1512 – Sistine Chapel Ceiling Opens to Public.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, one of Italian artist Michelangelo’s finest works, is exhibited to the public for the first time.
Michelangelo Buonarroti, the greatest of the Italian Renaissance artists, was born in the small village of Caprese in 1475. The son of a government administrator, he grew up in Florence, a center of the early Renaissance movement, and became an artist’s apprentice at age 13. Demonstrating obvious talent, he was taken under the wing of Lorenzo de’ Medici, the ruler of the Florentine republic and a great patron of the arts. After demonstrating his mastery of sculpture in such works as the Pieta (1498) and David(1504), he was called to Rome in 1508 to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel—the chief consecrated space in the Vatican.
Michelangelo’s epic ceiling frescoes, which took several years to complete, are among his most memorable works. Central in a complex system of decoration featuring numerous figures are nine panels devoted to biblical world history. The most famous of these is The Creation of Adam, a painting in which the arms of God and Adam are stretching toward each other. In 1512, Michelangelo completed the work.
After 15 years as an architect in Florence, Michelangelo returned to Rome in 1534, where he would work and live for the rest of his life. That year saw his painting of the The Last Judgment on the wall above the altar in the Sistine Chapel for Pope Paul III. The massive painting depicts Christ’s damnation of sinners and blessing of the virtuous and is regarded as a masterpiece of early Mannerism.
Michelangelo worked until his death in 1564 at the age of 88. In addition to his major artistic works, he produced numerous other sculptures, frescoes, architectural designs, and drawings, many of which are unfinished and some of which are lost. In his lifetime, he was celebrated as Europe’s greatest living artist, and today he is held up as one of the greatest artists of all time, as exalted in the visual arts as William Shakespeare is in literature or Ludwig van Beethoven is in music. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/sistine-chapel-ceiling-opens-to-public)
1825 – George Mueller was Saved.
George Mueller was the famous founder of an orphanage and by faith he fed 1,700 orphans, without any denominational support, and without underwriting – just by faith in God. Somebody has said that George Mueller prayed down over seven million dollars for support of orphans.
1835 – Texas Proclaimed Its Independence from Mexico.
Maybe you know some preachers in Texas whose name should be called in prayer. Maybe you know some evangelists in Texas for whom you ought to pray today. Let us remember to pray for them.
1893 – Dwight Moody Had Just Completed His World’s Fair Revival.
After completing his World’s Fair revival in New York City, Moody went alone in his room. After six months of revival he repeated the words of Simeon in Luke 2:29 and 30 which say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
1961 – The Death of Mordecai Ham.
November 1, 1961 was the date of the death of the famous Mordecai Ham, an evangelist. Billy Graham was saved under his ministry. Mordecai Ham was one of the old-fashioned preachers. He once said, “God could die and it would take most preachers and most churches over a year to find out about it.” He preached for sixty-one years.
1683 – A. B. Earle Found Peace with God.
A. B. Earle wrote the famous song, “Rescue the Perishing.”
RESCUE THE PERISHING
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus the Mighty to save:
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
He wrote many other songs. In fifty years he traveled 325,000 miles, preached 19,780 sermons, and saw 150,000 people saved. His favorite Scripture was Psalm 51:13, “Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”
1795 – James Polk was Born.
James Polk became the eleventh President of the United States. Let us pause today to pray for our President. This should be said day after day. Our President has decisions to make that affect your life and mine: in fact, the life of the entire world. Let us pray for our president today.
1865 – The Birthday of President Warren Harding.
1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota were Admitted to the Union.
Perhaps you know some Christian friends in South Dakota or North Dakota for whom you ought to pray today. Maybe you know some preachers or missionaries doing work in North or South Dakota for whom we ought to pray today. Let us call their names in prayer.
1947 – Spruce Goose Flies.
The Hughes Flying Boat—the largest aircraft ever built—is piloted by designer Howard Hughes on its first and only flight. Built with laminated birch and spruce, the massive wooden aircraft had a wingspan longer than a football field and was designed to carry more than 700 men to battle.
Howard Hughes was a successful Hollywood movie producer when he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. He personally tested cutting-edge aircraft of his own design and in 1937 broke the transcontinental flight-time record. In 1938, he flew around the world in a record three days, 19 hours, and 14 minutes.
Following the U.S. entrance into World War II in 1941, the U.S. government commissioned the Hughes Aircraft Company to build a large flying boat capable of carrying men and materials over long distances. The concept for what would become the “Spruce Goose” was originally conceived by the industrialist Henry Kaiser, but Kaiser dropped out of the project early, leaving Hughes and his small team to make the H-4 a reality. Because of wartime restrictions on steel, Hughes decided to build his aircraft out of wood laminated with plastic and covered with fabric. Although it was constructed mainly of birch, the use of spruce (along with its white-gray color) would later earn the aircraft the nickname Spruce Goose. It had a wingspan of 320 feet and was powered by eight giant propeller engines.
Development of the Spruce Goose cost a phenomenal $23 million and took so long that the war had ended by the time of its completion in 1946. The aircraft had many detractors, and Congress demanded that Hughes prove the plane airworthy. On November 2, 1947, Hughes obliged, taking the H-4 prototype out into Long Beach Harbor, CA for an unannounced flight test. Thousands of onlookers had come to watch the aircraft taxi on the water and were surprised when Hughes lifted his wooden behemoth 70 feet above the water and flew for a mile before landing.
Despite its successful maiden flight, the Spruce Goose never went into production, primarily because critics alleged that its wooden framework was insufficient to support its weight during long flights. Nevertheless, Howard Hughes, who became increasingly eccentric and withdrawn after 1950, refused to neglect what he saw as his greatest achievement in the aviation field. From 1947 until his death in 1976, he kept the Spruce Goose prototype ready for flight in an enormous, climate-controlled hangar at a cost of $1 million per year. Today, the Spruce Goose is housed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/spruce-goose-flies)
1903 – Panama Declared Independence from Columbia.
I’m sure that many of us know of missionaries in these vital, strategic and important Central American areas. No doubt you know of missionaries or have Christian friends in this part of our world. Let us pause today to pray for those who serve God in these difficult areas and pray for God’s blessings especially upon the missionaries who even now proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this part of the world.
1964 – D.C. Residents Cast First Presidential Votes.
On this day in 1964, residents of the District of Columbia cast their ballots in a presidential election for the first time. The passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 gave citizens of the nation’s capital the right to vote for a commander in chief and vice president. They went on to help Democrat Lyndon Johnson defeat Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964, the next presidential election.
Between 1776 and 1800, New York and then Philadelphia served as the temporary center of government for the newly formed United States. The capital’s location was a source of much controversy and debate, especially for Southern politicians, who didn’t want it located too far north. In 1790, Congress passed a law allowing President George Washington to choose the permanent site. As a compromise, he selected a tract of undeveloped swampland on the Potomac River, between Maryland and Virginia, and began to refer to it as Federal City. The commissioners overseeing the development of the new city picked its permanent name—Washington—to honor the president. Congress met for the first time in Washington, D.C., on November 17, 1800.
The District was put under the jurisdiction of Congress, which terminated D.C. residents’ voting rights in 1801. In 1961, the 23rd Amendment restored these rights, allowing D.C. voters to choose electors for the Electoral College based on population, with a maximum of as many electors as the least populated state. With a current population of over 550,000 residents, 61-square-mile D.C. has three electoral votes, just like Wyoming, America’s smallest state, population-wise. The majority of D.C.’s residents are African Americans and they have voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in past presidential elections.
In 1970, Congress gave Washington, D.C., one non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and with the passage of 1973’s Home Rule Act, Washingtonians got their first elected mayor and city council. In 1978, a proposed amendment would have given D.C. the right to select electors, representatives and senators, just like a state, but it failed to pass, as have subsequent calls for D.C. statehood.
Pray For Your Friends Today, They Need Your Prayers.
KEEP PRAYING FOR ME
When the battle is long, and I am weary with strife,
When the legions of sin and evil are rife;
I feel – and new courage flows into my life –
That you are praying for me.
When victory comes out of seeming defeat,
And the dark lowering clouds shine with rainbows replete,
‘Tis then that I know – and the assurance is sweet
That you are praying for me.
I’ll gird tighter my armor and advance in the fight,
With a staunch heart and brave I’ll battle for right,
I’ll retreat at no danger, and fear no might –
If you’ll keep praying for me.
– Author unknown
1823 – The Spiritual Birthday of Billy Bray (day of the month not known).
Billy Bray, the famous Cornish coal-miner, was one of the great characters in all of history. After he dedicated his life to Christ he shouted much of the time. It is said that when he met a person, if the person didn’t say, “Praise the Lord,” he would ask him if he were saved. If the person implied that he was, Billy Bray asked him why he wasn’t praising the Lord.
Somebody suggested to Billy Bray one time that he quit shouting and that he keep his mouth shut. He replied that if he did shut his mouth, his feet would shout. He said that every time his right foot hit the ground it said, “Amen,” and every time his left foot hit the ground it said, “Glory!”
Some pranksters decided to scare Billy Bray. They hid across the railroad tracks from where he was walking one day and played as if one of them were the Devil. A cry came during the night saying, “Billy Bray, this is the Devil.”
Billy Bray simply said, “Well praise the Lord, old Devil, I did not know thou wast so far from me.”
When Billy Bray was dying he was shouting, “Glory to God, I shall soon be in Heaven.”
Someone came and said, “Billy, what if you have been mistaken all these years and end up in Hell?”
Billy Bray replied that he would just shout all the way to Hell and praise the Lord for salvation, whereupon the Devil would say, “Billy, there is no place for thee here with that shouting.”
