Contact Us   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In   |   Register
Discerning Moment
Blog Home All Blogs
Timeless Truths from America's Treasury

 

Search all posts for:   

 

Top tags: Constitution  Founding Fathers  republic 

The True Story of the First Thanksgiving

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, 9 hours ago
Updated: Friday, November 13, 2015


By Rosalie J. Slater

THE PILGRIMS BRING THE GOSPEL TO AMERICA
We remember the Pilgrims sailed across the Ocean on the little ship named The Mayflower. The first year at Plymouth was very hard for the Pilgrims. It was very cold—there was snow and ice on the ground. The Pilgrims built houses for shelter. But first, they built a house for the Lord, a church where they could gather to worship Him and to give thanks for their safe voyage across the ocean to America. The Pilgrims came to America to “propagate and advance the Gospel” of Jesus Christ in these “remote parts of the world.” They also wanted to educate their little children in the ways of the Lord.

GOD SENDS SQUANTO TO HELP THE PILGRIMS
After that first winter, the Pilgrims had a surprise. This is how Governor William Bradford described it in his history of the Pilgrims, Of Pilmoth Plantation:

But about the 16th of March, a certain Indian came boldly amongst them and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand but marveled at it… His name was Samoset. He told them also of another Indian whose was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England and could speak better English than himself.

A few day later Samoset returned with the great chief, Massasoit, and with Squanto. The Pilgrims and the Plymouth Indians made a Peace Treaty which they both kept for over fifty years.

Now that Spring had come it was time to begin to plant their crops so that they might have enough food for the winter. Squanto was a big help to the Pilgrims. He showed them how to plant corn and how to put a little fish in the ground with each grain of corn. With the little fish Squanto was providing fertilizer for the soil—he was feeding the ground with the fish to make the corn grow up big and tall. In many other ways Squanto was a big help to the Pilgrims. He was their guide when they went exploring in their little boat which they called a shallop. He was their interpreter when they wanted to trade with the other Indians because he could speak both Indian and English languages.

William Bradford, the Governor of Plymouth Plantation, from whose book we learn about the Pilgrims, wrote about Squanto, that he was “A special Instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

A BETTER WAY TO RAISE CORN
When the first harvest was gathered the Pilgrims had enough to eat but not for long. Soon the corn crop was all eaten up. They were very hungry again. They gathered nuts and berries. They lived on fish and shell-fish, like lobsters. Sometimes they felt weak from lack of food. But the Lord gave them strength to go on. What could they do to raise more corn—enough to feed themselves, enough to feed the visitors that came to them—enough to trade with the Indians for beaver skins?

William Bradford wrote in his book, “So they began to think of how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.”

All this time they had been going to work in the same big field. This was very confusing. Some men worked only a little. Other men and women worked very hard and their children, too. The result was that many of the lazy ones let the weeds kill their corn plants. The Pilgrims who worked diligently to keep the weeds out of the corn patch grew a big corn crop. Then they had to feed not only their own families, but also the lazy ones who had been careless. This made for injustice and hard feelings.

The Pilgrims talked these matters over with Governor William Bradford. They wanted him to divide up the land so that each family could have their own acres to work. In this way each one could work as hard as he wanted. Each one would be responsible for his plot of land. Some of the young boys had lost their parents the first hard winter. These were given to a family where they could help in the fields. In turn, the family would take care of the boy and feed him with their own. With this new plan there were many individual fields of corn planted. The Governor was pleased at the new attitude of diligence and industry on the part of those especially who were willing to work as hard as they could. Even the lazy ones began to work with new purpose.

THE THREAT OF A FAMINE
The corn was planted just as Squanto had taught them: each grain of corn was planted with a little fish. The families hoed and weeded. They were happy in the thought a good harvest. Soon the young corn shoots stuck their heads out of the soil and began to reach toward the sun. The fields were beautiful to see with the little green shoots.

But now came a great drought. No rain fell to give the young corn plants a needed drink. Every day the sun became hotter and hotter. The drought started in the third week of May and continued until the middle of July. The Pilgrims saw that unless they had some rain their young corn shoots would all wither and dry up. The sun would burn them up. What should they do?

