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"Being Thankful - But to Who?"
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"This is what the Lord says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, and ask where the good way is, and walk in it. You will find rest for your soul."
Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

"This Man Abraham Lincoln"

al16By Jerry Stewart - Vision Productions   ANY TIME AMERICANS ARE ASKED TO SAY WHO THEY BELIEVE TO BE ONE OF THE GREATEST PRESIDENTS IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY, ONE OF THE TOP THREE IS ALWAYS THIS MAN, ABRAHAM LINCOLN. JUST THE MENTION OF HIS NAME BRINGS TO OUR MIND’S EYE A TALL LEAN MAN WEARING THAT FAMILIAR TOP HAT, MOST ALWAYS LOOKING QUITE SERIOUS, AND, SOMETIMES, ALMOST SAD.

 

     ABRAHAM LINCOLN DID LEAD OUR COUNTRY DURING ONE OF THE SADDEST TIMES IN OUR HISTORY. A TIME OF CIVIL WAR WHEN BROTHER LITERALLY FOUGHT AGAINST BROTHER AND MORE BRAVE AMERICANS WERE KILLED THAN JUST ABOUT ALL THE OTHER WARS IN OUR HISTORY PUT TOGETHER.

  

    BUT, WHY DO WE LOVE AND ADMIRE ABRAHAM LINCOLN SO AND WHAT DO WE REALLY KNOW ABOUT HIM?

  

    WELL, FIRST, REGARDING LINCOLN’S BEARD. DID YOU KNOW THAT MOST ALL HIS LIFE HE NEVER WORE A BEARD OR ANY FACIAL HAIR? HE WAS CLEAN SHAVING. BUT IN 1860, WHEN LINCOLN WAS 51 YEARS OLD AND RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT HE RECEIVED A LETTER FROM A LITTLE GIRL NAMED GRACE BEDELL WHO LIVED IN WESTFIELD, NEW YORK. SHE WROTE THAT SHE HAD SEEN HIS PICTURE AND THOUGHT HE WOULD LOOK BETTER WITH WHISKERS. SHE PROMISED THAT IF HE WOULD GROW A BEARD, SHE WOULD TRY HER BEST TO CONVINCE HER OLDER BROTHERS, ALL DEMOCRATS, TO VOTE FOR HIM.

  

    LINCOLN WROTE HER BACK A LETTER THANKING HER FOR HER INTEREST IN HIS APPEARANCE BUT THAT REGARDING A BEARD HE SAID, “DO YOU THINK PEOPLE WOULD CALL IT A PIECE OF SILLY AFFECTION IF I SHOULD BEGIN IT NOW?”

  

    BUT, LINCOLN DID CHANGE HIS MIND. AND WHEN HE WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT AND ON HIS WAY TO WASHINGTON D.C. FOR HIS INAUGURATION, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THE TRAIN STOPPED IN WESTFIELD. LINCOLN STEPPED OUT OF THE TRAIN AND INQUIRED AS TO WHERE LITTLE GRACE BEDELL LIVED IN TOWN. BUT, SHE WAS ALREADY THERE, IN THE CROWD. HE ASKED HER TO COME FORWARD TO SEE THAT HE HAD ALLOWED HIS WHISKERS TO GROW AT HER REQUEST. HE PICKED HER UP AND GAVE HER A KISS WHILE THE CROWD CHEERED ITS APPROVAL. FROM THAT DAY ON, PRESIDENT LINCOLN WORE A BEARD.

  

    AND JUST HOW DID LINCOLN GET THE NAME HONEST ABE? WELL, LINCOLN’S FIRST SALARIED JOB WAS AS A CLERK IN A GENERAL STORE IN NEW SALEM. ONE DAY A WOMAN CAME INTO THE STORE, BOUGHT SOME GOODS, LAID DOWN HER MONEY AND LEFT. LATER, WHEN LINCOLN COUNTED THE MONEY HE FOUND SHE HAD PAID 6 ½ CENTS TOO MUCH. THAT REALLY BOTHERED LINCOLN, SO THAT NIGHT, AFTER WORK, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, ABRAHAM LINCOLN WALKED FOUR MILES TO GIVE THE WOMAN HER CHANGE. IN OUR HISTORY THERE HAVE BEEN MANY A POLITICIAN WHO HAS CALLED HIMSELF “HONEST”, BUT FOR ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE NAME “HONEST ABE” WAS ALL TRUE.

