Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, HISTORY CHANNELS, MINISTRIES WE SUPPORT

Special Prayer Meeting Invitation: Heart of God/Heart of Boston: Prayer, Pulpits, Politics, and Petition

A friend of ours sent us an email invitation to a special prayer meeting being held Wednesday night, April 17, at Tremont Temple Baptist Church, located in downtown Boston. I just got this, so by the time I post, it’ll be “tonight.” The email was originally sent from the Pastor of Tremont Temple, Denton Lotz, and then forwarded to us.

We wanted to share this because of what the invitation says … what it really says … about our hope, faith, and courage … in spite of circumstances which may surround us.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Members of Tremont Temple Baptist Church!
 
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of he Almighty
You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day …” (Psalm 91:1)
 
    A great tragedy has come to Boston. The terror of bombs going off at the Boston Marathon, the tragic loss of lives, the destruction, the terror that struck the heart of the people of Boston reminds us again of a world without God and without hope.       
    Yet, as Christians we are a people of hope. We believe that Jesus Christ has overcome all the powers of evil and darkness. We believe that in Christ the power of God is present and gives us power to overcome. We will not be defeated or terrorized by a few evil people. We will put our hope and faith in the God who is victorious on a cross!
   Therefore, tomorrow, Wednesday evening, we will continue to have our regular prayer meeting at 6:30. It will be a Special Prayer Meeting to pray for the families who are mourning the death of their loved ones. We will pray for the recovery of the wounded. We will pray for the solace of those in fear and still suffering. We will pray for Boston and that peace and order will return.
   You are invited to bring friends to this Special Service of Prayer to be held at 6:30 in Currie Chapel!
May the Peace of Christ be with you!
 
Denton Lotz, Pastor”

After I read the invitation, I found the Church’s website, to gain information about the church. Loved the website, the videos of the choir, their mission and ministry outreaches … and then, I read the history of the church. And, boy did I get a history lesson!

I began to think, to realize again, what a large part of our nation’s history churches have been. I know, we are the “church,” the body of Christ. Yet, I began to think about how large a role the actual church buildings have played in our history. Think about it … before there were city buildings, often, the only place large enough to hold a public meeting was the church, so often located at the very center of town. Yes, the symbolism rings … at one time, the church was at the very center of our lives, just like our town squares. How many of you can remember when the church was called “the meeting place,” or, a more modern slang (in my time), when you were going to church, you were “going to meeting.”

In many towns and cities, like Boston and Hartford, the seeds of so many “movements” were either planted or cultivated in the church building, during these public meetings. I remember walking the “History Trail” through Boston, and being aware of how many churches were included in the walk. And, of standing inside the Old North Church … looking up at the church tower, thinking of lanterns, and how these churches are still sounding “warnings” today …

A few notes from the “Our Story” page at Tremont Temple:

“Tremont Temple Baptist Church has a rich history that has made it a leader in the Boston area for social justice, evangelism, and human rights. In the 1830s the struggle for social justice was seen in the fight for the abolition of slavery. In 1838 a group of men led by Timothy Gilbert started the Baptist Free Church. It was “free” in that there was no rent charged for pews, but more than that it was for the freedom of all people, being the first integrated church in America.
A group of 82 charter members organized the church in 1839.

Throughout its history many famous individuals spoke or performed here, including the singer Jenny Lind. Abraham Lincoln spoke here. The first reading in Boston of the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 took place here. Charles Dickens read for the first time in Boston his famous Christmas Carol here. Dwight L. Moody called the church “America’s pulpit.”

Tremont Temple is now in a period of renewal. We are united in our efforts to become a church that holds together the Biblical concerns of mission and evangelism. At the same time we are concerned about mirroring the Kingdom of God and thus our concern for social justice issues.

God has blessed Tremont Temple throughout our long history. We are aware, however, that history will not save us. Rather, it is our commitment to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes our church relevant to the city of Boston. We exist for the sole purpose of glorifying God and making Christ known to the people of Boston and the surrounding area. We have always been a church that welcomes all people. We are pleased that God has places in our midst an international community. What a joy to worship with the people of God from every continent and many nations. We invite you to join us for worship and experience the warm international fellowship that we have become!”

