This Day in History

It all happened in a day . . . November 30. How many of these events do you remember, that all occurred this day in history?

  • Earliest eclipse on record (3340 B.C.)
  • Second siege of Pensacola, ending with Britain’s failure to capture Pensacola, Florida (1707)
  • U.S. Senate begins impeachment trial of Federalist Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase (1804)
  • Civil War Battle of Franklin, Tennessee; the South lost six generals (1864)
  • Lucille Ball marries Desi Arnaz in Greenwich, Connecticut (1940)
  • Civil War begins in Palestine, resulting in creation of the State of Israel (1947)
  • Only documented meteorite to hit a human directly, crashes through house in Sylacauga, Alabama (1954)
  • Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” is released; becomes best-selling record in music history (1982)
  • Official end of Operation Desert Storm (1995)
  • Exxon and Mobil merge to form ExxonMobil, the largest company in the world (1998)
  • Jeopardy Show champion Ken Jennings finally loses, having won a game-show record $2.5 million (2004)

Yes, a lot can happen in a day. How ’bout these for good days – the resurrection of Christ, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the Sermon on the Mount, the parting of the Red Sea.

It’s amazing what God can do in a day. And only heaven knows what God plans to do in your life – today!

Banks

A farmer who had experienced several bad years went to see the manager of his bank. “I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you. Which would you like to hear first?” asked the farmer.

“Why don’t you tell me the bad news first, and get it over with?” the banker replied.

“Okay. With a bad drought and inflation and all, I won’t be able to pay anything on my mortgage this year, either on the principal or the interest.”

“Well, that is pretty bad,” said the banker.

“It gets worse,” the farmer continued. “I also won’t be able to pay anything on the loan you gave me for that great machinery I bought.”

“Wow, is that ever bad!” said the banker.

“It’s worse than that. You remember I also borrowed money to buy seed and fertilizer and other supplies? Well, I can’t pay anything on those things, either.”

The banker said, “That’s enough! Tell me what the good news is.”

“The good news,” replied the farmer, “is that I intend to keep on doing business with you.”

You and I have the greatest Banker in the universe. Despite our defaults and faults, debts and moral bankruptcies, he still does business with us.

The Great Portuguese Discovery – 498 Days Ago Today

Okay, let’s take a shot at a history question. For whom did they name the Strait of Magellan? I’ll give you a hint. We have his picture here. Was it . . .

A. Columbus

B. Magellan

C. George Strait

I’ll go ahead and remove the suspense. The correct answer is Magellan.

Born to a wealthy Portuguese family in 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer. He would eventually be picked by King Charles I of Spain to lead a search for a westward route to the Spice Islands. Commanding a fleet of five vessels, he headed south through the Atlantic Ocean to Patagonia, passing through what would become known as the Strait of Magellan.

What he found on the other side, he called the “Peaceful Sea.” We call it the Pacific Ocean. Despite a series of storms and mutinies, the expedition reached the Spice Islands a year later, and returned home via the Indian Ocean. This completed the first trip around the earth.

Unfortunately for Magellan, he did not complete the voyage himself, as he was killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines in early 1521.

It was on this day in history – November 28, 1520 – that three of Magellan’s ships passed South America into the Pacific Ocean. Was this by design? Of course not. Magellan had little idea what lay ahead when he set out across the Atlantic Ocean. But his was an exercise in vision and perseverance.

Magellan did what no one had done before. For that he has a strait named after him. Not many of us can say that. But it came at a high price. Magellan would not live long enough to see his name on an elementary school globe. Nor would he live long enough to make it back home.

Life is a lot like that. As with the great Portuguese explorer, we often don’t live to see the fruits of our labor. But if we pay the price of vision and perseverance, results will come.

We aren’t called to know what lays ahead. But we are called to set sail. You may never discover an oceanic passageway. You may not even have a strait named after you. But you will go places you never imagined.

It’s time to set sail.

A Matter of Perspective

Sugar Ray Leonard was one of the greats of boxing. He was asked to speak to the intellectual crowd of Harvard.

“I consider myself blessed. I consider you blessed. We’ve all been blessed with God-given talents. Some of you have the talent to create rockets that will inhabit the universe. Others can cure disease. My God-given talent happens to be beating people up.”

That’s an interesting perspective.

Agatha Christie once offered this perspective on marriage. “An archaeologist is the best husband a wife can have. The older she gets, the more interesting she will be to him.”

The great Picasso once asked his friend Rodin if he liked Picasso’s latest painting that was yet unsigned. Rodin studied the painting from all directions and, only after careful deliberation answered Picasso. “Whatever else you do, sign it. If you do that, we will know which way to hold it.”

God has signed his handiwork with a sunrise, a rainbow, a gentle breeze. But until you recognize the hand of God, you will never know which way is up.

The Old Testament tells us of a man named Ahithophel, who killed himself simply because he never discovered the right perspective. Only a close walk with the Creator can give you the perspective you really need.

Who Killed the Cat?

Stephen Pile has written a book titled The Book of Failures. It’s got unbelievable stuff in it. For example, back in 1979, during the fireman’s strike in England, one of the greatest animal rescue attempts was made. Valiantly, the British Army had taken over emergency firefighting. On January 14, they were called out by an elderly lady in South London, to rescue her cat.

They arrived with impressive haste. Then they proceeded to cleverly and carefully rescue the lady’s cat. Then they started to drive away. But the lady was so grateful that she invited the squad of heroes in for tea. After their time with the appreciative woman, they bid farewell. Off they drove, waving to the lady. And in the process, they ran over her cat and killed it.

