Thursday, February 12, 2004

Today is the birthday of America's sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. He was born on February 12, 1809.

While Lincoln was far from perfect, he is an enduringly intriguing character. He wrestled with the great moral questions of his day and, as is true of all great people who have left their marks on nations, families, or individuals, showed an enormous capacity for personal growth and change.

Today, my colleague Glen VanderKloot, pastor of Faith Lutheran Church of Springfield, Illinois (Lincoln's home throughout much of his adult years and the place where he is buried), shared these devotional thoughts in his daily emailed inspiration called, OnLine with Faith.

It's true that life only makes sense when the God we know through Jesus Christ is at the center of it all.

Your Friend in Christ,

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A Thought for the Day

Some of Abraham Lincoln's famous quotes about God:

In 1861:Lincoln leaves Springfield after a stirring address at train depot, including these words: "Without the assistance of that Divine being…I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail."

Civil War starts on April 12, a month after being sworn in as president.

In 1862: Lincolnn states privately, "God's purposes" may be "something different from the purpose of either party."

In 1863: On March 30, he calls for a national fast for the nation that in his words has "forgotten God."

On Oct 24, he tells a delegation of Presbyterians from Baltimore, "…amid the great difficulties of my administration , when I could not see any other resort , I would place my whole reliance in God, knowing that all would go well, and that He would decide for the right"

On Nov. 19, he gives the Gettysburg Address. Read the Gettysburg Address and highlight the phrase "this nation, under God!"

In 1864: Lincoln tells a group of African Americans who have given him a special presentation Bible. "In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man's welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it."

Special Note: "In God We Trust" first appears on US coins in 1864.

In 1865: On March 4, in the Second Inaugural Address Lincoln says that both North and South "read the same Bible, and pray to the same God," and also quoting Psalm 19:9 "that even if God should let the war continue until "every drop of blood drawn with the slavers lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword,…still it must be said `the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'"

April 9 Lee surrenders.

On April 14th, Lincoln is shot by John Wilkes Booth and on April 15th, he dies.

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Bible Verse

Ezekiel 36:23 –

"I will show the holiness of my great name, which has
been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned
among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord,
declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes."


Lord, let us learn like President Lincoln that life only makes sense when it is centered in you.
Help us to depend on you for guidance in all things. Let us keep your name holy. Amen.

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