Author Spotlight: JGJ Fairhurst

13901742_10207145072090176_882609375_o

What inspired my novel –

Inspiration came from many sources. Reading other novels & authors is an obvious answer but far too important to leave out for the sake of avoiding cliché. Personal experience is a huge part too. For example, I have a friend who wears glasses. Whenever it’s just me and him he would shout “hey, four eyes!” when he seen someone else wearing glasses. The offended party would turn round, see my friend with glasses on and then see me without. I’m sure I don’t need to point out who was always chastised for the yelled insult. Thankfully, It never lead to me being punched or beat-up but if looks could kill I would be dead fifty times over by now. I put this ‘trick’ in one of my short stories. There are lots of real life incidents that can make for interesting reading. If you remember it, then by definition it’s memorable. Chances are someone else will see the humour, the joy, the sadness, the awkwardness or whatever the case may be too. There are countless novels in your memory bank, the hard part is working out how to best utilise the material you have stored there. I used my “hey, four eyes!” memory in a short story called ones boy’s war. I think it made for a brilliant read but hey, we would all love to write our own reviews, right?

What’s it about –

The children of duty & justice interweaves fantasy, romance, politics and religion with mental illness, gender relations, and broken families.

The book follows Osyron Rymore as he leaves the family home to find his way in life. He joins the marshals (the law) in the hope of seeing justice done and being someone of worth in the world. However, it’s not long before world events outmatch one ideological boy and his honourable intent. All kingdoms have united into two empires that now sit tentatively side by side. Guided by scripture, Emperor Horim of Olbaid foresees an inevitable war and plots to strike before being struck. Horim hatches a plan to frame neighbouring empire, Miria as instigators to win support for his holy conflict. Despite a predicted death toll in the millions and a war expected to span decades, Horim see’s no price too great to shape his legacy and see off the preordained demonic invasion.

Due to this brewing war, most seasoned marshals are conscripted into the army leaving Osyron and fellow recruits with tasks that outweigh their experience. Opportunity is on the rise for criminals and a child trafficking ring is suspected to be operating in a coastal village in the far reaches of the empire. Osyron is sent alone. Here he meets Daniela Callahan, a fisherman’s wife who leads him on a journey further that any charted map and beyond all belief.

Additional info –

I have a deep love of the fantasy genre and wanted to create a medieval, fantasy world that incorporates and explores modern topics and issues. I wanted to write a novel that did not lean too heavily on fantasy elements just for razzmatazz sake. The idea was to keep real people with real issues as the meat and potatoes of the story and use fantasy as flavoursome gravy. I find there are too many novels that do it the other way around. At the very least I wanted to offer a fresh take on the traditional cornerstones of the fantasy novel, something a little different without sacrificing what makes fantasy such a well loved genre to begin with.

If anyone reading this is contemplating writing a novel or even a short story, then I urge you, do it. Don’t tell yourself you’re not a writer. You were not a walker once and if you applied that same logic back then you’d still be crawling today. It’s challenging but you can do it. Writing yourself off leads nowhere, writing a novel leads to be continued.

13933183_10207145074210229_1759595556_n

 

Author bio – I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and still enjoy living there today. I worked as a stock auditor for seven years which involved travelling around the towns of Great Britain and Ireland. What may sound glamorous on paper were countless hours daydreaming out of a mini-van window. My first novel, ‘The Children of Duty & Justice’ is a direct product of those daydreams. Like a lot of folk, I wanted to write a novel but always dismissed the thought, telling myself. “But you’re not a writer.” This horse before the cart logic only pacified me for so long. I decided to test the waters with a short story, something light to gauge my aptitude with the pen, or as these are modern times, I guess the keyboard would be more apt. That short story became my 116,000 word debut novel. Maybe I was a writer after all, or perhaps I just really suck at short stories.

Advertisements

On Faith and Spirituality: What Is The Bible For?

Everything in our world requires a manual to understand it.

The Bible is the written evidence, and instruction book, to understand God.

Surely if there is a God, he’d impress on his creation to write about him, yes?
Some people believe in the Mystical forces of Nature communing with us.  Through ancestors, through nature, through the elements around us– why wouldn’t the Creator of the Universe whisper to the hearts willing to hear him?  Why couldn’t we attribute the callings and impressions to BE from that Creator?

The bible records several key moments when Man communed intimately with God, and God reached out to Man.

In recent centuries, Science and philosophy has done a number on drawing mankind away from the concept of God.  The need for God.

The bible is not a history book.  Or a science book.

