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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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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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FREE Novella Available

Posted by Julie on March 2, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Remember when I said things were pretty busy behind the scenes?

  • I told you about my interview with Blog Talk Radio host Patti Shene and her show, Step Into the Light.

 

  • I announced a new release, FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional.

 

MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN was something I included as a thank you to newsletter subscribers who signed up. It’s a contemporary romance about surrendering relationships. What I love about it is it was the first romance I wrote after becoming a Christian. I re worked it a couple years ago and hopefully you will enjoy it. I also am excited because it features the Finger Lakes area, the beautiful region where I grew up in Upstate NY.

How do you access it? Visit the right sidebar of my site (if you are receiving this via email) and it should be right there to click and download. If you have trouble, send me an email at juliearduini@juliearduini.com, or find me across social media @JulieArduini.

 

I have one more announcement coming this week, so stay tuned!

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New Release: Finding Freedom Through Surrender

Posted by Julie on February 28, 2017 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

It was one of those God taps that I wanted to ignore. Late last year I felt I was supposed to write a devotional using the surrender themes explored in my contemporary romance series, Surrendering Time. Not only that, but write it from the characters point of view. I’d never heard of such a thing, and by obeying, I knew I was delaying book 3, ENGAGED, even more.

But obey I did. It took longer than I thought with unexpected travel and child sickness, but it’s done.

Finding Freedom Through Surrender-A 30 Day Devotional available on Amazon.

FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER-A 30 Day Devotional, features short readings on surrendering fear, loss, change, regret, and the future. If you’ve read ENTRUSTED or ENTANGLED, you will visit with beloved characters like Ben, Jenna, Carla, Will, Sara, and more. If the series is new to you, no worries. The devotional will introduce you to the characters without spoilers. Then, once ENGAGED is released this spring, you will be ready to jump in.

It’s in eBook format, so download the free Kindle app and you can read on your phone, tablet, desktop, laptop, and of course, Kindle. It’s only available on Amazon.

I’d love for you to spread the word. Early feedback showed that many of the readings were exactly what readers were struggling with at that time. That’s God, and I’m grateful He allows me to write for Him.

Take a look!

FINDING FREEDOM THROUGH SURRENDER HERE

 

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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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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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