Story Parameters 8/14/2020

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by Shawn Lamb

Each genre has various parameters that govern the flow and structure of storytelling. Examples: Mystery novels usual follow a private investigator, police, or a person with sleuthing tendencies. The case slowly unravelwithout revealing the truth until the end. These stories are usually in-depth character studies when dealing with “who done it”. Thrillers are non-stop suspense stories with dark overtones, and are heavily plot driven. Historical fiction, romance, and contemporary also have general guidelinesSci-Fi can vary with parameters, but heavily based in science – or at least – should be.

The one genre that tends to stray farther than others in regard to parameters is fantasy. If the straying goes too far, this can pose problems for the author, and subsequently – the reader. Creatures, magic, supernatural, etc., can become out of control if not harnessed. Example; the hero is on a quest and must defeat monsters. If he suddenly and miraculously wins without a cause or reason, it will leave the reader wondering: How did that happen? Why did it happen? Where did that power come from?

Some of the most successful fantasy stories are rooted in the ordinary. Think Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings. The vast majority of these characters are just ordinary, whether human, dwarf, elf, or creature. Overcoming great adversity joined with personal growth is what endears these characters to the reader. The fantastic has it place, but should not compete or overshadow the characters.

Before I began writing Allon, I considered what parameters to set for the kingdom. I thought about how the immortal Guardians would interact with the mortals. I decided what angeliclike qualities and powers to give each Guardian. They have a hierarchy, ranks, and stations. Yet unlike angels, they are confined to physical form, thus have weaknesses so their superior strength and wisdom would not continually interfere with the mortals. This created a unique relationship, and tension, with the mortals.

 To form the government of Allon, I used Elizabethan England and Old Testament Israel for a king and Council of Twelve, which represents the Twelve Provinces of Allon. There are knights, castles, ships, and cannon. In short, the ordinary grounds the stories and relationships, so that when the extraordinary elements happen it is believable to what has been established. This will also produce the greatest impact.

Therein lies the secret of creating memorable fantasy stories – ordinary things. There are sixteen books in the Allon series, which includes a children’s spin-off trilogy. Although I finished the original arch, readers still ask if I will ever consider revisiting the kingdom. So, if fantasy is your chosen genre, do not be so quick to get to the fantastic by overlooking the ordinary. Draw your readers into the world with things they can understand, and relate with the characters. 

About the Author:

Shawn LambShawn Lamb is an award-winning author of over 20 books. She travels the country as an event speaker and workshop leader. To learn more about her books, visit: www.allonbooks.com  or for information about speaking engagements, contact her at email: shawnlamb@allonbooks.com 

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Let Me Count The Ways

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Let Me Count The Ways

In Which We Have All Been Deceived

by Boyd McNiel

Let Me Count The Ways

Scripture tells us that the whole world (except for the elect) would be deceived. It says that we have all inherited lies. It also says that the pen of the scribe is in vain, (worthless). Eight separate times the Messiah said, “Woe unto you Scribes and you Pharisees, you hypocrites”. This book has over 283 separate things which the whole world has been deceived about. Scripture tells us to come out of the false teachings of Babylon. Many people have quit going to the assemblies they grew up attending because they know that what their preacher is teaching them is not adding up. The problem is that they do not know where to turn to discover the truth. Here are three examples I will share with you:First: Is it an accident, or a coincident, or by divine inspiration that the word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Hebrew language? They are the “Alpha” and the “Bet”. The Hebrew language was the original language before the creator changed everyone’s languages at the tower of Babel, which means “confusion” .Second: Did you know that the original 1611 King James Version of Scripture does not have the letter “J” in it. That is because 400 years ago, the English alphabet did not have a “J” in it. This tells us that current words and names with a “J” in them did not exist 400 years ago. They are new names. This means that the names “Jesus” And “Jehovah” are new made up fabricated names.Third: Do you know where the names; “July” and “August” originated from? It turns out that Julius and Augustus Cesar put their names on the Gregorian calendar which we all use. When they did this they slid the other months over to make room for their names. Now the month of October which is from the “Oct”: meaning “eight” is now the tenth month. The month of December which is from the “Dec” meaning “ten” is now the twelfth month. Cause and effect tells us that our alphabet that we use and the calendar that we use has been corrupted.

