Monday, July 22, 2013

The Truth About James 5:14-15

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."

James 5:14-15 (KJV)

Not many people would think twice while reading James 5, especially when going through these particular verses. I mean, seriously, how can putting oil on someone heal him? It sounds like a cult thing to do, right? Actually, no. Sit down and grab some lemonade. Let me tell you a story.

A few years ago, a very good friend of my family (whom we shall refer to as Mr. Friend in this story) approached my father and asked him what he thought about this passage. My father, a preacher, honestly responded that he hadn't really given it much thought, but that if God commanded it, then we should do it. Mr. Friend then asked if my dad would anoint him with oil.

See, Mr. Friend had just been diagnosed with cancer... for the third time. He'd already had it twice, and gone through major radiation, had his head cut open to allow the doctors to remove cancer, and now he was facing that yet again.

My dad put a lot of prayer into this, as I'm certain you can imagine. He went with my mom to pick out a special oil to use, and then the next Sunday in church, my dad asked Mr. Friend to come up before the congregation. My dad read the verses from James, explained what he was doing, put a dab of the oil on Mr. Friend's forehead, and then motioned for the men of the church to join him in laying their hands on Mr. Friend and praying for him right then and there, stating that what they were doing was in faith, and that whatever the outcome would be, may God be glorified. 

Personally, I really wasn't sure about the whole thing. I had no idea if it would actually work. Truthfully, I really wasn't sure if we weren't doing something horribly out of style and dated and whatnot. But since my dad, who is a pastor, was proceeding with it all in good faith, I figured it was fine.

A few tense days passed. Mr. Friend went to the doctor. And we got a phone call.


Completely gone! The doctor couldn't find a trace of it anywhere. Mr. Friend was cancer-free, and to this day, he still is

But what was it that had happened? Why did Mr. Friend get healed the way he did?

It wasn't the oil. Even though it had been specially prepared for such anointing, it wasn't a magic oil. It was a simple blend of simple oils. There was nothing amazing about it.

It wasn't the fact that all the men in our church laid their hands on Mr. Friend. They were just normal men, men who went through the same day-to-day trials that we all do. There was nothing amazing about the men.

It wasn't even Mr. Friend himself. He only stepped up in faith and obeyed what God had said to do in James 5. There was nothing amazing about Mr. Friend.

Read the verses I posted above again. It was because it was done in faith. "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick." It was the amazing act of God that healed Mr. Friend. It was all God. We simply obeyed, in faith, and we saw miraculous results that only He could give.

Too many times we brush things off, such as anointing with oil, calling them old-fashioned, not relevant, cultish. Why do we do that? It's because we don't believe God can do the miracles we read about in the Bible again. It was amazing to read about, but we think it's pointless to ask for some of the same miracles again. Christ cast out demons, healed the lame and blind, granted health to the sick. Is He not able to do the same now? He is. And He does. It's our job to obey, trusting that He will answer. It's our job to believe that the God of the universe, the Lord that loves us so, will hear our prayer. We don't see miracles today because we don't look for them. We don't see His hand of power because we don't believe we could see His power working. God is still performing miracles today. Mr. Friend is living proof. We just need need to obey and trust Him.

Yesterday, we had a special service in our church to anoint my grandma, as well as Mr. Friend's daughter and her husband. My grandma (this is my dad's mom, not the one that was in a car accident last December) fell and severely broke her leg last summer and is just finally able to get around again. However, during her months in a cast, other physical problems came to light, including the telltale signs of Parkinson's disease, and she asked my dad to anoint her. Mr. Friend's daughter has some kind of heart disorder where her heart beats too hard and too fast for her good, and she is facing surgery sometime in the near future. Mr. Friend's son-in-law was in a car accident back in 2005, in which he ruptured a disc in his back. Since then, he's had 2 failed back surgeries, and lives every day in pain. 

My dad anointed all three of them yesterday. We don't know how God will answer, whether He will heal them like He did Mr. Friend or not. But we know that whatever happens, He will be glorified.

God bless!

Friday, July 12, 2013

CE: Laris Discovers Fireworks

"Watch out!"

"Hey, Doofus, back up!"

The shouts are simultaneous with the sudden crackling of the sparklers. My brother jumps back just as one lighted stick swings under his nose. 

