupied France. On May 26, it was sighted and crippled by British aircraft, and on May 27 three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bismarck-sunk-by-royal-navy)
1841 – The Death of the Father of Dwight Moody.
His death was caused by a heart condition. He died beside his bed kneeling in prayer. What a way to meet the Lord Jesus!
John Wesley said, “My people die well.” Well they might if they’re Heaven-bound people.
A dying soldier on the battlefield one day kept calling, “Here, sir. Here sir.” An officer came and bent over his dying body and said, “Did you call me?” “No,” said the dying soldier, “I’m answering Heaven’s roll call.”
1908 – The Birthday of Audrey Henderson.
Audrey Henderson was a faithful pastor. He is now in Heaven. I preached for him several times before his death in the city of Taylor, Michigan. We enjoyed great fellowship together. He was a godly man and a loyal preacher. Pray for your pastor today. Express your love to him. Do something nice for him. Remember, he is the only person in your church that has no pastor.
1736 – Patrick Henry was Born.
Patrick Henry was born in Hanover County, Virginia. Of course, when we think of Patrick Henry, we think of the words, “Give me liberty or give me death.” It is not uncommon today to find people who would not die for freedom. It is not uncommon to find people who would rather be red than dead. It is not uncommon to find people who are not willing to fight for their nation. Often we read of people burning their draft cards and defying their government. Yes, we are a soft nation. We yawn during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” We twiddle our fingers as the flag is raised. One often wonders if it will take slavery to make us appreciate freedom. God forbid that it should. Let us teach our boys and girls patriotism and love for America. Let us sing the “National Anthem” today. Let us thank God for our flag, our nation, our freedom, and pray God to help us say with the leader of old, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
1790 – Rhode Island was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray for the Christian brethren in Rhode Island today.
1917 – The Date of the Birth of Our Thirty-fifth President, John F. Kennedy.
As everyone knows, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The place of his assassination was one of my childhood. I have traveled literally thousands of times down the road where he was assassinated. I was in my office in the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, preparing to bury a little baby who had drowned in the bathtub. As I walked from my office toward the auditorium to conduct the funeral, the message came that President Kenneth had been shot in Dallas. On my way to the cemetery, the newscast confirmed his death. Perhaps we should pray today for the safety of our President. May God’s protection be over him.
1953 – Hillary and Tenzing Reach Everest Summit
At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. The two, part of a British expedition, made their final assault on the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and Britons hailed it as a good omen for their country’s future.
Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere–at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners–and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.
The first recorded attempt to climb Everest was made in 1921 by a British expedition that trekked 400 difficult miles across the Tibetan plateau to the foot of the great mountain. A raging storm forced them to abort their ascent, but the mountaineers, among them George Leigh Mallory, had seen what appeared to be a feasible route up the peak. It was Mallory who quipped when later asked by a journalist why he wanted to climb Everest, “Because it’s there.”
A second British expedition, featuring Mallory, returned in 1922, and climbers George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce reached an impressive height of more than 27,000 feet. In another attempt made by Mallory that year, seven Sherpa porters were killed in an avalanche. (The Sherpas, native to the Khumbu region, have long played an essential support role in Himalayan climbs and treks because of their strength and ability to endure the high altitudes.) In 1924, a third Everest expedition was launched by the British, and climber Edward Norton reached an elevation of 28,128 feet, 900 vertical feet short of the summit, without using artificial oxygen. Four days later, Mallory and Andrew Irvine launched a summit assault and were never seen alive again. In 1999, Mallory’s largely preserved body was found high on Everest–he had suffered numerous broken bones in a fall. Whether or not he or Irvine reached the summit remains a mystery.
Several more unsuccessful summit attempts were made via Tibet’s Northeast Ridge route, and after World War II Tibet was closed to foreigners. In 1949, Nepal opened its door to the outside world, and in 1950 and 1951 British expeditions made exploratory climbs up the Southeast Ridge route. In 1952, a Swiss expedition navigated the treacherous Khumbu Icefall in the first real summit attempt. Two climbers, Raymond Lambert and Tenzing Norgay, reached 28,210 feet, just below the South Summit, but had to turn back for want of supplies.
Shocked by the near-success of the Swiss expedition, a large British expedition was organized for 1953 under the command of Colonel John Hunt. In addition to the best British climbers and such highly experienced Sherpas as Tenzing Norgay, the expedition enlisted talent from the British Commonwealth, such as New Zealanders George Lowe and Edmund Hillary, the latter of whom worked as a beekeeper when not climbing mountains. Members of the expedition were equipped with specially insulated boots and clothing, portable radio equipment, and open- and closed-circuit oxygen systems.
