Until Shiloh Comes–a review

Wars are fought for different reasons. Some are power struggles. Others are for rescue or to make a change.

Wars are fueled by one thing…hatred.

The passion it takes to get a person to be willing to lay his or her life down is serious. Somebody, or something, must be stopped at all cost.

The American Civil War was no exception to this cause. People on both sides felt their cause was just and needed to be carried on while the other side felt the same passion.

Prejudices are easy for Satan to feed. They ran high during the war between the states.

Until Shiloh Comes is a story that takes place during the Civil War but it’s more about the prejudices that fed it.

Devout Christians fought on each side and felt God would bless them for fighting for Him.

The Matthews family had already lost their husband and father in the war. The eldest son was in the Battle of Shiloh within earshot of their home.

To find her son Davina Matthews must make a deal with the Yankee devil who saw him go down.

Her Christian faith would guide her as she cared for a man she didn’t trust whom her son said was his replacement just before he died.

Stanley Mitchell didn’t leave a good home environment when he enlisted at 16. His size made it easy for the recruiter to not ask many questions.

Without help his numerous wounds would have killed him.

They say time heals all wounds…and so does Christian compassion.

The weeks and months that follow see the Yankees push south out of Tennessee. But the look inside one enemy soldier would rock this faithful family to its core.

Not only did he prove to be a hard worker but he was very much like them, too. Even the slave family who helped work the farm didn’t know what to make of this young man who treated them as equals.

No, this isn’t a clean story with a happy ending. Hatred still filled Luke Matthews, now the eldest male though still a boy.

The two books that follow are winning writing awards. That much I’ll tell you.

My friend Karl Bacon’s lifelong interest in the Civil War and God’s gift of storytelling combine to make you think about how you look at life and the people you come in contact with.

Get a copy of Until Shiloh Comes. Read it with your eyes and heart wide open. You might see some prejudices in your own heart that need attention.

Until Shiloh Comes by Karl Bacon 

I’ll see you later.   Wade

An Earnest Plea

Isaiah paused before he pushed the palace door open and looked up. “Why, LORD? He’s such a good king.”

He walked in and was led to the king’s bedroom.

Hezekiah’s face was pale. Sweat drenched his hair as he shivered.

Isaiah swallowed. “Set your affairs in order. The LORD declares that you shall die from this.”

Hezekiah closed his eyes and rolled to his left for privacy. “LORD, remember how I lived for You as best I could. I’ve been truthful and loyal.”

His body convulsed with heavy sobs.

Isaiah turned and left.

When he was halfway to the door the LORD’s voice stopped him.

“Return to King Hezekiah. Give him this message from the God of King David: ‘I have heard your prayer and see your tears. I will heal you. You shall go to the temple in three days. I will grant you fifteen more years and deliver you from the Assyrians for My name’s sake.'”

Isaiah went back and delivered God’s message.

Hezekiah got help sitting up. “How shall I know this will happen?”

Isaiah looked around trying not to show his frustration. He spotted the sundial. “Shall the shadow move forward or backward now?”

The king looked from the sundial to the prophet. “It always moves forward. Only God can make it move backward.”

Isaiah closed his eyes and sent up a silent prayer.

Somebody gasped when the shadow moved back ten degrees.

Isaiah looked at the attendants. “Make a poultice of figs and place it on the boil. Behold your king for the next fifteen years.”

************

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

When you don’t know what to pray because the grief is too much to bear just cry. God hears your tears louder than your feeble words.

King Hezekiah was reduced to tears. God was induced to grace.

The context is fierce for the nation of Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel has been taken captive by Assyria.

The Assyrians are moving in on Jerusalem.

When it comes to what kind of king Hezekiah was his name goes on the good king list. He did his best to follow God’s laws to stay on His good side.

An infection turns bad and the king is clinging to hope that the prophet Isaiah will tell him God will spare his life.

Instead of hope God’s man gives grave news.

The king is reduced to a sniveling idiot.

