Meet My Illustrator

Meet my dear friend and illustrator, Suzanne Lassiter Everett. Suzanne will be doing the illustrations for my new series being published by Write Integrity Press : Bible Characters Through the Ages.

I will need your help:

  • Characters your children would like to read about
  • Activities they would like to see Daniel and Sarah be involved in
  • Scary incidents Daniel and Sarah could be involved in
  • Ideas for scenes for the characters

I would like these books to be something the children can really get involved in. There are discussion questions at the end of each book. The books can be used in Sunday school classes, schools, and as family time devotion.

If I use your child’s idea as the basis for what I write for a scene in a book, I will try to put their name on the acknowledgement page in the published book. Have them write out the scene. Tell them to be very descriptive with the scene so the reader can picture what is happening. Here is a sample from “Adam in the Garden”:

“Sarah, where are you?” Daniel called.
“I’m in my room,” Sarah yelled back.
Daniel went down the short hall to her bedroom. “Want to go on a time travel trip with me?”
“Really, Daniel?” She picked up her ballerina doll, named Princess. “How are we going to do that?”
“Let’s make a time travel machine!”

The more description they use the better the reader will be able to picture what is happening. Here’s another example:

He looked around the garden and saw Adam nearby.
“Sarah look, there’s Adam behind that bush.
He’s tall and thin with dark hair. I bet he works hard to take care of all the plants and
trees God created. I see his big arm muscles
He looks real strong. Let’s go and talk to him.”
When he climbed down from the tree, Sarah cried.
“There are a lot of trees that look like the one that’s
near Yahweh’s Express.” “Don’t worry, Sarah. I’m sure
I’ll be able to find the tree,” he answered,
but he really wasn’t sure. “Let’s go talk to Adam.”
They ran over to where Adam was working on a
space in the garden. He was startled when he saw them.
“Sarah, just look in his eyes when you talk to him,”
whispered Daniel. “He doesn’t have any clothes on.”

So let’s have some fun kids. Start writing down your ideas and send them to me through my blog at: Jann W. Martin I can’t wait to see what you send me.

Seeing God’s Beauty

Can you imagine what it would have been like to watch as God created the world? To be one of the angels standing by and looking on as the darkness took form. There was nothing, and then there was light, sky, and land. On the land the grass, trees, flowers and food began to grow. In the sky there was night and day. Once that was done there were creatures of all kinds on the earth.

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2
The earth was barren, with no form of life; it was under a
roaring ocean covered with darkness. But the Spirit of God
was moving over the water.
1

beach with verseSitting alone looking out at the sky and water is one of my favorite things to do. It gives me time to reflect on my blessings and concerns. To pray, asking God for forgiveness as well as guidance. It always gives me a sense of peace.

The following is from the King James Version Commentary:

At the voice of God’s command, the waters obeyed; and it was so. Not only did God call the dry land into existence; but He also named it Earth, and the waters He named Seas. The dry land was called Earth (Heb ‘erets) because that word bears a meaning which may refer to that which is lower. It is in opposition to the firmament above, literally the heights of verse 8. The Seas (Heb yamīm) is used in the very broad sense to include every body of water, even lakes and rivers 2

Using a commentary as you read the stories of the Bible helps you understand more as you read. For instance, the seas also included the lakes and rivers. I never broke it down like that when I thought of creation.

Looking at all of creation in the beginning would have been amazing. Everything would have been clean and without blemish. There was no sin, everything was perfect. When Adam and Eve decided they wanted to be more like God and know what He knew, that’s when there started to be trouble. Adam had to work hard now to get their food, and Eve knew the pain of childbirth.

When we go to heaven we will once again see things as they were in the beginning.

  • Be able to see God
  • Have peace among the people
  • Our land free from weeds
  • No more droughts
  • No more floods
  • Clean air and water

Tell me your vision of what creation would have been like. What do you do to feel closer to God?

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Ge 1:1–2). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2 Hindson, E. E., & Kroll, W. M. (Eds.). (1994). KJV Bible Commentary (p. 11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Queen Esther

Esther was a young beautiful girl when she and many other young virgins were summoned by King Xerxes. He needed a new queen since he had sent Queen Vashti away for not obeying him. We find their story in the book of Esther, a portion of their story follows:

8As a result of the king’s decree, Esther, along with many other young women, was brought to the king’s harem at the fortress of Susa and placed in Hegai’s care. 9Hegai was very impressed with Esther and treated her kindly. He quickly ordered a special menu for her and provided her with beauty treatments. He also assigned her seven maids specially chosen from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem.

10Esther had not told anyone of her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had directed her not to do so. 11Every day Mordecai would take a walk near the courtyard of the harem to find out about Esther and what was happening to her.

