Friday, July 22, 2016

The Book of Proverbs – A Look at How Simple yet Complex Proverbs Are (Part 1)



Proverbs in the Hebrew bible is entitled Mishleh which is the first word in this book. It comes from the Hebrew word “mashal” which conveys a sense of superiority in thought as well as being the root word for governing or ruling. The first two words of chapter 1 are “mishleh shlomo” or “the best part of Solomon.” What was the best part of Solomon? His wisdom, his superiority in thought.
The book got its English name from the Latin proverbium, “a common saying,” from the parts pro “forth” and verbum “word”—putting words forth—I should have figured that out on my own. We’ve come to understand proverbs as concise, to the point sayings that hold the wisdom of Solomon. The word wisdom, in fact, appears 53 times in this book, more than twice as many times as any of the other Bible books considered wisdom books.
Proverbs has six main sections:

Friday, July 15, 2016

Finding Jesus in the book of Psalms


The Psalms were written by various authors spanning a time period of almost 1000 years. Among the authors were Moses, David and Solomon, and also priests or Levites who were responsible for providing music for sanctuary worship during David's reign. Fifty of the psalms designate no specific person as author. The oldest psalm in the collection is probably Psalm 90, the prayer of Moses and the latest psalm is probably 137, a song of mourning written when the Israelites were being held captive. The book of Psalms is a compilation of prayers, poems, and hymns that focus on praising and adoring God. Some were used in worship services of ancient Israel. According to Talmudic tradition, psalms were sung by the Levites immediately after the daily pouring of the wine offering. The word Psalm comes from the Greek word psalmoi meaning pious songs. The Hebrew title is Tehilim which means “hymns of praise.” There are several types of Psalms, among them are hymns of praise, instructional hymns, and funereal songs.
The New Testament illustrates virtually the whole history of salvation in the light of the Psalms.

Jesus is the Son of God: Psalm 2:7, 22:10
Jesus is the Shepherd: Psalm 23
Jesus spoke in parables: Psalm 78:2
Jesus calmed the storm: Psalm 89:9
Jesus was rejected: Psalm 69:8, 20
Jesus was conspired against: Psalm 31:13
Jesus was betrayed by Judas: Psalm 41:9, 55: 12 – 14
Jesus was crucified: Psalm 22:1,2,7,8, Psalm 89:50-51, 69:21, Psalm 22:14-18,  129:3,              Psalm 34:20
            Jesus conquered death: Psalm 16:10, Psalm 68: 18, Psalm 118: 20, Psalm 110:1, Psalm              80:17
Jesus is the King of Righteousness: Psalm 110:4
Jesus will judge the nations: Psalm 89: 3 – 5
His reign is eternal: Psalm 89: 35 – 37
He will rule the Earth: Psalm 72: 8, 11
He will judge the Earth: Psalm 98:9, 50:4

The New Testament as a whole has 224 separate passages from 103 different psalms. Some passages appear in different places making a total of 280 psalm quotations in the New Testament.
I’ve studied the acrostic verses in Psalms before studying each book of scripture because they are linked to each Hebrew letter and to each book of scripture in a supernaturally amazing relationship (see Crossing theScriptures). To explain again, the acrostic (or alphabetic) verses are when the writer has used the letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the initial letter for a sequence of verses. Starting each verse or stanza with the next consecutive letter may have been an easier way of memorizing Scripture, but it is also an astounding proof that God has ordered the books of the Bible to fit with the key alphabetic words revealed in these special verses. Acrostics occur in Psalms 111 and 112, where each letter begins a line; in Psalms 25, 34, and 145, where each letter begins a verse; and in Psalm 37, where each letter begins every other whole verse with 4 exceptions where the letter starts 1 or 3 verses for a total of 40 verses. Psalm 119 is the most elaborate manifestation of the acrostic method where, in each section of eight verses, the same opening letter is used, and the twenty-two sections of the psalm move through the Hebrew alphabet, letter after letter. There are 176 verses, 8 verses for each of the 22 Hebrew letters. The first 8 verses each start with the Hebrew letter Aleph, the next 8 with Bet and so on through the alphabet (alephbet). We have lost the amazing beauty of the psalm in translation. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

