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12/31/2014

WHY I AM EXPECTING GREAT SPIRITUAL AWAKENINGS IN 2015

Why 2015 Can be a Very Significant Year

I am convinced that America’s greatest days and the church’s greatest days are still in our future. I know this is contrary to the popular notion that our best days are in the past and that we are in an irreversible, downhill slide into oblivion. This was my view until one summer day in 2010 when I was unexpectedly arrested in my car by the Holy Spirit who showed me a different way to look at the future.
Being a passionate student of revival and having seen so many hyped, man-made revivals in the previous two decades, I had given up hope that America would ever see another great, national Spiritual awakening that would revive the churches of our land, impact our culture and stem the tide of false religion, secularism and immorality. But all this changed that hot July day in 2010 while driving from Tulsa, OK to Kingfisher, OK.
I had been invited to speak at the Church of God in Kingfisher pastored by my friends, Gary and Helen Barnhart. As I pulled onto the highway to begin my 2 hour + journey, and without expecting any such thing, my mind suddenly began to be flooded with exciting thoughts of hope and faith that America could see another great Spiritual awakening. God’s presence seemed to fill my vehicle and I was hardly aware of my surroundings as I drove for the next 2½ hours with these thoughts of Spiritual awakening flooding my mind.
When I arrived at my hotel I could hardly wait to get settled in my room and begin writing down the thoughts and concepts that were continuing to inundate my heart and mind. This visitation continued far into the night and out of that experience came my book, America’s Revival Heritage.
There were two things that were highlighted to me in that experience. First of all, I received the assurance that America can see another Great Awakening. Biblical eschatology, which is doctrine of the end times, does not preclude great revivals as many today assume. The same Bible that speaks of perilous times and the love of many waxing cold at the end of the age, also speaks of the last days as being the time of a great universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:17).
Secondly, I saw for the first time that there was a direct bearing of the First Great Awakening on the founding of this nation. I had studied and written about this revival that had transformed colonial America, but now I saw, for the first time, that there was a direct link between this Awakening and the founding of the nation. This is documented in my book, America’s Revival Heritage.
Through a series of providential events this past fall, I created a “Revive America” PowerPoint presentation in which I document America’s overt Christian beginnings. I then began doing “Revive America” events in which I present this evidence for America being birthed out of Spiritual awakening and also present a call to God’s people to pray for another Great Spiritual Awakening in our land. Interestingly, the first “Revive America” event was held in the Capital District of Albany/ Schenectady, New York, the area that George Barna recently identified as the most post-Christian area in America.

Yes, I know that new challenges await us in 2015. I am not oblivious to the world in which we live. Nonetheless, I also know that God is still on His throne, Jesus is still at His right hand and the Holy Spirit is being poured out on all flesh. There is, therefore, no reason why we should not pray and expect God to send another Great Awakening in our day.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Bible teacher. His books, including America's Revival Heritage, can be found on Amazon and at his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html

To see the video presentation of this message, click this link.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18rX-OA24yI&feature=youtu.be


12/08/2014

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

Compelling Evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ
There is enough evidence for the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ to convince any open and fair-minded agnostic or atheist of its veracity. This is because there is as much, or more, evidence for the Virgin Birth as any event in ancient history. To deny the evidence for the Virgin Birth and remain consistent, one must then be skeptical of all ancient history. Evidence for the Virgin Birth includes the fact that:

