Saturday, December 31, 2011
Just a quick note to let you all know that I will be slightly delaying the date on which I am officially back in my office. I had posted January 4th as the date that I'll be in my office answering e-mails again, but even still here on my vacation I've realized that I'll need more time to catch up and get things in order again once I'm home. With an audio book deadline looming and the read-through party for Spirit Blade 3 coming up in a few weeks, January is going to be a VERY busy month!
So rather than heap mounds of stress on myself, I've opted to get some work done "off the radar" first and officially come back to my office on Monday, January 9th, at which time I'll start catching up on e-mails that may be awaiting a response. If you are in that category, please accept my sincere apology at the delay in getting back to you.
In addition, there will not be a podcast episode released on the weekend of January 6th, although I'm already itching to get back behind the microphone! You can plan on the next episode of the podcast coming the weekend of January 13th.
Thanks so much for your patience. Have a wonderful New Year celebration!
Monday, December 19, 2011
Well, I thought I would just work for a couple of hours today. But it's amazing how much work is required just to take some time off! Now that the last orders have been shipped and the last e-mails have gone out, I'm ready to make the last post here before I officially going "off the grid".
I'll be out of my office (and not reading e-mails) until January 4th. If you place an order for a physical product before then, it will be processed within 48 hours of January 4th. (Digital downloads will normally process immediately when you order.)
Our big in-store Christmas sale may be over, but there is still a great opportunity to save coming up in our spread-shirt store!
From Dec 27th - Jan 2nd all orders over $30 will receive free standard shipping! The coupon code is FREEDELIVERY. Minimum order of $30.00 must be placed in basket. Maximum value off of shipping is $9.50.
I don't have any control over when spread-shirt offers deals like this and I have no idea when will be the next time they offer a deal or discount. So don't miss out! Mark your calendar, since I won't be around to remind you! Go check out our spread-shirt store on December 27th through January 2nd and take advantage of free shipping!
In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful and deeply meaningful Christmas and a fun-filled New Year. I'll see you back here on January 4th!
Friday, December 16, 2011
This weekend is your LAST CHANCE to save 40% on all physical products sold in our online store! (Excluding T-shirts, but stay tuned for a special sale coming up for those!)
This massive sale ends after this Sunday, December 18th! Don't miss out! Go visit our online store right now!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
This being the last week I'm in my office before the new year, I decided to present something a little different in place of "In Search Of Truth". This year I was asked by the pastors of my church to write a series of readings that could be integrated between songs during our Christmas Eve services. The vision was to describe God's interaction with humanity over the course of history in terms of an epic "story" that we are all called to enter into. Each section was to represent both a theme and a chronological element of the complete narration. Creation, The Fall, Redemption and Restoration.
It was a small writing project, but one I enjoyed digging into. Although there may still be minor revisions between now and Christmas, I've copied the most recent version below for you to read.
This season competes for our attention and energy from multiple directions, but sometimes it's good to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. That's what this little writing project is about. I hope you enjoy it and that it in some way expands your thoughts of who God is and what part you were meant to play in "The Story".
copyright 2011, Paeter Frandsen
There's an ancient story that began before stories were even told. It spans all ages past and reaches forward into eternity. Every day it's being written. Even now it's taking shape. Branching in complexity beyond what we can fathom, yet orchestrated skillfully to serve one, amazing purpose.
Like every other story, this one has an Author, who creates and populates his world with characters. But these characters have life and freedom. And this Author enters the story himself. In fact the story is about him. And rightly so. For there is no one more interesting, amazing, surprising, powerful, or good, than the Author himself. And being the highest, the greatest and most wonderful thing in existence, the Author writes his story so that others can see, embrace and enjoy who he is.
The story begins in the beginning. The first "beginning" there ever was. The Author made time and the universe, and the laws that govern them. He made beauty and purpose and people to possess both. He made it all for himself, but gave the people he made a part to play. A part that would completely fulfill them.
