Thursday, August 29, 2013

Part 2 Knowing Him

Part 2

In Part 1, I stated that the difference between the characters Helel and Michael, is that Michael knew God as Abba, exemplifying a child-parent relationship. I examined how Helel Ben Shachar (Lucifer) could  turn against his Creator. Relationship means everything to God. He wants us to know Him just as He knows us. Being known as an endearing Parent is what God desires first and foremost. (Gal. 4:6)

One of the first consequences of sin was the loss of intimate relationship between Creator and the created. Adam hid when God came to the garden due to his nakedness.  On this side of the Cross, God wants us to run to his Throne of Grace, crying "Abba, Father!" in our “nakedness”. (Hebrews 4:6)

Do you know the story of the prodigal son? My husband, Doug, encouraged me to look at the relationship between the “good” elder brother and the father. I did. 

So he... said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time;...and you killed the fatted calf for him.’...“And he said to him, ‘Son...'" Luke 15:29-31

My character Helel would have responded this way. The elder son questioned his father’s decision to kill the fatted calf for his reprobate younger brother. This older brother focused on his performance. His father was not concerned about performance…if he had been, he would not initiated a big celebration and gathered friends, who, due to the Mosaic law, also would have been performance oriented. This father was focused on relationship. Through a meal for the younger and the direct address to the elder, this dad was reminding these young men about their sonship. The money was gone. His son had been immoral. This dad did not even mention his son's sinfulness. Reminding him about his sonship was what mattered to him.

Doug often says this story is more about the father than the son. We’ll discuss that in the last part of this series. See ya next time!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

And God is...? Part 1 of Knowing Him

Who do you say that I Am?
In the bible study that inspired this book, Before The Beginning, we had to “selah” the relationship between Lucifer and God. Selah means to pause and ponder. The character named Helel Ben Shachar represents Lucifer. Abba means Father. The reason why I chose to call God, Abba, in the context of the plot, is explained below.

One day we will see God face to face. I see God the Father putting His hands on our cheeks and holding our faces right in front of His. In this place of intimacy it is easy to worship Him. Worship means “to kiss towards”. In my book, Helel saw Abba face to face, yet stopped worshiping Him.

1 Cor. 13:12b says, “but then I shall know just as I also am known”. This phrase made me pause, “I know God knows me, but how does God want to be known by me?” This question motivated me to try to focus on Abba when writing the book. I had to ponder the possibility that although Lucifer saw God face to face, he did not know God in the way that God wanted to be known.

In the book, Helel rebelled because although he was “perfect in beauty and full of wisdom”, he was denied the status of deity. When Abba affirmed him as a son, Helel rejected His words. Could it be that the real Lucifer knew God as Creator, but did not know him as Abba, which evokes a sense of endearment. Quite possibly. The relationship of a father to a son is more powerful than the relationship between a master and a servant. Lucifer may never have related to God as a father, even though God treated him as a son. I’ll restate this. Lucifer may not have known God as a father, as he was known to God, as a son.  

Have you known Christians who have lost their trust in God? Or seem joyless? I contend that one reason may be this: they were introduced to God as only Creator and Master and learned that to fear God means to be afraid of Him. Fear paralyzes. Jesus came to introduce us to the One He calls Abba. He wanted us to know our Creator as a Father, an intimate and loving parental figure, first and foremost. Lucifer saw God face to face and he fell. In my book, Michael saw God face to face and he remained loyal. Michael knew God in the way that God wanted to be known first: Abba, Dearest Daddy.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eternal Joy

When we are known, we are exuberant.
When we are secure, we are at peace.
When we choose to dance, dismay dissipates.
When we choose to sing, all heaven listens.

We were created to vibrate with the joy of our Creator.

Taken captive by the curse of iniquity,
the offer of rescue knocks on our prison door.
A life of laughter is possible to those that choose His way.

Like a young girl who twirls with glee,
Like a little boy satisfied, given his every need.
Joy abounds to those who know Him
and by Him, are known most intimately.

The next blog will be a 3-part series on knowing Him and being known by Him.  This is a theme in my book.  Thanks for visiting today.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Glimpse

What catches your eye? What beckons your gaze? I could look at a sunset for hours. A rainbow is one of the most incredible visual promises that life offers.  Each of us defines beauty differently but all of us would say, that whatever object we call 'beautiful' is worthy of our gaze.  In Before The Beginning, Helel removes his gaze from the Most Beautiful One and puts it on his own dazzling, gem-laden spirit-body.  The Most Beautiful One even calls Helel "perfect in beauty" in Ezekiel 28:13.

Daily, we are greeted with beautiful scenes and beautiful man-made objects that are worthy of at least a moment's notice on our part. But for some in this world, these objects pale in comparison to the glimpse of the Creator, the Most Beautiful One. I had my first glimpse when I was five. I was looking at a book in one of the bedrooms at my grandmother's house in Ohio. One page featured a man hanging from a cross. In my five year old mind's eye, I saw a cross standing up in front of me, and eyes looking down at me, and I heard in my five year old ear, the words "This is for you".  I have never forgotten that glimpse.  The Cross and the man hanging from it, looking down at me, was a picture of beauty.  The full realization of that beautiful sacrifice would not peak until I was sixteen, but nevertheless, when I was five years old, my heart was captured by a glimpse.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The book's beginnings...

All was cozy and serene, one cool March night in 2012 as five of us sat on our L-shaped sofa in the great room.  My husband Doug had begun a family bible study to help our teens learn how to thoroughly unpack the treasure of the Holy Scriptures.  This night, however, we would delve into a tangent that would birth the idea for my first published book.

The scripture that started it was, 1 Peter 1:12.  It reads It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look. (NASV)

"....things into which angels long to look ."  Wow!  We had to take a "selah" moment.  What are these things? Enter the tangent.  The implication of this verse brought out our inner detective.  After we poured through other verses, we found ourselves at Ezekiel 28.  The teens were amazed that this verse recorded God's response to Lucifer's demise.  "When did this happen?" was the next question.  My husband and I told them about the Gap Theory and my mind began to wonder.  Gap Theory or not, clearly Ezekiel 28 referred to a time before the beginning as we knew it.

I love words.  I love the power of words and I try to respect that power and use it wisely.  Words form phrases and for me, phrases are like the primary colors.  You can take a phrase, mix up the word order, and get a new phrase that gives a new thought, one with hues of the first.  Couples learn early in their relationship that the same phrase can mean two different things.

The biggest challenge in writing, Before The Beginning, was to give definition to a word-less concept.  Let me explain.  Rebellion, fear, mischief, anger, insubordination were new concepts in heaven.  Even my character Helel Ben Shachar, which is Hebrew for Lucifer, had no words to name what he was feeling until God gave the feeling a name.  I wanted to stay true to the dilemma that Helel and the tenants (angels) must have dealt with.

The second biggest challenge was to stay true to the nature of God as revealed in the Bible and consider what the Father's initial response would have been.  I knew, as a human being trying to portray the God of the universe, that I was probably opening a can of worms that as an author, I would have to suck up and deal with.

Despite the challenges, writing fantasy fiction and trying to stay true to the Bible has been fun.  I love action movies and writing an action scene, although daunting, was exciting.  So I hope you'll get the opportunity to read the book and have some of your own "selah" moments.  C'mon back and share them with me.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Book Release!

Here's the link to my newly released book, Before The Beginning!  Woo Hoo!  (Coming soon on BN Nook too!)