Unicorn

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Unicorn

Death seeped through my veins. I could feel its progress as I staggered toward the barn. I collapsed on a bail of hay, the sickness clouding my thoughts.

A blurry figure approached me, holding a vial.

“Drink! Quick!” he said pouring the contents down my throat. It was thick, sticky, and powerful. The darkness retreated. My senses cleared.

“What…?”

“Unicorn blood,” said the man. “How far away are they?”

“About ten minutes,” I said. He walked out of sight. When he returned he handed me a club.

“Have you your strength?”

I nodded.

“Then we must be ready to fight.”

Check back tomorrow for V…

Text

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Text

who’s there?

me

diku?

it’s jed.

nw idbi

i’ll prove it 2u

how? OW! my phone shockd me!

i know

u do that?

yes

jed

yes

r u ok?

idk. think so

any msgs?

yes. tell Laura

yes?

tell Laura i 4give her

u 4give her?

yes she didn’t know

how u know that?

idk. I just know. iac, it didn’t hurt. rly

rly? not u maybe. it hurt e1 else. 2m2h.

sbt

w/e

 but don’t blame Laura. she didn’t know what would happen

i’ll try. it’s hard.

btw tell Laura

?

tell Laura

w@?

she looks beautiful in black.

If you need help deciphering this piece, check out this Text Messaging and Chat Abbreviation dictionary. I used it while writing it…

Check back tomorrow for U…

Summer Snow

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Summer Snow

At first I thought it was a small petal blown by the gentle breeze. But it touched my face. And melted. More fell from the cloudless sky. Excited, I stuck out my tongue to catch the small white flakes, disbelieving the evidence of my senses.

“This is impossible!” I said. “It’s 90 degrees—there shouldn’t be snow. How can there be snow in the middle of summer?”

“You forget where you are, young lady,” said the dog, padding up beside me.

“Of course, Ricewine,” I said with a smile, and climbed back into bed. “Only two more hours until morning…”

Check back tomorrow for T…

Sunday School Notes: Revelation 1:5-6

5 And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kingdoms of the earth. To him who loves us and released us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him [be] the glory and the dominion forever, Amen.

As we discussed last time, verses 4-8 serve as a prologue to the book, using the standard letter-writing format of the time. John has introduced himself, identified his audience, and is now offering grace and peace from “the one who is, and was, and is coming,” the seven spirits before the throne of God (which we identified as the Holy Spirit–see the discussion last week), and now from Jesus Christ. We usually pass over references to “Jesus Christ” in Scripture, but it’s good to remind ourselves that “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah”–it’s a title, not a name. Yet Jesus isn’t called “Jesus, the Christ,” in the same way that John is called “John the Baptist” (literally, John the Baptizer). Rather, he is called “Jesus Christ” in a manner akin to Simon, who was given the nickname Peter, and thereafter became known as Simon Peter. My point is that Jesus is so identified with his role as Messiah that very early on it became a part of his name. Not simply “Jesus the Messiah,” but Jesus Messiah–it’s not just a role, it’s who Jesus is.

John then lists some titles that he ascribes to Jesus. The first is “the faithful witness.” As with “the one who is…” last time, John has not used the correct grammatical form, which we recognize as his way of telling us he’s making an allusion to something in the Old Testament. In this case, we look to Psalm 89:37, a Psalm about David describing his throne as one that will be established forever–a faithful witness in the skies. We should also note that the phrase “faithful witness” is used later in 2:13, speaking of Antipas who was killed for the faith. Being a “witness,” may or may not involve the loss of life, but the idea of standing firm in one’s proclamation of the truth is a core theme in Revelation. Already, John has referred to himself as one bearing witness to the testimony (i.e., witness–same root word) of Christ (1:2). For his witness to Christ, John has already suffered exile, and would no doubt be willing to suffer more, even as Jesus did. Christ is, after all, our finest example of the faithful witness, who did not compromise his message or his mission, but testified to the truth even at the cost of his life. In the context of Revelation, this is a vital theme. Christians were facing such pressure to compromise, as we do today. The challenge is to remain faithful, despite the cost.

The next title given to Jesus by John is “firstborn of the dead.” This doesn’t mean that Jesus was born first of all those who have died. Rather, the term “firstborn” (Greek: prôtotokos) refers to preeminence. Paul uses the term in Colossians 1:15 and 1:18 speaking of Christ in a similar way, and since Colossae is in Asia Minor, and the letter to the Colossians was supposed to be read in Laodicia too, it’s very likely such terminology was familiar to John’s readers. But that’s not the only reason John speaks of Christ in this way. The term is also used in Psalm 89:27–the Psalm we were just looking at–speaking of David’s preeminence. I think this leaves us in no doubt that John has this Psalm in mind, and sees the fulfillment of the promises to David in Christ.