(1) It was documented by a physician and renowned, world class historian.
(2) It was accurately predicted centuries before it happened.
(3) It was believed universally by the earliest Christians.
(4) It convinced a well-known agnostic professor of mythology.
Documented by a World-Class Historian
The virgin birth of Jesus Christ was documented by a physician and world class historian who interviewed eyewitnesses, probably including Mary herself, for his account of this world-changing event—the entry of God into the world. Luke gives the most detailed account of the Nativity and mentions Mary twelve times, more than any other Biblical writer. He also gives special, detailed attention to the birth of John the Baptist and many see his gynecological interests to be a result of his training as a physician.
At the beginning of his Gospel, Luke indicates that he has made a thorough investigation of the things about which he is writing, which included his utilization of eyewitness accounts. He spent extended periods of time with Paul in Jerusalem and Judaea and would have had opportunity to interview those who were closest to the event, including Mary if she were still alive. There is no reliable information on how long Mary lived, but some traditions say she lived as much as 24 years or longer after the resurrection. The detail Luke presents does indicate that he has derived his information from a primary source, either Mary herself or someone to whom Mary had relayed the intimate details of the event.
Luke Recognized in the Scholarly World as a First-Class Historian
Luke’s attention to detail and the accuracy of his accounts of people, places, dates, and events in his Gospel and in Acts have been noted in the scholarly world and gained for him a high regard as a historian. For example, the famous archaeologist and agnostic theologian, Sir William Ramsay, expected to discredit Luke’s accounts by visiting and examining the places mentioned in his Gospel and Acts. Ramsay taught that the New Testament was an unreliable religious treatise written in the mid second century and not an historical document recorded in the first century. He was so convinced of this that he went to Asia Minor to retrace Luke’s account of Paul’s journeys expecting to find the physical evidence to refute Luke's account.
But after years of travel and study, Ramsay completely reversed his view of the Bible and first century history. He acquired a very high regard for Luke as a historian and wrote, “Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of the true historic sense; in short, this author should be placed along with the greatest of historians” (Sir William Ramsay, 81, 222.)
Another famous historian, A.N. Sherwin-White, carefully examined Luke's references in Luke/Acts to 32 countries, 54 cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake (Norman Geisler, 47). His research also confirmed the accuracy of Luke’s accounts. In fact, Luke turned out to be so accurate that Ramsay wrote, “You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian's and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment” (Sir William Ramsay, 89).
This begs the question that if Luke was this careful to get his facts right about names, places and dates, can we not be confident that he was just as careful to get his facts right concerning the more important things about which he reported, such as the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The well-known Greek scholar, Kenneth S. Wuest, writing of Luke’s attention to detail, said, “If Mary was still alive, he, a doctor of medicine, investigated the story of the virgin birth by hearing it from Mary's own lips.” And commenting on accusations by critics that the story of the virgin birth was a hoax, the noted Greek scholar, Professor John A. Scott, said, “You could not fool Doctor Luke" (Kenneth S. Wuest, 52-54).
The Virgin Birth Predicted by OT Prophets
Genesis 3:15.  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.
These words were spoken by God to the serpent after the fall of our first parents. The “seed of the woman” in this passage is an allusion to a future descendant of Eve who will defeat the serpent and reverse the curse brought on by his deception. The Bible normally speaks of the seed of men but in this case it is the “seed of the woman.” This is a prophecy of hope at a very dark time and clearly anticipates the future virgin birth of Christ--a birth in which the seed of a man is not involved. As the Methodist theologian, Adam Clarke, says; “The seed of the woman; the person is to come by the woman, and her alone without the concurrence of man” (Adam Clarke, vol. 1, 53). This Seed of the woman will receive a temporary wound from Satan—you shall bruise His heel—but the Seed of woman shall inflict on Satan a final and mortal wound—He shall bruise your head. This Messianic promise was fulfilled through the virgin birth and through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Isaiah 7:14. Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. The Hebrew word translated “virgin” in this passage refers to a young woman of marriageable age, but would include the idea of virginity since that was expected of a young Jewish woman being married for the first time. This is borne out by the Septuagint, which translates the Hebrew with the Greek word parthinos, a word that specifically means “virgin,” i.e., a young woman who has never had sex with a man. Parthinos is the word used by both Matthew and Luke in their description of Mary, affirming that she was a young woman who had never had sex with a man when Jesus was born. Incredibly, Isaiah says that this Son that will be born of a virgin shall be called Immanuel, meaning “God with us,” a clear Old Testament prophecy of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.
The Earliest Christians Believed in the Virgin Birth
Like Matthew in his Gospel, Luke is clear that the birth of Jesus was supernatural and that He was conceived without the involvement of a man. He records how Mary asked the angel Gabriel how she could give birth when she did not know a man, a reference to her state of virginity and being unmarried. Luke says the angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the highest shall overshadow you; therefore, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 2:34-35). Interestingly, Gabriel links the miraculous conception of this Child with His deity, for it is because of His miraculous birth that He will be called the Son of God.
That the earliest Christians believed in the virgin birth of Jesus is verified by the “Apostle’s Creed,” an early confession of faith that probably dates from the second century in its earliest formulation. It reads in part:
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.
Through the centuries followers of Jesus continued to believe in the Virgin Birth. Note the words of the 18th century hymn, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” written by Charles Wesley, an Oxford graduate, Anglican minister and, with his brother John, the leader of the great Methodist revival. Because of the references to the virgin birth, this hymn became a popular carol sung at Christmas.
Christ by highest heav’n adored,
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb!
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emanuel.
Hark the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn king!
An Agnostic Professor of Mythology is Convinced
With the advent of modern skepticism and higher criticism, many began to discount the historical evidence, and speculate that the virgin birth and other miracles of the New Testament are myths fabricated by followers of Jesus who wanted to deify Him. However, C. S. Lewis, an agnostic professor of Renaissance Literature at Oxford University, exposed the shallow arguments concerning the mythological character of the New Testament. Lewis was an expert in mythological literature and he tells of his astonishment the first time he read the Gospels. His surprised response was, “This is not myth!”
Lewis, of course, became a believer and an astute apologist for Christianity. It was at this time that higher criticism was being popularized in seminaries in Germany and certain theologians, such as Rudolph Bultman, were claiming that the New Testament accounts of the virgin birth of Jesus, His miracles, and His resurrection were myths created by His followers. Lewis challenged these theologians, saying, “I would like to know how many myths these people have read!” Lewis went on to explain that he had been a long-time professor and critic of mythological literature and knew how a myth sounded and felt. “And the gospel story,” he said, “is not myth!”
Conclusion
Believing in Christ does not require a so-called “blind leap of faith.” Because of the historical evidence, it is more reasonable to believe in the virgin birth than it is to deny it. Those wonderful Christian carols heralding the birth of our Savior can be sung with zest and confidence because the Christmas story is true. We know it is true because of the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts; but even for those agnostics like C. S. Lewis who do not yet have this inner witness, there is adequate, external evidence that Jesus was truly born of a virgin. And if that part of the story is true, then when can have confidence that the rest of the story is true as well. It is enough to convince any open and fair-minded atheist.

