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Snippet from A Dodge, a Twist, and a Tobacconist, and A Dickens of a Reminder

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As we finished our lunch, instead of Rose, the thin, sallow girl I had learned was called Dulcinea, the Campbells’ adopted daughter, entered, bearing a cunningly carved elephant cup of fragrant wood brimming with frothy milk.
“Thank you, Dulcy,” Kera said warmly. I started, noticing that the child’s left hand was only a withered claw. She did not speak, either, just bobbed and awkward curtsy to both of us and left.

“Rose told me Doctor Mac rescued Dulcy from a hospital after her indigent mother died,” Kera sighed. “And Rose adopted her before they were married. Dulcy was the beginning of Rose’s ministry to orphans. She is so blessed to have those two as parents. All of these children are so blessed, to be covered in prayers and taught to praise.”

She looked wistfully out the window as Rose darted by, having apparently challenged Oliver to a race. The two had comets’ trails of children screaming and running joyfully after them.

“Doctor Twist spent his childhood starving, cleaning hemp and making coffin-linings. He told me the coffin-maker made him march in the funeral processions because he had such a sweet face and looked so like a mourning angel, wearing a black top-hat and bearing ostrich plumes. He said the man thought to have him made into a mute — that it would make him more valuable as a mourner and people would pay more for funerals. I thought my upbringing was a horror story.”

She fell silent and I saw that she was nodding off over the last of her milk. “Are you strong enough to get yourself off to bed?” I asked.

“I can manage.” Kera rose slowly and approached my bed. “Now I can kiss you and you need not fear me.” She bent down and placed her lips on my forehead. “Rest well, my father in Christ.”

Free sampler of the first book

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Book One, Narrated by Florizel of Bohemia                                          Book Two, with Oliver Twist as Narrator

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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in general writing, publishing

 

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I, the Lord, Am Your Healer — Post by Michael J. Findley

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And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

Exodus 15:26

Most believers in Christ fall into two camps — People who believe in faith healers and people who believe that the gift of healing, along with others, like speaking in tongues, ceased at the end of the New Testament period. Just as God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, God does not want or desire diseases for His children. Yet, both sin and disease exist. C.S. Lewis wrote about the Problem of Pain. How could a God of love allow pain? How could a God of love allow disease?

The purpose of disease is clearly laid out in God’s Word. Since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is appointed unto man once to die, and after this the judgment. Sin and disease are part of this material existence. We are sinners both by birth and by choice. We have inherited the sin nature of Adam and we choose to sin. Disease can come simply through our sin nature because of choices other people made or because of choices we make.  When a culture is obedient to the Word of God, that culture is freer from disease than that culture would be if it were disobedient.

It is not an issue of individuals but the principles by which the culture as a whole lives. They are not pushing people into poverty by government theft, they do not have sexual license but uphold marriage. Both poverty and sexual license result in more disease. People care about the conditions under which animals and food sources exist. They are not consumed by greed to the point of polluting food sources. Violating the principles of God’s Word has consequences, and one of these consequences is disease.

The purpose of divine healing by God in this generation is as a sign gift. It is to bring people to Himself. They must understand that even people who are healed are still going to die, and may still get other diseases. When Jesus healed people, it was a very small percentage of those who were sick, and he had a specific purpose in each one. In the days of King Ahab, a famine ravaged all of the people, but one woman was chosen to shelter Elijah and receive food. Many lepers lived in the days of Elisha, but only Namaan was healed. We must understand that our life is like a vapor. We certainly wish to be healed physically in this brief lifetime. All diseases can be a means to bring people to accept the Lord as Messiah. This is looking at the larger picture to see disease as a tool to bring people to repent of their sins. We must realize that life is brief and everything should be seen as a means to glorify God.

So God says if we obey Him that He wants us to be healed. What cause explains why  disease and death still exist? Disease is a judgment on sin. Gehazi received the leprosy of Naaman as a judgment on his sin. All sins that we commit affect other people.

The ultimate result of sin will be the destruction of the heavens and the earth, after which we will see a new heaven and a new earth, free of disease. God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.