It has one purpose.  That purpose is to study and understand the amazing, powerful El who has created all things, lives and breathes in all things, and to equip the followers of Christ with what they need to understand.

It is foolishness, Paul states in Corinthians.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense that we’re stuck here on the planet, with an invisible God somewhere across the Universe, watching over us.  And the only way to get to this God is by believing in Him and His son, Jesus Christ.
In the book of Job, that God, somewhere across the Universe, stands up and says WHO are YOU – little man – that you can know me?  ((Job 39-41))

Job was without the bible.  He had the oral traditions of his fathers, and his Faith.
For 6,000 years, people have been believing in God.  For 6,000 years they’ve been passing down the oral and written accounts of that God.  And in the early turn of a new Era, less than 2,000 years ago, it was decided that God’s word would be in the hands of the people.  He moved on the hearts of man, and together they decided which written scripts, carefully preserved through years and years of re-recording, would end up canonized to become what we call today, The Holy Bible.  The Word Of God.

One, CONSISTENT invisible being, after shedding the blood of his own son, gave mankind a book so they could learn about Him, get to know Him.  Understand Him-even if just a little-and come back to Him and his undying love.

His words are consistent.  Sin separates us from Him.  But following hard and fast after Him is enough to save our broken souls.

In our broken, hurting world, it’s obvious none of the religions we’ve established for ourselves are getting us anywhere.  Perhaps if we turned Religion aside, and just spend time studying the Bible, taking it at Face Value for what it is – the written account of the Creator of the Universe, and treated it as the Manual to understanding God, we could finally grasp a handle on Hope.  On what is Right, and what is Wrong.

Stop picking and choosing what you want to read, and contorting it into reasons why you DON’T want to follow God.  If you truly want to know, then read beyond the book of Dueteronomy.  Read the books of the prophets.  Read the New Testament.  Read the first four books of the New Testament.  Anybody can pick up a manual, read the first five chapters, and claim they understand the whole picture.

That’s not what the Bible was designed for.  The Bible was designed to study.  To cross reference.  To examine.  To underline.  To search.  To know.

And God says you don’t need more scripture beyond that book to know who he is.  Because HE established the writing of it.

 

Either you take it.  Or you leave it.  It’s a personal biography of a great and mighty God, who exists beyond the Universe.  And it’s there.  For you.
Don’t know where to start?  Start with Jesus.  Start with Ephesians.  Start with Romans.  Start with Proverbs. Start with someone you know.  Start alone.  Wherever you start, don’t let what you’ve already decided get in the way.
Read it for yourself.  God is so much more than the box Liberal America has Him in.
Discover it for yourself.  You never know what will come from opening the pages.

Ascribe To The Lord What Is The Lords

He has carried our hearts, our pain and anguish.
He has done great things for us and instructed us in the ways we should go.
His staff protects us from the things that would hurt us.
In Him is life, hope, light and love.
Without Him these things cannot exist.
Because of His great love for us, He wrapped himself in flesh and came to the World to know us.
Because of His great love for us, He came to understand our pain, our heartache and our agony.

Because He stepped down from heaven, we have the freedom to come before Him and ask of Him anything we need, and He will provide according to how great our needs are.

Sometimes it’s just a gentle, “I’m here.”
Sometimes it’s the money to get by.
Sometimes it’s the hope that He’s got us covered and nothing is going to hold us back from the great things He has planned for us.

His hand stretches to the end of the universe, He put them there.
He greatness is more than we could imagine, and His plans are better than ours could ever be.

Ascribe to God what He does, don’t mistake His Will for yours, stand firm in righteousness and never, never let go of the Promises He has made to you.

“….and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us….”

There is only one person in this world I have ever really “hated.”
When I first experienced this new emotion, I was riding home with my sister Anna on the last rainy Tuesday in December 2010.
With bittersweet malice I asked, “Anna, can you avoid someone in heaven?”
Half a second later, the only bolt of lightning that winter shower produced shot across the sky.
After an uncomfortable moment of silence, Anna replies tentatively, “Dana, don’t say that again. The next one hits the car.”

You can’t fully grasp the concept of “strongly disliking” a person until you’ve been deeply wounded by someone you cared about.
Not just deeply wounded, but they struck you EXACTLY where it would hurt most.

The reason why Hate is so seducing is because it gives you a false sense of power.
The flavor of hate is like a fine wine.
To hate is to replace vulnerable pain with choking anger.
To fester in hate is to pride yourself into believing that somehow you have been made the victim and they don’t deserve anything good.
But like too much wine, it can become intoxicating.

