Valentine Sale – Resurrection of Hope

As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, I am offering Resurrection of Hope eBook for 99 cents on Mt Zion Ridge Press Site at this link.

Resurrection is only available for pre-order on most sites. It will be released tomorrow for $3.99. So, don’t miss this special offer because it ends at midnight.

Here’s a bit more about it.

Resurrection of Hope

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

Why I Celebrate Christmas

So it’s started. Everyone is going on Facebook telling why they hate Christmas, don’t celebrate Christmas, don’t decorate for Christmas because such and such happened or because it is too commercial.

I’m not saying you have to go into debt or buy a lot of things. Celebrate the way you decide is best.

I celebrate because of one thing that happened, whether or not it happened on Dec. 25. I celebrate because Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior came to Earth and was born to die for my sins, and to rise again.

Celebrate how you like but no humbugs around me please. So I leave you with this quote from “A Christmas Carol”.

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,’ returned the nephew. ‘Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!”
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The Real History of the Pilgrims

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Thanksgiving is coming soon. There are many facts about America’s spiritual heritage ingrained in the Pilgrims and Puritans. These are some of the facts that children are not taught in school.

Most children are taught that pilgrims came to America to flee religious persecution. That’s not exactly true. Pilgrims and Puritans were persecuted for believing that Christians could have a personal relationship with Jesus separate from the Church of England. But they traveled to Holland to flee the persecution, not America.

So why did they travel to America? There were many reasons, but the main reason is they felt compelled by God to come to America and establish a colony of people that honored God. Many called this colony, New Jerusalem, believing that God had established this new land to spread the gospel to the world. William Bradford wrote in his journal that the motivation came from “a great hope for advancing the kingdom of Christ.”

Pilgrims and Puritans were not the same. Pilgrims were separatists who believed they should separate themselves for the Church of England and the world systems. Puritans believed in working within the system. When they came to America, Puritans wished to set up the government so that religious freedom of expression would be established. Pilgrims wanted freedom of religion so they were free to worship without fear of persecution. Both Pilgrims and Puritans wanted freedom of religion to protect the church from the government, not to protect the government from the church.

Many schools teach that Thanksgiving was a secular celebration. But letters written by the Pilgrims tell a different story. God was such a part of their everyday life that they included God in everything. One such letter states that Thanksgiving was a celebration called so that “God be praised” for what He had brought them through. John Winthrop called New England a City on a Hill in one of his sermon. He, as well as many other Puritans and Pilgrims, believed they had made a covenant with God to be a new nation that was a model of Christianity to the world.

William Bradford believed that America was called to spread the gospel to the world. Since the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America, the United States of America has sent missionaries to more nations and more remote places in the world than any other nation on Earth. Could it be they were right?

10 Reasons to Celebrate the USA This Independence Day

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

The United States of America has a unique history and heritage that most other nations haven’t shared. Whether you call it exceptionalism or something else, America is special and should be celebrated for its differences. At this time in history, we are divided as a nation in a way we haven’t been since the Civil War, yet I believe America will survive and thrive. Here are some of the things to be proud of this 4th of July.

The United States was birthed out of a revival. While other nations’ origins were born out of class warfare, overthrowing dictators, and bloody overthrows, America fought a civilized Revolutionary War in comparison. A few years earlier, men like Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and the Wesley brothers had led the colonies into a untied nation under God during the First Great Awakening. Our founding fathers were affected by this revival and many were strong Christians. The day of the vote on Independence, the Continental Congress all got on their knees and prayed for God’s guidance.

The United States First Amendment guarantees the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly. This amendment has been assaulted in recent years, but it is the bedrock of why we remain a free society.

The United States has a peaceful transfer of power. Other nations also have this, but many don’t. We are guaranteed that every four years there will be an honest election and the leaders will abide by the will of the people whether they like it or not. It doesn’t matter if you like this president or the last one, you can rest easy that there will not be a coup. The Constitution put this in play, but it was initiated before that when our first president, George Washington, refused to become king.

The United States is a democratic republic. Many people don’t understand this or believe the USA is a democracy. We are a democracy, but we are also a republic. That means that although leaders are chosen by majority vote, we don’t have mob rule. Every person, every minority, is represented and protected.