Billy replied that he would just shout all the way back to Heaven, “Glory to God! Praise the Lord!”
Let us ask God to give us true praise in our hearts and on our lips for our salvation.
1842 – Abraham Lincoln Married Mary Todd.
Of course, every true American thanks God for the life and works of Abraham Lincoln, one of our great presidents. Abraham Lincoln said that he would never have liquor in the White House. This was fulfilled as far as we know. No liquor entered the White House during his administration. Let us pray for a return to morality and righteousness on the part of our national leaders.
1862 – The Machine Gun was Patented.
1956 – Soviets Put Brutal End to Hungarian Revolution.
A spontaneous national uprising that began 12 days before in Hungary is viciously crushed by Soviet tanks and troops on this day in 1956. Thousands were killed and wounded and nearly a quarter-million Hungarians fled the country.
The problems in Hungary began in October 1956, when thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding a more democratic political system and freedom from Soviet oppression. In response, Communist Party officials appointed Imre Nagy, a former premier who had been dismissed from the party for his criticisms of Stalinist policies, as the new premier. Nagy tried to restore peace and asked the Soviets to withdraw their troops. The Soviets did so, but Nagy then tried to push the Hungarian revolt forward by abolishing one-party rule. He also announced that Hungary was withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact (the Soviet bloc’s equivalent of NATO).
On November 4, 1956, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest to crush, once and for all, the national uprising. Vicious street fighting broke out, but the Soviets’ great power ensured victory. At 5:20 a.m., Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy announced the invasion to the nation in a grim, 35-second broadcast, declaring: “Our troops are fighting. The Government is in place.” Within hours, though, Nagy sought asylum at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He was captured shortly thereafter and executed two years later. Nagy’s former colleague and imminent replacement, János Kádár, who had been flown secretly from Moscow to the city of Szolnok, 60 miles southeast of the capital, prepared to take power with Moscow’s backing.
The Soviet action stunned many people in the West. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had pledged a retreat from the Stalinist policies and repression of the past, but the violent actions in Budapest suggested otherwise. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians died and 200,000 more fled as refugees. Sporadic armed resistance, strikes and mass arrests continued for months thereafter, causing substantial economic disruption. Inaction on the part of the United States angered and frustrated many Hungarians. Voice of America radio broadcasts and speeches by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles had recently suggested that the United States supported the “liberation” of “captive peoples” in communist nations. Yet, as Soviet tanks bore down on the protesters, the United States did nothing beyond issuing public statements of sympathy for their plight. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/soviets-put-brutal-end-to-hungarian-revolution)
1855 – William Bagby was Born.
William Bagby was a famous Southern Baptist missionary.
1912 – Roy Rogers was Born.
1935 – The Date Some Give for Billy Sunday’s Death.
Though there is same difference in opinion as to the exact day, November 5, 1935, is supposed to be the day of the death of Billy Sunday. Because of the influence of this great man of God, for the next several days we will give interesting events that happened in his life. It was my joy to know personally Mrs. Billy Sunday or “Ma Sunday,” as she was affectionately called.
“Ma” came to our church often while I was pastoring at the Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas. The first time she visited our services she was deeply moved. At the lunch table following the services, Ma said, “Billy would have liked that.” She said that Billy would have liked the tears and the converts kneeling at the altar and being dealt with by soul winners.
As you know, Billy Sunday was the left fielder for the Chicago White Sox. One day he stumbled into the Pacific Garden Rescue Mission and was gloriously saved. He traded his baseball spikes and glove for a Bible and a pulpit. To many he is the greatest evangelist in the history of our country. Let us thank God for Him today.
1940 – Franklin Delano Roosevelt was Elected.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to an unprecedented third term. Let us pray for our President today.
1994 – George Foreman Becomes Oldest Heavyweight Champ.
On this day in 1994, George Foreman, age 45, becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion when he defeats 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their WBA fight in Las Vegas. More than 12,000 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel watched Foreman dethrone Moorer, who went into the fight with a 35-0 record. Foreman dedicated his upset win to “all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail.”
Born in 1949 in Marshal, Texas, Foreman had a troubled childhood and dropped out of high school. Eventually, he joined President Lyndon Johnson’s Jobs Corps work program and discovered a talent for boxing. “Big George,” as he was nicknamed, took home a gold medal for the U.S. at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. In 1973 in Kingston, Jamaica, after winning his first 37 professional matches, 34 by knockout, Foreman KO’d “Smokin'” Joe Frazier after two rounds and was crowned heavyweight champ. At 1974’s “Rumble in the Jungle” in Kinshasha, Zaire, the younger, stronger Foreman suffered a surprising loss to underdog Muhammad Ali and was forced to relinquish his championship title. Three years later, Big George morphed from pugilist into preacher, when he had a religious experience in his dressing room after losing a fight. He retired from boxing, became an ordained minister in Houston and founded a youth center.
A decade later, the millions he’d made as a boxer gone, Foreman returned to the ring at age 38 and staged a successful comeback. When he won his second heavyweight title in his 1994 fight against Moorer, becoming the WBA and IBF champ, Foreman was wearing the same red trunks he’d had on the night he lost to Ali.
Foreman didn’t hang onto the heavyweight mantle for long. In March 1995, he was stripped of his WBA title after refusing to fight No. 1 contender Tony Tucker, and he gave up his IBF title in June 1995 rather than fight a rematch with Axel Schulz, whom he’d narrowly beat in a controversial judges’ decision in April of that same year. Foreman’s last fight was in 1997; he lost to Shannon Biggs. He retired with a lifetime record of 76-5.
Outside of the boxing ring, Foreman, who has five sons, all named George, and five daughters, has become enormously wealthy as an entrepreneur and genial TV pitchman for a variety of products, including the hugely popular George Foreman Grill. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/george-foreman-becomes-oldest-heavyweight-champ)
1860 – The Birthday of Paderewski.
Perhaps we should pause and thank God for music. Perhaps none of us realizes the tremendous effect it has upon our lives. Sometime while driving down the highway, turn on some march music, then some slow music and notice how the speed of the car is determined by the music. Let us thank God for pianos, organs, violins, bands, orchestras, soloists, instrumentalists, etc. Maybe we should thank God today for our church pianist, organist, song leaders, etc.
1935 – The Death of Billy Sunday.
Since this is the week of the death of Billy Sunday we are spending some time dwelling on him; let us share this experience from his life. “Ma” Sunday told me this story one day at the lunch table. She said that Billy only got four hours sleep a night for 25 years and that the power of God was definitely upon him. She said that every time Billy preached he had his Bible open to Isaiah 61:1 and 2 regardless of the text for the message. The Holy Spirit then being upon him was never more evident than in this little story that “Ma” told to me. Read and study Isaiah 61:1, 2 today.
1917 – Lenin Lead in the Second Russian Revolution.
May we pray today for God to stem the tide of Communism. An acquaintance of mine when visiting behind the Iron Curtain saw little children at the start of the school day stand at attention. The teacher would say, “Lenin!” and the students would shout back, “Lenin lives!” The teacher would say, “Lenin lives forever,” and the pupils would chant loudly, “Lenin lives forever!” As I heard my friend tell this story, I could hardly contain myself as I realized how we too should shout, “Jesus! Jesus lives! Jesus lives forever!” Our shout will be true. He is the only leader who has overcome the grave and left an empty tomb as His trademark.
1918 – The Birthday of Billy Graham.
1935 – The Week of the Death of Billy Sunday.
Another experience from Billy Sunday’s life concerns the way that Billy prayed, as told to me by Mrs. Sunday. Oftentimes she said she would have to dress him for bed, for he had prayed himself so weak he could not change his own clothes.
She said that Billy would pray much of the time. He would be talking to a friend and then talking to God, and a bystander could hardly tell when he changed his conversation from the friend to God and back to the friend. To Billy Sunday prayer was a constant thing, a way of life. He prayed without ceasing. “Ma” Sunday said that he would be praying in the great campaigns before a great crowd and he would say, “Dear Lord, bless us here in a … in a … ,” Then he would stop and say, “Ma, where are we?”
Ma would say, “In Detroit, Pa.”
He would say, “Yes, Lord, bless us in Detroit.” Then he would say, “Ma, where we gonna be next week?”
“Down in Des Moines, Pa.”
“Yes, Lord, bless us down in Des Moines.”
This was the prayer life of this great saint. Each of us should dedicate himself to a greater prayer life. Spend some time in prayer today.
Election Day (first Tuesday of November).
Let us pray for all of our elected officers and ask God to have His hand of blessing upon them.
1674 – John Milton Died.
This great author of PARADISE LOST was blind at his death and yet he was to preach on the day of his death.
1889 – Montana was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pause to pray for our Christian brethren in Montana. Perhaps you know of some preachers or missionaries serving there. Perhaps you have some Christian friends who live there. Let us pray for them by name today.
1889 – The Birthday of Oswald J. Smith.
Oswald Smith is the famous founder of the Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada. This is one of the great missionary churches of the world, and Oswald Smith is one of the great missionary hearts of our day. His favorite Scripture is Ruth 2:12, “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”
1895 – German Scientist Discovers X-Rays.
On this day in 1895, physicist Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen (1845-1923) becomes the first person to observe X-rays, a significant scientific advancement that would ultimately benefit a variety of fields, most of all medicine, by making the invisible visible. Rontgen’s discovery occurred accidentally in his Wurzburg, Germany, lab, where he was testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass when he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He dubbed the rays that caused this glow X-rays because of their unknown nature.
