Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Warning for Egypt, and for Us? — Post by Mary C. Findley

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‘Whom are you like in your greatness?
‘Behold, Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon
With beautiful branches and forest shade,
And very high,
And its top was among the clouds.
Ezekiel 31:3

God gave a warning to Ezekiel for the nation of Egypt, a history lesson and a parable of sorts. Egypt was powerful and magnificent, secure in its pride, but God said Assyria used to be that way too. God compares these nations to lush, gigantic trees flourishing and even taking nourishment from other trees. I included this picture of a tree that looks pretty lush and stands taller than the others around it, like both Assyria and Egypt did in their times. But if you look closely, you’ll see some birds in the branches. The passage in Ezekiel talks about birds nesting in the tree, but these aren’t just any birds … As far as I can tell these are vultures.

Farther along, in Ezekiel 32, we read this:

“These Pharaoh will see, and he will be comforted for all his hordes slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his army,” declares the Lord God. “Though I instilled a terror of him in the land of the living, yet he will be made to lie down among the uncircumcised along with those slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his hordes,” declares the Lord God.

Not sure why Pharaoh would be comforted by this, but the lesson is clear. If you get proud, and get greedy, you get to lie down among the dead. I see America as having become proud and greedy. I think the vultures are already nesting in our trees. I don’t want to see us end up like Assyria and Egypt.

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Friend, Foe, or What? — Post by Michael J. Findley

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We all have friends. A few people are close friends, some more are friendly without being close and most people are on friendly terms without even knowing them very well.

We all have enemies. If we are faithful to the Word of God, then some people will have vile, hate-filled enemies who openly display their animosity. Some enemies attempt to hide their disdain and many people might simply dislike us without open hatred.

But how should we treat people who we simply do not understand? Some of these people we might simply need to spend more time with to truly grasp their intentions. But some people are difficult to “read.”

Jesus clearly said, “He that is not with me is against me;” (Matthew 12:30), but we are more like the servants attempting to determine if someone is a tare or wheat. A tare is a plant that looks just like wheat until is time to put forth grains of wheat. Our responsibility is to treat everyone who claims to be a believer as a believer.

At the same time “Vengeance is mine; I will repay saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:9) God knows and understands every heart. We are not to cast our pearls before swine, we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We are to be kind and let our speech always be seasoned with salt.
We are also to be skilled in the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. As one Preacher said, God has given us the responsibility to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Directed by the Spirit of God we are to use the Word of God appropriately, with love and kindness. Yet at the same time we must be skillful and discerning in dealing with heresy.

We have the responsibility to be faithful to God and His Word. That means edifying and building up those faithful to the Word of God, rebuking heresy, and discerning the differences. Let all things be done in love means binding the broken but also standing up to the flaming arrows of the Wicked One.
The greatest problem I see is knowing the difference between friend and foe.

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Let God Be True, and Every Man a Liar — Post by Michael J. Findley

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We live in an age where man is not only the measure, but men sit in judgment on God. People think that God just doesn’t measure up to their standard of right and wrong, so of course their progressing, evolving standards judge God.

While this attitude is nothing new, and goes back at least as far as Nimrod, when this attitude seizes political power, those who disagree with these tyrants are marked for destruction. The Voice of the Martyrs website has a lengthy list of those marked for destruction.

The problem is that America has become a nation of Hezekiahs. We see the judgment of God approaching, but we are satisfied with peace and safety in our time, believing that God’s judgment is sometime in the future and will not touch us.

galatians and hosea

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Update August 27, 2013 — Post by Michael J. Findley