Here is a direct link to their website:
http://www.tremonttemple.org/

P.S. Hey, I just thought of something, in regard to church being so important in our daily lives “so long ago” … Growing up, I went to school, home, church, school, home, church … every now and then, get to go to the store or shopping (not often) … then, school, home, church, school, home, church …
Today … Guess what? school, home, church, school, home, church,every now and then go to store (mostly gas station) or shopping … then school, home, church … I know I am grateful for the first … maybe I become more grateful for the second …

 

Posted in GUEST POSTS, HEROES OF THE FAITH, MINISTRIES WE SUPPORT

Guest Post: Heroes of the Faith: The ten Booms and Sunday’s Anniversary

We are honored to feature this guest post from Dr. Mike Evans.
Dr. Evans is the Executive Director of The Corrie ten Boom Fellowship, as well as Chairman of the Board of the Corrie ten Boom Foundation in Ha’arlem, Holland, which operates the ten Boom Holocaust Museum. He also founded The Jerusalem Prayer Team, which is a direct outreach of the Corrie ten Boom Fellowship. He founded Churches United with Israel, Inc., the Middle East Media Group, the Evans Institute of Middle East Studies, The Jerusalem World News and TimeWorthy Books.

This is a post Dr. Evans sent me to recognize an important anniversary,
and it gives us an opportunity to introduce to many of you his work, especially in regard to the ten Boom Holocaust Museum. Growing up, in our home, Corrie ten Boom was a hero of the faith, and I can always remember a copy of “The Hiding Place,” and other books by Corrie ten Boom, being on our bookshelves. She was one of Mom’s most admired people, and authors. Enjoy the post, and please, look around at the various resourses you’ll be able to enjoy, as well:

Dear Ted,

Here’s my latest article published on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. It is about the amazing ten Boom family and their love and sacrifice for the Jewish people. It was 69 years ago this coming Sunday that Casper ten Boom died after spending 10 days in prison. Please take a few moments to read the article, and if you could give positive feedback or comments, it will help us expand our influence through this outlet. Also, you may want to forward this to other family and friends who love the Jewish people. I believe they will enjoy reading this wonderful story.
Forgotten Heroes | TheBlaze.com.

Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL

Heroes Of The Faith: David Brainerd

David Brainerd on horsebackDavid Brainerd: The very name brings so many images to mind. Courage, bravery, faith, prayer, service, and unselfishness. I have no doubt I should have mentioned prayer first. A man who devoted so much time to prayer and intersession. No wonder there were so many miracles. There are so many stories of his miraculous missionary ministry. A life devoted to prayer, and so often alone and against all odds, he effectively brought
the Gospel where it had never been heard before, to peoples whom language he did not even know. So many stories and images. His suffering and service, while battling terminal illness, giving his life to preach the Gospel. No wonder his favorite message, his favorite Bible passage, was Isaiah 53. Here in New England, and especially “down” in southern New
England, it seems every Pastor has a favorite David Brainerd story.

My own personal favorite, and I will paraphrase as best I can from memory, was when David Brainerd was scheduled to preach to a large group of Indians, and as was usually the case, he did not know, nor speak their language. His interpreter showed up completely and totally, “falling down” drunk, almost unable to speak coherently. But, there was no one else available who spoke both English and the Native Indian language.
Somehow, the interpreter managed to stay awake and standing long enough to stammer through the message. What happened? God’s Word was so powerful that many, many of the Indians came forward to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord.
David Brainerd preachingMy first knowledge of David Brainerd came through the many references made to him in E.B. Bounds’ many books on prayer. David’s story, and the stories about his life as missionary, astounded me. Please be advised, that any book about his life and his work, will fill you with the same amazement, and encouragement. In fact, I would go so far as to say that any one that is planning and wanting and willing to serve others on Christ’s behalf, regardless of the office or capacity, should read all he can about the life of David Brainerd, and especially his diary, which he devoutly kept throughout his missionary life. Both his Diary and Journal (which he kept from June 19,
1745, to June 19, 1746) are full of ministry and miracles that read like The Acts of the Apostles. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd has had a life-transforming effect upon many, motivating them to become missionaries, evangelists, preachers, and people of prayer and power. John Wesley said, “Let every preacher read carefully over the life of David Brainerd.” He is remembered not only as the great Apostle to the North American Indians, but also as a chief source of inspiration in the lives of thousands who have been challenged from ease and selfishness to lives of holiness and sacrifice, as they have prayed and wept over his Journal.
Everyone should read about David Brainerd. Everyone. Oh, and then compare your hardships to his. He is called “The pioneer of modern missionary work.”
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards=Phillip HowardMost of the biographies condense like this:
Missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania. Born in Connecticut in 1718, he died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-nine, on October 9, 1747, while staying at the home of Jonathan Edwards, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Jonathan Edwards preached his funeral sermon and published the diary which David had kept. David Brainerd’s life reached out and touched the whole world, challenging more people into Christian service than perhaps any other man that ever lived. The mere mention of the name, Brainerd, automatically triggers the mind to think of dedication in a way that perhaps has never been equaled. His ministry to the Indians was contemporary with Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards as they ministered to the English-speaking people during the period called in English and American history the “Great Awakening.” Brainerd’s centuries-spanning influence for revival is positive proof God can and will use any vessel, no matter how fragile and frail, if it is only sold out to souls and to Jesus. “His story,” said J. M. Sherwood, “has done more to develop and mold the spirit of modern missions, and to fire the heart of the Christian Church, than that of any man since the apostolic age.”

