Illustration results for providence
Justice Scalia, in a Supreme Court decision involving the so-called “separation of church and state” wrote: “Church and state would not be such a difficult subject if religion were, as the Court apparently thinks it to be, some purely personal avocation that can be indulged entirely in secret, like pornography, in the privacy of one’s room.
For most believers it is not that, and has never been. Religious men and women of almost all denominations have felt it necessary to acknowledge and beseech the blessing of God as a people, and not just as individuals, because they believe in the "protection of divine Providence," as the Declaration of Independence put it, not just for individuals but for societies.”
THE PRICE THEY PAID – From Illustrations Unlimited:Have you ever wondered what happened to those fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence? Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War. What kind of men were they? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners, men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward. Vandals or soldiers or both looted the properties of Ellery, Clymer, Hall, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire, which was done. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt. Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home after the war to find his wife dead, his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates. Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild-eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. These were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” They gave us an independent America. Can we keep it?
‘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, humbly implore his protection and favor…” (1st Proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving, Oct. 3, 1789).
Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love and the future to God’s provide...
G. H. Morling in The Quest for Serenity- "A valuable study of the Gospels could be made, noticing how many times Jesus gave some of His greatest teachings in circumstances where he had simply been interrupted. How different this is from us; we hate to be interrupted. To Jesus, the importance seemed to lie in the person whose path had crossed His own. Things don’t just “happen” in the providence of God. The interruption may well be our highest task at that very moment.”
CHANCE OR PROVIDENCE?
On the front porch of his little country store in Illinois, a small businessman stood with his partner. Business was all gone, and the partner asked, "How much longer can we keep this going?"
The owner answered, "It looks as if our business has just about winked out." Then he continued, "You know, I wouldn’t mind so much if I could just do what I want to do. I want to study law. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could sell everything we’ve got and pay all our bills and have just enough left over to buy one book--Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law, but I guess I can’t."
At that moment a strange-looking wagon came up the road. The driver drove it up close to the store porch, then looked at the owner and said, "I’m trying to move my family out west, and I’m out of money. I’ve got a good barrel here that I could sell for fifty cents."
The businessman’s eyes went along the wagon and came to the wife looking at him pleadingly, her face thin and emaciated. He slipped his hand into his pocket and took out, according to him, "the last fifty cents I had" and said, "I reckon I could use a good barrel."
All day long the barrel sat on the porch of that store. The partner kept chiding the owner about it. Late in the evening the businessman walked out and looked down into the barrel. He saw something in the bottom of it, papers that he hadn’t noticed before. His long arms went down into the barrel and, as he fumbled around, he hit something solid. He pulled out a book and stood dumbfounded: it was Blackstone’s Commentary on English Law.
That businessman was Abraham Lincoln. Chance or Providence?
Bob Munford tells of a certain Italian harbor that can be reached only by sailing up a narrow channel between dangerous rocks and shoals. Over the years, many ships have wrecked, and navigation is hazardous. To guide the ships safely into port, three lights have been mounted in the harbor on three huge poles. When the three lights are perfectly lined up and seen as one, the ship can safely proceed up the narrow channel. If the pilot sees two or three lights, he knows he’s off course and in danger.
Mumford goes on to say that God has also provided three beacons to guide us. The same rules of navigation apply – the three lights must be lined up before it is safe for us to proceed. The three harbor lights of guidance are 1. The Word of God (objective standard) 2. The Holy Spirit (subjective witness) 3. Circumstances (divine providence)
Together, notes Mumford, they assure us that the directions we’ve received are from God and will lead us safely along His way.
When Hudson Taylor went to China, he made the voyage on a sailing vessel. As it neared the channel between the southern Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra, the missionary heard an urgent knock on his stateroom door. He opened it, and there stood the captain of the ship. "Mr. Taylor," he said, "we have no wind. We are drifting toward an island where the people are heathen, and I fear they are cannibals." "What can I do?" asked Taylor. "I understand that you believe in God. I want you to pray for wind." "All right, Captain, I will, but you must set the sail." "Why that’s ridiculous! There’s not even the slightest breeze. Besides, the sailors will think I’m crazy." But finally, b...
"It must be felt that there is no national security but in the nations humble, acknowledged dependence upon God and His overruling providence."
"Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is the best preventive and remedy."