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    Monday
    Jan022012

    Bite 16--No-Freak-Out-Mode-Whatsoever

    (from THE FALL, Chapter 3, pp. 29-31)


    “I cannot grant your desire, Samael.”

    “I had a feeling you’d say that, always faithful to your word.”  Lucifer shook his head and sighed. 

    “Tell your brothers your plan.”

    “Well, you already know, and why should I alarm them since, if You are true to form, You will not intervene?”

    But Michael, with lightning-quick temper and reflexes, already held Lucifer’s throat.  “You will obey the command.”

    Lucifer sneered, “Predictable as always, Michael.  You I will enjoy telling.  If you please,” he tapped the hand at his throat with a dainty finger and smiled into Michael’s glare.  The hand at the fallen angel’s throat was grudgingly removed but Michael’s grip on Lucifer’s shoulder remained.  Lucifer smiled into Michael’s angry face as if relishing a delicious secret.

    “Earth will be destroyed,” Lucifer announced with wide-eyed innocence.  “There now, we’ll have nothing more to fight about. We’ll be best of friends again.”

                “You lie!” Michael said.

                Lucifer turned his attention back to the throne, “Would you like to revise your answer, Oh Most High?”

                “I see the end of all things, Samael, yet I choose holiness.  It would be well for you to do the same.”

                Lucifer inclined his head and his cohorts sprang into action, closing tighter around him.  “I am not given dominion over earth but I retain some power.  An oversight on your part?”

                The rebels’ fire blazed, blinding in its combined strength.  Michael was also caught in their midst as their sphere grew tighter and brighter.

                But Rapha was determined to retrieve Michael who struggled in vain as Lucifer cackled with ecstasy. 

                “No, brother!” Gabriel’s urgent voice was in Rapha’s ear and his strong arms grasped him as Rapha dove toward Michael.  Immediately Rapha’s momentum was increased a hundredfold and he was sucked toward Lucifer.

                “Yes, brother.  Join us,” Lucifer’s face was ecstatic in welcome.

                They whirled, spinning and increasing to piercing brightness until, with a breathless, split-second’s silence, even Lucifer’s laughter stopped and all was black. 

    Rapha felt his being shatter and collapse as he and the other celestials caught in Lucifer’s vortex exploded through the porthole and plummeted toward Earth.

    (end excerpt)

    **********************

    True selfishness does not care what is destroyed so long as the selfish motive is achieved. 

    If we went through every one of the Ten Commandments and dug to the motive of why one would break them, selfish ambition is at the core.

    Murder, adultery, even working when God has said to rest belies a need to be our own God and fulfill our own agenda.  We believe God will not attend to our needs so we are left to fight those battles alone.

    Yes I’m bloodying my own toes here.  Abiding in the realization of God’s immenseness for me is fleeting.  There are moments of complete trust and peace in adversity, then, as if shoved beneath ocean waves, I flounder… again.

    Often, I feel like a spinning vortex, spreading my panic and disrupting God’s flow to everyone within reach.

    But over and over, when I stop long enough to realize once again that this is not how I desire to spend the short days of my life, I fall to my knees, surrender, and feel my heart slow to the steady, consistent rhythm of God’s eternity.

    At least until the day’s next crisis.

    My lofty aim is to make the “crisis to surrender” cycle shorter.

    Or--a true miracle--progress to “no-freak-out-whatsoever.”

     

    “Peace I leave with you.  My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  (John 14:27 NKJV)

     

    Note the “let not.”  It’s a choice. 

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL


     

     

    

    Sunday
    Jan012012

    Bite 15--A Pretty, Poison-filled Hook

      CHAPTER THREE

      A Fresh Start

     

    Again evil’s menace grew.  Why did Adonai refuse to destroy the roots of perversion?  Surely He could discern only too well Luc’s desire to corrupt… everything.   Was it pity for the victims of Lucifer’s experiments that kept Adonai from destroying every hidden hold?  Could Adonai remain holy and defeat evil?  When Rapha could not understand he grieved and found unity with the heart of his Maker.

