THE ANOINTED ONE, Book II: Trilogy of Kings Saga

Saul ben Kish is an ordinary man; that is, until he crosses paths with the prophet Samuel. 190201.1 The Anointed One Book Cover (paperback) (2)Anointed by God to lead His people, this lowly Benjaminite shall soon be tested.

What begins as a search for his father’s wayward donkeys becomes a call to courage, and obedience. Can one man rally a nation to rise above oppression and fight for freedom? Or will he fall under the weight of power?

An epic tale of kingship; a journey into the heart of the Judean Mountains and across the sun-baked desert where the meek rise and the proud fall, and a stone is mightier than the sword.

Throughout the pages of The Trilogy of Kings, the personal and spiritual struggle of Israel’s people unfolds through love, war, and intrigue, making the story relevant for today as an exciting example of the human condition. Together with these beloved characters, the human saga is captured, sharing their joys and sorrows, triumphs and losses.

Release date: February 25, 2019

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God within the Verb

Before the mountains were brought forth,

Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

                                                                   ~Psalm 90:2

 

Often when we read, we neglect to look at the grammar and punctuation involved in the author’s message. After all, who wants to return to their school days and think about the construction of sentences and word phrases? But I tell you this, much is lost in the meaning of the message if we neglect to pay attention to grammar and punctuation.

Look more closely at the verse above, especially the verb tense within the sentence.

 

Before the mountains were brought forth,

Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,

 

Were. Had. Formed. These verbs are in the past tense. They have already occurred. We are speaking of events that have happened before the writing of this verse.

Now look at the final phrase.

 

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

 

You ARE God. The to-be verb “are” is present tense. It is right now, as we speak. It has not happened in the past; it will not happen in the future. It is occurring at this very present time.

Can you perceive what this verse it telling us?

When standing before the burning bush and God was sending him to Pharaoh, Moses asked, “When I come to them, whom shall I say sent me?”

And God answered, “I AM has sent you.” (Exodus 3:14)

Beloved, do you see it? He is the great “I AM.” Not the “I was” or “I will be.” He is current and consistent, an ever-present help in time of need. Before the world was fashioned, He IS. He, our Lord and Savior, lives in eternity from everlasting to everlasting. Always present tense.

Read once more with me the verse, but this time look closely at the verb tense. Let the message infuse your soul. Feel the weight of the words, the depth of the message. Let your heart sing for the joy of His ever present Being.

 

Before the mountains were brought forth,

Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

                                                                       ~Psalm 90:2

Amen.

 

~ Susan

 

40 THINGS I’VE LEARNED

– from an overstretched mom who is trying to do it all

Like so many people today, I want to do it all. Yet time and energy always seem to be in short supply. Even so, I tarry on, trying to accomplish everything. Along the way, I have made a few discoveries. I share them here with you today. Read and enjoy, for we mustn’t take life too seriously.

1) Things take time.DCIM101MEDIA

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

2) You cannot get it all done in one day. It is okay at times to put off today what you can do tomorrow. If tomorrow doesn’t come, well, you won’t care anyway.

3) You cannot be everything for everybody

– but you can try.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13

4) Slow down or you will trip yourself.

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Corinthians 10:12

5) When you fall, laugh at yourself, then pick yourself up and continue on your way. There may be snacks!

He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15

6) If you wait until you have time, you will never accomplish anything.

“Just do it!” – Nike

7) Set reasonable and achievable goals otherwise you will always feel like a failure.

8) A load a day keeps the dirty laundry away.

9) Don’t forget to enjoy the process.

A merry heart does good, like medicine,

But a broken spirit dries the bones. Proverbs 17:22

10) Don’t become discouraged.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

11)  Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

“I will either find a way or make one.” Hannibal of Carthage (before taking elephants across the Alps)

12) Every now and then, stop to smell the roses; let the wind blow through you hair.

13) Take time for yourself every day.

14) If you don’t like something in your life, don’t complain. Do what you can to change it.

15) Some assembly is required.

16) Read the directions before you begin.

