5 Things You Should Know about the Liberty Bell

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom for the United States. On it is inscribed, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” An interesting fact about the Liberty Bell is that it was procured by Philadelphia long before the colonies were fighting for their independence, and it did not ring on July 4th, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Origin of the Bell: In 1751, Philadelphia needed a new larger bell to ring when proclamations were made and when citizens needed to be warned of danger.  Issac Norris, speaker of the Philadelphia Provincial Assembly contracted with London to have a 2,000 pound bell made. It arrived in August, 1752, but when it rang for the first time, the rim cracked. Two local founders, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell with their names engraved on it and got it ready to for use in 1753. The bell was used for public meetings and to summon people to church services. In 1772, some complained that the bell rang too often.

Proclamation of Independence: When the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776, there was no public proclamation made, so no bells rang to announce it. The public proclamation was made on July 8th. Many bells rang that day, and although the Liberty Bell was not specifically mentioned, it may have been one of those bells. Bells were also rung to celebrate the one year anniverserary of Independence on July 4th, 1777.

After General Washington’s defeat at the Battle of Brandywine in September, 1777, the bell was removed and hidden below church floorboards in Allentown to keep it from falling into the hands of the British and melted down as munitions. After the British departed, it was returned to Philidelphia in 1778 and placed in storage until 1784 when it was rung again on 4th of July’s, Washington’s birthday, and election days.

The Famous Crack: Nobody knows how the bell was cracked, but in February, 1846, the Public Ledger announced that the bell could not be rung for George Washington’s birthday because of the crack and that the crack had been there for some time. The most common story is the bell cracked in 1835 when it rang during the funeral of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, but in 1837, the bell was used as a symbol for an anti-slavery campaign and the crack wasn’t mentioned.

The Bell’s Name: The bell was first called the Liberty Bell in a New York anti-slavery journal in 1835 when it became a symbol for the abolitionist movement. In 1853, US President Franklin Pierce called the Liberty Bell a symbol of American Revolution and American Liberty. In 1865, after President Lincoln was assasinated, the bell was placed by his head so everyone who passed could read the inscription, “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” From that point on, it was always called the Liberty Bell.

In 1876, a committee considered repairing the Liberty Bell for the Centennial Celebration of Independence, but it was decided that the crack was so much a part of the symbol of the bell, it shouldn’t be tampered with. Through the years, the bell traveled to exhibitions until the crack got much worse. Repairs were made, and it was retired to Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

The Bell’s Last Toll: The bell was tapped in 1915 and again during World War II on D-Day, VE-Day, and VJ-Day, but it hasn’t been tapped since. Throughout our nation’s history, it has been known a symbol for liberty throughout the land.

Faith as a Mustard Seed

by Carole Brownmustard-seeds free

How big is a mustard seed?

How big is your faith?

My aunt and cousin had died, and we didn’t find out about it until several weeks later. It was such a horrific and sad situation that I felt absolutely pounded by the event. Depression set in, and the enemy of my soul delighted in taking advantage of my mental and spiritual doubts. On top of that, I was struggling with misunderstandings from dear people I loved. Needless to say, my faith wavered.

  • Yes, I knew God was real.Bible free
  • Yes, I knew he answered prayer
  • Yes, I knew he loved me.

I knew these things, but I didn’t feel them. I cried and prayed. I read scripture and clasped hold on them. I sought council and encouragement from both my hubby and oldest son. I wept with discouragement over not being able to overcome the feelings that kept swarming over me.

But I held on. And on. And on. Gradually, as months passed, I felt the load easing. Healing and spiritual growth came from those extreme feelings of doubt and mstard field freehurt. God patiently and gently loved me into a height of faith I’d never experienced before. I knew that–though I never would claim to be an amazon warrior–I could be a simple and faith-filled soldier for God–if only I would keep my hand in his and hold on tight. Whatever happened in my life, God would see me through. My mustard seed faith had sprouted!

At church recently, the song leader felt led to lead us in some old fashion songs. The words spoke to my heart:person rejoicing free

  • God will Take Care of You
  • Trust and Obey
  • I Need Thee Every Hour

Oh, how true. God will take care of me if I only trust and obey…because I certainly do need him every hour of every day. 

Have you ever felt your faith wavering? How did you overcome those feelings?

Hang on, even if your faith is only mustard seed size!

Book News…The Newest from Sharon A. Lavy

by Carole Brown

No one begins life as a teenager.

So why can’t Pete Neper remember his childhood?

Conflict of Interest

Book Blurb
His family attended St. Anthony’s church in Florida. So why is the Old German Baptist meeting house—in Ohio, where his high school friend attended—the only one he can remember? Is he crazy like his father–the man who killed his mother years ago and recently killed his best friend?

