Throughout the United States today believers are gathering for the National Day of Prayer. Since the founding of the country there have been over 100 national calls to prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving issued by the President of the United States.
Between the years 1861-1865 the United States found itself in the midst of a bitter civil war over the issue of slavery, and several other serious disagreements. By the time the North won the war nearly 620,000 soldiers had perished. There were many in the North who were so embittered that the South had dragged them into such a deadly conflict that they wanted the South to pay dearly.
William Wilberforce led a campaign against the British Parliament to abolish slavery in the late 1700's and early 1800's. During the course of his intense efforts, Wilberforce came to a desperate place of discouragement, feeling he had absolutely no more strength to continue. In this condition he was about to give up, when his elderly friend, John Wesley, lying on his deathbed, was informed of his friend William's distress.
Throughout the United States today, everyone will be celebrating the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence — a document through which leaders of the colonies in the New World broke free from the King of England.
As the United States celebrates the 4th of July tomorrow – Independence day – we're often reminded of the price that was paid for our freedom. But today, in that spirit, I want to recall a time when a heavy price was paid for a translation of our Bible.
The writer of Ecclesiastes was aware of cycles in nature, how they repeat themselves. Some have noticed another interesting historical cycle which awakens our awareness at this time of year. The dates April 19th-20th contain an interesting pattern. This is a time frame which has seen the birth of much havoc in the world.
For the first time in over a 100 years, Thanksgiving and Chanukah will fall on the same day, November 28th, 2013. Some have termed it "Thanksgivukkah", however my wife calls it, "Todanukah". (The Hebrew word for "thanks", is "toda".) According to one calculation, the next time that Thanksgiving and Chanukah will align perfectly will be 79,043 years from now! I expect we will all have gone to our reward by then.
Most of you know the story an Indian named Squanto and his first thanksgiving celebration with the Pilgrims. However, you might not know that over a decade before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, English traders were trading with the Indians throughout the region. Squanto’s amazing story really originated then.
As we spoke across the United States these past months, it seems we were continually met with a spirit of apathy and a lack of understanding about the times in which we live. Despite all the things going on in the world today, the sense of urgency about the hour seemed lost among many.
Truly we are living in remarkable times! Today is probably one of the most significant days of our lifetime, as Americans go to the polls and decide the future of the United States. Of course, voting is important, but let's be sure we know what we're voting for!
For a season I worked in Washington D.C. for one of the largest Christian political organizations in America. Sometimes I saw how politics could get ugly and, more often than not, how it changed people — not for the better…but often for the worse! As the elections are heating up in the United States, there have recently been some outrageous attacks. And sadly, I feel pretty sure these attacks will only intensify in the days ahead. Nevertheless, I'm encouraged! Why? Because, often, the enemy's destructive intentions and attacks become God's means for testimony and victorious proclamation!
Throughout Colorado and New Mexico forest fires are burning out of control. Last night, we had the priviliage of hosting a pastor and his wife. They were leading a tour group visiting different ministries throughout Israel. While the pastor was checking his email, he received word that houses near his congregation in Colorado were being evacuated.
We're preparing to celebrate our 7th Thanksgiving here in Israel, and as you may or may not know, the majority of Israelis have never heard of this holiday. So it’s always an adventure on the day we go out hunting for a turkey and all the other Thanksgiving foods which Americans are normally accustomed to. You see, most Israelis have never contemplated the idea of cooking a turkey whole, (not that the little Israeli ovens could even fit one if they had).