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Joseph: The Other Father by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on January 19, 2017 in Julie Arduini |

JOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER

Jesus grew up in a violent world. Just how violent was it? The Romans and Zealots were constantly having skirmishes along the highways and in towns. Sometimes their own king or government attacked the people by the thousands, often at the annual Jewish feasts held in Jerusalem three times a year, such as when Jesus was eleven years old.

Sometimes the violence came from outside. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, was in charge of the Province of Galilee where Jesus lived most of his life, and he had a habit of making people made. When Jesus was ten, Herod made the King of Arabia mad. So he joined forces with the legate of Syria and they invaded Galilee with 100,000 soldiers.

Nazareth was just three miles from Sepphoris where Herod’s palace was. Where were 100,000 soldiers supposed to camp while bulwarks and trenches and other such things used in war were made? Surely Joseph and the other fathers of Nazareth knew they had to defend their families against soldiers molesting and even killing Nazarenes so they could take over their houses. Joseph surely barricaded his family in and nailed the front gate closed, and put barriers up on the roof so the soldiers couldn’t climb ladders to get to them.

In addition to all this, there were the hazards of the job of carpentry. Joseph surely took Jesus with him up into the hills to chop down trees. There were bears in those hills.

Nazareth was just a small unwalled village of five hundred people then. Joseph could not support a family in such a small village. He surely did a lot of work in Sepphoris three miles away. It was rebuilt after it was burned down and a lot of carpentry was required then. Later, Tiberius over on Lake Galilee was built. Also, Bethsaida was turned into a walled city at that time and many government buildings added.  Travel was always dangerous. Working in close areas where there was a lot of construction work going on was dangerous.

Joseph

Through it all, Joseph had his assignment: Protect the Son of God. What went through his mind day after day through those twenty-nine years before Jesus began his public ministry?

How many times did Joseph jump in front of little-boy Jesus because something falling would kill him, but only injure Joseph?  And the teasing in town. People could count. They knew Mary was pregnant when Joseph married her. What names did they call Mary? What names did they call Jesus? And when Jesus was twelve and they couldn’t find him for three days: As they frantically searched street after street, knocking on doors and asking, “Have you seen our little boy? He goes by the name of Jesus and he’s such-and-such tall.”  And going through the markets and down alleys and calling out, “Jesus! Jesus! Where are you?”

What responsibility. I cannot imagine taking it on. Can you?

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 JOSEPH: The Other Father HERE

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MICHEL: The Fourth Wise Man by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

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

MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISE MAN

 

It is January. What happens after Christmas? What happened after the original Christmas? What brought the wise men from the East in the first place? What did they do after they left Bethlehem and returned home?

We take too much for granted. We just assume there were three wise men (magi) because there were three gifts. Perhaps ten magi went together, pooled their funds, and financed one gift.

We also take for granted that the wise men saw the “Star of Bethlehem” and automatically knew the divine king of the Jews had been born and the needed to rush right over to “the little town” so they could be in the same scene as the shepherds.

Much of my book, Michel: The Fourth Wise Man, is about the magi’s search for the meaning of the star. As pagans, they had always believed the birth of a star meant the birth of a god, and that is all they had to go on.

But there is a side issue in this retelling.  In the book, Michel, a Jewish descendant of Daniel whose ancestors elected not to uproot and return to Jerusalem, lives among pagans. He wants desperately to convert them to the one true God. He wants desperately for God to walk the earth again as he had done with Adam and Eve.

He lives in one of the capital cities of Parthia which is in today’ Iraq, just south of Baghdad. The Bible says the Garden of Eden was located where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers meet.  Iraq’s slogan even today is “Land of the Two Rivers”.

Michel has such a missionary’s heart that he gives up everything to buy the desolate land where the Garden of Eden had been thousands of years earlier and replant it so God will walk the earth again and draw pagans to him. He loses his home, his father, his wife—everything—to buy it.

He sees the “Star of Bethlehem” as an interruption to his life’s most important work. After a year, the other magi agree to investigate the Jewish scriptures and find the meaning of the star there. They go to Bethlehem, see Jesus, now a nearly two-year-old toddler.

Did you ever wonder what the wise men did after they left Bethlehem and returned to “the East”? 

For one thing, Michel gets out in the desert on the way home and goes into a meltdown. He suddenly realizes God is already walking the earth again through young Jesus.  He has lost his fortune and his family to buy the site of the Garden of Eden.  I am not going to tell you what happens next, because it would be telling you my surprise ending.

