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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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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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Hearts Afire: They Met Jesus by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on April 14, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

HEARTS AFIRE

Novel #3 of “They Met Jesus”

 

Things begin to heat up in book three.  Jesus recruits Simon the feared radical, Matthew Levi the hated tax collector, and Judas the admired banker. Does Jesus know what he is getting into with these three?

His miracles get more astounding. He communicates with demons dwelling in otherwise holy people. In fact, he takes control of the demons in the synagogue where those possessed continue to attend in hopes of fighting the demons. What better place could they go?

Then there are the lepers. The reader gets to know one of them intimately as he his face begins to have leprous bumps on it and he tries to pretend they are not there so he can continue his lucrative construction business.  Then the day comes he must do it, for he cannot hide or deny it any longer. He leaves his house and wife for the last time, wraps a scarf around his face, and for the first time cries out that which he had dreaded: “Unclean. Unclean.” How would you feel at a time like this?

Jesus turns lives upside down and right side up again: The demon possessed, lepers, the paralyzed.

Then he chooses his twelve ambassadors, his twelve apostles, and what a mess.  How in the world is he going to be able to control them so that they get along?  Matthew works for the foreign Roman government, and Simon attacks them. Peter talks all the time while Thaddeus is quiet. John tries to stop outsiders while Andrew welcomes outsiders. James wants to bring fire down on his enemies, while Thomas declares they should die with Jesus. Philip is a fanatic for facts, while Nathaniel knew Jesus was the Son of God the moment he met him. James the Less cares nothing for money while Judas loves money.

But they all do their part to help and protect Jesus when thousands rush to be touched by him. They divide up and march three on each side, and three front and back as a barrier so he can move more freely.

By now he is so popular, the chief priests and elders at the temple fear the people will make him king and they will lose their jobs. Jesus must be stopped. So, by the end of his first year of public ministry, his life is in danger. It will take them two years to kill Jesus. They will plot and twist things around and verbally attack and lie and spit and growl. They are determined to win.

In the meantime, Jesus goes out, defying them again. He attends the funeral of a boy and brings him back to life. Over and over he outsmarts his enemies. They will not be allowed to kill him until he lets them.

Come. Read book three and get caught up in the political and religious turmoil Jesus is creating among everyone who meets Jesus.

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 Hearts Afire HERE

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Star Song: They Met Jesus by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on March 17, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

 

STAR SONG

Novel #1 of THEY MET JESUS

 

Star Song is the Christmas story, the first of eight lyrical novels on the life of Christ through the eyes of one hundred people who met and struggled with him.

What is a lyrical novel? It is one that is written to teach lessons.  To Kill a Mockingbird is a lyrical novel. So are Moby Dick and Grapes of Wrath.  A lyrical novel is about a person or persons with inner struggles.

In order to make these people come to life for you, I wrote them in present tense. It allows you to crawl inside the skin of the characters. I even give you, the reader, a chance to talk to the characters. When the angel appears to Mary, the reader chimes in and says, “Come on, Mary. You can do this. You believed part of what the angel said. Believe the rest. You can do this, Mary. Try. Really try.”

Star Song is set in Palestine dominated by cruel King Herod who did not hesitate to kill family members to protect his throne. Amidst national turmoil, the Prince of Peace is born, and everyone involved in his birth has a personal struggle of their own: “Is he really the Son of God? If so, how do I tell other people who probably won’t believe and will turn on me instead?”

Mary is visited by an angel who announces she’s going to be the unwed mother of God’s Son.  How long does it take him to convince her?

Elizabeth goes into seclusion when she becomes pregnant in her old age.  Will her shyness get in the way of raising a future prophet, especially with a husband who cannot talk?

Joseph’s betrayal by Mary pierces his heart like nails. Can he make it through the night without cutting up every board in his workshop the way his dreams have been cut up?

Joseph struggles with those who taunt him for marrying a woman already pregnant, and his inability to even find a bed for Mary and her soon-coming baby in a strange city.

The Shepherds are dirty, smelly, and the dregs of society, but angels appear to them instead of holy people worshiping in the temple at Jerusalem. Will they even know how to act around baby Jesus?

Anna and Simeon live through decades of Roman slaughters right there in the temple, always looking for the Deliverer.  When old and tired, will their faith hold out?

The Wise Men in far-off Persia study a never-before-seen star.  Will the holy books of their gods help them find its meaning before the emperor throws them into the lions’ den?

The Wise Men finally decide the star is a sign of a god being born in the west.  They are appointed ambassadors to pay homage.  Will they only attract the attention of the newborn’s enemies?

Zechariah has a son born in his old age.  Will he be able to break little John’s (the Baptist’s) habit of taking after his shy and reclusive mother?

King Archelaus manages to be more savage than the Jews’ cruelest king, his father Herod. The year Jesus is 11, he kills thousands in the temple.  Will the temple ever be safe?

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 Star Song HERE

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Lazarus: The Samaritan by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on March 3, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

LAZARUS: THE SAMARITAN

Lazarus lives a complicated life. He is a Samaritan who married a Jewess.  He is estranged from his brothers because their father willed him his prize Arabian steed. He supports himself as a road worker in his youth when his Arabian meets his future wife’s delicate Egyptian horse. Her brother hates him and her snobbish mother constantly insults him.

Her brother enslaves him in a copper mine down at the top of the Red Sea near where southern Israel and Arabia meet.  Eventually through a mess of twists and turns, he becomes a copper mine owner and gets rich.

His sister is the “Woman at the Well” Jesus talked to. Having five husbands does not mean she was a wonton woman. In the story, all die of accidents (one of them on the road to Jericho) or diseases. By the time she meets Jesus, she decides to send her live-in on his way. Jesus stays three days in the city, she introduces him to her brother and their family, and they are baptized in the reflecting pool of the estate his wife inherited.

Zarus, as he is called in the book, lives through forty of Jesus’ parables. These parables come alive as his mine workers beat a servant to death to take over the mine, his youngest son grows up, gets his inheritance, and goes to China where he nearly starves to death. His daughter grows up and marries a sea captain, and he is so late to the wedding that five of her ten virgin maidens run out of oil waiting for him on the docks.

His father, original owner of the mine has great plans and builds bigger warehouses for the increased copper production, but dies that night. Lazarus’ widowed mother-in-law loses the family estate, and she appeals to an evil judge and pesters him to death until he finally relents and gets her estate back for her. His sister’s husband is robbed and beaten on the road to Jericho and left for dead until Lazarus, “The Good Samaritan” sees him and takes him into the city. There is a mine collapse, and ninety-nine workers survive, but Lazarus goes into the dangerous mine to see out the one.

My readers love trying to guess which parable he is living through as they read each chapter. (At the end of each chapter I quote the actual parable in italics.)

This is the story of rags to riches and back to rags again. It is the story of a strange courtship, a marriage with three children and ongoing romance of husband and wife, betrayals, treacheries, celebrations, overcoming—everything that Jesus put into his amazing parables.

Read this book to be amazed at the new insights you gain by going through life with Lazarus: The Samaritan.

This, by the way, is the first book in the historical novel series: INTREPID MEN OF GOD. This series has remained in the top ten in their category on Amazon since their beginning last year. One woman contacted me and said, “I want to order six more copies and send them to my family members.”

 

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 Lazarus the Samaritan HERE



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