“We should always look upon ourselves as God’s servants, placed in God’s world to do His work; and accordingly labor faithfully for Him. Let it then be your great concern, thus to devote yourself and your all to God.”

David Brainerd was born in Haddam, Connecticut on April 20, 1718, the sixth of nine children of Hezekiah and Dorothy (Mason) Brainerd. His father was a local justice of the peace, and both David’s parents were Christians. His father died when he was nine, and the death of his mother in March, 1732 brought additional great grief to 14 year old David. By 1739, he was setting aside whole days of secret fasting and almost
incessant prayer as he strove for acceptance with God. On July 12, 1739, at 21 years old, he returned to his secret place of prayer, where God spoke to him as the day dawned, and he had a glorious salvation experience.

From his youth, David Brainerd was frail and sickly. By August, 1740, he was weak and spitting up blood. Consumption or tuberculosis of the lungs was the plague of colonial New England, and would plaque David every day thereafter, for the rest of his life. He was very intelligent, and would attend Yale for a time. On April 19, 1741, Ebenezer Pembertson visited Yale and gave a stirring address about missionary work to the Indians. The next day, on his 23rd birthday, Brainerd vowed “to be wholly the Lord’s, to be forever devoted to his service.”
David Brainerd-A Love for the Lost by Brian CosbyOn July 29, 1742, he was licensed to preach as a Presbyterian at Danbury, Connecticut. Brainerd’s first sermon was on July 30th at Southbury, Connecticut, using I Peter 4:8 as his text and his first message to the Indians was soon after, on August 12, near the Connecticut-New York border. He traveled as an itinerant preacher for several months. David would travel over 15,000 miles on horseback, often in great pain. He preached from place to place that first winter, then served as a supply preacher at East Hampton, Long Island, New York for six weeks. On his last Sunday there, March 13th, although he could hardly stand up, he preached for an hour and a half. The next day, he left for work among the Indians. He said later, “I never, since I began to preach, could feel any freedom to enter into other men’s labours and settle down in the ministry where the gospel was preached before.” He felt he had to preach where Christ was not named nor known. He left for his life’s work March 25, 1743.

Here is one story of many, this one from his first visit to Indian tribes on the Forks of the Delaware River: Arriving the night before he would begin his work, he camped just outside the Indian settlement. He did not know, until the next morning (when he safely entered the Indian village) that he was being watched by warriors who were sent to kill him that night. The warriors made their move, approaching David’s tent, when they saw their target, on his knees, praying. Then, they saw a rattlesnake crawl up to David’s side, and lift up his head to strike. David did not even see the snake, even when the rattlesnake’s forked tongue almost touched his face. Then, suddenly, for no reason, the snake froze, and then quickly slithered away into the woods. David had no idea he was inches from sure death-one way or the other. However, the Indians ran back to the village and proclaimed that “The Great Spirit is with the paleface!” And, they gave David Brainerd a prophet’s welcome.
His short life with the Indians would be full of miraculous interventions of God on his behalf, and of the great ministry and revivals that would follow.
The Life and Diary of David Brainerd by Jonathan EdwardsHe was frequently in distress for lack of suitable food, exposed to hunger and cold, lost in the forests, caught in storms with no shelter available, obliged to ford raging streams and to spend the night in the woods, in peril from wild beasts and wild savages. He realized, however, that he had at most a year or two longer to live, and concluded, after much struggle of soul, that he should “burn out to the last” as a traveling missionary. Falling on his knees in his resignation, he cried: “Farewell friends and earthly comforts; farewell to the dearest, the very dearest of them all. I will spend my life to my latest moments in caves and dens of the earth, if the kingdom of Christ may thereby be advanced.”

After five years of arduous travel, manifold hardships, and almost constant pain, David Brainerd, spitting blood and almost delirious with fever, stumbled down the road to Northampton to die in the home of Jonathan Edwards. He was not yet 30, but he had no regrets. “Now that I am dying,” he exclaimed, “I declare that I would not for all the world have spent my life otherwise!”

