This Day in History is a great way to look back to see what happened on this date in history years ago.
I became curious about what was written in The Daily Article twenty years ago, ten years ago, and even last year.
I was surprised at how relevant those earlier essays are to the world we are living in today.
The Scripture “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) came to mind.
Twenty years ago
On August 13, 2000—the first year Dr. Denison began writing what’s now known as The Daily Article—he wrote:
“Sometimes we need God to wake our souls, sometimes to forgive us, and sometimes to heal us. When we face life’s toughest times, the Psalms can help. These cries for help give voice to the most desperate soul. A large number are prayers in the midst of crisis . . . . And many warn of judgment against those who sin against God and us.”
He added that Psalm 91 was his favorite:
Claim the promise of its first verse: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Say with the Psalmist, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (v. 2). Keep reading and rejoice in God’s protection: he will save us from the fowler’s snare, from deadly pestilence, from the terror of night and the arrow of day, from pestilence and plague, and from the punishment of the wicked. So long as we stay “under his wings” we find refuge (v. 4).
Now take hold of the Psalm’s final promise: “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation” (vs. 15-16). What a wonderful hymn of trust and help.
Ten years ago
Fast-forward ten years to August 13, 2010.
Dr. Denison wrote about the Perseid meteor shower, which was visible that morning. The meteor shower was again visible this week, making this day in the history of The Daily Article even more relevant.
He gave background information about how the meteor shower was named, then added:
By contrast, when was the last time you did something which made the papers? Has anyone written a Wikipedia article on you? Me neither. In the eyes of our bigger-is-better culture, most of us get our 15 minutes of fame from Andy Warhol and then shuffle off the stage. Macbeth was having a bad day when he called life “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5). But Shakespeare’s indictment rings true for most of us, most days.
The good news is that the King of the universe sees his subjects through very different eyes. He knows that you and every person you meet today will still be alive when the Perseid meteor shower has gone the way of the dinosaurs. He applauds and rewards every cup of cold water you give someone in his name (Mark 9:41). In fact, when you share a word or act of grace, you serve Jesus himself (Matthew 25:40).
One year ago
Last year, on August 13, 2019, Dr. Denison addressed protests in Hong Kong and Moscow and the deterioration of community. His words, and God’s truths, are still powerful in the continuing chaos in our world:
Consider three practical ways we can model the kind of community our culture needs so desperately.
One: Love inclusively.
Jesus called tax collectors and lepers, prostitutes and businessmen. He loved Jews and Gentiles. He touched diseased bodies and cleansed demon-possessed souls. Now he wants us to love each other and the world with the same inclusive compassion, building a culture in which “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Two: Love sacrificially.
It is seldom easy to do the right thing. But it is always right to do the right thing.
Jesus’ best friend later said of his Lord, “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16). If we stand for biblical sexuality and marriage, the culture will attack us. If we build bridges across racial divides, those who hate others will hate us. It is seldom easy to do the right thing. But it is always right to do the right thing.
Three: Love practically.
Jesus washed dirty feet and fed hungry bodies. His love was present tense and personal. Now we are his hands and feet extending his earthly ministry through ours. Who needs your practical compassion today? What bridges across ethnicities can you build? What common projects can you advance? How can you use your influence for God’s glory and our good? Inclusive, sacrificial, practical love—these are the grace gifts your Savior has given you. You cannot pay them back, but you can pay them forward.
It will be interesting to see what the next ten or twenty years holds, but we can always be assured of Who holds them (Isaiah 46:9–10).