A Heavenly Foretaste

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

I hope you like this poem I wrote decades ago. I’ve revised it a little since then. I believe for the better. Still yet, the essence is the same.

 

Heavenly Foretaste

 

My heart is in a far away country, far away land, far away world.

A city which never can be seen with earthly eyes

Its splendor leaves nothing more to be desired

I breathe the air of this land into my soul, and

I know my heart is home.

 

Though now I am bound to this lower world

By the chains of time-day by day I will climb

On silver wings I will soar, till I reach home

Where time shall be no more.

 

I smell the freshness of that new morning

When we arise with the Son

And taste true life just begun

With a hungry hope I await…

To hear the opening of  Heaven’s gate.

 

 

You can read my post related to this at my other blog truelighttreasures.

 

 

 

 

 

Return To Evergreen

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If you like critiquing writing, feel free to comment on the first chapter of  a half-finished manuscript of mine- ‘Return to Evergreen’. (working title).

CHAPTER 1

Why am I doing this? What’s it going to prove-that I’m a masochist? I’m a liar already. Why did I lie to Gabe when I said I was going to a bookseller’s convention? He seemed so trusting too. But I have to know if I can take living in this town again after…Alex.

The deep blue, September sky was shrouded by a hazy fog that hid most of the evening sun’s rays and cast a shadow over the neighborhood homes and the gently sloping mountain ridge behind them. She stood staring bewilderedly up at the two-story wooden frame house ten feet in front of her. Except for a few golden and scarlet colored leaves being rustled by a soft wind, the sidewalk leading to the front porch was free of debris.

Why had she come here today? What possible reason could there be? From that devastating moment onward, all previous happy memories had been wrenched out of her soul and exchanged for the pain and loss that ensued. It was as though joy became a foreign concept to her –some ethereal feeling from another time or dimension that she could never hope to reach.

Slowly, methodically she retrieved the key from her pants pocket and climbed the concrete porch steps. As she reached for the weather worn screen door, a piercing scream echoed in her memory. Suddenly, before touching the handle, her hand froze in mid-air. Peering through the glass of the front door she saw another door beyond, near the back of the house. It was painted dark blue with a large football stenciled on it. How could she have imagined she would be willing or able to cross the threshold and relive such agony? Wasn’t the aftermath enough to have to endure?

At that instant she heard a car door shut in the distance. Turning around she saw that her old friend and former neighbor was approaching. Descending the porch steps she met up with Lillie Coffey, a plump woman in her fifties with a dark shag haircut and deep brown, luminous eyes. “Hi Lillie. It’s been so long…too long. You’re looking well.” She gazed beyond to Lillie’s driveway and noticed a dark blue van with green and yellow lettering on the side. “That’s a beautiful vehicle. It’s about time you got a new one for your business.”

“Yea. Well it’s mostly used to taxi my grandkids around to parks and different places. I take them on my day off from the café.” Looking slightly hesitant Lillie continued, “Come on and give me a hug Keokee. It really has been a long time.” After they warmly embraced, she asked, “So are you all moving back?”

Feeling transparent, Keokee replied, “Uh, it’s not definite yet but probably. I guess you heard that Gabe may be taking over as pastor at the church. He feels like it’s meant to be,” she finished with her voice trailing off as she averted her friend’s gaze.

“What about you? Do you think it is? Or do you want to come back?”, Lillie spoke earnestly.

Deliberately avoiding her gaze, Keokee faintly shook her head and replied with false cheerfulness, “There’s a reason for everything. Every day there’s a new opportunity around each corner. Makena says she wants to leave Lenoir. Says the school’s too big and the kids are too snobby for her. So that’s a positive I guess. How’s all your kids doing?”

“Pretty well I guess. Aubrie seems to be having things the hardest right now. She’s still trying to get over the divorce.” she shrugged. “The others are about the same.” There was a tense silence and then she quietly asked, “Will you be moving back here or somewhere else?”

The heaviness in Keokee’s chest increased as her mouth became dry. Attempting to speak, she had to clear her throat before answering, “Not here. Since the Henderson family moved out of it, Gabe is in the process of renting it out to some of his kin people from Cracker’s Neck. Their house was hit by the tornado that came through there last month. I came by here to…to just make sure everything was in fair shape. Of course, I guess you know his friend Marvin has been looking after the place since…,” she stopped in mid-sentence, a look of utter anguish displayed on her face. Quickly she glanced back at the house and then waved her hand nervously in Lillie’s direction as she rushed to her parked car. “Why? Why did I come here today?” she muttered to herself as she pulled out of the cul-de-sac too fast and almost hit a mail box.

