WILLIAM BRADFORD’S PERCEPTION OF AMERICA’S FIRST THANKSGIVING

Recently I’ve come to know that “history” as we read about it or think we know it, is not necessarily the absolute truth, but is a perception formulated when certain “facts” pass through a person’s thoughts, experiences, emotions, former reactions and probably other factors as well. One person’s perception of an event can be totally different from another’s perceived “truth” concerning the very same event.

 

I’ve heard different versions of the original Thanksgiving in America. Here is one version. No matter the actual truth of all of it, which none of us really know, but God alone, it is a reasonable story and a good one. No matter what the actual events, being thankful is essential to living well.  That’s in the Bible.

 

Within the first year, half of the 102 Pilgrims who landed in America, died. Of the 50 who remained only 6 or 7 were strong enough to care for the others.

 

William Bradford was their leader. He survived the first devastating winter of 1620 and went on to serve as governor of Plymouth for 33 years. From his book, Of Plymouth Plantation, comes his perception of what happened; this amazing story of how God intervened for the Pilgrims’ survival in this new land:

 

“About ye 16. Of March a certaine Indian came bouldly amongst them, and spoke to them in broken English, which they could well understand, but marveled at it… He tould them also of another Indian whos name was Squanto, a native of this place, who had been in England & could speake better English then him selfe.

 

“Afterwards they (as many as were able) began to plant ther corne, in which servise Squanto stood them in great stead, showing them both ye maner how to set it, and after how to dress & tend it. Also he tould them excepte they got fish & set with it (in these old grounds) it would come to nothing, and he showed them yt in ye midle of Aprill they should have store enough come up ye brooke, by which they begane to build, and taught them how to take it, and wher to get other provisions necessary for them; all which they found true by trial & experience… And thus they found ye Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to blesse their outgoings & incomings, for which let his holy name have ye praise for ever, to all posteritie.”

 

Bradford added, “Squanto… was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation.”

 

How God worked in Squanto’s life is really amazing. In 1605, a member of the Native American Patuxet tribe, Squanto was captured by an English explorer and taken to England where he learned to speak English. In 1614 Captain John Smith brought him back to America but he was captured again and taken to Spain to be sold as a slave.  Local Catholic friars rescued him and introduced him to Christianity.

 

He went back to England and got on a ship to his native America. But when he got home, he found that all of his tribe had been killed by a plague. The sudden death of the whole tribe scared the neighboring tribes and so they never went onto the property, making it available for the Pilgrims. Also because of the odd circumstances of the tribe’s annihilation, the other tribes didn’t attack the Pilgrims and Squanto facilitated a peace treaty that lasted over 50 years.

 

With Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims’ second winter was much better. To celebrate, Governor Bradford appointed a day of Thanksgiving and invited Squanto’s newly adopted tribe to come and give thanks to God with them. The chief and 90 of his men came and feasted. They ate deer, turkey, fish, lobster, eels, vegetables, corn bread, berries, pies and popcorn that the Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to make.  They competed in games of wrestling, shooting and running. The chief had such a good time he and his men stayed and celebrated for three days.

 

This was the first official American Thanksgiving.

 

If you’d like to read more about this time in America I recommend America’s Providential History by Mark Beliles and Stephen McDowell and William Bradford: Plymouth’s Faithful Pilgrim by Gary Schmidt.

 

Love, Carolyn

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BEING STRONGER THAN OUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS

I was starting to get symptoms of a cold. The symptoms just kept getting worse and the voice in my head said, “I’ve got a cold.” I hadn’t spoken anything out loud yet and instantly I knew I needed to shout: “The Bible says, by Jesus stripes I was healed, so I’m healed!” My cold symptoms were gone overnight.

Sometimes we need to shout louder than the thoughts in our head—drown them out with a shout of God’s word (the truth). For those of you who aren’t shouters, you can speak His truth in your most assertive “outside voice.” Authoritative self-talk or self-speak with God’s truths can have a powerful and positive effect on an apathetic, wandering, or bored mind. It can rescue and release us from being lazy, the victims of “maybe” or “I hope so.”  And it can put a stop to confusion.

There’s a great example of this principle in John 11 where Jesus shouted to Lazarus to come forth from the grave. He had all kinds of negative words and thoughts coming at Him. First of all the religious leaders were trying to shame Him in front of the people. Even Lazarus’ sisters were bothered by the fact that Jesus hadn’t come earlier, and they said so. It had been four days since he died and friends had gathered to grieve. What did they think and speak when Jesus showed up late and told them the dead Lazarus was going to live?

Since the Bible tells us Jesus was tempted in every way that we’re tempted, His mind would have been bombarded by all kinds of negative thoughts (Heb 4:15). The discord of inaudible voices in the air was thick, raucous and confusing. I’ve been in situations where I could almost hear people’s negative thoughts and accusations and I bet you’ve been in situations like that too.