"Careful, Gherkin!" He shouts to our cousin.

 "What in all of the twelve kingdoms is that?"

 The voice behind me makes me jump, even though I'm already on edge from the blasts of the firecrackers and sparklers. 

"Laris! Don't sneak up on me like that!"

The tall blonde princess grins, her green eyes flashing with fun. "What is it?" She repeats the question and nods at the circle of people in front of me. One of my other cousins, Captain Oblivious by name, is getting another great burst of color ready to send into the sky.

 "We're shooting off fireworks for the Independence Day."


"It's an American tradition." I explain. "But we only do the little ones."

Nattalaris laughs as another explosion sends my siblings and cousins scrambling backwards, necks craning to make certain they don't miss a bit of the sparking wonder above them in the night air. "I would dearly love to see such ones that you do not describe as little."

 "You'd love it, Laris. They boom so loudly that you can feel it down in your very bones."

"And we don't have these in Findenland, because...?" The princess gives me a raised eyebrow.

I shrug, hoping the nonchalant expression will gain me some favor in her eyes. I know that this is just the sort of thing to excite Nattalaris, and she's probably not happy with me for allowing her country, fictional as it is, to have a lack of fireworks. "No one has invented them yet."

She throws a fist into my shoulder. "Well, hurry up and have someone invent them! You're going to need these lights over the castle for the ball."

I give her a puzzled glance. "What ball?"

"Don't be daft, Kiri." Laris keeps her eyes on the spectacle in front of us, clearly enjoy each blast and sizzle of color. "You have twelve princesses in one castle, and visiting monarchs in every other chapter. There's going to be a big ball sometime. And to keep the whole occasion from falling into that boring monotonous dancing regime, you're going to need some of these. At least, if you hope to have anyone enjoy themselves, you'd better include fireworks. Balls are bad enough as it is, so you'd best blow something up."

"So, to keep something interesting, you have to blow it up?"

"Certainly! That's what the orcs did at Helm's Deep, right? They blew clean through the Deeping Wall to breach the fortress."

My jaw drops. "How do you know about that?"

"Oh, come on, Kiri. You don't think I can be a figment of your imagination and not know all the things you tuck away up there? Lord of the Rings is one of your favorite stories. I know all about it."

I had never put the idea together that my characters may know some other story than their own. But, yes, it makes sense that Laris would know about LOTR. She probably has all the events from the Narnia books cross-analyzed and memorized, as well.

"He's setting off another one!" Laris darts forward as Captain touches another fuse off. Sure, the bottle rocket isn't anything grand, as we have all seen so many different displays of fireworks in past years. But for the Findenland princess, this is something entirely new. Somehow, even though she's only the figment on my imagination, I find myself completely enthralled with Laris's reactions. The fun she sees here is so much more than anything anyone could describe as fun in her own land. I almost regret forcing her and her sisters into their current position. 

But not completely. I know where they'll end up, so hopefully later they'll thank me for all the trouble I put them through.

After the last sparkler has been burnt, Laris turns back to me. "You will put fireworks in our story."

"Is that a command?"

Laris returns my nonchalant shrug. "A suggestion. Besides, I'll enjoy the ball ever so much more then."

I laugh. "How do you know? You've actually never been to a full, all-out ball before. How could you know that fireworks will make it better?"

"Because I do. You like them, and I'm just like you, so I like them, too."

"You're not just like me."

"Then why am I your favorite?"

"You're not my favorite."

"Yes, I am. I'm obnoxious, and I'm fun. You can't help but like me."

"Does that mean I'm obnoxious, too?"

"That's exactly what I mean, Kiri. Now go and write those fireworks."


But I'm too late. She's gone, without any blast of color, crackle of sparks, or tiding smoke tendrils. 

"Obnoxious girl." I mutter to myself with a grin, making a mental note to myself at the same time.

Write fireworks in TK for Laris.

God bless!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Beta Readers Alert!

Well, I've finished my round of editing, and now Children of a Legend is ready for some criticism. I'm calling on Beta readers, folks. 

