Sapphire Sky

May 17, 2020

Choosing Joy

Filed under: encouragement, Life!, love, marriage and family, praise — Christ Ranger @ 9:32 pm

Shout for Joy the Lord all the earth! Ps. 100

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”  Luke 2:10

I’ve always appreciated joyful people. They’re rare. People who regularly brighten a conversation, a room, a relationship. Joyful people are good to be around. We can all be joyful and encouraging at times, but I find it just as easy to be negative or simply apathetic or detached.  I don’t consider myself gloomy, but I also do not consider myself joyful.

God has been pricking my conscience the past year in this regard.  My lack of joy should bother me.

Is joy the most overlooked and underappreciated attribute and command of God? It’s so easy to turn God into a series of shall’s and shall nots, rules and ceremonies.  For me, it’s often easier to focus on the Passion of the Christ and His suffering than on the joy of His resurrection and what that portends for our future.  Really, though, it’s easier yet to focus on the things of this world which often grab the attentions of my heart.  The continual tyrannies of the moment seem designed to sap my strength and enthusiasm.  But when I think of what God wants from me, I think of communion with him, love, justice, grace, patience, charity, stewardship … .

But joy?  Over the years, I read the verses about joy, but not really.  My heart did not hear.

I never gave joy much thought, until the past six months.  In response to several specific prayer requests, God just kept bringing it up in my life, over and over again.  Multiple lessons in places far and wide. Even before the whole Covid19 debacle, God laid it on me repeatedly that joy is a choice, a choice God commands, like love. The Covid19 “events” have been an invitation to depression and anxiety. It is not a time for feeling joy.  These lessons in joy stand in contrast to circumstances in which we find ourselves.

Yet, First Century Rome was not a time or place for Christ followers to feel joy.  Prison, beatings, being human torches in Nero’s garden … .  And yet, there’s Paul voice, coming from a Roman prison in the midst of such misery, as he awaits his own execution: Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice.. Phil. 4:4.  In the midst of true hardship, real deprivation and facing imminent death – rejoice, again I encourage you – REJOICE!

Like love, joy is both a feeling and a choice.  Sometimes it comes naturally, but for most of us, myself included, joy is not a natural, regular feeling.  It’s not that I don’t like joy, it’s just I’m satisfied with far less than true joy.  Comfort, security and routine suit me just fine, thank you.  C.S. Lewis captured it well when he said, “We are half hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us.  We are far too easily pleased.”

Joy is more than an antidote to depression.  Joy should be more than an occasional experience.  Like love, however, joy must be chosen, pursued and cultivated.  I recently shared with a group of dear brothers what God has been teaching me in this regard over the past several months, and a brother asked me to reduce it to writing to share.  So, here’s where I am and what God has me working on.

First, big hat tip acknowledgment.  My brother Pastor Travis gave a sermon during the great quarantine/house arrest that we watched on Facebook.  In fact, it was the first sermon by Travis that I’d been able to watch for at least a year.  It was on how to choose joy, which was one more of many many not subtle lessons on this topic from God. Perhaps because we have genetically similar brains, I liked his organization of the topic. So, the first three points are slavishly taken from Travis, however, not necessarily the subpoints (I only wrote down the three sermon points in my notes!).

FIRST and FOREMOST: CHOOSE GOD

Brother Lawrence reminds us in Practicing His Presence, “Our only business is to love and delight ourselves in God.”

God is the foundation of existence, of truth, and of meaning.  Without Him, we are afloat in a meaningless practically infinite void of space – both physically and morally.  Without God, we are no more than our experiences, for better or worse. Curiously assembled molecules on a blue dot in the middle of an empty, cold expanse. As Jesus taught, without Him, our castles are built on shifting sand.

God is our hope for eternity.  God gives us grace, when our nature warrants judgment. God gives us himself, the Spirit, for power and the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Gal. 5:22.  God is love.  He is never changing.  He authored our lives, our salvation, and our sanctification.  And gives us all of this and more, for free, as His gift.  All of which should lead us to the second point.

SECOND as a result of choosing God: CHOOSE WORSHIP

“The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Ps. 28:7

God revealed himself to us in time, and those revelations are recorded in Scripture.  As the last paragraph indicates, God warrants infinite worship.  He is truly Awesome. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb. 12:28-29.

If you do nothing else all day to nourish your spirit, praise God.  Praise Him for who he is. Praise Him for what he’s done and what he’s promised to do.  Praise Him for the creation around you.  Praise Him for making you and putting breath in your lungs and thoughts in your head. Praise Him for the people he’s put in your life, even the ones you might not be fond of.