But Jesus put his faith in what God told Him and in the midst of the confusion He stood in front of the tomb and He shouted, “Lazarus, come out!”  “And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, ‘Loose him, and let him go’” (John 11:43-44).

We need to be assertive with the truth we speak to ourselves. We are not victims of our environments. Our faith isn’t insipid or limp, but “strong in the Lord and the power of His might” (Eph 6:10).

Jesus shouted louder and with more authority than the voices of cultural norm; life returned to Lazarus. Against the thoughts in my head, I shouted God’s healing words to my cold symptoms; my good health returned to me. We are so blessed to have great spiritual power available to us. (1 Pet 2:24)

Love, Carolyn

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WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT OUR ANIMALS?

In my last article I suggested making a list of all the things you do in a day and then next to each put why you do them.  One of my things was feeding the cat and dog, loving on them and taking the dog for rides in the car. Why? Because I love them.

Most of you probably don’t know that there is a verse in the Bible about our relationship to our animals. It’s in Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

The Hebrew word for “regardeth” has many meanings including “to care for and respect.” So there you have it. As righteous people it’s our duty to care for and respect our animals and not be cruel.

Every aspect of our life here on earth is covered in the Bible, God’s guidebook for living well.

Have a great week.

Love, Carolyn

CHRISTMAS IS COMING.  Take a look at my assortment of books and booklets: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM

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CROSSROADS – WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Carbondale University of Illinois May 1970. I stood in the crowd of protesters chanting, “Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh, NLF is going to win.” I picked up a rock and threw it as hard as I could. The minute it flew from my hand I was jolted! “What am I doing?” I’d gone too far.

I was throwing a baseball-sized rock into a line of policemen, not even thinking who or what it could hit. I quickly backed out of the crowd of protesters and retreated to the trailer. I waited for my friends. I was silent on the trip home.

And when I got there I had some real soul searching to do. My next semester at school was awfully lonely. I’d abandoned my protester friends and began to look inward and to the Lord for answers.

At some point we all come to crossroads where we’re startled into asking, “Why am I doing this?”

Second Kings 7 tells us about four lepers who were in that predicament. The enemy was coming from without the city and there was a great famine within the city. They just sat there. Finally they woke up and “they said one to another, ‘Why sit we here until we die?’” They realized they were being foolish just sitting there and waiting to die. Instead they were motivated by a tiny spark of hope.

Crazy hope, but hope none the less. They decided that they’d make a move toward the enemy camp and just maybe there was a very slight chance something good would happen. As it turned out, their hope was rewarded. As the lepers went out, the enemy thought they heard a great army coming against them and they fled.

“And when these lepers came to the uttermost part of the camp, they went into one tent, and did eat and drink, and carried thence silver, and gold, and raiment” (2Kgs 7:7). There was so much food and wealth, the whole city was able to prosper from it.

The lepers’ action was motivated by hope and they were rewarded.

Life is relatively short. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Pet 1:24). If we’re wise we can handle the problem of motivations before a shocker comes, like my rock incident.

Here’s a lifesaving, life changing exercise we can do now:

For a day or two write down an inventory of all the activities you do and next to each write what motivates you to do that activity: “Why am I doing this?” Be honest. “I don’t know” is not a valid final answer.

If you really can’t come up with anything, it’s okay to ask someone close to you. People close to us sometimes know us better than we do.

Sometimes we may have to re-examine our motivation for certain actions and sometimes we may have a valid motivation but an inappropriate associated action.

Finding out what motivates us is a step in becoming who we want to be.

Love, Carolyn

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HALLOWEEN SURPRISE – LITTLE BIG THINGS

The week before Halloween Jane and I talked about what we wanted to do. For several years we’d been going out on the porch to greet the kids and hand out candy. We put up a few decorations and usually had about 100 kids visit. But this year was different.

When we talked about it, we felt that the Lord didn’t want us to do our normal routine. We weren’t supposed to put up decorations and we weren’t supposed to go outside to sit on the front porch either. This was really different for us and we wondered why we felt this way. But the Lord wasn’t talking.

It’s harder to obey when you don’t know why He wants you to do or not do a certain thing. We tried to come up with our own answers as to why the change. But eventually we knew it was futile and we just accepted the fact that if we didn’t need to know ahead of time, then that was that. We’d just obey anyway.

As it turned out, a really small but wonderful thing happened. We paid more attention to each individual group of kids that came. There was one group that especially caught our attention. When the three of them came up with their faces painted like skeletons, Jane told them to take as much as they wanted of the candy and popcorn.

Their eyebrows arched up and the surprise was evident. This was a new experience. “Take as much as you want” wasn’t a phrase they were used to. They stood still and paused for just a moment before all three small hands dove into the bowl and pulled out all they could get a hold of. A big “Thanks!” and off they ran.

It was a delight to give those kids perhaps their first Ephesians 3:20 experience. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

It was great to be a part of the Lord’s plan for those kids, to show them that things don’t always get doled out in small, constricted increments. Sometimes the treats come big and are more than our expectations.

