Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas Speculation, Part 2

Joseph crouched next to Mary’s prone form. The babe lay nestled in the crook of her arm, either content in her warmth or unaware of his meager surroundings. Joseph knew not which, only that such circumstances were unbefitting a king.

All because of Augustus’ vile decree. They’d barely made it to Bethlehem in time for Mary to give birth. Now his wife lay in a bed of straw and a trough would serve as the babe’s first bed.

He stared at the child—at Jesus in awestruck wonder, then hung his head in shame. Had he failed the boy already? Had he failed Mary? More importantly, had he failed God? He’d almost walked away when he first learned of Mary’s pregnancy, yet God had given him a second chance. Would God give him a third?

Joseph felt Mary’s hand on his cheek, recognized her jasmine scent. He lifted his head. What would he see reflected back in her eyes?

Mary searched his face. A tender smile curved her lips. Understanding and love saturated her stare. “All is well, Joseph, and as it should be.”

Throat tight with his gratitude, he could only nod. Such trust! No wonder God had chosen Mary for such an honor as carrying the Son of God. That he could be half as worthy.

But why him? What did God see in a simple carpenter like Joseph? He leaned over and kissed Mary’s forehead, then did the same to Jesus. As his lips touched the downy skin of the babe, Joseph’s heart surged with love—a love like nothing he’d ever experienced.

He knew then he’d do anything for the tiny baby. He’d sacrifice everything, even himself if need be. Everything he had and was, he gladly gave to the babe put in his charge—to his “son.”

To Jesus.

All fear vanished.

All shame fled.

All trepidation over the future left in the wake of peace.

And Joseph knew all would be well.

Just as Mary said.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

An Amazing Thought

I read the most amazing description in the Upper Room devotional this week. A quote from Peter Larson:

"Despite our efforts to keep Him out, God intrudes. The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb. Jesus entered our world through a door marked 'No Entrance' and left through a door marked 'No Exit.'"
He is a God of impossibilities, of new beginnings, of extreme faithfulness, and magnificent love. And all we are called to do is to embrace Him.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Christmas Speculation

“You can still change your mind.”

He looked at his father, the embodiment of love. "You know I won’t. There’s too much at stake.”

Mind focused on the unseen, his father stared past him. “It’s a wondrous plan.”

As his son, he ached to know the complete picture, but he trusted his father emphatically. Time had proven his wisdom and faithfulness. “Is it time to go yet?”

His father met his gaze. “Soon. Everything’s almost in place. Donkey’s aren’t the most efficient form of transportation.”

He smiled at his father’s humor. “”Maybe the next model will move faster.”

His father chuckled, then turned somber. “Next time it will be a pony that carries you.”

“I’m glad to do this.” He glanced away. “I only wish…”

“Yes?” A knowing look graced his father’s glowing face.

“I dread the separation.”

His father approached him, his eyes full of love…and pain. “If there were any other way…”

He nodded. “I know. That’s why I’m going. It is a wondrous plan.”

Passion filled his father’s voice. “Wait until you see the ending.”

“I’m ready to go now.”

His father settled a hand on his cheek. “I’m always with you, my son.”

He embraced his father one last time. He’d eventually return, but in the meantime he cherished the moment. He stepped back and waited.

His father seemed to brim with pride as he lifted his hand. “This is my son, with whom I am pleased.”

Chest swelling with his own pride, he smiled again at his father. “This my father, with whom I have the honor to serve.”

In a blink, darkness surrounded him. He no longer could see his father, but he did hear the wail of a baby.

And realized it was his own.

Monday, December 04, 2006

This and That

A few tidbits for you:
The winner of Calm, Cool, & Adjusted is Heather Tipton! Yay Heather!

Now about a book...
I recently finished Saint by Ted Dekker. I have to say, I was chomping at the bit to read this book after I read chatper one at the end of Showdown. That first chapter is a grabber, a real hook you and make you want to know the rest kind of read. Unfortunately, I've now finished the book, and I'm wondering what happened.

The punch and intensity of the beginning seemed to get muddled in ambiguity and haziness. I love the premise of the book—a mind-manipulated assassin—but I'm wondering if the strength of the story got watered down by Dekker's attempt to tie it to the Showdown Project, which connects to his books Black, Red, and White.

Aside from a one-line POV shift in once scene, a character placement error in another, and a few missing words, the writing was strong, Ted Dekker style. I guess I just didn't feel like the ending held together well enough to be satisfying.

The characters were basically strong, although the antagonist was a bit two-dimensional. The hero seemed a bit whimpy at times emotionally, and the heroine didn't seem well defined. I had a hard time figuring out what made her tick.

Thing is, I love Dekker's books. I'll admit, I did get a little frustrated with the Circle series (Black, Red, White), but his message was stellar. Showdown had a sacrificial message as well, but perhaps he hung too much weight on that to carry through this book.

Don't get me wrong, Saint had some pretty awesome moments though, and you can be sure I'll be gearing up to read his next book, Skin. This one also has a killer first chapter at the end of Saint. I just hope it will follow through and deliver the punch it promises.

Friday, December 01, 2006

It is December 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:


and his latest book:

Eye of the Oracle

Bryan Davis is the author of the four book Dragons in Our Midst series, a contemporary/fantasy blend for young people. The first book, Raising Dragons, was released in July of 2004. The second book, The Candlestone, followed in October. Circles of Seven debuted in April of 2005, followed in November by Tears of a Dragon.

Bryan is the author of several other works including The Image of a Father (AMG) and Spit and Polish for Husbands (AMG), and four books in the Arch Books series: The Story of JesusĂ­ Baptism and Temptation, The Day Jesus Died, The Story of the Empty Tomb (over 100,000 sold), and JacobĂ­s Dream. Bryan lives in Winter Park, Florida with his wife, Susie, and their children. Bryan and Susie have homeschooled their four girls and three boys.

To read more about Bryan and his books, visit the
Dragons in our Midst Website or visit Bryan's blog.

Eye of the Oracle

by Bryan Davis

Dragons in our Midst - Prequel
Oracles of Fire - Volume 1


The Seeds of Eden

Angling into a plunging dive, the dragon blasted a fireball at Lilith and Naamah. The two women dropped to the ground just as the flaming sphere sizzled over their heads. Naamah swatted her hair, whipping away stinging sparks that rained down from the fireball's tail.

With a flurry of wings and a gust of wind, the dragon swooped low. As razor sharp claws jabbed at the women, Naamah lunged to the side, and Lilith rolled through the grass. A single claw caught Lilith's long black dress, ripping it as the dragon lifted toward the sky.

Naamah jumped to her feet and helped Lilith up. The dragon made a sharp turn in the air, and, with its jagged-toothed maw stretching open, charged back toward them.

Lilith pushed a trembling hand into the pocket of her dress. "Only one hope left," she said, panting. Pulling out a handful of black powder, she tossed it over her head. "Give me darkness!" she cried.

The powder spread out into a cloud and surrounded the women. Naamah coughed and spat. The noxious fumes blinded her and coated her throat with an acrid film. A hand grabbed her wrist and jerked her down to her knees just as another flaming cannon ball passed over their heads.

"Crawl!" Lilith ordered.

For the rest of chapter one, go to FIRST and enjoy!