Friday, January 20, 2017

Book Review: 1 and 2 Samuel

Thru the Bible: 1 and 2 Samuel. J. Vernon McGee. 1976/1997. Thomas Nelson. 308 pages. [Source: Bought]

One of my goals for 2017 is to read twelve commentaries. I have always, always, always loved the history books of the Old Testament, so I decided to start with J. Vernon McGee's commentary for 1 and 2 Samuel.

If you've never read his work before, what should you expect? Casual, conversational, yet not fluffy, commentary not only on the Scripture text but on church and society as well. He has a call-it-like-I-see it honest approach to unpacking Scripture.

I appreciate his love of Scripture. The way he sees the whole Bible to be the message of God--the revelation of God--to all of us past, present, future. I love his eagerness to explain Scripture in a way that's easy for everyone--no matter your background--to understand.

Every chapter of the books of First and Second Samuel are discussed in the commentary. I believe the Scripture text printed within this one is the King James Version.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • The fact that certain things are recorded in Scripture does not mean that God sanctions them. He is merely giving you the facts concerning history, persons, and events. For example, you will find that the lie of Satan is recorded in Scripture, but that does not mean God approves it!
  • Some churches are the worst places you can be in and the most dangerous places for you.
  • We don’t see much praying like Hannah’s today. Would people think you were drunk by the way you pray? Our prayers are very dignified.
  • We are living in a day of abortion. Hannah lived in a day when she wanted a son, and she dedicated that son unto the Lord. On her cry, God built a kingdom. What a tremendous tribute and wonderful monument to this woman’s cry!
  • Salvation comes in three tenses. (1) We have been saved. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath [right now] everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). That means that God has delivered us from the guilt of sin by the death of Christ. That is justification, and it is past tense. (2) God has also delivered us from what the old theologians called “the pollution of sin,” which is present deliverance. We are being saved. It is a deliverance from the weaknesses of the flesh, the sins of the flesh, the faults of the mind, and the actions of the will. This is the present deliverance that Hannah is talking about. It is sanctification and is in the present tense. (3) Finally there is the deliverance from death in the future—not physical, but spiritual death. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). This is a future deliverance. We shall be saved. That will be glorification, which is future tense. We have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. Hannah was rejoicing in her salvation.
  • When we come to God in prayer, we need to be very careful, friends, that we do not let our pride cause us to stumble. We need to recognize our weakness, our insufficiency, and our inability, and the fact that we really have no claim on God. Sometimes we hear people ask, “Why didn’t God hear my prayer?” To be quite frank, why should He? What claim do you have on Him? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, you have a wonderful claim on God, and you can come to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. As His children we have Jesus’ right and claim. However, we must remember that our prayers must be in accordance with His will.
  • When God says something, it is the same as done. When God says something is going to happen, it is going to happen.
  • How did God reveal Himself? By the Word. God today is also revealing Himself through His Word. He is illuminating by His Spirit the pages of Scripture. That is how you and I come to know Him, and to know Him is life eternal.
  • You cannot get God into a box! The merit was in the presence and person of God. The merit is in Christ. Success is determined by whether or not we are with Him. That is all important.
  • They think they are getting somewhere spiritually, but this is nothing in the world but idolatry. They are worshiping a box—not God. Let us be careful in the ceremonies and rituals of our church.   
  • The name Eben–ezer means “stone of help.” “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” It was also a stone of remembrance, looking back to the past. It was a stone of recognition, a stone for the present. It was a stone of revelation, a stone for the future. “Hitherto [up to this point, up to the present time] God has helped us.” It is customary for us to look back over the past. Remember what the Lord said through Paul to the Philippians: “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Friend, has God brought you to this point? Is He leading you today? Is He guiding you? If He has, you can say, “Hitherto has the Lord helped me.” Since He has helped you up to this moment, He will continue to do that. God has given us memories so that we can have roses in December. As memory plays on the keyboard of the past, I am sure that all of us can say, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” Joshua could say, “… as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15). David could say, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed form the hand of the enemy” (Ps. 107:1–2). I personally want to say that oh, the Lord is good! He is the One who has helped us and will help us.
  •  Many people believe that the voice of the majority, the choice of the people, is the voice of God. The Bible contradicts this thinking. Generally the minority is closer to determining the will of God. The people wanted Saul. God was the One who chose David.
  • We ought to pray for one another. There are many needy people. God forbid that we should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for one another.
  • There is a great deal of this informal and friendly approach to the Lord Jesus Christ today. There are so many little songs that go something like this: “Jesus is a friend of mine.” We need to be careful how we use an approach like this to Him. When you say that Jesus is a friend of yours, what do you mean? Actually, you are trying to bring Him down to your level.
