How much of the national anthem do you know? The very last stanza talks about God, and is a prayer for our nation. Have a listen.
Here’s a brief history of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The historian’s name is David Barton. He’s the founder of WallBuilders: an organization dedicated to preserving our nation’s history. I first heard about him when I was watching an episode of Dr. Charles Stanley with my mom. Dr. Stanley is the founder of InTouch Ministries. He’s a television minister my mom has watched for years. I come from a very strong Christ-following household. My mom is very particular about who she listens to when it comes to learning about the Bible. She only listens to a few well-known ministers. The rest of the time, she studies the word of God for herself. David Barton preached a sermon titled, “Is America a Christian Nation?” You can Google it on YouTube. I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding David Barton’s work. Some people think he’s made a lot of mistakes in his videos, and that he’s been misleading people. I can tell you this: If David Barton wasn’t truthful, Charles Stanley wouldn’t have invited him to be a guest speaker at his church. Charles Stanley is a strong, solid Biblical teacher, and so is David Barton. If you have questions about his work, contact him directly, or listen to the podcast below to point you in a good direction for the right resources. Here’s a link to David Barton’s biography, as well as the biographies of the people he works with. About Us
Also, here’s a link to the WallBuilders library. You’ll find many of the historical documents that helped shape our nation: Presidents’ speeches, sermons. proclamations, and more. There’s even a written transcript, along with a live telecast recording, delivered from the Apollo 8 astronauts on Christmas Eve in 1968. It’s titled, “Christmas Prayer from Lunar Orbit.” The astronauts are taking turns reading from different parts of Genesis chapter 1. Doesn’t that sound fascinating? Listen to it and read it here. You sure don’t hear or see that on television today! David Barton’s organization has many of the original, complete, handwritten documents that our school textbooks leave out. In school, we’re only told part of the story. It’s interesting to me how in today’s culture we try to avoid talking about the one who history itself belongs to in the first place; God is the one who formed the earth and gave us life. In Isaiah 48:13, God says:
“Surely My hand founded the earth, And My right hand spread out the heavens; When I call to them, they stand together.”
Here’s another verse:
“The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
How could God’s word be any more straightforward about what He meant for our nation?
Lord, forgive us when we exclude you from our lives, and thank you for putting people like David Barton on this earth to educate us, and remind us not to forget about you! Amen.
Here’s a podcast that talks about the national anthem and the life of Francis Scott Key in greater detail. When special guest Dr. Sheli Manuel talks about her book she wrote, she says, “It’s called Grace Wisher Fingers That Sing. It’s all about Grace Wisher, a young lady who had been born on a slave plantation in Virginia who came to freedom and desired to be an indentured servant at the Mary Pickersgill house. And she sewed the stars onto that flag of old glory at Fort McHenry that Francis Scott Key was writing about that night. I think this is so important because I was working on this book and working with the Star-Spangled Banner Commission, the government commission, during the bicentennial on our resolution. And the U.S. Senate gave us unanimous vote on that. And I was studying the story of Grace Wisher at that time right when the Freddie Gray riots broke out in Baltimore.” Doesn’t that sound intriguing? Hear from someone who was actually there! Here’s the link to her website: http://singitamerica.com/
Hi everyone. I decided to write a special message in light of what the news is talking about with the coronavirus. Let’s face it: We live in some pretty scary and uncertain times right now. People are afraid to go anywhere for fear of getting the virus. Even as Christians, it’s hard not to be frightened. We look around us and we hear the news headlines and we might think, “Am I next to get the virus? Is God really in control?” Those are good questions. I mean, many things have been stopped, and it seems like the whole world has been turned upside down. Hence the sign in the picture above.
First, Yes! God is in control! Remember Psalm 139:16b says, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” The very same God who created the universe and said, “Let there be light,” (Genesis 1:3), knew this was going to happen, when it was going to happen, etc.
I know the next thing you’re thinking: “Why would such a loving God allow something like this to happen?” Again, that’s a good question! I don’t have all the answers because I don’t have the mind of God. I do know one thing: We live in a culture where people like to be very independent. Even independent from hearing about the things of God. Many times, throughout my life experiences, I’ve noticed God will use tragedy in our lives to get our attention and get us to turn back to Him. Look at how He pulled me through my birth. That wasn’t a coincidence. God didn’t say “oops” then and He’s not saying “oops” now. Instead of always asking why, I like to ask, “Lord, what are you trying to teach me through this?” Maybe this is one of His ways to get people to turn back to Him. If you look at our nation’s history, many of our founding fathers were Christ-followers. Many of the patriotic songs have stanzas that refer to God. These days, you don’t hear about it. If you’re curious, you can Google it. I’ve also included many links throughout this article if you want to scroll through it and look at them. The patriotic links are at the top of the page. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Suffering such as the coronavirus tends to humble people and make them realize the simple things they take for granted, like washing hands. Just when you think it can’t happen to you, it does.
As I’m writing this article, I’ve recently found out a disabled friend of mine from Joni and Friends Family Retreat possibly has the virus. He came in contact with a coworker who might have the virus, and now, there’s a chance he might have it. The family is pleading with people to please take the warnings about social distancing seriously. It can happen to anyone! The good news is, my friend knows the Lord and has that true peace that passes all understanding that the Lord talks about in the Bible. He knows the promise of Psalm139:16b, and knows that God never makes mistakes. Even if he can’t see the big picture at the moment, everything in his life has a purpose; including getting this virus. His life is in God’s hands. For the person who doesn’t know the Lord and doesn’t have that true peace, all of a sudden that person is crying out to God saying, “Lord I need you!” He says, “I’ve been waiting for this moment. Let me show you how to have true peace.”
