Jul 28, 2014

God's Will Be Done

God's Will Be Done
By: Christina Banks

“Master you must leave,” Thomas urged. “It has been two days since Justinius was arrested. They will have tortured him to find you.”

Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, sat silently at the table, studying the scroll before him.

“How long will you wait here for the soldiers to take you away? Did you not hear what happened at the arena only weeks ago? The crowd was calling your name. Your life is in danger, master.”

The older man looked up from his reading. “Were we not told? Did we not know? Christ Jesus, our Lord, said that persecution would come. Should I run away? Nay. Though they kill my body, they cannot touch my soul.” He rolled up the parchment. “Now, I shall sup.”

Thomas commanded the meal be brought. The faithful servant longed to convince his aging master to leave Rome. But it was clear that the Bishop of Smyrna was not going to go. For weeks Thomas had pleaded with the older man, but the master remained resolute. His answer was always the same: “God’s will be done.”

Heavy pounding on the front door sent Thomas rushing to answer. Four soldiers pushed roughly past him and headed for the back room where his master was eating. Thomas followed close behind. The soldiers circled the old man where he sat a supper.

“Polycarp, you are hereby arrested under order of the proconsul for being a Christian. What say you?”

The master glanced from his meal. “God’s will be done.” He looked at Thomas. “Bring these men meat that they may eat.”

Thomas nodded to a nearby servant, who rushed to do his bidding. Keeping his place by the wall, Thomas watched as the master addressed the soldiers again.

“Sirs, would you grant me an hour of prayer?”

Much to Thomas’ amazement the soldiers agreed to Polycarp’s request. Two hours later the aged man finished his prayer, and went peaceably with the soldiers. Thomas also prayed. He prayed for God’s strength for himself and his master. He prayed for the souls of the heartless proconsul which persecuted those who did not follow the old ways. He prayed for the quick return of the Lord.

After a sleepless night, Thomas followed the crowd into the arena. The proconsul sat, waiting for his prized prisoner. Near the proconsul sat Philip the Asiarch, keeper of the lions. Thomas shuddered to think of his calm, kind master being torn apart by the savage beasts. He sent a prayer to heaven as he caught sight of his master’s bent form coming through the crowd. The area resounded with the cries and jeers of the Roman spectators.

The proconsul silenced the masses as the master stood before him. He urged the master to reproach Christ. Thomas could hear his master’s voice clearly.

“Eighty-six years I have served Him, and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

“Swear by the fortune of Caesar and you shall be free,” the proconsul promised.

“Since you vainly think I will swear by the fortune of Caesar, as you say, and pretend not to know who I am, listen carefully: I am a Christian!”

Thomas wanted to cheer, and cry at the same moment. His master’s faith was strong despite the trial. Still, Thomas prayed for deliverance for the beloved gentleman.

“I will throw you to my wild beasts if you do not repent,” threatened the proconsul.

“Call them! I cannot repent from that which is better to that which is worse.”

Thomas watched the large purple vein protrude from the proconsul’s forehead. “I will have your body burned.”

“You can threaten me with a fire that burns for an hour, but do you not realize that there is a fire that burns for eternity, which is the coming judgment for the ungodly. But why do you delay? Do what you want.”

Thomas could see the anger in the face of the proconsul as the herald made his announcement to the arena. Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, was order to die for his faith. As they led the elderly man roughly away to the marketplace to be burned on a pyre, Thomas could almost hear his master say in his calm, quiet voice, “God’s will be done.”

Jul 25, 2014

Photo Friday

Welcome to the new Friday feature for this blog. For the last year and a half, I've been taking part in a photography challenge. I wanted to share with you, my readers, some of the pictures that I have taken over the course of this project. I hope you enjoy.

Theme - Cold

Theme - Fluid

Theme - New Beginnings

Theme - American

Jun 2, 2014

Little Louie Plays a Part

Louie hated being the smallest student at Pine Grove School. Everyone thought he was too little to do anything and maybe they were right.

He wasn’t an actor like Tommy Opossum.

He couldn’t juggle like Justin Raccoon.

He wasn’t a good at jumping like Nick Squirrel.

He could never do magic tricks like Ryan Weasel.

The only thing Louie excelled at was storing nuts in his cheeks. A useful ability for a chipmunk but Louie longed to do something special.

One day, Louie’s teacher, Mr. Owl, made an announcement to the class. “We are going to be having a talent show at the end of the school term. Each of you will play a part. Now, go home and figure out your talent. Tomorrow everyone will sign up for the show.”

Cheers echoed through the glen as the pupils filed out. All the students were so excited about the show no one noticed when Louie stayed behind. When everyone had gone, the little chipmunk scampered up to his teacher’s desk.

“How can I be a part in the show when I can’t do anything?” Tears pooled little Louie’s dark eyes.

“We will have to find your talent.” Mr. Owl rubbed his chin. A long moment passed before he raised a wingtip in the air. “I know just the thing.”


Mr. Owl nodded. “It will take some practice, but I think you can do it.” The teacher pulled out a dusty case and explained what he had in mind.

Louie jumped up and down with excitement. “Oh! I’ll practice every day.”

For the next week, Louie stayed after school to work on his new talent. The other students cornered Louie on his way home from practice.

“Are you in trouble?” Justin Raccoon asked, as he tossed his colored balls in the air.

“No,” Louie said, “I’m getting ready for the talent show.”

“What can a little guy like you do? Are you going to stuff nuts in your cheeks till they come out your ears?” Ryan Weasel laughed.

“Everyone has some talent.” Nick Squirrel jumped through the branches overhead.

“So what are you going to do?” Tommy Opossum asked.

“You’ll have to wait and see.” Louie grinned.

