Who in history gets the most attention? Is it the Presidents? The Revolutionaries? The Scoundrels? Or nowadays I guess maybe it’s the reality stars. Whoever it is, there’s always a reason they become famous, whether it be their personality, policies or perhaps the way they dealt with situations they were thrown into. The way people respond to their current situations shows us a lot about their character, their ambitions and sometimes their faith.
Henry Clay– Do you know that name? Perhaps it vaguely rings a bell. Something about U.S. History class? You may not remember more than the name. So, if you barely remember the name, how could this person possibly be that important? I mean, how bout Washington? Or Benjamin Franklin. Those are names that stick with you your whole life. Henry Clay can’t be compared with the likes of these two iconic Americans.
I beg to differ on this. Though, I will admit, I only came to differ after researching the life of Henry Clay. I was surprised at what I read, and a bit upset I didn’t remember him until now.
So, who is Henry Clay? Well, he wasn’t a U.S. President, but he was a Senator, Representative, and a Secretary of State. He served in these positions for a total of 50 years, all the way up to his dying day. He served during some of the most tumultuous years in the history of our nation.
The years leading up to the Civil War were rough. Have you ever seen a piece of clothing that’s beginning to unravel? The threads start loosening one by one, until finally a full tear forms. Once that happens you can either repair it, or throw the garment away. If the tear in the fabric is too long, or too big, most people throw it away. With some work a smaller tear can be repaired, so long as it is done quickly and skillfully. The pre- Civil War years were kind of like this. Small tears began forming in our nation. The North and the South could not agree on the issue of slavery. The South, as you probably know, was adamant about keeping the institution alive and intact. The North, however, wanted it abolished and the institution eradicated.
For a while, the states argued bitterly over the issue, each finding ways to justify their positions. The arguments and differences got so bitter and hostile that war seemed to be the only way to absolve the issue. That’s where Henry Clay came in.
He was often known as THE GREAT COMPROMISER. He had a way of finding “the middle ground”. He could look at both situations and see how he could find a meeting of the minds, or if worst came to worst, at least keep the idea of war on the back burner for a time. Clay genuinely loved his nation. He loved the Union. He could not stand the idea of seeing his nation torn apart. His goal was to keep it intact, whatever the cost.
Henry Clay was actually not only a statesman, but a farmer. Born in Kentucky, he took great pride in raising livestock, particularly horses. He owned a large plantation, and a sizable amount of slaves. Even though he owned slaves he was quoted as saying slavery was a “great evil.” He believed the institution of slavery was a curse that did no good for either the slave or the master. He didn’t understand how in the land of liberty there were still human beings in chains. Yet, eradicating the institution of slavery could bring about the demise of the nation he so dearly loved. So, he compromised.
One of his most famous compromises was known as the Missouri Compromise. This compromise occurred in 1820 at a time when slavery was a hot button issue in the country. The country was made up of both slave states and free states. There were 22 states in the Union, and the slave states and free states were balanced. Missouri threw a wrench in the balance by asking to enter the Union as a slave state. Free states worried this would set a precedent where all new states would automatically want to enter as slave states. If that happened, slavery would become predominant and possibly take over the nation. Henry Clay saw the heat rising and getting ready to explode on the issue, so he entered in with a compromise. The compromise would allow Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state, but in return, Maine would enter as a free state.
Miraculously, this solution worked. The states would be in balance again. The nation (the Union) would stay intact for at least 30 more years and would not go to war. But it was a matter of time. Sure enough, the seams began unraveling again.
This time it was 1852 and the issues of free and slave states came up again. It involved Texas, New Mexico, Utah, the District of Columbia and California. To make a long story short, Henry Clay devised a compromise to appease both sides of the conflict. Once again, war was avoided. The next nine years saw no war, but the pangs were there. It was Henry Clay who was credited with preserving the Union for a time.
Henry Clay died just as this compromise was being ironed out. Weakened by tuberculosis, he died in the midst of his compromise. Yet, it was successful for a time.
By the time 1861 rolled around, the country’s time had come. Abraham Lincoln was in office and he had the weight of a nation on his shoulders. The compromises of Henry Clay were no longer going to keep the ship above water. War had come.