X-rays are electromagnetic energy waves that act similarly to light rays, but at wavelengths approximately 1,000 times shorter than those of light. Rontgen holed up in his lab and conducted a series of experiments to better understand his discovery. He learned that X-rays penetrate human flesh but not higher-density substances such as bone or lead and that they can be photographed.
Rontgen’s discovery was labeled a medical miracle and X-rays soon became an important diagnostic tool in medicine, allowing doctors to see inside the human body for the first time without surgery. In 1897, X-rays were first used on a military battlefield, during the Balkan War, to find bullets and broken bones inside patients.
Scientists were quick to realize the benefits of X-rays, but slower to comprehend the harmful effects of radiation. Initially, it was believed X-rays passed through flesh as harmlessly as light. However, within several years, researchers began to report cases of burns and skin damage after exposure to X-rays, and in 1904, Thomas Edison’s assistant, Clarence Dally, who had worked extensively with X-rays, died of skin cancer. Dally’s death caused some scientists to begin taking the risks of radiation more seriously, but they still weren’t fully understood. During the 1930s, 40s and 50s, in fact, many American shoe stores featured shoe-fitting fluoroscopes that used to X-rays to enable customers to see the bones in their feet; it wasn’t until the 1950s that this practice was determined to be risky business. Wilhelm Rontgen received numerous accolades for his work, including the first Nobel Prize in physics in 1901, yet he remained modest and never tried to patent his discovery. Today, X-ray technology is widely used in medicine, material analysis and devices such as airport security scanners. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/german-scientist-discovers-x-rays)
1925 – The Dedication of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago.
This great auditorium seats 4000 and looks even larger than that. Let us thank God for the influence of this church through the years and pray for true revival to take place there and in Chicago in our generation.
1935 – We Continue Our Thinking About Billy Sunday.
Mrs. Sunday told me once that Billy used sermon notes with each letter an inch high. I asked her why he used such big notes and if his vision were bad. She replied that his vision was not bad, but that he came by the pulpit so seldom and stayed so far from the pulpit most of the time, that as he was running across the platform preaching, he needed big notes so that he could see them from a great distance. Well, praise the Lord for this kind of a preacher and may the Lord increase his tribe.
1522 – Martin Chemnitz was Born at Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg.
He was a learned successor of Martin Luther. He was a Lutheran Reformation preacher and theologian. Some Catholics have said, “If Chemnitz had not come, Luther would not have stood.” In other words, he built upon Luther’s foundation. Let us pray today for the Lutheran churches. Would God all of our churches and denominations would get back to believing and teaching the Word of God and the deity of Jesus Christ. Let us pray for the Lutheran churches to stand true and that God will give them souls for their hire. In fact, let us pray for all fundamental groups. We might not agree on everything, but if we can agree on the fundamentals of the faith, let us thank God for each other and pray for each other.
1836 – The Birthday of Sam Hill.
Hill was one of the three founders of the Gideons and was the first president of the Gideon organization, elected in 1899. This Bible distribution by laymen to hotels, motels, and school rooms has been significant in America’s church history. Let us pray today for God’s blessings to rest upon the Gideons and their fine work. Some marvelous conversions have taken place because of this Bible distribution work.
1938 – Nazis Launch Kristallnacht.
On this day in 1938, in an event that would foreshadow the Holocaust, German Nazis launch a campaign of terror against Jewish people and their homes and businesses in Germany and Austria. The violence, which continued through November 10 and was later dubbed “Kristallnacht,” or “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged and hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools and graveyards vandalized. An estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many of whom were then sent to concentration camps for several months; they were released when they promised to leave Germany. Kristallnacht represented a dramatic escalation of the campaign started by Adolf Hitler in 1933 when he became chancellor to purge Germany of its Jewish population.
The Nazis used the murder of a low-level German diplomat in Paris by a 17-year-old Polish Jew as an excuse to carry out the Kristallnacht attacks. On November 7, 1938, Ernst vom Rath was shot outside the German embassy by Herschel Grynszpan, who wanted revenge for his parents’ sudden deportation from Germany to Poland, along with tens of thousands of other Polish Jews. Following vom Rath’s death, Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels ordered German storm troopers to carry out violent riots disguised as “spontaneous demonstrations” against Jewish citizens. Local police and fire departments were told not to interfere. In the face of all the devastation, some Jews, including entire families, committed suicide.
In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, the Nazis blamed the Jews and fined them 1 billion marks (or $400 million in 1938 dollars) for vom Rath’s death. As repayment, the government seized Jewish property and kept insurance money owed to Jewish people. In its quest to create a master Aryan race, the Nazi government enacted further discriminatory policies that essentially excluded Jews from all aspects of public life.
Over 100,000 Jews fled Germany for other countries after Kristallnacht. The international community was outraged by the violent events of November 9 and 10. Some countries broke off diplomatic relations in protest, but the Nazis suffered no serious consequences, leading them to believe they could get away with the mass murder that was the Holocaust, in which an estimated 6 million European Jews died. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nazis-launch-kristallnacht)
1483 – The Birthday of Martin Luther.
Probably this German reformer is considered as the most outstanding personality in church history since the Apostle Paul. At least many consider him so. There are those of us who dispute this lofty position, nevertheless, he was one of the leaders of the Reformation, and some say he restored Christianity after centuries of the dark ages. Once again there may be a little exaggeration here, but to say the least, we thank God for Martin Luther.
1761 – The Founding of the First Medical School in the United States.
Of course, you and I know that Christ had been healing bodies long before this, but we shoutd thank God for modern medicine. Thank God today for your family doctor. Why not drop him a line of gratitude and appreciation. Pray for God to give us more Christian doctors.
1828 – Carry Lott Died.
Carry Lott was a Christian slave who after Christian conversion and a purchase of freedom learned to read and became a strong Baptist preacher. He went to Liberia as a missionary and became pastor of the First Baptist Church there. He was a great black preacher. There are many great black preachers today. Let us thank God for them and pray for God’s blessings to be upon them. Many years ago as a preacher just starting out, I was influenced very strongly by some black Christian brethren. They have a way of worshipping God that seems to ring so true. May God bless them.
1918 – The Birthday of Ralph D. Heard.
In 1953 he became the general superintendent of the Pentecost Church of God in America.
1989 – Mrs. John R. (Lloys) Rice Died.
1793 – William Carey Landed in India.
The great missionary William Carey certainly blazed a trail for missions for those who followed. It was a significant day in the life of missionaries and missions in general when William Carey landed in India. So, why not pause today to pray for our missionaries. Pray for God’s provision and care for them. Maybe we ought to be used of God to send some provision and care to them today.
Particularly are we thinking of India. Maybe you know a missionary in India by name. Maybe you know a Christian living in India. Pray for him.
1886 – The Birthday of the Famous Preacher R. G. Lee.
Robert G. Lee is probably the greatest orator of our generation. He has been for many years a successful preacher and one of the leading preachers of our generation. For many, many years, he pastored the great Belview Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee, where he baptized over 300 converts a year.
1918 – World War I Ends.
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.
On June 28, 1914, in an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle’s imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted these Austro-Hungarian possessions to join newly independent Serbia. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism once and for all. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.
On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed. On July 29, Austro-Hungarian forces began to shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and Russia, Serbia’s ally, ordered a troop mobilization against Austria-Hungary. France, allied with Russia, began to mobilize on August 1. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3. After crossing through neutral Luxembourg, the German army invaded Belgium on the night of August 3-4, prompting Great Britain, Belgium’s ally, to declare war against Germany.
For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. Most patriotically assumed that their country would be victorious within months. Of the initial belligerents, Germany was most prepared for the outbreak of hostilities, and its military leaders had formatted a sophisticated military strategy known as the “Schlieffen Plan,” which envisioned the conquest of France through a great arcing offensive through Belgium and into northern France. Russia, slow to mobilize, was to be kept occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces while Germany attacked France.
The Schlieffen Plan was nearly successful, but in early September the French rallied and halted the German advance at the bloody Battle of the Marne near Paris. By the end of 1914, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and neither for the Allies nor the Central Powers was a final victory in sight. On the western front—the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium—the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition.
In 1915, the Allies attempted to break the stalemate with an amphibious invasion of Turkey, which had joined the Central Powers in October 1914, but after heavy bloodshed the Allies were forced to retreat in early 1916. The year 1916 saw great offensives by Germany and Britain along the western front, but neither side accomplished a decisive victory. In the east, Germany was more successful, and the disorganized Russian army suffered terrible losses, spurring the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany. In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on November 11, 1918.
World War I was known as the “war to end all wars” because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict—the Treaty of Versailles of 1919—forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe and laid the groundwork for World War II. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-war-i-ends)
1918 – Armistice Day.
This is the day when we thank God for the veterans. We thank God for victory in World War 1. We thank God for those who paid the supreme sacrifice that we might be free. We thank God for the servicemen and pray for them. So let us pause today to ask God’s blessings upon our servicemen. Let us pray for those who are facing serious danger today. Let us pray for those by name whom we personally know.
1831 – The First Locomotive Trip was Taken.
Let us thank God for means of conveyance and transportation.
1899 – Dwight Moody Began His Last Campaign.
Dwight Moody was a great evangelist. Some have said he was the greatest that this world has known since the Apostle Paul.
Moody was a young seventeen-year-old lad working in a shoe store in Boston. One day his Sunday school teacher, a Mr. Kimble, became burdened for his soul. He went to the shoe store and nervously paced back and forth in front trying to get courage enough to walk inside and witness to a young man named Dwight. Finally he did go in and there he led Dwight Moody to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This young shoe store clerk became the great Moody who lifted two continents closer to God and brought hundreds of thousands of people to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us today pray for and thank God for all the Sunday school teachers who attempt to lead their class members toward Jesus Christ. There may be a Moody in your class. There may be a Billy Sunday in your class. There may be a Torrey, or a Spurgeon, or a Jonathan Edwards, or a Charles G. Finney, or an Adoniram Judson in your class. There may be a Susanna Wesley. There may be in your class someone that God could use in a great way. Let us pray for God to make us more faithful Sunday school teachers and thank God for those who teach our young people.
