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?

Walking in Repentance and Revival

My church is experiencing a Great Awakening move of God I believe will spread throughout the nation. Here is a blog post from my pastor about it.

Pastor Zach Prosser

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 3:19, NKJV

During the Great Awakening, Pastor Jonathan Edwards was met with persecution and resistance concerning the divine happenings in the services. There were supernatural signs and wonders like spontaneous laughter and joy, people falling on the floor, shrieks and crying out, and the like. In an effort to bring Scriptural clarity, Edwards explained from 1 John 4:1, and other scriptures what God was doing. The sermon The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of Godis a great message and worth reading today.

Let me highlight some of Edwards’s excerpts from the applications of this message:

  1. The Recent Extraordinary Influence is from the Spirit of God

The Spirit who is at work takes people’s minds off vanities of the world. He…

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Christianity is Like a House

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Some have suggested Christian doctrine (the Bible) is fluid and subject to change. It doesn’t really matter if we believe differently as long as we all come under the tent as Christians. After all, God loves everyone. Some even go as far as to suggest the sins we’ve known from Scripture to be sins since Christ walked the earth and even before are not really than bad. We need to adjust our beliefs according to the culture we live in. We need to examine each belief, not according to the Bible, but according to what we feel is right.

The problem with this is God’s Word is not a smorgasbord where you can chose to eat the chicken and skip the steak as some suggest. Matthew 7 likens the Christian life to building a house. We need to get the foundation right or the house is in danger.

That foundation is the Word of God. Matthew makes this clear. Those who use the foundation of the Word of God is like a man who built his house on the rock. The house won’t fall away when the storms come. But what is the Word of God.

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word of God is the Bible, but it is more than a book. It is the very words of God. Still more, it points us to Christ. In John 1, the Bible says the Word is God, the Christ. The Word of God is the foundation, and Christ is the chief cornerstone.

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, Fully God and Fully Man, who was there with God, as God, at the creation of the world. He is the One who the Bible is about. He is the central figure of all creation. He is the Kingdom of God, the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords, the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world, and the Lion who is ruler of all.

Let’s go back to that doctrinal house. When we take stones or bricks out of the foundation we don’t like, we weaken the structure. We can say, “I don’t like this stone, but it’s okay because I have all those other stones are there. Every stone we remove weakens the structure further. Every misunderstanding or falsity about who Christ really is will cause the whole structure to crumble. It’s inevitable.

When we build the church and our lives on a firm foundation, Christianity and our spiritual lives will thrive. Are you building on a firm foundation?

Ephesians 2:19-22 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Top Ten Verse about Joy

6871b-joyThere is a teaching out there that the joy God gives is not really joyful. The teaching goes on to say joy is not really being happy. It’s not an emotion. While it is true the joy God gives is not the same as the human emotion of happiness, it is not true that God doesn’t care about our happiness. He wants us to be happy, but He wants us to find that happiness and satisfaction in Him. Here are my 10 favorite scripture passages about joy. They are in The Passion Translation unless otherwise stated.

1 Peter 1:8-9 You love him passionately although you did not see him, but through believing in him you are saturated with an ecstatic joy, indescribably sublime and immersed in glory. For you are reaping the harvest of your faith—the full salvation promised you—your souls’ victory!

Romans 15:13 Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!

Isaiah 35:10 (ESV) And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Psalm 30:5 I’ve learned that his anger lasts for a moment, but his loving favor lasts a lifetime! We may weep through the night, but at daybreak it will turn into shouts of ecstatic joy.

Psalm 119:2 What joy overwhelms everyone who keeps the ways of God, those who seek him as their heart’s passion!

Psalm 16:11 (ESV) You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 28:7 You are my strength and my shield from every danger. When I fully trust in you, help is on the way. I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise! I will sing songs of what you mean to me!

Philippians 3:1 My beloved ones, don’t ever limit your joy or fail to rejoice in the wonderful experience of knowing our Lord Jesus!

Psalm 100:1-2 Lift up a great shout of joy to the Lord! Go ahead and do it—everyone, everywhere! As you serve him, be glad and worship him. Sing your way into his presence with joy!

Romans 14:17 (ESV) For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Red Sky Over America – Round Two All Author Cover Contest

I’ve made it to the next round. If you liked the cover of my book,
Red Sky Over America (Ladies of Oberlin Book 1), please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!


Clik to Vote!

Ohio – A State with a Rich Spiritual History

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

While many think of Ohio, they think of a Midwestern state that decides presidential elections. Some go on the mention Ohio’s contributions throughout history. More US presidents, inventers, and astronauts came for Ohio than any other state. All of that is true, but what many people don’t know about is Ohio’s rich spiritual history.

Schoenbrunn Village

Ohio was a part of the First Great Awakening. Ohio’s first white settlement was in the 1770s by the Moravians. A band of Moravians moved to Schoenbrunn to become missionaries to the Lenape Indians. The Moravians started the First Great Awakening with a hundred year, round-the-clock, prayer meeting that launched the modern missionary movement. Moravian leaders were also responsible for the salvation of the Wesley Brothers.

The great camp meeting revivals of first decade of the 1800s swept through Ohio as well as Kentucky and West Virginia. Revival broke out in Cane Ridge, Kentucky in 1801. It soon spread. In June, 1801, a large camp meeting was held at Eagle Creek in Ohio. Before 1804, revival had broken out in the following Ohio cities: Turtle Creek, Eagle Creek, Springdale, Orangedale, Clear Creek, Beaver Creek and Salem. The people at these revivals reported many strange spiritual manifestations such as falling out, jerking, and laughing.

