Don’t Give Up the Ship!

#OTD, June 1, 1813, an American Navy Captain, as he lay dying, shouts out his heroic final command, which becomes the rallying cry of his countrymen. Who was he? What was his command? Here’s the story.

Don’t Give Up the Ship!

The United States Navy was in its infancy during the War of 1812. Although it suffered defeats, it achieved some brilliant victories. For example, Captain James Lawrence, who commanded the Hornet, captured the British brig called the Peacock, after which he took command of the Chesapeake.

Then, on June 1, 1813, while refitting the Chesapeake at Boston, Captain Phillip Bloke of the British Frigate Shannon was lying just off the harbor. He sent a message to Captain Lawrence, challenging him to a naval duel. Captain Lawrence was at a significant disadvantage:

First, he recently discharged some of his crew. 

Second, those still on board hadn’t been paid and were near mutiny. 

Third, these remaining men only had a few weeks of training. 

Finally, the Chesapeake was partially disabled. 

The situation was grim. However, the brave Captain accepted the challenge and headed to sea with his half-busted ship and untrained crew.

The Chesapeake didn’t fare well. The British took advantage and boarded her. Bloody hand-to-hand combat followed. All officers onboard were killed or wounded, including Captain Lawrence. As he lay dying, covered in blood, the dying Captain issued his final heroic order:

“Don’t Give Up The Ship!”

Unfortunately, the crew couldn’t fulfill the command as the British overpowered them. However, Captain Lawrence’s words became the rallying cry of his countrymen, inspiring a turn in the tide of the war just a few months after his death.

Inspired by Words

There was the dangerous possibility that the British could take possession of the Great Lakes, enabling them to send troops across Lake Erie to occupy American soil. The American Captain Oliver H. Perry gathered a fleet of nine armed vessels, five of which his men built out of timber on the banks of the lake. Perry manned the flag-ship Lawrence, named after the fallen hero. The crew of the Lawrence hoisted a flag with the words “Don’t Give Up the Ship” woven on it. Do you have chills? Can you guess where this is going? 

With the Lawrence leading the way, the American Navy met a British fleet on Lake Erie, and a hot battle ensued. The Lawrence sank. Perry escaped the wreckage with his twelve-year-old brother, and together they rowed in a small vessel right through the thick of the battle for another ship. The rowboat took heavy fire, and bullets shredded Perry’s little brother’s hat. They made it to another boat and led the fleet to Victory!

Perry sent this message to General Harrison, who was defending Ohio:

“We have met the enemy, and they are ours!” 

The battle was a turning point, and the British never rechallenged the Old Northwest. Captain Lawrence and his men courageously faced overwhelming odds and perished, but their example inspired the American Navy to turn the tide of the war.

Morse Code: What Hath God Wrought! – By Daniel Sheridan

Morse Code: What Hath God Wrought! – By Daniel Sheridan

On this day, May 24, 1844, the most significant discovery in the methods of communication, an invention born out of personal tragedy, was successfully put to the test, thus launching the worldwide communications revolution and marking a turning point in the advancement of human civilization.

Professor Samuel Morse was born in Massachusetts in 1791. After graduating from Yale, he became a famous portrait painter, capturing the images of men like John Adams and James Monroe. In 1825, while working in Washington D.C. on a painting of America’s French revolutionary ally Lafayette, Morse received a letter stating that his wife was very sick. She was already dead and buried by the time he made it home. She was only 25.

Morse was devastated. The snail’s pace of news travel prevented him from responding quickly enough to be by his wife’s side. The memory haunted him. Morse turned his attention to the study of electricity, hoping to improve communications. By 1835 he had invented the electric telegraph. He tested the new technology on May 24, 1844, setting up his telegraphic sounder at the Federal Supreme Court. The inventor sat before the contraption and ticked off the Biblical words: “What hath God wrought.” Seconds later, Morse’s assistant in Baltimore responded to everyone’s astonishment.

Professor Morse believed this was only the beginning, predicting his wires would encircle the earth carrying messages across America and under the ocean to Europe. In 1844, Morse’s invention brought the news of the election of James K Polk from Baltimore to Washington D.C., a forerunner of today’s election night coverage with its instant results. Telegraph lines started spreading rapidly throughout the country. Morse lived to see his invention change the world.

In 1871, the elder Morse published his final words through his invention when he dictated to the operator these words: “Greeting and thanks to the Telegraph fraternity throughout the world. Glory to God in the Highest, on Earth Peace, Goodwill to men.” He died shortly after.

“In a sense, social media began on May 24, 1844, with a series of electronic dots and dashes tapped out by hand on a telegraph machine.” Morse’s invention is probably the most significant discovery in the methods of communication, launching the worldwide communications/social revolution and marking a turning point in the advancement of human civilization.