Dwight Moody’s campaign, his last one in Kansas City, was started November 12, 1899. His last sermon was “The Great Supper.” He could not finish the meeting and oddly enough, the last words he said in the last service, so it is said, were, “Good night, I’ll see you in the morning. Good night, I’ll see you in the morning.”
1954 – Ellis Island Closes.
On this day in 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40 percent of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast and named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.
On January 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the first person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America’s first federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states.
Not all immigrants who sailed into New York had to go through Ellis Island. First- and second-class passengers submitted to a brief shipboard inspection and then disembarked at the piers in New York or New Jersey, where they passed through customs. People in third class, though, were transported to Ellis Island, where they underwent medical and legal inspections to ensure they didn’t have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Only two percent of all immigrants were denied entrance into the U.S.
Immigration to Ellis Island peaked between 1892 and 1924, during which time the 3.3-acre island was enlarged with landfill (by the 1930s it reached its current 27.5-acre size) and additional buildings were constructed to handle the massive influx of immigrants. During the busiest year of operation, 1907, over 1 million people were processed at Ellis Island.
With America’s entrance into World War I, immigration declined and Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws and the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country and also enabled immigrants to be processed at U.S. consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention and deportation center for illegal immigrants, a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II and a Coast Guard training center. In November 1954, the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman, was released and Ellis Island officially closed.
Beginning in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a $160 million renovation, the largest historic restoration project in U.S. history. In September 1990, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened to the public and today is visited by almost 2 million people each year. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ellis-island-closes)
354 – The Birthday of Augustine.
Some have said that he is church history’s most famous personality between Paul and Martin Luther. He was a theologian, defender of the faith, preacher, and writer. He especially wrote against the cults of his day. He is unusual in history in that both Protestants and Catholics respect him.
The favorite Scripture of St. Augustine was Romans 13:13, 14, “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Our Lord is talking in these verses about the way we ought to walk as Christians. He is comparing the Christian life, I think, to our clothing. We get up in the morning and put on what we are to wear for the day. The apostle is telling the church at Rome to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, we are not to put on rioting, drunkenness, chambering, wantonness, strife and envying, but rather our spiritual garments for the day are to be honesty, love, gentleness, and indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us put on Jesus and wear Him every day.
1836 – Charles Simeon Died at Reading, England.
He was a Church of England clergyman who became the center of evangelical influence at Cambridge. He was a great Bible student and man of prayer. He was a friend of the British and Foreign Bible Society. About him it was said, “He sought to humble the sinner, exalt the Saviour, and promote holiness.”
1850 – The Birthday of Robert Lewis Stephenson, the Author, Children’s Writer, and Poet.
It is said that Robert Lewis Stephenson was a professing Christian. Let us thank God today for those who left us fine poetry.
1879 – The Birthday of Herb Buffum.
Buffum wrote more than 10,000 songs including “When I Take My Vacation in Heaven,” “My Sheep Know My Voice,” “He Abides,” “He Keeps on Loving Us Still,” etc. One of my favorites is “I’m Going Higher Some Day.” We are listing the words below so that you can join us in singing it today.
I’M GOING HIGHER SOME DAY
Often I’ve watched the clouds up in the sky.
Always I’ve heard they were many miles high;
Then as they sailed out of sight far away,
I said, “I’m going far higher some day.”
Men sail the ocean, or soar through the air,
Scarce can the natural eye see them up there;
Some seek for fame which so soon will decay,
I’m going higher, yes, higher some day.
Moses went up in a mountain and prayed,
Glory came down while alone there he stayed;
But he came back, he just went there to pray;
I’m going higher, yes, higher some day.
Often my soul has been lifted above,
Lost in the ocean of God’s mighty love;
Though I am higher than once, still I say,
I’m going higher, yes, higher some day.
Soon will the Saviour appear, bless His name!
Some day this earth will be all wrapped in flame;
Then as I see the fire mounting so high,
I’m going higher, beyond the blue sky.
I’m going higher, yes, higher some day,
I’m going higher to stay;
Over the clouds and beyond the blue sky,
Going where none ever sicken or die,
Loved ones to meet in the “Sweet by and by,”
I’m going higher some day.
1982 – Vietnam Veterans Memorial Dedicated.
Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.
The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans’ groups were opposed to Lin’s winning design, which lacked a standard memorial’s heroic statues and stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial’s dedication. Veterans and families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes and flowers to dog tags and cans of beer.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became one of the most visited memorials in the nation’s capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it “a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct,” and a veteran declared that “it’s the parade we never got.” “The Wall” drew together both those who fought and those who marched against the war and served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict’s end. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/vietnam-veterans-memorial-dedicated)
1765 – Robert Fulton was Born in Little Britain, Pennsylvania.
He was the inventor of the steam boat. Let us thank God today for this means of transportation that has become so much a way of our lives.
1851 – Moby-Dick Published.
On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: “Call me Ishmael.” Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.
Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville’s sixth book,Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville’s friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.
After Moby-Dick‘s disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn’t paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.
Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville’s final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.
1893 – Grace Ramont was Born.
Here was an editor of a magazine for hymn lovers and a great authority on hymns and hymn writers. At this writing I understand that she is still living in southern California. Let us thank God for hymn writers and those who promote the singing of good Gospel hymns.
1963 – Ernest M. Wadsworth Died.
He was director of the Great Commission Prayer League for a quarter of a century, and tried to stir the church to pray for revival. Oh, how we need to pray for revival today – the kind of revival they had in Scotland, when on every street corner they said, “John Knox is coming! Knox is coming! Knox is coming!” Oh, for the revivals they had in America under Charles G. Finney, The Fulton Street prayer meetings, Dwight Moody, Jonathan Edwards, and others. With the inspired writer, let us ask God to revive His work in the midst of the years. Pray for revival.
1731 – William Cowper was Born.
He was an English poet and hymn writer. His greatest hymn, no doubt, was, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” Let us sing it together today.
THERE IS A FOUNTAIN FILLED WITH BLOOD
There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away,
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.
Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed church of God
Be saved, to sin no more.
E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave:
Lies silent in the grave,
Lies silent in the grave:
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave.
1794 – John Witherspoon Died.
Witherspoon was a Presbyterian minister and the only church man that was afforded the privilege of signing the Declaration of Independence. He was one of the early presidents of Princeton University, then called the College of New Jersey. It was said that he was thoroughly evangelical.
1867 – First Stock Ticker Debuts.
On this day in 1867, the first stock ticker is unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.
The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.
Calahan worked for the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company, which rented its tickers to brokerage houses and regional exchanges for a fee and then transmitted the latest gold and stock prices to all its machines at the same time. In 1869, Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an improved, easier-to-use version of Calahan’s ticker. Edison’s ticker was his first lucrative invention and, through the manufacture and sale of stock tickers and other telegraphic devices, he made enough money to open his own lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he developed the light bulb and phonograph, among other transformative inventions.
The last mechanical stock ticker debuted in 1960 and was eventually replaced by computerized tickers with electronic displays. A ticker shows a stock’s symbol, how many shares have traded that day and the price per share. It also tells how much the price has changed from the previous day’s closing price and whether it’s an up or down change. A common misconception is that there is one ticker used by everyone. In fact, private data companies run a variety of tickers; each provides information about a select mix of stocks. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-stock-ticker-debuts)
1912 – Jacob Deshazzer was Born.
Here is a tremendous story that came out of World War II. He was in the Doolittle squadron that first bombed Tokyo in 1942. He was shot down, captured, imprisoned, and almost died after forty months of confinement. He was then rescued and brought back to the states, studied at Seattle Pacific College, and went back to the Japanese people as a missionary. He won thousands to Jesus Christ and has been a faithful missionary to Japan. He was converted, it is said, on June 8, 1944, in a Japanese prison camp. A Japanese guard had given him one of his deceased buddies’ New Testaments, and as he read Romans 10:9, he was converted. Let us all read it together. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Let us pray for the work in Japan today. Not many months after this writing I am to go to Japan to preach. Pray for God’s blessings on the work there.
1965 – The Death of Evert Swanson.
Evert Swanson was the founder of Compassion, the largest orphanage work in Korea. Swanson was a leading personality in the Baptist General Conference, but his influence went well beyond the boundaries of any denomination. He was a successful pastor, evangelist, and soloist before his missionary endeavors. In 1951 he saw a need in Korea. Before he died, it is said that he had 20,000 orphans in 175 orphanages and supported 375 native preachers. A dear friend attended his funeral service and said they played a recording of Mr. Swanson singing, “I’ll Be There.” It was said to be one of the most moving funerals ever witnessed.
2348 B.C. – God Told Noah to Leave the Ark.
1532 – Pizarro Traps Incan Emperor Atahualpa.
On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor’s honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro’s men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.
Pizarro’s timing for conquest was perfect. By 1532, the Inca Empire was embroiled in a civil war that had decimated the population and divided the people’s loyalties. Atahualpa, the younger son of former Incan ruler Huayna Capac, had just deposed his half-brother Huascar and was in the midst of reuniting his kingdom when Pizarro arrived in 1531, with the endorsement of Spain’s King Charles V. On his way to the Incan capital, Pizarro learned of the war and began recruiting soldiers still loyal to Huascar.
