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God in American History
Thursday, 23 December 2010
 

 Christmas was not so merry in 1944 for hundreds of thousands of American families. The reason was because the United States was in a war for freedom and two million of our citizens were overseas fighting.

It was December 1944. The temperature was sub-freezing. The location was the Ardennes forest in Belgium and the battle was called "Bulge." The clash would be recorded as the largest land battle of World War II for the United States and certainly one of the most bloody. The Germans brought 500,000 soldiers, the Americans 600,000, and the British 55,000. If Germany wins, then the entire Allied force would be severely weakened and the rule of Hitler would both extend and expand around the world. The stakes were very high. America had to win!

The Germans attacked first catching the Allies by surprise. They pushed deeply into the thinly held American front creating a "bulge." Because of a number of factors including weather, the execution of 87 American POW's, the death of thousands, and the lack of adequate supplies, things were not looking good for the Allies.

Late on the night of December 23rd, Sergeant John Banister of the 14th Cavalry Group found himself separated from his unit while defending a city under attack. The Germans were closing in and the Americans were in retreat. Not having a ride out, a tank destroyer rolled by and Banister climbed on. As they were fleeing the burning city, somebody told Banister that he was riding with Lieutenant Bill Rogers. "Who's he?" Banister wanted to know. "Will Rogers' son," came the answer.

An hour later they reached the main highway running west from Vielsalm. There they found a lone soldier named Martin digging a foxhole. Unshaven and filthy, armed with bazooka and rifle, the stoic soldier went about his business with a focused determination. They pulled up to him and stopped. He nonchalantly stated while never stopping his work, "If yer lookin for a safe place," he said, "just pull that vehicle behind me. I'm the 82nd Airborne. This is as far as [they] are going."

The men on the tank destroyer hesitated. After the ferocious combats and constant retreats of the last week, they didn't have much fight left in them. But the paratrooper's determination was infectious. "You heard the man," declared Rogers. "Let's set up for business!" Twenty minutes later, two truckloads of GIs joined their little roadblock. All through the night, men trickled in, and their defenses grew stronger.

The single paratrooper would ultimately form the nucleus of a major strongpoint for the Allies as they came back to defeat the Germans at the Battle of the Bulge.  

On this December 23 day, I hope that you have gained inspiration from the story of Private Martin just as we at the University of Mobile's Center for Leadership have.

Learn more about what we are doing to transform America by visiting www.twelve23.org. If you have not already done so, we invite you to become a part of the twelve23 movement by signing the twelve23 contract. Information is on the website.

Also, here is a video to an inspiring video entitled, "A Soldier's Night." Thank you United States soldier for your sacrifice and fight! You are an American hero!

Soldier's Silent Night Video

Today's email was written by: Dr. Joe savage, director of the University of Mobile Center for Leadership and the twelve23 movement

Posted by: Joe Savage AT 07:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, 25 November 2010
 Part 2 of 2

The Pilgrims were having an excruciating experience. Nearly half of their community had died leaving them with only 53 people. Winter had set in as New England temperatures hovered around freezing with storms of snow often blowing through. The ground had become hardened. The crops were lacking. No ships were on their way to help. Nightfall would bring the howls of wolves in the distance and sunrises would deliver another day of death. The Pilgrims were alone, tired, and virtually helpless. They were in need of a miracle.

On March 21, 1621, as the Pilgrims were going about their daily duties, they heard a rustling in the woods nearby. The men grabbed their guns thinking this might be the dreadful attack they had so often feared. Suddenly, an olive skinned native named Someset stepped out of the woods and greeted the Pilgrims in a broken form of their own language, explaining how he had learned English from fishermen and traders in what is now Maine. A few days later, Someset brought a friend named Squanto to meet the Pilgrims. Squanto would be a man who was both peaceful in approach and fluent in the British language. He would turn out to be God's answer to their persevering prayers.

Can you imagine the shock and amazement as the native dressed Squanto emerged from the wildness of the woods with an outstretched hand and an English vocabulary?

As Squanto, William Bradford, and the other Pilgrims sat to talk, Squanto began to tell them his life story. They were dumbfounded  by the story of Squanto as the providential hand of God was being unveiled!  