Turns out that worship is also FUN, especially when done with others and to music.  Indeed, even God sings! Zeph. 3:17.

Lift your face to the one, most high King of Creation, and sing praise. Your spirit will lift with your praises.

THIRD: CHOOSE GRATITUDE

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” Ps. 107:1

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil. 4:6

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thes. 5:18

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col. 3:17

Before you ask God for anything, give him thanks.  If you are able to breath and form a thought, give thanks.  If you are able to lie your head down to sleep, give thanks. If you have water to drink, give thanks. Before you ask something from anyone, make sure you’ve expressed gratitude to and for them.

Make it a point to show those close to you appreciation every day. I’ve been married going on 27 years, and this past year, my wife and I made it a point to try and tell each other things we appreciated about each other. It’s a small thing, but it makes a difference, particularly over time. After years of being together, it’s easy to forget to articulate the many things we like about those close to us.

A life founded on God and centered on regular and deliberate worship and regular and deliberate gratitude, produces a life of joy.

FOURTH: MAKE AN EFFORT TO BE A JOY TO BE AROUND

Work for joy!

“Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.” I Cor. 1:24. In this day of great concern over infections and social distancing, make it a goal to be a GOOD social infection: seek to bring joy, encourage worship and appreciation.

Foremost, choose the fellowship of believers. Give thanks and praise to God with other believers. Seek to surround yourself with people that put their faith in Christ and who also want to live lives of praise and gratitude. Historically, hermits are not known for being joyful spirits. Perhaps related, who you spend the most time with will be one of the biggest influences on who you become.

Of course, that works in reverse too. You can have a huge influence on who those closest to you become.

Be careful not to cop out of a relationship and say, “they’re just not joyful!”  Maybe you can help them turn it around.  Or maybe, consider whether you may have been part of the problem through commission or by omission?  Suffice it to say, I have been. As part of this journey of understanding the practice of joy, God laid it on my heart, what have you done to bring joy into your soul mate’s life? It was painful for me to realize, I was far too often part of the problem or by omission, i.e. missing in action regarding coming along my bride to encourage and help her. If you haven’t already, make it a point to pray, praise and give thanks with those closest to you and consider to what extent you are a source of encouragement and joy for them.

Choose to have fun with those close to you. If screens are a thing in your house, which is likely if you are in an American house with other people and even more likely if you are in a house by yourself, have screen-free times planned, scheduled and committed to during which you do something fun.  Play a game. Tell a story. Sing a song. Pop water balloons on each other’s heads. Whatever your people enjoy, do it.  Be deliberate.

Be deliberate in choosing God.  Nothing speaks to our priorities more than how we use our time. When you read the biographies of the great men and women of faith, you repeatedly see the same two things: they were ruthlessly committed to their time with God in scripture and to their time in prayer. And like Brother Lawrence, prayer need not be a formal, set aside time or place.  It is an ongoing, regular and real conversation with God.

This is where God has me now and as I am working on cultivating a spirit of joy.

Thank you for reading this. I hope you pursue and have a life filled with joy.  God bless!

 

 

 

September 8, 2014

Who is Jesus?

Filed under: praise, theology, Uncategorized — Steve Knaus @ 2:06 am

Who is Jesus?

There may be no one in history with more written about than this man.  Authors have been busy for almost 2,000 years writing pages and volumes that reflect their thoughts of Jesus Christ.

Like the people who lived 2000 years ago, everybody today seems to have an opinion.   He is often called a great teacher, a miracle worker, a martyr. Some say that he was God.

The more I hear from people, the more I see that most people are trying to reinterpret the life of Jesus Christ into a person that they would like to see based on their own wants and needs. Lonely people want a friend. Hurting people want a miracle worker. Liberals like the one who opposed the religious and political establishment. Conservatives like the one who promised to uphold the law. Everybody likes the message of love, although few agree on what it means. The list goes on.

But we have missed the point.  We are looking at Jesus as if he was a cosmic force that exists for our own personal needs. He was a real man. He lived. He died. He came to life again.

Even in Jesus’ own day, people were filled with expectations of who he should be and what he should do for them. One thing is for certain: people who came to Jesus with preconceived notions all went away greatly disappointed.