    For the man creatures, things went from bad to worse.  Lucifer’s experiments became more sophisticated as he refined the art of corruption.  New manipulated beasts erupted from the bowels of the earth. 

    Reptiles, the sleek, dominant hunters of the period, began increasing in size and ferocity.  Most simply grew in height and girth but not intelligence, their lumbering forms multiplying across the earth’s surface.  But some of the carnivorous species developed a particular taste for humans.  Life on earth became a constant struggle to survive for early man.  Men lacked the size, strength and cold-blooded focus of their foe which was drawn to their warmth even in darkness.  Thus it appeared the roots of mankind would be erased.  But the man creatures displayed a surprising ability to adapt, a fact Lucifer underestimated; a fact that would serve them well in the days to come.

    ***

    Rapha was there in the celestial court when Lucifer was granted an audience and appeared with a contingent of his fallen brothers.  Lucifer’s words of greeting were gracious, all according to protocol, but it did not take long for his true purpose to be revealed.

    “I come with a proposition, Oh Most High.”

    “Yes, my child.”  Lucifer flinched at the address.  “State your thoughts.”

    “I offer peace.”  The attending celestials murmured in surprise.  “Let us make an end of death and war.  From this day forward my motto with the man beings is ‘Live and let live.’”  Lucifer raised a magnanimous arm and smiled at his former compatriots.

    “And what do you gain?”

    “What do I gain?  It is enough to know our conflict would be at an end.”

    “Speak your desire, Samael.”

    Lucifer grimaced once again but when he spoke his voice was steady, even cheerful.  “My desire is to heal, to take the hands of my celestial family and, together, return creation to her former glory, beginning with Earth.”  With a flick of a finger Lucifer opened a porthole in the heavenlies and the assembly beheld the blue-green planet, peaceful from a distance, but as they watched, he brought their view closer until glimpses of war, pain and devastation—a weeping child, a sleeping woman unaware a gigantic reptile hovered above her, man slaying man, the injured, sick, naked, and starving populace of Earth paraded before their eyes.  Lucifer’s accusing eyes swept the faces of those gathered.

    “State your requirement,” Adonai’s calm voice broke the hypnotic hold of the horrific images.

    “Nothing much, actually quite trivial.”  Lucifer shrugged and put a hand to his head as if recalling a fleeting thought. “Ah, yes!  Celestial stewardship over earth.”

    The uproar was immediate and Lucifer’s entourage formed a protective circle around their leader while Michael’s angry voice rose above the rest, “With you in charge, no doubt!”

    “Actually,” Lucifer continued, “I would join my angelic brothers in this errand of peace and restoration.  Men are not prepared for this task.  It requires celestial wisdom and power.  We would show them the way.”

     Michael burst forth with an explosive laugh.

    “Yes, Michael.  Something you would like to share?”

    Michael’s massive, muscular form shouldered through the crowd, “Adonai, he dares to come before your throne with a lie!”

    “Unlike others,” Lucifer continued without so much as a glance in Michael’s direction, “I seek to heal division, even to work side by side with those of a more… unforgiving nature.”

    Michael gave a snort of disgust.

    “And if your request is denied?”

    “The best interests of earth, of Your creation, are at stake here.”

    “You knew you would be denied and your plan is already at work.”

    Lucifer chuckled.  “It’s just impossible to surprise You.”  He shrugged and swept a hand toward his companions,  “Of course, I cannot accept all the credit for our plan, but I stand prepared to aid earth, if given the ability to do so.”

    Rapha recognized his old friend’s expression of triumph.  Compromise had never been in Lucifer’s vocabulary. 

    It was absolute victory or nothing.  

    ***********************

    Talk about letting the fox guard the henhouse!  Once again, it's all about the driving motive that guides Lucifer. 

    He wants to be God. 