Isaiah thinks his task is done until God tells him to turn around.

Don’t you just love God’s grace?

Before I go on I just feel I need to say nobody deserves to live a full life according to our terms. Some spectacular people who had great potential to make a huge positive impact on the world die before they reach the age of 20.

I hated typing that as much as you hated reading it.

You and I don’t call the shots as to who lives and who dies. God does.

The only reason I can come up with as to why God spared Hezekiah’s life that day is because it brought Him glory.

The wicked Assyrians had Jerusalem surrounded but went home without entering the city.

It’s king was assassinated soon after he arrived back home.

Nobody saw that coming but God.

I don’t know why some of the sweetest people die young while some wicked people live to old age.

That’s not how I would work things out if I was God, but I’m not.

A lot of folks would do away with all hatred and lying and greed and every evil thing if they called the shots.

I wonder about one thing if we lived in a world like that.

Where would any passion grow from?

You don’t know deep love until you’ve experienced abandonment.

You don’t know true compassion if you’ve never experienced evil and hate.

You don’t know true trust if you’ve never experienced lying and betrayal.

The deepest lives are lived on a full spectrum of emotions and experience.

We’re not called to be robots who go through the motions of living. We’re called to be humans who care for the hurting by stepping in and making a positive change. That’s not living. That’s called life.

That is all things working together for good according to God’s plan.

Hezekiah knew he had fifteen more years to live. What did he do with those fifteen gifts? He sat back and got lazy.

He showed the Babylonian envoys all of Judah’s wealth. They carried it all away after the king’s lifetime.

If you knew you had fifteen more years to live what would you do with them?

Would you travel as much as possible to experience as much of this world as you can? Besides your travel agent who will benefit from that? You’ll take your memories with you to the grave.

Is that the legacy you want to leave behind?

There’s a kingdom being built right now on this earth. It’s not dependent on what size house you live in or what brand of car you drive.

We’ve touched on the evil occurring in the world. Those atrocities are happening to people all around you.

What are you doing to change that?

The people the evil is happening to and the folks doing the evil all need to hear about how God came to earth and died for them so they can have a relationship with God.

That’s the kingdom that needs to be built now.

After we die there’s no chance to come into God’s kingdom.

Use whatever days, weeks or years you have to live out the life-giving message of Jesus’ love and sacrifice for all people.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

The First Week of 2018 was Eventful

2017 went out with a blast and 2018 came in with a blast of cold air plus some interesting things I never saw coming.

On New Years Eve I accepted a driving assignment to Corpus Christi, Texas. It began at 9:30 PM. That all seemed innocent enough and it was.

The tractor I was given was the first non-diesel fueled rig I had ever driven. It runs on compressed natural gas. They drive exactly the same from the driver’s seat but put out much less air pollution with somewhat less power.

By the time I picked up my load of mail I headed south. Since the tanks on the CNG rig are fairly small I had to find a special gas station for that specific fuel.

After I parked at the pump I called the dispatcher so he could walk me through connecting the right hose on the appropriate nozzle. Yeah, there’s more to it than simply pumping liquid into a tank.

The clock must have struck midnight while I was talking to dispatch because fireworks started going off all around me. It was that or a small war broke out. Fortunately it turned out to be fireworks.

Come to find out I had the wrong card to pay for fuel there so I had to drive to Waco and go through the steps all over again…this time without fanfare, just a fresh layer of ice on the ground.

The rest of the trip to Corpus went off without incident. So far so good.

After my ten hour law abiding layover I got the company car I was assigned to drive back to Dallas…no, I don’t know why I didn’t drive the big rig back. I just do what I’m told…or I do my best to do it at least.

Two things struck me as odd when I put my stuff in said car. One tire was soft and the gas gauge was on empty.

According to an app on my phone there was a truckstop less than fifteen miles away. I figured I could take care of both things at the same stop…at least that’s what I thought would happen.

The truckstop ended up being twenty three miles away. No problem, I made it there and gassed up after some cashier guided prompts to accept the card I had.