It’s a dark, dreary, black hole that eats away at joy, life, love and peace.
It hurts your ability to love others, and ultimately, the ability to trust God.

The longer you let a worm live in an apple, the more it will eat away at the sweet, juicy insides.
You don’t realize how bad the damage is until the smell of rotting flesh overpowers your thoughts.
Where once was Life, there remains a dead leathery shell, drying stem and loose seeds.
Seeds. The cradle of life. A chance to start over.

God makes all things good, right? Look at the creation story. The only thing wrong with Creation-was Adam’s loneliness!

Why is it so hard to forgive?
I’ll tell you why.
Forgiveness relinquishes our fallible security in power, pride, and arrogance. It forces us to be vulnerable to hurting all over again.
But, like those seeds in the core of a dead and empty apple, God desires to plant in our lives the amazing ability to Overcome and become a New Creation.

If God created us for Fellowship, both with Him first-since obviously He was all Adam had until Eve was created, which essentially makes others second, then why should we let hate seperate us from each other?
Hate can make you lose trust in everyone. It hurts your Fellowship with believers, and your ability to witness to non-believers. Sometimes it isn’t intentional, but when you fester in hate, somewhere along the way something will trigger the pain you try to ignore, and you’ll react. You probably wont even necessarily mean to! Either way, your reaction will affect everyone around you.

Your ugly, infected scab will tear open, and before you can stop it, it will bleed. All of your pent-up anger and grief will ooze out of you until
a) you gain the composure to stop it
b) you’ve sobbed until the tears run dry
c) depression consumes you and you hide away from everyone
or d) you’ve chewed everyone and their dog out.
You wont be able to understand yourself until the blood clots again.
Forgiveness washes over you like a flood.
When you beg God to remove a piece of you you don’t like, He does. And His grace is overwhelming.
When you ask to make amends with someone close to you, peace is restored. Trust might not be replaced right away, but you know deep inside that your chance to prove yourself worthy of /their/ forgiveness is available at your earliest convenience-and something inside jumps for JOY at the thought, even through the fear that you might fail again, you are relieved to know you have a second chance.

So if you know what it’s like to be forgiven of a sin that was gnawing at you — why would you rob someone else of that joy?
Jesus said to pray for God’s Will, His Lordship, His provision, His forgiveness and His strength, because He controls and manifests in everything in creation.
“Our Father who lives in Heaven, your name is Holy. Bring Your Kingdom, as Your Will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us for our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, for YOURS is the Kingdom, YOURS is the honor, and YOURS is the glory, now and forever, Amen.”
I hear the Spirit gently convict me of my sin of hate, God whispers gently, “How can I forgive you, if you wont forgive him?”
In my heart, I know I can’t Fellowship with the Father while I marvel in vengeance and pray a thousand times a week that I could avoid this /one/ person for the whole of eternity.

Back in January 2011, God gave me the chance to give this person a moment to talk to me. He wasn’t very good at getting his lame apology across to me, and then blew his one opportunity to ever talk to me again.
Looking at my reactions to it after the fact, I probably wouldn’t talk to me again either.
When God said, “He’s going to contact you. Be nice.” I laughed.
God knew I wouldn’t and made a POINT to tell me what He expected of me.

Jesus expects all of us to forgive each other, no matter how much it costs us. It cost Him nails through his wrists, ounces of blood, absolute isolation and separation from God when he needed Him most, and a brief moment of eternity in hell in order to conquer Death.

What do you have to do to forgive? How much will it really cost you?

For me-only my pride.

‎……..but what’s that worth anyway? 🙂

The Love Dare

In 2010, God taught me an amazing lesson about love.
At the TIME I didn’t know it was just a lesson and not preparation for something more — but now that I look back, I did an excellent job at passing that test with a 70… and get why I was one point from failing.

I was reading the Love Dare, and applying it to my actions. God would have me pick it up and read the daily devotional, as well as practice the daily-do’s.
Everytime the book was in my hands, I read exactly how to deal with what I was going through. God never once failed to get me through everday when I needed Him to be there.

Giving up was easy, and I admit I gave up a few days.
…..but the thought well thought, and the deed well done aren’t complete without mistakes.

This soldier I was supporting was a jerk. And God wanted me to love him. But not just /love/ him, be Christ to him.
Now I know The Love Dare is for married couples, but I encourage you-if you’re going to learn the lesson God wants you to, even if it’s alittle odd, DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU TO.
That book was not just for my benefit to learn how to love my future husband someday. The love practised between spouses is SO SIMILARE to God’s love for us.
Becoming a servant, and loving others as Christ loves the Church is soooo hard!
Especially when people are stupid…

Looking back now, I wish I could have loved better. I listened intently to God, and did everything I needed to, but I still feel like I could have loved better.

