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« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2011, 09:25:29 AM »

May 4, 1873
Damien Joined the Outcasts

"I am ready to be buried alive with those poor wretches." The man who spoke was Father Damien. The wretches he spoke of were the outcasts of Molokai Island. The curse of the Hawaiian archipelago, so blessed in other ways, was leprosy. Individuals with leprosy were sent to a peninsula on Molokai. The disease, which caused damaged extremities to rot off the body, was so feared that the Hawaiian government had made it illegal for anyone landing on the peninsula to return to the other islands. Damien knew if he went he could not return. On this day May 4, 1873 he made an irrevocable decision. He would confront the gates of Hell.

Conditions on the island were bestial. Young girls in whom leprosy had just been discovered were raped by demon-faced men in final decay. The stronger victims threw the weaker out of huts to die. The island's huts were foul with disease and despair. Most of the sufferers reeked of decaying flesh.

 Damien turned white as a sheet on the beach. Yet he prayed to be able to see Christ in the ghastly forms before him. Given one last chance to leave, he refused. He had volunteered for Hell and he intended to civilize it.

The son of a Flemish farmer, Damien had entered the priesthood with great ardor. His very presence in Hawaii was the result of incessant pleas. Once there he had proven himself a determined evangelist. But nothing he had done before could compare with the efforts he made now.

Although water was plentiful in the mountains, there was little in the settlement. Damien organized daily bucket brigades. Later he constructed a flume which diverted a stream of water to their doorsteps. He developed farms. The apathetic lepers had neglected even this rudimentary effort. He burned the worst houses and scoured out the rest. Saw and ax in hand, he built new houses. He laid out a cemetery. From now on, those who died would be properly buried. He prepared a dump and cleaned up the village and its environs. He shut down the production of alcohol stills.

And he evangelized. His cheerful conversation led dozens to Christ. The same men who had stolen from the dying or dumped them in ditches, now came to Damien for baptism.

Jealous Protestant authorities, who had done little for the lepers, spread scandalous stories about Damien. But he labored on. Twelve years after he came to the island, he discovered that his own feet were leprous. Four years later he was dead. His quiet heroism won worldwide renown. It brought new donations for the island and a staff of nurses and other helpers. By his own gruesome living death he assaulted the gates of Hell.

Bibliography:

1."Damien of Molokai." Anderson, Gerald H. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York : Macmillan Reference USA; London : Simon & Schuster and Prentice Hall International, 1998.
2.Daniel-Rops, Henri. The Heroes of God. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1965, 1958.
3.Farrow, John. Damien the Leper. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1954.
4.Stevenson, Robert Louis. In the South Seas. New York: Scribners, 1911.
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« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2011, 08:27:16 AM »

May 6, 1867
Famed Southern Baptist, George W. Truett

George W. Truett was born on this day, May 6, 1867 on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina. He became one of the most popular boys in the county, equally handy on the farm, at his desk or sighting down a rifle barrel.

Several times as a child and then as a young man, George recognized his need for a savior from his sins. But he was nineteen before he went forward, "confessing Christ before all the people." That very night he began to urge his classmates to turn to Christ. Many did. He was baptized, joined the Baptist church and began to teach Sunday school. Not only that, but, to pay his way through college, the young man opened a school, which soon enrolled 300 students and employed three teachers! He preached. Those who heard him speak called him a second Spurgeon. He was offered a church, but turned it down. He had decided to move with his parents to Texas. And Texas is where he made his mark for Christ.

The local Baptist church at Whitewright Texas decided to ordain him. George protested, but "there I was against a whole church..." He was ordained, but as of yet held no church. Instead, the 23-year-old accepted the position as chief financial officer of Baylor University because, "people do what he asks them to do." The school was deeply in debt by the standards of the day. In 23 months, George eliminated the debt completely. Later he was offered the school's presidency, but he turned it down, preferring to pastor a church.

At 30, George became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. He had wanted to turn it down, but felt God was saying, "take it." During his 47 years of leadership, the church grew from 715 members to over 7,000. Even after it was remodeled, a thousand people might be turned away from the doors on a given Sunday. It was the largest membership in the Southern Baptist denomination, the largest membership in the world (at that time) and highly influential. Other than his excellent speaking, another source of growth was his training program for Sunday school teachers.