Pizarro met Atahualpa just outside Cajamarca, a small Incan town tucked into a valley of the Andes. Sending his brother Hernan as an envoy, Pizarro invited Atahualpa back to Cajamarca for a feast in honor of Atahualpa’s ascendance to the throne. Though he had nearly 80,000 soldiers with him in the mountains, Atahualpa consented to attend the feast with only 5,000 unarmed men. He was met by Vicente de Valverde, a friar traveling with Pizarro. While Pizarro’s men lay in wait, Valverde urged Atahualpa to convert and accept Charles V as sovereign. Atahualpa angrily refused, prompting Valverde to give the signal for Pizarro to open fire. Trapped in tight quarters, the panicking Incan soldiers made easy prey for the Spanish. Pizarro’s men slaughtered the 5,000 Incans in just an hour. Pizarro himself suffered the only Spanish injury: a cut on his hand sustained as he saved Atahualpa from death.
Realizing Atahualpa was initially more valuable alive than dead, Pizarro kept the emperor in captivity while he made plans to take over his empire. In response, Atahualpa appealed to his captors’ greed, offering them a room full of gold and silver in exchange for his liberation. Pizarro consented, but after receiving the ransom, Pizarro brought Atahualpa up on charges of stirring up rebellion. By that time, Atahualpa had played his part in pacifying the Incans while Pizarro secured his power, and Pizarro considered him disposable. Atahualpa was to be burned at the stake—the Spanish believed this to be a fitting death for a heathen—but at the last moment, Valverde offered the emperor clemency if he would convert. Atahualpa submitted, only to be executed by strangulation. The day was August 29, 1533.
Fighting between the Spanish and the Incas would continue well after Atahualpa’s death as Spain consolidated its conquests. Pizarro’s bold victory at Cajamarca, however, effectively marked the end of the Inca Empire and the beginning of the European colonization of South America. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/pizarro-traps-incan-emperor-atahualpa)
1907 – Oklahoma was Admitted to the Union.
Perhaps you know some Christians in Oklahoma for whom you ought to pray today. Maybe there is some preacher brother or some church in Oklahoma whose name you ought to call to God in prayer today.
1942 – Dr. Lee Roberson’s Anniversary at the Highland Park Baptist Church.
Dr. Roberson, of course, is one of the great preachers of this generation or of any generation and one of the great church builders and educators. Dr. Roberson has been for many years the pastor of the influential Highland Park Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the South’s largest church and one of the three largest, probably, in the world today. Today, Dr. Roberson celebrates his anniversary at the Highland Park Baptist Church. Pray for this great church. Pray for the ministry of this man. Pray for the schools, the Tennessee Temple College and Tennessee Temple Seminary, for the hand of God to rest upon them as they labor there in God’s vineyard.
1558 – Elizabethan Age Begins.
Queen Mary I, the monarch of England and Ireland since 1553, dies and is succeeded by her 25-year-old half-sister, Elizabeth.
The two half-sisters, both daughters of King Henry VIII, had a stormy relationship during Mary’s five-year reign. Mary, who was brought up as a Catholic, enacted pro-Catholic legislation and made efforts to restore the pope to supremacy in England. A Protestant rebellion ensued, and Queen Mary imprisoned Elizabeth, a Protestant, in the Tower of London on suspicion of complicity. After Mary’s death, Elizabeth survived several Catholic plots against her; though her ascension was greeted with approval by most of England’s lords, who were largely Protestant and hoped for greater religious tolerance under a Protestant queen. Under the early guidance of Secretary of State Sir William Cecil, Elizabeth repealed Mary’s pro-Catholic legislation, established a permanent Protestant Church of England, and encouraged the Calvinist reformers in Scotland.
In foreign affairs, Elizabeth practiced a policy of strengthening England’s Protestant allies and dividing her foes. Elizabeth was opposed by the pope, who refused to recognize her legitimacy, and by Spain, a Catholic nation that was at the height of its power. In 1588, English-Spanish rivalry led to an abortive Spanish invasion of England in which the Spanish Armada, the greatest naval force in the world at the time, was destroyed by storms and a determined English navy.
With increasing English domination at sea, Elizabeth encouraged voyages of discovery, such as Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the world and Sir Walter Raleigh’s expeditions to the North American coast.
The long reign of Elizabeth, who became known as the “Virgin Queen” for her reluctance to endanger her authority through marriage, coincided with the flowering of the English Renaissance, associated with such renowned authors as William Shakespeare. By her death in 1603, England had become a major world power in every respect, and Queen Elizabeth I passed into history as one of England’s greatest monarchs.
1800 – The First Congress Convened in Washington, D. C.
Let us pause for a few moments today to pray for our Congress and those in authority over us. Let us pray for God’s hand of blessing to rest upon those people who lead us in Washington, D.C. Let us pray today for God to bless our Congress.
1869 – The Suez Canal was Opened for the First Time.
1876 – The Conversion of the Famous Gypsy Smith.
It was Gypsy Smith who said, “Anyone can preach to a crowd, but it takes the grace of God to preach to one man.”
Many years ago in the city of Dallas, Texas, Dr. John R. Rice was visiting the services of the First Baptist Church, where Gypsy Smith was preaching. Gypsy Smith was preaching on soul winning and Dr. Rice said to himself, “I’m going to witness to the first person I see after this service is over.” When the benediction was finished, Dr. Rice ran outside the building and saw a taxicab driver. He stopped and asked him, “Do you know Jesus Christ? Are you saved?”
The taxicab driver said, “Yes. A gypsy man just came out of this door right here, the speaker’s door, and told me about Christ. I’ve been a Christian now just for a few minutes.”
You see, Gypsy Smith beat his congregation in soul winning.
1901 – Leo Gallop was Born.
1905 – Birthday of William Culbertson.
William Culbertson is the president of the famous Moody Bible Institute. Dr. Culbertson’s favorite Scripture is Isaiah 32:17, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Of course, we will want to call in prayer the Moody Institute and the work of William Culbertson on this his birthday.
1935 – Some Even Give This as the Date of Billy Sunday’s Death.
His last sermon was taken from Acts 16 and the text was verse 30. “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Forty people were saved in the last sermon that this great evangelist ever preached. History says that it was preached in the Methodist Church of Mishawaka, Indiana. Let us thank God for the ministry of this great evangelist and pray God’s blessings upon evangelists today. Maybe there is some evangelist for whom you ought to pray by name today.
1991 – Terry Waite Released.
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon free Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite after more than four years of captivity. Waite, looking thinner and his hair grayer, was freed along with American educator Thomas M. Sutherland after intense negotiations by the United Nations.
Waite, special envoy of the archbishop of Canterbury, had secured the release of missionaries detained in Iran after the Islamic revolution. He also extracted British hostages from Libya and even succeeded in releasing American hostages from Lebanon in 1986.
A total of 10 captives were released through Waite’s efforts before Shiite Muslims seized him during a return mission to Beirut on January 20, 1987. He was held captive for more than four years before he was finally released.
During captivity, Waite said he was frequently blindfolded, beaten and subjected to mock executions. He spent much of the time chained to a radiator, suffered from asthma and was transported in a giant refrigerator as his captors moved him about.
Waite, 52, made an impromptu, chaotic appearance before reporters in Damascus after his release to Syrian officials. He said one of his captors expressed regret as he informed Waite he was about to be released.
“He also said to me: ‘We apologize for having captured you. We recognize that now this was a wrong thing to do, that holding hostages achieves no useful, constructive purpose,'” Waite said.
The release of Waite and Sutherland left five Western hostages left in Beirut—three Americans, including Terry Anderson, and two Germans. The Americans would be released by December 1991, the Germans in June 1992.
Some 96 foreign hostages were taken and held during the Lebanon hostage crisis between 1982 and 1992. The victims were mostly from Western countries, and mostly journalists, diplomats or teachers. Twenty-five of them were Americans. At least 10 hostages died in captivity. Some were murdered and others died from lack of adequate medical attention to illnesses.
The hostages were originally taken to serve as insurance against retaliation against Hezbollah, which was thought to be responsible for the killing of over 300 Americans in the Marine barracks and embassy bombings in Beirut. It was widely believed that Iran and Syria also played a role in the kidnappings. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/terry-waite-released)
1831 – The Birthday of James A. Garfield.
Let us pause to thank God for our President and ask God’s blessings upon him today. Pray concerning the many decisions that he must make and the tremendous responsibility that is upon his shoulders.
1862 – Billy Sunday was Born.
One million converts were made under his ministry. He has been called the greatest evangelist since the Apostle Paul. It is significant, I think, that he died just a little while before his birthday.
1863 – Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
“On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg,Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.
Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln—just two weeks before the ceremony—requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds.
At the dedication, the crowd listened for two hours to Everett before Lincoln spoke. Lincoln’s address lasted just two or three minutes. The speech reflected his redefined belief that the Civil War was not just a fight to save the Union, but a struggle for freedom and equality for all, an idea Lincoln had not championed in the years leading up to the war. This was his stirring conclusion: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Reception of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was initially mixed, divided strictly along partisan lines. Nevertheless, the “little speech,” as he later called it, is thought by many today to be the most eloquent articulation of the democratic vision ever written.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lincoln-delivers-gettysburg-address).
Thank God for Abraham Lincoln and the influence he had upon America. Pray for God to send us some more politicians and leaders of character, integrity, and even Christian principles such as was the case with this great man.
1871- The Birthday of Charles Weigle.
