“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
In English, the first verse of the Bible is a simple sentence containing ten words. We can divide it into its grammatical parts of subject and predicate:
Subject: In the beginning God
Predicate: created the heaven and the earth.
The believer believes these simple words. We can also ask questions about who, what, where, when, and why.
Where? Heaven and Earth
When? In the beginning
That last question is wonderful to contemplate. God tells us the answer in Revelation 4:11.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
“Thus all creation acknowledges the supremacy of God,” writes Adam Clarke. “And we learn from this song that he made all things for his pleasure; and through the same motive he preserves. Hence it is most evident, that he hateth nothing that he has made, and could have made no intelligent creature with the design to make it eternally miserable. It is strange that a contrary supposition has ever entered into the heart of man; and it is high time that the benevolent nature of the Supreme God should be fully vindicated from aspersions of this kind.”
The Bible begins with God. Many try to define God, complicating Him through technical language. Let’s keep it simple: He wants to communicate with ordinary people. The English word God is from the Anglo-Saxon, for these ancient people associated God with goodness, spelling God and good similarly. The Hebrew is Elohim, a plural noun signifying majesty or greatness. The Hebrews say God is great, and the Anglo-Saxons say He is good. The God of the Bible is unsurpassed in power, greatness, and goodness – let the cross of Christ and His daily mercies declare! Simple enough?
God teaches us about Himself in the Scriptures through His words, works, and dealings with humanity. The Apostle Paul, in Colossians 1:10, prays that every believer dedicates his life to increasing his knowledge of God. Get to know Him.
Captain John Barry: An American-Irish Naval Hero and “Father of the American Navy” – By Daniel Sheridan
On June 27, 1963, President John F. Kennedy laid a wreath at the memorial to the Revolutionary War hero, John Barry, of Wexford, on the first full day of his visit to Ireland. Who is John Barry?
The British Navy dominated the seas in the 1770s. During the Revolutionary War, the American Navy was no match for them. But private ship owners bravely filled the gap. Congress granted them the authority to “distress the enemies of the United States by sea or land.” Their pay consisted of war spoils. These patriots sailed up and down the Atlantic, destroying hundreds of enemy ships. Massachusetts and Pennsylvania alone employed about five hundred ships in this service.
Historians have singled out John Paul Jones as the “Father of the American Navy.” However, thousands of other seamen fighting for American Independence were just as patriotic and accomplished as Jones, but Jones got the most press. One man’s story demands our admiration.
Outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia stands the statue of John Barry. Captain Barry, a native of Ireland, was born in Wexford in 1745. When the war for Independence broke out, he willingly offered his services to his adopted country – the new United States. Barry’s exploits were terrific. He cruised up and down both sides of the Atlantic, engaging the British in fierce battles. He lost a few ships and was wounded in action more than once, but he continued to fight and captured many prizes.
The British, unable to beat Barry, tried to seduce their former citizen to switch sides with an offer that most men wouldn’t have the virtue to refuse. They offered Barry $100,000 cash and the command of a frigate in exchange for his loyalty. Think about how much money that was in the 1770s. What would you have done? Here’s what Barry did. He replied without hesitation and indignantly:
“Not the value and command of the whole British fleet can seduce me from the cause of my country!”
Barry was a faithful and virtuous Patriot from the outbreak of the war till its glorious end; he even fought in the last naval battle. His service extended beyond the war, too. Barry helped establish the newly formed government under the Constitution when President George Washington appointed him Captain in the freshly reorganized Navy. He oversaw the construction of the famous frigate “United States” and took command of it when put to sea. Additionally, the Captain defended his country in the naval war with France from 1798 to 1801. He continued to assist his country in other capacities until he was too ill to serve, an illness that took his life.
Captain Barry died on September 13, 1803, in Philadelphia. People said, “Barry was noble in spirit, humane in discipline, discreet and fearless in battle, urbane in his manners, a splendid officer, a good citizen, a devoted Christian, and a true Patriot.”
#OTD, June 21, 1834, Cyrus McCormick, a Christian, inventor, and businessman, patents his reaper. He made a fortune, much of it going to charity. His machine saved labor, made food cheaper for everyone, and built the American West. Here’s the story:
Happy #FlagDay! Do you know the story behind the flag?
The Story of the First Stars and Stripes – By Daniel Sheridan
#OTD, June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress authorized the “stars and stripes” flag for the new United States.
On the right of the provided photo is the British Union Jack with the red cross of St. George and the Scottish white cross of St. Andrew. General George Washington used the flag on the left at Cambridge in January 1776. The flag in the middle, our “stars and stripes,” was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, when Americans exchanged the British Union for a Union of 13 States, symbolized by white stars on a blue background. Below the center flag is the Washington family coat of arms with a Latin phrase meaning, “The event justifies the deed.” The “Stars and Stripes” now represented the United States in their struggle for freedom, and it flew for the first time on August 6, 1777. Here is how that story unfolded.
On August 3, 1777, British Colonel St. Leger, leading an expedition consisting of Loyalists and Indians, laid siege to Fort Stanwix, a log fortification held by two New York Regiments. The American patriot, General Herkimer, knowing the Americans couldn’t hold out for long, raised a militia of 800 men and went to the aid of his fellow patriots.
Herkimer and his band, however, were ambushed Near Oriskany, New York, by the Mohawk chieftain, Joseph Brant. The battle was gruesome. Militia, Royalists, and Mohawks became so intermingled that the fight turned into hand-to-hand combat, men wrestling with bayonets, hatchets, and hunting knives in hand. Many souls fell in the forest “with their left hands clenched in each other’s hair, their right grasping, in a grip of death, the knife plunged in each other’s bosom.” As he lay dying from a mortal wound, General Herkimer continued to encourage and command his men until his last breath.
The battle still raging, men from the American garrison executed a daring move that successfully drove the enemy away. The Patriots, having heard of Herkimer’s fate, returned to the fort with prisoners, spoils of war, and five enemy flags.
The garrison didn’t have a flag when the battle began, but soldiers improvised one on the spot upon their triumphant return. They cut up white shirts to fashion the white stripes, the red from pieces of scarlet cloth sewed together, and the blue background for the stars from a coat. Historian John Fiske describes the scene:
“This rude flag, hastily extemporized out of a white shirt, an old blue jacket, and some strips of red cloth from the petticoat of a soldier’s wife, was the first American flag with stars and stripes that was ever hoisted, and it was first flung to the breeze on the memorable day of Oriskany, August 6, 1777.”
“It was the first time that a captured banner floated under the stars and stripes.”