He made them to, in some way, be reflections of himself and to govern and enjoy all of the earth. He gave them each other, designing them to love and be loved. Most incredibly, he provided them with an infinite source of pleasure and fulfillment. He gave them himself. He made them for a relationship with him that would meet their every need and go beyond to give them an eternal life more amazing than they could ever imagine. It was to be a life of adventure and discovery, creativity and wonder, as each character explored and enjoyed the Author forever. A gift with value beyond measure, intended for us all.
Freedom is one of the Author's most mysterious, powerful and wonderful gifts. Without freedom, love cannot exist. And yet because of freedom, evil entered the story almost as soon as it began. The characters the Author created decided they wanted to write their own story, failing to realize that doing so would never fulfill them. So those designed to be reflections of the Author instead tried to make the Author a reflection of themselves.
From then until now we have each made the same choice. A thread of irony became woven into the plot, as the endless search for pleasure apart from the Author now brought pain and empty discontentment. Relationships made for love and enjoyment instead brought conflict and injury. Work, once meant to be invigorating and productive, was now draining and seemingly fruitless. The Author's vision of perfect unity and relationship with him was replaced by a broken, dysfunctional collection of self-centered agendas.
And though it pained the Author in ways we cannot fathom, he would not take back the freedom that made his creations so beautiful, valuable, and unique. He continued to let his characters write a portion of their own story if they desired, even if it took them away from fulfillment, away from their purpose, away from him... forever.
And so the story took a dark turn. It seemed as though the Author couldn't possibly write his way to a happy ending, and that evil would remain unleashed and unaccountable. But little did anyone know that the Author would introduce a twist to his tale. One that would change everything.
Justice is an unusual idea. It's one we like, when applied to others, but subtly avoid when applied to ourselves.
Justice is somewhat relative. Little justice is demanded upon the killing of a flower, but the cry for justice increases when an animal is abused, and cries out even louder at the murder of a child. The cry for justice always intensifies, the punishment due grows larger, as the value of those wronged increases. Imagine then the punishment due to those who have wronged a being... of limitless value.
The Author couldn't simply ignore evil and still be good himself. Justice had to be preserved. Countless beings had wronged one of infinite worth, and so owed a payment of infinite value. A payment they couldn't scrounge together no matter how hard they tried. The Author was the only object of infinite worth in existence. And from therein came the answer.
The Author entered the story as he never had before. He became like and lived among his characters, experiencing the pain and harsh realities of the story first-hand. Yet somehow he retained who he was. His perfection, his goodness, his infinite worth, were offered in exchange for the lives of his characters. He subjected himself to the full punishment his characters were due. And in that unparalleled transaction, something amazing took place. Freedom, true freedom, was made possible.
A call rang out from the Author, inviting his characters to be reunited with him. Free of the fear of punishment, free of their debt to the Author, and with the promise that one day they would even be free of the very presence of evil... forever.
This future chapter is foreshadowed in the lives of the characters who accept his invitation. The moment they do, the Author goes to work in crafting them a new story within the larger one. Re-writing their histories and outlining their futures. Changing who they are from the ground up. Character subplots that were heading toward tragedies are slowly re-written into romances. And as each smaller story is united to the larger one, the epic tale becomes beautiful beyond comprehension.
Some stories are so suspenseful and exciting that it's hard not to turn to the last page early to find out how they end. But the Author invites us every day to do just that. To look ahead and see how the Author, the hero of this story, puts an end to all evil. The evil around us and the evil within us.
There is nothing so broken that the Author can't restore it, perfectly and permanently. So a time will come when all of creation is renewed, remade, without the flaws and fractures it once had. The end of the story will be so beautiful and moving that the pain of early chapters will be seen in a new light, and the brilliance of the Author recognized.
The end of this story gives us hope for today. When our stories aren't written like we think they should be. When the stresses of work and relationships threaten to break us. When pain seems to define our lives. The Author knows and feels our suffering, because he has entered the story as well. He has come to carry us through it, to see the ending he has written. One that serves as both epilogue and prologue as he begins a new story. One far better than the first, with a happy ending... that never ends.
