“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” Matthew 7:15-17
Be careful who you follow.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! 12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
I thought it was strange that Jesus said “therefore” in v. 12 to end this section because it didn’t seem connected to the previous verses. But it is. Just as God pours out good on us, we should pour out good on others.
Jesus continues in verse 31:
“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Freedom from worrying about money means freedom to think about the things that really matter – the things of the kingdom of God. What do you need to do today to seek the kingdom of God?
Jesus just finished in Matt 6:24 saying that we cannot serve both God and wealth. Then he says this:
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matt 6:25
In other words, if I am worried about how I am going to get my needs met, I am actually worshipping money. That thought caught me by surprise yesterday.
During January (and a little bit of February) I did something I haven’t done in quite a while. As part of getting reading to write book #2, I re-read “Jak and the Scarlet Thread.” I didn’t expect this, but I had a hard time putting it down because I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next.
You may be thinking the same thing my daughter thought. She said, “Dad, but you wrote the book.” I know, however, it’s been so long since I’ve read it cover-to-cover that I honestly couldn’t remember every twist and turn of the story. That was a nice surprise, because I never thought I’d be able to enjoy my own story like that.
I also took a lot of notes as I am in the character-building phase for February. Some of the notes were more detail-oriented, for example, what is the name of Jak’s aunt and what does she smell like? While other notes were about character characteristics, for example, Jak thinks of Tess as the ‘queen of ………’ (I’ll let you figure that one out).
I need to make sure the characters I’ve already created stay in their characters, plus the new characters need to fit with the already established overall plot of the series.
Next step is to organize it all and get ready to dive back into writing. Not much month left in February.
I finished the story structure this week for Jak Book #2. That’s been on my mind for a long time, and I think I finally figured it out. Whew. We’ll see what ends up getting changed along the way. Now, I can move on to the next step, which will be fleshing out the characters some more.
To do that, I’m going to start by re-reading “Jak and the Scarlet Thread.” I know I wrote the book, but it’s been a while since I’ve been up close and personal with it. I need a refresher 🙂 I read the first couple of chapters today and I was amazed at how many tidbits I picked up that I need to carry forward into book 2.
I made some good progress in December. It’s been interesting sifting through the book of Job and thinking through what Job and his friends may have looked and sounded like, and then inserting Jak into the story as seamlessly as possible. I like it. Not quite done with that, but enough progress that it’s time to put it aside for now and move on to the next step.
The next step is for me to lay out the story structure. Some of this is already done, so I’m going to assemble what I have and put it together. This is kind of like putting a puzzle together, except when I see missing pieces, I have to create them. My goal is to have this done by the end of January. If you look on the left sidebar of my website, you will see a progress bar. That tracks progress for Book #2. I just started using it, so I’m sore how accurate it is yet, but it at least will help push me forward as well as give you an idea of how things are going.
Happy New Year!
Well, I didn’t quite hit my goal of writing 30 minutes a day for November BUT I did make progress, so that’s good. It’s been interesting because I was planning on starting off the next “Jak” book with Jak meeting Job. However, the more research I did, the more I realized I had to change my plan.
Job has been a tricky book to date, and some say it was probably one of the first events that took place after Genesis 1-9. So it made sense to start book #2 with Job. However, as I was reading through Job again, this passage stuck out to me:
“Oh, that my word were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That with an iron stylus and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!” Job 19:23
Iron is mentioned 5 times in Job. This may not seem like a big deal, but iron has not always been a metal that people were able to use because iron ore has to be extracted out of rock through a process called “smelting.” When people first discovered this process and began to use iron, it was such a precious metal that it was 8 times more valuable than gold. The reason this is significant to me is that iron wasn’t used that much until at least 1500 BC. So to have Job mention it five times means it was a part of his life – I can’t put Job in the story until sometime around 1500 BC. Abram appeared on the scene about 2100 BC, which means Job needs to come after Abram. I love digging into this!
Ok, that’s it for now. My goal for December is to finish writing the Job sections of Jak. 🙂 Merry Christmas!
November is NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, where writers of all stripes commit themselves to knocking out a novel in a month. I have never participated in this grand endeavor, and frankly, the years since publishing “Jak and the Scarlet Thread” have been full of several challenges which made writing difficult. HOWEVER, I am in a new season in life, and I am ready to pick up the challenge.
I am regularly asked by readers of when book #2 is going to come out. Though I can’t give you a definite answer, I can say this: during NaNoWriMo, I am committing myself to writing at least 30 minutes a day toward the second book in the “Jak and the Scarlet Thread” series. I’ll leave it at that for now, but plan on giving you updates and tidbits in the days to come.
The adventure continues!
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