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Shadow of Death: They Met Jesus by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on June 16, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

SHADOW OF DEATH

Novel #7 in THEY MET JESUS series

 

It’s now 6:00 AM and the Temple hierarchy has managed to find liars to testify against Jesus in their middle-of-the-night illegal court.  They can already smell Jesus’ blood. They drag him through the street to Governor Pilot’s palace. Rome controls all executions. Pilate interviews Jesus in private. It doesn’t take Pilate long to realize he is standing before greatness. He decides to save Jesus’ life by having him scourged with iron bits on the tips of the whip. Jesus’ back turns to raw meat.

Barely alive (most people die of scourging), Jesus is presented to the “holy” mob. They still are not satisfied. “Crucify! Crucify!” The death penalty is granted. It takes two chapters in my book to struggle with Jesus on the cross.  This is some of it (which I wrote fifty years ago when I was 17):

The pain. The writhing, seething, shooting pain. How can another moment be like the last? It can’t. But it is.

Uhhhhhh…

On and on, endlessly, each joint screaming, calling out for mercy. Relieve me! Relieve me! But there is no relief.

Uhhhhhh…

Still the pain. The pain that shoots through the body like fire arrows. The pain that tangles up the muscles like fish in a net. The pain that mounts, ebbs, then comes back more horrible than before.

“Aggghhhh.”

“…Oh, my God, my God… Keep me strong. Strong for them.”

“Aggghhhh.”

…On and on, deeper and deeper. Harsh, horrible, hideous, hanging on, never letting go. No relief, no release, no anything but this excruciating pain. Oh the pain…

The spasms. The unrelenting spasms. They’re back. They knot Jesus’ feet and twist them, involuntarily pulling at the rusty stake.

Uhhhaaah!

Jesus, God is nearby. He’s touching your feverish brow and enveloping you in his love. And the angels. They’re preparing for your homecoming. Remember? Remember how it used to be?

The longer Jesus’ weight is carried by the spikes, the more his joints slip out of their proper location. The droning of his pain slips almost secretly from his nerves and little by little sneaks into his bones.

Harder and harder it becomes for Jesus to claim his next breath. Still harder to exhale.

His muscles shattered, his shoulder bones dislocated, part of him dehydrating, part of him bloating.

“Uhhhhcgk.”

The rhythm of indistinct breathing interrupted only by the spasms that gradually creep up his legs.

Ahhhhhhh!

Jesus’ heavy laden heart struggles with his dehydrated broken body to pump thick, heavy, sluggish blood to a resistant, barely living being.

“I…uhhhhcgk…thirst,” he whispers.

One last request. It is time to will himself to die.

Can they refuse? No! Look! Someone has had mercy on you, Son of God! He’s taking a sponge dipped in vinegar, and now…and now…he is offering it to you, thirsty Savior. A drink.

With the weariness of dying, Jesus takes the vinegar and it momentarily helps the nausea.

His tormented swollen heart labors slower and slower.

Gradually and increasingly surrounded by a contemptible, mocking serum, his heart strains even harder as it struggles to pump just a few more drops of blood.

Slower it pumps, and slower…

…Everything is getting so dim, so hazy, so blurry…

Where is everything going?

Around and around. Spinning, spinning, back, farther and farther, faster, faster, faster!

He groans.

“It…uhhhhcgk…is…uhhhhcgk…finished…”

Finished. Your work all completed. Everything as you knew it would be. And now, oh Lamb of God, die! The sacrifice is completed. But for your sins, Son of God? No, of course not. You have none. You’ve been perfect, unselfish one, from your human birth, the whole way. All of this has been for the others.

…Everything is drifting so far away…

So far away…

So far away.

So lonely…

No one here…

So hazy…All alone…

Forsaken…

Desolate…

…Something drawing… something… something drawing you to it. What is it? Where is it coming from?

Look up! But the pain—the cramping relentless pain.

Merciless.

Torturing to the very end.

But look up.

Look up!

Quick!

Don’t you see?

He calls out.

“Father!”

Yes, he’s coming for you!

“Father…uhhhhcgk… I know…uhhhhcgk…you’re there.

My spirit…uhhhhcgk…it’s yours!”

Just a little more now!

Just a little closer…

Jesus’ head lifts up in all the defiance of death. His body jerks and writhes, his knotted muscles strain.

Just a little closer now…

His heart swells…

Trembles…

Bursts.

And with a loud piercing cry that shakes the foundations of the earth, Jesus sends his liberated spirit rushing at last to the outstretched arms of God.

OH, MY SON!  MY SON!

(Later in this volume is his resurrection and appearances to his startled friends.)

