Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Thoughts on Questions from Hebrews Ch 11 on 2/25

HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. These are thoughts from the class discussion.



Hebrews 11 is a series of commentaries on various Biblical characters. Each is commended for the significant faith shown in their life. As we go along, we’ll read each Old Testament passage and you can fill in the chart below along with the answers to the questions. Yep. More work! The fill-in starts with verse 3.



Chapter 11
Vv 8-19

Abraham-Part 1.

What do we learn from v8? (this is from last week)
He went on faith.
God does not tell us the outcome of faith on things.
Don't put a timeline on God's work.
You don't want all "green lights" in your faith walk.

What the significance of living in tents?
Residing as an outsider on another's land.
Moveable
Temporary.

Why did Abe do these things?
Faith.
For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:10

Verse 11 switches the faith idea. How? What does that imply?
Trust in God t0 God is faithful
If we are faithful, God will do as he promised.
God is faithful regardless of our faith.

What’s with “as good as dead” in v12?
He was too old to father children.

How do you welcome someone/something from a distance?
Abraham would not see the promise.
Like Joseph's instructions about his bones.
He believed for future generations.
We might not see the end --> our descendants will see it.

If we can't see, trust God to show an application.

Aliens!?! What’s up with this???
Foreigners.
Strangers. 
Exiles
Pilgrims.
In most societies, those groups have less privilege than original inhabitants/natives.



Comment on v15 re 1) Abraham. 2) in general. Return where?



How can people cause God to be ashamed to be God?
By not obeying.
Lack of faith.
No desire for the "better country"/heaven.
THEY CAN'T DO ANYTHING TO CAUSE GOD TO BE ASHAMED.

Abraham-Part 2

1) What did Abe do? 2) Why? 3) How could he do that? 4) On what did he base his reasoning?
1) Offered Isaac, the Son of Promise as a sacrifice.
2) God said so. Obedient.
3) Faith/Obedience.
4) God could raise Isaac from the dead.
Note: This was a blood sacrifice. No blemishes. Symbolism of Christ's sacrifice.



We Got This Far This Week

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 
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My website is: www.crdowning.com

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

C.R.Downing's Book Tour 2018. Book #1 Traveler's HOT L - Part 2




Book #1:
There is a link to Amazon for the title book in each blog. Additional links are provided to original short stories involved in the development of the title book in the description of each story below.

Elevator Speech
Traveler’s HOT L presents the journey through time by eight adventurers. Each traveler’s reason for taking their trip is as unique as the outcome of their experience, with twists and surprising turns along the way.

Background
     The original Traveler’s HOT L was a stand-alone short story, one of four time travel related short stories that found their way into this book, my first published novel. There was no master plan for the stories until late 2012 when I retired from full-time teaching and began serious writing.

     Traveler's HOT L was named Winner for Science Fiction by the 2014 USA Best Book Awards.

     Written as time travel stories, four tales are the core of the anthology. Each of the four had its own version a time travel mechanism. The original versions of these stories were fleshed out to address what had become a common time travel method. Other content was added to tie the storyline to the HOT L. Finally, backstory, details not included in the original version because of length restrictions, and some new plot points were added.


You can read my thoughts on each of those stories in last week's blog.

     Plot points were added to four non-time travel stories. Those were included to round out the eight slots in the book. They were all complete stories without a time travel slant. Molding them into time travel tales was harder than I thought it would be.
     Hardcore time travel aficionados don’t care for these converted stories. Their most common complaint is that time travel plays a minor role in the story. Other complaints center around the fact that one of those is humor genre, one is detective genre, and two are sci-fi but not time travel focused.

     The descriptions of those four stories are the topic of this blog.


I've linked PDF files of each original short story to the title of that short story before inclusion in Traveler's HOT L - The Time Traveler's Resort. Take a read of the original. Then read the same story in the book. Let me know what you think.


     5.   Cold-Blooded Murder was the biggest challenge in converting non-time travel to time travel stories. Phil Mamba is “my” private detective. The first Mamba Mystery title is The Mixer MurderAnd Other Detective Case Files. I have a 170,000-word Mamba Mystery novel ready for publication. All I need is a publisher!
I turned the commission of the crime into a dream sequence as part of the conversion. It’s a bit cheesy, but . . . people like the fact that a murder mystery is the basis for a time travel story.
The original story was part of my biology lecture on the brain. I explained Elton’s methodology as how to commit the perfect murder. I threatened to turn all my high school grade files over to the police if I ever read of a serial killer using this method.
One of the best lines in Traveler’s HOT L is found in this story. The story is set in the 1980s. Mamba is searching through police archives.
Mamba took the files and found an empty chair in the hallway. “Right now, I’d really like a laptop with Internet access,” he mumbled. He looked up with a start. I have no idea what I just said to myself means. He shook his head to clear the strange terms.
Who helps the detective and how he closes the case are yours for the reading . . . just not in this blog post!

     6.   The earliest iteration of Camped Out was simply another humorous short story chronicling an escapade of Henry Langdon and his best friend Aaron Fremont. The complete set of The Adventures of Henry Langdon short stories, edited for publication, is available in Sir Isaac’s CarAnd other tales of daring and disaster.
Aaron narrates all the Henry Langdon stories, so they are written in the first person. Aaron is the foil in most of the stories and provides as much voice of reason as any two middle school boys might conjure up. To make this into a time travel story, I gave Aaron a reason to go back to his childhood.

     7.   The original That’s Not Like It Was in the Movie was an assignment for the writing correspondence course I took in 1978-79. The assignment really was to write an alternate ending to a story you’d read. I chose to write an alternate ending to one I’d written. My mentor was impressed.
Since TNLIWITM had two possible endings long before Traveler’s HOT L, it was easy to “end the story” and then have the protagonist go back in time and experience the more favorable ending.
This story is possibly the weakest in terms of following my guidelines for time travel, but I am pleased with the end product.