From his diary: “Here am I, send me; send me to the ends of the earth; send me to the rough, the savage pagans of the wilderness; send me from all that is called comfort on earth; send me even to death itself, if it be but in Thy service, and to promote Thy kingdom.”
The last words written in his diary, on Oct. 2, 1749: “My soul was this day, at turns, sweetly set on God: I longed to be with him, that I might behold his glory. I felt sweetly disposed to commit all to him, even my dearest friends, my dearest flock, my absent brother, and all my concerns for time and eternity. O that his kingdom might come in the world; that they might all love and glorify him, for what he is in himself; and that that blessed Redeemer might “see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied! Oh, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly! Amen.”

The 53rd chapter of Isaiah was exceedingly precious to David Brainerd. When preaching to the Indians, his favorite theme was Isaiah 53. And, when he came to the end of his life, the last entry he made in his Diary contained a quotation from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah.

His last words were “He will come, and will not tarry. I shall soon be in glory; soon be with God and His angels.”

 

Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL, SCHOOL WORK

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Quote Collection

Martin Luther King Spotlight
After spending a great deal of time studying the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I have gained even more respect and admiration for his person, and his work. Two things about him have really struck me, as I’ve listened to his speeches and interviews: How great a speaker he was, and perhaps even more, how brave, how courageous he was-and had to be, every day. Let’s also remember that, yes, he was a Pastor. And, a father. And, a husband. And … a brother.
Ted
Martin Luther King shirtsleeves
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King giving speech
“A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.”

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

The time is always right to do what is right.”
Martin Luther Kind-Hands on podium
“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.”

“A right delayed is a right denied.”

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
Martin Luther King, Jr in front of Lincoln Memorial
“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

“War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”

“Seeing is not always believing.”

“The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek.”
martin-luther-color picture

Special Video Presentation: Martin’s Big Words

 

Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL

Heroes of the Faith/ Hymn History: Phillips Brooks: Writer of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

Phillips BrooksPhillips Brooks was a descendent of the earliest Puritans of Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard, taught for a short time in Virginia, and was ordained in the Episcopal Church about five years before the American Civil War began. He was one of the most eloquent preachers of his time, and due to his great oratorical skills, he served in prominent churches in Philadelphia and Boston (Trinity Church). He was for many years an overseer and preacher of Harvard University. Brooks’ close ties with Harvard University led to the creation of Phillips Brooks House in Harvard Yard. On January 23, 1900, it was dedicated to serve “the ideal of piety, charity, and hospitality.”
Phillips Brooks as young manIn 1877 Brooks published a course of lectures on preaching, which he had delivered at the theological school of Yale University, and which are an expression of his own experience. In 1878 he published his first volume of sermons, and from time to time issued other volumes.
Phillips Brooks was introduced to Helen Keller, when she was young, by Anne Sullivan. Brooks has been given credit for introducing Helen to Christianity.
Toward the end of his life, Brooks was chosen bishop of the Episcopal Church in Massachusetts. His entire life, he had touched many lives by his preaching as well as his personal Christian walk. In addition to his moral stature, he was a man of great physical bearing as well, standing six feet four inches tall.

“To know in one’s whole nature what it is to live by Christ; to be His, not our own; to be so occupied with gratitude for what He did for us and for what He continually is to us that His will and His glory shall be the sole desires of our life.”

As a boy, Phillips’ parents had hymn-sings on Sunday evenings, and by the time Phillips went to college, he knew over two hundred hymns. Many of these would be included in his sermons, and Phillips wrote poems and hymns himself.
Today Phillips is best remembered as the writer of the great Christmas hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” which was written in l868. His inspiration for writing the classic hymn?
It was a Christmas Eve he spent in Bethlehem some years before, which, as you could imagine, left a lasting impression on his mind. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine, especially at night. Brooks loved children, and wrote this song for the children in his Sunday School when he was rector of Philadelphia’s Holy Trinity Church.
Lewis Redner, who was the organist and Sunday School superintendent for the church, wrote the music.
Brooks loved children and would often write letters to them. That explains why, when Brooks died on January 23, 1893, a five year old was upset because she had not seen her preacher friend for several days. Her mother told her Bishop Brooks had gone to heaven, and the child exclaimed, “Oh, Mama, how happy the angels will be.”

These words are placed over his tomb: “A preacher of righteousness and hope, majestic in stature, impetuous in utterance, rejoicing in the truth, unhampered by the bonds of church or state, he brought by his life and doctrine fresh faith to a people, fresh meanings to ancient creeds.”

 

Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, QUOTES FOR ALL

Matthew Henry: Short Story and A Couple of Quotes

I am working on a short biography of Matthew Henry, the great writer, whose Bible commentaries are still being used today, and still, over 300 years later, are popular and considered standard for Biblical study. Here is another figure from Christian history, who also served as a Pastor. I find it striking now, looking at the brief histories I’ve written or gathered, of great men of the faith, that I never mentioned as part of their initial introduction, that they served as Pastors.