If you're not totally sure what the whole deal of a Beta reader is, let me just give you a quick run-through of what I'll expect from you. Don't panic, it's basically a willingness to read and give me your honest thoughts, whether they be good, bad, or in-between. I don't want a simple, "That was a good book." or "I enjoyed it." I'm looking for something deeper. For example, "I really liked the way (insert name) did or said this." or "Chapter (insert number) didn't seem to fit in the general flow of the story." Please, please, please be specific with what you either liked or didn't like, and let me know if you come across any grammatical errors or typos. I think I may have cleaned up most of those in my first round of editing, but there may be some that escaped my notice. And don't be afraid to let the criticism go long! The more, the better!
Okay, now that I've briefed you in that, here's what I'm going to do. Anyone who wants to be a Beta reader for CoaL, please email me at liannetaimenlore(at)gmail(dot)com. I can send you the first half of the novel in PDF format (which I'm assuming is the easy and traditional way to go), or if you don't fancy staring at a computer screen to critic my work, I can give you a link that will take you to where you can purchase a tangible proof copy of the novel. 
So, why only half the novel in the PDF? Here's why: I know there are many people out there who want to read CoaL, and I have to say, based on the lovely comments you guys have left for me, I'm very highly flattered. And I want people to read it, but it just needs that last minute spit polish to make it shine before I present it to the world. However, I don't want to just go and give away the entire story to people who really don't want to help me give CoaL that spit-shine it needs. In the first round of emails I'll be sending out, I'll only be sending you half the story. If you show me that you are truly interested in CoaL, and provide the feedback I'm looking for (i.e. deeper thoughts rather than just a "I liked it."), then I will include you in the second round of emails in which you'll receive the second half of CoaL in a PDF. 
I realize that sounds really bad, but you'll have to excuse me. I'm a writer, I tend to be insane because I am one, and CoaL right now is what you would call my precious. I'm still tentative to have other people rip it apart, but I know it'll be good for me. But I'm only starting with one half, to let myself get used to it. 
So, please, please email me (look above for the address!). I'll be sending out the PDF hopefully sometime next week, so I'd like to get all the names in as soon as possible! If you want the physical proof copy, let me know in an email, and I'll send you the link to purchase it (yes, you will have to buy it yourself, I do apologize). 
God bless!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Snippets From June

Well, even though I had to stop my 50K challenge early on in the month due to life getting in the way, I did manage to put a good chunk onto book two of The Dragon Tamer. So, without further adieu, here are some snippets from Rebirth of a Legend (RoaL). 

And please click here to visit the home of Snippets of Story.

A mouse!” 
Anyone walking in eastern Marndid late after the finishing of breakfast would have heard the shriek. It was the type of shriek that appeared without warning, causing terrible damage to the ears of those who were close enough to encounter it, echoes rushing through the corridors and reaching to the farthest, coldest, and draftiest corners of the house. The shriek was accompanied by delicately gloved hands frantically clutching at wide, swaying skirts and a hasty, rather unladylike gallop backwards that threatened to trample any standing in the unfortunate path. 


Dav? You up?” Ahmis's voice came distantly through the thick door the next morning.

Davin rolled over and shoved a hand into his face to wipe the sleep out of his eyes. His fist came up faster than he had expected, and the suddenness of his fingers striking the bridge of his nose stole a moan from his throat.
“Are you fighting someone in there?”
Davin gently rubbed his sore nose. “Only myself.”
The door creaked open, and Ahmis's blond head popped in. “Oh, good. So you're awake, then?”
Davin stuffed his face into his pillow in an attempt to go back to sleep and give his brother a hint about leaving him alone. “I wasn't.”
“But you are now, and that's the important thing.” The excitement in Ahmis's voice made Davin pull his face out of the pillow. “I want to show you something.”


Near the scarred capital of Marndid, a rusty lion weather vane stood crookedly atop a shabby barn. The battered metal had withstood the test of time, keeping erect in every kind of storm that nature had dared to produce. Hail had beaten down on the regal form of the lion carefully watching over the tiny farm below, leaving it unmercifully bent and bruised. Rain had washed over it, leaving it bitterly rusted in numerous, scratchy patches. Snow had covered it, freezing the iron so that it could not move to point the direction of the breeze. Gusts had tortured it, casting about this way and that so that the lion now sat askew in his position on the roof.
And yet, the vane still stood proudly, a symbol of resolve and endurance. It had been that way for years proceeding to the current time, and it would remain that way for years to come. Jod Mirtruse was certain of it. 