Some say if Henry Clay were president instead of Lincoln perhaps there would have never been a Civil War. Hmm, somehow that just doesn’t seem true. After all, you can only hold off the inevitable for so long. Clay himself said that slavery was evil. In his own will he set his slaves free. Throughout his life he made sure his slaves were well educated and treated well. In his own heart, he knew slavery couldn’t exist in a land where freedom was the cornerstone. It was a matter of time before the iceberg would rear its ugly head. But, what Henry Clay did do was keep the country in one piece until the right man could come finish the job.
Abraham Lincoln would pay with his life as he finished out the job. On April 14, 1865 Lincoln would be shot in Ford’s Theater, dying from his wounds on April 15. That iceberg (slavery- division) had killed him. It was like the Titanic when it hit the iceberg on April 14, 1912 and then sank to the bottom of the ocean on April 15, 1912– the ship would be divided.
So what do we have going on in the United States today? Is it slavery? No, not the same type of slavery. Yet, we do still have it don’t we? What kind of slavery am I suggesting? Well, I’m sure you are familiar with horrible stories of sex trafficking and sexual slavery that occurs under the radar even here in America. But, that’s not even what I’m referring to. I’m talking about slavery to sin.
There’s so many here in the U.S. that are complete slaves to sin. As the years go on, it seems more and more sin is being seen as “Ok” or “normal”. From child pornography and adultery, to domestic violence- the list goes on and on. Families are being torn apart by abuse and neglect. The line of sin is being erased at an alarming rate. You only have to turn on your TV to see what is considered normal, and you will see how the line is blurred. The dark has become light and the light dark.
This isn’t something even Henry Clay could fix could he? What would his compromise be? Actually, compromising may be why we are in such a predicament as a nation. Over time, our values continue to be compromised. Every time the compromise goes just a little further. One day, we probably won’t even recognize our nation. I’m having a hard time recognizing it now!
At times a compromise is good, but all depends on what you’re compromising. When there’s a great divide a compromise seems necessary. Maybe it can keep the ship from splitting apart and sinking?
The Civil War happened so long ago, yet it seems like its closer than ever. Since 2014 this nation has experienced a barrage of racial riots and unrest. Perhaps most well known are the riots which took place in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Next in 2015 there were the riots in Baltimore, Maryland. Sparks continue to fly into 2016, with protesting over police violence against African Americans. A wave of unrest broke out in Minnesota, Chicago, New York and Louisiana over the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile just recently. The Dallas shootings where five officers were killed and nine injured paints a frightening picture of where this is all going. Just this past week there was civil unrest and looting taking place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It seems the Civil War has come right to our doorstep in a matter of a few years. The blood moons which passed in 2014 and 2015 occurred on dates that line up with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (April 15, 2014 blood moon- April 15, 1865 Lincoln’s death) and Martin Luther King Jr. (April 4, 2015 blood moon- April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King’s death). April 15 is also the anniversary of Titanic’s sinking.
Eerily enough the Ferguson riots began with the death of Freddie Gray, who was arrested on April 12, 2o15. The first shot of the Civil War began on April 12, 1861 at Ft Sumter, which is in Charleston, South Carolina. On April 12, 1912 Titanic was traveling across the ocean, unaware she would hit a giant iceberg just two days later. By April 18, 2015, people were heavily protesting Freddie Gray’s death- he died the next day on April 19. Subsequently, civil unrest came to a boiling point, spilling over from that day on. On April 18, 1912 Titanic arrived in New York via the Carpathia, with just 705 survivors. On April 19, the U.S. government began holding hearings into the Titanic disaster, desperate for an answer to the deaths of so many people.
Is all this a coincidence, or a warning? You decide. I think there is some handwriting on the wall and this handwriting is here because of where we are as a nation on the issue of sin.
The other day I was at the store and the cashier gave me change. I noticed one of the coins I got back that was shiny and new. I looked it over and realized it was a newly released HARPER’S FERRY quarter. This quarter is part of a series commemorating our National Historical Parks. The quarter was released June 6, 2016. Interestingly enough, I had four other coins given to me as change by the same cashier at the store. The other coins were in honor of FT MC HENRY (Baltimore, Maryland), KISTACHIE NATIONAL FOREST (in Louisiana), JAMESTOWN (in Virginia) and a Maryland state quarter. When I glanced at the coins I felt like there was something symbolic in what I was seeing. The HARPER’S FERRY coin struck my interest first so I looked it up.
Remember earlier when I wrote that Ft. Sumter, South Carolina is where the first shot of the Civil War was fired? This is true, but did you know that HARPER’S FERRY is where the spark was lit? Harper’s Ferry is the site of a famous revolt, led by abolitionist John Brown. It is located at the meeting points of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, which are part of the U.S. states of West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. This area is filled with Civil War history. The second National armory was established at Harper’s Ferry. This site was selected by George Washington himself, and at the time the area was part of Virginia. Not long after its establishment as an armory, weapons of all sorts were produced here. An average of 10,000 or more were made at this site per year. Some say it this was actually where the industrial revolution began. As time ticked on, HARPER’S FERRY became an important site of the Civil War. Harper’s Ferry was very close to the Mason-Dixon line, which was a border between slave states, and non-slave states. During the war this one area changed hands as many as eight times. But, before the war ever started, an abolitionist named John Brown did something that changed history. He, along with 21 men, raided Harper’s Ferry on October 16, 1859. Brown’s goal was to retrieve the weapons in the arsenal so they could be used for a slave revolt. Unfortunately, the raid failed and resulted in the deaths and capture of many men. Brown himself was hung on December 2, 1859 for treason. A statement by John Brown the morning of his death read: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of the this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood.”
If you read through the thoughts and commentary of historians, most agree that this raid, which ended in bloodshed, was a catalyst for the Civil War. The raid revealed the deep rooted division that had developed between the slave states and free states.
As I look at that HARPER’S FERRY quarter, released in June 2016, at a time when racial divides are at a level we haven’t seen in decades- a time where racial divides are being broadcast almost daily- it makes me wonder. I wonder where our country is going. Interestingly enough, the Ft Sumter/Ft Moultrie National Park coin is set to be released in November 2016 (Ft Sumter/Moultrie is where the first shot of the Civil War was fired). Interesting timing if you ask me seeing as the presidential elections take place in November. Back in 2014, the Martin Luther King and Coretta Scott King coin was released. Coincidence? Maybe. Coincidence or not, you have to wonder how big the divide will get if the flames keep getting higher.
Sometimes in life you have to compromise. In the case of slavery, could there be a viable compromise? No. Why? Because slavery was just plain wrong. You can’t compromise when sin is involved. Some say John Brown was radical and even a terrorist. Though most do not agree with all his methods, they came out of a time of frustration, cruelty, and desperation. When things aren’t right, tensions build and all sorts of things can happen.
Jesus didn’t compromise. He spoke the truth. He said, “The wages of sin is death.” He knew sin would kill. It can feel good at first and then it leads you down a wretched path. So, what did Jesus do? He didn’t compromise. He did something miraculous. He sacrificed himself for the sin of mankind. He willingly went to the cross and took our sins upon himself. He could have said, “Now God, if I do this instead, maybe you could just…….”. Nope, he just endured horrific pain on the cross for hours upon hours and carried the sins of the world without compromise. Too many compromises had already been made. They weren’t working. Sin was still rampant. It was eating people’s souls. Compromises can only last for so long. Then they unravel.
But there’s one decision that will never unravel. When you accept Jesus as your Savior, and ask him to come into your heart, there’s no compromise. You do it, and Jesus saves you! It’s that easy. Jesus did the hard part for you. All you have to do is accept his free gift of grace. You compromise nothing. You give all of yourself to him and wait to see the amazing transformation.
In the current election drama that’s unfolding, we see so many compromises being made. One candidate says they will do this. The other says they will do that. The two candidates are far apart in their beliefs and ideologies. There is a rift as big as the Grand Canyon that continues to form. Tensions are high and the insults are off the hook. This election is proving to be one of the most bitter, divided campaigns we may have seen in our history.
Interestingly enough Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser, also ran for President. He and his rival, Andrew Jackson, exchanged heated, harsh words on many an occasion. In fact, the history books paint their rivalry as one of actual hatred. It was said the two candidates couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other. Sounds a lot like our election right now……
Henry Clay lost to his bitter rival and enemy. Thus, Clay never made it to the Oval Office. Jackson did and he set about doing some pretty dirty deeds. The deed that bothers me the most is when he signed the Indian Removal Act. Native Americans would be shoved off their own land and eventually lose their very identities. To me, that is tragic. The Indians were the victims of that wretched compromise.