While Pete hunts for his elusive memories, Danni Wagoner, his best friend’s widow still seeks for closure a year after she buried her husband.

Much as he wants to comfort this widow and her child—unless Pete can forgive his father, he will not be free to love or protect either of them properly.

Book Three in the “Sometimes We’re Asked to Forgive the Unforgiveable” series. 

The captivating continuation of the story of two women, raised differently and dressed differently, but close friends nevertheless, and the men in their lives. Filled with anguish and joy, sweet scenes and suspenseful ones, each character stands out in a unique and interesting way that will compel the reader to keep reading well past their bedtime. It’s a once-in-a-reader’s-life book series that hooks one to follow the episodes and exciting experiences these women are living. I recommend this book to all those who love Amish–er, German Baptist books, women’s fiction and suspenseful writing. Don’t miss out! 

Buy this book here:  

https://www.amazon.com/Conflict-Interest-Sometimes-forgive-unforgivable-ebook/dp/B06XQ9SLBF/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498135044&sr=1-1&keywords=Conflict+of+Interest+by+Sharon+A.+Lavy

 

ABOUT Sharon:

Sharon A. Lavy was born into an Old German Baptist family. This Anabaptist group are often mistaken for Amish.

While Sharon was growing up her father went to medical school at George Washington University. He interned and took his residency at a hospital in Sacramento, California.
She inherited her love of books from her father and when she wasn’t exploring the hospital where he worked, Sharon spent many hours pouring over his medical books.

When she married, Sharon moved with her husband to a farm in Southwest Ohio where they reared five children.

While she loves to read many genre, her own writing tends to feature medical drama among the Old German Baptist community.

Connect with her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharon.a.lavy

The Shot Heard Around the World

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The United States of America didn’t start with a whisper or a riot. It started with a bang. The bang was a shot fired by a British rifle and known as the shot heard around the world.

After the Intolerable Acts resulted in uniting the American Colonies, tensions grew between the Americans and the British. Three colonists at the forefront of the fight for Independence were John and Samuel Adams, and John Hancock. The British planned to raid military supplies at Concord and arrest the Adams’ brothers and Hancock. Paul Revere, Robert Newman, along with Dawes and Prescott, carried a signal to warn them when the British invaded.

On April 18, 1775, Paul Revere rode through Lexington and Concord sounding the alarm. He hung two lanterns from the church-steeple in Boston to show the British were headed to Concord. He also warned Hancock and Adams at Reverend Jonas Clark’s parsonage in Lexington. The patriots escaped before the British got there.

As Revere and his men rode through the countryside, minutemen (men who were ready at a minute’s notice) came out in droves. The British reached concord at 5:00 am. A fight began when four hundred and fifty Americans rallied to meet the British. The fighting took place between two detachments at the North Bridge, where “one the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard round the world.”

American Captain Isaac Davis was killed at the first shot. The British detachment retreated in disorder. As they marched toward Lexington, they were exposed to constant guerilla fire by minutemen. Militia were ready for them as they reached Lexington at 2:00 pm. Ninety-three Americans were killed wounded and missing that day. The British lost two hundred and seventy-three men. The Revolutionary War had begun.

The Day I Saw an Angel and Didn’t Know It

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

I was a poor nineteen year old college student on my way home from Sunday night service. I didn’t have any money, and the car was on empty. It wouldn’t have mattered if I did have money. It was after 9:00 at night, and this was the late 1970s, the time when gas shortages caused gas stations to close by 6:00 if they didn’t run out of gas. I went to church by faith praying I wouldn’t run out of gas until I got home.

The car sputtered then stopped. I sat in the car for a few moments considering my options. I didn’t have a cell phone in those days. Only rich people had car phones, and they were the size of today’s laptops. It was after dark, so walking to the nearest gas station was not something I looked forward to. Even if I did walk there, a couple of miles away, I couldn’t get gas at that hour – even if I had money.

I could have used the phone booth at the gas station to make a call. I was sure I could find a quarter in the ash tray or under the seat. But the idea of walking out there in the dark didn’t appeal to me.

Lord, what am I going to do?

It was at that moment a group of guys drove up. They were obviously drunk or high, and from the cat calls and whistles they made, I had no trouble discerning what they really were after.

“You run out of gas?” one guy slurred. “We can drive you to the station.”

“No, that’s all right,” I called from inside the closed window.

They shrugged and drove off. I let out a sigh of relief, but a few minutes later they came back.

The first guy, obviously the leader, got out of the car this time and banged on my window. “Give us some money, and will bring back some gas for you.”

“Someone’s coming to pick me up,” I lied hoping they would leave me alone. No such luck.