12Before each young woman was taken to the king’s bed, she was given the prescribed twelve months of beauty treatments—six months with oil of myrrh, followed by six months with special perfumes and ointments. 13When it was time for her to go to the king’s palace, she was given her choice of whatever clothing or jewelry she wanted to take from the harem. 14That evening she was taken to the king’s private rooms, and the next morning she was brought to the second harem,* where the king’s wives lived. There she would be under the care of Shaashgaz, the king’s eunuch in charge of the concubines. She would never go to the king again unless he had especially enjoyed her and requested her by name.

15Esther was the daughter of Abihail, who was Mordecai’s uncle. (Mordecai had adopted his younger cousin Esther.) When it was Esther’s turn to go to the king, she accepted the advice of Hegai, the eunuch in charge of the harem. She asked for nothing except what he suggested, and she was admired by everyone who saw her.

16Esther was taken to King Xerxes at the royal palace in early winter* of the seventh year of his reign. 17And the king loved Esther more than any of the other young women. He was so delighted with her that he set the royal crown on her head and declared her queen instead of Vashti. 18To celebrate the occasion, he gave a great banquet in Esther’s honor for all his nobles and officials, declaring a public holiday for the provinces and giving generous gifts to everyone.1

Esther and the other girls must have been really scared. They were taken away from their families to the palace of the king. I wonder if they knew why they were being taken away from home. Once they were settled in I imagine they began to enjoy themselves. They were assigned servants to wait on them hand and foot. They went through spa treatments for 12 months. I think I could handle being pampered like that for a while, but not for that long. I would get restless and need something more to do. I like to feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the day.

Once Esther was queen she found out that Haman, the scheming prime minister of King Xerxes, was trying to kill off all of the Jews, she contacted her cousin Mordecai. He told her that he and all of their people would fast and pray for God’s deliverance. Queen Esther also fasted and prayed. At the end of her fast she went to King Xerxes without being asked to come to him, coming like this could be punished by death. No one was to come to the king unless he requested them to be in his presence.

She found favor in his eyes and invited the king and Haman to a dinner she had prepared. Then she told them that she knew what Haman was planning to do and that she was also a Jew and would be killed. King Xerxes had Haman taken away and killed.

Esther was a simple Jewish girl that became a queen and saved her nation. This is quite a story of faith and strength. We daily face things that we have to deal with. They usually aren’t as big as what Queen Esther had to face, but what we do in our lives is just as important to us and those around us.

Many years ago I was offered a chance to take a series of video class through Trinity Seminary. After three years of study I was commissioned as an Associate in Ministry. This opened a whole new avenue for me to serve our gracious Lord. He has used me in many wonderful ways since my commissioning. The path He has me on now is to write for His beautiful little children to bring them closer to Him.

The movie One Night with the King is very good and gives you a visual of what Esther’s life might have been like.

I would like to know how He is using you in this beautiful world. Please share with me your path and tell me if there is a way I can help you on your path.

 

 

1 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Es 2:8–18). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

How Would You Have Felt if You Were Mary?

Luke 1: 26-38
26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Mary was only 13 when the angel Gabriel came to her with this message from God. She must have been very afraid as a young girl to have an angel come and talk with her. She would have heard the story all of her life that there would be a Messiah, that he would come and save His people. Her faith had to have been really strong to accept what God was asking of her.

Once she accepted what God was asking of her she had to face her parents and Joseph. The Bible doesn’t say what her parent’s reaction was. At 13 I would imagine my parents would have been very upset hearing from me that I was pregnant. Even more confused if I said that I hadn’t been with a man, that the Holy Spirit had come over me. This would have tested their faith as well.
Then she went to Joseph, at first he turned away from her. After the angel came to him, he accepted this gift from God and stood by her side. Their journey to Bethlehem would have been difficult, especially with Mary being so close to giving birth. Traveling on a donkey would not have been a smooth ride.

The movie “the nativity story” made me feel as if I was watching what really happened to Mary and Joseph. The end was especially moving.
Like the words in the song “Mary Did You Know?” can you imagine holding baby Jesus and kissing His check then, realize you were kissing the face of God.

Then as Jesus grew and began His ministry, watching Him do miracles of healing, preaching, and comforting the people around Him. I can imagine as a mother, Mary must have felt so much pride in her son. She also, must have had a feeling of being blessed by God to be able to have given birth and to raise His son.

The horror she must have gone through with His death on the cross. Losing a child has to be one of the worst things to go through. Her feeling of despair would then be changed to awesome love and grace with seeing Him alive and completing the prophecy, that He would come to save His people.
I would love to hear your feelings about how you would feel to have been Mary.

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Lk 1:26–38). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.