 
 

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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Jannes and Jambres and Other False Teachers: Just Plain Stupid

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2 Timothy 3:6-9 ISV

For some of these men go into homes and deceive foolish women who are burdened with sins and swayed by all kinds of desires. These women are always studying but are never able to arrive at a full knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men oppose the truth. They are depraved in mind and their faith is a counterfeit. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those two men, their stupidity will be plain to everyone.

I always wondered something about those magicians of Pharaoh’s back in the time of Moses. Why would it be a good thing that they could duplicate God’s plagues the first few times? Then I remembered that, in the scientific world, the first step to getting rid of a problem, such as a disease, is to duplicate it. Knowing the nature of the problem is at least helpful in discovering its solution.

Perhaps, then, the magicians were really scientists. So maybe Pharaoh was cheering them on those first few plagues, saying, “Yes! You’ve duplicated the problem. Now get to work on the solution!”

However, there came a time when, not only could the magicians no longer “do likewise with their enchantments”, God even allowed the Hebrews to be spared some of the plagues while they continued to decimate the Egyptians. I can imagine Pharaoh, and that point, changing his tune. “You idiots! All you ever did was make more frogs and bugs! Now you can’t even make bugs! What good are you?” If Jannes and Jambres were not beheaded or impaled, I guess they were at the very least looking for new jobs.

2 Timothy 3 is talking about religious con men. They keep deceiving women who claim to be trying to learn truth but never manage to do anything but fall for every quasi-religious self-help scheme that comes along. Jannes and Jambres were solid with Pharaoh, I bet, before Moses and the ten plagues came along. Note that many scholars say the plagues were each a different frontal attack on the gods and pagan religious practices of Egypt. God attacked and undermined their pet sins, since their entire society’s structure was based on a false religion. He intended to show them His truth by destroying their foundation of lies.

So Paul takes the example of Jannes and Jambres, who had similarities to the false teachers of his day, and explains how the women of his time could stop being deceived by them. If you just get rid of your sins, ladies, these false teachers will be exposed to you for the liars they are, and the truth will start making sense to you.

This problem is still common today. What will it take for silly women nowadays, laden with sins to stop listening to the latest spiritual scam artist? I want to say that they need to get rid of those sins they are carrying around with them. The Bible clearly says, in many places and ways, that we have to purify ourselves or a. The Lord will not hear us, and b. we will not hear Him.

It’s not that there aren’t any good religious self-help books. But let’s study the Scriptures, not the latest religious best seller, to learn how to stop being silly and burdened down by sins Christ died to forgive and cleanse and make disappear. Then we’ll know how stupid some of these self-help wizards are.

Images from Kozzi.com and 1Photos.com

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2013 in Bible study, general writing

 

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Interview With Ada Brownell — Author of Imagine the Future You

IMAGINEfrontcover

I haven’t read Ada’s books, but please take a look and see if they are what you are looking for!

1. Many people say that authors can’t or don’t do well with more than one genre. You have a biography about your life as a Pentecostal, a Bible study about the eternal, a teen suspense novel, a YA Bible study, and now you’re working on a historical romance. What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write these different types of books?

Study and a burning desire to communicate the gospel. I’ve written for half a century and I still study techniques and learn. I’ve also learned much by paying attention, research, interviewing experts and ordinary people, and drawing on experiences from teaching youth, being a newspaper reporter where in the years I worked and the probably thousands of stories I wrote, my pen touched almost every segment of society in that city of 100,000.

2. Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?

I think now that I’m retired and devote many hours to writing that it touches every part of me, and the people I meet and the things around me touch my writing. You’ll easily see that in my new book, Imagine the Future You, released on Oct. 23.

3. Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?

My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, was published by Radiant Books, a division of the Assemblies of God and was in galley proofs before I had a contract or knew it was accepted. I’ve worked with CreateSpace editors the last three books and all of them had good suggestions for changes, but didn’t do much to my copy except change my in-grown AP style to Chicago Manual of Style. I should be thankful all three editors commented on my clean copy, but every time there were typos after all the editing, approved corrections and proofs.