But I hope I have told you enough so that you realize perhaps there was more—a lot more—to the story of the wise men than we normally think about. Each wise man had a life. Each wise man had a before-and-after story. This is Michel’s.

 

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 MICHEL: The Fourth Wiseman HERE

A NOTE FROM KATHERYN MADDOX HADDAD

Whoever, makes a comment on my blog gets a free 2017 scripture calendar.  By email you can photocopy as many copies as you want to share with your congregation and family, or one if by print mailed to your home.

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Amber Schamel: How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella

Posted by Julie on December 27, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

How Veggie Tales Inspired a Biblical Novella

It was a summer evening, I was in the kitchen making dinner while my little siblings (for some odd reason) were watching The Toy That Saved Christmas, a Veggie-Tales movie. My publisher had asked me to write a Christmas story and I was deep in thought wondering what I should write when I suddenly tuned in to what was playing on the screen.

Grandpa George was reading a scripture to Bob, Larry and Buzz-saw Louie. “And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him in baby clothes and laid him in a manger.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute, the passage didn’t say baby clothes. In the King James it says swaddling clothes. That got me to thinking, what exactly are swaddling clothes? Are they just baby clothes? Or is there another meaning to them?

I looked up the passage in Luke chapter two and noted that it was mentioned not only once, but twice that Mary wrapped her first-born son in swaddling clothes. So I began my research.

I found out that swaddling clothes did not necessarily mean that Mary and Joseph were poor or destitute. Swaddling clothes were used by people of all classes to wrap a newborn in hopes that it would help their limbs grow straight, as well as calm the babe. But if swaddling clothes were so common during that era, why was it specifically mentioned as a sign to the shepherds of who the Messiah would be? So I searched some more.

Another source said that in the eastern countries they would use a cloth to put between the yoke of an ox, and the ox’s shoulders. When Mary and Joseph were in the barn, they had nothing else to use, so they used this ox’s cloth that was translated as swaddling cloth to wrap the Messiah that would carry the yoke of our sin and bondage.

Many hours and websites later, I emerged armed with a ton of information, four different theories, and a story forming inside my head. So, I guess you could say that my new book The Swaddling Clothes was inspired by a Veggie Tales movie.

The things that inspire people, or give them an idea is very interesting to me.

What are some odd things that have given you an idea or inspiration?

 

 The Swaddling Clothes Synopsis:

Through the ages, many stories have been told about Mary, Joseph and the birth of the Messiah. Stories of shepherds and sheep, kings, angels, and stables. But there is one story that has never been told. One story that has remained hidden in the fabric of time. The story of The Swaddling Clothes.

Mentioned not once, but several times in the Scriptural text, what is the significance of these special cloths? And how did they make their way into a stable in Bethlehem? From the author that brought you the Days of Messiah series comes a whole new adventure critics are calling “intriguing…thought provoking… a fresh twist on an age old story.”

“I get tired of Bible stories sometimes, but The Swaddling Clothes brings the story to life.”

“Heartwarming…truly inspired. A story you will want to read again and again. Rich details and a suspenseful plot will keep you reading while giving you a glimpse of God’s wonderful power and His amazing love.”

Purchase Swaddling Clothes HERE

 

Author Bio:

 

Amber Schamel, author

Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”.  She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at www.AmberSchamel.com/ and download a FREE story by subscribing to her Newsletter!

 

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Katheryn Maddox Haddad: Joseph: The Other Father

Posted by Julie on December 20, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Joseph

Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father who raised him, had to be a lot of things: Spiritual, quick minded, strong physically, fearless.

Can you imagine taking on that assignment? I wonder if God chose Mary partly because of who she was betrothed to.

Jesus was born into a violent world. When He was probably about a year and a half old, the king of the land sent his soldiers out to kill him. Because I do not like to write the predictable, but to stretch the reader’s mind, I had them escape the shortest route, that being the Mediterranean Sea. Joseph leads Mary and the toddler across the desert in a run, and he does not stop until they arrive.

Of course, Herod’s soldiers are smart and would have spread out in all directions to find them. Just as Joseph gets them to the harbor and finds a ship bound for Egypt, here come Herod’s soldiers. He shoves payment into the ship officer’s hand, lifts his wife and child on board and personally pulls up the anchor so they can make a quick getaway.

The captain is dumbfounded at his brashness until they see Herod’s soldiers climb off their horses and lunge at the ship, trying to board it, just as it gets a hand-breadth too far for them to reach. Some fall into the water while others get out their bows and shoot arrows at the ship.