A couple of others were out of the car by now pounding on the window as hard as my heart was beating. “Come on. Let us in. We’re trying to help you.”

“No, thanks. I’m fine.”

They got in their car and drove away.

At this point, I was shaking. I knew they’d be back, and this time, they wouldn’t take no for an answer. Lord, please help me.

A police car pulled onto the road. I was sure this was my answer to prayer. I honked my horn and flashed my lights, but the car drove away. I couldn’t believe it. I knew the cop saw me, but he didn’t stop. I was on one side of the city line, and he was working for the other city. Still, he could have stopped. He had to know I needed his help.

A chill went through me. A weight rested on my chest, and I had to remind myself to breathe. My eyes darted along the street as I looked for a place to hide, a tree, a bush. No houses to run to for help, only businesses after hours.

The back of my throat ached.

Lord, you are my strength and salvation. You are my ever present help in time of trouble. Please, help me. I don’t know what to do.

A car drove up, and a man got out and walked up to the window. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what the man looked like, but a peace came over me. I wasn’t afraid anymore.

“Come with me, and I’ll get you some gas.” That’s all he said.

I didn’t take frivolous chances. I was careful about going with people I didn’t know, but it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to go with him. I didn’t even think about it. I got into his car.

The man drove down the street and turned on a gravel road. I examined where the road was so I could look for it later. At the end of the road was an old barn. The man went into the barn and came out carrying a five gallon gas tank, then he drove me back to my car and filled it up. I had a twenty gallon tank, and he filled it until the needle was on full. Then he drove away.

The next day, I drove to where the man had pulled off the road. My intention was to thank him, but the gravel road wasn’t there. I couldn’t find it. That’s when I realized he was an angel sent by God. The full gas tank lasted six months with me driving for miles every day.

I often wondered why God didn’t have the angel fill up my tank right there without me going with him. I think I’ve come up with two reasons. First God wanted me to know He was the one who rescued me supernaturally. Second, the car full of guys might have come back while I was gone. When they saw I wasn’t there, they drove off.

For what it’s worth, this story is true. You can come to your own conclusions about the man who filled my gas tank. I know what I believe.

 

Was George Washington a Christian?

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Throughout history, people have known the founding father of the United States, George Washington was a man of faith. Recently his reputation as a Christian has been tarnished, not because any new documents have been discovered, but because some historians are going out of their way to prove our founding fathers did not rely upon God. It has become politically incorrect to consider George Washington as any more than a Deist, someone who believes in a distant God who doesn’t interfere with the plans of man.

This theory became popular in 1963, when Professor Paul Boller wrote a book, George Washington and Religion. Professor Boller wrote, “Broadly speaking, of course, Washington can be classified as a Deist.” But the evidence that Washington was more than a Deist is overwhelming. To debunk this theory, Peter A. Lillback wrote a biography based on fifteen years of research called George Washington’s Sacred Fire.

Here’s a few things that prove George Washington had a strong Christian faith in God:

At age thirteen, Washington transcribed and memorized 110 Rules for Young Gentlemen, written by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits in the 1590’s. They teach man is God’s servant who lives not for self, but for others. They became a part of his character.

When Washington was twenty, he wrote prayers to say each morning and evening. On Sunday mornings he prayed, “…pardon, I beseech Thee, my sins; remove them from Thy presence, as far as the east is from the west, and accept me for the merits of Thy son, Jesus Christ…”

Captain Washington, at the age of twenty-three, was caught in a surprise ambush by the French and Indians near what is now Pittsburgh. Every British and American officer was shot but Washington even though he rode numerous times back and forth across the battlefield. He later wrote to his brother, “By the all powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation, for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me.” Later, Indians testified they had singled Washington out, but their bullets had no effect on him. They were convinced an Invisible Power was protecting him.

As Commander and Chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, on July 2, 1776, General Washington told his troops: “The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance or the most abject submission. We have therefore to resolve to conquer or die.”

As Commander and Chief, he pushed for army chaplains and required church attendance among the soldiers.

Seven weeks later, British General Howe had trapped Washington and his 8,000 troops on Brooklyn Heights, ready to crush them the next morning. Washington gathered every vessel from fishing to row boats and spent all night ferrying his army across the East River. By morning many troops were still exposed to the British. This gave the British a chance to win the war. But the fog that almost always lifts from the river in the mornings, that day, stayed thick and covered Washington’s retreat until the entire army escaped.

In 1777 at Valley Forge, a dozen soldiers died a day in the freezing cold. They lacked supplies such as blankets or shoes. A Quaker named Isaac Potts reported seeing Washington on his knees in the snow praying aloud for his beloved country. He thanked God for exalting him to the head of a great nation which was fighting at fearful odds. Potts told his wife, “Till now I have thought that a Christian and a solider were characters incompatible, but if George Washington not be a man of God I am mistaken, and still more I shall be disappointed in God does not through him perform some great thing for this country.”

