Trials of Lottie Moon

This month, as we focus on our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, we often overlook the trials Lottie faced in her life. From loss of wealth to giving up the man she loved, her life was full of heartache. Yet she changed our view of missions and impacted northern China in a way that is still felt today. I remember reading somewhere: Life is not about avoiding the storms but learning to dance in the rain.

lottine.jpg  (NT Photo-oconee-1299)

In our Sunday morning Bible Study yesterday, we were discussing Peter’s venture of walking on water outside the boat in the midst of a storm. Usually, we think of this in terms of our Lord’s chiding him for his lack of faith. However, as one lady observed, everyone goes through storms in his/her life. The question is, will we have the faith to get out of the boat at our savior’s call; or will we stay put and avoid what might be learned?

Lottie Moon said, “[No] trouble comes upon us unless it is needed…we ought to be just as thankful for sorrows as for joys.” We should listen to her words and not be afraid to get out of the boat.

See more at “The Courage of Your Faith.” The Courage of Your Faith consists of 12 short stories from our history and 12 Bible Studies on issues as relevant today as they were in the past. Each study includes supplemental information and a Power Point slide presentation.

Fury Series: 1849-52, The Eventful Years!

As Ann’s story progresses, I find that the years 1848-52 were filled with all kinds of interesting events. Whaling was still going strong; the California Gold Rush was at its peak; ships were being abandoned in San Francisco by crews with visions of striking it rich; Indians and the US government were to hold a meeting at Fort Laramie (plains Indians flocked there by the thousands)  to help alleviate tribal feuding and to provide safe passage for immigrants heading to California; cities along the Des Moines River in Iowa were devastated by some of the area’s worst flooding in history.

More about these to come; look for Till Her Heart Dances this Spring.

More images and documentation on Rebecca Ann Johnson and on Bekah’s adventure are available at FirstFury.com and RuinedFury.com.

First Fury 5-STAR Review

When I ask someone (not a friend) to critique my work, I know it will be truthful; friends sometimes hesitate to hurt my feelings. So, when I got the notice that #ReadersFavorite had published the review of First Fury, it was with trepidation that I went to their web site and opened it up. JUST LIKE RUINED, IT RECEIVED A 5-START REVIEW! Remember, Christmas is coming; and I’ll be at Christmas In Windsor.

“This book was amazing. I’d read through it again just to experience the adventure one more time.”

Reviewed by Patrick Null for Readers’ Favorite

In First Fury, a Christian #historicalfiction novel set in 1848, Thomas Macy takes us on an engrossing journey into the mind of a young woman on her quest for revenge. Lured against her parents’ wishes to Port Gibson in New York by a man she loved, she’s abandoned and left to fend for herself. In a letter, her mother claims she’s ruined and won’t let her come home, and so, in a man’s world, she’s forced to become a man herself. Binding her body to disguise her femininity and cutting her hair, she assigns herself to a whaling ship in hopes she will come across the man who took everything from her so she can exact her revenge. This is the true story of Rebecca Ann Johnson and the lie she convincingly pulled off on a ship full of hardened sailors. Will she be consumed by bitterness? Or will she find God’s love and forgiveness, thus filling the void in her heart?

Filled with fascinating characters, First Fury shows what life was like on a whaling ship in 1848. Thomas Macy has done his homework for the details have the ring of authenticity. Life as a whaler was not easy, and First Fury accurately depicts the messy lifestyle and the courage needed to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Beauty and wonderment will be discovered, secrets will be kept, truths will be given, friends and enemies will be made. Full of danger, excitement, hope and love, First Fury will stay with you long after reading the last page. This book was amazing. I’d read through it again just to experience the adventure one more time.

#nook #kindle

Dead Ends

The roads of life–where do they take us? In 1793, slavery was becoming a pillar of southern economic success; many southern farmers chose this road. Gowan Pamphlet, the pastor of the black church of Williamsburg requested admission of his church into the all-white Dover Association of Baptist Churches; he picked a road that looked difficult to travel. Two roads–one of slavery and the other based on the equality of man before God. Neither ultimate destination was clearly seen at the time.

Sandy and I just returned from a trip along the Oregon/Mormon Trail researching the third book in my Fury series. I wanted to travel to stops mentioned in the story. One of these was Red Rock, Iowa. Our GPS took us about nine miles off the main road over narrower and narrower gravel and dirt roads on the way to Red Rock. All the time, I looked forward to arriving at the historic town. Finally, the GPS said we were almost there. Excitement rising, we made a turn…and stopped. Just ahead was a  sign that read DEAD END.

The road to Red Rock. WayToRedRock_Extract_Sm

How much like life! I thought. As with many of the southern cotton farmers who thought they were on the right path, all indications were that I was as well…until I saw that the end was really a dead one.

Where were we to go? How would we find Red Rock? A cloud of dust arising from the road back, gave me hope. I flagged down a truck that looked official, like its driver would be able to help. I spent a good 15 minutes talking with a new friend, Cleo. He cleared up the matter. Red Rock dam was built in the 1960’s and covered the town of Red Rock. Contemporary pictures of Red Rock, Iowa, would be the peaceful surface of Red Rock Reservoir.

Again, I thought, How much like life! There IS someone who knows the paths we travel—which ones lead to death and which to life.

See more at “The Courage of Your Faith,” this month featuring “The Slaves.” “The Courage of Your Faith” consists of 12 short stories from our history and 12 Bible Studies on issues as relevant today as they were in the past. Each study includes supplemental information and a Power Point slide presentation

A Friend Request

Rather than an informational update, this is a request of my friends for a favor. Readers Favorite is one of the web sites through which my books are marketed. They are preparing an advertising outreach for all the books they handle and suggest that authors ask friends and family to leave their own comments and reviews using both the Comments and Facebook comments sections on their Readers’ Favorite Review Page. My RUINED page is: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/ruined. Scroll down a bit to find the comments and reviews section on that page.