Monday, December 12, 2011
There are many disadvantages to what I do as the creator of Spirit Blade Productions. I have virtually no assistance in my day to day work. I ship packages and process orders, I do customer service, I have to handle all the business strategy, marketing and planning and try to fit in the creative stuff, too! It's a grueling one man operation with a very steep learning curve, for a company we still put our own money into without seeing a dime back yet toward our own living expenses.
But there are also some amazing benefits that come with the job. Foremost, is the opportunity I have almost every day to connect with, encourage and equip other people in their spiritual lives. That's why I'm in this and why neither I nor my wife ever see us getting out of the Spirit Blade "field".
But another nice benefit, which I am exercising today, is the ability to take a day off almost whenever I want. I rarely exercise this ability. I have a nagging, somewhat unhealthy, sometimes guilt-based work ethic that cracks the whip at my back every day, making it really hard to take a day off, unless my wife is too. (Although she has encouraged me before to take time off even if she's not.)
So today, although it's tough to do, I know I need it. The weekend was nuts, due to two different sets of unforeseen circumstances that doubled my "to do" list instantly. So I'm probably looking at some kind of raging "hulk-out" mid week if I don't set aside work for a day and get lost in a book, Skyrim, or something else equally removed from the real world.
So long story short? "In Search Of Truth" will be back later this week. See you then!
Friday, December 9, 2011
With "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" sucking the hours and social lives out of RPG gamers all over, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the world of Elder Scrolls from an angle that usually isn't covered. That of the religious culture.
Almost every big name RPG and fantasy novel series incorporates religion in some form. Neverwinter Nights and Dragon Age had polytheistic and somewhat monotheistic settings. Even sci-fi RPGs like Mass Effect 1 and 2 and Fallout 3 have religion involved in numerous subplots, if not the main story. But the Elder Scrolls games may have one of the richest fictional theologies ever developed for a video game RPG.
MY GAME WITHIN THE GAME
A fun little exercise I like to do when I play a new RPG is try to figure out what religion I would follow if I were in this world and doing my best to seek out the truth about who is really running the universe. I play the part of a spiritual "seeker", letting every nut-job prophet, uptight priest or tranquilized shaman talk my ear off about the virtues of their faith.
This isn't something I do to be arrogant or judgmental toward the creators of the games. It's purely a fun little intellectual diversion. However, I've found that the experience of playing this little "game within the game" offers some tools useful for evaluating the truth claims of real-world belief systems. I'll leave it to you to determine where the parallels lie between Elder Scrolls and the various belief systems in our world, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the kinds of thought processes I go through as I "search for the truth" in a fantasy world.
Since each Elder Scrolls game only scratches the surface of the rich fictitious theology acting as the foundation, I found the information gathered on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages (http://www.uesp.net/ ) to be valuable. So I'll reference them a few times and you can feel free to check them out yourself if you'd like.
As humans, we're made to worship. And by worship, I mean "assign immense personal value and priority". We all worship something. And when we find something that seems bigger and better than our current focus of worship, we shift focus to worship the bigger and better thing that has come along.
Elder Scrolls has a polytheistic setting. (Many gods instead of one.) So my first objective in a polytheistic setting is to look for the oldest, biggest, best god in existence. If I worship anything less, there will always be the potential for me to be less satisfied than I could be in the focus of worship I have chosen. "Yeah, Sheogorath, I know you're one of the gods "assigned" to this world I'm supposed to worship, and I know you're great and powerful and stuff. But the god that made YOU is all you are... and MORE! So why waste my time when I'm eventually gonna want to obsess over him instead?"
SMALL "G" GODS
Sheogorath and most other gods commonly mentioned during gameplay in "Oblivion" and "Skyrim" are among the "Daedra", the beings most commonly thought of as the gods of Elder Scrolls. But upon closer examination, these gods are really just extremely powerful, incomprehensible, yet FINITE beings. They came into existence as a result of "the interplay of Anu and Padomay". (See http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Gods ) Even more interesting, two other gods, Talos and Arkay, were once human beings (See http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Gods_N#Nine_Divines ), which means that not only are they less than infinite, they are little more than role models in the final analysis, since theoretically I can do what they did and become a god myself.