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CrossReads Short Takes: When Heaven Sighs & The Time for Healing

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

When Heaven Sighs

by Susan Guinn

When Heaven Sighs

Beneath layers of glamourous country music stars and professional athletes, deceit and brutality stalk the city sidewalks of Nashville, Tennessee in the form of assassins sent by a secret society to find and destroy a missing Dead Sea Scroll. On a steamy day in August, a young man dies from the Ebola virus on a downtown sidewalk. Close to midnight on the same day, tires screech and a young girl screams as the body of Father Tom McClarin smacks against the hard, cold asphalt in front of the cathedral where he serves. Both men’s destinies have been bound together by their mutual belief in the ancient scroll which possibly contains a unique message for today’s churches. Detective Hayden Douglan and Samual Thomas, a local pastor, follow the clues piling up and conclude both deaths are homicides. Faith and courage will be tested as the investigation leads from corruption in the highest levels of the religious community and police department to a powerful mystic cloistered behind the walls of beautiful Saint Alaric Monastery near Vienna, Austria. After Samual is also attacked and shot in the chest, he is healed by angels sent to enlist his help in convincing the religious community to believe the message of the scroll. Despite death threats and the struggle to contain an Ebola outbreak, Douglan and Samual work alongside and against powerful forces at work in Nashville: forces seeking to destroy the scroll and opposing forces strong enough to save anyone connected with bringing the scroll to the attention of the city’s spiritual leaders.

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The Time for Healing

by Ramona K. Cecil

The Time for Healing

Ginny Red Fawn McLain, a Shawnee medicine woman, is thrust back into the world of her birth family twelve years after her abduction. While she eschews the Christianity preached by her birth uncle who found her, Ginny’s heart refuses to shun his friend and fellow Christian minister, Jeremiah Dunbar.

Jeremiah Dunbar is immediately smitten with his friend’s long lost niece. But unless Ginny Red Fawn joins Christ’s fold–something she adamantly resists–any future with the woman he loves is impossible.

Amid an atmosphere of contempt and distrust, dreams and cultures clash. Ginny and Jeremiah are left to wonder whether their burgeoning love has any place in God’s plan.

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The Point is … Skeeters 8/11/2020

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by James Collins

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11

The mosquitos were terrible at our house last summer. We don’t call them mosquitos. We call them skeeters.  

I don’t know why, but skeeters love me. I guess it is because I’m so sweet. Skeeters buzz, swarm, attack, and bite me. Anytime, I go outside it’s like they have a skeeter spotter flying around that says, “Hey guys, the all you can eat preacher buffet is open at the Collins house. Come on!” 

When I work out in the yard, my wife, Amanda, likes to come out and supervise me. She supervises my work. She says things like, “You’re mowing the grass wrong.” She says things like, “You need to fertilize.” She says things like, “I know you worked all day putting in the flower bed, but I really don’t like it there. I want you to dig it up and move it over there.” She supervises me.  

Last summer, I was working in the yard. Amanda was outside supervising me. Suddenly, “WHAP!” Something hit me across the back of the head. I saw stars.  

I turned around and my wife was standing there with an open hand. She had hit me upside the back of my head. She hit me hard too. I thought I might lose consciousness. I thought I had a concussion. I couldn’t believe it.  

I caught my breath and said, “What are you doing?”  

“There was a skeeter on your head.” she said. 

“Did you get it?”  

“No. I don’t think so.” 

Amanda started yelling, “There he is! There he is!” The skeeter was buzzing around me. As she was screaming, Amanda started slapping me. She was about to beat me to death. I don’t know what was worse, getting stung by the skeeter or getting slapped around.  

Despite Amanda’s assault, the skeeter kept on buzzing around me. He kept dive bombing me. Before long, he found some friends and they swarmed me. I had to go inside to escape their onslaught.  

That was a silly story, but it is a picture of the demon dive bombers that come at us every day. Like those skeeters, the devil’s demons are dive bombing us. They are trying to tear your marriage and family apart. They are trying to stop you from raising your children with Christian values. They are trying to keep you from serving Jesus. They are trying to destroy your Christian walk. They are trying to keep you from going to church.  

Fortunately, God has given us protection from the devil and his demons. We have the full armor of God. The full armor of God is found in Ephesians 6. It is the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the belt of truth, and the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, the Bible. When the demonic forces attack, you should use Scripture to slap back at them.  

The point is: You need protection from the devil’s assault. Are you under attack? Are you being dive bombed? Are you in a situation that seems hopeless? God has made a way for you to deal with whatever the devil throws at you. Turn to the Father through Jesus, His Son.  

The Lord Jesus Christ can squash your problems like a bug. 

Fort Scott's First Southern Baptist ChurchThe Point Is ...

James Collins

James Collins

James Collins is pastor, writer, and columnist. Find out more about his ministry at www.thepointis.net. 