  

    AND THEY SAY YOU CAN TELL MORE ABOUT THE TRUE CHARACTER OF A MAN BY ASKING HIS WIFE. IT WAS A FACT THAT MR. LINCOLN WAS NOT A HANDSOME MAN. AND HIS WIFE, MARY TODD LICOLN, HAD RECEIVED A NUMBER OF REQUESTS FOR MARRIAGE FROM MEN WHO WERE MORE HANDSOME AND HAD MUCH MORE IN THE WAY OF WEALTH AND CREDENTIALS. SO, WHY DID SHE MARRY LINCOLN?

  

    WHEN ASKED, SHE SAID THIS, “I’D RATHER MARRY A GOOD MAN, A MAN OF MIND AND BRIGHT PROSPECTS FOR FAME AND POWER THAN ALL THE GOLD STONES IN THE WORLD”.

 

 

    AND WHY DID LINCOLN WEAR THAT SILK STOVEPIPE HAT? IT SEEMED TO HAVE A NUMBER OF PRACTICAL USES. WHEN HE WAS ON THE ROAD AND NEEDED TO WRITE NOTES HE WOULD USE IT AS A DESK. AND IF HE NEEDED TO STORE HIS DATEBOOK OR LETTERS, HE USED THE HAT FOR A FILE DRAWER. AND WHEN HE WOULD THINK OF AN IDEA, HE WOULD SCRIBBLE A NOTE TO HIMSELF AND PLACE IT IN HIS HAT BAND.

  

    AND DID YOU KNOW THAT ABRAHAM LINCOLN IS THE ONLY PRESIDENT TO HOLD A U.S. PATENT FOR AN INVENTION? THAT’S RIGHT. IN 1849, LINCOLN RECEIVED A PATENT FOR HIS INVENTION OF ADUSTABLE BOUYANT CHAMBERS FOR STEAMBOATS. THIS INVENTION ALLOWED THESE BIG BOATS TO RUN SHALLOW IN THE RIVERS TO KEEP THEM FROM RUNNING AGROUND.

  

    REGARDING LINCOLN’S CHRISTIAN BELIEFS, HE SAID, “THE BIBLE IS THE BEST GIFT GOD HAS GIVEN MAN…BUT FOR IT WE COULD NOT KNOW RIGHT FROM WRONG.

  

    IT WAS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, 1863 THAT LINCOLN SIGNED THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION, ENDED SLAVERY IN OUR COUNTRY. BUT, WHAT WERE HIS PERSONAL BELIEFS CONCERNING SLAVERY. HE SAID,

  

 “WHENEVER I HEAR SOMEONE ARGUING FOR SLAVERY, I FEEL A STRONG IMPULSE TO SEE IT TRIED ON HIM PERSONALLY”.

  

HE SAID,

  

 “WHEN I SEE STRONG HANDS SOWING, REAPING, AND THRESHING WHEAT INTO BREAD, I CANNOT REFRAIN FROM WISHING AND BELIEVING THAT THOSE HANDS, SOME WAY ON GOD’S GOOD TIME, SHALL OWN THE MOUTH THEY FEED”.

  

    BUT, WHEN WE THINK OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN WHAT COMES TO MIND MOST IS THE CIVIL WAR. THE WAR WAS HARD AND BITTER AND IT MADE LINCOLN VERY SAD. HE HATED THIS IDEA THAT OUR NATION WOULD ACTUALLY FIGHT AGAINST ITSELF. BUT HE WAS DETERMINED TO SEE THE UNION COME BACK TOGETHER AS HE FELT THIS WAS THE ONLY WAY OUR NATION COULD SURVIVE. BUT, ON LINCOLN THE WAR SURELY TOOK ITS TOLL. HE IS QUOTED AS SAYING,

  

    “THE WAR IS EATING MY LIFE OUT. I HAVE A STRONG IMPRESSION I SHALL NOT LIVE TO SEE THE END”.

  

    ON APRIL 14, 1865, NOT LONG AFTER BEING SWORN IN FOR HIS SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT, NOT LONG AFTER LEE SURRENDERED TO GRANT AT APPOMATTOX, ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS MORTALLY WOUNDED AT FORD’S THEATRE BY AN ASSASSIN’S BULLET, AND DIED THE NEXT DAY.

  

    ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS A BRAVE AND DEVOTED AMERICAN, WHO LOVED THIS LAND AND WAS WILLING TO GIVE HIS VERY LIFE IN ITS SERVICE, AND WE OWE HIM SO VERY MUCH.

  HAPPY BIRTHDAY MR. LINCOLN – WE ALL OWE YOU SO VERY MUCH!