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    Monday
    Dec192011

    THE FALL--bitesize 6 THE Answer

    “NOOO!  Adonai has betrayed me!”  Luc screamed over the tumult of his storm, “He says I am not ready to rule!  He gives authority to Michael, to Gabriel, to these, these animals….”

    Rapha dodged and blocked Luc’s projectiles as he struggled to contain his own rising rage.  “Please,” he shouted, gritting his teeth in the effort to escape the grip of Lucifer’s bonds.  “Come with me.  Adonai will explain any misunderstanding.”

    But his words only stoked Luc’s rage.  “You’re a fool, Rapha!”  Luc screamed.   “You had your chance.  Twice Adonai has betrayed us while you, my friend, stood silent!”  

    Rapha discerned other bright figures descending to Luc.  Grief, anger and pain gripped him as he recognized the faces of those whose power now ripped his being.  There was Aegeus and Epiron and, a shudder ran through Rapha’s body as he saw mighty Zelneus, one he thought forever faithful to Adonai, adding his strength to the assault, drawing molten rock from deep in the Earth to turn the swirling madness into a firestorm.   

    With a burst of power, Rapha flung off his bindings and answering cords of golden light whipped from him toward his attackers.  But these were angelic brothers who knew his strength—and there were too many.  As they added their power to Lucifer’s, immense rocks shoved and jostled, breaking the surface of ground that had been solid only seconds before but now roiled like a storm tossed sea, opening immense jaws to consume him. 

    As Rapha fell beneath his angelic brother’s fury, their relentless attack piercing and shredding with blinding pain, despair stole his will to fight.  They had shielded their thoughts and planned this attack.  Now they used the mighty gifts of Adonai, power given to create beauty, to destroy. 

    “Abba Adonai,” Rapha gasped, the weight of his friends’ betrayal heavier than the mountain of rock and their binding power bearing down upon him.  Immediately the sweet fragrance of Adonai, usually only experienced before the throne, wrapped its comfort around Rapha’s battered form.  

    “Do not resist.”

    As Adonai’s command filled the crushing darkness, peace like a fast-opening bloom pressed out from Rapha’s soul and enveloped him.  He relaxed, trusting, as the weight bore down and curses of his brother angels tore at him in the same way their fury smote the ground.  However, Rapha had never felt more immersed in Adonai, so the burial was sweet.  He saw a glimmer before his eyes, a reflection of his own ebbing fire and, with trembling fingers, wrenched it from the rock.  It was a large gem.  Rapha cupped it to his breast, its smooth, unyielding surface his only tangible companion, as his last feeble thread of consciousness was severed.

    Then came the melting, the sifting, the re-molding; all within Adonai’s very being.  No grief could exist there.  In Adonai only wholeness and light wrapped Rapha in peace.  He drank deeply of the goodness—unfathomable, sweet, all encompassing, freeing.  There, hidden in Adonai’s embrace, Rapha slept. 

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

    That last paragraph is one of my favorite moments from the novel because I can still remember taking on that peace and sensing God's embrace as I wrote it.  Heavy sigh.  If only we could dwell in that bliss all the time.  But look at what it took to get Rapha to that point.  Betrayal, anger, overwhelming pain... but when he reached in trust, Adonai was there.

    This is a true representation of peace.  Peace is not due to circumstances but is, rather, in spite of them--sometimes even because of them.

    How about a new approach to stress and adverse circumstances.  The bad will come in this life--challenges, trials, death, betrayal--no avoiding that.  The beauty happens when we curl into God, give Him the pain, and He fills the black holes of need.

    But far be it for me to indicate this is an easy matter.  The picture comes to mind of hanging off a cliff with one hand gripping an unraveling rope.  In a way, it's easy to let go--just open the fingers and, voila!  Then again, it's the hardest thing in the world.

    One of my deepest goals with pretty much anything I write is to get past misconceptions, fear, anger, unforgiveness and a myriad of other emotions/experiences a reader may have that keeps them from God.

    How can this fallen world change? 

    When we change. 

    How do we change? 

    From the inside-out, baby.

    Who is the only one to accomplish this?