People hung on George's words. In one sermon, he said "Our cities saved means the salvation of civilization. Our cities lost means the corruption and destruction of civilization." He then went on to show that the family is the key to the city. "As goes the home, so will go the city. And I pause to say that the home is in peril and endangered now as it has not been in modern times. ...If people trifle with the home they are undermining the foundation of an enduring and worthy civilization...Put crepe on the door of your heart if things are wrong in the family. Put crepe on the door." He always preached for a decision.

George almost left the pulpit once, however. He accidentally shot and killed one of his closest friends, the chief of police, in a hunting accident. Praying and crying, he could not bring himself to preach again, until in a vision he saw Christ saying "You are my man from now on." The night that he returned to the pulpit, other churches closed their doors so that their members could go hear him preach.

On his seventieth birthday he wrote his wife a letter in which he said, "I would this day rededicate my all to Christ..." Although greatly honored in his life, none of it went to his head. He died in 1944 after a painful illness.

Resources

1.Ezell, John S. "Truett, George Washington." Dictionary of American Biography.
2.Perez, Joan Jenkins. "Truett, George Washington." http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/ articles/view/TT/ftr16.html.
3.Reese, Ed. George Truett. Christian Hall of Fame Series, #10. Glenwood, Illinois: Christian Hall of Fame Series, 1975.
4.Truett, George Washington. "The Highest Welfare Of The Home." http://www.bibleteacher.org/gwt_4.htm.
5.Various other internet articles.
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« Reply #47 on: May 07, 2011, 09:38:38 AM »

May 7, 1794
French Revolution Cult of Supreme Being

"Reason is God," said the leaders of the French Revolution. But people are so unreasonable that the revolutionary leader, Robespierre, soon realized that reason makes a weak God. He became afraid that without belief in some powerful being like the Judeo-Christian God, morals would collapse. Then where would the Republic be? Strong nations need strong virtues.

On this day, May 7, 1794, the Committee of Public Safety, which controlled France, decreed worship of a Supreme Being. This was not the God of the Bible, who enters into personal relationships with men, but a Deist god. Eighteenth-century Deism taught that God created the universe but did not interfere in its operation. According to the Deists, their god could be discovered through natural law and his existence was an inspiration to moral behavior.

That June, Robespierre organized a festival of the Supreme Being. At that festival it was proclaimed, "The day forever fortunate has arrived, which the French people have consecrated to the Supreme Being. Never has the world which he created offered to him a spectacle so worthy of his notice. He has seen reigning on the earth tyranny, crime, and imposture. He sees at this moment a whole nation, grappling with all the oppressions of the human race, suspend the course of its heroic labors to elevate its thoughts and vows toward the great Being who has given it the mission it has undertaken and the strength to accomplish it.

"Is it not he whose immortal hand, engraving on the heart of man the code of justice and equality, has written there the death sentence of tyrants? Is it not he who, from the beginning of time, decreed for all the ages and for all peoples liberty, good faith, and justice?" *

Fearful of further bouts of terror, the revolutionary Committee engineered Robespierre's downfall and execution. The blade of the guillotine was soon stained with his own blood.

* Note: while Christians recognize God as the Supreme Being (a term not used in the Scripture), they also know Him by the more humane name "Father."

Bibliography:

1.Aulard, François Victor Alphonse. Christianity and the French Revolution; Translated by Lady Frazer. New York: H. Fertig, 1966.
2.----------------------The French Revolution; a political history, 1789 - 1804; Translated from the French of the 3d ed., with a pref., notes, and historical summary, by Bernard Miall. New York: Russell & Russell, 1965.
3."French Revolution." Modern History Sourcebook. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook13.html
4."Maximillian Robespierre on the Festival of the Supreme Being." The History Place; Great Speeches Collection. http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/robespierre.htm
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« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2011, 10:49:00 AM »

May 8, 1821
Auntie Charlotte Tucker Glowed

Charlotte Tucker was 54 years old when she went to India as a missionary. She did so at her own expense. Born on this day, May 8, 1821, she was daughter of Henry St. George Tucker, former director of the East India Company. Wealthy and gracious, she published many children's books under the name "A Lady of England." She had not been able to go to India earlier in her life because, for eighteen years, she had the care of her aging parents and of nephews and nieces whose father had been killed during a mutiny in India.