So who is this man?  The first four books of the New Testament, known as The Gospels, tell us about the life of Christ Jesus and provide excerpts of his work.  The Fourth Gospel, written by John, provides some of the most personal glimpses of Jesus’ life on earth.

John was one of Jesus’ disciples and one of his closest friends. He does not attempt a biography but writes with the point:

 John 20:30-31

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

John’s point is twofold: (a) believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and (b) have life when you believe.

I have been challenged to write down what I encounter as I study through John’s book over the next several weeks.  I will try to use this blog as a means to share the most significant discoveries.

 

July 15, 2013

Escaping to Fly High Over Mont Blanc

Filed under: praise, sports, Uncategorized, World etc. — Christ Ranger @ 3:22 pm

This is much more satisfying and inspirational than reading about the Zimmerman-Martin case or the most recent Roberts Court jurisprudential disaster:

June 8, 2013

Learning at the Feet of Moses and Jesus

Filed under: praise, theology, video — Tags: — Christ Ranger @ 9:09 pm

I recently heard Rosario Butterfield refer to her Bible study time as sitting and learning at the feet of Jesus, and Moses, and Paul, and Isaiah and the other prophets and apostles. What an elegant but impacting way to think of it. To what lengths would I go to listen to Jesus or Moses in person? Shouldn’t I simply walk across the room then and pick up my Bible hear what God had them write to me?

Here, a number of Chinese believers receive their first Bibles:

April 21, 2013

Equipping God’s People

Filed under: marriage and family, Ministry, praise — Christ Ranger @ 10:00 pm

Psalm 19:7-9

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
    making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

We restarted a family integrated Bible study at our church recently, which is fancy speak for a Bible study where everyone is invited – newborns to grandparents.

Andy Wilson teaches Luke about Hebrews 4:12

Andy Wilson teaches Luke about Hebrews 4:12

The class is committed to equipping and encouraging our families to study the Bible together.  We use the Answers Bible Curriculum (“ABC” for short) published by Answers in Genesis.  ABC is a comprehensive curriculum designed to cover the entire Bible.  AiG explains:

Synchronized Sunday school for all ages!

Answers Bible Curriculum is a full-featured, chronological, 3-year Sunday school program. Its 156 lessons are synchronized across 7 age groups from preschool to adults. Each group covers Genesis through Revelation and learns the same material—but at different levels of depth—empowering exciting and easy discussion for the entire family.

The curriculum teaches both what the Bible says and also why we can believe it’s true and how to read it.  In the first few lessons, the family is taught the meaning of inductive Bible studies, the foundational nature of scripture, how to distinguish between exegesis and eisegesis, and fundamental apologetics regarding the truth of scripture.  Great content and all scripture based.

The curriculum is designed for churches, ie student guides, teaching materials and devotionals are organized by age.  AiG is working on but has not yet released a family integrated curriculum; they have, however, released a family weekly devotional that tracks the lessons.  For our class sessions, our leader Andy Wilson reviews the various age group lessons and merges them into a single class designed for all ages.

Perhaps most importantly, it has helped us improve our biblical discipleship within our family.  We engage the same issues together as a family and have detailed study guides to reference and guide us in the Word.  It has already become much easier for my wife and I to disciple our children on important issues of our Christian faith. Praise God!

April 14, 2013

What did Christ finish?

Filed under: encouragement, praise, theology — Christ Ranger @ 9:09 pm

Easter 2013 Message

by Pastor Stephen Daveystaff_davey_smile

John 19:30

There is nothing quite so profound as a person’s final words; especially when that person is aware that they are about to die.

Lady Astor was the first female member of the British House of Commons who used to tangle often with Winston Churchill. She was the woman in that famous conversation where she upbraided Churchill saying that if she were his wife, she’d poison his drink. To which Churchill famously responded, “And if I were your husband, I would drink it.” As she lay on her deathbed at the age of 85, she awakened to find her bed surrounded by her entire family. She grinned and said, “Either I am dying, or this is my birthday.”i

Frank Sinatra’s last words were spoken to his fourth wife – he simply looked up at her and said, “I’m losing” – and then died.ii

Queen Elizabeth I brought England to its greatest world power; literature, education, fashion and glamour flourished under her 40 year reign which ended in the 17th century. As she lay dying, she gasped her final words, “All my possessions for a moment of time.”iii

John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, was finally chased down and trapped in a barn. As soldiers set fire to the barn, Booth was spotted and fatally wounded. After they pulled him out of the barn and away from the fire, Booth lay there with moments to live – he held up his hands and said, “Useless . . . useless.”iv

O. Henry, the famous short story writer and outspoken unbeliever said just before he died, “Turn up the lights – I don’t want to go . . . in the dark.”v

Contrast that to the last words of Charles Spurgeon, the London pastor from the 1800’s who died with these words on his lips – Jesus died for me.