With a full tank of gas I knew I needed to drive to the diesel pumps for the air hose to fill up the soft tire before I drove home…yeah, right. That’s when things got interesting.

I started the car, put it in gear and began to drive away…then it stalled never to start again. Then all the lights on the fairly new truckstop went completely dark. Cue the Twilight Zone theme music.

To add to my dilemma the power outlet in the car didn’t work so I couldn’t charge my phone that was now on four percent battery life.

I knew I could call dispatch, but wasn’t sure how many more calls after that. Fortunately it made quite a few calls on one percent charge.

I noticed we had the first full moon of the year above me. The second full moon will be on the 31st of January. That makes it a blue moon. You know how often that happens…that’s right, once in a blue moon. Now you know where that phrase comes from.

Aren’t you glad you read this far so far?

The towtruck driver went past the dark truckstop before he found me just after eleven o’clock. Shortly after he parked in front of me he got out and introduced himself to me. Then all the lights at the truckstop came back on. Cue the Mission Impossible theme music.

Me and the car were taken back to the motel I started out at just before midnight so dispatch could decide what to do with both of us. I went back to the room I slept in before I left and went back to sleep. The car slept in the parking lot.

One dispatcher said the next driver was scheduled to head back that evening. It ended up being two o’clock Wednesday morning. I spent all day Tuesday at the motel looking for something to do.

I found it in one of my bags of stuff I need for traveling. Until Shiloh Comes is a book a writer friend sent me over two years ago. Apparently Shiloh had come at last so I could read the book, finally. I’m glad I did. A review will show up here soon.

When I opened my motel door at two o’clock the other driver was exiting his room across the hall from me. He said he slept about four hours. I knew I didn’t need much sleep before we left, but he did.

On one point I felt good knowing I wasn’t the only human who struggles with sleeping during the day. But then I sent up a prayer for him to stay awake to get us home in one piece. My prayer was answered in the affirmative, just barely.

We fueled up just past San Antonio. I found a comfortable position and slept through Austin, which as slow as Austin traffic normally is it’s no big deal…never mind.

As I was getting my bearings I realize why I woke up. The truck was making some familiar awkward movements from side to side. My chauffeur was fidgeting in his seat.

We made it to a rest area before he lost consciousness. Cue the lullaby music.

After the wheels on the truck were going round and round again my phone chirped. It was someone from a different temp agency. I filled out an application for them online before I left on this run. She asked if I could get to their office before three o’clock. I prayed that I could. That prayer was answered in the affirmative, just barely.

Once back in Dallas I filled in all the appropriate paperwork to get paid as much as I can for this fiasco of an assignment.

I drove home with enough time to change my clothes and check my mail, nothing more. Fortunately my next assignment paid for my meals for the next two and a half days.

Knowing what was coming I made sure I drank plenty of liquids on my drive to the new temp agency. After filling out more paperwork I went to give my specimen to see if I would pass my drug test. I prayed I would, especially since I didn’t have time to study.

That prayer was answered in the affirmative. I start on Monday with a company that will have direct deposit and insurance. I kicked myself for not switching sooner. It is what it is so I shall go on from here.

I prayed my next to last paycheck would arrive in the mail on Saturday. That prayer was answered in the negative.

You know who your true friends are by how they respond to your dire situation, not by how they treat you during the good times. I know I have at least one great friend. He knows who he is. Thank you.

Saturday was a good day of rest and exercise. Sunday showed some potentially interesting promise on another front in my life that I may share later.

Somehow this is all working together for God’s good in my life. I don’t need to make sense of it as it happens. I just need to keep trusting that God is in control of it all.

One step at a time is all He expects from me. That’s good, since that’s about all I can muster some days.

I pray you see God in every circumstance in your life, too.

That’s a prayer I hope He answers in the affirmative.

Keep smiling.   Wade

The Last Week of 2017 was Interesting

Here we are again. Another calendar needs to be replaced because it is all used up. I can relate. I just hope I’m not replaced, too.