    Only Jesus bought us with His life and offered to dwell within us.

    But He's a gentleman. 

    He waits to be invited.

    But we won't invite Him in when we can't trust.

    Therefore I pray and write, begging God to reveal Himself through my feeble words.  And in the process, I change.

    My favorite things are God, family, and the written word but I also brake for chocolate, old barns, and people who live passionately. THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL

    Holiday Special--free shipping on orders of three or more.  Gift wrapping and personalization on ALL orders until Jan. 1 of 2012!  Ah shucks, for YOU, gift wrap and signing year round :)

     

     

     

    Sunday
    Dec182011

    THE FALL--bitesize--5 Why I Shouldn't Have Superpowers

    (from chapter 1 of THE FALL, p. 11)

    Rapha’s mind skipped immediately to a more recent memory. 

    It was another day atop Luc’s favorite mountain.  When Rapha appeared, Luc was tracing a lazy finger in the air to swirl a dark cloud in the sky above him.  “You heard?”

    Rapha allowed a tight smile, “How could I not?  Your anger still resounds through the cosmos.” 

    Luc sneered, “Gabriel.  Michael.  ‘Thank you, Adonai!’” he mocked, “‘We will honor and obey.’”  A spasm of fury flicked across Luc’s features, “They grovel while Adonai humiliates….”

    “No!  They were chosen because they refuse to stir contention about what they do not understand.…”

    “Unlike me.”  Luc finished, his eyes piercing, his hands clenched into fists.  “I, who have been closer to Adonai’s counsel than any other; I knew this was coming.  I warned you.  I understand all too well.”

    “And make assumptions based on a glimpse of His plans.”

    “Assumptions?”  Luc’s volume rose,  “What more is there to know?  Adonai announced it.  He plans to elevate these creatures,” Luc spat the word, “to give them dominion over this place.  Can you honestly say that is no insult to us, His servants of light, His firstborn?”

    “You mean insult to you, Adonai’s favored.”

    “Yes.  Insult to me.  If anyone should be offered dominion it is I.  I, who have been Adonai’s most trusted, the morning star of all His creation, not some vile creature of dust!”

    “But you told me Adonai will dwell within them.  They will be children of the Most High in every sense and one day His highest purpose will be realized through one of them—“ but Rapha’s words were cut off by a whizzing blow and his mouth tasted earth from the chunk of mountain that had hit him.  Immediately he transformed into his transparent body but Luc was one step ahead.  Cords of light were flung ‘round Rapha’s chest and were tightening their painful grip even as Lucifer, arms outstretched, summoned a continuing barrage of rocks and trees as he spun in the air like a malevolent cyclone.

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

    And there it is... the reason I CAN'T be trusted with superpowers.  How many times have I felt rage take over, that horrible moment when nothing else matters but me-and-my-feelings!

    I hate to think of the destruction that I would have caused, and then regretted, if I had been capable of acting on flashes of anger.

    Then I look at today's headlines--public beating of a woman in Egypt, killer typhoon in the Philippines, wars, racism, cruelty, pettiness--and I think, how does God do it?

    How does God see it all, everything at once, and remain holy?

    If it was up to me, I woulda raised a hand at some point in history and just wiped them all out!

    Thank God it's not up to me.  But there is something that's up to me.  God asks that I worship Him, inspite of, because of, in the midst of the chaos of evil.

    "In everything give thanks."  (Ya gotta be kiddin' me, right?)

    "I will bless the Lord at all times.  His praise will continuously be in my mouth." 

    Why?  Why does God ask us to do what is SOO counterintuitive when hell seems to be winning?

    Because THAT is when and how we knock evil off the throne--when we focus on the fact that God is forever and always worthy of praise--especially when we don't understand.  Especially in that moment when we would love to be the big, bad God raining down a can of whoop-a*# on the world.

    But when we worship, even through gritted teeth and bitter tears, we are proclaiming that HE is Lord--not the emotion, not evil.

    Then, when the emotion is spent and our eyes are fixed on Him and His endless-still-waters-of-holiness, we listen... and proclaim "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." 

    My favorite things are God, family, and the written word but I also brake for chocolate, old barns, and people who live passionately. THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL!