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To our loyal readers I humbly apologize. For nearly a year I have worked on the next module of our Conflict of the Ages Series The Conflict of the Ages Part Three: They Deliberately Forgot–The Flood and the Ice Age.
During that time I wrote a fiction book, Nehemiah LLC, and took a Christmas break. I have finished COA3 now and it is now in the first step of editing. Then it will be sent out for outside vetting before it is published, by the grace of God, by Christmas time.
The past two months were devoted to finishing this work, which meant neglecting everything else, including this blog. I will attempt to write several during the next few days.
Let me ask one question, please. We are making a module (COA6) which we a calling a “workbook” as a companion to the Introduction, Antidisestablishmentarianism, through the COA5 module, which will cover ancient world literature. It will include grammar, vocabulary, mathematics problems such calculating the volume of the Ark, biology and composition ideas. Is “Workbook” the best possible title? Workbook for elementary level textbooks means many grade-specific problems with spaces to write in short answers. Our workbook will be nothing like that. It will be far more open-ended, with a large number possibilities given in the teacher’s edition. For example, since we do not know how many animals were on the Ark, we can constantly change the variables to calculate the needs of the animals. Which answer is the most reasonable? Why?
These questions are designed to make teachers, as well as students, think. While we do want students to think with open-ended questions, there are right and wrong answers. The Flood is an historical event. Noah, his wife and family were historical people. But your studies might allow for lively arguments on how you define a “panther” in the list of animals taken on board the ark. Does anyone have a better word for our title than “Workbook?” At this point in time, that is the best title we can think of. In fact, we will have a contest, with the prize being free ebook files of the first two Conflict of the Ages modules. Enter by commenting here on this post or email to ffvp56@yahoo.com and we will choose what we think is the best name suggestion and award the cleverest namer. We look forward to your suggestions!

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Why I Write Steampunk … A Part Two of Sorts … Author post by Sophronia Belle Lyon

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We were reading in Jeremiah this morning, and I ran across these verses. It made me think of how we fail the Lord sometimes … Get distracted and fall away from wholehearted service, or become rebellious and stubborn. The Lord invites us to return, and His forgiveness will restore us to “stand before him”, like a servant stands ready to do his master’s bidding.

Then I thought about writing Steampunk, and how man takes good things and twists them, making them evil and vile, or real-life people who corrupt the innocent. Classic themes, characters, and settings become vehicles for sex-peddling, feminist diatribes, exalting the occult, and all the other things Steampunk sometimes does.  But the verses above say God urges us to “take forth the precious from the vile”. He says … *shivers running up and down my spine* … “thou shalt be as my mouth”. I get to speak for God. I get to speak for God!

Listen to what Johannes Keppler says about his studies in Science:

“Now, eighteen months after the first light, three months after the true day, but a very few days after the pure Sun of that most wonderful study began to shine, nothing restrains me; it is my pleasure to taunt mortal men with the candid acknowledgment that I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far, far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its readers for a hundred years, if God Himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study Him.”

—Johannes Kepler, Book V, The Harmony of the World

But there’s a strong caution in the Jeremiah passage. I can use Steampunk for His glory, but I have to be careful not to let my hunger to extend my reach — to use this offbeat but popular genre to attract people into the sphere of God’s influence — God says, “let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” It’s the old analogy of the person standing on the chair trying to pull up the person on the floor. I can’t end up on the floor. I can’t get down on the world’s level. I have to bring them up into that “Sun” Keppler talked about. I also have to remember that I’m supposed to be rescuing souls, real, precious lives, not just writing a book about it.

I love that reference to a “fenced brasen wall”, because Steampunk things are often made out of bronze. My characters use bronze tools and weapons for defense and offense against the enemies they face. But in reality it is God who protects and preserves those who “stand before” Him. I need to be clear about that with my characters ,too, that as they face “the hand of the wicked” and “the hand of the terrible”, that they rely on and give glory to God for their deliverance.

sophronia and goggles ad

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What in the World Is Steampunk and Why Would a Christian Write About It? FFVP Author post by Sophronia Belle Lyon

 

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I don’t know why it’s become popular to attach “punk” to music, fashion, and literary genre, but it is what it is.  Steampunk can find expression in all these outlets, but many people say it originated in fashion or clothing. It’s a style that draws on the Victorian time period, including  top hats, cravats, corsets, spats, veils and parasols, but adds a speculative alternative history based on the possibility that we might have gone with steam power instead of petroleum. It includes goggles for the amazing gadgets like airships and coal-powered vehicles, often made of bronze and running with clockwork mechanisms.