Charles Weigle was for many years a famous evangelist and a successful Bible preacher across America. Along with his gift to preach, God gave him the tremendous ability to sing and write. He has written many songs that we enjoy today. Perhaps the most famous is, “No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus.” During Dr. Weigle’s middle-age and at the peak of his ministry he suffered a heartbreak almost too much to bare. Alone and forsaken he penned the words:
I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I’ve found in Him a friend so strong and true,
I would tell you how he changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do!
Every day He comes to me with new assurance,
More and more I understand His words of love,
But, I’ll never know just why He came to save me,
Till some day I see His blessed face above.
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There’s no other friend so kind as He,
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me;
Oh, how much he cared for me.
Why not pause to sing this song today and thank God for the ministry of music and the ministry of Charles Weigle. During the latter years of Dr. Weigle’s life, Dr. Lee Roberson, president of the Tennessee Temple College and Seminary in Chattanooga, Tennessee, provided for him a lovely apartment on the campus of the College so the students could be influenced directly by the life of Dr. Weigle. It was my privilege to bring the dedicatory message of the Weigle Music Center dedicated to this noble servant of God.
1925 – The Birthday of Robert F. Kennedy.
1945 – Nuremberg Trials Begin.
Twenty-four high-ranking Nazis go on trial in Nuremberg, Germany, for atrocities committed during World War II.
The Nuremberg Trials were conducted by an international tribunal made up of representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain. It was the first trial of its kind in history, and the defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. Lord Justice Geoffrey Lawrence, the British member, presided over the proceedings, which lasted 10 months and consisted of 216 court sessions.
On October 1, 1946, 12 architects of Nazi policy were sentenced to death. Seven others were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 years to life, and three were acquitted. Of the original 24 defendants, one, Robert Ley, committed suicide while in prison, and another, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, was deemed mentally and physically incompetent to stand trial. Among those condemned to death by hanging were Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi minister of foreign affairs; Hermann Goering, leader of the Gestapo and the Luftwaffe; Alfred Jodl, head of the German armed forces staff; and Wilhelm Frick, minister of the interior.
On October 16, 10 of the architects of Nazi policy were hanged. Goering, who at sentencing was called the “leading war aggressor and creator of the oppressive program against the Jews,” committed suicide by poison on the eve of his scheduled execution.Nazi Party leader Martin Bormann was condemned to death in absentia (but is now believed to have died in May 1945). Trials of lesser German and Axis war criminals continued in Germany into the 1950s and resulted in the conviction of 5,025 other defendants and the execution of 806. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/nuremberg-trials-begin)
1620 – The Mayflower Compact was Signed.
1789 – North Carolina was Admitted to the Union.
Let us pray for our Christian friends in North Carolina. It has been my privilege to speak in many places across this great state and some of God’s choicest Christians and preachers live there. Maybe you know some Christian friends in North Carolina whose names you could call in prayer today. Perhaps you know of some preachers for whom you ought to pray.
1800 – Congress First Assembled in Washington, D. C.
Let us pray for our Congress and those who lead us in our nation’s Capitol.
1875 – Dwight Moody Began His Great Philadelphia Campaign.
Moody was a great evangelist, yet, he founded the Moody Memorial Church in Chicago. More and more I am impressed with the fact that many evangelists emphasize the local church. In fact, many of them founded churches and tabernacles. Moody was a great evangelist, but he founded the huge Moody Church. A. B. Simpson was a great evangelist, but he founded A. B. Simpson Tabernacle. Rader was a great evangelist, but he founded the Paul Rader Tabernacle in Chicago. Spurgeon was a great evangelist, yet he founded the Spurgeon Tabernacle. Charles G. Finney was a great evangelist but he founded a local church. Jonathan Edwards was a great evangelist, yet he too was a pastor. Yes, we need evangelists and we ought to pray for them, but the big need is for us to have Bible preaching, soul-winning churches in every city, town, village and hamlet in America. This is the burden of my heart. Won’t you pray that God will raise up a generation of preachers so that there will be a good, soul-winning church within the driving distance of every believer in America. Oh, may God make it so.
1890 – Charles de Gaulle was Born.
Let us pray for the Christians in France, and especially the missionaries from our country who serve there.
1906 – The First Radio S.O.S. was Signaled.
1936 – Dr. Bob Gray was Converted.
Dr. Gray is the well known pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, and is known around the world for his stand for the truth and for his soul-winning fervor. Let us pray for his ministry today and for God’s hand to continue upon him. His favorite Scripture is found in Psalm 126:5–6, “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
1943 – The Date of the Beginning of the Cairo Conference.
1963 – President John F. Kennedy was Assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
“John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, is assassinated while traveling through Dallas, Texas, in an open-top convertible.
First lady Jacqueline Kennedy rarely accompanied her husband on political outings, but she was beside him, along with Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, for a 10-mile motorcade through the streets of downtown Dallas on November 22. Sitting in a Lincoln convertible, the Kennedys and Connallys waved at the large and enthusiastic crowds gathered along the parade route. As their vehicle passed the Texas School Book Depository Building at 12:30 p.m., Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly fired three shots from the sixth floor, fatally wounding President Kennedy and seriously injuring Governor Connally. Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. He was 46.
Vice President Lyndon Johnson, who was three cars behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was sworn in as the 36th president of the United States at 2:39 p.m. He took the presidential oath of office aboard Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field airport. The swearing in was witnessed by some 30 people, including Jacqueline Kennedy, who was still wearing clothes stained with her husband’s blood. Seven minutes later, the presidential jet took off for Washington.
The next day, November 23, President Johnson issued his first proclamation, declaring November 25 to be a day of national mourning for the slain president. On that Monday, hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Washington to watch a horse-drawn caisson bear Kennedy’s body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral for a requiem Mass. The solemn procession then continued on to Arlington National Cemetery, where leaders of 99 nations gathered for the state funeral. Kennedy was buried with full military honors on a slope below Arlington House, where an eternal flame was lit by his widow to forever mark the grave.
Lee Harvey Oswald, born in New Orleans in 1939, joined the U.S. Marines in 1956. He was discharged in 1959 and nine days later left for the Soviet Union, where he tried unsuccessfully to become a citizen. He worked in Minsk and married a Soviet woman and in 1962 was allowed to return to the United States with his wife and infant daughter. In early 1963, he bought a .38 revolver and rifle with a telescopic sight by mail order, and on April 10 in Dallas he allegedly shot at and missed former U.S. Army general Edwin Walker, a figure known for his extreme right-wing views. Later that month, Oswald went to New Orleans and founded a branch of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, a pro-Castro organization. In September 1963, he went to Mexico City, where investigators allege that he attempted to secure a visa to travel to Cuba or return to the USSR. In October, he returned to Dallas and took a job at the Texas School Book Depository Building.
Less than an hour after Kennedy was shot, Oswald killed a policeman who questioned him on the street near his rooming house in Dallas. Thirty minutes later, Oswald was arrested in a movie theater by police responding to reports of a suspect. He was formally arraigned on November 23 for the murders of President Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit.
On November 24, Oswald was brought to the basement of the Dallas police headquarters on his way to a more secure county jail. A crowd of police and press with live television cameras rolling gathered to witness his departure. As Oswald came into the room, Jack Ruby emerged from the crowd and fatally wounded him with a single shot from a concealed .38 revolver. Ruby, who was immediately detained, claimed that rage at Kennedy’s murder was the motive for his action. Some called him a hero, but he was nonetheless charged with first-degree murder.
Jack Ruby, originally known as Jacob Rubenstein, operated strip joints and dance halls in Dallas and had minor connections to organized crime. He features prominently in Kennedy-assassination theories, and many believe he killed Oswald to keep him from revealing a larger conspiracy. In his trial, Ruby denied the allegation and pleaded innocent on the grounds that his great grief over Kennedy’s murder had caused him to suffer “psychomotor epilepsy” and shoot Oswald unconsciously. The jury found Ruby guilty of “murder with malice” and sentenced him to die.
In October 1966, the Texas Court of Appeals reversed the decision on the grounds of improper admission of testimony and the fact that Ruby could not have received a fair trial in Dallas at the time. In January 1967, while awaiting a new trial, to be held in Wichita Falls, Ruby died of lung cancer in a Dallas hospital.
The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event, and in 1978 the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in a preliminary report that Kennedy was “probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy” that may have involved multiple shooters and organized crime. The committee’s findings, as with those of the Warren Commission, continue to be widely disputed.” (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/john-f-kennedy-assassinated)
This was a very great shock to me since Dallas, Texas, is my home town. Hundreds and hundreds of times I have driven and ridden by the very place where Kennedy was shot. As a child, the bus that I took downtown passed by this very spot.
On November 22, 1963, I was preparing to preach a funeral. As I left my office to go to the auditorium to bury a little baby who had drowned in the bathtub, someone came rushing in and said that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. Probably you remember exactly what you were doing on this fateful day. Let us pray for the character of America and for the safety of our President.
1804 – Franklin Pierce Was Born.
Franklin Pierce was the fourteenth President of our nation. Again may we pause to ask God’s blessings upon our President. May we ask God to give him leadership today as he makes the decisions that will affect your life and mine and the lives of our children and our children’s children.
1873 – Moody and Sankey Conducted the First Service in the Edinburg, Scotland, Revival.
Someone has said that Mr. Moody took America in one hand and Europe in the other and lifted two continents closer to God. The great meeting in Edinburg was certainly a part of this hand of God upon Moody.
Let us pray for evangelists everywhere today. Especially pray for God to raise up someone of Moody’s caliber in America. America needs a Moody more than she needs great politicians. A revival such as we saw in the days of Moody would bring forth politicians of character and integrity to lead our nation. Mr. Moody once heard a sermon where the speaker made this statement, “The world has yet to see what can be done with a man wholly surrendered to God’s will.” Mr. Moody said to God that night, “By the grace of God, I’ll be that man. Perhaps he was as near that man as any man in America has ever been. Let us surrender to God’s will and his leadership today.
