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Uganda's Penitential Prayer

There has been much that as been written in the last few days on the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's prayer at the 50th anniversary of Uganda's independence.  Let us first read what he prayed:

“I stand here today to close the evil past, and especially in the last 50 years of our national leadership history, and at the threshold of a new dispensation in the life of this nation. I stand here on my own behalf and on behalf of my predecessors to repent.  We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft, which are rampant in our land.  We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal.  Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery.  These sins and many others have characterized our past leadership, especially the last 50 years of our history.  Lord, forgive us and give us a new beginning. Give us a heart to love You, to fear You and to seek You. Take away from us all the above sins.  We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God, and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,”
    I renounce all the evil foundations and covenants that were laid in idolatry and witchcraft. I renounce all the satanic influence on this nation. And I hereby covenant Uganda to You, to walk in Your ways and experience all Your blessings forever.”

Wow.  What a prayer.  Remember, this is the Uganda of Idi Amin, one of the most notorious dictators. 
Thank the Lord that Uganda now has a Christian, willing to lead his country biblically.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special Christian holiday.  So many other holidays have been taken over by the pagans.  The day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.  Our newspaper has already promised that the Thanksgiving Day paper will be the largest paper of the year.  Not because it has so many ways to give thanks, but it will be filled with ways that we can spend our money and go into debt.
   Christmas has become a major shopping season, and the first decorations have appeared in November.  Music is played to get us into the (shopping) spirit.  And then Decoration Day (or Memorial Day) is about those who have died in the wars.  But that is taken over by sales of grills and picnic tables, and the barbeque and the picnic begins. 
     Don't forget Halloween.  Eight billion dollars was spent by Americans this past Halloween season, more than the presidential contest. 
    So Thanksgiving sort of slips by:  later than Halloween, before Black Friday and the Christmas rush.
     So thank the Lord that we can go to church and thank the Lord in peace and quiet.
   

Armistice Day and Peace on Earth

     Today (in New Zealand where I am, and tomorrow in the USA) is Armistice Day.  We celebrate when the guns fell silent - four years of war - four years of blood being shed.  At 11 in the morning on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918 warfare ended.  Finally, the Great War was over.  It is estimated that eight and a half million soldiers died.  And then there was peace.
      Paul writes in the book of Ephesians:  "For He Himself [Christ Jesus] is our peace, who has made the two one [i.e., between the Jew and the Gentile] and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.  His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,  and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through Him [Christ Jesus] we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (Chapter 2:14-18)
     To summarize, Paul is saying that Christ provided peace between the Jew and the Gentile, and between man and God.  God has provided a much better peace than just an armistice between warring nations.  God has provided true peace between all groups of people, and even more importantly, through Christ we can be reconciled to God the Father.
Today's challenge is to ensure that we really believe in Christ Jesus so that we will have peace.

HMS Bounty and Robin Walbridge

    My cousin, Robin Walbridge, was the master of the HMS BOUNTY when she went down during Hurricane Sandy.  He was a very competent master and loved the sea.  Out of all the tall ships, he was the one that the Navy chose to sail Old Ironsides when she sailed for the first time in over a century.  The USS Constitution used to be turned around once a year with tugs, but Robin was the instructor for the crew when she sailed for the first time in more than a century.  He told me that when some storm clouds were threatening, they decided to cut the journey short rather than continue at sea.  He did not want to take unnecessary risks.  But now he has died at sea.  A couple of thoughts:
- man knows not his time.  At some point in our lives,we are going to die.  He is the first of my generation of seven cousins to die.  Are you ready to meet God?  Do you know of Jesus Christ or do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior?
- Unlike Francesco Schettino, the captain of Costa Concordia who abandoned his ship when it struck a rock and capsized in calm waters in sight of land, Robin ensured that his crew got off.  Robin was the last person off the ship - he thought of others first.  He died so that others might live.  In this way, he was Christ-like.