Hmm. Maybe I've set my standard too high. Why demand for myself the expectation of finding a truly infinite god to worship, who has always been around and always been a god? Because logical deduction indicates that a god like that should exist.
NEED FOR THE INFINITE
In every way detectable, the idea of decay is a physical reality in Elder Scrolls as it is in our world. Physical objects and life forms slowly break down over time. (How many tattered and rotted "ruined books" have YOU run into so far in Skyrim?) This means that in the universe of Elder Scrolls, matter is not eternal. It is constantly progressing toward decay. This also means that matter had a beginning point, just as the nature of decay points to a beginning for our universe.
Here's where deductive reasoning kicks in and tells me to expect to eventually find an infinite god in the world of Elder Scrolls. (Please bear with me, it's a bit of a mental workout. My apologies also for many of the finer details left out of the expression of this deductive progression. Just trying not to be too long-winded.)
1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause. So the Elder Scrolls universe has a cause. Now maybe the cause of the Elder Scrolls universe has a cause too, but we'll just cut out any middle steps and cut straight to looking at the very "First Cause" for the Elder Scrolls universe.
2. Since there can't be an infinite chain of successive causes(and because time began with the universe), the "First Cause" of the Elder Scrolls universe must be without beginning and uncaused.
3. Since this "first cause" (which we'll call the FC) precedes matter, it cannot be material itself. So the FC must be immaterial.
4. Since natural laws came into being with matter, the FC precedes natural law, and so is "supernatural".
5. All causes are either natural (the result of cause and effect based on natural law) or generated by free will. The FC of Elder Scrolls is "supernatural", and so must instead have a personal, decisive will, as opposed to being a vague "force" of some kind.
6. The Elder Scrolls FC must exist outside of time, since time is part of the natural universe of matter and the FC precedes matter.
7. The Elder Scrolls FC must be unchanging, since change is a limitation imposed by time, and the Elder Scrolls FC exists independent of time.
8. The Elder Scrolls FC must be infinite, since limits are measured based on natural law and potential(the potential to be more or less of something) and the Elder Scrolls FC is independent of natural law and without potential (i.e.unchanging).
MATCHING THE DESCRIPTION
So now I'm looking for a god that has no beginning, is non-finite, and is incapable of change. The gods presented so far all had either beginning points or obvious points at which they were different than what they became later(such as Talos and Arkay, who were once human). Meaning they are all finite and fall short.
From what I understand, Anu and Padomay were the gods responsible for forming the cosmos out of "Aurbis", which is the name for "the chaos, or totality, from which the cosmos was formed". ( See http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Aurbis )
So it sounds like maybe this "chaos or totality" (whatever THAT means) might be without beginning. But it still needed a cause to turn it all from whatever it was into the cosmos. So maybe Anu and Padomay are, together, my FC. The infinite beings I should be aiming my worship at.
From what I understand, "The brothers Anu and Padomay came from the Void" (http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Lore:Void). This poses a bit of a problem. "The Void" in Elder Scrolls is "the name applied to the dimensions outside of the known realms". For something to "come and go", it has to travel. If something can travel, it's not in all places at once. But something that is infinite IS in all places at once. So Anu and Padomay cannot be truly infinite if they "came" from somewhere, and must themselves have some source or cause.
This is where the revealed theology of the Elder Scrolls universe ends. There must be a personal being above and beyond Anu and Padomay, but there is no record of this being revealing itself to anyone in the Elder Scrolls universe. So it appears I'll have to join the likes of real-world ancient Athenians and construct an alter "To The Unknown God" and hope that someday he'll see fit to reveal himself or send a "Paul" my way.
Acts 17:22-31 (ESV)
So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.'
Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
I'm pleased to finally announce the title of Spirit Blade Productions' next audio book! "The Golden Knight #1: The Boy Is Summoned", by Steve Clark and Justin Clark!
The synopsis is as follows:
In the beginning, the Kingdom was ruled by a wise and just King who ruled by the laws written in the ancient Book. The people were protected by the archangels and the heroic knights. All lived in peace and prospered. Those days are gone...
