Monday, March 30, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 30

This Day in Christian History: March 30

March 30, 1492: Jews Expelled from Spain During the Spanish Inquisition

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue...and 200,000 Jews were expelled from Spain.

Columbus wrote in his diary:
"In the same month in which their Majesties [Ferdinand and Isabella] issued the edict that all Jews should be driven out of the kingdom and its territories, in the same month they gave me the order to undertake with sufficient men my expedition of discovery to the Indies." 

This date became as important to Jewish History as it was to American history.

The Spanish inquisition began in 1478 when the Spanish monarchs decided that Catholicism should be the faith of the nation, and began to regulate religion. Everyone must convert to Catholicism, or leave Spain.

Ferdinand and Isabella, Monarchs of Spain
At the time of the 1492 edict, there were around 200,000 Jews living in Spain, and all these people
now somehow had to leave. What followed was tragedy. Days before the edict was issued, rumors developed around Spain proclaiming that Jews had swallowed jewels and gold. As a result, many Jews were knifed to death and cut open in hopes of finding treasures inside their corpses. Ship captains would charge exorbitant amounts of money to transport Jews out of Spain, only to dump them overboard like needless boxes of cargo in the middle of the ocean.

Of the dozens of expulsions the Jews experienced throughout their history, Spain's remains the most infamous.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 28 Edition

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 28 Edition
HIStory tidbits, links, and fun stuff for your weekend.

Verse of the Week:
How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart. ~Ps. 36:7-10

This Day in Christian History:
1661: Scottish Parliament passed the Rescissory Act
1915: Birth of Kurt Aland, New Testament textual scholar.
1936: Happy Birthday to Bill Gaither!
Chuckle of the Week:
Interesting Links:

You’re a Big Deal to God

Giveaways and Freebies:
Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green ends March 30th #bookgiveaway 
Gods & Kings by Lynne Austin – Free on Amazon till April 1

Birthday interview and Giveaway with Nancy Bolton

Writer’s Corner:

Agent Karen Ball discusses authenticity in your writing:

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 26

This Day in Christian History: March 26

March 26, 1840: Birth of George Smith, the famous Assyriologist. 

George Smith was born in London to a working class family. He had little opportunities for his education. At age 14, he became an apprentice at a publisher, but George's real fascination was of Assyrian history. He read everything on the subject that he could get his hands on. He also spent much of his spare time at the British Museum, studying tablets and publications.

Eventually, George's natural talent and increasing knowledge was noted by Samuel Birch, who had the connections to get George in cooperation with renowned Assyriologist Sir Henry Rawlinson.

George went on to make several notable discoveries, the most infamous being a cuneiform tablet in the ancient city of Nineveh, which told the story of an ancient deluge, similar to Noah's Flood.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 25

This Day in Christian History: March 25

March 25, 1634: The Catholic Church Gains a Foothold in America

Recreation of The Dove
On March 25, 1634, the ships Dove and Ark arrived in Maryland with 128 Catholic Colonists. Up to this point, the New World had been mostly settled by Protestants.

The settlers departed from Gravesend with 128 passengers, but they were chased down and brought back by the British Navy. The passengers were forced to take an oath of allegiance to the king. After they'd done so, they were allowed to depart. So they once again set sail in October of 1632.

The two ships made a stop on the Isle of Wight to pick up more passengers.

They finally arrived at the place now known as St. Mary's on March 25, 1634. The spot was then a Native American Village.

Monday, March 23, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 23

This Day in Christian History: March 23

March 23, 1743: Handel's Messiah is Performed for the First Time in London

George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was born in Germany in 1685. He became a well known British-German composer. His favorite genre of music was the Italian Opera, but during the 1730's, the genre was losing popularity--and funding. To combat this, Handel began composing operas in English. His first English opera composition was Esther, which was first performed for a private gathering in 1718, but later revised and performed publicly in 1732. The success of this first opera encouraged Handel to write more English adaptions including Deborah, Athalia, Saul, and Israel in Egypt.