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and Biblical scholar. He is the founding director of "The Revive America Project" and his books on church history and Spiritual renewal can be found on Amazon and at his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.

Works Cited
Ramsey, Sir William M. The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament. Hodder & Stoughton, 1915.
Geisler, Norman. Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.
Wuest, Kenneth S. Word Studies In The Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979.

Clarke, Adam. The Holy Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments with a Commentary and Critical Notes. 3 Vols. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1824.

12/04/2014

SHOULD CHRISTIANS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?

Why I Will Celebrate Christmas Even Though Some of My Heroes Did Not
Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell timber, some to saw, some to split, some to carry, so no man rested all that day. But towards night we came on board again. That night we had a sore storm of wind and rain.
This is from the journal of one of the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower who recorded their activities for December 25, 1620, their first Christmas Day in America. There is no mention of Christmas because the Pilgrims, you see, did not celebrate Christmas. They considered it a pagan holiday instituted by the Roman Catholic Church and carried on by the Church of England from which they had separated.
Convictions Matters
I do not agree with the Pilgrims rejection of Christmas, but I do respect and admire their conviction. You and I would not be enjoying the blessings of freedom and prosperity we have known if it had not been for people like them—people of conviction—who were willing to suffer loss in order to stand for their convictions.
It has been said that, “Those who don’t stand for something, will fall for anything.” In other words, unless we have a core set of convictions for which we are willing to suffer and die, we are susceptible to being led astray by whatever is popular and convenient at a given time.
I admire the Pilgrims, not because I agree with them on every point, but because they were people of principle, integrity and conviction. They were willing to be ostracized, harassed and imprisoned in England because of their conviction that Jesus (not the king or the pope) is the Head of the Church and that the Bible (not church tradition) is our primary guide. These convictions eventually led them to leave home, family and friends and begin a new life in a New World. They were people of conviction and we have been incredibly blessed because of their faith and because they were true to their convictions.
Opposing the Current Secularizing Trend
Although my convictions lead me in the opposite direction of theirs concerning Christmas, our motives and goals are similar. They were reformers seeking to purify themselves of all non-biblical religious traditions and to pattern their lives and churches after the New Testament. But whereas they were resisting a religious tyranny that sought to impose a state-run religion on everyone, today we face an anti-Christian state and culture that seeks to impose a secularized Christmas on the U.S. populace.
Just a few days ago, for example, another school, this time in Maryland, announced that there would be no mention of Christmas this year. Instead, it will be the “Winter Holiday.” During this new “Winter Holiday,” school children will not hear “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World,” for such “Christian” carols are not welcome in a secularized setting. Indeed, as Franklin Graham has noted, “Stores, schools and communities across America continue to find new and intolerant reasons to remove any religious references to Christmas.” Even the Whitehouse website is playing down “Christmas,” choosing to call it “Holiday 2014,” with the President and First Lady giving, not a Christmas greeting, but a “holiday” greeting with no mention of the real reason for the season.
In spite of the culture trend, Christmas offers for Christians of conviction a wonderful opportunity to proclaim the Gospel in both overt and subtle ways, with nativity scenes, Christmas hymns, and other expressions of our faith. It is a time when we can remind the world that, at Christmas, we celebrate the coming of God into our midst in the person of Jesus Christ.
Let’s Be People of Conviction
It doesn’t really matter that December 25 is not the actual day of Christ’s birth or that Constantine “Christianized” a pagan holiday; just like it doesn’t really matter that the former owner of my Gibson Dove guitar may have used it to play ungodly music in ungodly places. The guitar is now sanctified and holy because I now use it for the glory of God. In a similar way, Christmas this year will be what you and I choose to make of it.
I am convinced that we as Christians should seize the opportunity and shout it from the housetops that Christmas is a reminder that God came to the world in the person of Jesus Christ, not only to reveal His love but to also confront the world about its wayward rebellion from Him. Paul expressed this to the intellectual elite of Athens when he recounted to them their various misconceptions of God and then declared;
Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

Just as it took people of conviction to open the New World and lay the foundations for a great new nation, the current national crises requires people of a similar conviction. Such people of conviction will carry the church (and the nation) forward into our God-given future. And this is why I am celebrating Christmas this year!

Eddie Hyat is an author, historian, Bible teacher and founder of "The Revive America Project." His books are available from Amazon and his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.

12/01/2014

Should America Reconsider Calling itself "America"?

by Susan C. Hyatt (www.icwhp.org)

A friend shared a diagram that suggests the United States of America should reconsider calling itself "America" because several nations occupy the American continents and therefore, The States should not lay exclusive claim to the name "America."
So, here is my perspective as a CANADIAN by birth and natural citizenship, and by choice, CHRISTIAN in terms of eternal citizenship and AMERICAN in terms of legal immigrant residential status..

I call myself Susan, Sue, Suzie, Susan Stubbs Hyatt, Sue Hyatt, Susan Hyatt, Susan Christian Stubbs Hyatt, Mrs. Hyatt, Dr. Hyatt -- and on and on and on. It's really up to me. It's MY name. I retain the right to call myself by whatever name I choose. In the same way, I believe that the United States of America has the right to call itself by a variety of names, including "America." If other countries in The Americas want to call themselves "America," that is their option. No one is stopping them. So why knock The United States of America? By the way, I love the song "America the Beautiful" and the book by Dr. Ben Carson by the same name.