My 2017 was filled with challenges, heartbreak and sadness balanced by laughter, creativity and friendship.

As I was seeing my rear view of the past twelve months slip away I began setting a new course 2018.

My business venture has been growing too much grass around its tires. It’s high time I took it out for a drive to see what it’ll do.

I plugged in a new item I invested in that will help local businesses with websites stay current with Google’s latest algorithm for being compliant, which means they’ll be happy to show folks to your website when they’re searching for what you have to offer.

I sent out some emails letting some businesses know what I have that will help them. The week between Christmas and New Years is probably the absolute worst time to do such a thing, but I feel like I need to do something different or I will go insane.

So far nobody has either read my emails, or they don’t believe I can help them.

I had Christmas Eve off to put the finishing touches on this program thing. Christmas Day I spent the afternoon with the Apainter Paul’s family. Some other friends from church stopped by. We played a fun game and visited. I had a blast.

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday finding business owners who need what I have to help them with and sent them my brilliant email letting them know how much I’m trying to help them.

I went to bed Wednesday night knowing I had to drive the next two days delivering windows in west Texas.

As my body was winding down and relaxing my phone dinged.

I have a few friends in various parts of the world who prefer Facebook Messenger for contact. I’ve been waiting for my Kentucky friend to call and talk about the rough times she and her family are having. It wasn’t her.

It was my Ugangan daughter, Ruth. She’s in her early twenties and comes to me for advice occasionally. That’s why I consider her my ‘daughter.’

Her church spends three days in prayer and fasting for three days near the end of the year. She wanted to know how they could pray for me.

Not only is Ruth my unofficial unadopted daughter she’s my spiritual sister, too…and a prayer warrior. Yeah, she’s dangerous that way.

So here I am in this space between consciousness, unconsciousness and subconsciousness needing to come up with my most pressing desire for a group of prayer warriors to storm the throneroom of God on my behalf for from the other side of the world.

That’s a dangerous place to place a creative individual into.

In less than two minutes I texted her back that I want a breakthrough in my life in several areas. I mentioned that God knows the details and left it at that.

The next day I realized I came up with my word for 2018…breakthrough.

Every year for the past three or more New Year’s Eves I’ve wondered where I’ll be in twelve months. Every New Year’s Eve I’m still struggling in my old 700 square foot apartment with barely any money in the bank and Clifford, the big red van, is another year older.

My love life has been struggling to find a new breath of fresh air.

My driving job is becoming more of a challenge than I wish it was.

My writing has been stalled on many fronts for quite a while now.

On a good note my walk with God has never been stronger. Struggling should do that for folks but not if you feel God has to “bless” you if you’re His child.

God is blessing me, just not in the traditional way of most people’s definition of blessing. I appreciate His way of looking at things better now.

I’ll let y’all know that there’s a movement underfoot that will likely get things moving in a positive direction for most, if not all, fronts in my life.

I’ll still have to drive through the night sometimes. Hopefully not many more times. I think a new company name will be appearing on my paychecks soon. Please pray for guidance for me there.

There’s been a possible first contact with a lady friend that could lead somewhere. Perhaps just a better friendship, maybe more. Pray for God’s will there.

The writing is bound to move at some time. The illustrator for the storybook app has been under attack lately again. Prayers for God’s intervention for Dyann and her family are greatly appreciated.

It has always appeared that things are in place for my breakthrough to occur for quite awhile now. With enough folks praying for such to happen for me in 2018 I think this might be the year I stop being so invisible.

It’s not that I want to be famous. I’m too comfortable being invisible. God needs folks to know who I am so they’ll listen to me, read my stuff and hear about His Son Jesus to further his kingdom, not mine.

That’s the cross I’m called to bear for Him in the next phase of my life.

That’s what I get for praying for Him to use me anyway He wants to.

I pray you stretch out of your comfort zone to be better used by God this year, too.

I’ll see you later.   Wade