Lillie Coffey, still rooted to the front yard, stared after her in disbelief. In the distance she heard the cranking of an engine and then a moment later her oldest son Landon pulled up in a riding lawn mower. “Mom, who was that peeling out of here like a maniac?”

“It was Keokee. She’s coming back home.”

“Home? Really?”

“To Evergreen Gap.”

Thanks for reading. Comments and critiques are welcome!

P. S. Hopefully I’ll have an update on ‘Alley Rose’ next time.

Watch Out For These 3 Narrators of Make Believe!

Atheist- a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods : one who subscribes to or advocates atheism

 

As narrators Atheists have much to say and yet nothing that makes sense. Their narrative is full of holes and without logic. They don’t believe in the Bible but the Bible mentions them. (Psalm 14) What’s ironic is that many of them seem so angry at a Being they claim doesn’t exist. Their denial of God only proves their willful ignorance. Many attempt to use science and the theory of evolution to prove their case. Ultimately, true science proves them wrong. Atheists are like secular humanists. Both believe they are their own god. They honor man and turn a deaf ear and blind eye to a living God.

 

If there were no God there would be no atheists.- G K Chesterton

 

An  ineffably holy God, who has the utmost abhorrence of sin, was never invented by any of Adam’s descendents.- A. W. Pink

 

It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian.Lee Strobel 

 

“Now that I am a Christian I do not have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable.”-C.S. Lewis

 

19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:Romans 1

 

Hypocrite-

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of  virtue or religion

2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

If you’re interested in hypocrite or lying narrators from fiction you can find some here.

The Bible reveals a few well-known types of hypocrites. Some of the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were prime examples.  In Matthew 23, seven times he calls them hypocrites for various sins they continually committed. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” What’s more hypocrites were found within the midst of the early Christians. Anaias and Saphira held back money they had promised to the church.  Afterwards, they lied in public about the amount they were supposed to have given. You can read about it here.

We can’t just hear or teach the Word without obeying and then expect the blessings of God.

22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1

Peter, who preached the great message on the day of Pentecost, also had a problem with hypocrisy later. When he arrived at Antioch he ate with the Gentile Christians. But after the Jewish Christians came, Peter separated from the Gentiles because he feared the Jews. (Galatians 2)

No matter the excuse for hypocrisy- whether it is pride, desire for power, greed, or fear -God will judge the hypocrite.

 

False Prophets/Teachers

The Bible (both the Old and New Testament) has plenty to say about these narrators of a fake gospel, fake dreams, fake humility, fake faith, fake love, fake miracles, fake preaching, fake prophecy, and so forth. Below are just a few verses that describe these wolves in sheep’s clothing:

Continue reading “Watch Out For These 3 Narrators of Make Believe!”

The Unreliable Narrator in Your Life

 

Are you familiargirlsadbook with the literary term ‘unreliable narrator’? Here’s the definition.

Synonyms for ‘unreliable’ are-undependable, untrustworthy, irresponsible, reckless, fickle, capricious, irregular, erratic, unpredictable, inconstant, mutable, faithless, untrue, flighty, slippery

The first-person narrator is the ‘gatekeeper’ or guide to the story. We see whatever they choose to show us. And sometimes we believe whatever they want us to believe. Even if it isn’t true. It’s important to know what kind of character the narrator depicts. Why? Because that can hint at the reason behind their unreliability. Might it be a child who has a limited understanding of events?(Think-Huck Finn) Could it be a mentally challenged person with certain weaknesses that make them vulnerable to misinterpretation of facts? (Flowers For Algernon) Or is it a criminally minded person who has a special purpose in deceiving other characters -or you as the reader? (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd)

Unreliable narrators can come in various forms as well as from different places. Below are 3 books with unreliable -supposedly nonfiction-authors which inevitably create unreliable narrators.

‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” was a best selling ‘Christian non-fiction’ book in 2010. Alex was a young boy who was seriously injured in a car accident with his dad in 2004. As a result he became a quadriplegic. The boy made up a story about seeing angels and visiting heaven. It seems that his dad, Kevin Malarkey embellished the story more and then decided to write the book to make some money. Two years later Alex denounced the story, saying the “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” was ‘one of the most deceptive books ever.’

Author Clifford Irving, along with other cohorts, contrived a scheme convincing a large publishing company that he had been hired by the reclusive millionaire, Howard Hughes, to ghost write his autobiography. Later Hughes declared over the phone to several journalists that he didn’t even know Irving. The scandalized author went to prison for 17 months. In 1981 Irving wrote ‘The Hoax’, a book about the events surrounding the fake autobiography conspiracy. It was made into a movie in 2006. Irving was displeased with much of the character depiction.(Somehow ironic)

In 2003 James Frey wrote a book entitled, ‘A Million Little Pieces’. It was the supposed memoir of his drug addiction and recovery. And it was listed as an Oprah book club selection. Later Frey was discovered to be a fraud because he had created and exaggerated much of the contents of his memoir. He and the publisher were berated on Oprah’s show for their deception. ‘A Million Little Pieces’ is now promoted as ‘a work of literature’ containing facts and embellishments.

The first unreliable narrator(liar) in the Bible is Satan who in the form of a snake deceived Eve with half-truth. Cain was the first human type mentioned in the Bible. God asked him where his brother was. “Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” Also, the book of Job contains three unreliable narrators-Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. As Job’s friends they come to comfort him in his time of loss and sorrow. Instead they end up accusing him of sinning and tell him it’s the reason for his suffering. Ultimately, his fourth friend-the reliable narrator- Elihu reveals the truth in his speeches.

An unreliable narrator may inadvertently deceive you because they lack knowledge of the situation. Possibly a result of their naivete or misperception. However, the criminal or evil type narrator has ulterior motives for misleading you. Perhaps they are attempting to hide their guilt by convincing you to suspect another character of the crime. Or maybe they’re narcissists and get amusement from tricking others by messing with their minds.

Whatever the reason for the deception the truth is still hidden. And that can stir up serious conflict in stories, news, novels, and reality. If you have an unreliable narrator in your life then you understand the problems they may propagate. It could be a family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger. They could use one or many devices in an attempt to keep you away from the truth. The falsehood might come in the form of gossip, hearsay, negative judgments, or even flattery.

A froward man soweth strife:
and a whisperer separateth chief friends. Proverbs 16:28

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
Isaiah 11:3

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. John 7:24
Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. Psalm 78:36

Reading a story or novel with an unreliable narrator can be fun, exciting, and a good learning experience. The same cannot be said for a true to life one. Let’s not be found trusting in a liar. What’s more let’s not be or become the liar.

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight. Proverbs 12:22

The most dangerous ‘narrators’ are those who call themselves minister’s of God’s Word but are deceivers. The Old Testament contains several stories about them. Jesus warned us of them many times.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:11

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.  II Corinthians 11

Satan is the ultimate ‘unreliable narrator’ who has one reason for deceiving you. He hates God and His holy character. Therefore he hates all His creation-especially His children who seek to worship and love Him in spirit and in truth. He may whisper in your ear “God hates you. That’s why you’re suffering so much.” He will say things like “God is sick of you-He’s given up on you because you’re worthless.” Anything that you hear, feel, or think must be filtered through the Word of God.  (To be continued..)

If you’d like to have a paperback copy of “How To Be Street Smart”  for youth then join TLB list and get a chance to be the winner!

 

 

 

Moving Mountains-A Healing Traveler’s Journey

Despite the fact that I rarely read Christian non-fiction books, I recently discovered one I was excited to buy. Written by Savannah Williamson, it’s entitled ‘Moving Mountains- Winning Tough Spiritual Battles’. Her story is a compelling read that describes the perils of depression, addiction, anger, and suicidal tendencies-among other issues.

From the age of 13, Savannah lived in a dark and lonely place-depression her constant companion. Yet, much more than a chronicling of her troubled past life,  ‘Moving Mountains’ is a hopeful, candid, practical, and joyful guide that can inspire anyone who’s found themselves in the grips of despair.