17) Don’t let disappointment throw you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

18) Don’t neglect your relationships

– with your children, your spouse, and especially God.

19) If God is not a part of the equation, you will not succeed

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

20) Genius really is in the detail.

21) Breathe.

22) It is okay to begin again.

23) Always shine your kitchen sink. It sets the stage for the rest of the day.

24) Ask for help – allow the people in your life to receive a blessing by serving you.

For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. Luke 22:27

25) Your family could care less what you’ve done all day as long as there are goodies in the pantry.

26) Take care of yourself – eat right and get enough rest.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

27) Slow and steady wins the race.The Tortoise and the Hare

28) Never, ever leave a single piece of paper on the kitchen counter unattended. When you are not looking, it will be fruitful and multiply.

29) Lean not on your own strength; if God calls you, He will equip you.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

30) Always error on the side of generosity

– don’t be afraid to give a part of you away.

31) Always smile.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,

But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13

32) Allow enough time

– things always take longer than you think, so plan accordingly.DSCF1362

33) Don’t be afraid to draw on the walls

34) If you don’t make your bed, neither will your children.

35) Don’t wait for others to begin. Just go for it or you may find you never get started.

36) The early bird really does get the worm.

37) All things do not come to stay, they come to pass…

See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:6

38) Find a lesson in every situation and nothing is wasted.

39) Sometimes just be still and take it all in. For it is in quiet contemplation that we can see the face of God.

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

40) Know when to stop talking.

I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent. Publilius Syrus

I am still working on this one. I could go on with this list forever. It is already much longer than first I planned. So with this last lesson, I will grow quiet and let you, the reader, say your piece. I would love to hear from you. In the comment section, feel free to add your life lessons to this list.

Wishing you the best in your busy life. God bless you in all your pursuits.

~Susan

Around Town: Susan Van Volkenburg A 9/11 Story September 9, 2016 11:09 AM By J.D. Ryan

You just sit and try to understand. But some things cannot be understood. Some paths are just too dark to see the other side, and once you have turned down the path there’s no going back. It’s dark and no one can take the journey for you. There is nothing but forward, though you do it with trembling and uncertainty. This journey is not of my choosing, but it is mine nonetheless.

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2016/09/09/around-town-susan-van-volkenburg-a-911-story/ 

Here is my story as shared by J. D. Ryan on CBS Radio KRLD 1080AM.

 

 

Through the Fire

Imagine, if you will, that you are an Israelite in Jerusalem and the army of Assyria is encamped against your walls. All the nations around you have fallen. Jerusalem is the last city standing, your city, Zion, which God had promised to protect.

Isaiah 49:14 speaks of the people’s reaction:

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.”

Forsaken by God. Most of us have felt that way at one time or another. Even Jesus experienced this emotion when upon the cross He cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

I have felt forsaken.

Tuesday morning, a day like any other. It was a beautiful fall day: the air fresh, the sun warm, and the skies clear. As always the children and I began with Bible study. The day’s subject was Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. In discussing the three being placed into the fiery furnace for their unwavering faith in God, I made the cryptic statement that no matter what happens in our life, even when we go through the fiery furnace, still we must follow the Lord. I did not know that at that very moment my own life would be put through the furnace and my words tested.

Flag over PentagonThe day was September 11, 2001. My life forever changed as my father was ripped from the world by terrorists. In that moment I felt forsaken. All that I had believed in, trusted in, was stripped out from under me. How could a benevolent God, a God who loves me, allow such a tragedy to happen knowing full well how this would wound me?

But hear what God spoke through Isaiah, the prophet:

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49: 15-16)

He has inscribed you on the palms of His hands…

This is not just taking a pen and writing your name on His skin. You have been inscribed, that is, engraved. He has taken a blade and carved His palm, wounding His flesh so that forever He will bear the scars of your name upon His hands.

Not only does He know our name, but He bears our scars upon His flesh—forever.

I have journeyed down a dark and empty road: alone, abandoned, and forsaken. But I have found something along this desolate way: a beautiful truth. My foundation is sure…and I am not alone.