    

    Saturday
    Dec172011

    THE FALL--bitesize--4 When love is a sword  

    Luc reduced himself to his original proportions and fell back on the plush turf laughing, unfazed by the menacing regard of his friend who sunk back to a mere eight feet tall. 

    “Adonai will know.”

    “Oh, I’m counting on it!”  Luc’s eyes flashed with anger. “I’ve told Him these pathetic men will never develop if left to their own slow, cognitive abilities.  Besides, you’ve just helped me initiate worship!  That creature will grunt stories of his brush with ‘the gods’ for the rest of his life!  He’ll be esteemed and honored.  I’ve done him a favor….”

    “You have disobeyed Adonai!”

    “I’m showing Him I can think for myself!”  Luc roared with a pent-up fury that drove Rapha backwards to shatter the rock wall behind him and send another resounding crash across the valley. 

    Finally, all was quiet.  Rapha looked up from the mound of shattered rock toward Luc whose face registered vague surprise at his own violence.  There was regret, but no apology.  “Admit it, Rapha.  You have doubts as well.  How long will Adonai keep us slaves to His will?  He plots to dishonor us, the greatest of His creation, yet we continue to bow and scrape and—”

    “Silence!”  Rapha’s voice thundered across the valley cutting off Luc’s tirade.  He had never controlled his friend by force but the words against Adonai were an insult he would not endure. 

    Enraged, Luc fixed mute but murderous eyes on him as Rapha continued, struggling to remember how Adonai maintained the celestial court without anger.  “Adonai has given nothing but honor and power to us.  You shame Him, and yourself, with these words.” 

    Finally Luc’s tongue was loosened, dripping with bitterness.  “Shame?  You want shame?  Continue blindly following orders until you find yourself nursemaid to the mud creatures, my friend!”  In a split second Luc launched himself off the precipice and, like a glorious phoenix, traced an arc of fire through blushing, sun-kissed clouds.

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

    Are you sometimes surprised where resistance and enmity comes from?  I am.  The resistance that really hurts is not from strangers or those with polar opposite views, but from those who have access to our hearts.  This is why the best of friends can become the most bitter of rivals and why divorce tends to be so ugly.  If someone has been invited into your heart, they can do the most damage.

    I had often wondered about the  scripture where Jesus says, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (Matt. 10:34)

    Did Jesus really run around slicing and dicing people?  No.  In fact, he healed the High Priest's servant whose ear was cut off by Peter's sword. (John 18:10)  What He refers to is the division due to a new allegiance, belonging to a new kingdom, and a new point-of-view.  100% devotion to Christ is offensive--even among those who may claim the label of Christian. 

    That's what can be so surprising and painful. 

    But does this mean we pull back so as not to offend?  By no means.  True love is willing to be hated.  True love is willing to be misunderstood.  Just be sure the resistance is due to "suffering for righteousness sake" and not for Pharisaical hypocrisy that worships appearances rather than Christ.

    My favorite things are God, family, and the written word but I also brake for chocolate, old barns, and people who live passionately. THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL!

    

    Friday
    Dec162011

    THE FALL--bitesize--3

    “Listen!” Luc crouched down as a biped creature struggled into view on the steep slope below.  It was bent forward as if sniffing the wind, its hair-covered body tense, heavy brow shading deepset eyes that scanned its surroundings.  “What do you suppose it’s thinking?” Luc said.  “Does that puny mind delve beyond putting one pathetic foot in front of the other or is it merely contemplating which part of its putrid body to scratch next?”

    This new creature, standing somewhat upright and possessing intelligence beyond Earth’s other inhabitants, had stirred Luc’s ire.  Rapha could not understand why these beings, known as “man,” so inferior to angelic structure, should irritate his friend so.     

    Rapha studied the perfect planes of the face beside him as Luc observed the creature with disdain and declared, “Do you realize it can’t live without water?  A stiff wind could blow it off this cliff and that’s it.  The young are even more vulnerable—tiny, squirming things one breath away from oblivion!”  A mournful expression shadowed the handsome face. “I’d be doing a favor to end such a pathetic existence….” He raised an arm as if to summon a whirlwind.