Once they are out of range, the ship captain just smiles and says, “Looks like that King Herod is after you. Well, any enemy of ole Herod is a friend of mine.”

Another surprise in my book is that I do not have them settle in Alexandria where everyone speculates they went because of the large Jewish population there. For crying out loud! There were large Jewish populations all over Egypt!

Joseph cashes in one of the gifts the magi had given them back in Bethlehem and they get on board a river boat to head down the Nile to find a place to settle. They go through many adventures, but eventually end up in southern Egypt at Thebes, the reason of which you will have to discover by reading the book. Thebes in the first century is almost a ghost town, but the palace and main temples still stand. That’s where Joseph settles them. They move into the old crumbling palace and more adventures follow.

Time passes and they eventually end up in Nazareth. Joseph could hardly have made a living there since archaeologists tell us it was a village of only about five hundred people. But never fear: Sepphoris is only three miles away—the capital city of the Galilee Province where one of Herod’s sons—Antipas—has his palace.

Young Antipas manages to get the Syrians and Arabians so mad at him (according to Josephus), they arrive with one hundred thousand soldiers to attack and burn the city. Remember, little Nazareth is only three miles away. These guys need a place to sleep at night while the trenches are dug and mounds of dirt piled up at the walls for their attack.

Joseph knows he has to protect his family against the soldiers who will put up tents in the valley between Nazareth and Sepphoris, but some will not bother with tents and crash into unwalled Nazareth, kill home owners, and move in. Mary runs to the market to get as much food as she can. Joseph uses his stockpile of wood to create a high wall on their roof so the soldiers cannot get to then that way. Once Mary is back, he nails their gate closed and puts his cart and other heavy things there so it cannot be crashed through.

These are just two situations of many in my book on what Joseph must have gone through in protecting the child Jesus as he grew up. I promise you many more tense moments throughout the book as now and then when things sometimes look hopeless, Joseph calls out, “Father God! Help me protect our Son!”

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 JOSEPH: THE OTHER FATHER HERE

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Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

Posted by Julie on December 15, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

From Julie:

This is an excerpt from Katheryn Maddox Haddad’s Star Song, Book 1 of her 8-book series “THEY MET JESUS”. Look for places where you can “talk” to the characters.

 

Star Song by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

“Mary…” Gabriel grows more serious. “Mary, you are a very favored lady, for the Lord is with you and has decided to wonderfully bless you in a special way.”

Silence. What is he talking about?

He continues.

“Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy.”

“Well, very soon now I will be married. But a boy? How can you know that?” she responds, momentarily forgetting her fear.

Gabriel reassures her. “Remember, Mary, I’m an angel. God has told me everything. Furthermore, you are to call your baby Jesus.”

“Jesus? But my husband will be Joseph. I plan to name my first son Joseph.”

Gabriel continues as though she has not responded. “He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God.”

The words grab hold of her heart and will not let go. Son of God…of God…of God…

Mary’s mouth opens, but in speechlessness. She does not understand.

Oh, Mary. Listen to what he says. Really and truly listen.

The angel continues. “He shall govern this nation forever; his kingship shall never end!”

His words echo through her mind and are trapped there in a confused abyss. She sits on a bench by the wall, her trembling hands grasping its edges.

“The child will not belong to Joseph. You will become pregnant miraculously before you are married. Remember the prophet Isaiah saying a virgin will bear the Son of God?”

Indeed, Mary does remember. Her father had been talking about it just the day before.

Gabriel continues. “And when I said his nation would never end, I was quoting from the prophet Daniel. Daniel even predicted exactly when he would be born. His birth year, Mary, is next year. Do you have a scripture scroll? I will show you.”

Mary, he’s offering you proof now. He’s helping you believe.

He quotes from Daniel.  “Pay attention! It will be 49 years—that’s seven weeks’ times seven days in a week—plus 434 years from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until the crowned One comes!’”

“That’s a total of 483 years,” he explains. “Mary, it has been 452 years since our capital city was rebuilt. The descendant of David is due to be born next year and become priest-king when all priests are eligible—at age 30. That will be the 483rd year.”

Grasp what he’s telling you, Mary. Can you do it?

Mary tries with all her heart to believe him.

He has proven himself with scripture, with the Word of God. The final proof is yet to be given.

“But I’m a virgin. How can I have the baby? How can I conceive?”

Okay, Mary. Can you handle it? Can you comprehend what he’s about to tell you? Try, Mary. Really try. Don’t let the moment slip by, Mary. It’s. dynamic. It’s spiritual.