THE PILGRIMS’ DAY OF PRAYER AND FASTING
Always the Pilgrims had turned to the Lord when they were in trouble or when they had problems. This time was no exception. They decided to set apart a whole day to pray to God for rain. They also fasted which means they did not eat any food all day. The Pilgrims humbled themselves before the Lord and asked forgiveness for their sins. How did God answer them? Let us look at the words of William Bradford:

All the morning, and the greatest part of the day, it was clear weather and very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen; yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain with such sweet and gentle showers as gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God. It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold.

One of the most remarkable results of their prayers was the “gracious and speedy answer” that the Lord gave in sending them such gentle showers. Had the rain been hard and the drops too big, the little green shoots would have flattened out. But “as the small rain upon the tender herb” the showers fell softly and gently. This gentle rain opened the hearts of the Indians to receive the Gospel message of Salvation through Jesus Christ. It was the beginning of the evangelistic efforts of the Pilgrims. The Indians felt the Pilgrims’ God was bigger than the God they prayed to, for when they had prayed for rain it had come with storms and tempests. Instead of doing good it had layed the corn flat on the ground. But this had not happened to the Pilgrims’ corn.

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
Bradford tells us that “afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, causes a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of Thanksgiving.” The year was 1623.

Setting apart a special day of Thanksgiving in America honors the Hand of God in our History. It especially honors the Pilgrims as a Christian people whom God sent to America to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ. On Thanksgiving Day, let us thank the Lord for what He has done for our Land and for us.

THE PILGRIM’S PRAYER FOR RAIN
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

Read more about the Pilgrim story in The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government by Verna M. Hall. Visit FACEBookstore.net for more information.

STUDY GUIDE
Use this guide to help your students and children apply the Pilgrim story to their own lives.

Principles From God’s Word
• God loves humility and repentence for sin (see James 4:6)
• God answers the prayers of His people (see James 5:15–16)

Pilgrim Christian Character
• Diligence and Industry in working
• Faith and Steadfastness in prayer
• Humility in asking God’s forgiveness for sin
• Thankfulness to God for answered prayer

Questions for Reflection
• Does God answer your prayers?
• What does God require of us when we pray?
• What are some of the unexpected ways that God helps us in our lives? Who are our Samosets and Squantos?


Download this post as a PDF

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Character Forms a Free or Fettered Life

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Character is the substance on which self-government is built, and without it there is nothing to build on. What, then, is “character”? Noah Webster defines character as, “a mark made by engraving” and “the peculiar qualities, impressed by nature or habit on a person, which distinguish him from others.”

The definition of character implies that character is “cut” or “engraved”—formed, forged, and structured by “nature or habit.” Therefore, an instrument is required to do the cutting. That instrument might be family, church, and most certainly schooling.

America’s founding generation understood that godly character could only be formed when an individual conformed their life to the principles found in the Bible. Self-government could only be practiced and enjoyed when character was marked by faith, steadfastness, brotherly love and Christian care, diligence and industry, and liberty of conscience—that most sacred property. These qualities are the raw materials for building a “free and unfettered life” and a self-governed nation.

A new season of Thanksgiving is coming

Can you imagine what America would be like if we all committed to building our character on the “habits” of diligence, brotherly love and faith? Would many of our nation’s social, moral, financial and international problems be resolved?

Our Pilgrim forebears celebrated that first thanksgiving with joy because their character had been forged through perseverance and suffering to shape God-fearing, Christ-honoring, self-reliant Christians. Let’s recommit to forming our individual character as American Christians, just as the Pilgrims, to reflect Christ’s character, known by His teachings in order to produce a “free and unfettered life.” This will be the beginning of restoring our nation.

Excepted from Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government, by Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater, edited by Carole G. Adams, and Teaching and Learning America’s Christian History: The Principle Approach, “America’s Heritage of Christian Character”, by Rosalie J. Slater. Published by Foundation for American Christian History (FACE).