    Problem is, we still fall for his same ol' schtick.  He gives us a legitimate goal: personal happiness, payback for a wrong, success, avoiding vulnerability, escaping conflict, even "knowledge."  Problem is, these are all "our highest ideals." 

    Our highest is filthy rags compared with God's.

    "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."

    Anything less than total surrender and absolute trust in God's holiness and unchanging love will steer us toward death. 

    This digging into Lucifer's agenda both simplifies and complicates my view of biblical/world history, religion, current events, relationships and everything else in between.

    Bottom line: Lucifer wants to win authority--and he has no moral entanglements.  His end justifies any means.

    On the other hand, God is love.  I Corinthians 13 defines love as; patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    God=love=good

    Satan=pride=evil=steal, kill & destroy

    But he'll wrap it in your prettiest ideals, hiding the poison-filled hook inside.

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL

     

    

    Saturday
    Dec312011

    Bite 14--In Your Face, Luc!

    (THE FALL, ch. 2, pp. 24-25--to start at the beginning, go to "Bitesize 1")

    Rapha looked down through a haze of his own confusion and met that same look in the creature’s eyes.  Their lives had been worlds apart and yet they shared this moment, the same thought.  Why?  How?

    Mercy demanded he should kill the creature, end its torture. 

    He could not do it.  Instead, Rapha sat in the leaves, oblivious to all but the spasms of his tiny ward whose heart continued to beat even as its blood poured into his palm.  His vigil continued until the creature, its large eyes probing and questioning to the very end, shuddered a last wracking breath and grew still. 

    Rapha remained, lost in darkness despite a persistent sun piercing the forest’s canopy.     

    As if from a great distance, he became aware of a roar, a sound that carried such rage and grief that all nature trembled.  Slowly, Rapha realized the sound came from his own mouth opened wide in agony as he too longed to know the release of death.  It was the first time a mortal end seemed welcome.  It would not be the last.

    “Ah.  I see you found my gift.”

    Rapha had been so consumed by confusion, grief, and despair, Lucifer’s arrival had gone unnoticed.  His old friend was watching with an obscene, rapturous expression.

    As Lucifer’s voice ripped through him, stirring old wounds and raking across new devastation, Rapha succumbed to emotion and summoned his angelic forces, who began to appear, their pure light surrounding the fallen angel who crouched on a fire-scarred hillock, staring down on Rapha’s torment with shining eyes.  Except for the voice, Rapha would hardly have known him.  Angelic beings do not age but Lucifer had always been a “youthful” presence, eager and teasing.  Now, rather than light, his face bore deep shadows and the eager expression had been transformed to unquenchable greed.  And Rapha’s pain was his feast.

    The desire to erase Lucifer’s mocking smile shoved Rapha’s grief aside.  How he lusted to channel his rage toward Lucifer and his followers.  Visions of blasting through soil and rock to destroy every trace of death, stench and corruption were a dizzying wine.  Rapha could taste revenge on his tongue… and he savored it.

    But even in this moment, Adonai’s will flowed clearly into Rapha’s mind. 

    “This is not the hour of retribution.”

    Now came the real test as Rapha faced his greatest temptation.  What Lucifer deserved was clear, but what Adonai asked….  How could holiness allow this abomination to go unanswered? 

    Lucifer’s mocking laughter cut through Rapha’s turmoil. “Adonai demands mercy, right?  But you, mighty warrior, desire justice.  How long will you serve such weakness?”  The question ended in a hiss.

    Righteous fury was almost Rapha’s undoing.  Never had he been more vulnerable than at that moment, longing to rip Lucifer in exactly the way the tiny creature had suffered.  Then he looked down at its mangled body still cradled in his hands.  The compassion that overwhelmed him, straight from Adonai’s heart, cooled the heat of revenge.  The words Adonai implanted in Rapha’s consciousness made no sense, but they carried reassurance.

    “This very seed will one day hasten his defeat.”