The success of the English productions so outshined the Italian versions that Handel abandoned the Italian productions all together.

Charles Jennens had composed the text for a new opera and charged Handel with the creation of music to accompany it. In a letter to his friend, Jennens said "I hope [Handel] will lay out his whole Genius & Skill upon it, that the Composition may excell all his former Compositions, as the Subject excells every other subject. The Subject is Messiah"

Charles Jennens
 The opera was first performed in Dublin, and met with great success. It was expected that the popularity of the production in Ireland would be echoed in London, but this was not so. The first performance was dampened by public opinion that the subject matter of the production was too exalted to be performed in a theater, especially by secular singers.

London's chilly reception of The Messiah led Handel to reduce the planned performance season of the opera, which was much to Jennen's annoyance. The friendship between Jennen and Handel suffered during this time.

The Messiah was performed twice, and then shelved for four years. When it was later reintroduced, it was far better received. Despite its rough beginnings, Handel's Messiah has gone on to become on of the most famous compositions in Christian history.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 21 Edition

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 21 Edition

HIStory tidbits, links, and fun stuff for your weekend.

Verse of the Week:

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. ~I Peter2:2-3

This Day in Christian History:
March 21, 1146: King Louis VII of France heard Bernard of Clairvaux's preaching and responded by taking up the cause of the Second Crusade, and became leader of the ill-fated mission.
Chuckle of the Week:

Interesting Links:
Bookish Pin of the Week
Ever wondered why it took so long to settle the MidWest?

35 Impossibly Clever Pieces Of Jewelry Inspired By Books

St. Patrick’s Day Quiz: How Green Are Ye?

Christian Book Awards 2015 Finalists Announced

Giveaways and Freebies:

Enter to win an autographed copy of The Messiah’s Sign!

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden ends March 29

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe by Max Lucado

Writer’s Corner:

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Friday, March 20, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 20

This Day in Christian History: March 20

March 20, 1852: First Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

At the age of 41, Harriet Beecher Stowe published her anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The book created a lot of controversy between the Abolitionists and those that were pro-slavery. It is said that Harriet's book "laid the groundwork" for the Civil War, because it fueled the tension that eventually led to succession nine years later.

Uncle Tom's Cabin features a black slave named Tom, and the stories of all the other characters revolve around him. A very emotional novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin depicts the stark reality of slavery, but also proclaims that Christian love can overcome something as terrible and destructive as the enslavement of fellow human beings.

Uncle Tom's Cabin became the best-selling novel of the 19th century, as well as the best-selling book, next to the Bible. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Interview with Stephanie Landsem With #giveaway!

I'm so excited to introduce you to Biblical Fiction author, Stephanie Landsem. She is the author of The Living Water series, and the third book just came out YESTERDAY! 
Welcome Stephanie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a wife, mother of four, and author of The Living Water Series. I love to travel, and am lucky that I’ve been able to see many parts of the world and have visited 4 continents. At home, I love to cook, especially new ethnic cuisines from places where I’ve traveled. When I can’t go to new places, I like to be outside hiking, taking walks, or even snowshoeing during our long Minnesota winters. If it’s too cold, my favorite place to be is inside, reading a good book with a cat in my lap.

What is your favorite time in History?

It will come as no surprise that I’m most drawn to ancient civilizations. In college, I studied a great deal of Greek and Roman history, and perhaps that why I love researching biblical times. There’s something about how people lived, worked, and raised families so long ago that fascinates me.

What was the most outstanding thing you learned while researching for this novel?
When I first began my research into Martha, Mary and Lazarus, I discovered something that changed my perspective on them completely.  I’d always envisioned Lazarus as an older man, maybe even elderly, but as I began to read about the family in Bethany, I discovered that most scholars believe that Martha was the oldest sibling in the family, that she was most likely not yet married, and that their father was no longer alive. Suddenly, Lazarus became a much younger character in my story: A young man, just reaching adulthood when he fell ill and died, making his death even more of a heartbreak for his older sisters. 

Please tell us about your book The Tomb.