  • When we begin to talk about Jesus as “a friend of mine,” we are not being Scriptural. The Lord said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14). Are you obedient unto Him? How dare any of us call Him friend if we are not obeying Him? To disobey Him is worse than witchcraft. It is rebellion against God. When you meet a person who is totally disobedient to the Lord, you almost have to conclude that he does not belong to the Lord at all. Now I am not saying that works enter into salvation. I am saying that if you are a child of God, if you come to the place where you know Him, you will obey Him.
  • The important thing is to be rightly related to the Lord Jesus Christ. To be a child of God is to know Him personally. That is what makes Christianity different from any religion in the world. You can be a Buddhist without knowing Buddha. You can be a follower of Confucius without knowing him. You can be a member of any other religion without knowing the founder, but you cannot be a Christian, friend, without knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. And to know Him is life eternal.
  • My friend, God’s love will not deter Him from judging sinners. He can love them and still execute judgment. Our God is holy and righteous and just, as well as loving.
  • Let’s not try to be something we are not, or try to do something we are really not called to do. If God has called you to use a slingshot, friend, don’t try to use a sword. If God has called you to speak, then speak. If God has called you to do something else, well, do that. If God has called you to sing, sing. But if He has not called you to sing, for goodness sake, don’t do it. Too many people are trying to use a sword when the slingshot is really more their size.
  • God has shown kindness to you and me for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not because of who we are or what we have done that He saved us. Our salvation comes because of who Christ is and what He has done for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Because His Son died for us, God extends favor to us for Jesus’ sake.
  • Sin has made us debtors to God. Remember that in the prayer Christ taught His disciples, it says, “Forgive us our debts.” God alone can forgive us. Forgiveness always rests upon the payment of a debt, and those who were in debt had to flee. David, actually, did not pay the debt, but Christ did. He paid the debt of sin by dying on the Cross. He set us free. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ did for you and for me. If you realize you are a debtor to God and have no means to pay, He will pay that debt for you. You can flee to Him. What a wonderful privilege that is!
  • Suppose you wanted to choose the greatest day in the life of David. What day would you choose? Would it be the day that Samuel poured the anointing oil on him as a young shepherd boy? How about the day that he slew the giant Goliath? Certainly his first romance with Michal, Saul’s daughter, who was given to him in marriage, deserves consideration. Perhaps you might choose the day David escaped from Saul. Then again you might choose the day Saul died, because that meant that David would ascend the throne. You might think it was the day that he was made king of all Israel and the crown was placed upon his head. You might even want to suggest it was the day his son Absalom rebelled against him and was slain. Or perhaps you might choose the day his son Solomon was anointed king. All of these were great days in the life of a great man. However, I believe there are two events that stand out above all others in the life of David: the day that David brought the ark of God to Jerusalem (recorded in ch. 6) and the day David purposed in his heart to build God a house (recorded in ch. 7). These are probably the two greatest days in David’s life.
  • Light creates responsibility. If men have the light of the gospel, they are held responsible for rejecting it. I am not going to argue with you about the heathen in Africa, but I would like to argue with you about the heathen in my town and your town because they can hear the gospel, and their responsibility is great. If you turn your back on Jesus Christ, my friend, you can argue about the heathen all you want to, but you are lost and doomed and judged and are bound for eternal hell. That is the teaching of the Word of God. You may not like it; and, if you don’t, you ought to move out of this universe into another one. This is God’s universe and these are His rules.
  • God is going to judge. I do not know about you, but I am a little weary of hearing all this love, love, lovey–dovey stuff. Sure, God is love. Certainly God loves you, but you can go on in sin, you can turn your back on Him, and you are lost. There is no way out of it. There is no other alternative.
  • The Word of God is a mirror that reveals us as we really are.
  • When Absalom died, however, David’s heart broke. Why? He was not sure of the young man’s salvation; he was not sure where his son was. Frankly, I believe that David felt his son was not saved, and that is why he was so stricken with grief. Also, even though David was a great king, he was a poor father; I am sure David realized this.
  • Friend, faith is not a leap in the dark. It is not a gamble. Faith is not even a “hope so.” Faith is a sure thing. God never asks you to believe something that is not true. Faith rests upon a rock, a sure foundation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation. Faith, therefore, is not just leaping out into space. However, there is a time in your life, my friend, when you need to live and move by faith and to recognize that you cannot live by your own effort or by numbers. Unfortunately, the church today has not learned to trust God. As a result, at the congregational meetings the spiritual victories are never mentioned. The things that are mentioned are how much we have in the treasury, how many we baptized this year, and how many members we took in. If the figures look pretty good, we consider that it is a great spiritual victory. Actually, it might have been the worst thing in the world that could have happened in that church.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, January 19, 2017