A Detailed Look at the Book of Job


Job is one of the few books in the Hebrew Bible that isn’t named for the first words of the text. This book is called “Iyyowb” in Hebrew which means “hated one” or “persecuted one.” Most scholars think that this book was written by Moses. It is the first of our 5 poetical books of wisdom. The purpose of the book is to show God’s wisdom, the wisdom of His ways, His benevolence and also to answer the age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people? (Short answer: there are no good people - only God is good.)
The preceding 17 books barely mentioned righteousness, but Job has 22 occurrences of the word. This will obviously be a theme here. Tzaddik means righteous, from the 18th Hebrew letter Tzaddi.
Job lives in Uz which is another word play as Uz means “take counsel” and if you’re already familiar with the story of Job you know that he takes counsel from his friends after suffering family tragedy, financial losses and health problems. The description of Job depicts a righteous man. He was blameless and upright, feared God and shunned evil. The word shunned here is the translation of the Hebrew word “suwr” and is a verb that means to turn away, to go away, to desert, to quit, to keep far from, to stop, to take away, to remove. Job shows us how to be righteous: just shun evil.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Random Excerpt from THE GUARDIAN'S DIARY


A guardian angel has no problem with speed or distance. As a spirit being I can guard my charge continually. Continents, oceans, airplanes are not obstacles. Obstacles are demons. I’ve been to this continent before, decades ago, and I expect to fight here again. Physical, cultural progress may have been realized in the cities and even in the villages along the rivers or deep in the jungles, but spiritual progress does not exist. Progress is not the right word – growth, evolution, advancement, steps forward – no. Repentance is what is needed – a turning around. The demons will flee only then. I may have to fight.

Jedidiah knew he was being hard on Jenna. He was confused more by his feelings than anything else. Holding her hand that first hour of the flight was more than just a way to ignore his fear of flying. He was comforted, yes, but he caught such a buzz, his heart racing at first, his body reacting quickly, that he thought he must be really falling for her.
The news about Allison should have been just as exciting. He had built a fantasy around rescuing her and now to hear that she had suffered so terribly, been pregnant, given birth ... he felt childish and sadly inadequate.
The plane was minutes from landing and he and Jenna hadn’t spoken in hours. One or the other had slept or had feigned sleeping most of the night, as uncomfortable as it was in the confined space. He had read his magazines and she had finished hers. They had eaten their meals in silence though she had made a couple of attempts at humor. Jedidiah couldn’t find anything funny right now. How should he act when he saw Allison? How should he behave around Jenna?
“Look,” Jenna said, “I know you’re mad at me. Please don’t be. I couldn’t stand for my, my best friend not to talk to me for the next ten days.”

“I’m not mad. I just hadn’t thought that ...  well, it’s kind of shocking that Allison has a baby and all. I . . .” he trailed off and shifted in his seat. His stomach did a flip-flop as the jet rapidly descended. He could see land out the cabin windows. He reached for Jenna’s hand. “We’re landing!” he shouted, his ears stuffed up again.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

A Different Look at the Book of Esther


We don’t know who wrote the book of Esther, but it is generally thought to be written by Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, who plays a major role in the story.
Esther becomes queen and saves the Jews from extermination. Though the name of God does not occur even once in this book, His providence is evident as well as His protection of His people. Esther is spelled in Hebrew with the same letters as “I will be hid”. Isn’t that cool? It seems like God loves anagrams, codes and puzzles. Me, too. God is hidden in the book of Esther.
The events of Esther fit chronologically between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra and tell us that anti-Jewish hostility is intolerable to God. First there is the story of queen Vashti. Esther 1: 10-12, and 19 give the highlights:
 10 On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Mehuman, Biztha, Harbona, Bigtha, Abagtha, Zethar and Karkas— 11 to bring before him Queen Vashti, wearing her royal crown, in order to display her beauty to the people and nobles, for she was lovely to look at. 12 But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.
19 “Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. Also let the king give her royal position to someone else who is better than she.
Look again at verse 11. The implication is that she was summoned to appear wearing nothing but the crown! Yes, sir, naked. No wonder she refused to come.