Gabriel remains seated and smiling. He stands now, and walks slowly toward Mary, then kneels in front of her so he can look into her eyes. Full of excitement, he whispers as though telling a special secret.

“The Holy Spirit shall come upon you!”

“The Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit helped David write his psalms.” Then, thoughtfully, she adds, “He does other things too?”

Gabriel’s exhilaration swells. His words trip over each other in excitement.

“Mary, the power of God will overshadow you.”

Come on, Mary. You’re almost there. Don’t stop now.

“Therefore,” Gabriel continues, “the baby born to you will be thoroughly celestial.”

“Celestial?” she manages to say.

What is happening?

Hang on to your seat, now, Mary. Here comes the rest of it. You didn’t get it when he told you before. Grasp it now.

“Your baby will…your baby, Mary, will be the Son of God!”

That’s it. That’s the final thing you’ve got to believe. Do you believe it, Mary? Can you? Try hard, Mary.

Divine truth descends to her mind. Dazzles her soul. Ignites her spirit. “I want to believe you. Somehow I do believe.”

Day dawns in the mind, soul and spirit of Mary. And of Mankind.

 

…. Yes. It is night. But Satan has been silenced. Now it is indeed silent night. Indeed, holy night. The dawn comes. And with it all that is calm and all that is bright.

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

To purchase STAR SONG, purchase HERE.

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MICHEL: The Fourth Wiseman by Katheryn Haddad

Posted by Julie on December 13, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini |

MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISE MAN

 

 

That star! You know—the one over Bethlehem. We are so easily influences by what other people tell us, or sing to us.  What do they tell us? The wise men (magi) were really kings, there were three of them, and they followed the star all the way from the orient.

 

We three kings of Orient are

Bearing gifts, we traverse afar.

Field and fountain, moor and mountain,

Following yonder star.

 

Not!  Centuries ago, someone came up with three names, one of which was similar to the king of northeast India at the time, King Gondophores. So, that’s how they decided the magi were really kings. In reality, Magi was the name of a Babylonian tribe of priestly wise men. They were not kings.

Three?  Have no idea where that came from except people seem to think that each gift was brought by one man. What if each gift was brought by ten magi? Or five? How come it had to be just three men involved?

And the star. They did not follow it all the way from the orient. It appeared when Jesus was born.  The Bible says that, after the wise men left Herod and were on their way to Bethlehem (which was where he told them to go), they saw the star again.  It reappeared just for them.

Did you ever see a manger scene with the shepherds and wise men and goats and pigs and cows and Jesus and Mary and Joseph all crowded into the barn or cave or where ever they were? That did not happen either. The wise men were now “beamed up” to Bethlehem from the Orient the night Jesus was born.

Herod had all boy babies age two and under killed.  It apparently took the wise men a year to figure out the meaning of the star, and several more months traveling to Bethlehem.  If they started out in Babylon (in today’s southern Iraq), the would have travelled the common route going north to the edge of Turkey, then down along the Mediterranean coast to get there.

How did they figure out the meaning of the star? They probably searched through the writings of their gods, but could not find the answer. In the royal archives where Daniel had served centuries earlier were probably the writings of Daniel, often the second in command to the emperor. Later, Queen Esther would have made sure they stayed safe in the archives.

In the book of Daniel is an account of the exact year the Messiah would begin his ministry. Since Jews were considered fully mature at age thirty, if you take 30 from the exact year given in Daniel, you will see it is the exact year Jesus was born. The wise men surely saw that. And elsewhere in Daniel, he mentions wise men leading to a great light. Of course, there are other prophecies they probably read.
In my book—MICHEL: THE FOURTH WISEMAN—accompanies a total of eight wise men as they tour famous sacred libraries that existed in the world at that time. They travel to northern Indian, then across the Indian Ocean to Ethiopia and up the Nile to Edfu and Alexandria, both famous libraries at the time, to read the writings of their gods. Then they go up to Athens and Rome to check the sacred writings of their gods. Next, they go to a famous library in Pergamum in Today’s Turkey, then over to Antioch in Syria.  Finally, Michel convinces them to read the Jewish sacred writings in Ecbatana, Persia, and they finally find the meaning of the star.

There is an intriguing sub-plot in my book about the Garden of Eden which at that time was under the flooding waters of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. But I’m not going to spill the beans and tell you what it is. I challenge you to read the book. And put new meaning in your understanding of Christmas.

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

To purchase MICHEL THE FOURTH WISEMAN, click here.



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