I came across this story, taken from Matthew Henry’s diary, which was written shortly after he had been robbed. I have to share this with you. It reminds me of something about what was thought about the early Christians, who had been converted through the preaching of the Apostle Paul: The amazing thing about these new converts was not that they did not steal anymore … it was that they did not want to steal anymore.
Here’s the short story from Matthew Henry:

“Many years ago, Matthew Henry, a well-known Bible scholar, was once robbed of his wallet. Knowing that it was his duty to give thanks in everything, he meditated on this incident and recorded in his diary the following:

‘Let me be thankful, first, because he never robbed me before; second, because although he took my purse, he did not take my life; third, because although he took all I possessed, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.'”

Before I close,  please allow me to share just a few short quotes from Matthew Henry:

THOSE THAT WILL NOT YIELD TO THE FEAR OF GOD SHALL BE MADE TO YIELD TO THE FEAR OF EVERYTHING ELSE.

WE STAND NO LONGER THAN GOD HOLDS US AND GO NO FARTHER THAN HE CARRIES US.

IT IS BETTER TO BE SERVING GOD IN SOLITUDE THAN SERVING SIN IN A MULTITUDE.

Afflictions are sent to bring us to our Bibles and to our knees.Thanksgiving is good, but thanksliving is better.
Afflictions are sent to bring us to our Bibles and to our knees.
Thanksgiving is good, but thanksliving is better.

 

Posted in HEROES OF THE FAITH, HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL, SCHOOL WORK

Heroes of the Faith: Jacob Abbott

Jacob Abbott1In our nation’s early history, many children learned to read, by reading the Bible. While, yes, this is a great idea, we must also consider that there just wasn’t much literature, in print during this time, which was written at their level. Jacob Abbott, born in 1803, in Hallowell, Maine, would help to change this. Jacob Abbott was possibly the most prolific American writer of juvenile literature of the nineteenth century.

Jacob Abbott was from a long line of Puritans, the second of seven children. He and each of his four brothers graduated from Bowdoin College, studied theology, and became teachers or ministers. Three of the five boys became authors, and with his brother, John Charles, Jacob authored the famous and widely read “Makers of History” series of biographies. He wrote books with titles like The Way for a Child to Be Saved. With one of his brothers, he prepared a child’s translation of the New Testament.

He graduated from Bowdoin College in 1820; studied at Andover Theological Seminary in 1821, 1822, and 1824; was tutor in 1824-1825, and from 1825 to 1829 was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Amherst College; was licensed to preach by the Hampshire Association in 1826; founded the Mount Vernon School for Young Ladies in Boston in 1829, and was principal of it in 1829-1833; was pastor of Eliot Congregational Church (which he founded), at Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1834-1835; and was, with his brothers, a founder, and in 1843-1851 a principal of Abbott’s Institute, and in 1845-1848 of the Mount Vernon School for Boys, in New York City.
It is Jacob Abbott’s fiction which made him famous. He wrote over 200 books, many of them in series. One of his series taught science, travel and other subjects through the adventures of a boy named Rollo. Jacob created Rollo with enough personality and naughtiness to seem real. His parents used his misbehavior to teach him right from wrong. Other characters were also realistic enough to stick in the mind. And the Rollo stories were full of fun things to try.
His Lucy series may have been the first girl’s series, first published in 1842.
Jacob AbbottDevout and orthodox, he became a teacher, writer and preacher. Jacob trained as a Congregational pastor. As a teacher, he introduced methods of kindness in place of harsh discipline and pioneered women’s education. One of his most famous pupils was young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Many authors would follow in Abbott’s footsteps.

It was around 1848 that Jacob and his brother embarked on the idea of doing a series of biographies aimed at young people. The Abbott brothers eventually produced a set of biographies that were critically acclaimed, and widely read. Within a few years of their publication, the Abbott biographies became standard reference works of juvenile history, and were available in libraries throughout America. They were originally published as the ‘Illustrated History’ series, but were republished many times during the next sixty years in various collections, entitled ‘Famous Characters of History’, ‘Famous Queens of History’, and others. They were most recently republished in the early 1900’s as the ‘Makers of History’ series.
An example of the significance of the “History” series can be found in this quote:
“I want to thank you and your brother for Abbott’s series of Histories. I have not education enough to appreciate the profound works of voluminous historians, and if I had, I have no time to read them. But your series of Histories gives me, in brief compass, just that knowledge of past men and events which I need. I have read them with the greatest interest. To them I am indebted for about all the historical knowledge I have.”
Abraham Lincoln

Jacob Abbot died on October 31, 1879, in Farmington,  Maine, where he had spent part of his time after 1839, and where his brother, Samuel Phillips Abbott, founded the Abbott School.
For more information, including a great archive of Jacob Abbot’s books, with all of his books and series chronicled, visit the official website:
Jacob Abbot.com

Posted in HISTORY CHANNELS, HOLIDAYS, I REMEMBER, QUOTES FOR ALL, SCHOOL WORK

Apollo 8 Astronauts Read Creation From Genesis: Christmas Eve, 1968

“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.