My Year with Matthew Henry #3

This year I will be reading Matthew Henry's Concise Bible Commentary alongside the American Standard Version (1901). I will share quotes a few times a month.

From Genesis 4-11
It shows great hardness of heart to be more concerned about our sufferings than our sins.
All the patriarchs that lived before the flood, except Noah, were born before Adam died. From him they might receive a full account of the creation, the fall, the promise, and the Divine precepts about religious worship and a religious life. Thus God kept up in his church the knowledge of his will.
Godliness is walking with God: which shows reconciliation to God, for two cannot walk together except they be agreed, Amos 3:3. It included all the parts of a godly, righteous, and sober life. To walk with God, is to set God always before us, to act as always under his eye. It is constantly to care, in all things to please God, and in nothing to offend him. It is to be followers of him as dear children.
The Holy Spirit, instead of saying, Enoch lived, says, Enoch walked with God. This was his constant care and work; while others lived to themselves and the world, he lived to God. It was the joy of his life.
Oh that we may look on Him whom we have grieved, and mourn!
Christ, the true Noah, which same shall comfort us, hath by his sufferings already prepared the ark, and kindly invites us by faith to enter in. While the day of his patience continues, let us hear and obey his voice.
The call to Noah is very kind, like that of a tender father to his children to come in-doors when he sees night or a storm coming. Noah did not go into the ark till God bade him, though he knew it was to be his place of refuge. It is very comfortable to see God going before us in every step we take. Noah had taken a great deal of pains to build the ark, and now he was himself kept alive in it. What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselves shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last. This call to Noah reminds us of the call the gospel gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark, in whom alone we can be safe, when death and judgment approach. The word says, "Come;" ministers say, "Come;" the Spirit says, "Come, come into the Ark." Noah was accounted righteous, not for his own righteousness, but as an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, Hebrews 11:7.
Who can stand before the Lord when he is angry? The sin of sinners will be their ruin, first or last, if not repented of. The righteous God knows how to bring ruin upon the world of the ungodly, 2 Peter 2:5. How tremendous will be the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men! Happy they who are part of Christ’s family, and safe with him as such; they may look forward without dismay, and rejoice that they shall triumph, when fire shall burn up the earth, and all that therein is.
God has times and places of rest for his people after their tossing; and many times he provides for their seasonable and comfortable settlement, without their own contrivance, and quite beyond their own foresight.
He begins well, that begins with God.
The blessing of God is the cause of our doing well. On him we depend, to him we should be thankful.
Our lives are God’s, and we must only give them up when he pleases. If we in any way hasten our own death, we are accountable to God for it.
Let us learn to provoke one another to love and to good works, as sinners stir up and encourage one another to wicked works.
God is just and fair in all he does against sin and sinners, and condemns none unheard.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Book Review: Out of the Silent Planet

Out of the Silent Planet. C.S. Lewis. 1938. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The last drops of the thundershower had hardly ceased falling when the Pedestrian stuffed his map into his pocket, settled his pack more comfortably on his tired shoulders, and stepped out from the shelter of a large chestnut-tree into the middle of the road.