1936 – First Issue of Life is Published.
On November 23, 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published, featuring a cover photo of the Fort Peck Dam by Margaret Bourke-White.
Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.
From his high school days, Luce was a newsman, serving with his friend Briton Hadden as managing editors of their school newspaper. This partnership continued through their college years at Yale University, where they acted as chairmen and managing editors of the Yale Daily News, as well as after college, when Luce joined Hadden at The Baltimore News in 1921. It was during this time that Luce and Hadden came up with the idea for Time. When it launched in 1923, it was with the intention of delivering the world’s news through the eyes of the people who made it.
Whereas the original mission of Time was to tell the news, the mission of Life was to show it. In the words of Luce himself, the magazine was meant to provide a way for the American people “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events … to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…” Luce set the tone of the magazine with Margaret Bourke-White’s stunning cover photograph of the Fort Peck Dam, which has since become an icon of the 1930s and the great public works completed under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Life was an overwhelming success in its first year of publication. Almost overnight, it changed the way people looked at the world by changing the way people could look at the world. Its flourish of images painted vivid pictures in the public mind, capturing the personal and the public, and putting it on display for the world to take in. At its peak, Lifehad a circulation of over 8 million and it exerted considerable influence on American life in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.
With picture-heavy content as the driving force behind its popularity,the magazine suffered as television became society’s predominant means of communication. Lifeceased running as a weekly publication in 1972, when it began losing audience and advertising dollars to television. In 2004, however, it resumed weekly publication as a supplement to U.S. newspapers. At its re-launch, its combined circulation was once again in the millions. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-issue-of-life-is-published)
1784 – Zachary Taylor was Born.
1909 – The Birthday of Dr. Lee Roberson.
Every generation has its great preachers. The generation before ours had its Billy Sunday, Wilbur Chapman, Sam Jones, and Bob Jones, Sr.
Our generation has great preachers. One of these is Dr. Lee Roberson. Dr. Roberson’s ministry has been a miracle from the first. He has pastored for many, many years the large Highland Park Baptist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the South’s largest church. He founded and is now president of the Tennessee Temple College and Seminary. He has influenced thousands of preachers and Christians around the world. Let us thank God for this dear man and pray for God’s continued hand of blessing upon his ministry. It has been my privilege to know Dr. Roberson personally for many years. I have preached often in his pulpit and he has preached often in mine. His life is as his preaching – dedicated to God! Pray today for this school, for this man, and for Christian colleges and their presidents across America. May God increase their tribe.
1688 – The Date of the First Thanksgiving Day.
About this season of the year, we come to Thanksgiving Day. At every Thanksgiving season I think of the story in Luke 17, of the ten lepers who were healed. Only one came back to thank Jesus for it and Jesus asked, “Where are the nine?” Probably in our day this is the same ratio of those who come to say, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Thousands of families and millions of people will go through Thanksgiving Day without even saying one prayer to God. Let us pause to count our blessings, to thank God for His Goodness, to praise Him for His care for us this past year. Let us quote together the first five verses of the famous 103rd Psalm: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases: Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
Now sing the song, “Count Your Blessings,” and give a testimony of God’s goodness to you.
1748 – Isaac Watts Died.
1835 – The Birthday of Andrew Carnegie.
1881 – The Birthday of Pope John XXIII.
1948 – The Day of the Ordination of Dr. Bob Gray.
1952 – Mousetrap Opens in London.
“The Mousetrap,” a murder-mystery written by the novelist and playwright Agatha Christie, opens at the Ambassadors Theatre in London. The crowd-pleasing whodunit would go on to become the longest continuously running play in history, with more than 10 million people to date attending its more than 20,000 performances in London’s West End.
When “The Mousetrap” premiered in 1952, Winston Churchill was British prime minister, Joseph Stalin was Soviet ruler, and Dwight D. Eisenhower was president-elect. Christie, already a hugely successful English mystery novelist, originally wrote the drama for Queen Mary, wife of the late King George V. Initially called “Three Blind Mice,” it debuted as a 30-minute radio play on the queen’s 80th birthday in 1947. Christie later extended the play and renamed it “The Mousetrap”—a reference to the play-within-a-play performed in William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”
On November 25, 1952, 453 people took their seats in the Ambassadors Theatre for the London premiere of Christie’s “Mousetrap.” The drama is played out at “Monkswell Manor,” whose hosts and guests are snowed in among radio reports of a murderer on the loose. Soon a detective shows up on skis with the terrifying news that the murderer, and probably the next victim, are likely both among their number. Soon the clues and false leads pile as high as the snow. At every curtain call, the individual who has been revealed as the murderer steps forward and tells the audience that they are “partners in crime” and should “keep the secret of the whodunit locked in their heart.”
Richard Attenborough and his wife, Sheila Sim, were the first stars of “The Mousetrap.” To date, more than 300 actors and actresses have appeared in the roles of the eight characters. David Raven, who played “Major Metcalf” for 4,575 performances, is in the “Guinness Book of World Records” as the world’s most durable actor, while Nancy Seabrooke is noted as the world’s most patient understudy for 6,240 performances, or 15 years, as the substitute for “Mrs. Boyle.”
“The Mousetrap” is not considered Christie’s best play, and a prominent stage director once declared that “‘The Mousetrap'” should be abolished by an act of Parliament.” Nevertheless, the show’s popularity has not waned. Asked about its enduring appeal, Christie said, “It is the sort of play you can take anyone to. It is not really frightening. It is not really horrible. It is not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things, and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people.” In 1974, after almost 9,000 shows, the play was moved to St. Martin’s Theatre, where it remains today. Agatha Christie, who wrote scores of best-selling mystery novels, died in 1976. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/mousetrap-opens-in-london)
1789 – The Day of the First National Thanksgiving.
This is the thanksgiving season. Let us pause today to thank God for His goodness to us. The Psalmist asked the question, “What shall I render the Lord for all of His benefits?” Certainly on Thanksgiving Day and during the thanksgiving season we should render something to the Lord for His goodness and His benefits. Let us make a Thanksgiving offering to God’s work and let us re-affirm our vows to serve Him better.
1832 – The First United States Street Railway was Operated.
1909 – President Taft Approved the First Corporation Taxes.
1913 – Robert G. Lee was Married.
Robert G. Lee is one of the greatest pulpiteers who ever lived. His sermon “Payday Someday” is one of the masterpieces in the history of sermon building and sermon preaching. For many years he pastored the great Belview Baptist Church of Memphis, Tennessee. It has been my privilege to appear on the same platform with Dr. Lee. It is also my privilege to know him personally. Let us thank God for his influence upon America and for the ministry he has enjoyed for many years.
1941 – FDR Establishes Modern Thanksgiving Holiday.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill officially establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
The tradition of celebrating the holiday on Thursday dates back to the early history of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies, when post-harvest holidays were celebrated on the weekday regularly set aside as “Lecture Day,” a midweek church meeting where topical sermons were presented. A famous Thanksgiving observance occurred in the autumn of 1621, when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited local Indians to join the Pilgrims in a three-day festival held in gratitude for the bounty of the season.
Thanksgiving became an annual custom throughout New England in the 17th century, and in 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving following the Patriot victory at Saratoga. In 1789, President George Washington became the first president to proclaim a Thanksgiving holiday, when, at the request of Congress, he proclaimed November 26, a Tuesday, as a day of national thanksgiving for the U.S. Constitution. However, it was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, that the modern holiday was celebrated nationally.
With a few deviations, Lincoln’s precedent was followed annually by every subsequent president–until 1939. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt departed from tradition by declaring November 23, the next to last Thursday that year, as Thanksgiving Day. Considerable controversy surrounded this deviation, and some Americans refused to honor Roosevelt’s declaration. For the next two years, Roosevelt repeated the unpopular proclamation, but on November 26, 1941, he admitted his mistake and signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fdr-establishes-modern-thanksgiving-holiday)
1957 – President Eisenhower Suffered a Slight Stroke.
Let us thank God for the contribution of this man both as a General and as a President of our nation.
1872 – Sam Jones Became a Circuit-Riding Preacher.
Sam Jones was one of the greatest evangelists America has ever known. He started as a circuit-riding preacher at the salary of sixty-five dollars per year. He said about this salary, “I don’t care what they pay or don’t pay: I have a place to preach now and I am so happy.”
Sam Jones once said, “I don’t care whether the folks talk good about me or talk bad about me as long as folks are talking about me.”
He also said, “The reason folks don’t talk about their religion is that folks don’t have enough religion to talk about.” Sam Jones became a great preacher because one day he heard a man say that the preacher is a king and the pulpit is his throne. This statement changed his life and Sam Jones changed the lives of millions in America. Let us thank God for his ministry and pray God to bless the evangelists of today. Perhaps, you know of some evangelist whose name you could call in prayer even now.
1520 – Magellan Reaches the Pacific.
After sailing through the dangerous straits below South America that now bear his name, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan enters the Pacific Ocean with three ships, becoming the first European explorer to reach the Pacific from the Atlantic.
On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Spain in an effort to find a western sea route to the rich Spice Islands of Indonesia. In command of five ships and 270 men, Magellan sailed to West Africa and then to Brazil, where he searched the South American coast for a strait that would take him to the Pacific. He searched the Rio de la Plata, a large estuary south of Brazil, for a way through; failing, he continued south along the coast of Patagonia. At the end of March 1520, the expedition set up winter quarters at Port St. Julian. On Easter day at midnight, the Spanish captains mutinied against their Portuguese captain, but Magellan crushed the revolt, executing one of the captains and leaving another ashore when his ship left St. Julian in August.