The day of the talent show finally came. Mr. Owl gave last minute instructions and announced the order of events. Louie was last, just as they had planned.

Everyone loved the show. Tommy had fainted from stage fright, Ryan picked the wrong card in his magic trick, and Nick almost sprained his tail when he fell doing some fancy jumps. Even Justin missed one of his balls while juggling.

Finally, it was little Louie’s turn. When he walked onto the stage, Mr. Owl gave him a wink. Louie picked up his trumpet, puffed out his cheeks and started to play. Music filled the school. At the end of the song, the crowd clapped wildly. Louie took a bow. Even though he was small, he had great talent after all.

May 6, 2014

Author Interview and Book Giveaway

I'm blogging over at When Readers Write today. I have author Dee Yoder as my guest and she is giving away a copy of her new book The Miting. Stop by and leave a comment for a chance to win.

Here's a preview of what you'll find.

At a time when Amish stories saturate the market, Dee Yoder‘s debut novel, The Miting, stands out from the rest. Dee’s narrative dips readers into the Old Order Amish world—a world very different from the simple life depicted in many books. Her interactions with the former Amish who have left these reclusive groups have given her a perspective I’ve not read before but found refreshing.
I’ve invited Dee to join us today to answer some questions about her new book.
Thank you for joining us, Dee. With a last name like Yoder, I have to ask, how are you connected to the Amish community?
Dee: My direct ties to the Amish come mostly from my husband’s Amish relatives. Being part of their family—grafted in, so to speak—showed me how important family ties are in the Amish community. My work with Mission to Amish People opened my eyes to the spiritual needs many, but not all, Amish folks have, too.
Follow this link to see the full Author interview and Book Giveaway.

Apr 8, 2014

Homeschool Adventures

I've been busy the last few months educating a very special young man. To mix my writing life with my new teaching job, I've started a blog chronicling our homeschool journey. I'd love for you to stop by A Yearning 4 Learning and take a look.

Sep 10, 2013

A Giveaway Featuring Unclaimed Legacy by Deborah Heal

Here and now are the perfect place and time to get your copy of Unclaimed Legacy.
 Now? Because it's only 99 cents for Kindle (for the month of September only). Here? Because buying it enters you in a giveaway of the complete Time and Again trilogy (personally signed by the author) AND a pretty mug for your morning coffee. Hint: You might want to keep the mug and Kindle book for yourself and give the signed copies of the trilogy as a gift.
The Rafflecopter giveaway entry form is below, but first let me tell you about Unclaimed Legacy. 

 Those who have read Time and Again  know that Abby Thomas is a college student on a summer service project with 11-year-old Merri. And they know that the summer is not going the way Abby had expected—but in a good way. For one thing, she meets a very nice guy named John Roberts. And for another, she discovers a strange computer program called Beautiful House that lets her fast-forward and rewind life. Not her own, of course, but those of the people who lived in Merri’s old house.
And now Beautiful House comes in handy when Abby, John, and Merri agree to help the "Old Dears" next door with their family tree. Except Abby and John learn more about one of the ladies’ ancestors than they ever wanted to know. Convicted in 1871 of murder and arson, Reuben Buchanan is a blight on the family’s reputation. But was he really guilty? Abby and John must get inside the mind of a murderer to find out.
And while they’re rummaging around in the Old Dears’ family history, they also find Nathan Buchanan, a heroic relative connected to the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and a legacy waiting to be reclaimed. But the most important discovery they make is that God’s promise to bless a thousand generations is true.
"In this sequel to Time and Again Deborah Heal has taken pieces of real life history and woven them [into] a fantastic story geared to keep the reader entertained and on the edge of their seat… I adored every single bit of this. It has the perfect blend of history and action-packed suspense to keep young adults glued to the pages… I think she has mastered a home run here. This one easily rates a 5 out of 5 stars for me…and I hope it will work its way to the top of the best seller lists for young adults.”
-- Pirate2240 "Kat" Amazon Reviewer

Connect with Deborah

The Clue of the Unclaimed Legacy
by Deborah Heal
The blurb above doesn’t say a lot about it, but Unclaimed Legacy features my heroes Lewis and Clark. I’ve always been fascinated by them, partly because I knew the explorers spent the winter of 1803 at Hartford, Illinois, near where I grew up in Woodburn.
They chose that site for the  camp they called Camp River Dubois, because it was near the mouth of the Missouri River, which they would ascend the next spring. The captains spent the winter laying in supplies and training their men. I decided it would be fun to let Abby “time-surf” back to see Camp River Dubois. . .
Continue reading HERE to get more clues about Unclaimed Legacy.
As the blurb says, sometimes when Abby and John are “time-surfing” they learn more than they want to know about people from the past--like Bertram White a violent husband. Read my companion article about him HERE.
Read a free chapter of Unclaimed Legacy  HERE)
Now, enter the contest to get your Kindle copy of Unclaimed Legacy for 99 cents and a chance to win the complete trilogy in paperback, personally signed by the author. Oh, and a mug.


Sep 2, 2013

My August

August was a busy writing month for me.

Not only did I participate in our local Writer's Cafe for the first time, but I had a lot of extra things due for my Christian Writers Guild Craftsman Residency coming up in October. Among those extras were an elevator pitch, two minute informal introduction of myself, a 500 word synopsis of my current Work In Progress (WIP), and the first chapter of my WIP. I received a lot of great feedback from my writing mentor about these components, but her response to my elevator pitch made my day.
"In two words: LOVE IT!"
I'm still floating on a cloud because of that comment.

Let's take a closer look at how I did this month.

August Goals:

More August Blessings:

September Goals:
  • 100 WIP pages edited
  • 4 books read and reviewed
  • 1 Craftsman course lesson submitted
  • 2 FaithWriters challenges entered