Premise/plot: When Dr. Ransom (the Pedestrian in the first sentence) intervenes in a private squabble, he gets more than he bargained for. The story begins with him looking for a place to stay the night--a place that is nearby since he's already walked a long way. He is looking for a night's stay when he overhears a boy protesting loudly against two men. The boy claims the men mean him harm, mean to lock him up in a shed, I believe. Ransom intervenes, and, to add another creep element into the mix, he recognizes one of the men from his university days! The men now mean him--not the boy--harm. It's no shed that he'll be locked up in--after he's drugged--but a spaceship. The three will go to the planet Mars--aka Malacandra. Ransom doesn't know their plans for him, but he overhears enough to fear them more than the unknown planet. He does know that it's populated, however. And that, for better or worse, he's to be given to the aliens.

My thoughts: Out of the Silent Planet is science fiction, adult science fiction. (Though there's no reason why teens couldn't enjoy this as well.) I'd not read it before, and, I'm definitely glad I finally got around to it. I found myself shouting at Ransom several times in this one. Like at the beginning when he meets the two strangers. Even though he's heard a super-creepy conversation, he shows absolutely no caution at all. NO one is expecting for me; no one knows where I am or where I might be or where I might be going; no one will miss me because they have no idea when I'll be back. After voluntarily giving them this information, he accepts a drink from them!

Because it is C.S. Lewis expect some philosophy interwoven in the story.

Favorite quotes:
  • "The love of knowledge is a kind of madness" (55)
  • "A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered" (73)
  • "When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we remember it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then--that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it." (73)
  • "And how could we endure to live and let time pass if we were always crying for one day or one year to come back--if we did not know that every day in a life fills the whole life with expectation and memory and these are that day?" (74)
  • "Bent creatures are full of fears." (122)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My Year with John Owen #3

I will be sharing some John Owen quotes this year. The first book I'll be reading is Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers (1656).
Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lust. ~ John Owen
He who does not kill sin in his way takes no steps toward his journey's end. ~ John Owen
He who finds not opposition from it, and who sets not himself in every particular to its mortification, is at peace with it, not dying to it. ~ John Owen
If vain spending of time, idleness, unprofitableness in men's places, envy, strife, variance, emulations, wrath, pride, worldliness, selfishness (1 Cor. 1) be badges of Christians, we have them on us and among us in abundance. ~ John Owen
The good Lord send out a spirit of mortification to cure our distempers, or we are in a sad condition! ~ John Owen
There are two evils which certainly attend every unmortified professor--the first, in himself; the other, in respect of others. ~ John Owen
In himself. Let him pretend what he will, he has slight thoughts of sin; at least, of sins of daily infirmity. The root of an unmortified course is the digestion of sin without bitterness in the heart. When a man has confirmed his imagination to such an apprehension of grace and mercy as to be able, without bitterness, to swallow and digest daily sins, that man is at the very brink of turning the grace of God into lasciviousness and being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Neither is there a greater evidence of a false and rotten heart in the world than to drive such a trade. ~ John Owen
To others. It has an evil influence on them on a twofold account: It hardens them, by begging in them a persuasion that they are in as good condition as the best professors. ~ John Owen
They deceive them, in making them believe that if they can come up to their condition it shall be well with them; and so it grows an easy thing to have the great tempt ion of repute in religion to wrestle with, when they may go far beyond them as to what appears in them, and yet come short of eternal life. ~ John Owen
The Holy Spirit is the great sovereign cause of the mortification of indwelling sin. ~ John Owen

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Journaling Genesis #8

What can I learn from reading Genesis 15?