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I haven’t gotten into the music aspects so I don’t know about those. But when it comes to the literary genre, I’m learning more all the time. I was immediately attracted to the Victorian setting, because I love books written in the time period. And many Steampunk books include famous literary characters like Sherlock Holmes. I really got bitten by the Steampunk bug when I saw the movie League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I wanted to write about characters I loved and those early scientific rumblings.

But I didn’t like some aspects of Steampunk. It’s supposed to test the boundaries of Victorian morality, and I would rather uphold strong morality than see how far I can push it before it breaks. That’s already being done too much today. It also tends to focus on feminism, and I’ve never been a fan of that. Steampunk combines some of my favorite literary elements: historical, scifi, and fantasy.

dodge bench

So I wanted to make my own Steampunk series, with characters who stay true to the classic books I loved. I included characters from Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Jane Austen, and Edward S. O’Reilly.  I also wanted to lift up married love, romance with restraint, true courage, camaraderie, and generosity. Be warned: There’s mild reference to smoking, dancing, and alcohol consumption. Evil men do evil things, but there’s not a lot of detail. The stories contain adventure, mystery, suspense, and a strong message of people who will dare anything and sacrifice anything to tap into the power of God to fight evil.

A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist is the first book in the series, and the ebook version is free.  It also has a print and illustrated version. The Pinocchio Factor is the second book, and features a grown-up Oliver Twist as an eccentric inventor. The third book is The Most Dangerous Game, featuring Pecos Bill and hi wife, Sluefoot Sue (in case you ever wanted to know what her riding that giant catfish was all about).

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myBook.to/Alexander_legacy_3_series

 

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More Christian Book Reviews!

Four Stars: Dana Pratola’s “The Covering”

“Praying for the Leader of the Pack”

This is a formula romance that defies the formulas. Good girl attracted to bad boy — Check. Bad boy tortures himself over what is and isn’t his fault about his past — Check. But then there’s that prayer thing, unleashing the Power of God. That power doesn’t take a back seat to anything in this story. It’s not tacked on, it’s not preachy, it’s persistent, flowing into all the cracks in everybody’s armor, especially Gunnar’s, but even Tessa’s got some armor God needs to seep through. I almost thought it was really going formula when tragedy struck, but hey, even that was a surprise. Way to shake up the “Leader of the Pack” stereotype, Dana Pratola. Thanks for a great ride!

Four Stars: Laura J. Marshall’s Faith, Love, and Fried Chicken

“When Things Don’t Go Like You Planned … ”

Warning! This is a serial, which means the story’s not finished with this short episode. And it seems like a pretty predictable, old-fashioned romance at first. But the Jock from high school and the quiet girl dreaming of adventure away from tiny town USA have some surprises for us. Dash’s secret recipe for romance will make you smile, even when he’s not the one who makes the fried chicken part of the story a reality. Pretend you live back in the days where magazines had serial stories and you couldn’t wait for the next installment.

**** Dave King’s “The Curse”
“A Stranger Changes Everything”
I saw some parallels with biblical story of Elijah in this short story. A three-year famine, a stranger in town, and a family in need of hope. This short story is still full of good lessons, about the dangers of gossip and the difference between a sin and a curse. it’s a great allegory about what people think they know about right and wrong, and how wrong they can be.
**** Cynthia P. Willow’s “Land of Flames”
“A Misfit and a Magical Destiny”
This is a story an adult can read all in one night, but I can imagine it becoming a great bedtime story that will reward your kids for hitting the hay on time. Lamek doesn’t know who he should be loyal to when the only life he knows is mockery and slavery, and the only friend he has is a warped and selfish dragon. Karini’s a timid pink fairy who’s promised to help the cause of freedom, but how do you get free from thirteen dragons? There’s an army you won’t expect, a separation and a sacrifice you won’t soon forget, and, best of all, there are two more books in the series to look forward to!

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