The Thanksgiving President

As we gather together for another Thanksgiving, buy cialis diagnosis it seems that this sacred holiday, discount cialis cialis which began over 200 years ago, will be celebrated in a shroud of world terror, looming foreign wars, and an ever changing and unsure economy.   Our present time is filled with challenges similar to the overpowering circumstances George Washington faced in his bid to lead our nation to freedom.   I mention George Washington because he is one of our greatest leaders and the man responsible for establishing our Thanksgiving Holiday.   It was Washington’s purpose, by proclaiming Thanksgiving as a national holiday; to give gratitude to God for all that He had done to bring about America’s freedom.   Washington wanted all Americans for generations to come to remember just where real victory and blessings come from, and, according to his own testimony, that was from God and Him alone.  According to Washington, he never personally won a single battle, fashioned a Constitutional amendment, or achieved any political position without the full knowledge and will of God.   This attitude and dependence is something we (Americans) in the 21st Century need to once again embrace as we face a troubled world.

It is amazing, with all that George Washington said in the course of his life, that some historians paint George Washington as a deist.  A deist is one who only accepts God on the basis of nature and reason, one who would not accept the supernatural revelations laid out by Christianity, one who would certainly reject the Bible as God’s revelation, and one who would never pray to Christ.   This is the view taught by so many public schools about George Washington.    I was succored into this thinking myself when I attended public school.  It was not until I visited Mount Vernon (Washington’s home and burial place) with my daughter Shannon many years later that I realized what a false view of Washington I had.   As I walked from one point to the next at Mount Vernon, I was quite impressed with the words he left behind for all to read.  Words about God, the Bible, and His proclaimed savior Jesus Christ.   It inspired me to study further and to read more about this man who was supposed to be a deist.   The following are some prayers of George Washington when he was a young man.   I have also included the account of an incredible battle George fought in when he was only 23 years old.    As you read his prayers and see his confidence in God even on a battlefield I think you will see that He was a great servant of God.    He was a Godly man who became our first President and inaugurated Thanksgiving as one of our most important national holidays.

George Washington’s prayer life

The following two prayers were among the many George Washington often offered to God during the course of his life.   These prayers were taken from one of his journals.  They not only assisted him in his daily struggles; they also helped him develop an incredible confidence in God, even in the worst of circumstances.    No battle required such prayerful confidence in God then the battle of Mongolia described below.    This battle proved George’s prayers in a sovereign God was all that he needed in life.

George’s Monday prayers

“Thou gave Thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerity to conform my life to His holy precepts and example.  O God, pardon me for Christ’s sake, instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what Thou givest me strength to bear.   Bless my friends and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness of Thee my heavenly Father.”

George’s Tuesday prayers

O blessed Father, let thy Son’s blood wash me from all impurities, and cleanse me from the stains of sin that are upon me.  Give me grace to lay hold upon His merits; that they may be my conciliation and atonement unto thee that I may know my sins are forgiven, by His death and resurrection.   George Washington the Christian by William J. Johnson, Page 28

The battle of Monongahela  (1755)

This battle, which demanded so much of George’s prayerful confidence in a Sovereign God, took place during the French and Indian War almost 20 years before the American Revolution and it should have claimed Washington’s life.   At this time the colonists were still a part of the British Empire and were engaged with the French and Indians for control of North America.   George was a commander under the British General George Braddock, who was one of the premier generals in the British army.   During this battle Braddock made some critical errors in judgment, and because of it the battle was soundly lost.   In order to stop an entire massacre, Washington’s responsibility was to cover the retreat.     He did such a thorough job that many lives were saved because of his unparalleled wisdom and bravery on the battlefield.  Of the 86 officers that sat on horseback only Washington escaped unharmed with his life.   He was the tallest of all the officers and should have been the easiest target to hit.  He did have two horses shot from underneath him, and there were four bullet holes in his coat when the battle concluded, but not a mark on him.   What was so defining about Washington was his own assessment of God’s sovereignty during the course of this battle.  He wrote these words to his brother after the battle.

“As I have heard, since my arrival at this place (Fort Cumberland), a circumstantial account of my death and dying speech, I take this early opportunity of contradicting the first, and of assuring you, that I have not as yet composed the latter.  But, by the all -powerful dispensations of God’s providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horse shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me”

The conclusion of the battle left the British Commander Braddock dead, 714 British killed, 85 out of 86 officers killed or wounded, and 70 out of 100 of George Washington’s unit dead.   The enemy (French and Indians) lost 30 soldiers and 3 officers. It was the worst defeat of a British army.   When George arrived home untouched and unharmed by the battle all were impressed, not only his own men, the British, and even his family, but the enemy as well.  In fact the enemy chief who controlled this battle kept track of George for many years afterward.   He finally tracked George down 15 years later to let him know what he felt about George and the power of the God, which seemed to protect him.   This actual account is taken from David Barton’s booklet,  ” The Bulletproof George Washington.”

The enemy’s account of George Washington

“I am chief and ruler over my tribes.   My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far Blue Mountains.   I have traveled a long and weary path that I may see the young warrior of the great battle.  It was on the day when the white man’s blood mixed with the streams of our forest that I first beheld this chief  (Washington).   I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior.   He is not of the red coat tribe, he has Indians wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do, himself is alone exposed.   Quick let you be certain, and he dies.   Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you know not how to miss, twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you.  Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased to fire at you.  I am old and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice of prophecy.  Listen!  The Great Spirit protects that man (pointing at Washington), and guides his destinies, he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire.  I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battled.” (Washington would began fighting for his country 6 years later.

I love reading this account, as I am sure you did;  much of what the chief said was true. But it is too bad this chief put his confidence in a great spirit, because according to the Scripture there is no great spirit (Indian or otherwise) that can bring anyone into the kingdom of God, other than Jesus Christ (John 14:6; John 3:16-18).   My hope is that this chief continued to follow Washington’s life and testimony, and finally realized Jesus Christ as his own personal savior.

Teachable Moment

Before you lift a fork at your Thanksgiving celebration, reread George’s two prayers, and the following official Thanksgiving Proclamation he inaugurated when he became our first President.   If you find the Old English difficult to read, then rewrite in your own words before you commence this teachable moment.   It might even be good to have your family help you do the rewrite.  Please note how I rewrote George Washington’s prayers below as an example.  After your readings at the dinner table, have each in your family pray.    Ask them to pray for a bold faith, the kind of faith that helped George Washington accomplish God’s will for his life.

George’s Monday  prayers ( Kent’s rewrite in today’s English Language)

” Lord, thank you for giving me Your Son to die for me.   I recognize that this gift of salvation was given to me in response to my repentance and sincere desire to follow Your Word.    Lord, forgive me once again for any trespasses for Christ’s sake, and teach me in every detail of the duties of my life.   Help me to overcome all temptation, and allow me only to bear what I can.   Bless all of my friends and grant me the grace to forgive even my enemies as heartily as I desire your daily forgiveness in the sins I commit.

George’s Tuesday prayer (Kent’s rewrite in today’s English Language)

Oh Lord, let the blood of Christ cleanse me from all my sins.  May there not be even a stain left when You are through.   Give me the grace to lay hold of the works you have planned for me in my lifetime.   I pray Lord that all will see the evidence of my transformation, a man who has been forgiven.

Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Declaration

(Official Holiday Declaration October 3, 1789)

“Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Sovereignty 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 and signal favors (signs) of Almighty God, especially to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.  Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November to be devoted by the people of these States to be the service of that great and glorious Being (God), who is the Benefit Author (Creator) of all the good that was, that is, or will be.”

God’s Word

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 3:16-18  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.