                No, Rapha would not strike with physical force this day.  But he could not resist goading his enemy just once.  Looking up, he fixed the peace of Adonai on Lucifer like a laser, held that malicious gaze for one eternal second—and smiled.  A flicker of uncertainty stirred in Lucifer’s eyes. 

                Rapha opened a single thought to Lucifer as he disappeared with the creature still cradled to his breast:

    “You always did hate secrets.”

    (end excerpt)

    ***********************

    This is one of my very favorite "Rapha moments."  His reined-in emotions as Lucifer longs for him to "cross to the dark side" thrill me because, admittedly, I tend to think "Blow 'im away" when I should listen to God's heart and react out of His strength. 

    Again, confusion and questions don't indicate lack of faith.  God doesn't demand that we detach our brains to love Him.  But too many of us, me included, tend to just judge God out-of-hand and reject Him--the only One with the answers and power to make things right.

    As I fell deeper and deeper in love with God through prayer, as I got to experience a few times God's overwhelming love and was blown away by His GOOD-NESS (man, words fall short here) I wanted so much to vindicate Him.  God's name has been smeared down through the ages as He has been blamed for the sum of our ills and depravity.  Yet the whole time, through patient, controlled holiness, He has persisted in making a way through impossibilities to release us from Satan's slavery. 

    But if we believe He's to blame, we won't turn to Him.  We'll keep being deceived by things, people, religiosity, etc. that just make our chains heavier.

    God, let the truth be shouted from the housetops.  You are GOOD.  You are the creator of everything GOOD.  You want GOOD for us.  You are the only One Who can make us truly free. 

    GOOD wins.

    Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32)

    That's all I'm trying to do here. 

    

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL

    Friday
    Dec302011

    Bite 13--If There's a God--WHY?

    (THE FALL, ch. 2, pp. 22-24)

    All heaven waited.  Surely Lucifer’s rebellion would not go unanswered. 

    But the surface of the land in that ancient age resumed its cycles—life and death, bloom and fade—as heavenly order was restored, more cherished by its inhabitants than ever, even though a threat was growing in the hidden shadows.  Soon, what began as inconceivable rumor became undeniable. 

    Lucifer and his followers were corrupting the fabric of Adonai’s creation. 

                Rapha stumbled upon proof of this depravity in a forest glade from which rumors had risen.  Woodland creatures did not add their chatter here.  He felt the void of sweet breeze carrying the scent of fertile soil and woodland blooms; this ground was wounded, tainted, diseased.  Dis-ease—the word fit.  The air pulsed with a reek that choked the flow of life.  Never before had a locale so repulsed Rapha, yet the inner, compelling force of Adonai willed him forward through an increasing stench that rose through fissures in the earth’s scarred skin. 

    To Rapha, accustomed to heaven’s breath, these sensations clawed at his sanity as he probed his surroundings with senses that far outstripped the wariest prey.  Never before had those senses been such a curse.  Faint but piercing cries assaulted his ears, cries of such despair and agony they drove him with a gasp to his knees toward the buried pestilence that wrapped round his being like poison tentacles.  Eyes shut to shield against the horror, he clung to the lifeline of Adonai, feeling a gentle, sweet infusion of strength to face what horrors lay in store. 

    And he had only to open his eyes to find them. 

                He looked down and discovered a tiny humanoid foot, no longer than his thumbnail, half-hidden and quivering upon a bed of decaying leaves.  With a trembling hand, Rapha parted the debris and a moan escaped his ancient lips.

    Though the foot was that of an embryonic manchild, the rest appeared comprised of the spare parts of other species—feline ears, primate torso, reptilian skin on its upper body while some type of fur covered the lower half that ended with one human leg and foot.  But Rapha’s horror was not due to its unnatural design but rather to what had been done to it.  One leg and arm had been removed.  The rest of its body was mutilated with diabolical, exploratory precision.  The miniature talons on its remaining hand were clenched so tight that blood pooled beneath the self-inflicted piercings on its palm.