And in His dying breath, Jesus Christ will say just a few words – so profound that believers have read them and studied them and have been nourished by them and strengthened and ready to face life and death because of them.

Why? Because they were words that played out the glory of the gospel in living color – first, with words of agony and separation and suffering, but finally – as he spoke for the last time – words of victory and satisfaction.

We have time for one of Christ’s seven final words or statements – let me invite you to the Gospel of John and chapter 19. Verse 28. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” 29. A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. 30. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

If you compare the Gospel accounts, you discover seven things Jesus said during his crucifixion.Rembrandt TheThreeCrosses 1653

We’ll take time for this statement here in verse 30.

The ancient Greeks were proud of the fact that their universal language was able to communicate so much with so few words.

“To be able to give,” as one wrote “an ocean of matter in one drop of language.”vi

It is finished is only one word in the Greek language – tetelestai – one evangelical author wrote that this is the greatest single word ever uttered.vii

In this one word is wrapped up the Gospel of God.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to be right with God – how to know you’re sins are forgiven – how to know that you can have heaven, guaranteed – it’s bound up in this one word.

It is finished.

And by the way, would you notice that Jesus did not say, “I am finished”, even though in less than 60 seconds he would.

He didn’t say, “I am finished,” but, “It is finished.”

Which is remarkable on a number of fronts, isn’t it?

How often can any of us say, “We finished something?”

I don’t know about you, but my “to-do” list isn’t getting any shorter – it’s getting longer.

I’ll never outrun it.

Think of how many times you’ve said, “I’ve started something” . . . but haven’t been able to say, “I finished it.”

I can remember as a college student, setting out in my spare time to be a salesman selling Amway products? How many others in here have a similar story of success? (more…)

March 30, 2013

HE is risen!

Filed under: encouragement, praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 11:04 pm

A short film about life, death, love and the savior of mankind. Happy Easter!

February 11, 2013

Let The Nations Be Glad

Filed under: Ministry, politics, economy, etc., praise — Christ Ranger @ 10:15 pm

Another Great Awakening is taking place in our world today. More people are becoming Christians than at any other time in history. God’s Spirit is sweeping across the nations of China, South Korea, Australia, Central and South America, Cuba, and parts of Africa drawing more than 82,000 people every day according to recent surveys. However, only 3 to 4% of these daily conversions are occuring in North America

How can our nation become part of this Great Awakening and experience God’s blessings? Let’s look at Psalm 67 for some answers from God’s Word. Although we don’t know who wrote this psalm, we do know that he wanted God to bless his nation and he wanted to be a blessing to others.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.

Notice that the first thing the psalmist does is go to the Lord in prayer. He begins with a cry for God’s forgiving grace. This is the first step in receiving His blessing. God forgives, then God gives. Then the psalmist asks for God to bless them and give them a realization of His favor and approval. Finally, he asks that God’s ways may be known and His saving power experienced by all the other nations of the world. That’s a great prayer for us to ask of God.

The Lord has blessed us so that we will be a blessing to others. He answers our prayers so that we might become the answer to someone else’s prayer. If we are not sharing the “Good News” of God’s saving power with others, our spiritual life may end up resembling the Dead Sea, a holding pond with no new life or blessing. This certainly is not God’s plan for His people! He wants us to be a channel of His blessings and share them with others.

The psalmist has a passion to know Him and make Him known. God’s will must be known on earth if it is to be done on earth. If people do not know the Lord’s will, how will they ever follow it? In His Word, God revealed His will by extending His grace to unbelievers. He also demonstrated His method through the life of His Son. The way He communicates His will, in addition to studying His Word, is through His people as they share His way with the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6).

God chose and blessed Abraham so that he might be a blessing in reaching a lost world with the saving message of His Name (Genesis 12:1-3). Later, He took on flesh and blood and became a man in the person of Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself to the point of death (Philippians 2:8) in order that the “Good News” of salvation might go out to all the nations.

First, God’s grace draws us to Himself; then we gain knowledge of Him as we spend time in His Word; then He gives us the desire to see others experience His saving power; and the result of this process is praise. We cannot see God without His grace and we cannot praise God without knowing Him.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah 5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!