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Webster: Education for Christian Self-Government

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Monday, October 2, 2017

America is a nation of self-governed individuals, but for the most part, we have forgotten that idea. How can we “remember” this key concept and return our nation to its true purpose—liberty under law with Christian self-government?

Noah Webster, founding father of American education, spent 60 years of his life writing books to help his country grow up in her independence. He became famous for The American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828. This book could be called the only Christian dictionary in the world, and it became the authority for the entire English-speaking world.

The final achievement in Noah Webster’s plan for American Christian education was the translation of the holy Bible from its original languages. Webster learned more than 28 different languages while he was working on the American Dictionary. These languages were those that unlocked the Bible, and Webster called this project “the most important enterprise of my life.” He then published an “American scriptures” for daily reading by Americans “correctly translated into their own language.”

Webster firmly believed that the scriptures were the basis of correct instruction and said, “Education is useless without the Bible.” He also stated that not only should the Bible be the basis for education, but also the basis for all institutions of our Republic because it is the only foundation for teaching character and conscience—the cornerstone of Christian self-government.

Today, American education has sadly slipped away from her mornings to that great anchor—the Christian religion as defined in the holy Scriptures. The American Christian plan of education established by Noah Webster is still our heritage today, and remains the answer to the dilemma of how to return our nation to its true purpose—liberty under law with Christian self-government.

Excerpted from Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government, Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall, edited by Carole G. Adams. Previously published as Rudiments of America’s Christian History and Government by Foundation for American Christian Education. “American Dictionary of the English Language”, p. 17.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Has America forgotten the idea of self-government?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Sunday, September 3, 2017

The “idea of America” is obscured today by the forgetfulness of Americans.

What is the idea of America? Liberty of conscience with the right to life and property, or Christian self-government. How does one forget an idea that was so ardently pursued and hard-won?

Why does “the idea of America” have power to call forth the sacrifice of so many, so consistently, over so many years? One sentence captures the “idea”:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

This remarkable sentence, written over 240 years ago, has power in every generation because it says a nation should be found upon Truth—self-evident Truth that was true, is true and will remain true for all people, at all times, in all places. It is a truth that cannot be disproved and that existed from Creation.

What is the source of this Truth? What evidence can we see? How did this Truth come to us? What are we to do with it?

It is essential that we inculcate the “idea of America” in the hearts and minds of our youth by addressing these questions thoughtfully. We must linger reflectively in them to form a full understanding of the wisdom needed by each generation to sustain the American Republic.

How can we remember the “idea of America”?

History is driven by ideas, but history is forgotten when it is not taught. When parents and teachers neglect the duty of teaching children the mighty acts of God, that void of ignorance is readily filled with a false view of history, which in turn leaves no place for the knowledge of God’s glory.

Let’s heed the words of the psalmist:

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
    incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
…things that we have heard and known,
    that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
    but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
    and the wonders that he has done…
…that the next generation might know them,
    the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,…but keep his commandments…

excerpted from Psalm 78:1-8, ESV

Adapted from Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government, by Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall, edited by Carole G. Adams. Originally published as Rudiments of America’s Christian History and Government.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
Permalink
 

Did you know America is an idea?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Most nations are formed on the basis of racial, linguistic or ethnic affinities. For example, England, France, Germany, and China are all nations established on shared genetic and and cultural bonds. America is the only nation that was birthed not by racial or ethnic necessities, not by aristocracy or oligarchy, but solely by the power of the idea of “living to God,” by subjecting civil and religious liberty to His revealed law.

It has been said that God chose Israel, but America chose God.

The heroic story of America began in ancient times in the mind of God who placed man at liberty in the Garden of Eden. Recorded history, beginning with the Bible, shows man’s resistance to God and the enslaving consequences of rule by various tyrants—kings, pharaohs, caesars, despots, emperors, dictators—often governing malevolently. The Bible teaches us God’s plan of redemption through the Gospel and man’s struggle to regain civil freedom. The Gospel not only frees man from sin but makes him wise in governing himself without oppression.

America’s story

Our story is the story of people and events, but ultimately the story of an idea—the capacity of mankind to govern himself, without a king or ruler, with liberty of conscience and with the right to life and property.