I like to describe the Tomb, A Novel of Martha, as a surprising story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. As I say in an introductory letter at the front of the book:

The Tomb, A Novel of Martha is not an attempt to recount the historical events that took place in Bethany two thousand years ago. Instead, it is a re-imagining of how Martha, a woman who was “anxious and worried about many things,” might have been transformed into the faith-filled woman of John 11:22, who said to Jesus—as her brother lay in his tomb—“Even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”

What do you want readers to take away from The Tomb?

We’ll never know Martha’s true story. Instead, I hope readers will understand her message: that no matter what sins and doubts haunt our pasts, we can lay our worries and anxieties at Jesus’ feet, and he will, in return, give us “the better part.”

How can readers find you on the internet?

Follow @StephLandsem on Twitter
Like Stephanie Landsem on Facebook
Stephanie has an amazing giveaway going on to celebrate her new release! Here's the link:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 17 #StPatricksDay

This Day in Christian History: March 17

March 17, 461: Death of Maewyn (more commonly known as Saint Patrick) 

Did you know that Saint Patrick was not Irish? His was born in Roman Britain, however, at the age of 16, his town was attacked by Irish raiders. Maewyn was kidnapped and brought to Ireland where he was enslaved. It was during his six years of captivity, as he served as a shepherd, that Maewyn found a relationship with the Lord. 

According to the Confessio of Patrick, the Lord told him to flee to the coast, where there would be a ship waiting to take him home. The port was two hundred miles away, but Maewyn did flee, and was able to convince the captain to let him on board. By the time he returned to his family, Maewyn was in his twenties.

After some time, Maewyn had a vision of a man begging him to return to Ireland and minister to the very people that had enslaved him. He did return to Ireland and became known as Patrick. He faced great opposition from the Druids, who were the religious majority in Ireland at the time. Saint Patrick is attributed with introducing the Gospel to Ireland and sparking Christianity in that region.He converted thousands of Irish people to Christianity, including the sons of kings, wealthy women, and common folk.

The Shamrock is considered the symbol of Saint Patrick's day, because legend tells us that Patrick used the shamrock to explain the trinity. 

After 40 years of ministry and travel, Saint Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Ireland.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Day in Christian History: March 16

This Day in Christian History: March 16

March 16, 597 B.C: Babylon conquers Jerusalem

After King David and Solomon had built the kingdom of Israel into a superpower, their sons failed to follow the ways of the Lord. The prophets warned the people that because of their disobedience and wickedness, God would allow foreign nations to come in and conquer them. 

The prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel were fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon conquered the city of Jerusalem and carried most of the inhabitants away as captives. According to some archeological calculations, on this day in 597 is when King Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem for the first time. 

This would be when the prophet Daniel, as well as the three Hebrew Children were taken captive and forced into service for the king.

You can read about this the event in 2 Kings 24:1ff. and in 2 Chronicles 36:5-8.

You can also get a glimpse into the Babylonian captivity, and the return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple in Amber's bestseller The Swaddling Clothes.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 14 Edition

Saturday Morning Gazette: March 14 Edition

HIStory tidbits, links, and fun stuff for your weekend.

Verse of the Week:
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ~2 Cor. 5:21

This Day in Christian History:

March 14, 1912: Death of Albert L. Peace, a scottish organist who was considered the most noted organist of his day. He composed many cantatas, organ pieces and hymn tunes including "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.". He passed away at age 68.

Chuckle of the Week: #HistoryHumor

Interesting Links:
Besides war, what else was happening during 1860-1865?

Jane Austen's Surprising Aunt Philadelphia

Bookish Pin of the Week

 Christ Church in Lancaster County VA

Giveaways and Freebies:
Goodreads Giveaway: The Pharaoh's Daughter by Mesu Andrews
Goodreads Giveaway: Laurel by Susan F. Craft
Goodreads Giveaway: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown

Writer’s Corner:
Agent Janet Grant from Books and Such literary discusses the marketing phenomenon of #TheDress.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!