    Worst of all, the creature was still alive.

    Rapha scooped the remains into his hands, careful to dig beneath its bed of leaves to keep the beast cushioned, and cupped it to his breast.  When a large tear fell from Rapha’s cheek to steam upward from exposed organs, the creature shuddered, and its nocturnally round eyes fluttered open and held Rapha’s gaze, twisting a barbed knife deep into the angel’s soul.  He did not want to see into the creature’s mind but those large eyes held his, a gateway to horrors visited upon helplessness.  

                Rapha gasped in pain with the memories of ripping, of piercing, of twisted, powerful faces with no remorse for the torture they inflicted.  Rage engulfed him.  He knew those faces… trusted, beloved brothers whose eyes now mirrored the ruthless ambition of Lucifer. 

                Down, down he was pulled into the madness of the creature’s mind, choking on memories of chambers thick with death, fear, endless pain, and the poison of despair.

    He wrenched his mind free and held the creature to his breast.  When he felt a feeble claw clutch his chest he cried out in the language of the heavens,  “Adonai!  Ah!  El Dai-ine!”

    How could Adonai know and yet… do nothing?

    (end excerpt)

    ***********************   

    Ah!  The endless question.  And the reason so many say they reject or even do not believe in God at all.

    If this portion of the manuscript reflected my own state of mind and struggles to grapple with a holy God in an unholy world, it would have been covered with tears and bloodstains.  How I've called God out on this topic, "God, You see that pain; You witnessed that child's kidnapping; You were there as he wasted away with cancer; You saw the genocide.  Where are You?"

    Then as I boil and fume and blame, quiet portions of scripture slip into my mind, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." "Greater things than these shall you do because I go to the Father." "Go ye into all the world and make disciples."  "Abide in Me and I will abide in you." "But you shall be given power from on high." 

    Oh yeah.  His Spirit dwells within us--those who call upon His name--those who listen to His words and DO them--this flawed vessel of... me.

    There's a John Michael Talbot song that states;

    "Christ has no body now but yours.
    No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
    Yours are the eyes through which He moves
    compassion on this world.
    Yours are the feet with which He walks
    to do good.
    Yours are the hands
    with which He blesses all the world.
    Yours are the hands, yours are the feet.
    Yours are the eyes; you are His body."

    His body on earth--is us. 

    Not to put on a load of guilt--been there, done that, got nowhere except under condemnation which steals the energy to do anything.

    Does an apple tree stress and strain to pop out those apples?  No.  It's a natural outgrowth of being in healthy soil, soaking up water and sun then... apples.

    Our world is still in the state it's in because the Body of Christ--His bride--has lost the ability to ABIDE in Him.  If we did, there would be change.

    How I struggle with this.  Just bein' real here.  Inevitably, I enter His presence with my own agenda; pushing what I think He should do, pushing to know what I need to do to push that agenda, striving, striving, striving.  Sometimes I can sense God just waiting, patiently, calmly, for me to run out of steam, look around at my fog of words, and shut up.

    Prayer is not dictation of our will until God gets off His duff and does what we say.  There's the ultimate idolatry.  Contrary to what Whitney Houston professes, the greatest love is not "loving myself."

    The greatest love is God's love toward us.  In Him is healing, peace, wisdom, purpose, joy, even power--everything we seek in all the wrong places.  

              "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (IIChron. 7:14)

    There's the key.  That's why our world is still in a mess even though Jesus lived, died and rose again.  The focus is on abiding with the Father, absorbing His mind, his heart and His will.  The change we long for is... apples.

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL

    Thursday
    Dec292011

    Bite 12-- Lucifer's Self-Deception

    (from THE FALL, ch. 2, pp. 20-22)

    The compelling voice ceased as Lucifer realized the tension between them was gone.  His eyes narrowed, “Even now Adonai whispers His lies to you.  I’d recognize that vacant expression anywhere.  Rapha!  You must think for yourself!”

