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Thursday, August 01, 2019

No Need to Knock

Why don't we pray? I have a list of reasons / excuses as long as my arm. Maybe you do too. Today, I was struck with an idea to put into a kind of story. I was listening to Stephen Curtis Chapman's song "Let Us Pray," and had a series of images come to mind. I think it was to help me pray. Maybe it will help you as well. 

No Need to Knock

I leave the confines of my room for the long hall with equally great weariness and wariness. I have not traveled this way for too long a time, and I do not know what I will find at the passage’s end. As soon as the flickering torchlight scatters my shadows, I feel an overwhelming urge, like an undertow, grasping with unseen hands to pull me back. I want to go back. A voice of my own thoughts whispers, “This is a path of privilege, the way of valiant souls…and royalty. It is not for me.”


I take small, tentative steps forward. I am reminded of all the times I have come this way and failed. How often had I turned back because it was too late, missing the appointment because I was distracted? How many occasions had I been turned away because I was not properly attired? How frequently had I ascended until I just…couldn’t…take…another…step, awakening later to retreat in shame? The voice is right. This path is not for me.




Especially today. Today, I am a pauper, covered in threadbare rags and drenched in filth and blood. I bear unfathomable guilt like a rotting second skin. I do not belong in this hall, the hall that stretches before me, its end in shadow growing farther—not nearer—with each heavy step. Just make it to the next torch, I tell myself. And then the next. I press on, but the incline grows steeper. My foot loses purchase. I fall and slide backward in the slick of my own grime. 


Weeping, I flail and climb to my unsteady feet. Too hard. Too far. I know I will never make it. Still, the torchlight never wavers. The One I seek keeps them alight. I know I must continue. Continue or die.


I pass one torch. Then another. I am moving more quickly now. How many torches behind me? I don’t look back. At last, the shadow ahead parts like a curtain. I am almost there! The door is before me, looming like the impenetrable gate of a fortified castle. I stand just two paces away. I raise my fist—


“There is no need to knock,” comes the voice of the One. “The door is open.”


Still seemingly heavy beyond reckoning, the impassive door glides inward, and I am bathed in light. I am at once blinded…and seen. I duck my head. I should not have come.


Fingers. Gentle as silk but stronger than iron, the fingers cup my chin and lift my head. I see the One at last, and all fear flees. And suddenly, suddenly, I feel quite absurd. 


“Tell me, my child,” He says, “why did you wait so long?”


The uncanny mirth of my situation gets the best of me, and I laugh. Why indeed did I wait so long? 


And then, I recall. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I was afraid.”


And then, it was His turn to laugh, a great braying, thunderous laugh. “You were afraid? Of me? But child, I love you. You are always welcome in my presence.”


“I thought I had waited too long,” I say. “Too late for—”


“Too late for my Grace?” His eyes shine down on me like kindly searchlights. “I am beyond time, my child. My Grace cuts the fabric of time. There is no late.”


“But I have been rebuffed.” The brittle words spill from my mouth like icicles in the sun. “I am clothed in wretchedness.”


“Rebuffed? Not by me. And your garb? You simply were not seeing clearly. Shall I fetch you a mirror?”


Those massive, gentle hands hold out an exquisite looking glass framed in pristine silver. Its pure beauty is no match for the figure I see in the reflection. I am clothed in white and gold…and glory.
I manage to splutter, “How…?”


“My Son,” He replies. “You wear the garments He purchased on your behalf. His very own.” He withdraws the looking glass, but His smile is more radiant than anything I have yet seen.


“Your Son,” I whisper. “He paid an awful price.”


“Yes.”


“For me.”


“Yes.”


“And yet, like the others, there are times that I cannot stay awake…to keep watch?”


“What father would not be warmed by His child’s words trailing off into slumber? What father would not feel the kindling of love by His child’s sleeping in His arms?”


Tears spill over my lids and run down my cheeks. “But so many times I am heavy with guilt of my own transgression. Like today, I have sullied your Son’s garments with the blackest ash of my sin.”


“That is especially why you have come,” He says. “This is my Throne of Grace. When you are besmirched, there is no place else for you to turn, not without incurring terrible costs. And there is no other place but the Throne of Grace where you will actually receive help in your time of need.” 


I am overwhelmed and euphoric. “I…I can come any time? No matter what I’ve done?”


“Any time,” He says. “Day or night. And, child, the long arduous hall you imagine at times? It is simply not there. There is a door to my Throne of Grace, and it is always open. Just come.” 


