The Weapons of Our Warfare

I believe there is a Creator God.  A God Who loves us so unconditionally that we do not have the capacity to understand it, let alone completely receive it.

As much as I believe that, I also believe that there is a devil, who hates God and His creation at a level far more passionately intensive than we could ever understand.

There is warfare going on in a realm around us that we cannot see, but are a part of whether we want to be or not.  This hater of God has sent powers and principalities in this realm around us to bring great division and it is working. 

So, Beloved, what do we do about it?  How do we stand against it?  Our weapons are not weapons of this realm, but weapons of the Spirit realm. There are many, but today my focus is on one of the most powerful.  King David of Israel used this weapon; Paul the Apostle, used this weapon, Abraham Lincoln used it as did Martin Luther King, Jr. 

IT IS GRATITUDE.  The real thing.  Not a ritualistic activity, not a feast with family, but a humble heart of gratefulness for God’s goodness, mercy and faithfulness right in the middle of the battle. . . because

HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

A psalm of thanksgiving (Psalm 100 NLT)

Shout with joy to the Lord , all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation. 

From Paul to the Philippian Church  (Philippians 4:6-8 NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

Proclamation of Thanksgiving

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 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 they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one 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, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward, Secretary of State

 

One Hundred, Fifty Years and Seven Months ago Today

Surrender at Appomattox, 1865

I am southern born and raised, as were my parents. I am of Caucasian race, but of poor, farmer linage on my maternal side. On my parental side I found there is a McClary who fought in our revolutionary war and died at Bunker Hill. There is a fort in Maine named for him as he was the highest ranking officer to die in that battle (which really wasn’t fought at Bunker Hill). His nephew fought with him, the son of his brother John, as near as I can figure from Ansesstry.com.

That branch (the nephew) went on to live and farm in South Carolina. It is my understanding they had quite a nice plantation and I assume owned slaves. This is where records get foggy because much was recorded in family Bibles, which were lost or burned in the Civil War.  My Grandfather was born in that area, his father Samuel McClary came up missing in or around the war between the states.  His mother, Catherine (my great-grandmother) remarried a Clark and had two children.

I have discovered there are many who carry the name McClary of both races in the South Carolina and Georgia area. Many slaves took on their master’s last name, when freed. If we did DNA tests, we would probably find that we are related, regardless of skin color.

I have visited many battlefields, memorial sites, grave sites dating back to that complicated, but necessary war. However, I had never visited Appomattox until just a few days ago.

Below are eye witness accounts of the surrender and exchange along with the pictures I took the day we visited.

On our way home we drove by Greeneville, TN, which noted it was the home of Andrew Johnson. I found it absolutely amazing to discover the Vice President, soon to be President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was a southerner – amazing.

The flag of surrender

The flag of surrender

The McLean where the surrender and signing of terms took place

The McLean home, where the surrender and signing of terms took place

The signing room at the McLean Home

The signing room at the McLean Home

“The contrast between the two commanders was striking, and could not fail to attract marked attention they sat ten feet apart facing each other. General Grant, then nearly forty-three years of age, was five feet eight inches in height, with shoulders slightly stooped. His hair and full beard were a nut-brown, without a trace of gray in them. He had on a single-breasted blouse, made of dark-blue flannel, unbuttoned in front, and showing a waistcoat underneath. He wore an ordinary pair of top-boots, with his trousers inside, and was without spurs. The boots and portions of his clothes were spattered with mud. He had no sword, and a pair of shoulder-straps was all there was about him to designate his rank. In fact, aside from these, his uniform was that of a private soldier.

Lee, on the other hand, was fully six feet in height, and quite erect for one of his age, for he was Grant’s senior by sixteen years. His hair and full beard were silver-gray, and quite thick, except that the hair had become a little thin in the front. He wore a new uniform of Confederate gray, buttoned up to the throat, and at his side he carried a long sword of exceedingly fine workmanship, the hilt studded with jewels. His top-boots were comparatively new, and seemed to have on them some ornamental stitching of red silk. Like his uniform, they were singularly clean, and but little travel-stained. On the boots were handsome spurs, with large rowels. A felt hat, which in color matched pretty closely that of his uniform, and a pair of long buckskin gauntlets lay beside him on the table.

 General Grant began the conversation by saying ‘I met you once before, General Lee, while we were serving in Mexico, when you came over from General Scott’s headquarters to visit Garland’s brigade, to which I then belonged. I have always remembered your appearance, and I think I should have recognized you anywhere.’

‘Yes,’ replied General Lee, ‘I know I met you on that occasion, and I have often thought of it and tried to recollect how you looked, but I have never been able to recall a single feature.'”

The two generals talked a bit more about Mexico and moved on to a discussion of the terms of the surrender when Lee asked Grant to commit the terms to paper:

“‘Very well,’ replied General Grant, ‘I will write them out.’ And calling for his manifold order-book, he opened it on the table before him and proceeded to write the terms. The leaves had been so prepared that three impressions of the writing were made. He wrote very rapidly, and did not pause until he had finished the sentence ending with ‘officers appointed by me to receive them.’ Then he looked toward Lee, and his eyes seemed to be resting on the handsome sword that hung at that officer’s side. He said afterward that this set him to thinking that it would be an unnecessary humiliation to require officers to surrender their swords, and a great hardship to deprive them of their personal baggage and horses, and after a short pause he wrote the sentence: ‘This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage.’

Grant handed the document to Lee. After reviewing it, Lee informed Grant that the Cavalry men and Artillery men in the Confederate Army owned their horses and asked that they keep them. Grant agreed and Lee wrote a letter formally accepting the surrender. Lee then made his exit.

Yes, it was ended, but not over. Much hardship was left in the wake of this war and is still felt deep in the identity of the people of both races today. A proud flesh of our souls, which can easily be brought to fresh pain by many who wish retribution or division of some sort.

Time and progress hasn’t fully healed this deep gash in the soul of our country, but we have come a long way and I for one am not ready to give up. My prayer is that the re-union that was formed that day will continue to grow into a culture where Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Dream” will be flesh.  Amen

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General Mercantile

General Mercantile

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