At the age of twelve, Squanto and some other natives were kidnapped by Englishman Thomas Hunt. Hunt took the natives to Malaga, Spain to sell them into slavery. Some local friars discovered Hunt's plans and purchased Squanto. Soon after, they allowed Squanto to attempt a voyage back to his homeland. Squanto managed to get to London where he lived and worked with John Slany, a shipbuilder who assisted Squanto in learning more English. After a few years, Squanto traveled with Slany to Newfoundland and then on to his native homeland in New England in 1619 to be reunited with his family and tribe.

Sadly, upon arrival, Squanto found only skeletal remains and empty homes as the majority of New England tribes including his family had all died from an epidemic plague, possibly smallpox. He would remain in the area alone and saddened. For months, he would mourn his great loss and remember the bountiful times he shared as a boy with his family fishing and hunting.

It would be less than two years later that the Pilgrims arrived and unknowingly formed Plymouth at the same exact location where Squanto's family once lived. And it would be the English speaking and heart-broken Squanto who would teach the Pilgrims where to fish, how to grow crops, and how to live at peace with neighboring tribes.

Squanto would adopt the Pilgrims as his new family and he would become their answered prayer! Governor William Bradford described Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for [our] good."

That summer, the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest. Pilgrim Edward Winslow exclaimed, "God be praised, we had a good increase of corn"; "by the goodness of God, we are far from want." The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days as they feasted (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), played (the young Pilgrims and Wampanoags engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and gave God thanks. 

Squanto would remain with the Pilgrims for years serving as a helper and peacemaker. According to Bradford, Squanto "never left [us] til he died." When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend "desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen's God in heaven."

Modern-day American leader Chuck Colson observed, "Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery--and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good."

On this day of Thanksgiving, may we look again to God for His amazing providence in our lives. May we give Him sincere thanks and may we each by faith acknowledge that God's Word is true that "all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

  May God be praised today in your life and through your lips! Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for you!

Today's Scripture:
"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Posted by: Joe Savage AT 08:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
 The year was 1620. The small ship was called The Mayflower. Those on board were called the Pilgrims. Their purpose was to establish self-government and freedom of religion. They set sail with 102 passengers. The voyage took 66 days.

On November 21, 1620 they reached the Cape Cod coast. As they sailed looking for appropriate land for settlement, they encountered a horrific storm causing them to anchor at Cape Cod. Before coming ashore, 41 men aboard the ship sign an agreement which would set up a new style government. The agreement was called the Mayflower Compact. It would be the first document of self government in the New World.

With sea weary legs, the men began exploring Cape Cod for suitable land to settle. The women and children stayed on board. Winter was upon them. Temperatures began to plummet at night. Urgency began to set in. The journey was becoming quite difficult, but their toughest days were still ahead!

As they began to settle, natives appeared with arrows flying. The Pilgrims fired back. Knowing they would never have peace, the Pilgrims board The Mayflower and set sail again. This time they would land at the place they called Plymouth. It would be here that they would settle; more out of desperation and urgency, then out of finding the perfect Utopia.

Several members of their group became sick. Others passed away. William Bradford's wife would drown - either by accident or by suicide. No one knows for sure. Being ill-prepared for a harsh winter and all that came with settling a New World, the Pilgrims would begin to die at a rapid pace. In no time at all, half of the Pilgrims would pass away leaving them with only 53 individuals counting women and children.

They didn't know where to fish. They didn't know how to grow crops in this new type soil. They didn't have enough housing to protect them from the bitter cold. They didn't know if natives might attack and kill them. They didn't have shipments of supplies on the way or a new group of people to join them. They didn't know how to stop the death of so many. To put it mildly, the Pilgrims were in grave trouble and if they didn't receive some help soon, they would all die only to be remembered as Christian fools looking for freedom.

Then the incredible happened! It would be something that Americans three hundred years later would forget . . . or simply not know about . . . or simply leave out of the script we call "American History."

On March 21, 1621, as the Pilgrims were going about their daily duties, they heard a rustling in the woods nearby. The men grabbed their guns thinking this might be the dreadful attack they had so often feared.

Suddenly, an olive skinned native named Someset stepped out of the woods and greeted the Pilgrims in a broken form of their own language, explaining how he had learned English from fishermen and traders in what is now Maine. A few days later, Someset brought a friend named Squanto to meet the Pilgrims. Squanto would be a man who was both peaceful in approach and fluent in the British language. He would turn out to be God's answer to their persevering prayers.