14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 14-16)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Summer's here and the time is right for dancin—er, for READING! I've got TWO new books for you to check out. If you are a fan of the series called "The Dark Sea Annals," I've completely revised and republished the "Author-ized" version of Sword in the Stars and Errant King. The series is now called The Myridian Constellation, and the long-awaited third book in the series: The Forsaken Continent is out now in Kindle and Paperback!

And if you're the type who likes Christmas in July, I've released my modern retelling of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I've titled it "A Christian's Carol," and some have said it's a much needed wake up call to the modern Christian. True to the original, but updated with many of today's social issues, A Christian's Carol is (as one reviewer said) worth reading at any time of the year.

Here are the links:

New Sword in the Stars:




New Errant King:




BOOK 3: The Forsaken Continent:




A Christian's Carol:



Go get 'em and enjoy some great beach reads!

Friday, May 17, 2019


 
Headline:

Here's how you can help those affected by the terrifying Alabama abortion ban right now.

 
 I don't put much stock in journalism these days. It's all bias-driven, believe at your own risk blather. But seeing a headline like the one below just brings everything related to our crumbling culture to a fine point. Somehow an alarmingly large number of people have been deceived into believing that pregnant women are the victims of abortion restrictions. Those who support this incredulous view are the very same people who've championed the idea that the barbaric procedure of abortion is somehow protecting women and empowering women. In actuality, the opposite and much worse are true. Abortion rights do not protect women, especially women in utero. These women get no voice at all and are treated as property to be discarded as one sees fit—how can women's rights proponents not see the lurid irony? To say nothing of the murdered women, abortion has been shown to physically injure women who undergo the procedure. 1 in every 100 women who have early abortions experience complications. 1 in 50 for later term abortions. These complications include excessive bleeding (with no medical support), severe abdominal pain and cramping, infection of the uterus or blood, damage to the cervix, and a host of other issues. (see: https://adviceandaid.com/very-real-effects-of-abortion-facts-you-need/)

The emotional toll on women who have abortions is startling as well (see: https://adviceandaid.com/the-very-real-effects-of-abortion-emotional-facts-you-need-part-2/). For the children being torn apart in abortion, they are dragged into the gas chamber with absolutely no choice, no voice, and no alternative. For the women who have abortions, they are being duped into entering the gas chamber themselves in the propaganda's call for "progress." Since Roe V. Wade, 61 million children have been killed in abortion. That's multiple times the number of people murdered in the Holocaust. The comparison is warranted because the rhetoric of the Reich is extraordinarily similar to the rhetoric of Pro Abortion adherents: step 1: convince others that a certain population is not human, step 2: convince that same that destroying the "less than human" is not only lawful but preferable, a right even. step 3: enact laws to pursue those ends.

Make no mistake, this protocol is exactly what women are being fed. "It's just a fetus. It's not a person. It's not a living being." The truth is that being alive does not have degrees. One is either alive or dead. Unborn children are every bit as alive as you or I. When the abortion is completed, what do we call the lifeless child? Dead. Smoke and mirrors, and women who rightly deserve equality with men (equal rights) are duped into believing that the destruction of one's own child is a right. Women want to be empowered and they should. For thousands of years, women have been subordinated, and it's immoral and unfair. So let's empower women to be responsible for their actions. Aside from rape or abuse, a woman who has unprotected sex, makes a decision and should be responsible for that decision. Should women be able to decide whether or not to reproduce? Of course, but once conception has occurred, the decision is already made.

The real victims are the murdered children and the women who undergo abortion. These are the dear, precious people who need help. America used to understand that, but now, like ancient Rome, we are sacrificing children—just not to Zeus or Hera. We have an insidious new gods that would put Hades to shame. We sacrifice children to the gods of selfishness and convenience. May the one real God have mercy on us all.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Get Wrecked.

Have you seen "The Passion of the Christ?" 
It includes one of the most visceral portrayals of Jesus's crucifixion ever seen on film. And not just the crucifixion, but the humiliation, the betrayal, the abandonment, and the scourging. 

When Jesus asked His very best friends to keep watch with Him as He prayed in Gethsemane, the depressive weight of despair and anxiety gnawing at Him, I cringed. Every lash of that Roman whip made me wince as Jesus was flayed alive. 


When the centurions mocked Jesus with a crown of thorns and a purple robe, and then spat upon him as they jeered, I felt the daggers of injustice. 


When Jesus labored under the weight of that cumbersome cross, I saw His love. 