    “No!”  Rapha was accustomed to Luc’s teasing but something in his friend’s expression warned him the humor had taken on a malicious tone.

    Luc resisted Rapha’s restraining arm,“ Just a small puff… oh please… it will know the thrill of flight as it plummets to the ground!” 

    “We are not to influence them,” Rapha was alarmed at Luc’s narrowed eyes and the hard lines of repulsion that marred the beautiful face.  “You know the command.…”

    Luc burst into laughter, eyes glittering with the triumph of disrupting his stoic friend’s calm demeanor.  “As if I would dare defy Adonai!”  Relief flooded Rapha as the shadow disappeared from Luc’s face.  Ah… this was his beloved, teasing Lucifer. 

    “However….” Luc observed the squat creature, now scratching and snuffling under a bush, “He must have something to record on his cave wall.”

    Without further discourse, Luc drew himself up to a height rivaling the tall evergreens, revealing himself in all his celestial glory.  His body flared like lightning and a whirlwind of smoke rushed up from the ground, causing the bright hair cascading about his shoulders to flow up and out creating both a crown and mantle.  With eyes of fire he flung a lightning bolt across the valley as the man creature screamed in fright and threw himself beneath the bush.  When Luc turned his smoking gaze toward the trembling being, Rapha moved quickly.  Expanding to equal Luc’s stature, his own muscular body rising thirty feet into the air, he took one step that resounded across the valley like a clap of thunder and placed himself between Luc and the frightened man creature who howled in terror then ran, fell, and rolled back down the rocky slope.

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

    I heard a wonderful pastor on the radio the other day who said, "It's not so much that we fear God judging us that keeps us from God, it's that we have judged God."

    That statement is so true.  More and more these days, when I hear people explain their reasons for rejecting God, it's along the lines of, "I prayed about _______ and it didn't work." or, "Any God who would allow ______ isn't for me," or, "He's such an angry, jealous God."

    In the story of THE FALL, Lucifer feels justified in his anger because God has created something/someone that offends him.  God has been judged by Lucifer and didn't measure up. 

    Truth is, Lucifer wants to be his own God and this new creation gets in the way of those plans.

    That's the real key, isn't it?  We demand that God conforms to OUR mold, to OUR understanding, to OUR highest ideal, then when He breaks that mold or someone wearing His label breaks it--we blame Him.

    This is why it's called faith.  If God truly is all-knowing, all-powerful, omni-present, and completely holy--what makes us think we're gonna GET Him with a glance?  What makes us think we're going to get a complete or balanced reflection of Him through imperfect people?  We cannot KNOW a person with just a couple introductions and one or two incidents from their life.  I'd hate to think someone judged ME hook, line and sinker from one incident!  Dang, I could be anything from saint to reprobate depending on which moment they happened to peek in!

    That's why it has to be a relationship with God.  He's absolutely holy.  He's patient.  His ways are SOO much higher than ours. 

    Give Him TIME.  ASK for wisdom.  And when understanding is elusive, trust and ask some more. 

    Bring Him your anger from things that don't fit your image of what God should be.  Rather than blaming, let the wall of judgment toward God fall.  Then LISTEN... really listen.

    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8 NAS)

     

    My favorite things are God, family, and the written word but I also brake for chocolate, old barns, and people who live passionately. THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL!


    

    Thursday
    Dec152011

    THE FALL--bite size--2

    Rapha’s earth-crusted hands clutch at his ears but the laughter grows, filling every recess of his soul, stealing every hope and joyful memory.

    A joyful memory? 

    In a flash Rapha is there; catapulted through eons of space and time, before the purity of the garden, back through countless ages to a fresh hilltop lit by a younger, more optimistic sun.  He and Luc preferred the plunging cliffs dropping to unseen depths below.  Somehow, a spiral dive carried more of a thrill when performed in a temporal world.

    “There’s something about this place,” Luc’s eyes flitted from tree to mountain and stream as he stretched golden arms wide as if to embrace the early morning’s glow filtering through droplets of mist.  “It’s not as grand as our flawless, hallowed domain but the appeal is undeniable.”