Now, this is either a sad story or a happy one, depending on your view of cats. But don’t miss the point. We can go to a lot of trouble doing everything right, and we should. But just one mistake can be deadly.

Think of the ones you love the most. Then be reminded daily, that in one moment, by one bad choice, you can destroy the very lives you have spent years building up.

Power of the Saw

A man had a firewood factory that employed prisoners. He gave them a place to live, specific directions on what to do, and he paid them good wages, but they were unproductive. Eventually the man had no choice. He fired them and purchased a circular saw powered by a gas engine. In one hour, the new saw did more than all the men had done in a week.

The man talked to his new saw. “How can you turn out so much work?” he asked it. “Are you sharper than the saws my men were using?”

The saw answered, “No, I am not any sharper than the other saws. The difference is the gas engine. I have a stronger power behind me. I am productive because of the power that is working through me, not because my blade is any sharper.”

Many of us work for God in the power of the flesh. We use our best intellect, charming personality, and enthusiasm to its fullest. We are like the saw. We’re really pretty sharp. The problem isn’t our blade. It’s our power source.

Until we are plugged into the right power, we will never produce the right results, no matter how sharp we may be.

Jesus promised, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). That is the power than makes any blade sharp.

Cheerful Giving

The long-awaited morning finally arrives. The heap of torn wrapping paper rivals the size of the remaining pile of unwrapped packages. Mom sips coffee and nibbles on fruitcake. Grandma admires the present her granddaughter has just opened. Then the young son eagerly bounces over to Dad with a poorly but carefully wrapped present.

Of course, inside waits a gift the boy has made himself. It might be a pencil holder or a beaded keychain. Dad doesn’t really care, because he’s already received his gift – the indelible image of his son jumping up and down, eyes shining, unable to contain his excitement until Dad opens his lovingly made gift.

Perhaps this child’s eagerness to give to his father comes close to the idea of the “cheerful giver” God desires of us. Paul said, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Richard J. Foster wrote, “Giving makes life with God an adventure in the world; and that it worth living for and giving for.”

During this week of Thanksgiving, we will do well to focus on the second part of that word – giving. God is pleased when we are filled with thanks. But the real proof is in the giving. When was the last time you brought some gift of sacrificial proportion before your heavenly father with the same zeal as the young boy who brought his gift to his Dad on Christmas Day?

Heaven

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to attend First Baptist Church in Dallas with my wife and two of 0ur dearest friends. Pastor Robert Jeffress brought an amazing message on heaven. He taught from Daniel 12:2 – “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these believers to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

Dr. Jeffress made four great points about heaven.

1. There is the promise of a resurrected body.

God’s original design is that of spirit and flesh (Genesis 2:7). His future plan includes two resurrections, one of the dead and one for the living.

2. There is the possibility of a resurrection body.

“How are the dead raised? And what kind of body do they have?” (1 Corinthians 15:35). Paul goes on to answer his own question. We have the opportunity of a new body.

3. There is a prototype of the resurrected body.

The Scriptures say, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like him, because we will see him just as he is” (1 John 3:2). Jesus is the picture of our resurrected body.

4. We see the particulars of the resurrected body.

Our bodies will be physical (1 Corinthians 15:39-44). Our bodies will be perfect (Revelation 21:4). And our bodies will  be personal (Luke 24:39). Heaven is real, and our heavenly bodies will be real, as well.

Jim Jones

November 18, 1978. I remember the date well. I was a freshman at Houston Baptist University, just starting my college career. As a proud Texan who came to Christ in the Bible Belt, it never really occurred to me that people could believe in anything other than the tenets of the Christian faith.

Meanwhile, there was a 47-year-old man from Crete, Indiana, who had assembled a band of religious followers. They formed the Peoples Temple in Indiana in the 1950s, and would later move to California before eventually establishing the temple in what would be known as Jonestown, Guyana. Under his leadership, 918 members of his cult were either murdered or committed suicide on this date, 38 years ago.

How does this happen? To that question the Bible offers an answer. In the last days, we are told that many “will believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:11).

Deception is as old a tool as the devil himself. He asked Adam, “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:3). It is so easy to be led astray. While the Jim Jones event was catastrophic by any measure, deception did not die in Guyana 38 years ago.

Perhaps the greatest trap is not believing the devil or even false teachers, but believing ourselves. Leonardo da Vinci said, “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”

Opinions get us into trouble. Tragically, 918 people died because they put opinions ahead of truth. The measure of truth is the Word of God. What happened 38 years ago is a tragedy for the ages. The only worse tragedy would be to learn nothing from it.

God’s Grace in Full Force

From Rick Warren – November 6, 2016

“Your circumstances cannot change the character of God. God’s grace is still in full force.”

Regardless of your circumstances and how you feel, hang on to God’s unchanging character. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:12, “Now that the worst is over, we’re pleased we can report that we’ve come out of this with conscience and faith intact, and can face the world – and even more importantly, face you with our heads held high. But it wasn’t by any fancy footwork on our part. It was God who kept us focused on him, uncompromised” (MGS).

Your circumstances cannot change the character of God. God’s grace is still in full force. He is still for you, even when you don’t feel it.

Remind yourself what you know to be eternally true about God: he is good, he loves you, he is with you, he knows what you’re going through, he cares, and he has a good plan for your life.

Raymond Edman, one of Billy Graham’s mentors, once said, “Never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light.”

So, what has God told you in the light that you now doubt in the dark? Why do you think you doubt God now? Remember, your circumstances cannot change the character of God.