Her nephews and nieces said, "No one could play games like Aunt Char; she seemed younger than the youngest of us." She also liked to dance with them or read Shakespeare aloud while knitting. No one wanted to see her go.

 Before leaving England, Charlotte studied Hindustani, afraid she would not be able to learn a new language at her age. As soon as she arrived in India, she put her limited knowledge of the language to work, stammering out words and phrases such as, "The Lord Jesus is here; He gives blessing." Consequently, she mastered Hindustani within a year. Her plan was to work in the Zanenas, the women's enclosures. And she did. By her death eighteen years later, she had access to 170 homes. She also assisted for many years at a boys' school.

In order to fit in with the Indians, she determined to "Orientalize" her mind. Thus at her first church service, she sat on the floor with the native Christians. That was always her way. She would even have adopted the sari as her dress if the other missionaries had not forbidden it.

So glowing was her testimony, especially when she played music and sang, that Indian Christians would walk for miles just to behold her shining face. Everyone called her "Auntie."

Every year she took a one month vacation. During it she would write a story or two--meditations on Christ's teachings--parables and allegories which proved particularly apt for Indian readers. Titles like Eight Pearls of Blessing or The Bag of Treasure enjoyed brisk sales which increased after her death in 1893.

Bibliography:

1.Andrews, C. F. The Renaissance in India. London: Church Missionary Society, 1912.
2.Montgomery, Helen Barrett. Western Women in Eastern Lands. New York: Garland, 1987.
3."Tucker, Charlotte." Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions; general editor, A. Scott Moreau. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Books, 2000.
4."Tucker, Charlotte Maria." Anderson, Gerald H. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York: Macmillan Reference USA; London: Simon & Schuster and Prentice Hall International, 1998.
Last updated May, 2007.
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« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2011, 09:43:16 AM »

May 9, 1914
Woodrow Wilson Proclaimed Mother's Day

Ana M. Jarvis was deeply attached to her mother whose name was Mrs. Ana Reese Jarvis. Mrs. Ana Reese Jarvis had been the daughter of a pastor and had taught in a Methodist Sunday school at Grafton, West Virginia.

Mrs. Jarvis died in 1905. Two years later, the Sunday school superintendent of her Grafton congregation asked Ana to help him arrange a memorial for the woman who had been so influential in that church. This set Ana thinking. It seemed to her that children often do not do enough to show their moms that they appreciate them while they are still alive.

Grafton held its special service on the second Sunday of May, 1907, the anniversary of Mrs. Jarvis' death. The following year, Ana convinced her own church in Philadelphia to hold a Mothers' Day service on May 10, 1908. Ana supplied the church with white carnations, which had been her mom's favorite flower.

After that, Ana wrote thousands of letters and held many interviews to promote a national Mother's Day. She enlisted friends behind her effort, too.

It took them six years, but in the end they succeeded. On May 8, 1914, both houses of the United States Congress passed resolutions establishing a Mother's Day observance. Acting on the authority of that resolution, President Wilson on this day, May 9, 1914, issued a proclamation regarding Mothers' Day:

"Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the said Joint Resolution, do hereby direct the government officials to display the United States flag on all government buildings and do invite the people of the United States to display the flag at their homes or other suitable places on the second Sunday in May as a public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country."
Today, Mother's Day is not celebrated so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank yous and other tokens of affection. In some countries, the appreciation lasts for two days.

Thanks to the efforts of one Christian lady, Mother's Day is observed everywhere in the United States on the second Sunday of May. But it is observed on that day in other countries as well-- Christian and non-Christian alike--including Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and parts of Africa and South America.

Bibliography:

1.Hatch, Jane M. "Mother's Day." The American Book of Days, 3d Edition. New York: Wilson, 1975.
2.Myers, Robert J. with the Editors of Hallmark Cards. Celebrations: the Complete Book of American Holidays. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972.
3.Rice, Susan Tracy, complier and Schauffler, Robert Haven, editor. Mothers' Day; its history, origin, celebration, spirit and significance as related in prose and verse. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1954.
4.Various encyclopedia and internet articles.
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« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2011, 09:31:32 AM »

May 10, 1886
Karl Barth Was Monday's Child

On this day Monday morning, May 10, 1886, at about five o'clock Anna Katherina Sartorius Barth delivered a son. It was a hard delivery, and the child was ugly. "Karli," as his parents affectionately called him, was born at home--42 Grellingerstrasse in Basle, with just an aunt attending. Although both parents were born and raised in Basle, they had only recently returned to the city when Karl's father, Johann Friedrich Barth was offered a pastorate. He was an earnest, outspoken preacher much respected by his congregation. His son would become one of the best-known theologians of the 20th century.