On October 21, he finally discovered the strait he had been seeking. The Strait of Magellan, as it became known, is located near the tip of South America, separating Tierra del Fuego and the continental mainland. Only three ships entered the passage; one had been wrecked and another deserted. It took 38 days to navigate the treacherous strait, and when ocean was sighted at the other end Magellan wept with joy. His fleet accomplished the westward crossing of the ocean in 99 days, crossing waters so strangely calm that the ocean was named “Pacific,” from the Latin word pacificus,meaning “tranquil.” By the end, the men were out of food and chewed the leather parts of their gear to keep themselves alive. On March 6, 1521, the expedition landed at the island of Guam.
Ten days later, they dropped anchor at the Philippine island of Cebu—they were only about 400 miles from the Spice Islands. Magellan met with the chief of Cebu, who after converting to Christianity persuaded the Europeans to assist him in conquering a rival tribe on the neighboring island of Mactan. In fighting on April 27, Magellan was hit by a poisoned arrow and left to die by his retreating comrades.
After Magellan’s death, the survivors, in two ships, sailed on to the Moluccas and loaded the hulls with spice. One ship attempted, unsuccessfully, to return across the Pacific. The other ship, the Vittoria, continued west under the command of Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. The vessel sailed across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda on September 6, 1522, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the globe. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/magellan-reaches-the-pacific)
1628 – John Bunyan was Born.
1783 – The First Post Office was Established.
What a blessing this has been – the use of the mail to get out the Gospel. Our churches have been helped. The work of God has been aided and souls have been saved by the millions because of this great establishment. How long has it been since you thanked God for your postman? Tell him today that you appreciate him and also witness to him about the Gospel.
1902 – Joseph Parker Died.
Joseph Parker was a famous English Congregationalist preacher who remained a nonconformist and faithful preacher in the midst of liberalism all around him. He was called one of the world’s greatest evangelical preachers. Thank God today for your preacher. How long has it been since you wrote him a letter telling him that you appreciate his faithfulness to the truth. Pray God to bless him and give him strength for his many duties. Pray God to keep him faithful in a world of liberalism.
At two o’clock one morning I went to church to pray. I heard a voice inside. I paused to listen and that voice was a voice of one of my deacons praying for me. I stood outside the door with tears streaming down my cheeks as I heard my deacon pray for his pastor. No wonder God gave us a great work in that pastorate.
1907 – Armin Gesswein was Born at Koenig, Missouri.
He became the director of Revival Prayer Fellowship with headquarters in southern California.
1962 – Queen Wilhelmina Died At Appeldoorn, Netherlands.
It is said that she was a Christian Queen of the Netherlands, from 1898 until 1948. She became queen at the age of eighteen. She was one of the richest women in the world, and she said Christ always had first place in her heart. Let us read today Matthew 6:33 and give Christ first place. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
1847 – Marcus Whitman Died.
Whitman was a pioneer missionary to the Oregon territory. His party of four was the first group to reach the Pacific coast by wagon.
On this date superstitious Indians conspired against him and massacred him, his wife, and twelve others. The work was halted, but as someone has said, Oregon was saved. At least the Gospel was there. Thank God for faithful missionaries in the past and present. Pray for God to give us more in the future.
1913 – The Birthday of Clyde Dennis.
He had been called the father of the modern tract. He founded the Good News Publishers located in suburban Chicago. This may be the largest Christian tract society in the world. Let us thank God today for Christian tracts. I think of Dr. Ford Porter, and his tract, “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation,” which has been published in many languages around the world. Dr. John Rice has a famous tract, “What Must I Do to Be Saved?” How long has it been since you passed out a simple Gospel tract? Many years ago in Texas, a timid little member of our church stood at the bus station and almost apologizing for it, passed out Gospel tracts. This story follows:
A little lady named Mrs. Henslee stood timidly at the Greyhound Bus Station in Dallas, Texas, trying to generate enough courage to pass out a Gospel tract. Finally this little introvert took a few tracts from her purse and gave one to each passenger boarding a Greyhound Bus. It was 7:00 in the morning.
A few days later I received a letter from the State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. As I dictate this article, I hold the letter in my hand. May I quote from the letter, which is over ten years old:
“Dear Jack F. Hyles and Mrs. G. E. Henslee: I am writing this to tell you about myself and what a wonderful job I think you all are doing trying to bring God’s Word to sinners like myself.
“I will tell you about myself. I have been to Texas prison two times and have lost my family, my wife, and three children. I lost them and then it seemed I didn’t have anything to live for or anyone to care what happened to me. So when I was released from prison last May the 2nd I started drinking and got in trouble again. I have a crippled leg but no one would give me a job so I could do the thing I wanted to for my babies. They are in Buckner’s Orphan’s Home in Dallas and I don’t know where my wife is. My babies think I am working in Huntsville. They don’t know I am in prison.
“Here is how I got this little tract from one who cares. I was standing in the Greyhound Bus Station on January 16 around 7:00 a.m. I had just got out of the county jail in Dallas. I was in a deep study about what to do and where to go as I thought I was all alone in this world. Someone walked up by me and handed me this tract and smiled and went on. Then I looked down and read it and started thinking about what it said and made up my mind to get this life of mine straight and live for our Lord and Saviour and try in some way to take God’s Word. I know down in my own heart that I was never alone. God was with me and waiting for me to open my hand, heart, and mind and let Him come in. I know in my heart how wonderful life can be with our Lord. I have been down to the bottom drinking and in prison. I know that if you will ask, you shall receive. I know He will help sinners. I wish there was just some way I could put it on paper what He has done for me and what He means to me.
“Tell Mrs. Henslee she will never know how happy she has helped make my life by just handing me that tract that morning. May God bless and take care of you all and keep you. Carry on your work for God. Mr. E. R. H.”
What a wonderful story about what a little bit can do. However, the story doesn’t end there.
A little over a year passed. One Sunday night at our church in Garland, Texas, after we had several come forward for salvation, a man came down the aisle and said, “My name is E. R. H. A little over a year ago I wrote a letter from the penitentiary telling you how I was saved through a tract given me by a little lady at the Greyhound Bus Station at 7:00 a.m. on January 16. I am now out of the penitentiary and have come many miles to see if I could meet Mrs. Henslee and thank her for winning me to Christ.”
What an impressive and spiritual scene when Mrs. Henslee, short and thin and timid, extended her hand to the convert and received his gratitude for her winning him to Jesus.
1915 – Dr. Tom Malone was Born in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Tom Malone is a faithful Gospel preacher and educator. Many years ago, Dr. and Mrs. Malone looked at a little tavern building. They asked God to give it to them and He did. From that has come the great Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac, Michigan. Now there is the Midwestern Baptist College and other works that God has blessed.
1929 – Byrd Flew Over the South Pole.
1947 – U.N. Votes for Partition of Palestine.
Despite strong Arab opposition, the United Nations votes for the partition of Palestine and the creation of an independent Jewish state.
The modern conflict between Jews and Arabs in Palestine dates back to the 1910s, when both groups laid claim to the British-controlled territory. The Jews were Zionists, recent emigrants from Europe and Russia who came to the ancient homeland of the Jews to establish a Jewish national state. The native Palestinian Arabs sought to stem Jewish immigration and set up a secular Palestinian state.
Beginning in 1929, Arabs and Jews openly fought in Palestine, and Britain attempted to limit Jewish immigration as a means of appeasing the Arabs. As a result of the Holocaust in Europe, many Jews illegally entered Palestine during World War II. Radical Jewish groups employed terrorism against British forces in Palestine, which they thought had betrayed the Zionist cause. At the end of World War II, in 1945, the United States took up the Zionist cause. Britain, unable to find a practical solution, referred the problem to the United Nations, which on November 29, 1947, voted to partition Palestine.
The Jews were to possess more than half of Palestine, though they made up less than half of Palestine’s population. The Palestinian Arabs, aided by volunteers from other countries, fought the Zionist forces, but the Jews secured full control of their U.N.-allocated share of Palestine and also some Arab territory. On May 14, 1948, Britain withdrew with the expiration of its mandate, and the State of Israel was proclaimed by Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion. The next day, forces from Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq invaded.
The Israelis, though less well equipped, managed to fight off the Arabs and then seize key territories, such as Galilee, the Palestinian coast, and a strip of territory connecting the coastal region to the western section of Jerusalem. In 1949, U.N.-brokered cease-fires left the State of Israel in permanent control of those conquered areas. The departure of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from Israel during the war left the country with a substantial Jewish majority. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/un-votes-for-partition-of-palestine)
1628 – John Bunyan was Baptized.
John Bunyan was one of the great Christians of all history. He preached everywhere he could. He said he spent his time soldering pans in the daytime and saving souls at night. John Bunyan turned to drink at one time in his life and was a terrible man of drink, but he was won to Christ by a Mr. Gifford, whose nickname was Mr. Holy Gifford. It is said that on one day’s notice, John Bunyan could fill any building in England. He was put in jail for his Baptist belief and while in jail he wrote THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS. He wrote it on milk-bottle stoppers.
1835 – Birthday of Mark Twain.
1874 – Birthday of Winston Churchill.
Winston Churchill, to my way of thinking, is probably one of the two greatest statesmen of our generation. Thank God for his contribution. May God increase his tribe.
1959 – Birthday of Cindy Hyles.
Cindy is our only little Yankee. She was born shortly after my becoming pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and has been a constant source of joy for these years. She was a godsend. Pray for your children today.