I’m not saying that we wouldn’t have seen this if we had been sitting outside like usual, but we both knew it was connected to our obedience to do the things He said. Deuteronomy 11:26-27 tells us, “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day.”

I have a plaque in my bedroom that my friend Wendy gave me. It says, “Enjoy the little things in life…for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.”

Have a wonderful week full of little BIG things as you go about obeying the words of Lord.

Love, Carolyn

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PEANUT’S NEW SHIRT AND THE $100.00 BILL

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Summer 2014: Lightening, thunder, wind, rain in sheets and big drops. 15 minutes of torrential rain blowing hard in every direction, then done. That’s our typical summer storm here in Las Vegas and we had one this Sunday.

On Monday I came home from shopping, got out of my car and walked across the lawn toward the new water dish I put out for the wild birds. I wanted to see if the rain had filled it up. I looked down and there in front of the dish was a neatly folded $100.00 dollar bill. My instinct made me look around quickly to see if anyone was looking for it, but there was no one around. I picked it up and put it into my pocket. I’ve picked up pennies and even quarters, but never a $100.00 bill. I smiled.

Someone must have lost it in the storm, but no one was coming around to claim it. And I found it just in time, because a few minutes later my lawn guys came and they would have either found and kept the money, or chopped it up in a million little pieces in the lawn mower.

I tried to figure out why God would drop me the $100.00 but I couldn’t connect it to anything at all. I don’t believe in coincidence. Saying something is a coincidence is man’s attempt to explain away what he has no control over. I tried to tie it to some good deed, but everything I could think of fell flat and the Lord wasn’t talking. It wasn’t until 2 days later that I understood.

I was buying dog food and bought Peanut, my little dog, a shirt just because I love the little guy and I thought he’d like it. Then it dawned on me that my $100.00 bill had come to me the same way. The Lord gave it to me just because He loves me and He thought I’d like it. And He was right. I liked it a lot.

We receive God’s grace, not just because we are desperate, or because we pray so hard or any of those other religious things we do. We can pray and believe and fast and a lot of other things, but then there’s the extra blessings God sends “just because He wants to.” He doesn’t have to wait for a holiday or birthday. Any day will do. It’s kind of like random acts of kindness. We have the opportunity to follow His example and drop a special blessing on someone every once in a while. It’s fun.

God told Moses, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Exodus 33:19).

Keep it up Lord! And thank you so much!”

It’s been more than a year since this happened and Peanut still enjoys his shirt and I still enjoy the memory of finding the neatly folded $100.00!

Love, Carolyn

If you’d like a FREE pdf file or word document of my booklet, UPGRADING TO GOD’S REALITY, let me know at cjmolica@hotmail.com . Check out my other books at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM

STANDING WITH PEOPLE THROUGH THE HARD TIMES

One month after her surgery Anne entered into the familiar store front meeting room. All her old friends were there but they treated her differently.

She looked pale and weak, not the funny, fearless person they knew pre-surgery. They smiled politely and got involved in other conversations, leaving Anne out. What was going on?

The Holy Spirit told me they were afraid. They had been used to a person who had answers, wisdom, and strength. Here was the same person, but her outward appearance was so different. They didn’t know how to handle it so they didn’t talk to her. They avoided her for several months after her surgery.

At first I was mad at them for being so callous and disrespectful, but then I realized THEY were the ones to be pitied.  They were missing out on a great experience. What they could have gained in wisdom, understanding and guidance, they had given up because of their own fears.

They just couldn’t seem to see past Anne’s exterior appearance and perceived weakness.

People get sick and have things happen to them that change them. That’s just a fact of life. But as Christians we need to be able to still give people the respect and love they need.

The other day I was driving home from work and Jane was in the passenger seat. We were approaching a corner where we’ve seen a skinny raggedy-looking homeless man many times waving and smiling at everyone. The Lord told Jane to give the guy $2.00. He was so excited and talked super-fast as he told us he had been off of drugs and alcohol 15 days now and he could drive and he could work. Jane and I both told him, “good job!” He “God blessed” us several times as we said the same back to him. When we drove off we both realized the guy was not nearly as excited about the money as he was about having someone to tell his story to and them telling him he was doing a good job. People want to be respected and appreciated.

Our God looks at the heart of a man or woman. When God sent Samuel to find a king to replace Saul, even the great prophet was only looking at the exterior: “And it came to pass, when they were come, that he [Samuel] looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam 16:6-7).

God doesn’t look at race or nationality, at male or female, background, culture, sickness, weakness or health. God looks straight through to the heart and we need to practice this too. We all go through down times, weak times. We don’t want to abandon people when they’re going through something. We need to have a little patience, respect and more love. Isn’t that what we’d want?

Love, Carolyn

Christmas is coming. Any of my books or booklets would make great gifts.

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