4. Since you have several books out, tell us what you think works for promotion. What are your thoughts on ebooks versus print books and different ways to let people know about you and your books?

I talked to a Christian bookstore owner yesterday who carries my titles. I complained how almost everyone at a ladies conference where I was a vendor wanted e-books instead of paperback. He said his book sales are really down this year, but there are people buying CDs, greeting cards, and gifts.

For promotion, I try anything to get my name out there. I’m just beginning promotion for the new book on Twitter, Facebook, and guest blogs. I have a newsletter almost ready to go and I’ll create News Releases soon. I’ve developed a mailing list for News Releases with all the small newspapers in my city, but I also include the large paper as well.

Another thing I do and plan to keep doing, is write for Christian publications, and I write op-ed pieces occasionally for newspapers. I don’t know if it creates sales, but some publish my blog link, but with these I reach 50,000, 60,000, and 200,000. Since I want to spread the gospel, an op-ed piece or a story in a Christian publication reaches far more readers than any of my books so far. Yet, I wouldn’t mind a best seller.

5. Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.

I want to live forever, I want my children and grandchildren to live forever, and if I didn’t know Jesus I’d want someone to give me a book like Imagine the Future You. Here’s the way the back cover copy starts.

Will you be the person you dream of being—or someone from your nightmares?

You don’t need a fortune teller to reveal your future. You are the person who determines who you will be, what your life will be like, and how your hopes and dreams will be fulfilled. This book will show how to make the right connections, how to grow you talents, and how to begin believing in yourself and things greater than yourself—for a wonderful Future You!

The book is a motivational Bible Study for youth, but older people can be impacted by much of it, such as the chapter on why you can believe in God and avoid the brainwashing of our schools and society.

6. Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.

My friend is always teasing her husband when the four of us are together. One day she asked me, “Did you notice his new rainbow tie? There’s a pot at the end of it.”

Another day she said, “My husband is well balanced. He has a bubble in the middle.”

7. Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.

This touched me. Today at Bible study a beautiful Chinese woman shared the testimony of her conversion. Although she had success in learning English and teaching it as a second language in China, and even was asked to join the Communist party, she had a gnawing emptiness inside. She heard the gospel through missionary/teachers in China, and had a vision of heaven the day she accepted Jesus as Savior. But when she came to America to attend Central Bible College, loneliness for her family, culture and Chinese friends plagued her. Sometimes she was tempted to go back to China. She was fond of an unusual variety of mushroom that grew in her homeland, and one day feeling unloved she looked into the back yard and a cluster of those mushrooms grew there. She picked them, had one delicious meal, and they never grew again. But the love message God sent to her remains.

8. What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!

The Lady Fugitive. I can’t wait to get back to it. I’m hoping to have it out in two or three months.

In 1907 Jenny Louise Parks, 17, escapes from her abusive uncle, a judge, and tries to run away. He locks her in her room. When she goes out the window and down the trellis, he puts her in the coal cellar. She gets free through the delivery slot, jumps on her horse and heads for the train in a disguise.

The judge and his men follow. She takes off in another direction. She’d rather die than go back to her home with the judge in it. Everywhere she goes Wanted posters with her picture offer a $500 reward. The judge won’t inherit Jenny’s parents’ ranch unless he keeps her until age 21.

The evening before her escape, Jenny meets William O’Casey, a young peddler. O’Casey travels, peddling household goods, looking for his missing brother, and showing a Passion of the Christ picture show (one of the first created). He had wanted to meet Jenny since attending her elocution performances in Peachville, Colo.
In an abandoned house, the first night after leaving home, Jenny encounters a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike. Her screams reach O’Casey, traveling on a nearby road. He shoots the reptile and assures her God is looking after her as He does the birds and His sheep, but she thinks, “Where was God when Papa and Mama died?”

Please send images and links, including any good reviews or news you want to share about your books.