  • The LORD came to Abram in a vision.
  • The LORD tells him NOT to be afraid.
  • 'I am your shield.' 'Your reward will be very great!'
  • Abram questions God. What can you give me since I have no child?!?! Look, you haven't given me any offspring!
  • God answers, You will have a child, an heir. Look at the sky and count the stars…if you are able to!!! Your offspring will be that numerous.
  • Genesis 15:6 Abram believed the LORD.
  • The LORD once again promises that Abram's descendants will possess the land. (15:7)
  • Abram questions: How can I know that I will possess it?!
  • God's covenant with Abram. 3 year old cow, 3 year old goat, 3 year old ram, a turtledove, pigeon. Split livestock down the middle, laid them opposite each other; Abram shooed birds of prey away and waited for the sun to go down. Abram fell into a deep sleep. 
  • 'Know this for certain.' Prophecies Israelites will be enslaved by Egyptians for 400 years, prophecies 
  •  God will judge Egypt, and that they will leave with many possessions. Then He will bring them to the land. His descendants will possess the land--but, not yet--they must wait.
  • Smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed through the divided animals.
What can I learn about God in Genesis 16?
  • God is the God-who-Sees! The God-Who-Sees appeared to Hagar. He came to her--revealed himself to her. Gave her bad news and good news. 1) She had to go back to the master and mistress who had treated her unfairly. But. 2) She was promised that her son would have offspring too numerous to count. He will not live in peace with his brothers, but he will live. (Would she have considered this promise a good one? Would she have seen her son's friction as a good thing? Certainly understandable that he wouldn't get along with Sarai and any of her children.) 
  • The LORD told her what to name her baby--Ishmael. God is continuing to name!
  • God is the God who hears! Hagar may have felt outside of this God-business. a) she was an Egyptian, b) she was a slave, c) she was a woman. But He heard her; He saw her; He cared enough to come to her and reveal himself to her.
  • God treated her kindly. She was not rescued from her circumstances but she was comforted in her circumstances. She may have felt all alone, but God reminded her she was not.
What can I learn about myself by reading Genesis 16?
  • How am I like Abraham? He wanted to control the when and the how of God's promise. He needed to believe and wait, not believe and act. Though sometimes belief leads directly to action, sometimes the action IS waiting. He followed the advice of his wife who also had ideas on how to make God's promise happen here and now. They wanted "to help" God keep his promise. God doesn't need help keeping promises. Abram was impatient and wanted to be more in control. He didn't have to listen to his wife, but, he chose to. The fact that he did listen probably means he was already tempted to rush things and hurry God up. After all, each month meant a "not yet" from God…and believing in God's promise faithfully for years--think of all those months--could not have been easy mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
  • How am I like Sarai? She was an emotionally-driven woman. Bitter. Impatient. Angry. She blames Abram for listening to her and doing exactly what she wanted! Also jealous and hurting. She thought claiming Hagar's baby as her own would take away the pain and shame of being barren. Sarai desperately wanted to be a mother. She was tired of waiting. I imagine that each time Abram came to her with news that God had spoken to him again--and OH THE PROMISES! She probably got excited and his enthusiasm and hope became hers for a time. At least in the early years. I think it's been ten years since the last few chapters. It does say something that she didn't push Abram into this after just a year or two of waiting. So it wasn't that she lacked the ability to wait…just not able to wait long enough. It would be 23 years, I believe, from the promise in Genesis 15 and fulfillment in Genesis 21. No wonder she laughed!
  • How am I like Hagar? She was the victim of circumstances. Commanded by by both Sarai and Abram. Her life was in their hands. She might have let her new position as future (birth) mother of his heir go to her head. But if there was unkindness, I think we can say it went both ways. She probably went from feeling invisible to having unwanted attention. Discouraged. Anxious. Bitter. She was abused and mistreated. Her life wasn't fair. But she found herself seen and heard. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, January 16, 2017

Journaling Genesis #7

What can I learn from reading Genesis 12?