44 years ago, December 24, 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Gorman took turns reading from Genesis Chapter 1,
as their spacecraft returned to earth, after from orbiting the moon 10 times. This was the first time in history that a manned spacecraft had orbited the moon.

It was during this mission that the astronauts took those memorable first pictures of an “earthrise,” the earth “rising” above the moon’s surface.
The spacecraft had actually gotten within 70 miles of the lunar surface.
Earth From Space-Apollo 8
I remember so clearly these events, as so many of you do, also. I remember hearing the astronauts reading from the Scriptures, to the entire world, as literally, everyone who had the means to do so, listened to God’s Word, from space. Being raised in a Christian home, I didn’t think anything unusual or “strange” about this event. I think, however, of how much our world has changed over these years since. I was a huge fan of space travel, as I think most of us were, who grew up during these early launches. I still get a thrill everytime I drive by the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, with its beautiful blue pryamid building and the life-size replica of a Mercury-Redstone rocket (replica of Shepard’s spacecraft) in front. We drove by this remarkable Center 2 times just last week! Growing up, I was also an avid stamp collector, so I was overjoyed when the U.S. Postal Service put the “earthrise” photograph on the stamp.
Apollo 8 StampIf you really want to think about how our world has changed, think about that stamp: The United States Postal Service, on the stamp, engraving, “In the beginning God …” Just take a moment, and think about that, in light of today. Wow! The “earthrise” picture, by the way, was taken on the 9th lunar orbit, and is still considered the most famous picture ever taken from space. I have several of these stamps, in mint condition, in my files. I just checked: This 6 cent stamp is on Ebay for 1.73 each.

Anyway, I wanted to find out more about how the Scripture reading came into “creation;” The story behind it. Here is the story from Frank Gorman’s Autobiograpy, entitled “Countdown, An Autobigraphy,” by Frank Borman with Robert J. Sterling/William Morrow, 1988. The book is still available through Amazon:
Countdown by Frank Gorman“There was one more impression we wanted to transmit: our feeling of closeness to the Creator of all things. This was Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968, and I handed Jim and Bill their lines from the Holy Scriptures.”
About six weeks before launch, a NASA official had called Borman. Noting that the crew would be circling the earth on Christmas Eve, he said, “We figure more people will be listening to your voice than that of any man in history. So we want you to say something appropriate.”
Without time to research the question himself, Borman appealed to his friend Si Bourgin, a NASA employee. Bourgin posed the question to Joe Laitin, formerly a United Press International reporter. Laitin’s suggestion pleased Borman. He had the words typed on fireproof paper. For the men, homesick for earth, the chosen words could hardly be more appropriate.
Bill Anders read Genesis 1:1-4.
Ji
m Lovell took the next four verses.
Frank Borman finished with, “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear’: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters he called Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

As the men completed the orbit, Lovell said, “I don’t know who your two friends were, but they sure hit the target.”

And, now, as an extra special treat, here is the transcript of “The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast,” from NASA National Space Science Data Center.Archived from the original on 19 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-12.
Following the transcript, is a dirct link to take you to the actual video recording of the entire message, as recorded live on December 24, 1968. Enjoy:

The Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast

Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the Moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts; Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders did a live television broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and Moon seen from Apollo 8. Lovell said, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis.
William Anders:
“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Jim Lovell:
“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”
Frank Borman:
“And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”
Borman then added, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

Here is a direct link to this transcript, and the actual video:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/apollo8_xmas.html

Posted in HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL

Really: Where Did The Phrase “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” Come From?

Well, here in the North Country, it was just recently property tax time … and the phrase “Rob Peter to pay Paul” just seemed to come up … coincidence or no?
So, I wondered where this phrase originated. It’s one of those sayings we use or say on a daily basis, without really knowing where the phrase came from, or maybe even what it really means.
And, really, why was it “Peter” and “Paul?” The (perhaps?) apostolic undertones could not be ignored.
I mean, why not “rob Tom to pay Jerry?” Or, any other two names “randomly” thrown in. I thought, perhaps, maybe it was not “random” at all, the choice of the names Peter and Paul. And, why was Peter the one robbed, rather than Paul?
Let’s face it: If Paul knew the source of such gain, he would not accept it, anyway. So, in light of especially that realization, where did the phrase originate, and what did it really mean-when it was first used? As a writer, and a teacher, the meaning of words, and their origin, are important to me.