When believers share God’s love and the way of salvation with others, praise results. However, nations will never be glad and sing for joy until they come into a personal relationship with the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ (John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:25; Rev 7:17). Then and only then will they be glad and sing songs of praise and joy.

6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The prayer of the first verse is the song of the last verse. He blesses and blesses and blesses! As we humble ourselves and pray, trust Him and obey Him by sharing His saving power with others, He will meet our needs and cause a Great Awakening to sweep across our nation (John 4:34-35).

One day all the nations of the world will fall down and worship the King of Kings (Isaiah 45: 20-24; Philippians 2:9-11). However, the worldwide worship of God will not become a reality until the “Good News” of Jesus Christ is shared both here in the United States and in the nations of the world.

Ask God how he might want to use you to bless others and see our nation be blessed by Him (Psalm 33:12).

Dave Dagwell
Assistant to the President
Capitol Commission

February 9, 2013

His Image

Filed under: Poem, praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 6:09 pm

January 19, 2013

Have No Fear

Filed under: Poem, praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 7:53 pm

Amena Brown

December 24, 2012

Filed under: praise, theology, Uncategorized — Christ Ranger @ 8:34 am

The greatest miracle … Merry Christmas!

Sapphire Sky

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  John 1:10

The infinite and awesome creator of the cosmos took the form of his own creation and subjected himself to the laws of time and death, to save those who rebelled against him.  God’s voluntary subjection to the rebellious brutality of His creation demonstrates the degree to which God hates original sin – pride and conceit.  He did not take the form of an invincible champion to subdue this treacherous and wicked world.  He did not condescend in regal majesty to awe mankind.  Although a tiny nation of chosen people anticipated his arrival, he did not arrive as a heralded conqueror.

Jesus came in the middle of the night as a helpless child.  To the world, God was born a poor child, not in a palace, but in a…

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December 20, 2012

Something More

Filed under: praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 9:26 pm

October 10, 2012

Agape Love

Filed under: Poem, praise — Christ Ranger @ 7:23 am

Soft hands and kind eyes my faithful mate
mothering our children and making our home
the sun quietly rising to kiss her peaceful face

A gift of mountains and oceans so deep
betraying the majestic power and beauty of creation
a sun rising to warm and cheer our fallen race

Our perfect Creator from beyond time
driving out darkness and dying for His lost sheep
the Son rising and saving in an act of amazing grace.

August 3, 2012

The Gospel

Filed under: encouragement, praise, theology, video — Steve Knaus @ 1:42 pm

May 28, 2012

“Beyond Human Comprehension …”

Filed under: encouragement, Life!, praise — Christ Ranger @ 7:05 pm

We remember those that served and gave their lives for our country, or served with the promise to do so if called.  We remember because we know the utter miracle and incredible value of each life.  Each life, each one of us, is a remarkable temple — a miracle — testifying to the power and beauty of the living God.  There is no greater sacrifice for one to give to another or to a country.

In this video courtesy of TED.com, artist-mathematician-computer scientists Alexander Tsiaras provides a brief but visually stunning review of our origins:

April 22, 2012

Lord I Lift Your Name On High!

Filed under: praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 3:32 pm

Petra — the original Christian rocksters …

April 1, 2012

He Reigns!

Filed under: encouragement, praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 2:18 pm

February 27, 2012

Cannons

Filed under: praise, video — Steve Knaus @ 10:39 am

You are holy
Great and Mighty
The moon and the stars
Declare who you are

I’m so unworthy
but still you love me
Forever my heart
Will sing of how great you are

 

Thanks to Phil Wickham for penning these words and putting it to music.

Thanks to God for giving us the universe to show how great he is!

 

February 21, 2012

The Power of the Cross – One of the Best Songs of the Past Ten Years

Filed under: entertainment, music, praise, video — Christ Ranger @ 9:36 pm

The Getty’s are simply divine songwriters and performers.  I could listen to them all day …

November 23, 2011

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Filed under: culture, praise — Christ Ranger @ 6:07 pm

Proclamation of Thanksgiving
By the President of theUnited States of America.

 The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

 I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of theUnited States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

 In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of theUnited Statesto be affixed.

 Done at the City ofWashington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of theIndependenceof the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

 By the President: Abraham Lincoln

See also, Refuting the Seven Myths of the Radical Left About Thanksgiving By Douglas W. Phillips and Elijah Brown, November 23, 2011

 

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