Genesis 3:22-4:8 Cain and Abel

Cain Slaying Abel

Topics: He drove out the man; What did Abel do right?; What did Cain do wrong?; The first angry man was a killer; Why do people get angry with God when life gets tough?

Genesis 3:22-4:8

King Saul The Lovely

two silver chess pieces on white surface

King Saul The Lovely – By Daniel W. Sheridan

“The beauty of Israel is slain…tell it not in Gath…lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice…Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no…rain, upon you…for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away…Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided…Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul…” 2 Samuel 1:19-23

The Apostle Paul, the famous minister to the Gentiles, was named after the first king of Israel, Saul. King Saul is infamous to many, and some of these go so far as to consign Saul to the nightmarish orthodox “hell.” Saul did some foolish things, to be sure; he didn’t keep his word, pursued David, tried to kill him a few times, almost killed Jonathan, disobeyed God regarding Amalek, and, worst of all, consulted a medium! All bad. But his whole life wasn’t bad. In the Scriptures quoted above, King David said, “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.”

David praised the man who persecuted him, calling him “lovely.” Saul had some terrible moments, evil moments, but David never mentions any of those! He didn’t let Saul’s temporary lapses, though many, define his whole life. Saul didn’t rejoice in iniquity, but he, motivated by love, bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things regarding Saul. Look at the string of verses quoted above. Notice the following points:

  1. David calls the man who tried to kill him “beautiful.”
  2. After Saul falls on the battlefield, David commands that the news not be published lest his enemies rejoice. He issued an executive decree stifling the liberty of the press on this event.
  3. David wanted the place where Saul died to be wiped off the map. He didn’t want a permanent reminder of his death.
  4. David remembers Saul as lovely and pleasant.
  5. David calls upon the women in Israel to mourn with him over Saul.

How refreshing to read such an account of love, loyalty, and friendship in a world where people become eternally offended and sever ties over the pettiest things.

Let us be as gracious as David. David, after all, had his evil moments too, and so do we. Paul’s message of grace and love is anticipated from David’s actions regarding Saul (Paul’s other name was Saul). For “charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – The Apostle Paul, a.k.a. SAUL of Tarsus, the former persecutor of God’s people.

Genesis 3:7-21 Where Art Thou, Sinner?

kid hiding on pillows

The fig leaves of human religion can’t rid sinners of shame and fear; Blaming God for sin; Satan will not have a single victory; The battle of the sexes; God covers Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:7-21

The Successful Christian Life

white printer paper

The Successful Christian Life – By Daniel Sheridan

As I write this, I am in pain. I’ve lived in constant pain for over twenty years. I tell you this not to draw attention to myself but because I want you to understand that my faith in my Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, isn’t altered by circumstances – I am no “sunshine patriot” regarding my God. My circumstances are the pulpit from which I desire to proclaim His glory and grace. A successful Christian life has nothing to do with circumstances, adverse or favorable.

Many believe in God’s promises for the future; however, many of these find no true joy in the experience of living. They feel no call from God to be good stewards of the gift of life God gave them. Life is a burden, something to be endured, something to escape.

I am grateful for this life, despite the poverty and pain. I’ve learned about my God through it, anticipating the world to come. God has brought joy to many hearts through great trials. Paul is a perfect example. His letter to the Philippians is the “free outflow of tender love and gratitude, and full of joy and cheerfulness in the face of life and death. It is like his midnight hymn of praise in the dungeon of Philippi. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice’ (Phil. 4:4). This is the keynote of the letter. It proves that a healthy Christian faith, far from depressing and saddening the heart, makes truly happy and contented even in prison.”

People’s exhaustive efforts to find joy and peace have left them restless and unsatisfied. Those who rejoice in God and rest satisfied in His Word find their satisfaction. “If anyone,” challenges F.W. Farrar, “compare the spirit of the best-known classic writers in their adversity with that which was habitual to the far deeper wrongs and far deadlier sufferings of Paul – if he will compare the Epistle to the Philippians with the ‘Tristia’ of Ovid, the letters of Cicero from exile, or the treatise which Seneca dedicated to Polybius from his banishment in Corsica – he may see, if he will, the difference which Christianity has made in the happiness of man.”

To live a successful Christian life depends on you and you alone. If you choose to find your joy in God and seek Him out in His word, you will be a successful Christian. How do I know? Because God will never let you down if you seek Him. Never.

How tedious and tasteless the hours
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds and sweet flow’rs,
Have all lost their sweetness to me.
The midsummer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him
December’s as pleasant as May.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned;
No changes of season or place,
Would make any change in my mind.
While blessed with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.