Enter GOOGLE.

That’s what I did: “THE SEARCH” for “Where did the phrase ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ come from?”

And, just to gain the potential ire of purists, the first source I used was “wiktionary.org.”
It had the answer that was the most common among all of the sources I researched:
It only strikes me now that, yes, the first time the phrase was used, had to do with paying taxes:
Etymology
The expression refers to times before the Reformation when Church taxes had to be paid to St. Paul’s church in London and to St. Peter’s church in Rome; originally it referred to neglecting the Peter tax in order to have money to pay the Paul tax.
Verb
to rob Peter to pay Paul
(idiomatic) To use resources that legitimately belong to or are needed by one party in order to satisfy a legitimate need of another party, especially within the same organization or group; to solve a problem in a way that makes another problem worse, producing no net gain.

An Idiom? I turned to “yourdictionary.com,” (“idioms column), where I discovered something new, something that I also discovered about the phrase, shared by other sources, which involved John Wycliffe:

What does “rob Peter to pay Paul” mean?
Take from one to give to another, shift resources. For example, They took out a second mortgage on their house so they could buy a condo in Florida—they’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. Although legend has it that this expression alludes to appropriating the estates of St. Peter’s Church, in Westminster, London, to pay for the repairs of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the 1800s, the saying first appeared in a work by John Wycliffe about 1382.

I found this bit of new information to be most amazing, especially as the proprietor of a Christian bookstore … so I turned to “amazingfactsworld.com,” which only mentioned the church tax as the origination:

What Does the Expression “Rob Peter to Pay Paul” Mean and Where Did the Idiom Come From?
In the mid-1700s the ancient London Cathedral of St. Paul’s was falling apart.
The strain on the treasury was so great that it was decided that it would merge with the diocese of the newer St. Peter’s Cathedral in order to absorb and use their funds to repair the crumbling St. Paul’s.
The parishioners of St. Peter’s resented this and came up with the rallying cry, they’re “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
The expression is often used to refer to a bad deal.

But, no mention of John Wycliffe on this source … I needed answers … so, I turned to “answersyahoo.com”:

Resolved Question
Where does this saying come from? Robbing Peter to pay Paul?
Best Answer
Take from one to give to another, shift resources. Although legend has it that this expression alludes to appropriating the estates of St. Peter’s Church, in Westminster, London, to pay for the repairs of St. Paul’s Cathedral in the 1800s, the saying first appeared in a work by John Wycliffe about 1382.
“The expression ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ goes back at least to John Wycliffe’s ‘Select English Works,’ written in about 1380. Equally old in French, the saying may derive from a 12th-century Latin expression referring to the Apostles: ‘As it were that one would crucify Paul in order to redeem Peter.’ The words usually mean to take money for one thing and use it for another, especially in paying off debts,” according to the “Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins” by Robert Hendrickson.

I thought this was an excellent explanation … but then, I still wasn’t sure if there may be more to why the names “Peter” and “Paul” were chosen, and the phrase has lasted so long:
Maybe, I should turn to a British resource. So, I did. I went to “The Phrase Finder” over at
“phrases.org.uk. They had quite a lot of information, and included why these particular 2 names were chosen:

