Category Archives: America

Why Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

first-thanksgiving-at-plymouth1The Pilgrims stood on the deck of the Mayflower, exhausted from a three-month ordeal at sea.  With every breath of fresh air came the hope of a new beginning for the devout Christians who left all they knew for the sake of God’s call.  But, that raw, cold wind brought with it a bitterness that foretold of hardships to come.

Mayflower pilgrimsThat first winter of 1620-21 was difficult.  Of the 102 passengers, 45 died, including William Bradford’s own wife.  Only four of the couples who boarded the Mayflower still had each other when Spring arrived.  By April 1621, the Mayflower‘s captain determined that he had to return to England.  Even though the ship’s stores were low, he offered to take anyone who wished back to England.  None of the Pilgrims took him up on his offer.

SquantoIn an act of divine Providence, an Indian arrived named Squanto who spoke English, to the amazement of the Pilgrims.  He had been captured in 1605 by an English explorer Captain George Weymouth.  Similarly to the story of Joseph, what these English explorers did for evil, God turned into good.  Squanto was taken to England where he spent nine years and learned English.  In 1614, Captain John Smith took Squanto back to the American shores where he was reunited with his Patuxet people.  However, sailing with Captain Smith was another captain, Thomas Hunt.  Captain Hunt ignored Captain Smith’s orders to trade with the Indians, and instead lured many Patuxet men onto his ship, including Squanto, and shackled them in irons.  Most of the captured Indians were sold into slavery and sent to North Africa.  Squanto, however, was rescued by local friars who purchased him, and taught him Christianity.  Later, Squanto attached himself to an Englishman bound for London.  He found himself back in New England just six months prior to the Pilgrims’ arrival.

The Spring and Summer of 1621 Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to catch eels, when to “harvest” fish swimming upstream to spawn, and how to plant corn the Indian way.  In a massasoit.jpgthousand such ways Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive.  The harvest that year was bountiful, and the Pilgrims invited the local Indian chief, Massasoit to their public feast of thanksgiving.  Massasoit arrived a day early and brought 90 of his warriors with him.  Such a large entourage cut deeply into the winter stores.

On top of that, the Fortune arrived in November and dropped off 35 more colonists who had brought no provisions with them.  That winter, known to some as the “starving time,” required the daily rations to be reduced to just five kernels of corn.  Instead of giving into despair and resentment, they continued to put their hope in Christ.  Unlike the Jamestown settlement, not one of the Plymouth colonists died of starvation that winter.  Unexpectedly, a ship arrived, on its way back to England, and gave them trade goods—beaver pelts, beads, knives, trinkets—with which to trade for corn.  The Pilgrims would thus survive 1622.

In 1623, a drought hit the New England area and threatened to destroy the Pilgrims’ second planting.  The Indians performed their rain dances to no effect.  The Pilgrims got on their faces, sought the Lord, and repented.  God opened up the heavens and poured out his mercy for 14 straight days.  The Indians took notice and “admired the goodness of our God towards us” Edward Winslow remarked. The yield of crops that year was so abundant, that the Pilgrims had a surplus of corn which they used for trading with the Indians.

First-Thanksgiving-631Another thanksgiving feast was planned.  Massasoit was again invited and he brought his wife, three other chiefs, and 120 warriors.  Emmanuel Altham wrote to his brother of the feast, describing the abundance of food, from venison, hogs, hens, goats, plums, nuts.  “A better country was never seen nor heard of, for here are a multitude of God’s blessing.”  Before they all enjoyed the feast, however, each plate was provisioned with just five kernels of corn, lest they forget to give thanks to God for bringing them out of such hardship.

Giving thanks to God is what American Thanksgiving is about.  It is about remembering the fledgling settlement, where a small group of Christians began a new nation, conceived in liberty, and with the desire to be a City on a Hill for the world to see God’s glory.  Since then, America has liberated Europe twice, and Asia once, from tyranny.  America leads the world in spreading the Gospel by sending out missionaries.  America is the most generous nation in the history of mankind.  We’ve fought a war that ended slavery in our midst.  We finally embraced our principle that all men are created equal despite some opposition.  Without God’s blessings and the perseverance of the first Americans, the world would most likely have been ripe for global tyranny without the prospect of liberation.

Our Thanksgiving celebration is not just a reminder for us to be thankful for our own blessings, our families, our homes, our jobs, our churches, our neighbors.  It is a reminder that all Americans should give thanks for God’s blessings bestowed on our forebears.  Without them, the world would not know the blessings God provided because of America. 