    Rapha had ignored the note of restlessness in that melodic voice, choosing to enjoy fresh air laced with flowered perfume and the spiced musk of fertile soil.  In the countless years of their friendship, he had learned Luc’s passions could flash with the slightest provocation, but usually, if Rapha allowed Luc to give vent to his emotions, the darker frame of mind would pass.  And, a visit to this, their favorite retreat, was usually the perfect remedy, a change of pace and a different rhythm that put celestial matters into perspective.  With a sigh Rapha settled back into thick green with one arm behind his head to contemplate the crisp blue above.  Yes.  This was just what Luc needed, a deep breath of contentment. 

    “Listen!” Luc crouched down as a biped creature struggled into view on the steep slope below.  It was bent forward as if sniffing the wind, its hair-covered body tense, heavy brow shading deepset eyes that scanned its surroundings.  “What do you suppose it’s thinking?” Luc said.  “Does that puny mind delve beyond putting one pathetic foot in front of the other or is it merely contemplating which part of its putrid body to scratch next?”

    This new creature, standing somewhat upright and possessing intelligence beyond Earth’s other inhabitants, had stirred Luc’s ire.  Rapha could not understand why these beings, known as “man,” so inferior to angelic structure, should irritate his friend so.     

    Rapha studied the perfect planes of the face beside him as Luc observed the creature with disdain and declared, “Do you realize it can’t live without water?  A stiff wind could blow it off this cliff and that’s it.  The young are even more vulnerable—tiny, squirming things one breath away from oblivion!”  A mournful expression shadowed the handsome face. “I’d be doing a favor to end such a pathetic existence….” He raised an arm as if to summon a whirlwind.

    “No!”  Rapha was accustomed to Luc’s teasing but something in his friend’s expression warned him the humor had taken on a malicious tone.

    Luc resisted Rapha’s restraining arm,“ Just a small puff… oh please… it will know the thrill of flight as it plummets to the ground!” 

    “We are not to influence them,” Rapha was alarmed at Luc’s narrowed eyes and the hard lines of repulsion that marred the beautiful face.  “You know the command.…”

    Luc burst into laughter, eyes glittering with the triumph of disrupting his stoic friend’s calm demeanor.  “As if I would dare defy Adonai!”  Relief flooded Rapha as the shadow disappeared from Luc’s face.  Ah… this was his beloved, teasing Lucifer. 

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

    Wouldn't it be weird to have been there at the beginning of celestial unrest, to have witnessed the seed that started it all? 

    How many times would I love to go back with the 20/20 vision of hindsight and have a re-do in some of life's key moments.  That moment when I wounded my child's heart in a fit of anger, that opportunity to speak up for Christ that I let pass by, that time when I opened my mouth with a smug reply that won the argument but hurt God's cause--life is full of regrets and "what ifs."

    But how does God allow things to just unfold?  How does He allow us our free will when He can see the devastation down that road?  And, as always, the question remains--If God is, how can THAT happen?

    This has been one of the biggest struggles in my life and was a huge consideration when writing THE FALL.  How can God be all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful when the evidence of life as we know it screams the opposite?

    God has foundational truths and rules by which He created and by which He continues to hold it all together.  Did He create evil?  No.  What God creates is good since only good can come from pure holiness.  But neither does He create automatons.  He appeals, He advises, He allows circumstances, but He remains good--He remains holy--the lone being Who is all-knowing and still all-good.

    There is a danger of re-creating God in an image that will jibe with US--a God who causes evil because, dammit! that's what I'D do!  But what is evil in this world--God didn't cause it.  The thief, the devil, comes to kill, steal and destroy--NOT God.  God is always good, always holy, always longing to restore and heal.  There is not a trace of selfishness in God.  Yes, scripture says, "I am a jealous God," but it's for US that He's jealous, because when we worship something/someone else, we leave the door wide for evil to do it's work.

    Take another look at scripture with this foundational truth in mind--God is ALWAYS Good.  It's a mind-blowing experience.

    My favorite things are God, family, and the written word but I also brake for chocolate, old barns, and people who live passionately. THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL!