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Preaching The Gospel To Yourself

In his classic history of the Civil War, author Shelby Foote relates the story of Commodore Andrew H. Foote who partnered with Ulysses S. Grant to capture Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Commodore Foote commanded a fleet of ironclads and other vessels that supported Grant in his assault.

According to Shelby Foote:

Commodore Andrew H. Foote was a Connecticut Yankee, a small man with burning eyes … He was deeply … religious, and conducted a Bible school for his crew every Sunday, afloat or ashore. Twenty years before, he had had the first temperance ship in the U.S. Navy … At fifty-six he had spent forty years as a career officer fighting the two things he hated most, slavery and whiskey ...

When Grant ordered Foote to attack Fort Donelson:

Foote would have preferred to wait until he had had time to make a personal reconnaissance. But Grant’s request was for an immediate attack and the commodore prepared to give it to him. He had done considerable waiting already, a whole week of it while the armorers were hammering his ironclads back into shape. All this time he had kept busy, supervising the work ... Nor were spiritual matters neglected. The day before the attack he attended church at Cairo. When he was told that the parson was indisposed, Foote mounted to the pulpit and preached the sermon himself. “Let not your heart be troubled,” was his text: “ye believe in God, believe also in me.” Next day, having thus admonished and fortified his crews, he sent one ironclad up the Cumberland to attack Fort Donelson.

Possible Preaching Angles: In the same way, we often need to preach the gospel, the good news of God’s promises, to ourselves first.

Shelby Foote, The Civil War: A Narrative, V. 1, (First Vintage Books, 1986), p. 184, 201

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