Those early colonial patriot-soldiers, who bled and died for the “idea of America,” teach us again several generations later, to cherish that Christian idea.

Adapted from Nation Makers: the Art of Self-Government, by Rosalie J. Slater and Verna M. Hall, edited by Carole G. Adams. Originally published as Rudiments of America’s Christian History and Government.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Is America a Christian Nation?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Monday, July 3, 2017
Updated: Friday, June 30, 2017

Christians sometimes have difficulty linking the ideas of America’s Christian history and civil government. It seems to them they are being asked to yoke together that which should not be yoked.

They have assumed that the external separation of church and state, which the United States enjoys, means separation of Christian principles from our civil government, rather than believing as did our founding fathers, that our civil government is based upon and inseparable from Christian principles.

Noah Webster wrote that the moral principles contained in the scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws.These principles have immutable truth as their foundation, are adapted to people in every condition of life, secure the practice of universal justice and kindness, and prevent crimes and disorders in society. No human laws dictated apart from the principles of the gospel can ever secure peace, liberty, safety, prosperity and national security.

Many believe that civil government can secure these benefits, but government is an intangible idea that describes the flow of power and force in society. The structure or form of government (i.e., legislative, judicial, executive branches) is only the means by which power and force can operate in our nation.

Government operates in two spheres

Government (power and force) has two spheres of operation: internal and external. Internal (power and force) is individual self-government; external (power and force) is civil government.

The internal sphere is always the causative. Jesus taught that a good man brings forth good treasure out of the heart (Matt. 12:35). Natural man, because of his evil nature, cannot bring forth good government, or the good flow of power and force, because he can only bring out what is in his heart.

Whether man accepts the sovereignty of God or the sovereignty of man determines the quality of the good or evil in his heart.

Power comes from the consent of the governed

Our Founders stated clearly in the Declaration of Independence that governments are instituted by men and gain their powers by the consent of the governed.

What is in the heart of the “the governed?” We must forever link America’s Christian history and civil government to enjoy the benefits of Liberty, peace, security and prosperity.

Adapted from Verna M. Hall, “Introduction: Christianity and Civil Government,” The Christian History of the American Revolution, Consider and Ponder (Foundation for American Christian History, 1976), p. xxv.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Restoring the Memory of America's Christian History

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Monday, June 19, 2017


George Washington at Prayer in the Capitol Prayer Room

Can we restore the lost memory of American Christian self-government?

The knowledge of our American history is so important to Americans that without it we act like a nation that has lost its memory. Knowledge of America’s Christian History provides us with the purpose for which America was established.

Historians who wrote close to the period of our founding were convinced that God reserved this continent for that time when mankind was ready to accept to the fullest the opportunity and the responsibility for extending Christian liberty to every sphere of life. There would be no America if there were no Christianity.

The record of our Christian History has not been destroyed, only neglected.

Few Christians in America really know America’s Christian History. Yet no one has destroyed the record. Rather it has been forgotten and neglected by the very people who should love this tremendous testimony of Christ His Story in America. Now, once again Americans can read for themselves the documentation in the “original” sources of our history.

Historians of today look at America’s early history through the lenses of contemporary philosophies of government and they fail to understand the reasoning of her Founders. Our purpose is to restore the Biblical reasoning of those individuals who were closer to that period.

If we are to appreciate the sacred trust of Christian government we must understand it in the context of a Bible-loving and a Bible-living people.

Excerpted from the original Introduction to Rudiments of America’s Christian History and Government, 1968. Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater.


Look for our new, updated edition of Rudiments to be released Summer 2017 titled Nation Makers: The Art of Self Government, by Verna M. Hall and Rosalie J. Slater, edited by Carole G. Adams, President of the Foundation for American Christian History.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

The New Civics and the Transformation of America

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Friday, May 12, 2017


John Signleton Copley, Portrait of Samuel Adams, c. 1772

Let divines (pastors) and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls…instructing them in the art of self-government without which they never can act a wise part in the government of societies…

Samuel Adams, October 4, 1790

Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, instructed us to teach our children the “art of self-government”, the only answer to creating citizens that can uphold and govern our Republic.