Flar, the evil fire lord, and his sorcerer, Murlox, have banished the King and his angels behind an energy field known as the Great Divide. The Book has been taken. The angels have fallen. The knights are gone. The people suffer. All that remains is the prophecy and a promise of hope.
Join Marsonee the archangel and Princess Rainna as they embark on a journey to bring an innocent farm boy toward his true destiny.
Given that the book is aimed at an audience of "tweens", and based on that artwork, you might think that this has "sterilized" and "safe" written all over it. But part of what drew me to the story was the inclusion of some "dark" story elements, such as an imposing villain who wears skulls on his armor, a twisted dark sorcerer, and the fact that someone even takes an arrow shot to the face! (I don't think he's gonna pull through.)
So the audio experience will be very much in keeping with what you've come to expect from Spirit Blade Productions.
The production philosophy we've agreed on is one similar to the live action "Narnia" films. Although there are certainly many elements aimed at a young audience, I'm approaching production with the same serious tone I might give to the "Pilgrim's Progress" audio drama series we're already producing.
Speaking of "series", you'll notice that this is book one of a multi-book series. At this point we've only committed to partnering for the first book in the series, but we're hopeful that the results will be successful enough to warrant audio production of the rest of the series as well!
Stay tuned! I'll have more details about my progress on the project and the release as we get closer to February!
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
This month I thought I'd showcase a key type of card in the upcoming "Spirit Blade: The Adventure Card Game". The picture you see is the uncropped design for an Ability Card.
Most Seekers ("good guys") and some Enemies have abilities they can use in the game to give them an edge. Abilities are represented by Ability Cards, and can usually only be used once per Mission. (Though some can be used an unlimited number of times.) Abilities are divided into categories of Damage, Healing, Manipulation, Prophet, Enemy and Special. (Special Abilities are usually the ones that can be used without limit, such as Shifting, Resourceful, Security Systems and Counter Attack.)
Ability Cards that Seekers have access to are described on their Character Card. For example, the Sanctafi Seeker can take 9 Ability Cards into a mission with him: 3 Damage, 3 Healing and 3 Manipulation. The Prophet Seeker is the only Seeker that can take any Prophet Ability Cards into a mission.
The pictured card is a Manipulation Ability that immobilizes a human Enemy in battle. The concept is based on the way Saolos used miraclai in "Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual" to torture Merikk. Although most cards don't have quite the dark edge that this one does, as you can see, this card game will be every bit as "unsterilized" as the Spirit Blade audio dramas! And being a Seeker doesn't mean you don't still have some rough edges.
Although this card requires some knowledge of the audio dramas to fully appreciate and serves as a bit of audio drama fan service, most cards are completely approachable for those who have never heard of Spirit Blade before.
Play testing has slowed down a bit due to the Christmas season (and yeah, I'm playing Skyrim these days, too), but the hardest work is done and the game is mostly balanced. At this point I'm mainly polishing and making a few minor adjustments that I look forward to telling you about.
Stay tuned for another update in January!
Monday, December 5, 2011
By Guest Writer Nathan J. Norman
Have you ever flipped to the last page of a book, read it, then started from the beginning? Or watched the last chapter on a dvd, then watch it all the way through? That practice doesn’t appeal to me, and probably doesn’t appeal to most people. But to some it does. In fact I’ve known people who do this on a regular basis. They like to know the ending before they get invested into a story. And what about you? Would you like to know the end of your story? The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that you can know! Maybe not all the specifics, and not every minor detail . . . but if you’re a believer in Christ, we have the Word of God giving us a testimony that God wins, and we all get perfected bodies. In the end, God makes everything work out. So then, how should believers respond to God’s long-term plan?
Believers should respond to God’s long-term plan by praising God.
When you realize that God has an amazing and unfathomable future planned for Christ-followers, the natural response is to praise Him! In Habakkuk’s day, when God revealed to Him that both evil Judah and even more evil Babylon would one day be judged, Habakkuk responded in praise. Read Habakkuk 3:1-3:
3:1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. According to Shigionoth.