I look at the book on my bookcase now, the memories click into place with “oh!! I get it now….”
….and then I wonder what happened after those lessons were learned, and if I need to do it again.

“I dare YOU to love like Me.” I hear God say.
What would that look like in my life, and should I improve?
The love thing I’ve got…. the servant thing? Yeah, everyone knows, not so much.
My example is Christ, and God-you’ve got to help me live like Him.

What is the core of Doctrine in Christianity?

That Jesus Christ was the son of God, who was wrapped in flesh to be born of a virgin to walk on the earth with mankind, establish the New Covenant and die on a cross for the redemption of ALL Creation, and HE is the only way to heaven.

Every evangelical denomination will hold to this core teaching.

There are many other “Doctrines” in Christianity today.
From the “Core Doctrine” to the “Lesser Doctrine” of the Baptist churches, the sixteen fundamental truths of the Assemblies of God, to five point Calvinism, EVERY evangelical denomination will claim they believe Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and He is Lord over all creation.

But, the Values of the Bible, the Teachings of Christ, the books of the Prophets, Apostles, Moses and the Jewish Law, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the work of the Spirit, whether or not God speaks, the Redemption of Israel, the Tribulation, THE BIBLE ITSELF, have all been misinterpreted, taken out of context, and twisted into heretical opinions and teachings.

With so many voices screaming around us, and so many different opinions flying through the air, what do you believe?  Who is right, and who is wrong?

How do you tell what is “of God” and what is not in a time when the Body of Christ is divided against itself?

I am non-denominational in my “church” standings.  I lean towards the Baptist denomination, because they’re the ones that have it the most “right”.  They don’t have everything right, but they believe the Bible is the authority of Mankind, even if individual churches don’t believe everything in it to be true.  Like Calvinists, they are REALLY good at using the Bible to back up all of their points.  Which is awesome!  I Timothy 3:16-17  “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

But what I’m having trouble with is the legalistic, close-minded approach many individual congregations take to the Scriptures.  Everyone has their own “boxes” they fit God and the Spirit into.  What I find in many churches (especially some of the fundamental, traditional Baptist churches, Bible churches, and some other denominations) is that they go BY the bible, and only the bible.  The Spirit doesn’t have the freedom to move inside of the church and create a broader spectrum for Believers to grasp and understand.

Just because God saw to it that the Torah, the Jewish Chronicles and Histories, the Hebrews Psalms, the writings of Solomon, the books of the Prophets, the accounts of Christ, and the letters to the Churches were all bound together in a canonized book, so there would be no more confusion and carpal-tunnel from faithful scribes recording the letters over and over again…..  Just because God saw fit to give mankind these things in ONE book, He did not negate His right to move in the Spirit and reveal even greater things to the World.
Now, I don’t want to sound like a Universalist here, I believe FIRMLY that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to Salvation (John 14:6) , and the Holy Spirit is the Seal of our Salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14).
However, I do believe that there is more prophecy, beyond the Bible, that God has for America, Australia, New Zealand…. If you haven’t noticed, the Cradle of Civilization was all in the Middle East.  All of the Old Testament prophecies are in relation to the coming Messiah, and the Nations surrounding Israel.  (Save for Daniel and Ezekiel, which have prophecies marking the end of days, and do include the rest of the world at times. E.g. the vision of the statue made in different materials, which was fulfilled through the Egyptian, Greek, Persian, Roman, and British empires, and still today with the bits of clay here and there.  And Ezekiel where the wars and rumors of wars are prophesied about that will take us into the end of days… and beyond, when every man in Israel will have a job for the next thirty years after the War of the Lamb [in Revelation 19], during the 1000 year reign where Jesus comes down to rule the earth)
I believe that there are SO MANY THINGS God has to say to individual believers.  And the reason why He says we need two or three prophets in the Church to agree and affirm a Prophecy given to one of them (I Corinthians 14:29) is to test whether the Word is from the Spirit.  Based off of the Consistency of God lined out in the Scriptures, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can know whether or not a Word from a Prophet is true.

Since controversies arise in relation to the Gift of Prophecy and the active calling of Prophets, (as well as what I call paranoia of False Prophets) most believers (especially again the fundamental traditionalists, who claim the Bible is *all* we need from God) will deny the existence of it, and use I Corinthians 13:8-9 as an excuse to ignore they exist.  (They also use I Corinthians 13:8-9 as a reason to cut down the gift of Tongues.  But they haven’t exactly studied it to put it into context either.  I have a study on it that I will be posting later)
If God really did end these gifts, then why does He go on, through Paul, into Chapter 14 to tell the Believers how they should use Prophecy and Tongues?