On May 5, 1778 Washington learned the French would join America as allies. The General told his troops, “It having pleased the Almighty Ruler of the universe to defend the cause of the United American States, and finally to raise up a powerful friend among the princes of the earth, to establish our liberty, and independence upon a lasting foundation, it becomes us to set apart a day for gratefully acknowledging the divine goodness…”

While encamped on the banks of a river, Washington was approached by Delaware Indian chiefs who desired their youth be trained in American schools. In Washington’s response, he first told them that “Congress… will look on them as on their own children.” He then commended the chiefs for their decision: You do well to wish to learn our arts and our ways of life and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention.

In 1781, General Washington’s southern army defeated a detachment of British troops. Lord Cornwallis was infuriated and began pursuing the outnumbered Americans. He waited the night at the Catawba River, which the U.S. troops had crossed just two hours earlier. Miraculously, a storm arose during the night causing the river to be uncrossable for five days. Cornwallis nearly overtook Americans at the Yadkin River, but another flood arose, allowing Americans to escape.

The French navy seized control of the Chesapeake Aug. 30, 1781, driving out British ships. Washington rejoiced and besieged Cornwallis’ stronghold at Yorktown. With no ships to escape upon, Cornwallis surrendered.

Washington wrote Congress, “I take a particular pleasure in acknowledging that the interposing Hand of Heaven…has been most conspicuous and remarkable.”

During the oath of office, when Washington became president, he chose to take the oath with a Bible. As president, Washington often spoke on the importance of prayer and signed the first official Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in US history. It is clear that faith in God was very important to President Washington and that he was a Christian.

Getting Ready for Summer

by Carole Brown

There’s busy and then there’s busy.

If you’re anything like us, you already have your summer pretty well booked. but with a little planning, you can it a little less harassing and a lot more fun and relaxing. Here are a few tips I’ve learned through the years:

  • Plan ahead… 

for the trips and vacations you want to take. Decide on how muccheck-list freeh you will spend and set aside extra for emergencies or special things that crop up. Write down everything that needs to be done and cross these items off as you finish them. (Book flights, list items needed to be taken, schedule activities you want to do and buy tickets ahead of time, buy snacks and drinks when appropriate.) 

Have appropriate clothes planned and ready. Repairs needed? Don’t wait until the last minute, but have it done early. Shoes need to be purchased? Toiletries running low? Get these things off your list.  

 

  • Plan activities suitable for you, your family, your friends.

Needless to say, you should take into consideration what interests you’re planning for. Children who are totally into sports or activities may find it boring to go to five different museums. Save that trip for when you and your husband or friends can enjoy it. 

parachute free

  • Prepare yourself and your family/friends physically. 

If you’re headed to the beach, condition your skin to the sun; don’t wait till you arrive and end up with damaged skin. If  you’re headed to the mountains to scale the heights, begin early strengthening your body by running/walking. Higher altitudes can cause some problems for certain people so make sure you have a doctor checkup before leaving. You want to be ready for whatever you plan and not be caught unaware and in serious physical condition because you didn’t know.

physical bike free

 

  • Don’t be too stringent on keeping to the “rules.” 

Allow for unplanned things. See a spot that would be perfect for a picnic, and your child is begging to stretch her legs? Do it, and eat at that fancy restaurant another time. Don’t think you have to be on the move constantly. Take time to read a book, sit on a porch and watch the birds. Stroll, take a walk, talk, don’t talk, cook out, walk barefoot in the sand early in the morning, or stroll the beach at midnight with your friends or companion while the kids (who are old enough) are sleeping. Allow time for side trips. Do something unexpected. Suggest the children (with guidance) plan a day of fun. 

sand feet

 

  • Be safe. 

Take precautions. Make sure shots are up-to-date, medicines are ready to go, and medical kits are stocked. Don’t be paranoid, but be cautious. Keep your eyes on children. Be friendly but careful around those you don’t know well. Watch for unexpected problems on side trips: slippery, downhill paths, stinging insects, broken items that can cut, unfriendly animals who are doing what they’re wired to do. In traveling, stay alert. Get plenty of rest and never push yourself beyond limits. 

warning free

 

  • Stay relaxed, have fun, and come home rested. 

Sometimes this is hard to do. I know. But if you can carry through on the above suggestions, you’ll find that it’s much easier to control this last one. If you can pull it off, you’ll find yourself returning home, eager to plan another getaway.

reclining free

It’s time for vacation. Are you ready?