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A Renewed Declaration

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Today isn’t the Fourth of July.  We don’t celebrate a date.  Today is Independence Day.  We celebrate the birth of the idea that is America.  That idea had enemies.  The British Crown and Parliament oppressed the Colonies to the point of violating our British constitution.  Our rebellion to tyranny did not begin at the point where we couldn’t take it anymore, but our principles emboldened us to rebel when we wouldn’t take it anymore.  We reached a point where our love of liberty told us “We have had enough.”  Because of our Christian faith, we had the moral courage to stand in the face of despotism.

“In God We Trust” became our motto, and in his trust we pledged to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.  We held God’s truths to be self-evident, that all men are BFRebelliontoTyrants1created equal, not in financial situation, not in talent, but in dignity.  The servant is created equal with his master.  Subjects are created equal with the king.  No longer are we slaves to be ruled by a cruel despot.  We realized our Christian duty is to free the oppressed from the hand of the oppressor.  We believed that “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

We didn’t just believe.  We acted.  We didn’t misapply “Turn the other cheek.”  We stopped the hand of the tyrant from abusing us anymore.  We weren’t afraid of violence.  We weren’t conflict averse.  We didn’t relish the fight, but we did fight.  Through the godly use of violence we destroyed the power of those who oppressed the weak.

Ours is a noble beginning.  Ours is a godly foundation.  Imperfect in its application, but honorable nonetheless.  Our association as a people is not in a single ethnicity.  America is God’s idea, an idea of life, liberty, equality for all who cherish it.  We are a great nation because we believe in the God of that great idea.

We are not without enemies, though.  We have foreign and domestic enemies that want to fundamentally transform that sacred idea into a demonic tyranny.  These agents of tyranny live among us.  These tyrants give their allegiance to foreign gods.  They have fomented lawlessness and chaos.  They have orchestrated the murders of 57 million children.  They have confiscated our property.  They have introduced sexual confusion.  They have created crisis on the border.  They have required us to violate our consciences.  They have refused to enforce our laws.  They have abused governmental authority to torment and punish their political opponents.  They have refused to defend the righteous.

They have forfeited the privilege to govern free men.
Fredrick Douglass
We have suffered a long train of abuses and usurpations.  Those who govern us have demonstrated a plan to reduce us under absolute despotism.  Those who govern us have destroyed lives, liberty, and property.  It is our right.  It is our duty to oppose such tyranny.  To do any less would be disobedience to our God.

So, on this Independence Day, let us reaffirm our dependence on the Author of our liberty.  Let us pledge allegiance to our Sovereign King.  With our knees bowed to the King of heaven, we will have the courage to stand before tyrants.  If God be for us we are fighting a winnable war.  With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence we will once again celebrate our independence.

America the Beautiful

After the presidential election of 2012, my enthusiasm for America has been tempered.  Since my countrymen chose the subservient chains of a sheltered tyranny over the wild adventure of emancipating liberty the colors of the flag lost their luster.  The honor of service was stripped of its joy.  My countrymen are turning America into something ugly.  I didn’t love America anymore because America was no longer lovely.  But, I wanted to love America again.

This personal melancholy remained with me until yesterday.  Now, I have a renewed love for my country, and a resurrected sense of honor for our godly heritage.  This rebirthed patriotism began in an unlikely place.  I walked into a movie theatre where the choices included such movies like Tammy (one reviewer from the New York Observer gave it zero stars).  I placed my money on the counter and purchased a ticket to Dinesh D’Souza’s movie America: Imagine the World Without Her.  D’Souza refuted the arguments by Progressive ideologues that America is the epitome of evil in the world.  He highlighted the things that made this country admirable.  He exposed the lies and the liars, but the tone of the movie was hopeful.  He drew a portrait of America that is beautiful.

America has something for everyone to admire.  Blacks, Indians, immigrants, and patriots all willMadame_CJ_Walker find something to love about America.  One such example comes from the post-Civil War South.  The first female self-made millionaire was Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker.  This black woman was the daughter of Louisiana share croppers.  She saw a need in the community where poor diet caused women’s hair to fall out.   She adapted her knowledge of hair and hair care products to market cosmetics that allowed women to take care of their hair and their dignity.  Her entrepreneurial spirit generated wealth like no other black woman had done before her.  She was an admired philanthropist and trained many other women how to build and manage their own businesses.  She accomplished all this before Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson arrived on the scene to inform the Black community just how horribly they have it.

There are thousands, maybe millions, of beautiful stories like these in America just waiting to be told.  Write them.  Tell them.  Live them.
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America is beautiful, but she is beginning to believe the lies of the Left that she is ugly.  I encourage you to see the movie and gaze on the beauty of America.  Pray for her; protect her with your vote; hold her public servants accountable, and remember that we live in the greatest, most beautiful nation God has ever formed.