In Psalm 89:27, God tells David he will make him “highest of the kings of the earth,” which parallels John’s description of Jesus as “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” Jesus is the king of kings. Again we see the Messianic fulfillment of this promise to David in Jesus Christ. Elsewhere in Revelation, the term “kings of the earth” is used in a negative sense, describing those who rule in opposition to God (e.g., 6:15; 17:2). I think this just further emphasizes the extent of God’s sovereignty. His kingly rule doesn’t just extend to those who submit to Him. Indeed, His sovereign domain encompasses even His enemies, such that there is nothing they do that does not fall under God’s sovereign hand. No suffering is outside of His will, and Christ will be their Lord and their Judge. As the churches in Asia then, and the church here today, contemplates the trials of this world, both present and to come, the thought of God’s supreme rule over all things should be of great comfort to us.

The way John speaks of Jesus in the rest of verse 5 is interesting. He says he is the one who loves us and “released” us from our sins by his blood. We are used to the idea of God forgiving our sin by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, but John uses the Greek verb luô, which means “to loose” or “release.” I am reminded of Romans, where Paul talks of those who are in Christ as having been set free from the bondage of sin (e.g., Romans 8:2). Not only are we free from the penalty of sin, but we are no longer under sin’s domain. We struggle with sin as believers, but we are no longer under sin’s power. Indeed, for the Christian, our sanctification comes as we gradually live according to the reality of Christ’s lordship over us. Again, in a situation where the church faces pressure to conform to the world, and set aside living for Christ in order to compromise with the world, it is good to be reminded of the love of Christ, and his demonstration of that love by the shedding of his blood on our behalf.

Not only did Christ “release” us from sin, but he “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” This is possibly an allusion to Exodus 19:6, and though that passage could be understood to speak of a “kingdom of priests” or “a royal priesthood,” it is clear that John sees two distinct offices here. Is John saying, however, that we are kings and priests now, or is this a future hope? Or maybe both? I don’t think many of us have a problem with the concept of the priesthood of believers. We present ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:2), and while some are called to full-time ministry leadership, we are all responsible in some capacity for ministering the gospel to those around us. Every believer is called to pray, to intercede for others, and to serve.

But what about “kings”? If we are rulers, it certainly doesn’t seem like it. Perhaps John intends us to see Jesus as our example. He was, after all, both a priest and a king. But, as he told Pilate, his kingdom was (and is) not of this world. Further, Christ demonstrated his lordship through service, and ultimately through his death and resurrection (see Philippians 2:5-11). It is in Christ that we reign (something we’ll see mentioned in Revelation 20:6, along with priesthood). I think it’s important to note, however, that John speaks of us as being a “kingdom”–and while by implication we can understand that to mean we are rulers, there is a sense in which we are a kingdom, i.e., the Kingdom of God. Jesus referred often to the Kingdom of God, which is essentially the present reality and future hope of all believers. It is the domain to which we belong when we are redeemed. In this sense, we most definitely are a kingdom now, and we will see the fulness of that reality at the End Times.

We might be kings and priests, but it is to Christ that “the glory, and the dominion [or "power" or "strength"] for ever.” Jesus is the recipient of all the glory, and he is the source of all that we have.

We’ll continue from verse 7 next time.

Reset

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Reset

“This, my lord, is our latest experiment.”

The creature pointed a talon at a screen. It showed a man pressing a large button, disappearing, then reappearing, only to press the button again and disappear.

“Interesting, Wormwood. Explain.”

“Well, your magnificence, the subject is given a ‘Reset’ button, so he can go back and undo his mistakes.”

“Yes?”

“Of course, it’s a deception. You can’t undo time. He simply goes back, makes the same mistakes, hits the button, and is held in a perpetual loop for all eternity.”

“A self-made hell?”

“Precisely,” Wormwood grinned. “Created out of his own regret.”

“Excellent!”

Check back tomorrow for S…

Sunday Flash Fiction Special #3

Each Sunday in April, I’m posting a piece of 100-word flash fiction I wrote for a Janet Reid writing contest (see HERE for the full explanation). Here’s this week’s:

THE BESTIES WRITING CONTEST

(January 19, 2012)

Must include: Red, Fold, Chaos, Bent, Chasm

My entry:

I pushed open the familiar red door of the betting shop.