I think the key is in the word “through,” for we do go through, we do not stay in the furnace. There is an end to our trouble. For even as the three young men stood within the flames of the furnace, they were not alone, but a fourth stood beside them.

We all face trials. We have difficult times. God never promised us otherwise. In fact, He told us that in this world we will have tribulation (John 16:33). But He did not leave us to travel this world without aid.

Listen what the Lord proclaims:

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.” (Isaiah 51:12)

“For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Though God’s protection is not always for our bodies, it is a constant for our souls. And in the end, it is our final home that is most important. This mortal coil, which we cling to so ardently, is not what it is all about. Yet when one that is loved is taken, we cannot help but look back at what has been lost.

“But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared— The Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’” (Isaiah 51:15-16)

We serve a powerful God. An all-knowing God. So what then can man do to me? For the keeper of my soul watches me. We do not have a God who looks on from the outside as we struggle along the way. But we have a God who enters with us into the midst of the fire. He walks the troubled path with us, taking us through to the other side. He is our God and we are His people, engraved upon his hand: a perpetual covenant between the Lord and His chosen.

So as you travel the journey of this earthly life, remember: you are not forsaken.

Susan Van VolkenburghSKU-000524494_COVER

SILENT RESOLVE AND THE GOD WHO LET ME DOWN

 

Oncology Nurse turned homeschool educator, Susan Van Volkenburgh is an award winning author of Christian fiction and non-fiction books. After the death of her father on September 11, 2001, Susan began speaking of her experience. Her book, SILENT RESOLVE AND THE GOD WHO LET ME DOWN (A 9/11 story), recounts Susan’s loss and subsequent spiritual journey.

Born too late to experience antiquity first hand, Susan spends much of her time studying and teaching ancient history. Therefore, it seemed only natural that she should draw from the experience of grief and trauma to write THE STONE OF EBENEZER, Book 1: Trilogy of Kings Saga, a story of faith and restoration through the medium of Biblical fiction.

 

Make Me Your Sanctuary

The day was hot and the trail was full of dust. It was a choking brume that coated the barren landscape. They had seen the other side, looked upon the green and verdant hills. Yet they had been afraid, unwilling to believe. So they were turned away, cast out and sent to wander, an aimless juncture even as their faith was led astray. How long would this exile last? How long must they endure?

Until they had passed beyond reach, until every last one who had rejected was gone. Even so, hope remained for those that came after. They would one day see those same green and verdant hills. Yet would the new generation believe? Would they find inside themselves what was needed to have faith, to trust?

Only time would tell…

As we look back to this episode, we can glean lessons for our own lives. Do we have faith? Do we believe? Are we able to trust in the wake of what appears to be insurmountable odds? What does it take to be led by God?

Let us return to the story.

So we see the Children of Israel wandering for forty years in the Wilderness—

searching for the Promised Land

And why were they sent to wander in the Wilderness—they disobeyed God.

They forgot that God was with them, that He had guided them and helped them. They lost faith. They knew better than God, after all, the evidence showed that giants lived in the land. What could they do about giants? They were mere people. But they forgot that the Lord traveled with them.

You see sin cannot enter into the Promised Land.

Yet, God said to them, “You don’t have to go it alone. I will show you the way, only you must follow me.”

“Firstly, you must build Me a Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) that I may dwell among you.”

“Not a Sanctuary of your design, you must make the Sanctuary in the way that I tell you. I will instruct you. Then I will show you the way to the Promised Land. All you need do is follow Me.”

I tell you—

We are the children of Israel; this world is the Wilderness.

Heaven is the Promised Land

And we need to build God a Sanctuary so that He may live among us.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21:3

But first we need to understand what a Sanctuary is—for how can we build if we do not know of what we build?

Temple—Tabernacle—Sanctuary

According to Webster’s Dictionary it is a consecrated place, set apart for God’s service.

A hallowed place, a holy place, a dwelling place for God

The habitation of God through the Spirit

The Temple of the Old Testament typified Christ’s dwelling by faith in the hearts of believers.