After a happy childhood in Basle and Bern, Karl Barth attended the Universities of Bern, Berlin, Tübingen, and Marburg. Beginning in 1909 he pastored for many years; and even after he had become a famed professor at the universities of Göttingen, Münster and Bonn, he held that the essential task of theology was preaching. His theology, he said, grew out of his first pastorate in Safenwil, where he carefully crafted his sermons each week. At that time he was a liberal who even went so far as to publicly praise Schleiermacher and made speeches for the Religious Socialists.

 Barth's first important work was his study on the Epistle of Romans. His friend Thurneysen had said to him, "What we need for preaching, instruction and pastoral care is a 'wholly other' theological foundation." For some reason the words stuck in Barth's mind. Although he had usually focused his sermons around a scripture, for the first time, according to his own words, he really became aware of the Bible.

Barth gradually came to repudiate liberal theology. Unlike many religious thinkers of the 20th century, who synthesized Christianity with other beliefs, he refused any "insights" borrowed from world religions, averring that religions are man's attempt to reach God, whereas Christianity is God's reaching down to humans through Christ Jesus. Christianity is not man's discovery but God's revelation. This is no merely intellectual revelation and certainly not a "direct" revelation.

"The revelation which has taken place in Christ is not the communication of a formula about the world, the possession of which enables one to be at rest, but the power of God which sets us in motion, the creation of a new cosmos."
Originally he wrote the book only for himself and his close circle of friends. The first printing consisted of only 1,000 copies which sold with difficulty.

Later Barth wrote Church Dogmatics and other theological works. These have been strongly criticized as cutting theology loose from historical actuality. Perhaps his most practical contribution was the Barmen Declaration, which called Christians back to the historical truths of their faith at a time when Hitler loyalists within the national church were warping the faith into a parody that applauded the regime and allowed Hitler to dictate in matters of religion. When Barth refused to cooperate with the Nazi regime, he was expelled from his professorship at Bonn.

Bibliography:

1.Andrews, James F., Editor. Barth. St. Louis, Missouri: B. Herder Book Co., ca. 1969.
2.Barth, Karl. The Epistle to the Romans. London: Oxford university press, H. Milford, 1957.
3."Barth, Karl." The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford: OXford University Press, 1997.
4.Curtis, Ken et al. Dates with Destiny; the 100 most important dates in church history. Tarrytown, New Jersey: Fleming Revell, 1971, 1946.
5.Torrance, Thomas Forsyth. Karl Barth, biblical and evangelical theologian. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1990.
6.Van Til, Cornelius. Christianity and Barthianism. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1962.
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« Reply #51 on: May 10, 2011, 09:33:43 AM »

averring that religions are man's attempt to reach God, whereas Christianity is God's reaching down to humans through Christ Jesus. Christianity is not man's discovery but God's revelation.

I really like that!
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« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2011, 12:16:48 PM »

I really like that!

I do also - all Glory goes to God - none to man.
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« Reply #53 on: May 11, 2011, 09:19:26 AM »

May 11, 1994
Death of Persistent Jim Broomhall

When Jim Broomhall was nineteen, he read a book about the Yi (also called Nosu), a mysterious mountain people of China's Szechwan province. Intrigued, he made up his mind to tell them about Jesus. In preparation, he became a medical doctor.

Jim joined the China Inland Mission, which had been founded by his great-uncle Hudson Taylor; and he arrived in Szechwan in 1938. Because Japan had invaded China, he was unable to reach the Yi of the Liangshan mountains at that time. Instead, he worked at a mission hospital and married Theodora Janet Churchill. Not until 1943 were he and his wife able to work among the Yi. They traveled among them giving medical aid and making friends. But a Japanese advance forced them to leave again, still not having reached Jim's target--the Liangshan mountains.

Although thwarted, Jim told everyone "I want to go to Liangshan to make friends, for there are my Yi brothers whom I love and wish to serve." Finally in 1947, he got his wish, traveling the thousand miles from Lanzhou to Liangshan.