On the other hand you have men like Winston Churchill, who didn’t like to compromise often. He has been hailed as one of the world’s best leaders. He went down in history as a strong, feisty leader who led his country (Great Britain) through World War 2. But, few know the Winston Churchill who did something quite miraculous even before World War 2. He helped make sure a home was created for the Jewish people. Back in 1922, when the British were given charge of the land that would later become Israel, Churchill went to great lengths to make sure a home was established for the future nation of Israel. He was met with great opposition by both Arab and non-Arabs alike. But Churchill knew the Bible well, and he knew the sheer determination of the Jewish people. While Britain was in charge of “Palestine” (the name given before it was Israel, and also the name given thousands of years earlier by the Romans), Churchill would make sure the area would be built up and settled by the Jewish people. In this way Churchill was seeing the fulfillment of Bible prophecy which said one day the ancient land of the Jews would “bloom like a rose.” The once deserted landscape, void of life and prosperity would literally be changed by the vision of Churchill, the Jews and mainly God. Churchill could have compromised and allowed the Arabs to have their way with the land. He could have thrown his hands up in defeat. After all, it’s easier politically if everyone with money and influence likes you. It’s another thing to do the right thing because it’s the right thing. Because Churchill did not compromise, when the Mandate for Palestine expired on May 14, 1948, and the settlers of Israel were there to declare themselves officially a nation. On May 14, 1948 Bible prophecy became fulfilled again when Israel officially and legally claimed the land. Ezekiel 36 and 37 had come to pass, as well as Jesus’ words in the book of Matthew. .
Being a leader isn’t an easy job, especially when you are leading a nation. In this day and age we have leaders compromising at every whim, especially when money calls. Each day the stories get worse and more disturbing. Yet, why are we surprised? The Bible says the world will become lovers of self, greedy, haters of the good, and corrupt. We like to say we are a Christian nation, but truly its hard to see Christianity in dollars and cents. You can’t serve both God and money. And, you certainly can’t count on politicians to fix the world. The only leaders we can really trust are the ones who know what the Bible says, and the ones who will actually follow what it says.
What are we going to compromise on as a nation this time? We have two candidates that have serious problems on many levels. It is disturbing to think that these are the choices we have for President. One way or another we will have to make a compromise won’t we? Will we have to compromise our conscience? Our values? Our beliefs? What will it be?
So who do you vote for? You vote for the candidate who will protect our religious liberties. You vote for the candidate who will stand with Israel, and democracy. You pray for that candidate, and pray they will listen to the voice of the Lord. You pray for God to influence their decisions and guide them as leaders.
You know, in the end, I could sit around all day and worry about this election. I could kid myself and say, “If only so and so were President we would be fine.” The truth is, I can only say I’m fine because I have Jesus.
If the ship sinks, and it very well may, I can say I stand with Jesus and I’m going to be ok. No matter what, things like love, compassion and truth can reign. These things cannot be compromised.
Other things that can’t be compromised is God’s plan for the world. God has a plan for Israel , the United States and the world. I’ve written in other blog posts about standing with Israel, especially as the world asks her to give up land. There can be no compromise when it comes to Israel’s land. Their land was given to them by God, and this has set a prophetic clock in motion. The clock continues to tick as we see darkness spreading across the world, and in our own nation. Yet, we can’t give up. We can’t give in. We can’t compromise.
For we are children of the day, not of the night. We are the light of Christ, shining in a dark, compromising world. Through Christ, we are set free from our own slavery to sin. No compromise has to be made. The internal Civil War within ourselves is now over. We are set free.
Don’t compromise what you believe just because the world says differently. Read the word of God and don’t compromise truth. Read it. Be it. Live it.
“But you brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night, or to the darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 4 and 5
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
If the “Civil War” comes to our doorstep we must cling to the only one who can bring true peace that we can count on- JESUS CHRIST- PRINCE OF PEACE.
