Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln

Abraham LincolnToday is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. What an amazing man he was! Long before he became president of the United States, he had prepared himself to be a first-rate man at whatever he was going to do. How blessed we as a nation are to have a man worthy to be called “the savior of the Union” come into office at the time he did!

In honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, here are a few quotes and anecdotes from my files.

When he was a boy in Indiana, Lincoln borrowed a book about George Washington from a neighbor, Josiah Crawford. After rainwater ruined it, he went straight to Crawford, owned up to what had happened, and spent three days in Crawford’s cornfield working to pay for the book.

“I’ll prepare myself and be ready for opportunities as they come.” —Abraham Lincoln

When Lincoln was a young storekeeper in New Salem, Illinois, he accidentally shortchanged a customer by six and a quarter cents. As soon as he discovered the error, he closed the shop and walked six miles to pay the money back. Lincoln’s store was not a success. He and his partner, William Berry, went into debt trying to make a go of it. The store “winked out” anyway, as Lincoln put it, and left him owing a great deal of money, especially after Berry died. He could have done what so many others in similar situations did—simply head west for new frontiers and leave the debt behind. But he resolved to stay. For a young man of his means, it was a large burden. He called it, with grim humor, his “national debt.” It took him several years, but he paid it all back. 

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” —Abraham Lincoln

“That the Almighty does make use of human agencies and directly intervenes in human affairs is one of the plainest statements in the Bible. I have had so many evidences of His direction, so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will, that I cannot doubt that this power comes from above.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.” —Abraham Lincoln

Horace Greeley, writing in the New York Tribune, wrote: “Never before did one so constantly and visibly grow under the disciplines of incessant cares, anxieties, and trials. The Lincoln of 1862 was plainly a larger, broader, and better man than he had been in ’61, while ’63 and ’64 worked his continued and unabated growth in mental and moral stature.” 

“It is more pleasing to God to see His people study Him and His will directly than to spend the first and chief of their efforts attaining comfort for themselves.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” —Abraham Lincoln 

“Surely God would not have created such a being as man to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.” —Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln once turned down a job applicant citing, “I don’t like his face.” One of his Cabinet members let the President know that he didn’t think this was an adequate reason for turning down an applicant. To which Lincoln replied, “Every man over forty is responsible for his face.” 

“If often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong.” —Abraham Lincoln

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” —Abraham Lincoln

“Die when I may, I would like it to be said of me, that I always pulled up a weed and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” —Abraham Lincoln

How To Handle Persecution

Have you ever been persecuted for your faith in Jesus Christ? The dictionary defines it this way—

(1) To pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment, especially because of religion, race, or beliefs; harass persistently; (2) To annoy or trouble persistently.

I think we in the west don’t truly understand persecution, but certainly there have been times when people are harassing us or troubling us because of our faith in God.

If you are being persecuted, that is cause for rejoicing! 

Check out these passages from the Apostle Peter and from Jesus, and then take a look at the flowchart below—

But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! (1 Peter 3:14-17)

God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in Heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. (Jesus in Matthew 5:11-12)

Persecution flowchart

(Click picture for a larger view.)

Whether you are being persecuted or not, rejoice! and remember to pray for your fellow brothers and sister in Christ who are also being persecuted (Hebrews 13:3).

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