  1. Our bodies are the Temple of God and are designed for worship

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Corinthians 3: 16

But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:10-12

Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:20

2. Our bodies are the place where God dwells

God is holy and cannot live in an unclean house.

If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.1 Corinthians 3: 17

3. Our bodies are sacred

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:14.

4. Our bodies do not belong to us

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

If we received the truth in our hearts, we will honor Him in our bodies.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

Does everything we do and say glorify God?

We need to say as Jesus did, “Not My will, but Yours be done.”

We cannot have two masters. We cannot go our way and follow after God’s way at the same time.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

Remember, wherever we go, whatever we do, God is with us.

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

I will dwell in them

And walk among them.

I will be their God,

And they shall be My people.

2 Corinthians 6:16

We do not have to be afraid. We can trust in our Redeemer, who dwells within us. His way is always the best way. Only have faith and follow Him, no matter what giants may stand before us. The Promised Land awaits.

So Lord, I pray, make me Your Sanctuary …

~ Susan

 

 

The Fate of the Epic Hero

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Like a true journey of discovery, we do not know what is around the next bend. Often our way is obscured from view. All we can do is simply take the next step, in hope, in faith, that with the following forward thrust, all will be well. Yet we should not neglect the journey, for our quest is not only about the destination. What happens along the road could make all the difference. It may shape the future of more than ourselves.

In many works of literature, we see the importance of the journey. This trek into the unknown is a metaphor for self-discovery.

It is the fate of the Epic Hero.

What defines an epic hero is that he must leave home, travel into the unknown, descend into darkness (death), be transformed (reborn), and ultimately return home a different man. A good example of an epic hero is Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Hobbit.

Bilbo is the reluctant adventurer, forced upon a journey in which he must face many hardships. As he enters into the Mines of Moria, and then again, into the evil forest of Mirkwood, he descends into darkness, and in the depths of his fearsome trial, he finds his true self. Something inside of him has changed. He is now (reborn) an authentic hero; he fulfills his quest, survives battle, and returns home a different person than when he left (There and Back Again).

Throughout THE STONE OF EBENEZER, we experience the journey as we look with different eyes.

We follow the young Hebrew, Nagad, as he fights for his nation. We trek after the Philistines as we see a vision of their quest. And we follow the Seat of Yahweh, the Ark of the Covenant as it, too, is forced to wander.

In each case, something important is about to happen. The journey for each ripples through the saga to impact the destiny of those that will shortly follow. Come along on this epic quest as our hero journeys toward self-discovery and, ultimately, helps decide the fate of a nation.

~                  ~                  ~

Nagad watched as a third of the army turned and marched slowly away, their backs to their destination. Another path would have to be forged through the wilderness, another trek over the mountains. Their journey would be more difficult, their fate a different path than the remaining host. Fortunately, the priests with their sacred burden had made it beyond the flood before the torrent raged. The seat of God would continue on as planned. And the host of men would follow, a holy battalion on its way to its own destiny, unknowing the distant course that would be their doom.

Nagad glanced over at Orach, “Will the others make it in time?”

“They will find their own path and they will come when they come.”

“Those hills are difficult. It will be a challenge for so many to travel the mountain path. I am glad we are on this side of the stream. I do not envy their journey. I will not feel at ease ‘til we get to Eben-Ezer. I fear our delay will have dire consequences.”

“It is the journey, Na’ar, that is important. For with each step we are a little closer to finding ourselves. When we arrive, it is over and self-discovery is at an end. Yes, Na’ar, it is the journey that is important. Which path we are given is up to God.” (Pg. 30)

~ Susan51JU0NxzPNL

Read the exciting first book in the Trilogy of Kings Saga, THE STONE OF EBENEZER.

A nation falters, an enemy approaching; can one man overcome his past to lead his people back to God?

“An amazing, vivid account of biblical events is historically accurate where God’s judgments, treacherous journeys, blood battles and even romance come alive to the reader in this skillfully written epic story.” −Rev. Judith Wiegman

Grand Prize Winner in the New Look Writing Contest January 2015.