  • The LORD said. God speaks. God seeks. God doesn't need us, but he wants us, wants to be in fellowship with us. It is not a matter of does God speak, but a matter of do we listen!
  • I will….show you, make you, bless you, make your name great, make you to be a blessing to others, bless those who bless you, curse those who treat you with contempt. Verses 12:2-3 have a lot of "I will" promises. An overwhelming amount of promises. Just one or two would lift you up and give you strength, courage, hope, faith. God keeps his promises. God's promise of "all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you" is still being fulfilled. 
  • God's promises are forever promises.
  • God's word to Abram started with "Go!" and Abram went. Lot went too. (Was he invited?) Sarai, his wife, went, of course. Also all their people and possessions. He was 75. Genesis 12:6-20 recounts Abram's journey. 
  • Two altars, at least, were built along the way. Worship mattered to Abram.
  • The journey was difficult at times. Abram worried about a famine and changed course and headed to Egypt. This detour led to trouble. The LORD striking Egyptians with plagues. 

What can I learn from reading Genesis 13 and 14?

  • Abram gets back on track and continues his journey. He went by stages. He returned to where he had previously built an altar. Abram called on the name of Yahweh there.
  • Abram and Lot separate. Abram graciously lets Lot choose first. Lot chose with his eyes, swept up--swept away?--by appearances. Jordan Valley looked like it had it all--had everything. It seemed like an easy, obvious choice. Abram was left with Canaan. But. God had already promised Abram that Canaan was his--that Canaan was a place God had promised to give him and his many, many, many descendants forever. So didn't Abram already know where God wanted him? Probably.
  • Verse 14 reaffirms the promise…full of "I will" statements. God now commanded him to 'get up and walk around the land.' Though the fulfillment was in the future, the promise was to be lived in. Abram built another altar. (Is this number 3?)
  • Lot's choice only looked like a good investment. He went from living near Sodom to living in Sodom. He may have started out separated from the evil city, but he soon began losing some of his separateness. 
  • Lot became a captive because of his proximity to Sodom and the other cities in the Jordan Valley. He didn't foresee this. He, of course, was not alone in his plight.
  • A survivor came and told Abram. Abram assembled his men--318 trained men--and was able to rescue (deliver) those taken captive.
  • Melchizedek (king of Salem) was priest to God Most High. He blessed Abram. Abram gave him a tenth of everything. 
  • King of Sodom wanted to reward Abram, but Abram had a few good reasons to say no. First, he had made an oath to God not to. End of story! Second, he was worried that receiving this gift, this reward would lead others to the wrong conclusions. Third, Abram was blessed by God, he didn't need the 'blessings' from such a wicked, evil, place. He wanted to keep a distance, a separation between himself and Sodom.
  • He didn't expect others to feel the same and stick to his oath.
  • It is human nature to a) want to pick b) want to pick FIRST. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: A Moonbow Night

Moonbow Night. Laura Frantz. 2017. Revell. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: What cannot be cured must be endured.

Premise/plot: Sion Morgan, a surveyor for the Crown, falls hard for Tempe Grace Tucker in the Kentucke wilderness. Tempe and her family work hard at Moonbow Inn one of the few places offering hospitality to adventurers and pioneers. She can handle a gun, but is not as great at handling her grief, her memories of the past. Sion will get the chance to spend more time with her when he hires her to be a guide for his upcoming trip.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. The start was a tiny bit slow for me, but by the third or fourth chapter I was hooked. The plot itself didn't thrill me, the wilderness exploring felt like a very long, uncomfortable camping trip--to me. But the characters were easy to care about. I loved Sion and Nate and Tempe! Though set after the Revolutionary war started, all of the danger in this one comes from conflicts between whites and natives. (Tribes are listed and differentiated in the novel, but I rarely take notes when reading novels.) All the direct danger, that is. 

If you enjoy historical fiction or historical romance, this is one to seek out.