The United States has a balance of powers. Our government moves slowly because of this, but it essential to our form of government and prevents dictatorship. When it works correctly, the Congress makes the laws, the President enforces the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. The US Constitution is above every branch of the government and has kept us from straying from our origins.

The United States is the strongest nation on Earth. When it comes to military power, financial power, and innovation, the US is the strongest nation. We could use that strength to conquer, but instead, we use that strength to protect and serve.

The United States has benefitted the quality of life everywhere. Because of the structure of freedom in our DNA, the US has been a leader in industry, medicine, innovation, creativity, and innovation. We gave the world electric lights, movies, computers, and airplanes. We were the only nation to put a human being on the moon. Our scientists are some of the best in the world.

The United States has the best medical treatment in the world. While debates are going on in Congress about medical insurance, remember how medical technology and innovation is stronger in the US than any other country. People who can afford it come to the US for medical treatment. We have shared that technology with other nations and have been instrumental in the fight against aides, ebola, and other epidemics.

The United States learns from its mistakes. America isn’t perfect, but no nation is. We have made mistakes. Slavery, prejudice, and our treatment of indigenous people are some of them. Yet with each generation, we strive to learn from the mistakes of the past and correct them.

The United States is great because it is good. In the 1800s, Alexis de Tocqueville toured America and said, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” While this statement is being worn thin, America is still good in many ways. America and Americans go overseas every year to help people in other nations. We give more money and man power to help in natural disasters than any other nation. Missionaries all over the world feed the hungry, cloth the poor, treat the sick, and care for orphans. In this country, when we become aware of a need, there is an outpouring to meet it. Not everyone in America is good, but there is a remnant that is still good.

For these reasons and more, America has been a beacon of hope drawing people from all over the world. We have reason to be proud to be Americans, so let’s celebrate.

Who Was St. Patrick?

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, is a day everyone loves to celebrate by wearing green and having parades, but most don’t know the spiritual significance of the man named Patrick. It is a story of adventure and mystery.

Patrick was born in Kilpatrick, Scotland in the year, 387. His parents were Romans living in Britain and named him Maewyn Succat. At the age of fourteen, Patrick was captured by a raiding party and taken to Ireland to herd sheep. Ireland, at that time, was populated by pagans and druids. Patrick, during his captivity, learned the language and culture of Ireland. He also used his captivity to grow closer to God.

Six years later, at the age of twenty, Patrick had a dream from God to leave Ireland. In the dream, he was told to escape to the coast. When he arrived at the coast, a ship from Britain was waiting for him. He returned home to his family.

Later Patrick studied for the priesthood, became a bishop. He had a vision of the people of Ireland begging him to return and tell them about Jesus. Patrick became a missionary to Ireland and preached the Gospel throughout the land. He lived there for the rest of his life, and many were converted. He died on March 17th, 461.

There are many legends surrounding Patrick. Because there are very few snakes in Ireland, one legend says Patrick banished the snakes. This legend has a grain of truth in it if you consider the snakes paganism that plagued Ireland. By the time Patrick died, Ireland was on its way to becoming a Christian nation. Another legend says an Ash tree would grow wherever Patrick poked his stick into the ground.

The reason the shamrock is used to represent St. Patrick is because he used the shamrock to illustrate the trinity. Since the shamrock is green, that color is also used to represent Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day.

My Top 10 Easter Movies

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This season is a great time for Easter movies. Here are 10 of my favorites.

10. The Robe

1953

Director: Henry Koster

Starring Richard Burton and Jean Simmons

This movie takes some liberties with the story, like the Romans crucifying Jesus without the Jews having anything to do with it and the disciples rescuing another Christian and having a good old fashion sword fight. Sometimes the discrepancies are laughable. That being said, it’s a great movie to watch and doesn’t change the essence of the Gospel. It’s also a touching love story. The line I remember most was when Richard Burton with his wide eyes glaring said. “Were you there?” It gave me the creeps.

9. Ben Hur

1959

Director: William Wyler Starring Charlton Heston

Who can forget Charlton Heston in the chariot race?

8. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John

2003 Director Phillip Saville

Starring Christopher Plummer and Henry Ian Cusick

It follows the words in the Bible. Good, but not as good as Matthew.