2 LORD, I have heard the report about You; LORD, I stand in awe of Your deeds. Revive Your work in these years; make it known in these years.
In Your wrath remember mercy!
3 God comes from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah
His splendor covers the heavens, and the earth is full of His praise.
Evil would not ultimately win the day. God revealed to Habakkuk that He Himself would come and bring justice to humanity once again. Let’s look at what Habakkuk saw, and why he decided to praise God. Read Habakkuk 3:4-13:
4 His brilliance is like light; rays are flashing from His hand.
This is where His power is hidden.
5 Plague goes before Him, and pestilence follows in His steps.
6 He stands and shakes the earth; He looks and startles the nations.
The age-old mountains break apart; the ancient hills sink down.
His pathways are ancient.
7 I see the tents of Cushan in distress; the tent curtains of the land of Midian tremble.
8 Are You angry at the rivers, LORD? Is Your wrath against the rivers?
Or is Your rage against the sea when You ride on Your horses, Your victorious chariot?
9 You took the sheath from Your bow;
the arrows are ready to be used with an oath. Selah
You split the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains see You and shudder; a downpour of water sweeps by.
The deep roars with its voice and lifts its waves high.
11 Sun and moon stand still in their lofty residence,
at the flash of Your flying arrows, at the brightness of Your shining spear.
12 You march across the earth with indignation; You trample down the nations in wrath.
13 You come out to save Your people, to save Your anointed.
You crush the leader of the house of the wicked and strip him from foot to neck. Selah
This is both terrifying and awesome. Who could ever stand up to this God? No evil or injustice stands a chance!!!! So in Habakkuk’s day, even though there was still evil all around him, He still praised God, because he knew what the end of the story was.
What does this praise look like?
It’s like when Hollywood turns a beloved story into a movie. The sixth Harry Potter movie (the half-blood prince) was terrible. The Super Mario Brothers movie was atrocious. So because of all these stinkers, when Hollywood takes a beloved story and actually gets it right . . . we praise them! When I saw the first Lord of the Rings, I was so scared they’d mess it up, but once seeing it I said things like “Peter Jackson’s awesome!” In the same way, when you know what God’s ultimate plan is, you can praise Him!
Or think about it like this . . . what’s the average weekly allowance these days? Let’s say it’s $20 a week. So let’s say ever since a young person was growing up, her parents would give her $20 a week, but as the parent handed it to her, they took $5 back. This goes on for years! Is the kid frustrated? You betcha! Finally after a long time this girl confronts her parent and says, “Why do you keep taking $5 from my allowance? And the parent reveals the plan to her and says when she turns 16, they will take the money she gave, add to it and buy her a brand new car! That’s an awesome plan! How does she respond? With ELATION!
In the same way, when you know what God’s plan for your life is, you praise Him because you know that even the terrible times you may be having right now, are nothing compared to the awesomeness awaiting you.
But you might say “God has never appeared to me, and given me a vision of my future!” No He hasn’t. He’s given you the complete story, though . . . and you can read about it whenever you want . . . and I think it’s better.
Having the Word of God available to you anytime versus having a vision is the difference between meeting a boy or a girl and them telling you that they love you, then moving away to a place where they can’t communicate with you ever again, and never meeting a person face to face, but being able to talk on the phone, facebook and text whenever you want . . . and realizing that one day you will be united. You just need to have the discipline to pick up the phone and call . . . or in this case, open your Bible and read about it!
Believers should respond to God’s long-term plan by praising God. And when you hear about God’s long-term plan, you don’t merely praise Him, but you do something else. You see…
Believers should also respond to God’s long-term plan by surrendering to Him. When you realize how huge God’s plans are and how powerful He is, you cannot help but give over to Him your whole self.
As Habakkuk continues to describe what he has seen, he ultimately realizes that He has to give himself completely over to God. Read Habakkuk 3:14-19:
14 You pierce his head with his own spears;
his warriors storm out to scatter us, gloating as if ready to secretly devour the weak.
15 You tread the sea with Your horses, stirring up the great waters.
16 I heard, and I trembled within; my lips quivered at the sound.
Rottenness entered my bones; I trembled where I stood.
