George Washington’s Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Praying Too Much

Recently, I was asked if, as a believer, we could pray too much. This is a good and valid question especially when we would naturally think of our relationship with God to be like our earthly relationships. Can you talk to a person too much? Perhaps. Our relationship with God is different, and so it is good that the Bible gives us some guidance about both the privilege and frequency of prayer. Let’s consider this!

  1. God is our Father
    When we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are born again. We are born into the family of God. This is something that the world and satan cannot steal from us. It is as certain and secure as our biological connection with our earthly parents. 1 John 3:1–2 tells us, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” According to Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” The Holy Spirit indwells the believer constantly witnessing the fact that we belong to God as His children. 
  2. Our Sonship (or Daughtership) Gives us the Right to Pray
    As a child of God we have the privilege to come into His presence and ask anything of Him. This is a privilege the non-believer does not have. Hebrews 4:16 urges in this way. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” We are to go into the presence of our Father without any hesitation—boldly. This is only possible because of our restored relationship with Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Romans 8:15 tenderly informs us that we can talk to our Heavenly Father as our daddy. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Abba is the Aramaic equivalent of daddy. It is very personal! Don’t let Satan rob you of the joy of talking constantly with your heavenly daddy. 
  3. Ceaseless Prayer is the Desire of our Father
    As our Heavenly Father, God commands us to always be in communication with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” We are told in the following verse that in our prayer we are to always be grateful because this is the desire of our Father. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Ceaseless prayer from a heart of thanksgiving speaks of an open conversation that never ends. It is a conversation that begins as we wake up, continues as we get ready for the day, as we work, as we eat, as we travel, as we relax, and as we go to bed. While this does not mean we are on our knees or bowed in prayer the whole day, it does mean we have an ongoing conversation with our Father throughout the day. This is His desire. He created us for a relationship with Him. Sin ruined it, and Christ restored it at the cross!
  4. Prayer Declares our Dependence
    When we pray and seek our Father constantly, we are declaring that we need Him. Jesus demonstrated this while He was on earth. Jesus spent much time in prayer. In fact, He spent all night in prayer before He chose His 12 disciples. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12) He spent hours in prayer during the night before He was betrayed and arrested in Gethsemane. “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matthew 26:39)

So, can a child of God pray too much? That answer is “No!” Pray on! Keep talking to your Father. Share your every concern! Tell Him your deepest fear and anxiety. Verbally give Him your smallest and largest burdens. He wants to hear from you. By the way, it is satan who wants to make you feel like you are bothering your Father. Don’t listen to him…he is never up to any good!

God Loves You

Have you stopped to consider lately that God loves you? He really does! He loves you just as much as He loves anyone else. In fact, the Bible tells us that God is love. We can understand true love because of the example of God. Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God demonstrated love through the cross of Calvary. There is no greater display of love in all the world than that which was seen at Calvary. Jesus affirmed this when He said to us “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  I pray that you heart will be encouraged by the love of God for you personally. We do not deserve His love, but O how blessed we are to be loved by God!

As We Pray

On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.

It is wonderful to have such a day on our national calendar. If there was ever a time that we needed to pray, it is now. However, many will pray and I fear that we will pray with a wrong motive. Let’s consider it for a moment so we can pray properly.

Do we pray today because we desire to hold onto America as we know it or want it to be? Do we pray because we want prosperity? Do we pray because we are afraid? Do we pray because we want the coronavirus to go away? Do we pray because we want convenience? Is prayer just a way for us to get what we want? Is prayer about us maintaining a level of comfort? 

Throughout the Bible, men like Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Habakkuk along many others prayed to God for their nations to return to God from their sin. They prayed for revival, for a great awakening to who God was and what He expected of them. 

Solomon sought God in prayer on behalf of a sinful nation. He asked God to forgive them at the time they would humbly return to Him. God answered Him with the words, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)  

Isaiah humbly admitted His own sin along with the sin of His nation when he realized the holiness of God. When confession was made, God cleansed and commissioned him. The account of this is stirring! “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. 3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: The whole earth is full of his glory. 4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. 6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: 7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. 8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:1-8)

Jeremiah wept over the sin and waywardness of his nation. His broken and humble heart is revealed in Jeremiah 13:15–17. “Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud: for the Lord hath spoken. 16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness. 17 But if ye will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride; and mine eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.”