Can you imagine the shock and amazement as the native dressed Squanto emerged from the wildness of the woods with an outstretched hand and an English vocabulary?

As Squanto, William Bradford, and the other Pilgrims sat to talk, Squanto began to tell them his life story. They were dumbfounded by the story of Squanto as the providential hand of God was being unveiled!

At the age of twelve, Squanto and some other natives were kidnapped by Englishman Thomas Hunt. Hunt took the natives to Malaga, Spain to sell them into slavery. Some local friars discovered Hunt's plans and purchased Squanto. Soon after, they allowed Squanto to attempt a voyage back to his homeland. Squanto managed to get to London where he lived and worked with John Slany, a shipbuilder who assisted Squanto in learning more English. After a few years, Squanto traveled with Slany to Newfoundland and then on to his native homeland in New England in 1619 to be reunited with his family and tribe.

Sadly, upon arrival, Squanto found only skeletal remains and empty homes as the majority of New England tribes including his family had all died from an epidemic plague, possibly smallpox. He would remain in the area alone and saddened. For months, he would mourn his great loss and remember the bountiful times he shared as a boy with his family fishing and hunting.

It would be less than two years later that the Pilgrims arrived and unknowingly formed Plymouth at the same exact location where Squanto's family once lived And it would be the English speaking and heart-broken Squanto who would teach the Pilgrims where to fish, how to grow crops, and how to live at peace with neighboring tribes.

Squanto would adopt the Pilgrims as his new family and he would become their answered prayer! Governor William Bradford described Squanto as "a special instrument sent of God for [our] good."

That summer, the Pilgrims reaped a bountiful harvest. Pilgrim Edward Winslow exclaimed, "God be praised, we had a good increase of corn"; "by the goodness of God, we are far from want." The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days as they feasted (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), played (the young Pilgrims and Wampanoags engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and gave God thanks.

Squanto would remain with the Pilgrims for years serving as a helper and peacemaker. According to Bradford, Squanto "never left [us] til he died." When Squanto lay dying of a fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend "desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen's God in heaven."

Modern-day American leader Chuck Colson observed, "Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery--and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good."

On this day of Thanksgiving, may we look again to God for His amazing providence in our lives. May we give Him sincere thanks and may we each by faith acknowledge that God's Word is true that "all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Joe Savage AT 08:30 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, 20 November 2010

  Today, when you vote, you can thank God for James Madison, Jr.  It was Madison who was the principle author of the U.S. Constitution and it is Madison who is credited with being both the "Father of the Constitution" and the "Father of the Bill of Rights." He was truly a genius who had amazing insight and depth.   

Though there is no original documentation to prove it, tradition holds that at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, James Madison proposed the plan to divide the central government into three branches. It is said that he proposed this form of government after reading Isaiah 33:22 which says,

"For the LORD is our judge, [Judicial]
the LORD is our lawgiver, [Legislative]
the LORD is our king; [Executive]
He will save us."

To me it is immaterial if Madison did or did not derive his source of Government from Isaiah 33. Our nation could had been modeled after any number of styles of government, but the Founding Fathers chose a model which derived, knowingly or unknowingly, from Isaiah 33. This confirms all the more how our God was intricately involved in the founding of our great nation and how He led our Founding Fathers in establishing a place which would eventually: a)Proclaim his Gospel throughout the world; b)  Serve as a bastion for His children the Jews; and c) Be the leader of freedom for more than 200 years.

Another genius and Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, stood before the Continental Congress and wisely declared, "I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth-that God governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?"

While you cast your ballot today, will you say a word of "thanks" to the One who has blessed us with our form of Government and given us the freedom to vote? Will you vote for the candidate who will help us become more righteous? Will you pray to the God of Government that His halls and houses may be filled with wise, honorable, and Godly leaders?

Let's ask God together for His help now. "God Almighty, the true author of liberty and the ultimate Governor of the land, bless and 'aid' this 'empire' of ours called the United States of America. Please give us Godly leaders on this day! Lord, we need you, now as much as ever. Oh King, come and help us this day. We pray for your will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you so very much for freedom and for allowing me to be a citizen of this great nation that was formed by your hand. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen."

Today's Scripture
"For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; He will save us." Isaiah 33:22

Today's prayer and commentary were written by: Dr. Joe Savage, director, University of Mobile Center for Leadership and the twelve23 movement.