    “I choose to be single-minded.  If it does not please Adonai, I do not think it.” 

                “But Rapha!  Brother!”  Luc reached toward him with graceful hands.  “Don’t you see?  Perhaps this is Adonai’s plan.  We are ready to rule but we must shake off our fear of Him.  No one rules Him.  To be like Adonai, no one can rule us!”

                “You do not wish to rule us?”

                In the split-second’s pause, Lucifer shut his eyes and a spasm of pain played across his features.  The sadness in his eyes when he opened them was truly heartbreaking.    

    “I would… lead my brothers to greater glory.”

                Rapha fought the sudden urge to let out an explosive “Ha!” like Michael.  Instead he took a steadying breath to say, “And how would you deal with those who oppose you—uproot another mountain?”

                “I tried to persuade you….” Lucifer began.

                “Your own actions prove you are not ready to rule.”  Rage flamed in Lucifer’s eyes and Rapha fought to keep his voice steady.  “Please, humble yourself.  Adonai’s ways, His timing, His methods are perfect.  The more you struggle against Him the more you destroy yourself!”

                “Humble myself?  He does not need my help to do that.  I who was at Adonai’s right hand am left to grovel with filth!”  A deadly resolve filled Lucifer’s face, “But I promise, though it take an eternity, one day Adonai will bow to me.”

                The rumble started deep beneath their feet and grew closer until the cavern over their heads began to collapse. 

                “What, Adonai?”  Lucifer shouted.  “Would You, my creator, destroy your beloved?  Go ahead and prove you are a selfish, vengeful God who maintains your throne by force rather than love!”  His voice, Lucifer’s voice which had been able to coax the entire celestial court to glorious, perfection of song, which had been his greatest gift bestowed by his Creater, now screamed to match the deafening noise,  “Go ahead and crush me!  I will never stop!  You have rejected me?  I. Defy. You!”  

                Eyes bulging, Lucifer continued to rage, taunting and ridiculing the great Creator, commanding Adonai to prove His superiority. 

                 Soon the rumbling ceased and Luc laughed in triumph, “Oh that’s right.  You’re so holy and long-suffering.  Your righteousness stays your hand.”  He cackled with glee and strutted to place a talon grip on Rapha’s shoulders. 

    Lucifer’s face was hardly recognizable.  The peace and confidence was replaced by hatred, and his beauty was lost beneath rage that flickered across his features like tongues of fire.   Rapha stood his ground as Lucifer pulled him close to whisper.  “Be assured, old friend, I am hampered by no such weakness.”  He kissed Rapha’s cheek, then, with a burst of fire that exploded the rock around them, he vanished.

    (end excerpt)

    ********************

    Elizabeth Mitchell, an actress on the popular TV series "Lost" gave this answer when asked if her character was good or bad.  "Even the most evil character believes they're good."

    Hitler, Mussolini, even Lucifer had this in common.  There was a goal, their highest goal, that overshadowed their commitment to the highest goal anyone can have--to know and love God.

    Many people believe we're all prostitutes, ready to shake off ideals if/when the price is high enough.  The Joker's character played to maniacal perfection by Heath Ledger in "Dark Knight" says it so well.  "I'm not a monster.  I'm just ahead of the curve."

    What is the issue that comes between you and God?  Rest assured, even if you won't admit it to yourself, Satan knows.  Insecurity, lust, power, anger, addiction, you name it, the chink in the armor will be exploited.

    God is "jealous" for us because He sees the devastation and vulnerability of idolatry--that thing/person you think about the most, talk about the most, that controls your emotions.  Anything, anyone other than God on the throne leads to death.

             Search me, O God, and know my heart;
             Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

             And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
             And lead me in the everlasting way. 
    (Psalm 139:23-24) NAS


     

    THE FALL is my first published novel. Hopefully there will be many more to follow, but regardless, I'm hooked--addicted to the written word.

    Click the link at the top of the page if you would like to order The Rapha Chronicles, Book 1: THE FALL