Davin took advantage of the stilled page to try to read what had been written. “That's not the main language of Dron.”
“No, it's not. I think it's Vieumot.”
“View what?”
“Vieumot. It's an ancient language, from which our modern tongue has been adapted.” Ahmis responded, slipping quickly back into his old, scholarly self, the boy who had once enjoyed being the toast of the biggest universities in Dron. “At one time, it was the accepted language of Dron, but since then we've had too many immigrants, and the dialects and the language changed drastically. It's hardly used now, except by university students, although it was very popular for the wealthy to read, write, and even speak it once upon a time.”
“Can you read it?”
“No,” Ahmis scowled at the page, as if angered at the thought. “Unfortunately, I had to choose between classes at Stylo, and at the time I didn't think Vieumot was important.”
Davin couldn't deny that his heart grew disappointed. “So, you can't read any of it?”
Ahmis squinted at the page. “Well, I did have a few friends who learned to read and write Vieumot, and I did manage to bribe a few of them into sharing some of their lessons with me. I didn't learn very much, and what I did learn, I forgot most of it. However...” his words trailed off as he turned the faded leaves back to the very beginning of the journal. “There are some words that I keep seeing. They're coming up quite often in the entries.”
“Do you recognize them?” Ahmis was taking way too long sitting over this in Davin's opinion.
“I... wait.” Ahmis plunked his good hand down on the page and ran his fingers over the written phrase under the first date. “This word is the first person possessive pronoun linking it to the following second word which is...” Ahmis bit his lip, his face tightened in thought.
“Is what? I don't even know what you're talking about.”
“It's says my name. Those are the first two words, but the script is difficult to read.” Ahmis drew the book closer to his face. “Trenlam? No, that's an F at the beginning, not a T.”
“An F?” Davin echoed, as a sudden thought rushed into his head.
“Yeah,” Ahmis stretched the syllable out as if the same thought had occurred to him.
“Is it...?”
Ahmis's hand trembled beneath the leather weight of the book. “It is. Davin, it says My name is Frendan Teur de'Gon. It's our father's journal! We found our father's journal!”


And you're just going to let them two go off alone?” Grant shot a furious glance at Rodnal.
“I am not the final authority, young Grant,” the storyteller stated evenly. “You are all, I believe, old enough to make your own decisions, and although Père made me the oldest and, for a while, the leader of this group, I am not your designated commander. That would be Davin. If you have a problem with his decision, then you should take that up with him, not me. Furthermore, I am not against them leaving to discover the truth. And they won't be going alone, not entirely. Our loving Creator will guide and protect them each step of the way, and I know His protection is beyond anything that we could ever offer them, even if you yourself, Grant, went with them.”
Now the furious glance was directed at Ahmis. “Never.” Grant said between his teeth, then stalked from the room.
God bless! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Well, I'm Back," He Said.

We could say that my June blogging break was very restful and relaxing, giving me time enough to enjoy writing and get a lot done on my to-do list. 

But that wouldn't be very truthful.

I had planned on doing some editing on CoaL, and also write another 50K on RoaL, but that really didn't happen. I wrote furiously until June 11, putting a good 19K under my belt, but then life caught up with me. Instead of trying to kill myself, I dropped the 50K challenge and devoted myself to editing. I fixed most of the problems in CoaL, and now I'm having relatives be my first company of Beta readers to critic me and help me get CoaL ready to publish sometime I-don't-know-when.

It was a decision well made. 

For one thing, I haven't even been home most of the last three weeks. We were at our classy blood cousins' house for 8 days in June, during which time we caught an awful cold, played way too much volleyball, and learned how to dishonestly honestly play the game of Bluff. It was epic. 

And now, I am currently sitting in the family room of our CBC's house for a Forth-of-July-week-long visit. Yesterday, we celebrated the birthday of our country with way too much food, lots of laughter, and tons of good old-fashioned games such as tag, Mother May I, and Red Rover. When did we ever become too old for games like those? Yes, I'm 19 years old, almost 20, and I had as much fun running around barefoot as the 10-year-olds I played with. 

So, to keep this post short, I just wanted to let you all know what's been happening to me these last couple of weeks I haven't been on Blogger, and now I must run. July isn't promising to be very time-friendly, either. But we'll just have to see what God has in store.

God bless!