Habakkuk prayed earnestly and humbly in the midst of injustice and pending chastening from the hand of the Lord,  O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make known; In wrath remember mercy.” (Habakkuk 3:2)

Friends, today is a national day of prayer and how we need to pray. Presently, our nation desires deliverance, but not the Deliverer. We need Him so desperately! If you are a child of God, would you pray? Would you set aside desire for ease and comfort and pray humbly and fervently? Would you confess your sin and the sin of our nation like Isaiah? Would you pray for our nation to return to our holy God?

He Already Sees!

Several years ago, I heard the song “He Already Sees.” The words are a striking reminder that during the storms of life, God has a different perspective. He sees the totality of the storm from the beginning to the end. He sees what the storm is accomplishing in your life. May God encourage you with the message of this song. Take heart, God already sees the other side of your storm!

When the storm raged about them
The disciples were afraid
For the waves were high and the ship was tossed
They could not find their way
Then they awoke the Master
Saying Lord please save us now
He rebuked the winds and the sea grew calm
And they all wondered how

God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds
He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm
When peace cannot be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds

Like the man on the sea did
I have called on God in prayer
When it seemed to me all hope was gone
And in my deep despair
I remembered what the Lord said
When He calmed that troubled sea
And I know once more how
He sees the storm
And peace floods over me

God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds
He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm
When peace cannot be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds

And when the storms of life come crashing in and trouble me
I can feel God’s arms around me and He whispers
Let it be, Let it be

God sees the storm from the other side
He knows the lessons learned
And just beyond the clouds
He sees clear skies
He speaks peace to the raging storm
When peace cannot be found
He already sees the rainbow when we see only clouds

The Church is Essential

In every generation since Jesus walked on earth, there has been a spiritual battle surrounding the church of Jesus Christ. satan hates the work of the church because it is a work that directly opposes his purposes. satan wants nothing more than to seduce as many people into thinking they can live life as they please and apart from Jesus Christ and yet spend eternity in the presence of God. satan desire for people to be convinced that sin is not that bad, hell is not real and there is no real judgment day coming.

The work of the church is simply the continuation of the work of Christ while He was here on earth. Mark 1:38 says,  “And he [Jesus] said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”

After Jesus arose and before He returned to Heaven, He instructed believers to preach the Gospel everywhere. Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Contrary to what some in high offices are saying, the church, the preaching of the Gospel and the salvation of souls is essential work. Whether that happens in a safe drive-in service, over livestream, via video, via text, letters, phone calls, Zoom or FaceTime, the church (believers) must preach the Gospel in our day. Why? Jesus told us in Mark 8:36 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” What good is your achievements (status, health, financial) in this life if you spend your eternity apart from Christ in hell.

In the book of Acts, the church began to get comfortable. Rather than taking the Gospel into all the world, they stayed in Jerusalem. They were not motivated. The were had become stagnant. God allowed persecution to scatter them and the Bible tell us in Acts 8:4 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

This is not a time for the church to wring its hands, to be silent or to draw back in fear. While we must honor those who are in authority over us, we must continue the work of Christ—preaching the Gospel. We must be faithful to deliver the Good News in every way available.

satan thinks he has slowed the spread of the Gospel through COVID-19. Jesus has promised that in every season that the church of Christ will continue to be built by Christ and upon the deity of Christ in face of opposition and persecution. Matthew 16:18  “And I [Jesus] say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

There is no doubt in my mind that more opposition to the work of Christ will come in our day. 2 Timothy 3:12 assures us, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” However, because we are on the side of Christ, nothing will prevail against the church of Christ…we have His promise. satan thought he had won the victory over Christ at Calvary, yet on Sunday morning our Savior stepped out of the tomb in divine demonstration of His overwhelming power over sin, death, hell and satan.

May the church of the living God take courage. Our Savior is risen and we partner with Him in His essential work in the world today.