Ohio played a major role in the Second Great Awakening. In the 1830s, two Presbyterian ministers started Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. From the start, this college was the first college to accept women and blacks as students and allowed them to earn regular college degrees. A few years later, Charles Finney, Second Great Awakening preacher, became the president of Oberlin College. There he started a church that became the largest congregation at the time, draw 6,000 to 8,000 members. Before the Civil War, Oberlin became known for its abolitionist activities, and during the Oberlin-Wellington Rescue when students rescued a fugitive slave, the college was almost responsible for Ohio separating from the US over slavery.

Ohio was also instrumental in the American Missionary Movement. It started with the missionaries in Schoenbrunn and continued throughout Ohio history. Between 1860 and 1900, 90% of all American missionaries sent forth by the American missionary society were graduates of Oberlin College. Latter in the early 1900s, many missionaries were called in Pentecostal camp meetings held in northern Ohio and traveled overseas.

The Second Great Awakening spurred on various social movement in the last half of the 1800s, and Ohio was a part of all of them. Ohio was a state that was prominent in the Christian feminist movement of the 1800s. Frances Dana Gage organized Women’s Suffrage Conventions all over Ohio in the 1850s. Ohio had strong ties to the abolitionist movement as well. Lucy Stone and Harriet Beecher Stowe, both Ohioans, were strong abolitionists. Sojourner Truth gave her famous ‘Ain’t I a Woman’ speech in Ohio. At a Woman’s Rights convention in Massillon, Ohio. People in Ohio also fought for prohibition. The Ohio Women’s Temperance Society, organized in 1853, was one of the first temperance organizations.

The Azuza Street Pentecostal revival in Los Angeles in 1906 quickly moved to Ohio. Ivey Campbell, a native Ohioan had heard about the meetings and traveled to Los Angeles to attend She was soon baptized in the Holy Spirit. In November, she returned to Akron, Ohio to hold meetings there. Soon everyone heard of her meetings. Revival flourished, and a Pentecostal camp meeting was held in Alliance, Ohio.

There have also been some strange spiritual movements that were birthed in Ohio Mormonism in Kirtland, and they still have the first Mormon church there. Shakers arrived in Ohio in 1805 and established many communities there. The largest was Lebanon.

Billy Sunday leaving Portsmith, Ohio.

Through the 1900s, many famous revivalists and evangelists preached in Ohio including Billy Sunday, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Billy Graham. Large churches such as Rex Humbard’s Cathedral of Tomorrow were established in Ohio. During the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, revival broke out at Ravenna Assembly of God. Also the great theologian AW Tozar was raised in Akron, Ohio and is buried at a cemetery there. Ohio has a rich spiritual heritage. I don’t believe God is done with Ohio. The next Great Awakening might just come from this midwestern state.

Oberlin – A College Ahead of Its Time

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Oberlin College, founded in 1833 in Northern Ohio, was a college ahead of its time in many ways. In 1835, it became the first college in the United States to regularly admit African Americans. It’s also the oldest co-educational college in the US. In 1837, it admitted four women, three of whom graduated and earned a college degree. Mary Jane Patterson, another Obeberlin graduate, became the first African American woman in 1862 to earn a Bachelor of Arts college degree.

One of Oberlin’s founders once bragged that “Oberlin is peculiar in that which is good”. Oberlin was peculiar in many ways in advancing the causes of the time. Charles Finney, the second president of the college, helped it earn it’s controversial reputation. He was the founder of the Second Great Awakening, a Christian revivalist movement in the early and mid 1800s.

Oberlin College was the hotbed of abolitionist activity and a stop for the Underground Railroad before the Civil War. It was once called “the town that started the Civil War” because of its participation in the Oberlin Wellington Rescue in 1858. Slave catchers came to Oberlin to capture an escaped slave and return him to Kentucky. Most of the town came to the slave’s aid and rescued him. For their trouble, over twenty were arrested and put on trial for violating the Fugitive Slave Act. During the raid on Harper’s Ferry by John Brown, three men from Oberlin participated.

Oberlin College was also well known for the women who graduated from the college and participated in the suffrage and prohibition movements. My new novel Red Sky over America is about a college student there who is involved in the abolitionist movement. Lucy Stone, considered a pioneer for the women’s movement, graduated from Oberlin College in 1847.

Oberlin was also very well known in the missionary movement of the late 1800s. Between 1860 and 1900, 90% of missionaries sent overseas by the American Missionary Society were graduates of Oberlin College. Between 1899 and 1901, thirteen missionaries from Oberlin were martyred during the Boxer Rebellion of China. An arch in Tappan Square at the center of Oberlin pays honor to their sacrifices.

Oberlin is featured in my Ladies of Oberlin Series. Book 1, Red Sky Over America is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Red Sky over America

Ladies of Oberlin, Book 1

William and America confront evil, but will it costs them everything?

 

In 1857, America, the daughter of a slave owner, is an abolitionist and a student at Oberlin College, a school known for its radical ideas. America goes home to Kentucky during school break to confront her father about freeing his slaves.

 

America’s classmate, William, goes to Kentucky to preach abolition to churches that condone slavery. America and William find themselves in the center of the approaching storm sweeping the nation and may not make it home to Ohio or live through the struggle.

 

Red Sky Over America tackles the most turbulent time in history with thorough research and fascinating characters. Tamera Lynn Kraft has woven a tale about the evils of slavery that should never be forgotten. — Mary Ellis, author of The Quaker and the Rebel, The Lady and the Officer, and The Last Heiress.