Excerpt from ‘Moving Mountains-Winning Tough Spiritual Battles’

“Sometimes we just can’t figure out why we are going through what we are going through, and we think God has cursed us or is punishing us. I can’t give you the answer in your situation, only God can. But I can say that in my life, my stormy seasons have always been for my good. Not a tear was wasted. It is my hope that as you see how hopeless some of the situations I’ve been in seemed, and how God brought good out of them and turned them around every time, that you can find some hope for you too.”

Williamson, Savannah. Moving Mountains: Winning Tough Spiritual Battles . Kindle Edition.  Find it here@Amazon.

Now for a short summary of my writing progress on my  WIP  ‘Alley Rose’.  Family issues and obligations have complicated my writing plan once again. Thankfully, I have been able to make some revisions which were needed.  Many writers revise when their draft is completed but somehow that doesn’t fully work for me.  Most writers probably end up doing four or more revisions of their books before publishing.

Here’s a small excerpt from ‘Alley Rose’:

“Hey. My name’s Kate. Kate Marie Lewis. What’s yours?” From several feet away the girl stood in the back alley smiling, revealing large white teeth. “I just moved in the house right down there,” she said as she pointed up the alley toward the last house on the left.

“Uh…umm.” Savannah struggled to answer her as she threw a stick into the yard for Rufus to catch. “I’m ..Savannah Sullivan.”
The dog returned with the stick as the girl approached him, reaching out to take it from his mouth. Instead of releasing the stick he backed away from her and started growling with it still between his teeth.

“Okay. Okay. Your dog doesn’t have to go all ape on me. I was only trying to play with him. Is that your cat laying up there on that rusty old car?”
Savannah glanced over at the ancient, corroding chevy inside the lean-to garage connected to their small weather-worn wooden house.

When she saw the silky black coat and golden copper eyes she said, “That’s Panther. He was here when we first moved here. I don’t think he belongs to anybody. Everybody calls him an alley cat.”

“Well I got a cat named Amber. She’s real pretty. We’ve been keeping her in the house but Mom says she has to go outside soon. I’m twelve years old now. I had a birthday party last month.”

As the girl continued to talk about the party, Savannah observed her tall form, pale olive skin and long coarse dark hair, held back by a plastic headband. She noticed that the strange girl was almost the opposite in appearance to her own image. And that didn’t exclude the clothes. Kate wore a blue jumper dress with a flower design blouse and flip-flops. In contrast, she had on pedal-pushers, a worn t-shirt, and old tennis shoes.

Despite their differences Savannah soon discovered they had one huge thing in common.

 

Would you like to win a paperback copy of my non-fiction book for middle-grade youth ‘How To Be Really Street Smart’?  If so, then join my TLB e-mail list by June and you’ll have a chance to become the winner. Check it out here@Amazon.

 

 

How To Be Really Street Smart!

'How To Be Really Street Smart' book

The Bible is an example of a variety of literature, along with many character types. Within its pages are the stories of real people who lived across an enormous span of time. From the beginning of creation until the last days of the apostles. Their history lives on in the hearts and minds of believers everywhere.

My non-fiction book ‘How To Be Really Street Smart’ shares excerpts from the lives of Old and New Testament faith walkers of the past. Through the analogy of road signs youth are challenged to follow the example of these godly people.

Special scripture is highlighted, encouraging the reader to explore the Word of God for deeper understanding. Below is an excerpt from my book.

Road Signs-we see them every day. And if you’re driving down the street you better pay attention. Why? What’s so important about reading them? They’re not there by chance but for specific reasons. Some are to guide you, others are to prepare you and many are to warn you. If you’re going to be street smart you have to understand the signs and stay aware of what is happening in your environment or your neighborhood.

Let’s focus on one of those big red signs that read WRONG WAY when we’re about to go down the wrong road. Why shouldn’t we ignore that sign? Well, what could happen if we just went on past it as if it wasn’t there? We could crash into another car that may be traveling on that same road but from the opposite direction(the right direction for them but the wrong one for us).

So because we chose to ignore the WRONG WAY sign we have caused an accident, not only harming ourselves but also the person in the other car. Nobody can just get in a car and drive around everywhere making up their own rules. You see, those signs are there for a good purpose-to help you travel safely on the streets, roads, and highways that get you to the places you need or want to go.