Good reviews will tend to attract potential buyers. If you can find the time to enter a review or comment, that would be great.

Next month, I will begin a set of Oregon (Mormon) Trail pictures following the route taken by Ann as she heads east in my third and final novel in the Fury series.

 Thanks.

 

Why must pastors sign government-issued marriage licenses?

Baptists like John Leland influenced the creation of our Constitution. Last week, I met a fellow author in Windsor. As we walked out of the library, I mentioned what our early Baptist forefather John Leland said, that the idea of Christian Nation “should be exploded forever.” “Oh, yes,” my friend answered. “My Christian history classes talked about him.”

Image_Leland_j

John Leland

Many of my friends disagree with Leland’s POV and they’re in good company. In 2011, Focus on the Family posted an article on their website. It discussed the spiritual aspect of civil marriages. This year they again affirmed this position that the civil marriage license should have spiritual significance.

Yet, in the reality of today’s culture, civil authorities and conservative religious institutions use the word “marriage” with two different definitions and applications. Until the church and the state decouple the use of this word, situations like we now have with Kim Davis, will occur more frequently. IMHO John Leland would want to see this unlinking. Some nations (e.g. Belgium, the Netherlands, and Turkey) require a civil ceremony separate from a religious one. So, in those countries, a couple that wants to be married before God, must have a separate ceremony.

Cattails Again!

For the last few days, our deck had white cattail roots that I was sun-drying to brown. This morning I put them on a board and pounded out the starch, leaving the stringy portion of the roots. Then I poured the white powder into a jar for safe keeping. 

In Ruined, Bekah ate cattails. I am now in the middle of the third and final book in the Fury series and again the protagonists are consuming this vegetable known as the supermarket of the wilderness. This site says to boil the starch out. My research also found a site that said to dry the roots and pound them to remove the starch. Of course, you want to wash them and peel the outer black , like this, before drying.

 

So Sandy and I will be trying something with cattail starch. Shhh! Don’t tell her!

Holy Emotions or Just My Feelings?

In the Carolinas, with General Baptists on the frontier and Regular Baptists on the coast, different styles of worship evolved, especially concerning emotion. This difference in Baptist worship is seen even today. Some congregations love formality. 1 Corinthians 14 says that all things should be done for edification; worship should have an order to it. Too much emotion may lead seekers to think we are mad. On the other hand, other congregations see that the same passage talks about exercising our gifts in songs, teaching, and exhortation. Even in our music, we can see this divide. Some of us love lifting hands to praise songs. Others of us crave the teachings found in the formality of our hymns. So how do we know if our emotions, in either setting, are truly “Holy Affections” or if they are just our own feelings?

If we are satisfied merely with our feelings, we risk making our Self the object of our emotions. We “feel” good. But did the experience point us to our Lord and Savior, to the God of our creation? Feelings by themselves are not evidence of holy emotions. But, if the object of those emotions is God, then we are, at least in one aspect, in the realm of holy emotions. Edwards says that holy emotions are based in the “transcendentally excellent and amiable nature of divine things as they are in themselves and not any conceived relation they bear to self or self-interest.” [p 165]

One Labor Day, at an outside Baptist worship service, someone recited Isaiah 53, personalizing the phrases. As she read the passage, I heard inside me, “…surely Tom’s griefs He Himself bore, and Tom’s sorrows He carried….” In a new way, I saw God and what He did on the cross for me. With my eyes and heart focused on God, I let go a loud “Amen!” An older friend sitting next to me looked my way, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Did I just hear an amen from you!?” Holy emotion…? I like to think so.

Are We Serfs Looking for Benevolent Nobles

Is there something in our human nature that bends us toward serfdom seeking benevolent nobles to rule us?

Scalia_NotADemocracy

About 3500 years ago, a freed people formed a new nation conceived in the idea of that people have value and that God should rule them. They established a government based first on laws and then on judges. This was the first time in history that a nation had no king, monarch, premier, or president to rule them. In 1776, a new nation was formed, guided by a Constitution and laws that gave power to the people.

About 3500 years ago, a free people, ruled by laws, became one of the most powerful on earth. Yet they clamored for a king. They were willing to give up the liberty in God, that made them great, for a king that would take care of them. They wanted to be like everybody else. Today, the people of 1776 have arguably become the greatest nation on earth as they built upon individual liberty and freedom. Now, the people of that nation are willing to give up the laws and freedoms that made them great for a government that will take care of them.

Judicial Power at Our Expense

Our #constitution begins “We the people…” One of its purposes is to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

roberts_AtPeoplesExpense

The dissenting opinions in the same sex marriage ruling, stress the danger resulting from activist judges, judges that make decisions based on their own ideas of right and wrong as opposed to Constitutional law. Liberty, rights, and power were all tied up together in our Constitution by its framers. How much of this liberty (the peoples’ power) is being taken from us by judges that interpret law through glasses of their feelings rather than by the Constitution!

Dr. Ben Carson has talked about the possible need to impose #TermLimits on justices. But term limits would bring with it its own danger. A president would still be free to appoint people that think as he/she does and still stack the court, perhaps to a worse degree than happens now. To have the legislative, judicial, and executive branches ALL aligned with one party based on an election would not be a good thing. Term Limits might be a beneficial depending on how they would be implemented.

Really, the problem is a mindset by liberals and conservatives that each of their points of view is the only right point of view. We each want people in power that can make our viewpoint law. Thus we get activist justices, a legislature that won’t compromise, and a growing divide within “The People.”