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Paul: The Unstoppable by Katheryn Maddox Haddad

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

PAUL: THE UNSTOPPABLE

I would have hated to be the apostle Paul’s parents while he was growing up. I can imagine them telling him not to do something, but he wouldn’t stop. So, they would punish him. Then he’d turn right around and do it again. What a stubborn child he would have been and stubborn man he grew up to be.

Don’t be shocked, but I made Paul (called Shaul by Hebrews) a boxer and runner in the book, at least in his youth. He had to have been a strong man to have survived treading water “in the deep a day and a night”.  Plus he wrote of winning the fight and boxing and running the race several times.

Paul, the unstoppable, spends his life making up for torturing and killing Christians in his youth. He is driven. To Paul, it is never enough. Gradually, he loses the strength of his youth.

Warning: My book is graphic. Over and over he was beaten with rods and whip lashed and even stoned. I go into slow motion to describe what is happening to him at such times. I, personally, am scared to death to watch horror movies. But I had to include the violence he endured because that was Paul’s reality.  Gritting his teeth, he must have strained his neck muscles and called out “Jesus, this is for you!” Can’t you hear him?

What can I say about such a man? I wrote 550 pages walking with him and all he must have gone through for thirty-five years until his death. The scar tissue on his back must have built up on top of older ones until his back was in constant pain just from the scar tissue. Medical science says scar tissue is twenty times more sensitive to touch than normal skin. But he kept going. City after city. Facing floods, snow, robbers, hunger, ship wrecks, imprisonments, humiliations. But he couldn’t stop.

Why? Love. He loved people so much, he was willing to endure their hatred in order to snatch them away from the gates of hell. Can we do that? Dare we do that? Go through all that Paul did? Or perhaps a fraction of it? To Paul, even in the dank, urine smelling, mold growing, rat infested cell where he sat on the slippery cold stone floor in chains the last few days of his life, he had never done enough.

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 PAUL: The Unstoppable HERE

 

 

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WFW: You’ve Got Some Destroying to Do…

Posted by Julie on April 13, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s time to share a Bible verse inspired post over at the Internet Cafe today. It’s called Word Full Wednesday and it’s all for the glory of God. Link up and join us!

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately regarding intercession and strategies and a lot of history takes me back to the Amalekites.  They were bad news for the Israelites and when Saul had victory over the Amalekites God was really specific.

Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys. 1 Samuel 15:3, NIV

When Saul disobeyed it invited the Amalekites back to mess with the Israelites

It seems extreme but God has purpose to everything. Everything. He needed the Amalekites wiped off the face of the Earth for Israel’s protection.  Long story short, Saul disobeyed.

It’s easy for me to shake my finger at Saul and reflect on all the ways he blew it. He decided to play god and it was the beginning of the end for him. The consequences kept coming.

My heart is for surrender and freedom in Christ and although I had to Google “smite” and I wouldn’t recognize an Amalekite without God or a professor, I know disobedience.  I’ve yet to meet one recovering alcoholic that can keep a couple drinks on hand and not return to old ways. Anyone that struggles with p*rn knows they will never live free if they keep just one file on their computer or one magazine hidden. When I had relationships that I knew were toxic and God was asking me to let go, I had to completely release the friendship. When I thought oh, I’ll just e mail them, that will work…it. did. not.

God knows what He is doing and He loves you enough to tell you there is some destroying to do. When He asks you, it is for your good to obey.  Don’t play god and keep remnants around out of sympathy or for trophies.

Obey God.

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What If?

Posted by Julie on April 11, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

One of the books I’m reading right now is Beth Moore’s Personal Reflections Series on Paul and today I’m struck by Ananias. He is the man that Jesus in Acts 9 chose to share His message to the blinded Saul. When He got the assignment Ananias knew exactly who Saul was. This was a guy that came to town looking for Christians to kill.  Jesus wanted Ananias to talk to that guy?  Yep, Jesus did.

And Ananias obeyed.

That got me wondering, what if he said no?

What if the blinded Saul was taken to Ananias and the door promptly shut in Saul’s face? No message for Saul, no grace, no holy plan unveiled. Would Saul had ever been able to embrace God’s love if none was shone?

What about Mary?  Try being an engaged teenager where lack of purity means death and the Holy Spirit lets you know you’re going to be a mom. A pure mom. Of the Savior the Scriptures promised. I’m 41 and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t give a yes right away, if ever. That’s a pretty tall order. What if Mary said no? She could have aborted her own Messiah, and mine, and yours.

What if Mary Said No?

Over the weekend I read a lot of posts on Facebook and Twitter updates about the movie Soul Surfer based on Bethany Hamilton. What if after her accident Bethany decided to say no to trusting God further? What if she decided to be bitter and live out the life of a victim, something everyone would understand?

What if?

I sense today God is asking someone reading today to choose something today that He wants a yes answer to. Perhaps it is forgiving someone one more time for the same old thing that has gone on day after day (please don’t interpret this to mean any form of abuse, forgiveness and seeking help are two different matters) or saying yes to a job opportunity that means moving away from everything and everyone you know. What if you’re being asked to trust Him for something you can’t see around the bend for? Saying yes to a new ministry opportunity perhaps. Speaking a word of encouragement over a person like Saul might be your challenge today.

What if?

I believe a lie that is finally being found out is that God is a nebulous, shadowy figure that is too busy dealing with Iraq to care about you. That comes straight from the pit of hell. The truth is God is sovereign and He can handle Iraq and the second by second opportunities He’s showing your way. He wants relationship with you through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He wants to show you wonderful things about your life and for you to ask Him…what if?

If He’s asking you to say yes, seek Him hard (more than asking your friends or eating a bag of Oreos like I tend to do) and if that truly is His answer, take that leap.

Chances are, your obedience will change the Kingdom of God.

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