Katheryn Haddad was born in the cold north, but now lives in Arizona where she does not have to shovel sunshine. She enjoys hot weather, palm trees and cacti in her yard, and a computer with the letters worn off.
With a bachelor’s degree in English, Bible and social science from Harding University and part of a master’s degree in Bible, including Greek, from the Harding Graduate School of Theology, she also has a master’s degree in management and human relations from Abilene University.
Her newspaper column appeared for several years in newspapers in Texas and North Carolina ~ Little Known Facts About the Bible ~ and she has written for numerous Christian publications.
Currently she teaches English over the internet every morning, using the Bible as a text book. Most of her students are Muslims. She has taught some 6000 thus far, and has former students, now Christians, in hiding in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, and Palestine. “They are my heroes” she declares.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers of the West, and is also an energetic public speaker who can touch the heart of audiences.

Website: http://inspirationsbykatheryn.com

Purchase SHADOW of DEATH HERE

 

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Reading News You Can Use

Posted by Julie on June 13, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

There’s a lot going on with ENGAGED releasing this month. I thought I’d share an update with reading news you can use!

  • Patti Shene hosted me last week and time is running out on the giveaway opportunity to receive a copy of ENGAGED. Learn more HERE.

 

  • Sarah Ruut interviewed me yesterday and there’s a giveaway opportunity for ENGAGED as well. Check it out HERE!

 

  • ENGAGED is available for eReader pre-order on Amazon. Don’t have a Kindle? No worries. Amazon has a free Kindle reading app for your electronic device.

 

  • The print version will be out later this month.

 

Reading News You Can Use

About ENGAGED:

Trish Maxwell’s back in Speculator Falls with egg on her face and a lot of apologies to make. She left the mountain town for her dream job in New York City, only to come back unemployed. With no prospects, she works at her mom’s department store and makes amends as she finds a new passion creating window displays for Adirondack businesses. She works hard and tries to convince the people of Speculator Falls she’s changed for the better.

As Trish pitches in with community events, she meets paramedic Wayne Peterson, the one man who doesn’t seem to judge her. She even makes friends with Jenna Regan, who helps Trish when people demand to know what’s next in Trish’s life. Living in New York City has been her goal, but the more she’s around Wayne and the Adirondack area, the more she’s drawn to revising her plans. Just when Trish thinks the plan for her life’s coming together, a second chance comes her way that could give her every career goal she’s ever wanted, but threaten to tear her and Wayne apart. Can Trish surrender fears about her future and discover God’s plan for her?

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Engaged #Giveaway Opportunity!

Posted by Julie on June 3, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

It’s been quiet in this corner for a lot of reasons.

  • End of school year madness. Why does it surprise me every year?
  • Travel
  • Loss of a dear, dear friend
  • Tom’s travel schedule
  • Co leading a small group study with Tom
  • Oh, and I’m releasing ENGAGED this month!

Engaged #Giveaway Opportunity!

ENGAGED is the third book in the Surrendering Time Series. ENTRUSTED was about surrendering the present. ENTANGLED was about surrendering the past. ENGAGED? You guessed it. Surrendering the future.

I loved ENTRUSTED, but the process was a challenge because it was new and I was full of doubt. I did not love ENTANGLED. The story has been a favorite with readers, but I couldn’t relate to Carla, so it made the writing process difficult. I struggled more with doubt. The second book syndrome is real.

ENGAGED has been fun to write. It brings back some humor and sass that I had in ENTRUSTED and carries a theme I know too well. Surrendering your dreams for God’s plans.

I’ll share more as time is closer, but for now, there is a chance for one US winner to win a signed copy of ENGAGED.

Here’s how:

Visit Patti’s Porch and leave a comment on the post. Of course, you need to read the post. It’s a good story, and all true. I’ll never forget how that all came together. Only God. 

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If you aren’t a newsletter subscriber, now is the time! I am working this weekend on making ENTRUSTED a free gift to newsletter subscribers as a celebration of ENGAGED. Subscribe HERE!

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CD REVIEW: Out of the Dark by Mandisa #GIVEAWAY

Posted by Julie on May 21, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Out of the Dark by Mandisa

Mandisa wrote her song “Overcomer” in 2013 to encourage her close friend Kisha, who was battling breast cancer. Mandisa really believed and prayed that God was going to heal her, but when Kisha went to be with Jesus in 2014, Mandisa’s foundation was shaken in a way she never expected. She fell into a deep pit of depression for close to 3 years, shutting out her friends, family and the rest of the world. Mandisa believes if she had kept going down that road she was on, she would not be here today… but God stepped in and lifted her out of that pit by using her close friends to communicate their love for her and God’s love for her. This album is Mandisa’s way of letting her fans into her story – it’s called ‘Out Of The Dark’ because that is exactly where God lifted her out of!
You can watch her talk openly about this on Good Morning America last week here: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/mandisa-opens-overcoming-depression-47020463

The first track on Mandisa’s newest CD, OUT OF THE DARK, is a voicemail collage, and the messages set the tone for the journey Mandisa has been on since her megahit, “Overcomer.” By her own admission, the loss of a dear friend, her inspiration for the song, “Overcomer,” took her to a place so dark she isolated herself. Refused visits and calls. Re gained all the weight she had lost. Fought suicidal thoughts. With God’s love and guidance, Mandisa is back and her music is stronger for it.

