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In his youth, George Whitefield developed a love for the theater and aspired to become an actor. He later mourned over this period of his life, confessing that he was “addicted to lying, filthy talking, and foolish jesting.”
God’s call to His people to be “set apart” from uncleanness was applied by Dr. Joseph Lister in many practical ways. The revolutionary surgical procedures of sterilization that he developed saved thousands of lives over the years.
King Edward VI reigned for only 6 short years, but his brief reign was a model of Godliness. Thomas Cranmer said of the young king that he had “more divinity in his little finger than we have in our whole bodies.”
A rescue ship drifted slowly toward the rocky coastline. This particular area was known to be at “the end of the earth.” Long feared by sailors for its violent storms, hidden rocks, and savage natives, this desolate region of rocky islands is known as Tierra de Fuego. It is located off the coast of Patagonia, the southernmost tip of the mainland of South America. The mission of the rescue ship was a desperate one: to locate and assist seven missionaries who had come to bring the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ to these desolate islands.
he eager crowd began to file into the music hall to take their seats. A new oratorio titled Messiah, composed by a German musician named George Frideric Handel, was to be performed publicly for the first time. The date was April 13, 1742, and the place was Dublin, Ireland. The proceeds from the ticket sales were to be donated by the composer to various charitable establishments in Ireland.
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Soli Deo Gloria—“glory to God alone”—was the testimony of Johann Sebastian Bach. Three centuries have not diminished the influence or the legacy of Bach. As recently as 2019, a poll was taken among almost 200 living musical composers, asking who they considered to be the greatest composer of all time. The winner was Bach, setting him above all other greats, such as Handel, Mozart, Hayden, and Beethoven. Bach’s masterpieces have stood the test of time, and his concertos, fugues, counterpoints, and magnificent cantatas are still studied and performed the world over.
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Evening was coming, bringing an end to a grueling, tragic day. The man was one of the religious leaders of the Jewish nation, a member of their ruling Council. He was wealthy and respected, but he had been unable to prevent the others from condemning an innocent man to death.
It was a risky, daring mission. B-25s had never taken off from an aircraft carrier before. But high command deemed it important to show the people of Japan and Emperor Hirohito that Japan was not too far away for the United States to give payback for attacking Pearl Harbor! Knowing that it would be impossible to return to their carrier and land, the one-way mission would bomb targets inside Japan, fly over Japan and beyond, in hope of having enough fuel to make it to friendly airfields in China.
“Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly . . . .” So begins one of the most beloved hymns ever written in the English language. The hymn gives utterance to some of the deepest feelings of the human heart, yet it expresses them in a way that even a child can understand. For example, stanza three ends with “Vile and full of sin I am, Thou art full of truth and grace.” Note that this couplet of fourteen words uses only single syllables.
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In the cool of the day and in the midst of a vast, beautiful garden, a husband and wife made in God’s own image cowered in fear as they heard the voice of their Father, the Creator, calling out. They had previously eagerly anticipated His visits, but this time was very different.
It was a cold winter morning. Outside, the snow was falling steadily. A fifteen-year-old boy slowly made his way through the streets of Colchester in the southeastern part of England. Being Sunday, all the shops were closed. Here and there, the lad saw small groups of men and women struggling through the snowdrifts to attend the various church services in town. Such a blizzard had not been seen by the city in a long time!
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Contentment is a rare grace today. Finding men and women who truly submit to and delight in the will of God is like getting a breath of fresh air. Frances Ridley Havergal is one of these fresh breezes among the pages of history.
John Williams would be the instrument of God to open the islands of the South Pacific to mission work. The first island upon which Williams and his wife labored was the beautiful island of Tahiti, in what is now French Polynesia. A small mission work had already been founded there, and the young couple learned how to operate a mission station among cannibals.
On October 6, 1918, World War I—the greatest and most devastating war that the world had as yet known—was only a month away from the cessation of hostilities. But on that day, a baby was born in Dallas, Texas. That baby, Henry Madison Morris, was destined to grow up and serve as a soldier in a much greater spiritual battle, a battle that spans every age and every generation and which later would be referred to as the “long war against God.”
The sheep grazed quietly as the sun slowly sank behind the Scottish hills. The sixteen-year old shepherd boy named John gazed at the sunset. His eyes brightened as he thought about the mission that lay before him that night. He would leave his flock in the care of a friend so he could embark on his mission. The lad slipped his hand into his homespun knapsack and felt his hard-earned money. With his funds that had been carefully saved up for a long time, soon he would set out on his long overnight hike.
Florence was a center of art and culture. Here lived Michelangelo and other famous artists of the Renaissance. The powerful Medici family ruled this opulent city, and their palace was stunningly adorned with all that money could buy. Silks, jewels, paintings, art, theater, and literature made this one of the preeminent cities in all of Europe. Into this city Savonarola had arrived in the plain black robe of a Dominican friar.
Have you ever felt that you were the only one standing for truth? Has it ever seemed that the pull of error was stronger than the pull of truth? There was a time in early Christian history when the doctrine of the eternal divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ was under tremendous attack throughout the world. In that day of error and compromise, one man, a faithful pastor from Alexandria, stood boldly against heresy to defend the cause of truth. His name was Athanasius.
Our dating system in Western Civilization is undeniably linked to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. As much as modern scholars may try to deny or belittle the fact, B.C. stands for “before Christ” and certainly does not merely mean “before the common era.” A.D. is the abbreviation of the Latin phrase “anno Domini,” which is translated “in the year of our Lord.”
Even as a young boy, Kepler loved gazing at the heavens. In later life, he recalled distinctly the day that his mother took him to a high hilltop to observe a great comet in 1577. When he was nine years old, he also observed a lunar eclipse. Despite physical weakness and impaired vision, young Kepler showed signs of great intellectual power. He studied Latin as well as philosophy and theology. As a young man, he was a strong advocate for the Copernican system of interpreting the heavenly bodies. He saw no contradiction between a heliocentric universe and the Bible. He almost became a Lutheran pastor but became convinced that he could serve God faithfully as a mathematician and astronomer.
Robert Edward Lee suffered many disappointments in life. Near the end of his life, Lee wrote a letter to a close friend and former staff officer, Colonel Charles Marshall. The letter reveals how Lee’s hope was anchored in his understanding of the eternal nature of God. Lee wrote: “The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.”
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