Liberals and progressives understand Sam Adams’ admonition clearly and know that education is the way to change America to their worldview. The “New Civics” is one example of how they plan to transform America. Instead of teaching traditional government courses by instructing students in our representative form of self-government, our high school and college students are being taught “civic engagement” as a way of bringing leftwing and communist causes to the mainstream, misusing the checks and balances of law. They are coached to participate in walkouts and protests, even to the end of bringing about civil unrest and anarchy.

We must counter this plan to undermine our liberty with the same method—education. We can renovate our classrooms, and thus our nation, by using the historic method of Biblical, classical education known as the Principle Approach. This is the method of education that produced our Founding Generation and birthed America. Our children will be taught to cherish our God-given rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, voluntary association and the law of our land, our U.S. Constitution. It is the way to return our nation, once again, to preserving individual freedom and being “the beacon on the hill”, shedding the light of liberty to all nations.

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Who made me? Why was I made? What is my duty?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Thursday, April 13, 2017

An immense effect may be produced by small powers
wisely and steadily directed.

Noah Webster, 1821

Noah Webster, Father of American Scholarship, believed every individual should ask three questions: “Who made me? Why was I made? What is my duty?” The proper answers to these questions, and the practical result of them, constitute the whole business of life. He said that we are furnished with powers of reason to answer these questions, and by the design of our Creator, reason should be employed in every stage of life.

However, he cautioned, “reason without cultivation, without experience and without the aid of revelation, is a miserable guide.” We daily observe in the secular world the failure of reason without revelation. Reason without revelation leads to ignorance, error and action based upon the impulse of passion.

How do we receive revelation? By “aid of revelation”, Webster meant the Bible—communication of truth by God to men. He instructed to first, occupy your mind with study from the Scriptures to learn of the Will and Character of our Maker; second, learn the end or purpose He has given you for your life; and third, discover the duties He wants you to perform. “In all that regards faith and practice, the Scriptures furnish the principles, precepts and rules, by which you are to be guided.” God’s Word would reveal the answer to each of the questions if this became your “first study to occupy the mind.”

What are the results? It will define your reputation among men, you will have peace of mind, and real hope of future happiness when you conform your conduct to the commands of God revealed in the sacred Scriptures.

Today, when Biblical education is under attack, it will encourage us to return to the instruction of Noah Webster for guidance. Then, we may once again enjoy the blessings of liberty under law in our nation.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty. II Cor. 3:17

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Why is George Washington the Role Model of Presidents?

Posted By Foundation for American Christian Education, Saturday, February 18, 2017

Portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, 1797

Many people today find their role models in the media culture. According to The Barna Group, two thirds of Americans say pro athletes have more influence on our society than faith leaders. However, American Christians, in addition to their pastors and teachers, have traditionally looked to the elected leadership for role models. Can you find a hero there today?

George Washington, our first president, understood that as an elected leader he had a duty to be the very model that all other presidents would follow. He discerned that his entire life would be carefully examined, not by some prying journalist, but by God, to whom Washington knew he would be fully accountable. So he set his heart and mind to be the President that would set the standard for all others to follow and began to build a foundation for a young nation to shine the light of liberty to the entire world.

Washington was also humbly conscious of the tremendous responsibilities of the new office of president of the United States. He knew that the whole world would measure America by the character of the man who occupied that office. And indeed, most nations identified Washington as “America” long before they were acquainted with the nation.

This prayer, found in his writings, indicates how closely Washington associated the success of the American nation with the spirit and practice of the Christian religion:

I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the Characteristicks of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.

George Washington “Circular Letter to the States” 1783

This post has not been tagged.

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 
Page 1 of 4
1  |  2  |  3  |  4
Search
Sign In
Sign In securely
Calendar

9/1/2017 » 8/31/2018
Lessons in Liberty Series 2017-18

Community Blog



Contact Us | Trademarks, Legal Issues & Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map