 

 

 

 

 

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: The Unmasking 8/10/2020

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by Rebekah Beene

We did a little shopping last weekend.  One of the stops was at a big giant discount warehouse.  We hadn’t been there in quite some time, but we knew there were a couple of things we could only get there. So we went in and traveled aisle to aisle, in and out, over and through.  The shopping experience itself was good but very tiring (long, long aisles, it felt like miles and miles).

Unfortunately checking out was not the good experience.  I had to ask a customer service rep about renewing our shopping card and she answered me without ever looking up.  Then we checked out and the young man who checked us kept mumbling under his breath.  Neither of the humans we interacted with ever looked us in the eye. Without the faces, which were hidden by masks and without the eye contact, there was definitely something missing.

Oh beloved, are you as tired of the mask situation as I am?  I’m not going to enter into debate of the virtues of wearing masks. But God is speaking this morning. One day we will be relieved of wearing masks. And one day there will be a great unmasking.  And in the spirit you can walk in total discernment even when the masks are on. Isn’t that amazing?

God wants you to know that not everyone is happy nor do they find their joy and peace in Christ.  This is a season where much is hidden behind a person’s mask. But you don’t have to hide yourself behind anything.  Wear the mask when you must, but know that you are set apart to show God’s glory. He will shine from behind whatever you think may hold you back.  Even now, this morning, God is going to give you creative plans to show forth His Truth and be a radiant light for others.  Your life is not ebbing away with loss and discomfort. Your life is Christ and in Him you have all the Spirit of the Lord in your own human body! Spiritual lives are growing while human life seems so indifferent, so masked, so lonely.

God loves you and He’s for you.  Don’t let the situations of the day cause you to stifle your spiritual life. Run to the Lord, take off the mask and tell Him everything. Ask Him for a fresh revelation of His Presence in your life.  Ask Him to renew your prayer life, for that is where you find your true power. And live, precious believer, free of all restraints of man, in the Light of His Glory and Grace.

Colossians 1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

Ephesians 3:16 May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality]

2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

About the Author:

Rebekah Beene

 

In a Christian Women’s meeting in 1983, Rebekah was given a prophetic message that she would write books. Several years ago she began writing stories about special holiday memories and travels, sharing God’s love and care through each story. God has gifted Rebekah with the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural. Both Rebekah and her husband Danny have a heart to share the Gospel and the riches of life in Christ to everyone they meet. They have served in the local church and in ministry to motorcyclists. Danny is an ordained minister and they both have been Bible study teachers for many years. Rebekah also speaks at women’s retreats and conferences. Her tag line says it all “God loves you and He’s for you”.

My website is http://rebekahbeene.wordpress.com

My first book in print is Oh Beloved! Live in the Light of His Word.
Link to buying the book via paypal is on the website.
As well a link to purchasing the ebook on Amazon is there too.
I’m also on twitter @rebekahbeene, tumblr http://rebekah-beene.tumblr.com/
and of course facebook as Rebekah Beene (Warren) I included my maiden name for old friends.
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Verse of the Day and Devotional 8/7/2020

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. – Amos 9:14 ESV

Devotion

They brought you in to turn things around for the better. They brought you in because they perceived that the hand of the Lord was upon you. Maybe it was a situation of stagnation and apathy that needed to be fired up. Things had not moved forward to any significant degree in a long time. Maybe it was a situation of a reversal of momentum. Worse than stagnation, it was a situation where things were being sucked downward in a death spiral. Maybe it was even worse than that. Maybe things had hit rock bottom and everything was lying there in complete ruins.

Whatever it was, they brought you in because they perceived the Lord would work through you to restore the situation. After all, that’s what the Lord does. That’s what the Lord always does. He finds people He can work through to “rebuild the ruined cities.” That is, He finds people He can use to fire up the situations that are stagnant and apathetic, to reverse the situations that are being sucked downward in a death spiral, and to rebuild the situations that are lying in ruins at rock bottom.

It is even better than that. The Lord will not only work through you to restore the situation back to some semblance of normal, but to take it to a whole new level. You will not only rebuild the ruined cities, you will “plant vineyards and drink their wine.” You will, that is, turn the situation into one that is a going concern. The people that rely on your cause for what they need will receive what they need. The people that work with you will also receive what they need. No one will be left behind. No one will be left out.

The Lord will work through you to “make gardens and eat their fruit,” to make a situation that is bountiful and beautiful. For you and your people, it will be a little like the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8-9). It will be a little like the new heaven and the new earth in the day to come (Isaiah 65; Revelation 21:1).

Til the Whole World Know

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Two Promises

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Two Promises

Timeless Truths and Thought-Provoking Modern Parables

by John B. Thompson Jr.