Posted by: Joe Savage AT 08:23 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
 

Today I want you to envision yourself in an auditorium full of people. Everyone in attendance is abuzz as some of America's great leaders have agreed to temporarily leave Heaven to be on this panel. We have been at the conference for 32 days now. We began on October 1 and the conference is about to wrap up. Throughout the course of our conference we have heard stories directly from the mouths of Washington, Hancock, Madison, Adams, and others. We were shown photographs of the U.S. Capital when it served as a church; Bunker Hill when the first shots were fired between the Brits and Colonists; and other significant sites in our nation's history. The best part of our conference has been the prayer. We have been led in prayer by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and many of our contemporaries seated in the audience today.

I being the moderator welcomes everyone and introduces today's guest panelists. "Please welcome Frederick Douglass, a key leader in the abolition of slavery in America; Elias Boudinot, the President of the First Continental Congress in 1783 and the founder of the American Bible Society; Justice John Jay, the First Justice of the Supreme Court; Rev. John Witherspoon, a signer of both the Declaration of Independence and the Continental Congressman who also served as President of Princeton College; John Hancock, first signer of the Declaration of Independence; and former U.S. Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, and James Garfield." Everyone cheers.

I begin saying, "Today our topic is voting in America. Of course, all of us in the audience will be voting tomorrow so we would like to ask you, our distinguished panel, 'What kind of person should we vote for?"

"Mr. Garfield, will you start?" Sitting up straight in his chair, Garfield says, "Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature."

"How about you Mr. Lincoln? Please give us your thoughts." Lincoln firmly responds, "We, the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution."

 Suddenly John Adams speaks out, "A Constitution of Government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

 "Well," I ask, "How do we know who will change the Constitution?" Elias Boudinot answers, "Be religiously careful in our choice of all public officers . . . and judge of the tree by its fruits."

"Religiously careful?" I ask. "Justice Jay can we be religious careful in our choosing of elected leaders?" (The audience falls deafly silent knowing we now have 'separation of church and state' in our nation.) After a pause, John Jay replies, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."

"Only Christian rulers?" I ask. "This seems such a strange thought." Before Jay could respond, his colleague John Witherspoon suddenly blurts out, "Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I [would not hesitate] to call him an enemy to his country."

"Well, Mr. Douglass, what is your opinion sir?" Douglass with a look of determination replies, "I have one great political idea . . . The best expression of it I have found in the Bible. It is . . . 'Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people.' This constitutes my politics - the positive and negative of my politics, and the whole of my politics. 

"Well," I respond, "We have been praying for awhile now for righteousness. We feel that we have done our duty as Christians." John Hancock suddenly stands to his feet and looks out into the eyes of the audience. He locks his eyes in upon yours and exclaims with a deep passion, "I urge you, by all that is dear, by all that is honorable, by all that is sacred, not only that ye pray but [also] that ye act."

We all stand and give a roaring cheer. The curtain closes and the conference comes to a close. As we exit the building, you and I begin discussing all that we have heard; especially Hancock's challenging words "to act." I look at you and I say, "We are in this thing together you know. This country is ours. God is counting on the both of us to take it back. I am all in. Mark Foley is all in. Others are all in. You with us?"

Note: All quotes above from the various leaders are accurate and real.

Today's Scripture
"Righteousness exalts a nation; sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 29:2

Today's Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

 We come to you today to pray for the United States of America.  As another Election Day approaches, we thank you for the freedom to go to the polls and vote for government officials without fear or suppression.

Lord, please provide wisdom to our president, his cabinet, our senators and congressmen and women. We pray for the Supreme Court members as well as our governors and mayors.

Our prayers go out to our military leaders.  Please give them the wisdom and insights they need as they direct the young men and women who defend our nation from those who oppose our way of life.  We ask for safety and protection for the courageous members of our military who we admire so greatly. 

Thank you, Lord, for the many blessings you have showered upon our nation for over 200 years.  Keep us faithful to you and your commandments as you direct our paths each day. 

We make all of these requests in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Today's prayer was submitted by: Pat Williams, the Senior Vice President of the NBA's Orlando Magic who is also one of America's top motivational, inspirational, and humorous speakers and authors. Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 24 to 37.

Today's commentary was written by: Dr. Joe Savage, director, University of Mobile Center for Leadership and the twelve23 movement. 

Posted by: Joe Savage AT 07:53 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
 

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