Personally, I call he United States of America by various names, including, for example: AMERICA, THE STATES, THE USA, THE US, and "Our Neighbor to the South." When I was a kid growing up in New Brunswick, Canada, we referred to the nation to our south as "The States." And those who lived in "The States," we called "Americans."

Eddie and I have a book called "America's Revival Heritage" that shows the undeniable Christian roots of the nation's founding documents and the Christian motivations of those who established the nation. We could have called the book "The Revival Heritage of The United States of America" or "The Revival Hertiage of 'The States.'" I much prefer "America's Revival Heritage." Here's the link to the book:  http://www.amazon.com/Americas-Revival-Heritage-Eddie-Hyatt/dp/1888435240/ref=sr_1_2_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417485462&sr=1-2&keywords=eddie+hyatt

Also we have a 30-minute TV program called REVIVE AMERICA that airs weekly on Cable Channel 99 in Paris, Texas. It is also available on one of our YouTube channels:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAkm7eHwjuIQS7pw3-tYcNw


And we have an educational project called REVIVE AMERICA. You are welcome to contact DrEddieHyatt@gmail.com or to visit the FB group for details: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reviveamerica.eddiehyatt/

Sidebar:
I was born and raised in the DOMINION OF CANADA (the title being derived from Psalm 72:8), and as a native born Canadian, I care deeply about my homeland. So, Eddie and I have an organization called "The Christian Historical Society of Canada, Inc." that educates interested individiuals concerning the Christian roots of the Dominion of Canada.
WEBSITE: www.christianhistoricalsociety.ca
BLOG: http://www.chscdrsuehyatt.blogspot.com/


PS: Just wondering -- when "illegals" speak of the United States of America, I wonder what they call this land to which they which to escape. Somehow, I think they most often call it "America."
I say let's use our energy to facilitate the Peace, Unity, and Blessing that we have available to us all through the Lord Jesus Christ and not get sidetracked by what a nation chooses to call itself.


I consider myself blessed to live in America.



11/24/2014

THE CHRISTIAN ORIGINS OF OUR AMERICAN THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