Two Promises

Filled with timeless truths and described as bordering on prophetic, Two Promises is a Christian allegory that guides the reader through a simple, fresh and thought-provoking storyline using modern parables to examine examples of human behavior. You are invited to walk along with the characters as they describe scenes and images that hold hidden insights intended to provoke thoughts about your own place in the Master’s plan. Look for the symbolism and hidden meanings. How will you interpret the different scenes? Which apply to your spiritual journey? Do some changes need to be made?

Creatively written and refreshing, the theme and story of Two Promises will remain with readers as they ponder internal issues and personally interpret the meaning of each chapter. Read it again later to discover new insights based on your changing experiences. Truly inspired, it will be a timeless, treasured addition to your library.

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CrossReads Short Takes: A Promise Kept & Cowboy Just in Time

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CrossReads Short Takes

A Promise Kept

A WWII Homefront Romance

(Buckeye Promises Book 3)

by Cara C. Putman

A Promise Kept

Softness removed the lines around her eyes. “I love you, Art Wilson.” Before he could respond, she stood on tiptoe and stole the rest of his breath with a kiss.

He deepened the kiss and thoughts of abandoning the walk played in his mind.

A heartwarming WWII historical from award-winning author Cara Putman:

Can new love endure heartbreak?

Josie Wilson’s newlywed life is perfect—until her hopes and dreams are shattered by a miscarriage. She’s not sure her wounded heart will ever heal. Then Art asks her to open their home to a distant cousin who’s been evacuated from England. Will the child open her heart? Or will she remain closed off to the prospect of future pain?

Art Wilson adores his bride, but he never anticipated how challenging marriage could be. When grief over the baby they’ve lost forms a chasm between him and his new wife, he wonders if he has made a horrible mistake. Why can’t Josie support him and understand his long hours are necessary as the industry is reeling in the early days of World War II?

Will the ravages of war and personal grief tear Josie and Art apart, or will they keep the promises made to each other on their wedding day?

Click “send a free sample” and start reading now!

Other books in this series:
Canteen Dreams
Sandhill Dreams
Captive Dreams
A Promise Forged
A Promise Born

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Cowboy Just in Time

(Hearts Across Time)

by LoRee Peery

Cowboy Just in Time

When event planner Amanda Totten falls through a barn trapdoor and finds herself in the arms of an 1890’s cowboy, she scrambles to find a way back to the future. She has a life and obligations—her fledgling business and her mother’s financial needs. But the less stressful lifestyle, and her deepening love for Gavin Medley, is calling to her heart and she is torn between past and future.

Has God given her a chance at love?

Gavin Medley has been working for years to regain his family homestead. As ranch foreman, he has nothing but a dream of a place and family of his own. But his love for Amanda is making him think that having his own ranch isn’t as important as having someone to love for the rest of his life.

When Amanda returns to the future, Gavin is shattered. He tries to go forward in time, but fails. Believing it’s God’s will, Gavin resigns himself to living without the love of his life.

But love transcends time, and Amanda and Gavin need each other. Can Amanda return to her cowboy?

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The Point is … A Bad Day at Chick-fil-A 8/4/2020

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by James Collins

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Psalm 119:105         

People need the Bible now more than ever. The Bible is the ultimate instruction guide for living. It has in it everything that you’ll need to survive because life gets tougher every day. 

Have you had a bad day recently? A while back, I had one of those days. It started out that morning when I cut myself when shaving. I did more than nick myself. I cut a chunk out of my face. Blood was dripping down my chin. I stuck a wad of toilet paper on my face. The bleeding stopped. After a bit, I took the tissue off, and I started bleeding again. So, I went out with a big glob of toilet paper on my face. 

As I was getting in my truck to go to work, I hit the top of my forehead on the top of the cab. I saw stars. I thought I was going to pass out. When I got to work, someone came up to me and said, “Man! That is a giant knot on your head!” 

I thought that my day would get better because I had a meeting in town at the Chick-fil-A. I love Chick-fil-A. When I arrived at the restaurant, I ordered a BBQ chicken sandwich with waffle fries.  

I like to dip my waffle fries in Ranch Dressing. But I couldn’t open the little dressing packet. I was fiddling with the packet of Ranch Dressing trying to get it open when it burst. Ranch Dressing squirted all over me. I grabbed a bunch of napkins and tried to wipe the Ranch Dressing off my shirt.  

I picked up my BBQ chicken sandwich and I bit into it. The chicken slipped out of the bun and slid down my shirt. Now, I was covered in BBQ Sauce and Ranch Dressing.  