Satan tried to stop Jesus from claiming victory over him and sin. Jesus went to the cross. Satan thought he’d won. He was wrong. Satan continues to ask us to compromise because he wants sin to destroy us. He runs around to and fro, trying to steal our joy. But, it is inevitable. Jesus is coming back. Jesus will not compromise his word, or his Father’s word.
Behold, I am coming soon, says the Lord. NO COMPROMISES. I AM COMING!!!!
Interesting fact: Henry Clay was born on April 12, 1777. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, 4 years after he died. Known as the Great Compromiser, Clay helped keep our nation from war for at least 40 years. Yet, war was inevitable. Slavery needed to be abolished. Even with compromise, war came.
Reference to coins I received (all on the same day as change)- Harper’s Ferry coin is mentioned in detail above. But on a side note Harper’s Ferry is also where famous explorers Lewis and Clark were “outfitted” with all the weapons and supplies they would need for their journey Westward (exploring the Louisiana Purchase Territory- the first land we acquired as a new nation– purchased from France- over 827,000 square miles of land). They even had a collapsible boat made to take on the journey with them- If you read my blog about LAND you will understand the symbolism here.
How about the Ft. McHenry coin? Well, Ft. McHenry was a key battle site during the War of 1812. It was this very battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem- The Star Spangled Banner! When you sing, “Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave,” you are singing this famous song. The British retreated from the fort, allowing for an American victory. The Battle itself began on September 13- interestingly enough a solar eclipse happened on September 13, 2015 on Rosh Hashanah last year.
How about the Kisachie National Forest coin from Louisiana? Well, it just so happens when I got the coin historic flooding was plaguing Louisiana. Over 20,000 people have been rescued and the number is climbing. The flooding is being labeled as beyond historic. What’s frightening is that this flooding wasn’t even caused by a hurricane. It was caused by rainfall that is not being absorbed into the LAND. AT LEAST 6.9 TRILLION GALLONS OF RAIN HAS FALLEN!!! The price tag for this natural disaster may possibly surpass the price tag of Hurricane Sandy. The only costlier disaster was Hurricane Katrina and that hit after the U.S. helped broker a deal with Israel to give away the Gaza Strip and portions of the West Bank. During the flooding in Livingston Parrish (in Louisiana) caskets have actually been unearthed by the tremendous amounts of rain. Dozens of graves have been damaged in a French settlement cemetery in Livingston as of August 19, 2016. Interestingly enough, when Hurricane Katrina hit back in 2005 in Louisiana, the graves of Israeli citizens had just been exhumed and the bodies/caskets removed from a cemetery in Gaza, Israel( since the land was being given to the Palestinian government.) So as graves/bodies were being removed in Israel, Hurricane Katrina was about to hit here in the U.S. Flash forward to NOW and we see graves being unearthed during this recent flood in the same state- Louisiana.
Keep in mind Louisiana was the first state to be carved out of the land we bought during the Louisiana Purchase (read my post titled LAND and you will understand why this is important). If you haven’t read it you really need to go back and read it. It is long but worth your while. Also, did you know it was Robert Livingston who helped negotiate the land that would be bought during the Louisiana Purchase? He was the one who negotiated the deal itself. Livingston Parrish is where the caskets were being unearthed by the flood!
Then, there’s the Jamestown, Virginia coin. Well, Jamestown was the site of our first successful English colony (which would eventually lead to what we know as America). It was founded on May 14, 1607. Israel became a nation again on May 14, 1948. (My blog titled LAND also mentions this connection and why it is important)
And finally, there was the Maryland state coin. The Baltimore riots occurred in Maryland in 2015 and ignited chaos and racial division. Ft. McHenry is located in Baltimore, Maryland as mentioned above.
Why all those coins as change on the same day? Symbolically I think about our future as a nation, founded on Christian roots, and tied to the land of Israel. As we move further from Jesus and closer to sin, what will happen to our land? Riots? Violence? Natural disasters? Wars? Colossal rifts of division? We need to stand firm on the ROCK- JESUS. Many of our nation’s founders knew this was essential to the nation’s survival. George Washington consecrated our country to God in New York City, near the site of Ground Zero (where the 9-11 attacks took place).
If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I’d say our LAND needs HEALING. No more compromises. WE NEED JESUS!!!
copyright: Angela Rodriguez, 2016 67Owls