America’s national “Thanksgiving” holiday is rooted in the nation’s Christian origins and the habit of its first immigrants to set aside special days for giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessings. This custom can be traced back to the Pilgrims who landed at Cape Cod in November of 1620, who periodically would set aside days in which to offer gratitude to God for His mercy and blessings. This custom was carried on by succeeding generations and found its way into the national consciousness and calendar.
The First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims who landed on Cape Cod in November of 1620 were devout followers of Christ who had left the comforts of home, family and friends to pursue their vision of a renewed and reformed Christianity. They were not whiners but chose to maintain an attitude of gratitude even through the most trying times, such as the winter of 1620-21 when sickness ravaged their community and half of them--about fifty—were taken away in death.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after they gathered in their harvest in the fall of 1621, about one year after their landing at Cape Cod. Although their hearts were still heavy from the losses suffered the previous winter, there were at least three areas for which they felt particularly grateful to God.
1) With the arrival of spring the sickness that had immobilized the community and taken many of them in death had lifted. Their health returned, and although sad from their losses, they were able to apply themselves to carving out a home in the New England wilderness.
2) With the arrival of spring God providentially sent to them an English speaking Native American, Squanto, who became their interpreter and guide, helping them establish friendly relations with Massosoit, chief of the Wampanoag, the nearest and most powerful tribe in the region. In March of 1621 they had signed an agreement of peace and mutual aid with Massosoit, which resulted in both peoples moving freely back and forth in friendship and trade.
3) Through hard work and Squanto’s advice about farming and fishing (they were mostly townspeople and craftsmen) they experienced abundant harvests during the summer and fall of 1621.
Even though they still felt the loss of so many friends and family members, they could see God’s hand of mercy sustaining them in the preceding months. So after gathering in their fall harvest, which was abundant, Governor William Bradford designated a Day of Thanksgiving during which they would pause to offer up thanks to God for his mercy and blessings. They were not whiners. They knew what it meant to “count their blessings.”
Englishmen & Native Americans Celebrate Together
The first Thanksgiving was attended by an approximate equal number of English Pilgrims and Native Americans. After Governor Bradford announced the Day of Thanksgiving, word of the event soon spread to their Native American friends. So when the day arrived, not only were there individual natives on hand, but Massosoit arrived with ninety of his people, and five dressed deer to add to the meals the Pilgrims had prepared.
The Pilgrims did not seek to force their faith on the Indians but neither did they hide their faith. After all, in the Mayflower Compact they had stated that they had come to the New World "for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith." One can only imagine the emotions that filled their hearts as, in the presence of their new Native American friends, they joined Elder William Brewster in lifting up their hearts in praise and thanksgiving to God.
The day turned out to be more than they could have imagined. Not only did they enjoy meals together with thankful hearts, but they engaged in shooting matches, foot races and wrestling matches. It was such an enjoyable time that the one Day of Thanksgiving was extended for three full days.
And yes, it is almost certain that there was turkey at the first Thanksgiving for Governor Bradford had sent out four men to hunt for “fowl” who returned with enough “fowl” to last them an entire week.
Thanksgiving for a Remarkable Answer to Prayer
The next recorded Thanksgiving Day among the Pilgrims was celebrated in the fall of 1623 after a remarkable answer to prayer that saved their harvests. Governor Bradford tells how the summer of 1623 was unusually hot with no rain whatsoever. As the blazing sun beat down day after day the land became parched and the corn, their primary staple, began to dry up along with other vegetables they had planted. Alone in the New England wilderness, it looked as though hunger would be their lot in the days ahead, and maybe starvation. It was a very critical moment in time.
Facing such drought and bleak conditions, Bradford called the Plymouth settlement to a day of “humiliation and prayer.” By “humiliation” he did not mean a groveling or self-flagellation, but a recognition and repentance for the human tendency to trust in one’s own human strength and ability rather than in God.
Their day of humiliation and prayer began like the many preceding days, very hot with not a single cloud in the sky. But before the day was over, God gave them, Bradford said, “a gracious and speedy answer, both to their own and the Indians’ admiration that lived amongst them.” Bradford goes on to say;
For all the morning and the greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked . . . which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving.
The Nationalizing of a Day of Thanksgiving
These days of Thanksgiving were observed by succeeding generations, but at various times in different places as deemed appropriate and necessary by the local inhabitants. As the colonists began to form themselves into a nation, these days of Thanksgiving began to be nationalized and made part of the national consciousness and calendar.
For example, the Continental Congress which met between 1774 and 1789 issued several calls for days of humiliation, prayer and thanksgiving. The first one was to be observed on November 28, 1782. The proclamation reads in part;
It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in times of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner, to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His Providence in their behalf; therefore, the United States in Congress assembled . . . Do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these states in general, to observe and request the several states to interpose their authority, in appointing and commanding the observation of Thursday the twenty-eighth day of November next as a day of solemn thanksgiving to God for all His mercies; and they do further recommend to all ranks to testify their gratitude to God for His goodness by a cheerful obedience to His laws and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.
Shortly after being sworn in as president, George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26, 1789 as a Day of Thanksgiving wherein all citizens should offer gratitude to God for His protection, care and many blessings. It was the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the new national government of the United States. The proclamation reads in part;
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country . . . And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
A Day of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November was proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War. In spite of the fact that the nation was at war, Lincoln enumerated the many reasons the inhabitants of America had for being thankful to God. He wrote;
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 these blessings should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United 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.
The final Thursday in November, set by President Lincoln, continued to be the observed "Thanksgiving" until December 26, 1941 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day form the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.
Concluding Thoughts
Examining the history and development of our "Thanksgiving" holiday makes us realize how far, as a nation, we have removed ourselves from the Christian world-view and faith of our Founders. This Thanksgiving Day our president will go through a silly formality and "pardon a turkey;" but the depth of faith seen in earlier proclamations, such as those by Washington and Lincoln, is glaringly missing. This is why we must pray for another Great Spiritual Awakening in our land. 