These practices remind me of the Amish and their way of shutting out the World to keep from straying from God.

Should a Christian box off their mind and God, telling Him that He can only work the way THEY want Him to, or should they believe that God wont give them more they can handle, and slowly stretch their Faith in Him?
I didn’t come to believe everything I did in one night.  God stretched me, grew me and gave me understanding a little at a time.  Jesus grew in Wisdom and Stature, little by little.  I mean, He was Jesus – He already KNEW everything because He was Deity wrapped in flesh, but even so, the writer of Luke says even Jesus grew in Wisdom.

I promise you God wont lead you astray.  If the Bible is His Word, written as Holy Men of God were carried along by the Holy Spirit (I Peter 1:20-21), then He isn’t going to act outside of what has already been Established by the Old Testament, and the Gospels of Christ.  Jesus HIMSELF quoted the Law and the Prophets again, and again.  They already knew the Truth, because they’d been told generation after generation the stories of the people who had gone before them, and the great and wonderful things God had done for the Children of Israel.

If God incarnate, wrapped up in flesh, did not try to lead the people astray in His own teachings, but re-established God’s Word again and again, then wouldn’t the Holy Spirit do the same with you?

Don’t let Fear hold you back from serving God the way He designed you to serve Him.

*I* worship God in Nature, in Worship, in Dance… With the Elements.  I don’t worship the Elements, I worship and serve the Creator of the Created things 🙂
I don’t hinder the Spirit, and I go and do where He leads.  I speak as He prompts, and I trust that His Word will not return to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11)

Only the Lord knows the hearts of Mankind (I Samuel 16:7), yes?  Let your heart trust and rely on a God who has remained the same from the Beginning of Time until now.
The One that will never Leave or Forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6)
The One that Knows the Plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
The One that give you Strength when you can’t go on (Isaiah 40:29)

Stop relying on the teachings of Man, only capturing pieces of the Word of God.  Study it for yourself and let the Spirit guide you into the Truth that you seek.  Mankind was given the responsibility to spread God’s Word.  They’ve been doing it for over 2000 years now.  Since it was given to Humans, Humans have contorted Scripture to say what they will it to.  Human teachings have created controversies in the Church and division among the Body.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15 NASB
Another version translates it into “Carefully Study”.
Either way, ask, seek and knock, and the doors will be open to understanding deeper what so many choose to never look for at all.

Three Wisemen In Search Of A King

Do you know, the Wisemen did not find Jesus until “the Child” was about two and a half/three years old?
They’d been in pursuit of the star for a really, REALLY long time before they made it to the King of Kings.
On top of that, they /followed/ this star.
These Wisemen were magicians ((magi is short for the word we translate into “Magician”)).
In bible times that meant that they were stargazers. They studied the heavens and kept continual watch over what was going on in the night sky.
They could tell you everytime a star moved, everytime a star vanished, how the planets moved, charted eclipses, watched the moon phases… and they probably figured out the earth was round before Galileo. But anyway.
So these wisemen one day notice something really special happening on the heavens. A star has appeared, and it’s greater than all of the other ones.
They get together, discuss it, and search to find out what it means.
Prophecy after prophecy is uncovered and suddenly!!

……………..

……………..

……..They find it!!

A King is born, peace on earth, Angels sing.
They chart the skies, buy gifts and set out to follow this star.

And they follow it.

…..and follow it.

…..and follow it…….

One of them turns to the other and asks, “Is it just me or does that star keep moving?”
They agree it is, slightly frustrated I’m sure…. but they keep following.

Imagine what it must have been like traveling for two years, following a star, in search for a baby king?
Can you grasp the concept of what people might have thought of them?
But they PURSUED despite the desert, the heat, the winter… until their faith was rewarded and they found the toddler, and his parents in a small house, living as a quiet family, raising the Savior of the World.

How many of you would suffer two years of travel and ridicule in pursuit of Christ?
They stopped in to King Herod, thinking that Herod might know of a baby prince. When Herod did not, they kept looking…

…and when they found Him, they rejoiced together and declared the King of Kings had come to save the world, and then they went back to their home lands.

Funny end to that story.
Pursuit for two years, and then they go home.What happened to them is a mystery left to the veil.

But what about you?
When you connect with the awaited Christ, what will you do about it?
And if you already have…. are you telling everyone?