Jim rode a mule along the river banks, treating patients and inviting them to a clinic that he had established. On one occasion he removed a young man's festering arm (it had been damaged in a dynamite explosion) and replaced it with an artificial limb, much to the joy of the boy's family. One Summer he rode his mule up into remote mountain villages, tending the sick.

The Yi were appalled when Jim took in a leper. The two shared a room and ate the same food. The villagers were so outraged that the leper would endanger Jim this way that they wanted to kill him, but his condition improved, although the irreversible damage could not be undone.

Without even the aid of an x-ray machine, Jim performed two operations on a girl with a crippling bone disease and gave her a new life. Multiply these instances by hundreds and you can see why the Yi came to love their missionary doctor.

In 1951, many Yi came to say goodbye to Jim, his wife and their four daughters. The Communists, after placing his family under house arrest, had ordered them to leave the country. Jim shifted his focus to the Philippines. In 1988, although in ill health, he obtained permission to visit the Yi again. He left in tears, declaring he wanted to return again in two years. In 1991, he did return. By then he was deaf and paralyzed along one side of his body, but people ran to tell each other that Dr. Broomhall was back. A woman knelt before him with a ring, given to her by her mother. "You healed my mother. When she was dying, she gave me her ring and said I must give it to you."

"The people of Liangshan have been such a support and help to me," he said. "I will never forget their friendship." Knowing he could never return again, the teary-eyed doctor picked up a clod of earth to take home with him. Three years later Jim died on this day, May 11, 1994. He was 83. His work lives on in the Christian lives he left behind and in the several books he wrote about the Yi.

Bibliography:

1.Mundus, Gateway to Missionary Collections in the United Kingdom. "Anthony James Broomhall (Jim)." http://www.mundus.ac.uk/cats/3/4.htm
2.OMF International. Pray for China Fellowship, Newsletter, September, 1994. Translated from the book Christianity in Sichuan Banshu Bookshop, Chengdu, 1992.
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« Reply #54 on: May 12, 2011, 09:40:34 AM »

May 12, 1871
John Herschel Laid to Rest beside Newton

John Herschel was bullied at school so his parents had him tutored at home. Born the only child of the astronomer William Herschel, who discovered Uranus and cataloged the objects of the northern sky, John grew up knowing the most famous scientists of his day. The young man shot past his rivals in mathematics and science. At Cambridge, he placed first in mathematics exams. At twenty-one, he became the youngest person admitted to the Royal Society.

Traveling the European continent, he met other great scientists. He was so impressed with French mathematics that he translated three volumes worth of papers into English. Abandoning Newton's clumsy calculus, he adopted the clearer system created by Newton's German rival, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and convinced the English to do so, too. These were small potatoes for the man who became world-famous as an astronomer.

 William Herschel had urged his son to enter the ministry, which he saw as a safe civil service career. John balked. He tried his hand at law instead. When his father died, John used his inheritance to strike out on his own. He sailed to South Africa with his wife, Margaret Stewart to scan the southern skies as William had scanned the northern. The pair lived there for several years. The British government offered John a salary, but he refused it, preferring to stick to his own researches.

With techniques learned from his father, John ground lenses and built some of the largest telescopes in the world. Through these scopes, he compared stellar magnitudes (true brightness) by contrasting them with the moon's image which he reduced to a pinprick for contrast. John was fascinated with double stars. He logged over 1,200 new examples. The importance of double stars (binaries) is that they rotate around each other. By observing their rotations, he could calculate their masses and prove that Newton's laws applied to distant stellar bodies.

John also cataloged many nebulae (gas clouds and galaxies) and showed that most consisted of faint stars. He made calculations of the density of the Milky Way and tried to determine its structure. He tied together all of the day's astronomical knowledge in a popular textbook. Space does not permit us to list all of his contributions to science and technology. For example, when he heard the first report on daguerreotype photography, he was able to develop a similar process within a week and to create a completely new photographic processes afterwards.

John was happy with his wife, Margaret Stewart. She was the daughter of a Scottish Presbyterian. Under Margaret's influence, John underwent a genuine conversion experience. Men like John Herschel give the lie to the notion that great scientists cannot be genuine Christians. His faith fired him with zeal for educational reforms in South Africa--zeal that spurred the development of public education in that nation. One reason that John wanted public education was "to fit [students] for a higher state of existence, by teaching them those [things] which connect them with their Maker and Redeemer." He said of the Bible, "All human discoveries seem to be made only for the purpose of confirming more and more strongly the truths that come from on high and are contained in the sacred writings."