I hurried into the restroom to try to clean up. I reached up under the soap dispenser and pulled the handle. Soap squirted all over me. Liquid soap hit me in the face. Liquid soap spotted up my glasses. Liquid Soap got all over my shirt.  

I cleaned up as best as I could and went back out to finish my meal. When I got back to my table, I discovered that one of the workers at the Chick-fil-A had come by and thrown away my food.  

Ever the optimist, I tried to look on the bright side. I thought, “Well at least he didn’t throw out my sweet tea.” I reached down to get my sweet tea and I noticed this big glob of Ranch Dressing that I had missed on my shirt. I took my finger and scooped up the glob and I put it in my mouth. Only it wasn’t Ranch Dressing. It was liquid soap.  

Now I’m spitting and sputtering. I had a mouthful of soap. I thought, “I’ll wash it down with some sweet iced tea.” When I picked up that tea to take a drink, I felt something wet in my lap. I looked down. There was a hole in the bottom of my Chick-fil-A cup. 

By this time, I was frustrated. I was having a bad day. I went up to the counter to demand a new Sweet Tea.   

The lady behind the counter looked at me and her eyes got big. I was a sight. There was bloody toilet paper on my chin. I had a giant knot on my forehead. My shirt was stained with BBQ Sauce, Ranch Dressing, and liquid soap. My pants were wet from sweet tea. I looked like I had lost control of my bladder. 

The lady behind the counter looked at me and said, “Honey, you’ve had a rough day, haven’t you?” Sarcastically, I said, “Yes, I have. Thank you very much.” She smiled and said, “It’s my pleasure.” 

The point is: Sometimes we have bad days in life. However, we have a survival guide for living. We have the Bible to be a lamp unto our feet and a light to guide our path. We have the Bible to lead us.  

I have been preaching out of the Bible for years. I’ve preached the Bible in places that were dead, and I’ve seen them come alive. I’ve preached the Bible to people that were hurting, and I’ve seen them healed. I’ve preached the Bible to those who were lost, and I’ve seen them saved.  

How often do you read God’s Word? If you and I are not in the Bible daily – if it is not hidden in our hearts – then we will be destroyed by this wicked world. Pick up your Bible. Blow the dust off it. Start reading it. It will make your bad day better.

Fort Scott's First Southern Baptist ChurchThe Point Is ...

James Collins

James Collins

James Collins is pastor, writer, and columnist. Find out more about his ministry at www.thepointis.net. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ask the Author Podcast conducts candid and insightful interviews with Christian Independent Authors. Ever wanted to know what your favorite authors favorite food is? Want to know what your favorite author does in his/her spare time? You’ll find the answer here each week https://anchor.fm/russell-sherrard
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This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Living Hope

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by Precarious Yates

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, – 1 Peter 1:3-4

There has been so much death lately—so much sickness and death. It hard to see that and not drown in hopelessness. 

Hope is a benchmark of the living. As long as there is life, there is hope for another breath. It’s proverbial, and to some quite foolish how strongly humans hope. 

And for those of us who love Jesus, there is a Living Hope. It’s not that we’re beacons for an idea or a cause, but we are beacons of hope for everlasting communion with the King of the universe, who calls Himself Love. God Himself lights that torch, that bonfire of hope within our heart. 

That communion and community with others are our great reward in heaven. Peace unending, joy uninterrupted: these are our rewards in heaven too. Love without burnout, patience without a clock check: these are almost impossible to imagine, but they’ll be ours, so let’s go right ahead and unleash our imaginations!

Let’s meditate on heaven a moment. 

There are streets of gold, huge gates made from a single pearl (have you ever imagined how big that oyster might be?), a tree of life so big that it spans across rivers of living water, and a throne from which flows this river of living water. The tree has leaves that are for healing the nations. Can you think of a single nation that doesn’t need those leaves right now? And then there’s the fruit: there are 12 different kinds of fruit from one tree. How different is one fruit from another? 

These are the kinds of questions I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit lately. And some that He’s been asking me. 

There are aspects of death that are scary: will it hurt? What will happen to my loved ones? Who will be the first to greet me?

But the more we meditate on heaven, and the more we fix our hope on the Living Hope, the less we fear death. For Jesus came to conquer that fear and give us hope for everlasting life!

Although death is a natural part of this life, there is something about it that is unnatural. Death wasn’t what God intended. He intended life—everlasting life—in beautiful communion with Him and others. 

Grieving is natural. And while there is sickness and death to this magnitude on a global scale as has been happening in this pandemic, grieving is a proper response. But let us not grieve as those who have no hope, but rather:

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

Heaven awaits, and He who promised is faithful! Let’s fix our gaze there!

God bless you!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

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