IMAGINE REVIEW

Ada Brownell pens a book challenging young readers to imagine themselves in the future based on the choices they’re making today. In 13 thought-provoking chapters, Brownell writes in a way that not only resonates with her teenage audience, but also encourages them. Giving insights into her life as a teen and providing timely morsels of truth about God’s Word will leave any reader (adults included) inspired and dedicated to living a life for Christ and growing in their walk with Him. Highly recommended! ~ Penny Zeller, Christian Author and Speaker

Ada Brownell bio

Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines and write books. She is author of three non-fiction works, one novel, and is critique group leader of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers.

Among her books: Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, released Jan. 15, 2013; Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, released Dec. 6, 2011; and Confessions of a Pentecostal, published by the Assemblies of God’s Gospel Publishing House in 1978, out- of-print but released in 2012 for Kindle; Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study, became available October 2011. All the books are available in paper or for Kindle.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries
Twitter: @adellerella
Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement
Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06
Imagine the Future You: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1489558284

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in author interviews, general writing

 

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“Why Are You Just Sitting on the Side of the Road?” — What Will You Die For?

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“Two weeks? You can’t tell me anything more – ?” Talia’s phone gave a bloop and she saw the message satellite signal lost flash on the screen before it went dark.

Talia pulled over to the side of the road and sat with her head on the steering wheel, praying with all her might for her aunt and uncle, and for clarity in this craziness. After all, they weren’t involved in some international spy mission. They were just digging holes in the ground! This couldn’t have anything to do with the Testaments, could it?

Talia realized suddenly that he felt really, really hot. She started to roll own her window, but the switch didn’t work with the engine off, of course. She started the car and cranked all the windows open. She pulled at her scarf and yanked down the zipper on her coat, but it didn’t help. Her vision started to blur.

“Ms Rodriguez? Are you okay? Why are you just sitting on the side of the road?”

Talia turned her head, so … so … slowly. Her neck hurt, and it felt so heavy. “”Oh … Clark ..I mean, Officer Johnson. I don’t know. I’ve had this cold, but I just … I feel so weak, and I can’t see straight … “

“Sit right there. I’m calling an ambulance,” Clark exclaimed.

“Oh, no …” Talia’s tongue felt so thick, she could hardly talk.

“No arguments. Don’t you move. We’re seeing lots of these cold things turning into serious cases of pneumonia. It’s nothing to mess around with.”

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in general writing, publishing

 

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“Are you so selfish?” — another snippet from my Nano project

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“What?” Keith jumped up. “What are you saying? We’re supposed to take the kids’ Bibles away from them? Their prayer journals? Their memory cards?”

“There’s no need to be defensive.” Doctor Summers glared up at him. “Please be seated. You will only be borrowing them, to get them scanned. And we want materials from everyone in the community. Parents, grandparents, pastors – Anyone who studies the Bible. Don’t you see? This will become a resource people all over the world can use, for all time. Mr. Bradley, your prayers, your thoughts, your study of the Bible could teach someone in Thailand, Mali, Alaska – someone in a spaceship traveling to Mars – these insights will become eternal.”

“But it’s voluntary, right?” Talia asked. “People don’t have to give us their Bibles, do they?”

“This program fails if it doesn’t accomplish the critical goal of gathering all the possible data,” Doctor Summers insisted. “It must be completely inclusive to succeed. How can we say that only fifty percent, or seventy-five percent, or even ninety-eight percent of people’s Bible study information gives a complete picture of this vital topic?”

“What exactly do you mean by ‘this program fails’?” Keith’s dad demanded.

“It doesn’t fulfill the requirements,” Doctor Summers said. “It doesn’t qualify for the grants.”

“You mean additional grants,” Keith prompted.

“No, I mean any grants,” Doctor Summers responded.

“You mean we lose everything we’ve gotten from implementing the Bible as Literature program?” Principal Bradley choked.

“It’s clearly stated in the contract you signed that this is a graduated program, consisting of steps that must be followed. The program itself is voluntary, but you agreed to provide this information – complete information. Really, there’s nothing scary or unreasonable being asked for here. Are your Bible studies secret? Why does the idea of sharing them with the world disturb you? Are you that selfish?”

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in general writing, publishing

 

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