Now I must quietly wait for the day of distress to come against the people invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will triumph in Yahweh; I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!
19 Yahweh my Lord is my strength;
He makes my feet like those of a deer and enables me to walk on mountain heights!
Habakkuk knows that life will be difficult for him in the days to come, but he decides to trust God, and give Himself over to His plan . . . where-ever that might lead him.
This surrender takes a few forms. It’s like in the cancelled comic book Alius Rex. (Spoiler Alert) A mysterious new country is invading kingdom after kingdom. This one king, though, refuses to surrender and gathers his knights together. As he reaches the place of battle this huge alien ship comes over the hill and destroys his forces. He is so overwhelmed by the power of the enemy that he surrenders right there, knowing that if he resisted, it would lead to his own destruction. So he has to give in to the aliens, knowing that they can now do whatever they want.
It’s the same with us . . . only our God is benevolent and loves us, and when we see His absolute power and surrender to Him . . . it’s for our own good. Not harm.
Or think about it like this: When animals get scared, they will actually fight you when you’re trying to help them! A cat will claw you if you help it get down from the tree. A dog will bite a firefighter trying to pull it out of a flooded river. They do this because they do not understand the “big plan” and are trusting in their own power to deliver them! Flies (not technically animals) will drive you crazy if you try to help them. They fly into a window, over and over, so you open the window. Then they avoid the window. You shoo them to the window . . . because it’s the only way they can survive, but they don’t trust you so they back away. These creatures could only be saved if they could somehow think, “This being is smarter than me, and good, so I’m just going to let it do whatever it wants because I know that it has my best interest in mind.”
We need to do the same as we interact with God. We need to give ourselves over to Him . . . even when things are rough . . . trusting that He has a plan and purpose we cannot comprehend.
Some of you are feeling, “I’m afraid of what will happen !” You don’t want to live life according to God’s standards because you’re afraid that you might lose your friends, your reputation, and that life will only get harder. And if that’s you, and you don’t surrender your life to God, you will go through this life forever as the fly, bouncing off the window, trying to be free and never finding it. Unable to figure out life or your purpose in life because you don’t have the ability to do so apart from God.
You must trust Him! Believers should respond to God’s long-term plan by surrendering to Him.
So there you have it. You’ve flipped to the last page. You’ve watched the end of the movie first. You know how the story ends before it happens: God wins and His followers get eternal life in glorified, perfected bodies. So, believers should respond to God’s long-term plan by praising God and surrendering to Him. If you don’t do this, you will go through life bouncing off the windows and trying to find your direction . . . and will find nothing. But if you give yourself wholly over to God . . . then you can have peace even in the worst circumstances. Ultimate Surrender. Ultimate Peace.
Next- Paeter returns to "In Search Of Truth" with an invitation to "Enter The Story".
Friday, December 2, 2011
Yesterday I finished recording the audio book that I'm working on, which will be released in February. Although my preferred medium is still audio drama, there are some nice benefits to working on an audio book instead. And they're all related to speed.
Since I'm the only performer I can record at a moments notice as I have opportunity. There is also no time spent directing anyone else. I know what I want something to sound like and can do multiple takes quickly in a row until I hit the delivery I want. And although in some cases it can take me some time to "find" a character's voice, mentally directing myself moves the evolution of my performance forward much faster than verbally directing another actor. Unlike "directing myself", directing another actor involves choosing my words as carefully as possible, for the sake of clear communication and sensitivity to the actor's feelings.
Finally, although I create "enhanced audio books" that include some sound effects and a musical score (the free Spirit Blade Audio Book being an example), the sound cues needed are far less per minute than those required for my audio dramas. So the mixing process has a much faster progression compared to audio drama.
All of this increased speed amounts to two significant benefits. As a creator, I get to have that rewarding sense of satisfaction upon completion of a project much sooner. And as a small business owner, I get to present a new, income earning product for sale much faster as well.
My first and greatest love will probably always be audio drama. But doing audio books, the way I like to do them, can be pretty cool too!
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more info about the upcoming audio book release!