In spite of the fact that "Thanksgiving" has become secularized and commercialized, we as Christians must never forget that the day is rooted in the commitment of our forefathers and foremothers to maintain a thankful heart even through the most painful and challenging times. So this Thanksgiving let's count our blessings, "name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, ordained minister and founding director of "The Revive America Project," dedicated to seeing another great, national Spiritual awakening in our land. In his book, America's Revival Heritage, he has documented this nation's radical Christian origins, available from Amazon and his website at http://www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html.

11/09/2014

UNDERSTANDING THE FALL, SIN & GOD'S AMAZING GRACE

Words such as "sin" and "judgment" are taboo in our politically-correct, post-modern world that refuses to acknowledge the reality and gravity of sin and evil. Many Christian leaders, in seeking to be acceptable and relevant in this culture, refrain from addressing these Biblical issues and, instead, keep to a positive "I'm OK - You're OK" sort of message. In their attempt to be positive toward everyone, some have even removed the word "wretch" from the song Amazing Grace. Instead of grace that saved a "wretch" like me it is now grace that saved "someone" like me. Sadly, in their preaching, Jesus comes across as a nice addition--like a 70 inch flat screen TV in your home or satellite radio in your vehicle--nice to have but not absolutely necessary.
If America is to see anther Great Awakening, we must recover the true Gospel message that shows how far mankind has fallen and how desperately we need Jesus Christ. A politically-correct message that refuses to acknowledge the extent and gravity of sin cheapens God’s grace, undermines commitment to missions, affirms people in their sin and provides fodder for heresies such as universalism. Such culturally-acceptable preaching may stir the feelings but will never change hearts. Such preaching may lead people to follow the preacher, but it will never produce disciples committed to follow the Lamb where He goes (Revelation 14:4).
All Have Sinned & Stand Guilty Before a Holy God
The Bible is very clear that, as a result of the fall, every person on planet earth was born into a fallen and rebellious human race and that all have sinned (Romans 3:23). There are numerous Scriptures that refer to this, such as Isaiah 54:6, which says, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way. In his letter to the Romans Paul makes this point by quoting passages such as Psalm 14:2-4, which reads, The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.
Paul shows that Jews are guilty because, although they have God’s law and boast in it, they do not keep it. He argues that the law, in the end, serves to demonstrate the sinfulness of humanity and intensify the guilt. As a committed Jew seeking to keep every letter of the law, Paul realized the law was good and spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin (Romans 6:14). The law, Paul says, was actually given to bring about the knowledge of sin and humanity’s sinful nature, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God (Romans 3:19).
What about Gentiles who do not have the law? Are they off the hook? Paul shows that Gentiles, although they do not have an outward written law, they do have an internal law of conscience that accuses or excuses their behavior; which law they have not kept and are, therefore, also guilty. This is why he can say of both Jews and Gentiles in Romans 3:9b, they are all under sin. The well-known theologian, Millard Erickson has said, “To the question of who sins, the answer is apparent: sin is universal. It is not limited to a few isolated individuals or even to a majority of the human race.” As Paul says in Roman 3:23, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Condemned Already!
In other words, a sinful and rebellious humanity stands guilty before an infinitely holy and just God. This is why John, the Apostle of Love, would say, He who believes in Him is not condemned; but He who does not believe is condemned already (John 3:18). Condemned already! In other words, before Christ came, the verdict had already been given for the human race; and the verdict reads “guilty” and “condemned.”
This means that God would have been just and righteous in sending the entire human race to hell. That is what we deserved, for in the blazing light of an infinitely just and holy God there is no insignificant or trivial sin. There would have been no protests in heaven if God had so chosen. Every angel and heavenly creature would have agreed that it was the right and just thing to do.
God’s Amazing Grace & Love
But God, in His sovereign grace and amazing love, chose to make a way for lost humanity to be saved. In an act that staggers the imagination, God Himself came to earth as a human being, lived among us and then died a horrible death on the cross that we might be saved and spend eternity with Him. By this mind-boggling act He made it possible for poor, condemned sinners to be completely redeemed and become a part of His royal family. No wonder so many countless sermons have been preached and songs have been written about God’s amazing grace. No wonder this message is known as the Gospel, i.e., the Good News!
