What is the second commandment?

image of email newsletterAs part of the many ways in which I research early Christianity for the novels I write, I subscribe to many email newsletters on Biblical subjects.

Sometimes they give the starting point to chase out some information that was previously hard to find. I opened one such newsletter a few days ago, and did not even manage to read it. My eye was drawn to the image amongst the text, a mosaic of Jesus.

I found myself saying, to myself. ‘What part of you shall not make for yourself any graven image is hard to understand?’

There were no cameras in Jesus day. (Or before then.)

Any ‘pictures’, paintings, statues, or images are from the imagination of the creator (with a small ‘c’)

No one living beyond the time of the ‘greats’ of the Old Testament knows what they looked like. (Yes, many of us of a certain age picture Moses like Charlton Heston.)

There are paintings of Exekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and other ancient prophets – ancient kings likeCartoon artist David or Solomon, even Hezekiah or Josiah. They were not painted in those times and preserved thoughout the centuries.What the creator might have done is read about the person he chose to depict- in the Bible and formed his opinion on how he looked from the words written there.

What about us? Do we read those stories and form pictures in our minds? Are the ‘stories’ just that, interesting stories? Is it not possible that we should take warning from what is recorded in so many pages of the Bible.

As for images of Jesus, nowhere in the pages of my Bibles have I seen a description of His looks. Instead there are instructions to live as He lived. For example…

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 11:1 KJV

So said the Apostle Paul, believed to be the writer of a great deal of the New Testament.

Do we push that challenge away, saying “Oh but He was the Son of God”.

My personal belief is that Jesus never asked His followers to do anything beyond their ability… although they might have thought it was, as we probably do. Maybe they didn’t read the next bit about providing a way out.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

From experience that sometimes has seemed hard to trust. When sixteen and a half year old Pete died, my husband and I thought that too hard to bear. But, like many others in that ‘club’ with the horrendous price, God did bring us through.

Flatline image

When my husband died, well… there are many widows who have struggled this same path. (And yes, I must have been able to bear it, because I am still here.) I would be lying if I said that I enjoy life without him, but I am continuing on.

God is with us, and I do not need a picture of someone’s ‘interpretation’, or a statue. I need His words. And they are in the Bible.

God has given us His words, and His promises. They are not in ‘images’ of any sort. They are in the Bible.

Bible

 

It is not His fault if we don’t read them.

 

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Thinking

Susan

 

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Cover choice – result

Thank you text

Many thanks to the people who voted in the recent poll; for the comments; and to the people who commented via Facebook.

 

My favourite did not win.

Neither did the photographer’s favourite.

The winner was clearly the one with the footsteps.

My problem with that choice, was that there was nothing in the book about a beach. I doubt whether in the 1st century AD the beach was anything other than a workplace… and as the harbour silted up, and the resulting marshes a haven for malaria and other diseases… Mmm. Need I say more? Naomi almost died in Hold the Faith, when nursing someone with a fever.

With the help of ‘Olabradha’ who sizes the images correctly for eBook covers, and does the titles for me, the winner was able to be used.

Someone offered the opinion that the combination of the font on another cover together with number three was her choice. So, that was tried. So was moving the picture somewhat so that the water came out. I will post the resulting ‘winning’ cover below.

In offering thanks to the people who commented, it would be remiss of me to not thank ‘Olabradha’ for the many versions he produced of this cover after it was chosen. The idea of ‘picking’ a colour from the Aurora for the titles was his inspiration. ‘Brilliant’.

Like the covers for Hold the Faith, and Grow in Grace, this cover is an international accomplishment. The photographer lives in Tasmania, Australia – where she took the photos of the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights). If you are on Facebook look at her page of photos, she is a very gifted lady. Lena’s Lens Photography.

‘Olabradha’ and his patient wife live in Chicago, and I am in Western Australia. We are all on different time zones.

So now it is time for me to go back to writing book 3, for which this cover was designed.

The Light of Truth cover image

 Praise God – that awesome ‘light show’ is His creation.

Susan

Gifts and packaging

I share this because it is thought-provoking. Sadly, I have no knowledge of the origin, but it should make us pause and consider…

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college.
For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.Sport car image

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study, told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and how much he loved him. He handed him a beautifully wrapped gift box.

Bible imageCurious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with his name embossed in gold.

Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, “With all your money you give me a Bible?” He stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible behind.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old. He thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day.

But before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to him. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important documents and saw the Bible, new, just as he had left it years ago.

With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt 7:11,

“And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?”

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible .It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired.

On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words…

paid in full bw

PAID IN FULL.

On reading this, a someone said to me that it reminded him of…

“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”
Prov 14:29

Gift box

 

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Do we miss gifts or opportunities because it is not packaged as we expect?

 

Or what about people? Do we ‘size someone up’, make a decision about him or her, and perhaps miss someone incredible?

Some thoughts

Susan

Apostle John series, book 3 cover choice

I would like help please, in choosing a cover for book 3 in the Apostle John series, called ‘The Light of Truth’

Once again the cover images were supplied by Lena’s Lens Photography (on Facebook), and the titles and sizing done by Olabrada.

I have a favourite, but I need to choose the most effective for the book content.

About the book…

Like the previous two books in the series, ‘The Light of the Truth”  is set in Ephesus in the 1st century AD, with fact wrapped up in fiction.

Some of the background characters in the previous two books move into the spotlight and provide some necessary back-story. New characters arrive; some merely passing through, others settling into their place in the story, or setting things up for book 4.

The Apostle John and his fictional great-grandson, Benjamin,  remain the central characters in this fictional but based on fact continuation of the story first started in Hold the Faith. (Available on Smashwords, and Amazon)

Ephesus in the 1st century was a city of pagans, ruled by Romans. Grow in Grace and The Light of Truth are set in the time of the Emperor Domitian, the first Roman Emperor who declared himself  ‘Lord and God’. (There was a glimpse of the latter at the end of book 2, Grow in Grace.)

The Jews had a dispensation and were not required to make the ‘act of worship’ to the Emperor. Not so the Christians, which is an on-going threat.

There is animosity, bordering on hatred in some instances, by the Jews toward the ‘new’ sect, the followers of ‘the Way’. Although their beliefs and many of their practices are the same, the Jews see and treat them as heretics… or worse because some of the key players had been born and raised Jews, and chose to follow the teachings of Christ.

The Light of Truth covers the slow dawning of truth, and the effect that it will have on one Jewish family, while at the same time continuing the story of the cost of that truth amongst the brethren.

I would very much appreciate it if you would scroll down to the poll to register your choice of cover for this new, as yet unpublished, book. Just click the ‘radio’ button next the option number you prefer.

Or, if you are on Facebook, visit my author page and tell me which you prefer there.

The Light of Truth cover, option 1
Option 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Light of Truth cover, option 2

Option 2

 

 

The Light of Truth cover, option 3

Option 3

 

 

The Light of Truth cover, option 4

Option 4

Actually they are all my favourites when I see them together. (Placement might be a bit odd, WordPress is the boss LOL)

I have done something that I have never attempted before, added a poll. If it works there are three options to vote for the one you think would be best.

I appreciate your help, thank you

Susan

PS Grow in Grace is also available on Smashwords and Amazon

The Light of Truth is coming soon.