Monday, June 20, 2016

99 Cent Specials - 4 Books


Big News!

First: As a special thank-you to my loyal subscribers and blog readers I have 50 coupons for free audio books. Just let me know if you want one (first 50 responders) and I’ll send you the codes for Audible.

Second: From now until the Fourth of July, 2016, my most recent books will be marked down to $0.99 on Kindle. Go ahead and share this news with your friends and family. It’s a limited time offer. 
Here they are:

A Soul’s Kiss       http://bookShow.me/B00X6SSJJW
Out of Exodia     http://bookShow.me/B00VQBQP92
The Girl in the Time Machine http://bookShow.me/B01CADY2SK

That’s all for now. Have a great Fourth of July!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Do YOU Know What's in the Book of Nehemiah?


The 16th book of the Bible is Nehemiah, so named because the main character is Nehemiah (his name means “Jehovah comforts”). Fourteen years after Ezra came back to Jerusalem with a group of the returning exiles, Nehemiah brought another bunch back and restored the walls and the civil authority. Originally, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were in one volume. Scholars are divided on the authorship, some say Ezra, some say Nehemiah, some say both. The majority believe Nehemiah was the author.

Read Chapter 1 and notice that it ends with Nehemiah stating that he was cupbearer to the king. This says a lot. He had a position of great trust. He would taste the king’s drink to guard against poisoning. Since anyone could be coerced by having his family threatened, the cupbearer was usually a eunuch.

Friday, June 10, 2016

What's in the Book of Ezra? Part 2


Continuing with the book of Ezra … last week we looked at the first three chapters and got to the part where the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid but there was a setback: opposition. In chapter 4 the enemies of Judah and Benjamin step in. Read 4: 1-5:

 1 When the enemies of Judah and Benjamin heard that the exiles were building a temple for the LORD, the God of Israel, 2 they came to Zerubbabel and to the heads of the families and said, “Let us help you build because, like you, we seek your God and have been sacrificing to him since the time of Esarhaddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
 3 But Zerubbabel, Joshua and the rest of the heads of the families of Israel answered, “You have no part with us in building a temple to our God. We alone will build it for the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus, the king of Persia, commanded us.”
 4 Then the peoples around them set out to discourage the people of Judah and make them afraid to go on building. 5 They bribed officials to work against them and frustrate their plans during the entire reign of Cyrus king of Persia and down to the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Friday, June 3, 2016

What's in the Book of Ezra? Part 1



The fifteenth book of the Old Testament is Ezra and was written by the prophet Ezra, recording the return to Palestine under Zerubbabel of a Jewish remnant that laid the temple foundations (536 BC).

The Scriptures record the return of three groups of exiles to Jerusalem from Babylon. The first group came in 536 BC, the second in 457 BC under Ezra and the third in 444 BC under Nehemiah. The book of Ezra tells of the first two groups. At the time of the writing, for historical perspective, Confucius and Buddha were alive and within a century Sophocles and Socrates would be alive. 

A quick look at chapter 1 tells us some interesting things: first,

Friday, May 27, 2016

A Soul's Kiss - random excerpt


I stand in front of one of those curtains that curve around a hospital bed, hiding the sight but not the sound of a sick or injured patient. I hear a groan. Anxious parental voices cry out Keith’s name, hopeful and soothing, yet guarded. I duck under the curtain and stand at the foot of Keith’s bed. At least I think it’s Keith. It looks like his hair. His face is bandaged and the parts I can see are swollen. His mom and dad are holding his hands and cooing his name. This must be Keith. The clothing he was wearing is in a clear plastic bag under his mom’s chair. Bloody. His leg is held aloft by some contraption.
“Cool, huh?” he says. He stands next to me again, pointing at himself, or rather his body in the bed. “I’ve been in and out of consciousness for hours, popping back home or to school. Even went to church once.”
I want to ask where Michael is, if he’s dying, too, because it certainly looks like Keith doesn’t have much time left in this world. Instead I say, “Hey, you’re barefoot, too.” He smiles and I ask the question that is burning hottest in my head: “How come you knew my address?” As soon as it’s out of my mouth I know it’s not the question I should be asking.
His laugh is sweet, such a contrast to the weeping of his mother. His father, or it must be his stepfather, keeps up a steady stream of soft words in his mom’s ear.
“Tyler’s been talking about you for years. Had me drive him by your house. But he’s shy, you know. He’s just gonna keep his feelings to himself and never even ask you to—”
“Ask me to what?”