7. The Greatest Story Ever Told

1965

Director: George Stevens Starring Max Von Sydow

Great movie about Christ’s life if you can get past the music every time Jesus appears.

6. Jesus of Nazareth

1977 Director: Franco Zeffirelli

Starring Robert Powell

This miniseries on the life of Jesus impacted me greatly even though Jesus looked a bit too Heavenly and his eyes were the wrong color.

5. The Visual Bible: The Gospel of Matthew

1993

Director: Regardt Von Den Bergh

Starring Richard Kiley, Bruce Marchiano, and Gerrit Schoonhoven

This is my all time favorite portrayal of the person of Jesus.

4. Risen

2016

Director: Kevin Reynolds

Starring Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth

This is a unique telling of the story of the resurrection of Christ through the eyes of a Roman soldier who is an unbeliever and sent to find Christ’s body.

3. Son of God

2014 Director: Christopher Spencer

Starring Dioga Morgada, Amber Rose Ravah, Sebastian Knapp

Read my review of this movie at this link.

2. Ben Hur

2016

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro

This is an awesome movie. I was surprised that it was so much better than the original even without Charlton Heston My favorite kind of Easter story is one where Jesus is not the main character, but the main character is forever changed because of His encounter with Jesus. This checks all those boxes.

1. The Passion of the Christ

2004

Director: Mel Gibson

Starring James Caviezel

When I watch this movie, I feel like I’m watching the real event. It chokes me up every time. From the first moment of the film, I felt the anointing.

10 Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

Health Work Career Friends Signpost Shows Life And Lifestyle Balance

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

This is the time of year when everyone is setting forth goals and making resolutions. Many times, they’re the same resolutions that were made last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Making goals to write a novel, get out of debt, lose weight, or get close to God are noble goals. But setting goals is only the first step. The difference between people who make resolutions and who succeed in achieving their goals is that the second group has learned how to finish it.

Here’s some tips to help you finish what you’ve set out to do.

Narrow Down What You Want: Some people set goals they think sound great, but those goals aren’t really what they want. Decide what you want out of life before you set your goals. What are your deepest desires and dreams? People who succeed are the ones who decide what they want most and focus on that. For instance, if your desire is to be healthy and have energy, you will want to set a goal of exercising regularly and eating healthy. So if that’s your goal, don’t make a resolution to join a gym and run five miles everyday. Instead make a goal that works with your desire. Plan healthy meals, and decide on an exercise plan where you work out a half hour every day. Then use the extra time to fulfill other desires you have.

Set Measurable Tasks: If your goal is to write a novel in a year, break it down into chunks. The first month, you might want to do research for your novels. The second month, you could devote to plotting and developing characters. The third month, you might plan to write 3,000 words a day ro write two hours a day. Whatever the case, break down your goal into measurable bite-size pieces and schedule them.

Schedule Your Time: It’s easy to fritter away your time and never accomplish what you want if you don’t schedule your time. Whatever your goals are for this year, schedule time in your calendar to work on those goals. Evaluate what your time wasters are and work on them. For instance, you might want to set a timer when you’re on Facebook to make sure you don’t spend the whole day there. Or you might want to turn off your phone during certain hours.

Evaluate Monthly: Sometimes your desires change, or it may take you longer to fulfill a goal because a major life event gets in the way. Take time a the beginning of each month to evaluate where you are, the progress you’ve made, and reset your goals accordingly.

Plan Your Week: Every week, plan tasks that will fulfill your goals.

Accountability: Set up a system of accountability. You might want to ask a friend or family member to ask you how your doing. Or you might set up a system of rewards that you receive when you make progress.

Deadlines: Set up a deadline to finish what you’ve started. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t meet the deadline. If your late, set another one.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Goals: Sometimes our lives change in a way that certain goals don’t make sense any more. You may have made a resolution to finish Spring Cleaning by April, but then a major project comes due. Don’t be afraid to change your goals to meet your present situation.

Learn to Say No: Adopt this motto when you are asked to do something for someone. “When I say yes to something, I’m saying no to something else.”

Pray before Setting Goals: Whatever we do, we should do for the glory of God. God knows what will happen this year and what He wants us to do. Before we set resolutions, we should consult Him.