Right from “I’m Still Here,” there’s something in her voice that conveys the strength in Him she’s gaining from her depression and grief. I don’t know how to explain it, a literal maturity that emanates, and I’m not saying it was something lacking in her before. There’s just something relatable in her words and voice that sends the message she’s not the same as she was. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t. But God’s there.

This CD is perfect timing and for anyone fighting grief or questioning God, OUT OF THE DARK is a must listen. There are reflective songs and upbeat ones. Each song has a message, and by the end I realized as Mandisa emerges from the dark, she is now the overcomer.

This was an encouragement and blessing to listen to, and I highly recommend it.

YOU have a chance to win a copy! Leave a comment on this post or on social media on why you would like this CD and I will choose ONE US winner. Please leave a way for me to contact you when you leave a comment or I will choose an alternate.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Story Behind The Album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df27myDpm1c

Acoustic Video for “Unfinished”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQFpXcvFI0A

To purchase “OUT OF THE DARK,” CLICK HERE.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Good Book by Deron Spoo

Posted by Julie on May 19, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

The Good Book by Deron Spoo

The Good Book offers a user-friendly guide to the Bible’s biggest ideas. A chapter from the Bible accompanies each chapter of the book, which helps readers understand the context and content of the Scripture passages in a way that can open the whole Bible.
 
Designed as a forty-day journey through forty key chapters of the Bible, The Good Book will appeal to those who already love and read the Bible regularly as well as to those who are just beginning their Christian journey.
 
The Good Book:

  • is a great evangelism tool for explaining the major themes of Scripture to those who want to know more about God, Jesus, and the core beliefs of Christianity;
  • gives new believers an overview of the Bible and lays a framework to help them understand Scripture passages;
  • helps longtime Christians rediscover the basic themes of Scripture and experience these truths in a new way; and
  • encourages Scriptural literacy as it pushes readers to read both one chapter of the book and one chapter of the Bible each day for forty days.
The Good Book is great for individuals, and it can also be used by small groups in an eight-week church-wide program or a forty-week journey that focuses on one Bible chapter each week. The Good Book will help people understand and live by the transformative truths of the Bible.
THE GOOD BOOK by Deron Spoo is a 40 day journey that can help you know the Bible if it is new for you, or, learn deeper truths and grow closer to God. There is a Bible story followed by contemporary explanations and examples that help understand the Bible better. I loved this book. I thought going in it might be geared more for someone who is new to the Bible and that I might “know” everything. I loved the way the author gave further commentary and information, especially the history and personal examples.
There were things that enhanced each story without taking away the holiness of the Bible or its truths. One example that I still remember weeks after finishing is about integrity. The story was about the Statue of Liberty. Although I knew it was made in France and shipped over, I never thought about when it was assembled, planes weren’t around. When they were, pilots noted when they flew over the Statue that the top of the statue was just as ornate as any other part that was visible to people from the beginning. What an example of integrity. That really stood out to me.
That’s just one tidbit filled in a book that isn’t just a good book, it’s a great one. Check it out today!
I received THE GOOD BOOK from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The thoughts expressed are my own.

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Book Review: Love Letters from God by Glenys Nellist

Posted by Julie on May 13, 2017 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Esther, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

This is a colorful book for girls ages 4-8 that features Bible stories that will help them learn about the Bible, important women who are part of “His-Story,” and draw closer to God. The stories are more for the elementary age, but it makes for a good nighttime routine where a parent could read to the girl.

The illustrations are colorful and feminine, very attractive for a little girl. What sets  the book apart is each story has an envelope flap that the girl can open. It is a letter that can be addressed to the reader, and it is an encouragement from God. Just reading it for myself was a special experience. I could see where a little girl would see her name (if you filled it in ahead of time) and be excited to see what God has to say to her.

I think this is a great book for any girl’s library. If they are the younger side, they will appreciate being read to and looking at the pictures. For the older girls, the stories they can read themselves and the letters from God make this is a book they won’t forget.

I definitely recommend LOVE LETTERS FROM GOD.

Purchase HERE

I received this book from the publisher and the review is my own honest opinion.



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