     8.   Battle for the Far Planet was the result of my oldest son’s experience with an early home video game. The game was self-contained in a plastic box that contained the motherboard, joystick, with a low-rez screen. Levels increased in difficulty. The harder the level, the more Steve would flop from side to side as he “dodged” the alien missiles.
About a year after I finished the short story, The Last Starfighter movie was released. Cody Jelsovsky, a good friend who reads everything I write and provides unbridled commentary, demanded two things.
She read the original story, which ends with the pilot transported inside the machine by an alien military commander and encouraging his squadron of other captured pilots. That’s a standard sci-fi twist.
“What happens next?” she asked.
“It doesn’t matter,” I answered because it didn’t matter to me.
Eventually, I capitulated to her demand and wrote the same story from the aliens’ perspective. Later, I added a true ending. Unfortunately, all that was done on a typewriter. I had one copy, which I loaned to a student. He graduated before I realized I’d never got the story back.
The plot of The Last Starfighter is eerily parallel to Battle for a Far Planet. Cody’s second demand was to sue the movie studio for stealing my idea.
“You can’t copyright an idea,” I explained.
That did not change her mind.
The pilot in the version of Battle in Traveler’s HOT L is a female. The original pilot was male. No sex-change operation was performed, I just wanted another female protagonist. I ended up including breast cancer as an important plot element.
This is the cliffhanger in Traveler’s HOT L. The conclusion is in Volume 2. To assist in the time travel aspect of this story, I added a new set of time synchronizers from another quadrant of the galaxy.

Even though Traveler's HOT L won a Best Book competition, not every reader was singing its praises. Here's a description of how the most contrary opinion came into existence.
Epoch is explaining the only instances of human disappearance from the timeline.
“That provides the greatest mystery. Jesus, a Teacher or, Son of JHVH, depending on the source of information, registered as dead. However, His reappearance registered three days after His death. Following a time period of insignificant length, the Man Jesus disappeared as completely from all timelines, as the other two.”
That paragraph elicited the following in a brutal review of Traveler’s HOT L. I’ve written about it in an earlier blog, so I’ll just include the offending sentence here.
By the time Jesus is referred to as a temporal anomaly, it’s all too much,
That’s not what the story says. I don’t think the reviewer read the book. Skimmed it is my best guess based on the comments posted. Ah, well, when you publish something, you paint a target on your self-esteem.

You've reached the end of the second post on the 2018 Book Tour

Traveler’s HOT LMore Tales from the Time Traveler’s ResortVolume 2 is the third fiction book in this book tour. That’s in four or five weeks. Stay tuned.

Two weeks from today, get the inside scoop on Book #2: INSECTICIDE - A Science Fiction Thriller.


I've posted a 113 page PDF file with samples from all my published books and three as yet unpublished manuscripts. This provides a comprehensive overview of genre and style. I invite you to download the file. Enjoy the read.

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com


I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!


Monday, February 26, 2018

Questions on Hebrews Ch 11 from 2/25

HEBREWS STUDY QUESTIONS

My Sunday School Life Group is studying Hebrews. Every Monday, I post questions that were discussed the day before in Sunday School. I invite you to ponder/think about them and jot down your thoughts.

On Wednesdays, I post some of the ideas that came up in the Life Group's discussion for you to consider and compare with your thoughts.  


These questions were discussed in my Life Group yesterday. Take time to reflect on them. I'll post thoughts from the class discussion on Wednesday.



Chapter 11
Vv 8-19

Abraham-Part 1.

What do we learn from v8?

What the significance of living in tents?

Why did Abe do these things?

Verse 11 switches the faith idea. How? What does that imply?

What’s with “as good as dead” in v12?

How do you welcome someone/something from a distance?

Aliens!?! What’s up with this???

Comment on v15 re: 1) Abraham. 2) in general. Return where?

How can people cause God to be ashamed to be God?

Abraham-Part 2

1) What did Abe do? 2) Why? 3) How could he do that? 4) On what did he base his reasoning?

We Got This Far This Week

If you'd like a PDF of the pages of questions in table form with room for you to write answers, email me at 
Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Expressions of Faith. Hebrews 11 - Faith #4



By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.
 Hebrews 11:31

If a commercial advertising agency was writing a sales pitch for Christianity, Rahab would not make the list of exemplary followers of God.

The inclusion of many events that are appalling from a humanist perspective and many people who are less than godly combine to make a powerful argument for the reliability of the Bible.
  • Rahab was a prostitute.
  • She was a skilled liar.
  • On a superficial level, all she’s recorded as doing is saving her own skin. (See Joshua 2 and Joshua 6 for her story.)


However, Rahab is included with Abraham and Moses as examples of faithfulness.

Rahab’s story makes you think about what faith is.

Go back four Fridays to Faith #1 and re-read the five translations of the writer’s definition of faith.

How do the actions of a lying, conniving prostitute fit those definitions?

 SPOT ON! That’s how they fit. 

Thank God right now for His love for you.

The next time you see a ribbon of any color dangling from a building, thank Him for Rahab and millions like her who put their faith in God despite overwhelming opposition.


Last week I called Abraham the Poster Child for faith.
Turns out that, all faithful people are as much poster children for God’s faithfulness as Abraham!

Are you poster material? 
If not, you can change that right now.

Ask Jesus to forgive you, 
and begin living a life of faithfulness!

Next Expression of Faith: Hebrews 11 – Faith #5
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My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback as a comment on Blogger!

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