When He hung upon the cross, gasping for air and crying out to the Father who had, for those dire hours, abandoned His one and only Son, I felt the utter hopelessness of my prayers bouncing off of my ceiling. When, at the ninth hour, Jesus said, "It is finished," and died, I felt the punch in the gut of loss but also bewildering confusion over the weight of His last words. "It" is finished. His mission. The penalty of our sin. God's plan for mankind. The course of history. All was finished. 

To get there, however, Jesus had to be literally "wrecked." The physical agonies would have been harsh enough, but there was also the cumulative weight and consequence of our sin. In every sense of the word, Jesus was wrecked. 

Doing a devotional this morning, I was gobsmacked by Galatians 2:20:


20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 
 

This is a very well known and oft quoted passage, but this morning, it was all new. Turns out, as believers, we too are crucified. With Jesus, we got wrecked. The trouble is, we don't often consider the full implications. Obviously, we never endured scourging, mocking, and crucifixion physically, but "I have been crucified with Christ" is much more than a metaphor. Our bodies, our minds, our souls have endured abject humiliation, mocking, and pain because we are with Jesus. When verse 20 tells us "it is no longer I who live..." that means that the pre-salvation self of ours DIED. 

Verse 20 should have extensive implications in our lives every single day. We have no reason for pride, for we have been scourged to the point of utter indignity. We have been mocked for whatever "high thoughts" we have of ourselves. When fleshly sin rises up and tried to give credit to ourselves, we need to get wrecked. Remember that we have been bloodied and laid bare before the eyes of the world. We have nothing of our own to boast about. We have been brought as low as a human can be brought. When temptations come calling, as they always do, we need to remember the weight of that ponderous cross, for sin is just that: a dire weight that drags us down. Listen, Paul tells us, because of Jesus, sin's utter control over us has had spikes pounded through its hands and feet. It has been hung up to suffocate. Its power over us is DEAD. 

What is life now? It's faith. Minute by minute faith in the Son of God. He gave Himself up for us, so that we might live. But in this world, we need to recall our own crucifixion. When sin calls, we need to get wrecked. We need to remember that we are part of all that Jesus endured and accomplished. There is nothing of ourselves. We didn't save ourselves. But, the flesh has been crucified. Trust in Jesus, moment by moment. Remember all He endured, and count it as having happened to you. Think of Jesus and get wrecked. 


Thursday, March 21, 2019

New, Exciting Author...Big Giveaway!

Hey all! For those of you who love free books, here's a giveaway with FOUR epic tales. Give it a look! https://authorhopeann.com/giveaways/four-epic-fantasy-reads/

It's in honor of Hope Ann's upcoming launch, so if you'd like to check out her new book, Healer's Bane, feel free to do that here as well: https://authorhopeann.com/books/healers-bane/

A little bit about Healer's Bane:

Kynet never planned to be at the forefront of the rebellion. That was her brother’s hobby: rallying the people. Plotting against the leaders. Running into dangers she’d have to negotiate him out of.

That was before the Poisoner tried to kill her.

Left with strange powers in the aftermath of his attack, Kynet is even more convinced the rebellion isn’t worth it. For every life her healing saves, ten more are wasted.

But her quest to stop the carnage before war breaks out will bring her face to face with the man who tried to murder her... and with her own helplessness against a grim reality she may not be able to change.
 

 

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Forsaken Continent - Paperback and Kindle - Available beginning March 18th!

 
Ladies and Gentlemen, I've got some good news. "The Forsaken Continent" Paperback -and- Kindle will be available on March 18th! 
 
Originally, I expected the release date to be 3/21, but turns out, it's EARLY!!! Here are the links:


 
 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Forsaken Continent available for PREorder!

Greetings, Bat-readers! Good news today. The Forsaken Continent is available for preorder on Kindle. 





Fleeing the kingdom he once ruled, Lochlan Stormgarden leads the survivors of The Bloody Red Night across Myriad on a desperate quest for safety. With tyrannical High King Morlan's legions and the lethal Bone Ministers constantly dogging his steps, Lochlan discovers that the only refuge might be a legendary contagion-cursed fortress deep in heart of the Gorrack Nation.

Meanwhile, Abbagael Coldhollow is six months pregnant and sets off on a fool's errand into the Felhaunt to prove that her beloved husband Alastair is still alive. Little does she know that Cythraul, the seemingly immortal assassin, is also hunting in that forest of horrors. Hunting for her.

Morlan's noose is tightening on all, for he has lit the first candle of the Flame Clock. As each candle flares to life, Myriad slides inexorably closer to a cataclysmic fate. Telwyn Coldhollow alone stands to hinder the coming devastation, for upon the shores of the Forsaken Continent, Telwyn will face the very Heart of Evil.