Upon his death, on this day, May 12, 1871, Sir John Herschel was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey alongside Sir Isaac Newton.

Bibliography:

1.Asimov, Isaac. Asimov's Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. New York: Doubleday, 1964.
2.Ball, Robert Stawall. Great Astronomers. London: Isbister and Co., 1901.
3.Buttmann, Gunther. The Shadow of the Telescope; a biography of John Herschel. Translated by B. E. J. Pagel. Edited and with an introd. by David S. Evans. New York: Scribner, 1970.
4.Graves, Daniel. Scientists of Faith. Grand Rapids, Mi.: Kregel, 1996. "Herschel, John Fredrick." Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. London: Oxford University Press, 1921-1996.
5."Herschel, John Fredrick William. " Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Editor Charles Coulston Gillispie. New York: Scribner's, 1970.
6.Herschel, John Frederick William. "Outlines of Astronomy" in Treasury of World Science. Editor Dagobert. D. Runes. New York:philosophical Library, 1962, pp449-458.
7.Kunitz, Stanley J and Howard Haycraft. British Authors of the 19th Century. New York: W. W. Wilson, 1936.
8.McPherson, Hector. Makers of Astronomy. London: Oxford University, 1933.
9.New Dictionary of Thoughts. Compiled by tyron Edwards, revised and enlarged by C.N. Catrevas and Jonathan Edwards. New York: Standard Book Company, 1949.
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« Reply #55 on: May 13, 2011, 08:46:32 AM »

May 13, 1619
John Barneveld Executed

John Oldenbarnevelt was a hero in the long struggle between the Netherlands and Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It was he who convinced England and France to the side with the Dutch. He was also a firm supporter of William the Silent, the strong Dutch leader who won crucial victories against Spain.

After William was assassinated, Oldenbarnevelt threw his influence behind Maurice of Nassau to become the new Captain General of the Netherlands. The states agreed. John Oldenbarnevelt then negotiated a peace treaty with Spain by which Spain agreed to recognize the Netherlands as a separate nation for twelve years. So why did Maurice engineer a coup, arrest Oldenbarnevelt, try him for treason and execute him when he was seventy years old?

Religious and political issues were at stake. First and foremost, Oldenbarnevelt was an Arminian. Arminianism is an interpretation of Calvinism that says that our destiny is not completely fixed by God in advance. A man has some choice in whether or not he is saved, if no more than to say "yes" or "no" to God's offer of salvation. Salvation is not entirely by God's command. For years the strict Calvinists and the Arminians fought word battles over this issue.

Politics often mirrors faith. Oldenbarnevelt, champion of man's spiritual freedom, favored a freer nation and a more liberal government. He was for state's rights. The strict Calvinists preferred a centralized government and fewer state's rights.

The two positions could not be reconciled without much generosity on each side. The Arminian states were Oldenbarnevelt's allies. It was they who had supported his peace plan when Maurice wanted to fight on. Alarmed that the Calvanists appeared ready to suppress the Arminian states, Oldenbarnevelt urged them to arm to defend themselves, a move Maurice viewed as treason.

Maurice declared himself on the side of the strict Calvinists, who were the majority in the Netherlands. Eventually the Calvinist states gave him complete authority to deal with the situation. Maurice arranged a meeting with the Arminian political leaders. As each one stepped into Maurice's apartment, he was arrested. The man whom Oldenbarnevelt had raised to power now sought his death.

Maurice put Oldenbanevelt on trial. The same men were both accusers and judges. Although he defended himself well, the unfair proceedure found the nation's grand old statesman guilty of high treason. On this day, May 13, 1619, the politicians sent Oldenbarneveldt to the scaffold where an executioner beheaded him.

Bibliography:

1."Arminianism." The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. Oxford, 1997.
2.Bangs, Carl. Arminius. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1971.
3.Motley, John Lothrop. Life and Death of John of Barneveld. London: John Murray, 1904.
4.Various encyclopedia and internet articles.
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« Reply #56 on: May 14, 2011, 09:31:28 AM »

May 14, 1948
Union Jack Down, Star of David Rises

At the turn of the twentieth century, a few books on Bible prophecy said it would happen. The majority spiritualized the predictions or applied them to the church.

Up to the last moment, the United States urged caution. Accept a truce and don't declare nationhood, advised General Marshall. He pointed out that war was inevitable if the Jews went ahead with their plans. The United States, he said, could not help Israel. Although the Zionists had gained control of Palestine's internal lines, the forces arrayed against them were enormous and some were British-trained. The Arabs far outnumbered the Jews and the quality of the Arabs' weapons was better. They dominated half of Jerusalem. The Jewish leadership discussed the problem all the night of May 12 and finally voted to proceed with the declaration of nationhood.

 At 8 am on this day, May 14, 1948, the British, who controlled Palestine, lowered their Union Jack over Jerusalem. For the Arabs this was the signal for war. By mid-afternoon conflict was raging across the Holy Land. At 4 p.m. Ben-Gurion read the Declaration of Israeli Independence. Jewish sufferings and their historic roots in Palestine gave them a moral right to possess it, he said. After 1,878 years Israel had a nation again--if they could keep it. The Israelis offered peace.

The day was sultry. Arab troops rode to battle with cheers ringing in their ears and flowers on their vehicles. The Arabs had air forces, Israel none. Of the 85,000 Jews in Palestine, 30,000 had become troops. What weapons they possessed were often antiquated. Moshe Dayan had only two old field pieces to use against Syrian tanks, but he used them with such effect that the Syrians disengaged. Israel's advantages were military skill, intimate knowledge of the terrain, a superb grasp of military tactics, unity of command, and control of internal lines. The Jews, however, thought their chances were just even--if help poured into the country. Still, their opponents were often demoralized. Iraqi conscripts had to be chained to their guns.

The fiercest fighting was in the South against Jordanians and Egyptians. Jerusalem's Jews were outgunned and Arabs held the high ground. Fighting was intense in the historic city, and many died on both sides. British General Glubb who sided whole-heartedly with the Arabs, directed local troops against the Jews. But the Jews were skilled street fighters. With homemade mortars they inflicted fifty percent casualties on some of Glubb's companies.

When overt hostilities ceased, the Arabs had possession of the old quarter of Jerusalem. But Israel's tiny force held more ground than anyone would have credited. Many students of scripture saw these events as fulfillment of Biblical prophecies that Israel would be restored as a nation.

Bibliography:

1.Postal, Bernard and Henry W. Levy. And the Hills Shouted for Joy; the day Israel was born. New York: David McKay, 1973.
2.Thomas, Baylis. How Israel Was Won; a concise history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 1999.
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« Reply #57 on: May 14, 2011, 06:43:04 PM »

HisDaughter, thanks for sharing with us.
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« Reply #58 on: May 16, 2011, 04:44:50 AM »

May 16, 1569
Dirk Willem Burned after Rescuing Pursuer

How many Anabaptists died during the sixteenth century persecution in Europe? No one knows for sure. What is certain is that at least 1,500 were cruelly tortured and killed. For the most part these were peaceful citizens who did not believe in war and who became the forerunners of today's Mennonites and Amish. The main complaint of the authorities against them was that they did not believe infant baptism had any value. They chose to be re-baptized as willing adults.

Although no other charges were proven against them, they were sentenced to death. For the men death was usually by fire; for women it was by drowning. Many Anabaptists proved to be so bold in their final testimony for Christ that authorities began to clamp their tongues before leading them out to their execution so that they could not speak up and win more converts.

One of the Anabaptists who died in flames was Dirk Willem. His story is particularly touching, because he forfeited a real chance to escape when he turned back to help one of his pursuers.

Dirk was captured and imprisoned in his home town of Asperen in the Netherlands. Knowing that his fate would be death if he remained in prison, Dirk made a rope of strips of cloth and slid down it over the prison wall. A guard chased him.

Frost had covered a nearby pond with a thin layer of ice. Dirk risked a dash across it. He made it to safety, but the ice broke under his pursuer who cried for help. Dirk believed the Scripture that a man should help his enemies. He immediately turned back and pulled the floundering man from the frigid water.

In gratitude for his life, the man would have let Dirk escape, but a Burgomaster (chief magistrate) standing on the shore sternly ordered him to arrest Dirk and bring him back, reminding him of the oath he had sworn as an officer of the peace.

Back to prison went Dirk. He was condemned to death for being re-baptized, allowing secret church services in his home and letting others be baptized there. The record of his sentencing concludes: "all of which is contrary to our holy Christian faith, and to the decrees of his royal majesty, and ought not to be tolerated, but severely punished, for an example to others; therefore, we the aforesaid judges, having, with mature deliberation of council, examined and considered all that was to be considered in this matter, have condemned and do condemn by these presents in the name; and in the behalf, of his royal majesty, as Count of Holland, the aforesaid Dirk Willems, prisoner, persisting obstinately in his opinion, that he shall be executed with fire, until death ensues; and declare all his property confiscated, for the benefit of his royal majesty."

Dirk was burned to death on this day, May 16, 1569. His tongue was not clamped. The wind blew the flame away from him so that his death was long and miserable. Time and again Dirk cried out to God. Finally one of the authorities could not bear to see him suffer any longer and ordered an underling to end his torment with a quick death.

Bibliography:

1.Braght, Thieleman J. van. The Bloody Theater of Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians, Who Baptized Only Upon Confession of Faith, and Who Suffered and Died for the Testimony of Jesus, Their Savior, From the Time of Christ to the Year A.D. 1660. Translated from the original Dutch or Holland Language from the Edition of 1660 by Joseph F. Sohm. http://www.homecomers.org/mirror/head.htm
2."Dirk Saves His Enemy." http://www.goshen.edu/mcarchives/ Features/DirkWillems.html
3.Dyck, Cornelius J. An Introduction to Mennonite History; a popular history of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites. Scottdale, Pennsylvania: Herald Press, 1967.
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« Reply #59 on: May 21, 2011, 09:07:19 AM »

May 21, 1874
Sankey First Sang "The Lost Sheep"

"What work are you in?" The man asking the question had just introduced himself to Ira B. Sankey as Dwight L. Moody.

Sankey replied that he worked for the Internal Revenue Service.

"Well, you'll just have to give it up," said Moody.

Sankey was in Chicago to attend a convention. He had heard of Dwight L. Moody's evangelistic work and wanted to see the great soul winner for himself. During the service, Moody asked someone to select a song. Sankey started to sing Cowper's hymn, "There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood." The crowd enthusiastically picked up the tune.

"I've been praying eight years for someone like you," Moody told him. Sankey wasn't so so sure about this. Imagine being prayed out of one job into another! But several months later, Sankey joined Moody. Moody preached and Sankey sang. Between them they led hundreds of thousands to commit their lives to Christ.

 It almost didn't turn out that way, however. Shortly after Sankey joined Moody, the Great Chicago Fire broke out. Sankey helped fight the flames, was nearly trapped, and barely escaped in front of them. He made his way to Lake Michigan and put off shore in a row boat. The boat's line broke and the singer was blown away from shore. Only with desperate effort and much prayer was he able to work his way back to dry land.

When Moody and Sankey rejoined forces, they toured Britain. Sankey saw a poem he liked in Scottish newspaper, tore it out, and read it to Moody. Moody didn't seem interested so Sankey tucked it into his pocket. When Moody asked for a closing hymn the next evening, the Holy Spirit prompted Sankey to use the poem in his pocket. Although he had composed no music for it, he pulled it out and made up the melody on the spot, half-singing and half-speaking the words. It was on this day, May 21, 1874 that the world first heard "The Ninety and Nine," a song based on Jesus' parable of the lost sheep. Response was overwhelming. Moody himself came down afterward with tears in his eyes and asked where Sankey had found the wonderful song!

Elizabeth Clephane wrote the words, but died before she knew how God had used them. The song begins:

There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd's care...
and ends:

There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
"Rejoice! I have found My sheep!"
And the angels echoed around the throne,
"Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!"


Bibliography:

1.Hyde, A. B. Story of Methodism. Greenfield, Mass: Willey and co., 1887. Source of image.
2.Moody, William D. Life of D. L. Moody by His Son. Revell, 1900.
3.Sankey ,Ira David, 1840-1908. My life and the story of the Gospel hymns and of sacred songs and solos; with an introd. by Theodore L. Cuyler. New York : Harper, c1907.
4.Various internet articles such as the cyberhymnal articles on Clephane and Sankey.
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