Just imagine what would happen if those signs were taken down. It would become chaos within a short time. It pays to be “street smart” or in other words -to know the rules of the road and obey them. Now let me tell you about a man who thought he knew where he was going on the “road of life” but suddenly came upon a sign he couldn’t ignore. (Proverbs 14:12)

This man was a religious leader and believed he had been doing God’s work arresting
Christians and allowing them to be murdered. He had a zeal but he had
been deceived by Satan into thinking he was doing God’s will:
1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of

the Lord, went unto the high priest,

2 and asked of him letters to the synagogues at Damascus, that if he found any

who were of this Way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them

bound unto Jerusalem.

3 And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly there shone round

about him a light from heaven.

4 And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying unto him, “Saul, Saul, why

persecute thou Me?”

5 And he said, “Who art Thou, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou

persecute;

And he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

Acts 9

 

From there Jesus tells him to go into the city and he will be told what to do. The

men with him were shocked because they saw a light and could hear a voice but

didn’t know what was being said. When Saul rose up from the ground he was

blind and the men had to lead him to Damascus.

Though Saul had become blind to the things of earth, the changed man now

heard the voice of the true and living God-Jesus Christ. Finally he realized he’d

been going the wrong way all the time. He received Jesus into his life and was no

longer spiritually blind. Shortly afterward he received his natural eyesight again.

From that time on he was called Paul and became the 13th apostle. Several books

of the New Testament were written by him.

FYI-During New Testament times there was a Jewish group of men called the

Sanhedrin. They were religious leaders that had authority similar to a supreme

court. The Sanhedrin had Jesus imprisoned for blasphemy (claiming to be the

Son of God). This same Jewish council, that gave Saul the authority to arrest

Christians, later plotted to have him murdered because he preached the gospel

of Jesus Christ. In recent times a new Sanhedrin has been formed in Israel.

Did you know? – Paul made many missionary trips during his lifetime. It is

believed he was imprisoned in Rome and then beheaded.

Word on the street-Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 5:10

 

Why did I write ‘How To Be Street Smart’? For the children of these modern days who have been force-fed lies and half-truths about the Holy Bible. The majority doubt or reject the absolute truth and relevancy of the only book God ever authored. I hope to inspire them to discover the beauty, power, and unity of its words. It’s not a fairy tale. Nor is it science-fiction or fantasy. However, the Bible is definitely the greatest love story ever written.

If you join TLB email list thru June, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a paperback copy of my book. Next time I plan on posting a Christian book review or two. Plus I’ll be sharing an update on my work in progress(WIP). It’s called ‘Alley Rose’. Thanks for coming by. Until then..

Character Flaws

 

 

Characters in a novel aren’t real but they need to portray real-life human experience. For this reason, the main characters must be ‘fleshed out’ to mirror or resemble persons with flaws, peculiarities, contradictions, motivations, and goals. The writer creates individual differences, conflicts, and traits for each character whether they be protagonist, antagonist, confidant, foil..etcetera. This helps the reader to understand and relate to their problems, resulting in feelings of compassion for these fictional people. What’s more,  as they continue reading they may discover a thing or two about themselves within the pages.

Now to my own progress with Alley Rose, the book I’m working on now. Let me clarify. I’m trying to write it -now and then, and here and there. Plenty of starts and stops along the way.  The characters are gradually developing into what I hope will be interesting, and right for the storyline. If not for the grace and mercy of God I couldn’t have gotten this far. You see, my memory seems erratic sometimes. Another issue is my focus. I am easily distracted and often wonder if I have a sensory processing disorder. It’s been like that for a long time. It’s nothing God can’t handle. He knows how to help me over the hurdles so I can stay the course.

We humans are challenged to jump over the hurdles or obstacles that get in the way of reaching our goals and dreams. From here we usually grow in some way and learn a great life lesson.  One of our big obstacles is character flaws. (No pun intended)  It’s inevitable that we all possess them.  Thankfully, we can overcome them by seeking the One who gives us victory over sin. The first step is admitting we have them. Regardless of what they may be. Dishonesty. Vanity. Cowardice. Insincerity. Self-pity. Vengefulness. The list seems endless. Yet it doesn’t matter which ones or how many we have. Jesus Christ is willing and able to set us free.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. I Corinthians 5:4

For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Galatians 5:4

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15, 16

 

 

If you’d like a chance to win a copy of my non-fiction book for middle school kids then join my email list and get a chance to win it. It’s called “How To Be Really Street Smart”.