So how do we learn to have peace in these uncertain times of social distancing? Go to websites such as biblegateway.com and read the Bible or listen to it being read to you. Come visit my blog. Look up patriotic songs, listen to all the stanzas and read the stories behind them. Listen to some worship songs on YouTube. If you have kids, Jana Alayra has some great music with motions. For the really young children, those who are in preschool, kindergarten. and under, Mary Rice Hopkins has some great music that has motions also. She and her friend, Darcie Maze, have put together some comforting videos with puppets during this time. Focus on the Family has a great radio drama series for kids who are ages 8-12. Listen to Adventures In Odyssey here. If you and your family know someone who has a disability, Joni and Friends has a Kids’ Corner on their website. Their goal is to help kids understand how they can befriend them. They have videos, coloring pages, games, and more. It’s a great way to keep kids active at a time like this. Watch my videos and leave a comment; I’d love to see a conversation get started about this. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here. Leave Bible verses on your friends’ Facebook pages. If you have to go to the store, be patient bearing one another’s burdens in love (Galatians 6:2). As Christians, let’s hold each other up in prayer as relationships with loved ones are strengthened, and be a light to a darkened world. Remember, Yes! God really is in control!
Help us as Christians to show a darkened world how suffering displays your goodness at its very best. Show us your purpose in allowing this, and give doctors and other medical professionals wisdom and direction to wipe away this disease, if it is your will. Heal our friends and loved ones who have it. Let us learn from each other as we hear and share our stories. Help us to begin to take the advice of medical professionals seriously so that we, as a nation, can stop the virus in its tracks. Give the medical professionals extra protection so that they don’t get sick themselves, and give them wisdom to properly diagnose the people who have this virus. Give us willing hearts to be people who follow and respect the laws our government has put in place because you put those people in the positions they’re in for a reason. Those laws were meant to help us; not to harm us. Help us remember that this is only for a time. At a time like this when people would have questions, let us be people who are willing to give an answer for the hope that we have. Help us to fix our eyes on you and run the race with endurance; keeping our eyes on the prize, awaiting our crown of rewards for our service that has been done in your name until we meet you face to face and you say, “Well done my good and faithful servant; welcome home.” In the meantime, show us how you are the Lord of peace at all times and how we can have peace in every way. Lord be with us all. I pray for those people who have not yet put their trust in you as their Lord and Savior. I pray they would do it now, and not wait for tomorrow. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Your word says that you number our days. Give our hearts a longing for that deeper, spiritual kind of healing only you can bring. Show us how a huge weight of responsibility is lifted off of our shoulders when we let you be in complete control of our lives, and surrender all to you. For those of us who have turned away from following your ways, forgive us. Give us that quiet, gentle nudging that leads us to repentance and help us to turn our hearts back to you. After all, you created our inner most beings in our mother’s womb. Without you, we’re nothing but dust. Help our nation to come to true repentance and return to the principles our country was originally founded on. Heal our land.
In Jesus Name,
Author’s Note: I have included two websites about my friend, Gabe Murfitt, that I mentioned in my article. Here’s a website for his foundation, and here’s a website he has dedicated to motivational speaking. I’ve had a chance to hear him speak in person; he’s awesome! Information about Gabe keeps changing rapidly as I’m writing this article. I recently found another update on Facebook about Gabe. He’s doing much better, but he still has to be careful; the fight is not over. The more I read previous Facebook posts on his page, the more it sounds like he never had the virus. Gabe had similar symptoms, so the doctors decided to be extra careful and take all the necessary precautions such as hospitalizing him for a while, running some tests, and isolating him, and everyone else he came in contact with. That is proof of how serious the virus can be if people get it. I’ve even heard many stories of people dying from it on the news. Here’s the latest update about Gabe in his own words:
“Hi everyone. I just wanted to update you all on how I’m doing. My coworker’s Covid-19 test came back negative! I’m also feeling much better. I will be returning back to work tomorrow. Just wanted to thank everyone who sent messages and were praying for me. I really appreciate all of you! I especially want to thank my amazing mother in law Jennifer Zandecki for taking care of me and being my quarantine buddy! I hope everyone continues to follow the stay at home orders as there is still a potential risk my wife could get sick. Thanks again to everyone and apologies if I didn’t respond. Been quite the week. Stay safe everyone!”
Gabe mentioned his wife being at risk because she’s pregnant. Please keep Gabe and his family in your prayers. If his story doesn’t demonstrate how God is in control of all things even at a time like this, what does? God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. Amen! Thank you, Lord for watching over my friend Gabe, and using his life as an example during this time to show how us you really are in control of all things. God, you’re so good!
“The Star-Spangled Banner (Full Version with Lyrics).” YouTube, 20 Aug. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXbbEA26Ec4.
David Barton, WallBuilders. “History of the Star-Spangled Banner.” YouTube, 4 June 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDKfw8nysLA.
WallBuildersLive. “Is The National Anthem Racist? The Truth Behind Francis Scott Key and Our National Anthem, With Shelli Manuel.” WallBuildersLive, 21 Nov. 2017, https://wallbuilderslive.com/francis-scott-key-national-anthem-shelli-manuel/.