“The last time,” I told myself as I stood in line. I re-read my tip. Ten-to-one odds. I pulled out my bill fold—the last remains of the empty chasm that is my bank account.

“You’re bent on self-destruction,” my wife had told me when she walked out. Ten-to-one odds on fixing the chaos of my life.

“The last time,” I muttered, approaching the counter.

“Which horse, Steve?” said the bookie.

“The two-thirty,” I said pushing the last of my savings toward him. “All that on The Last Time.”

See you tomorrow for my “R” story…

Sunday Devotional: 1 Corinthians 15:14, 17

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is empty and your faith is empty… 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile–you are yet in your sins.

As Christians the world over celebrate the resurrection of Christ today, I thought I’d take a few minutes to contemplate these words of the Apostle Paul as they relate to our Savior’s death and resurrection.

In context, Paul is speaking of the future hope we have of being raised from the dead at the End Times. It seems some were denying this truth, and Paul uses the fact of Christ’s resurrection to assure his readers that just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we will one day rise with him. “For just as in Adam all die, in the same way also in Christ all shall be made alive, but each in his own order: Christ, the first-fruits, then those who are Christ’s at his coming, then the end,” Paul says in verses 22-24.

Many in our culture don’t want to deal with the resurrection of Christ as a reality. Atheists and materialists will flat-out deny such a thing could happen. Some would say that Christ’s resurrection was spiritual: he rose again in the church, or in the lives of his followers. Or others will say that you can be a Christian and deny that the resurrection happened because it’s one of those “negotiable” doctrines. What matters is you love God and love your neighbor.

The fact is that God’s plan of salvation necessitated the death of a substitute for our sin. He pictured this for His people in the Exodus (the blood of the lamb on the house lintels to ward off the angel of death), and in the annual Yom Kippur sacrifcies, where the sins of the people were laid upon a substitute. You can even see hints of this plan in the story of Abraham offering his son Isaac. Jesus himself told his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, where he would suffer, be mocked, killed, and rise again three days later. Paul recognized that in his resurrection, Jesus was vindicated (see also Philippians 2:5-11). He conquered death for us, so not only do we not die in our sins, but we are raised up to new life with him. That new life begins on the day of our salvation, and will be fully realized on that final day, when we will be caught up with those believers who are still alive to meet the Lord in air and be with him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

It is at the heart of the gospel message, and definitional of the Christian faith, that Christ not only died, but he physically rose from the dead three days later. We don’t serve a dead savior, but a risen Lord. This may not sit comfortably with people in our modern materialistic culture, but divine truth rarely does. I pray we will not only rejoice in the fact of the resurrection today, but we will be bold to proclaim this truth as long as the Lord gives us breath.

Have a wonderful week!

Query

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Query

Dear Ms. Price:

Angela was a hard-nosed literary agent with a flair for snark, and a rejection count as large as the national debt. Then she received the query she couldn’t turn down. The email threatened her life if she didn’t say yes, and the sender had attached the 150,000 word manuscript. There was no name at the bottom, just the signature, “I know where you live.”

TWO DAYS TO LIVE tells the story of Angela’s search for the writer who would try to kill her—and probably will. The 150,000 word manuscript is attached.

I know where you live.

Check back on Monday for R…

Paper

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Paper

I glance at the clock. Two hours to go, and I’m not even half-way done. My fingers cramp from holding this pen. I try to work through the pain, but my mind keeps wandering to a place where forms are digital, automated, and take seconds to complete…

… like in the old days… back when we had computers… before the anti-tech revolution.

It was supposed to make life purer. Less complicated. Fifty years on, and the revolutionaries are waiting on their Social Security checks.

Waiting on me finishing these forms…

…. that would have been done weeks ago with computers…

Check back tomorrow for Q…

Onions

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this year, I’m posting a 100 word piece of flash fiction every day. It might be a self-contained story, or a scene–whatever, it’ll be fiction, and it’ll be over in a flash! Today’s story is…

Onions

“Why?” said Andrea for the n-teenth time. I wanted to answer, but between her bouts of ugly-sobbing I didn’t stand a chance. Then, at last, after about half an hour, she stopped.

“Because he’s a guy,” I said.

“And all guys are stupid!” she replied.

“No. Guys are onions.”

Andrea rubbed her puffy eyes and stared at me.

“You think you know them,” I explained. “Then you peel a layer, and you find something new. Then you peel another layer… then another… You’ve got to peel the layers to really know a guy.”

“Yes–and I always end up crying!”

Check back tomorrow for P…

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