Phrase Dictionary – Meanings and Origins > Rob Peter to pay Paul
There’s a text, first published in 1661, that purports to explain the origin of this expression – Peter Heylyn’s Ecclesia Restaurata:
The lands of Westminster so dilapidated by Bishop Thirlby, that there was almost nothing left to support the dignity; for which good service he had been preferred to the see of Norwich, in the year foregoing. Most of the lands invaded by the great men of the court, the rest laid out for reparation to the church of St Paul – pared almost to the very quick in those days of rapine. From hence first came that significant by-word (as is said by some) of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
A 350 year-old text claiming to explain the origin of a phrase is usually almost as good as a smoking gun for etymologists. Regrettably, Heylyn’s understanding was flawed; the phrase was known long before 1661 and even before the birth of the 16th century cleric Thomas Thirlby. The ecclesiastical tome Jacob’s well: an English treatise on the cleansing of man’s conscience, circa 1450, includes the phrase in it’s original form:
To robbe Petyr & geve it Poule, it were non almesse but gret synne.
The expression may be even earlier than 1450. John Wyclif’s Selected English Works contains this text:
Lord, hou schulde God approve that you robbe Petur and gif is robbere to Poule in ye name of Crist?
There is however, some dispute as to the date of the above. It is reprinted in a Victorian book but the original is now lost. If it does indeed arise from Wyclif the date would be 1380. Others have speculated that a more realistic date is around 1500.
The expression was well enough established in English for it to have been considered proverbial by John Heywood when he published A dialogue conteinyng the nomber in effect of all the prouerbes in the Englishe tongue in 1546:
Rob Peter and pay Paul: thou sayest I do;
But thou robbest and poulst Peter and Paul too
The phrase was also in use in other European countries and was known in France by at least 1611, when Cotgrave produced A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues:
Découvrir Saint Pierre pour couvrir Saint Paul [Strip Peter to clothe Paul]
The precise date is not the only aspect of this phrase that is somewhat uncertain. Scholars also disagree as to the thinking of whoever coined it. Given that any two names would work in a ‘rob X to pay Y’ proverb, why choose Peter and Paul? It has been suggested that the primary reason for Peter and Paul is the alliteration, i.e. the same reason that Jack was paired with Jill when they went up the hill. That may well be part of the story, but there’s surely more to it. The similarities between Saint Peter and Saint Paul go deeper than their sharing of the letter P.
The expression was coined at a time when almost all English people were Christian and they would have been well used to hearing Peter and Paul paired together. They were both apostles of Christ, both martyred in Rome and shared the Feast Day on 29th June. This commemoration now passes by with little mention, but not so in mediaeval England. The essence of the meaning of ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ is the pointlessness of taking from one only to give to another who was similar. There are many churches of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in England and throughout Europe. It may not be the case that, as Peter Heylyn asserted, that the phrase arose from the borrowing of money from one church to fund another, but from the familiarity of the notion of Peter and Paul being alike and inseparable.

I really learned a lot from this source, and most of it I almost completely understood.

So, I hope this clears up the question for you. There were a lot of “back and forth” discussion websites which featured answers, but I chose the best 5 which I found.
Here are the links to the sources, which may be a great resource for your future searches for other phrases and work origins:

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rob_Peter_to_pay_Paul

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=1006050128383

http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/rob-peter-to-pay-paul.html

 

Posted in GUEST POSTS, HISTORY CHANNELS, QUOTES FOR ALL

Napoleon Bonaparte: Believer?

Napoleon-frontAt church, a friend handed me this quote, attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte:
“Alexander’s kingdom and my kingdom will ultimately come to naught. But, Jesus’ kingdom is indestructible, because His kingdom is ruled by the power of love.”
I had, in the past, heard that Bonaparte believed in the deity of Jesus.
I think that Napoleon, in his later years, had changed his views on many things, God included. It seems that the quotes I have been able to attribute to Napoleon, regarding his beliefs, came in his later years, especially during those moments of exile, when he must have had plenty of time to just think.

napoleon-sideI discovered this on the “www.adherents.com” website, with most of the information culled from Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias, 2000, W. Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee … quoting from Henry Parry Liddon, Liddon’s Bampton Lectures 1866 (London: Rivingtons, 1869), 148.

Apparently, Napoleon Bonaparte had a strong belief in God, but he voiced many criticisms of organized religion. Many quotes by Napoleon indicate a strong belief in Jesus Christ. Possibly Napoleon’s views changed over time, or possibly some quotes have been inaccurately attributed to him.
From: Ervin Shaw, “Napoleon Bonaparte: ‘Emperor’ to EMPEROR” webpage, posted circa 2000, latest addition 14 August 2005; in “Christian Testimonies” section of “The Truth . . . What Is It?” website (http://poptop.hypermart.net/testnapb.html; 
“I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity…” So says Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), emperor of France.
Napoleon expressed the following thoughts while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena. There, the conqueror of civilized Europe had time to reflect on the measure of his accomplishments. He called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The count declined to respond. Napoleon countered:
Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.”

Now, these quotes, from www.giga-usa.com:

“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded empires; but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force, Jesus alone founded His empire upon love; and to this very day millions would die for Him.”

“All systems of morality are fine. The gospel alone has exhibited a complete assemblage of the principles of morality, divested of all absurdity. It is not composed, like your creed, of a few common-place sentences put into bad verse. Do you wish to see that which is really sublime? Repeat the Lord’s Prayer.”

“All the scholastic scaffolding falls, as a ruined edifice, before one single word-faith.”

“From first to last, Jesus is the same; always the same-majestic and simple, infinitely severe and infinitely gentle.”

“If you (to General Bertrand) do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well; then I did wrong to make you a general.”

“Religion is, in fact, the dominion of the soul; it is the hope, the anchor of safety, the deliverance from evil. What a service has Christianity rendered to humanity!”

“What a solace Christianity must be to one who has an undoubted conviction of its truth!”

And, finally, this, from www.wordproject.org:

“The Bible is no mere book, but a Living Creature, with a power that conquers all that oppose it.”
napoleon-horseback