Friday, May 20, 2016

THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE - excerpt 4 (last sneak peek)



excerpt:

She was unconscious and only opened her eyes one more time.
And yes, I saw death on her face. Time to move on.
I hoisted her up on the platform where she lay breathing shallowly while I mopped up all the blood from the back door through the hall, up the stairs and into the tower. I even had to take off my jeans and use them to swab the steps.

I wasn’t positive that she was dead, but I was sure that she wasn’t going to feel any more pain. I piled my bloody clothes on top of her chest and stood at the controls in my underwear. The crazy machine blinked the last coordinates in blood red numbers. The date had to be changed. I dialed it back thirty years to 1989. I subtracted ten feet and sent Erica Wills to a junkyard grave directly under the rusty car. And then, with a most iron will, I blocked the whole thing from my memory.

MY MOM PATTED my hand, but my dad sat perfectly still. I looked at him first. Those kind eyes of his held sorrowful regret, as if he himself were responsible for my wrong-doings.
Why wouldn’t the ground open up and swallow me when I needed it to?
I cast my eyes to the floor then over to my mom.
“Nothing we can do about that,” my mom said, switching from patting my hand to grasping my dad’s hand. She looked at him and repeated, “Nothing, Conner. We can’t change a thing. We stick to the plan.”
My parents had a plan? Mom glanced at the wall clock. “Somebody’s going to show up sooner or later. Hurry up, Laken, tell us about the next one.”
She took my hand again and the thought occurred to me that she was checking my pulse and temperature. If they knew about all my travels maybe they knew about the side effects I’d suffered and were watching for more. I felt fine though. Well, hungry enough to eat a bear and a little itchy around my neck and waist.
“Laken?”
“Technically the next one was Ciera,” I said, “but I’ll tell you about Melissa first. That was the younger girl who taunted me along with Erica at Homecoming.”
Telling that story wouldn’t take as long.

Available at most online bookstores

Friday, May 13, 2016

SHELTERED is now Available as an Audio Book


I was blown away by the incredible job the narrator, John Thompson, did with all the voices. He got the characters down (male and female) with just the right expression and spooky page-turning intensity.

You can find SHELTERED as an audio book on Audible.com and on Amazon (it's also in paperback and digital, of course).

Friday, May 6, 2016

THE GIRL IN THE TIME MACHINE - excerpt 3



excerpt:

“Help me.”
Erica was impaled on the bumper of the old vehicle. Part of her left leg was buried in the ground along with her left arm up to her elbow. She looked like someone rising out of bed, but sinking down at the same time. Blood dripped into the dirt.
I choked back bile to keep my hysteria at bay. “Shh, I’ll get you out. Stop screaming.”
I searched around for something to dig with and used a couple of sticks to free her leg and arm from the ground. I pulled on her to help her stand and the shriek that pierced the night was unearthly. A rusty shard of metal broke off and more blood gushed.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.” I really was. She didn’t deserve what was happening to her, not for being mean to me, or for being a bully, or anything. But what could I do? She’d seen the time machine. Even drunk she had to realize she traveled from the lab into the forest, into the ground actually, by incomprehensible means.
I tore off my shirt and tied it around her, hoping to stem the flow of blood. I needed her to walk back. We got halfway back before she dropped to her knees. She’d soaked through my shirt and neither of us could hold enough pressure on the wound.
“I’ll carry you,” I said. I bent down in front of her and told her to climb on my back. She managed to keep her legs around my waist all the way to the lab door, then she gave up. I dropped the flashlight and used both hands to lug her all the way up to the third floor.
Available at most online bookstores