Setting up a series of camps, the expedition pushed its way up the mountain in April and May 1953. A new passage was forged through the Khumbu Icefall, and the climbers made their way up the Western Cwm, across the Lhotse Face, and to the South Col, at about 26,000 feet. On May 26, Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon launched the first assault on the summit and came within 300 feet of the top of Everest before having to turn back because one of their oxygen sets was malfunctioning.
On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.
News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.
Since Hillary and Norgay’s historic climb, numerous expeditions have made their way up to Everest’s summit. In 1960, a Chinese expedition was the first to conquer the mountain from the Tibetan side, and in 1963 James Whittaker became the first American to top Everest. In 1975, Tabei Junko of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit. Three years later, Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria achieved what had been previously thought impossible: climbing to the Everest summit without oxygen. Nearly two hundred climbers have died attempting to summit the mountain. A major tragedy occurred in 1996 when eight climbers from various nations died after being caught in a blizzard high on the slopes. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hillary-and-tenzing-reach-everest-summit)
1429 – Some Give This Date of the Burning of Joan of Arc.
“At Rouen in English-controlled Normandy, Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the savior of France, is burned at the stake for heresy.
Joan was born in 1412, the daughter of a tenant farmer at Domremy, on the borders of the duchies of Bar and Lorraine. In 1415, the Hundred Years War between England and France entered a crucial phase when the young King Henry V of England invaded France and won a series of decisive victories against the forces of King Charles VI. By the time of Henry’s death in August 1422, the English and their French-Burgundian allies controlled Aquitaine and most of northern France, including Paris. Charles VI, long incapacitated, died one month later, and his son, Charles, regent from 1418, prepared to take the throne. However, Reims, the traditional city of French coronation, was held by the Anglo-Burgundians, and the Dauphin (heir apparent to the French throne) remained uncrowned. Meanwhile, King Henry VI of England, the infant son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, the daughter of Charles VI, was proclaimed king of France by the English.
Joan’s village of Domremy lay on the frontier between the France of the Dauphin and that of the Anglo-Burgundians. In the midst of this unstable environment, Joan began hearing “voices” of three Christian saints—St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret. When she was about 16, these voices exhorted her to aid the Dauphin in capturing Reims and therefore the French throne. In May 1428, she traveled to Vaucouleurs, a stronghold of the Dauphin, and told the captain of the garrison of her visions. Disbelieving the young peasant girl, he sent her home. In January 1429, she returned, and the captain, impressed by her piety and determination, agreed to allow her passage to the Dauphin at Chinon.
Dressed in men’s clothes and accompanied by six soldiers, she reached the Dauphin’s castle at Chinon in February 1429 and was granted an audience. Charles hid himself among his courtiers, but Joan immediately picked him out and informed him of her divine mission. For several weeks, Charles had Joan questioned by theologians at Poitiers, who concluded that, given his desperate straits, the Dauphin would be well-advised to make use of this strange and charismatic girl.
Charles furnished her with a small army, and on April 27, 1429, she set out for Orleans, besieged by the English since October 1428. On April 29, as a French sortie distracted the English troops on the west side of Orleans, Joan entered unopposed by its eastern gate. She brought greatly needed supplies and reinforcements and inspired the French to a passionate resistance. She personally led the charge in several battles and on May 7 was struck by an arrow. After quickly dressing her wound, she returned to the fight, and the French won the day. On May 8, the English retreated from Orleans.
During the next five weeks, Joan and the French commanders led the French into a string of stunning victories over the English. On July 16, the royal army reached Reims, which opened its gates to Joan and the Dauphin. The next day, Charles VII was crowned king of France, with Joan standing nearby holding up her standard: an image of Christ in judgment. After the ceremony, she knelt before Charles, joyously calling him king for the first time.
On September 8, the king and Joan attacked Paris. During the battle, Joan carried her standard up to the earthworks and called on the Parisians to surrender the city to the king of France. She was wounded but continued to rally the king’s troops until Charles ordered an end to the unsuccessful siege. That year, she led several more small campaigns, capturing the town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moitier. In December, Charles ennobled Joan, her parents, and her brothers.
In May 1430, the Burgundians laid siege to Compiegne, and Joan stole into the town under the cover of darkness to aid in its defense. On May 23, while leading a sortie against the Burgundians, she was captured. The Burgundians sold her to the English, and in March 1431 she went on trial before ecclesiastical authorities in Rouen on charges of heresy. Her most serious crime, according to the tribunal, was her rejection of church authority in favor of direct inspiration from God. After refusing to submit to the church, her sentence was read on May 24: She was to be turned over to secular authorities and executed. Reacting with horror to the pronouncement, Joan agreed to recant and was condemned instead to perpetual imprisonment.
Ordered to put on women’s clothes, she obeyed, but a few days later the judges went to her cell and found her dressed again in male attire. Questioned, she told them that St. Catherine and St. Margaret had reproached her for giving in to the church against their will. She was found to be a relapsed heretic and on May 29 ordered handed over to secular officials. On May 30, Joan, 19 years old, was burned at the stake at the Place du Vieux-Marche in Rouen. Before the pyre was lit, she instructed a priest to hold high a crucifix for her to see and to shout out prayers loud enough to be heard above the roar of the flames.
As a source of military inspiration, Joan of Arc helped turn the Hundred Years War firmly in France’s favor. By 1453, Charles VII had reconquered all of France except for Calais, which the English relinquished in 1558. In 1920, Joan of Arc, one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Her feast day is May 30.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/joan-of-arc-martyred)
She was tricked into her death in 1431. It is interesting, however, that 25 years later, her sentence was revoked. This was too late to save her life. Far too many of us wait to do what we have planned to do. It will be too late to love Mother after she is gone. It will be too late to love Dad and to express love to Dad after he is dead. Now is the time to express love. Now is the time to do what we should do. Now is the time to be saved. Now is the time to live right. Now is the time to read our Bibles. Now is the time to pray. Now is the time to win souls. It may be too late later. We may revoke our actions, but we cannot recall our actions.
This is the Season of Memorial Day.
We think of our war and for those who paid the price for our freedom. Many names cross my mind as I think of them. No doubt you can think of young men who paid the supreme sacrifice. Perhaps, their faces cross your mind even now. Let us breathe a prayer of thanksgiving and pause to remember these who are oft forgotten.
It is not enough, however, to remember just the ones who died on the battlefield, but may we pause to remember all of our loved ones who have passed away. We should thank God for their lives and remember the contributions they have made to us.
1738 – John Wesley was Converted.
1792 – William Carey Preached a Sermon That Inspired the Modern Missionary Movement.
The outstanding statement of the sermon is supposedly, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” William Carey was a shoe cobbler who said, “I preach for a living and cobble shoes for expenses.”
The words of William Carey concerning his living and expenses should ring in all our ears and hearts. Our big purpose in life and our big work in life should be serving God. Our big desire should be to do his will, and our secular vocation should be only to meet expenses. Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
1859 – Big Ben Goes Into Operation in London
The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high St. Stephen’s Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, for the first time on this day in 1859.
After a fire destroyed much of the Palace of Westminster–the headquarters of the British Parliament–in October 1834, a standout feature of the design for the new palace was a large clock atop a tower. The royal astronomer, Sir George Airy, wanted the clock to have pinpoint accuracy, including twice-a-day checks with the Royal Greenwich Observatory. While many clockmakers dismissed this goal as impossible, Airy counted on the help of Edmund Beckett Denison, a formidable barrister known for his expertise in horology, or the science of measuring time.
Denison’s design, built by the company E.J. Dent & Co., was completed in 1854; five years later, St. Stephen’s Tower itself was finished. Weighing in at more than 13 tons, its massive bell was dragged to the tower through the streets of London by a team of 16 horses, to the cheers of onlookers. Once it was installed, Big Ben struck its first chimes on May 31, 1859. Just two months later, however, the heavy striker designed by Denison cracked the bell. Three more years passed before a lighter hammer was added and the clock went into service again. The bell was rotated so that the hammer would strike another surface, but the crack was never repaired.
The name “Big Ben” originally just applied to the bell but later came to refer to the clock itself. Two main stories exist about how Big Ben got its name. Many claim it was named after the famously long-winded Sir Benjamin Hall, the London commissioner of works at the time it was built. Another famous story argues that the bell was named for the popular heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt, because it was the largest of its kind.
Even after an incendiary bomb destroyed the chamber of the House of Commons during the Second World War, St. Stephen’s Tower survived, and Big Ben continued to function. Its famously accurate timekeeping is regulated by a stack of coins placed on the clock’s huge pendulum, ensuring a steady movement of the clock hands at all times. At night, all four of the clock’s faces, each one 23 feet across, are illuminated. A light above Big Ben is also lit to let the public know when Parliament is in session. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/big-ben-goes-into-operation-in-london)
1898 – The Birthday of Norman Vincent Peale.
1923 – The Birthday of Prince Renier III.
1955 – Racial Segregation was Banned by the Supreme Court.