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Memories of Renfro Valley
By Linda H. Barnette
Renfro Valley is a community in Rockcastle County, Ky. Included there is the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center founded by John Lair and others in 1939. There was in the 1940s and 50s a Sunday morning program of hymn singing on the radio, and I recall listening to it several times with my great-grandfather WJF Dwiggins. He had been a piano salesman and tuner and always encouraged my piano studies with Miss Louise Stroud. In addition, he gave me two hymnbooks, which I still have, one of which was a Renfro Valley hymnbook. Over the years I have often played those hymns, songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and other similar ones.
However, yesterday I just happened to make a discovery. In the back of the music book there are words to hymns without music. One of them is “The Circuit Rider.” I was absolutely thrilled as Pomp’s great-grandfather, Daniel Dwiggins, was himself a circuit riding Methodist preacher in the 1800s, and I have written a series of articles about him already. The life of those circuit riders was difficult but one totally devoted to the service of God.
Below are the words:
He came into the wilderness
As Moses did of old
To lead his people to the Promised land.
He halted not for fire or flood
He braved the heat and flood
His every thought was at the Lord’s command.
His voice cried in the wilderness
To preach the living word
To souls that otherwise had gone Astray
The story of the lamb of God
They might have never heard
Had not the circuit rider come this way.
He perished in the wilderness
Where none were there to weep
And found a grave no headstone Did adorn.
And only God’s own trumpeter
Remembers where he sleeps
To wake him on resurrection morn.
I am proud to have come from such a background. Luckily, Daniel Dwiggins died at home and is buried in the original family cemetery on Boone Farm Road.
By N. R. Tucker
Purgatory Mountain, North Carolina, is the location for a short story I wrote for a Renegade Writer’s Guild anthology published in the fall of 2020. As such, this hike was for research. I focused on the trail, or rather, the area that wasn’t trail. The story takes place during the Civil War, and I needed to get the lay of the land and identify places where the action in my tale could take place.
I didn’t do a lot of research on the area before hitting the trail, and it tainted my expectations. I truly expected a mountain hike and was somewhat disappointed in the lack of a mountain. However, lovely rock piles and formations can be found around every turn, and I immediately envisioned the kids in my story using the rocks for surveillance and hiding.
This hike took place in the fall, and mushrooms thrived. I always marvel at the lack of undergrowth in some areas of North Carolina, and I enjoy visiting places where kudzu hasn’t taken over. It makes a nice change from the vines in my backyard.
There is no outstanding view from the trail when you reach the top because it is heavily wooded. There are plans for a tower to be built that should give hikers access to a nice view, but nothing at this time. There are three trails, and I found all three to be enjoyable in their own way.
Purgatory Mountain is light on mileage, so if you go, after conquering Purgatory Mountain, saunter over to the North Carolina Zoo, buy a ticket, and enjoy the animals.
My story, “Bronze Eyes and Muskets,” was published in Doorway to the Past…, a collection of short stories about middle school children who have unexpected adventures on a field trip. As always, the Renegade Writers Guild donates the proceeds of all sales to a local non-profit.
If you’re interested in the hike, it’s accessed by driving to the North Carolina Zoo’s North American entrance in Asheboro. Once on the zoo road, take the first left (where buses park), and you will find the Purgatory Trailhead on the left. The hike qualifies as a walk in the woods, and I consider Purgatory Mountain more of a hill than a mountain. The hike itself is outside the zoo, and there is no charge.
“The Deity of the Holy Spirit”
Stephanie Williams Dean
As Christians, we often talk about the love of God, our Father. We also think about the love of Jesus Christ, the son of God. But how often do we consider the love of the Holy Spirit? Most often, we begin prayer with “Thank you, Almighty God,” and “Father, God, we give thanks,” or “thank you, Lord Jesus.”
But when was the last time you heard someone pray saying, “Holy Spirit, to you, I give thanks,” or “thank you, Holy Spirit?” That doesn’t sound as familiar, does it?
The Bible shows us in unmistakable ways that the Holy Spirit is not a finite person but a divine person. In the Old and New Testament, there are five distinctive proofs of the deity of the Holy Spirit. As proof, the Bible assigns divine attributes to the Spirit as well as distinct divine works. The Old Testament uses words such as Jehovah, the Lord, and God, which tie to the subject of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. The names, Holy Spirit and God, are coupled to make it clear that the Spirit is not a finite being but is God. Through His own words, God gives us clarity that the Holy Spirit is a divine person.
When I consider the fact a divine person resides within me, I feel compelled to remember the love of the Spirit. Doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be thanking the Holy Spirit more often for revealing to us our need for a Savior? We owe our salvation just as much to the love of the Holy Spirit as we do God and Jesus.
Where would we be if it weren’t for the patient, ever-present, ever knowing, merciful love of the Holy Spirit?
RWG Literary Corner
For more information on Renegade Writers Guild, visit www.renegadewritersguild.wordpress.com.
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