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?

5 Tips to Be Thankful During Tough Times

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

It’s easy to thank God when everything is going right, but God wants us to have a thankful attitude no matter what because He has blessed us. At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims had a feast to thank God for His many blessings when they were going through a difficult time. Half of the people who traveled over on the Mayflower died the first winter. Yet they still set aside time to thank God because they knew they were blessed by Jesus dying on the cross for their sins. Here are 5 things we can do to be thankful in hard times.

Bring our hurts to God. Everyone goes through hard times. The reason some people get though them relatively unscathed is because they bring their hurt and pain to God instead of worrying about them and trust in Him to heal them. God didn’t only promise physical heal but emotional healing as well.

Phi 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Rehearse the blessing of God. Use a journal to write what God has done for you. Go over it when you can’t remember the blessings of God.

Psalm 103:1-2  Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:

Despair Or Hope Directions On A SignpostTake your thoughts captive. Joyce Meyer has a saying that you need to think about what you’re thinking about. That’s true. Many times we aren’t thankful because we dwell on negative thoughts that pop into our heads instead of focusing on the good things God has done for us.

2 Corinthians 10:5  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Read God’s Promises in Scripture. The way to have enough faith to be thankful is to spend time reading the promises of God. He is faithful to His promises.

Isaiah 55:9-11 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Spend time praising God each day. In the prayer Jesus taught His disciples, he began and ended with praise. If we want to have a thankful attitude, we need to spend time praising God every day and not only telling Him our needs.

Psalm 148:5  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.

Have a thankful Thanksgiving.

My 10 Favorite Thanksgiving Movies

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Here are 10 of my favorite movies to watch on Thanksgiving Day.

10. Mouse On The Mayflower

(1968) Animated

Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr.

Starring Voices: Tennessee Ernie Ford, John Gary, and Eddie Albert

This classic children’s cartoon movie about a mouse traveling on the Mayflower is a must if your children have never watched it.

9. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

(1973) Animated

Directed by Bill Melendez, Phil Roman

Written by Charles Schultz

The best part of this movie is Linus’ Thanksgiving prayer reminding us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

8. Holiday Inn

(1942)

Directed by Mark Sandrich

Starring: Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire

This prequel to White Christmas cover all of the holidays including Thanksgiving featuring Bing Crosby singing I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For.

7. Plymouth Adventure

(1952)

Starring Spencer Tracy, Gene Tierney, and Van Johnson

Any movie starring these three giants of acting is worth watching. This movie tells the story of the voyage of the Mayflower.

VHS cover Mayflower The Pilgrims' Adventure.jpg6. Mayflower: The Pilgrim’s Adventure

(1979)

Directed by Clarence Brown

Starring Jenny Aqutter and Tim Barrett. Anthony Quinn and Richard Crenna also have roles in this movie.

Another great telling of the crossing of the Mayflower.

5. A Man Called Peter

(1955)

Directed by Henry Coster

Starring Richard Todd and Jean Peters

This story has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it does tell a story of the spiritual heritage of our nation. Peter Marshall feels the call to be a preacher. He leaves Scotland and comes to America and eventually becomes the pastor of “The Church of Presidents” and the chaplain of the US Senate without ever becoming politically correct or compromising his faith.

4. The Wizard of Oz

(1939)

Directed by Victor Fleming

Starring Judy Garland

This movie used to be showed on TV every Thanksgiving and reminds us we can be thankful for what we have. There’s no place like home.

3. Miracle On 34th Street

(1947)

Directed by George Seaton

Starring Edwin Gween, Maureen O’Hara, and Natalie Wood

Although technically this is a Christmas movie, who can forget that it starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

2. It’s A Wonderful Life

(1946)

Directed by Frank Capra

Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed

This movie that used to be shown every Thanksgiving reminds us that sometimes what we consider hardship may be the very thing we can be thankful for because our lives matter to other people. It would be number one if it weren’t really a Christmas movie.

1. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

(1987)

Directed by John Hughes

Starring Steve Martin and John Candy

In my opinion, this comedy is the best Thanksgiving movie reminding us to be thankful for what we have and sharing our blessings with those who might have lost everything. I get a lump in my throat at the end every time I watch it. Get the TV version instead of the movie DVD, or it will have too much bad language. I believe there’s a DVD that takes out the language also.

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.