God Confronts the Human Race
Through this amazing act of grace, God was not only demonstrating His love, but He was confronting rebellious humanity. The Gospel message is not something to be dismissed or treated lightly. It demands a response. This is what Paul was referring to when he told the pagan philosophers and intellectuals at the Areopagus in Athens;
God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31; NLT).
The Motive for Missions
The question is often asked, “What about those who die without ever hearing the Gospel.” Now, there is only one Judge and it is not you or me; it is Jesus Christ. We are merely messengers. We do not assign people to heaven and hell. We must, however, be faithful to the message and it is clear from Scripture that those people are condemned already because of their sins.
This understanding is why Paul was willing to suffer shipwreck, imprisonments, beatings, stonings and deprivations in order to preach the Gospel to his lost and condemned generation. This is why C.T. Studd gave away his inheritance and a promising career as a professional athlete in order to give his life as a missionary to the condemned masses of China and then to Africa. This is why Lough Fook, a Chinese believer, sold himself into slavery; so he could be take the Gospel to the lost Chinese slaves toiling in the mines of South Africa. Christian history is filled with stories of such people who, moved by the love of Christ for a lost world, gave up their own lives to reach this world with the Gospel message.
Key to Revival Among Native Americans
This was the message David Brainerd preached to the Native Americans of New England where he saw such amazing awakenings in the 1740s. In his Journal Brainerd tells about a medicine man, well-known among the Delaware for his supernatural powers, coming into one of the meetings and being powerfully convicted by the message of his lost and condemned state before God.
This medicine man later told how for days he argued and fought with the Almighty over the idea that he deserved hell. He said he finally stopped fighting and told God that he was willing to be sent to hell, for he could now see that it was what he truly deserved. He said that when he yielded himself on that point and stopped fighting, an incredible peace came into his heart. Brainerd tells how he loved being in the meetings, listening to God’s word and fellowshipping with other believers, even though he was convinced that God would send him to hell (the key was that he had totally resigned himself to the will of God).
Brainerd showed him that, although he did deserve hell, he did not have to go there for God had provided a way for him to be saved through Jesus Christ. This former witch doctor was completely transformed and became a powerful evangelist for Jesus Christ. Interestingly, he lost the powers he had known and practiced as a medicine man. His testimony was, “When the word of God came into my heart, the powers I had known went out.” He found a new power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is able to transform the very worst of humanity.
Key to the Great Awakening & the Birth of America
This is the message the early church preached and it is the message of the preachers of the Great Awakening of whom the late Harvard professor, Perry Miller, said, “The Declaration of Independence of 1776 was a direct result of the preaching of the evangelists of the Great Awakening.” Their message of Adam’s fallen race had a democratizing effect on American society for it put everyone, rich and poor, slave and free, in the same terrible predicament with only one remedy for all—Jesus Christ.
Their message had a leveling effect on society and destroyed the class conscious aristocracy of the Old World. It was as Isaiah the prophet had said of the coming of the Messiah, Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill brought low (Luke 3:5). The extent of the impact of their message is shown in Section 9 of the American Constitution where the Founders forbade the American government from granting honorific titles of nobility to anyone and forbade anyone holding a government office from accepting a title or office from a foreign king or state without the consent of Congress.

It is time for another Great Awakening in our land and we must not flinch from showing both the gravity of sin and its effect on the human race, and God’s amazing grace that has been made available through Jesus Christ.


Eddie L. Hyatt is an author, historian and biblical scholar. He is also the founder and director of the "Revive America" Project, dedicated to seeing another Great Awakening in America. His books on "revival" and "spiritual awakening" are available from Amazon and and from his website at www.eddiehyatt.com/bookstore.html