Jack feigned sleep as the clock radio clicked on with "Christmas Music". Denise rolled over and turned it off. Pressing herself lightly against Jack's back, she kissed him gently on the shoulder before slipping out of bed leaving only the faint scent of Jasmine.
Listening to the familiar morning sounds of his family, he rolled onto his back wiping his damp eyes with angry gestures, "How could I be so stupid?"
A hard pain formed in his chest as he wondered why he would jeopardize his own family for the whims and fantasies of others. Although he knew he wasn't Tom Cruise, he understood that he wasn't totally unappealing to the opposite sex.
He tolerated a good deal of good-natured kidding because of high morals and happy home life. He was a disappointment to his buddies when he ignored the office flirt, Amy.
He was flattered in an annoying sort of way because she was a beauty. He hoped her bright business mind would someday catch up to her obvious good looks.
Unfortunately, after working late last week he stepped into the elevator to find Amy waiting inside. Leaning seductively against him, his body became a traitorous bunch of hormones. Lifting her lips she planted a long and suggestive kiss on his mouth.
When the elevator opened she stepped out as if nothing had happened. He felt shaken and surprised at his teenage mentality. He hoped she would forget it had happened.
This wasn't the case and Amy decided to make a game of it. Her suggestive looks and silent smiles had the whole office wondering and talking.
The desire to remain in bed for the rest of his life was short live. Denise called out to him that breakfast was ready.
I'll be right down honey," he managed to say with a touch of light heartedness.
"I can't hold anyone else responsible for my own stupidity," he muttered.
The sounds of laughter and the phone ringing reminded him that his day was just beginning. Jack knew that his mother called every morning faithfully. He admired Denise's patience with her.
He loved walking into the kitchen each morning. The smell of coffee and homemade bread. Christmas lights decorating the window. Denise had a collection of copperware and antique molds mixed in with lush green plants and blue wicker.
Denise blew him a kiss as she balanced the phone on her shoulder, "Yes mom, I know. We all love your special meatloaf. Why don't you come over tonight and fix it for us. I'll take you shopping this afternoon."
Jack rolled his eyes at the idea and Denise punched him playfully, "Okay mom, I'll see you later."
"You are so good to mom since Dad died," Jack said.
"She's just feeling lost right now honey, don't forget ... today would have been their wedding anniversary," Denise said. "I'd feel the same way about you ... if I lost you."
That familiar ache began again in Jack's chest. He busied himself pouring orange juice and clearing the breakfast table.
The kids came running into the kitchen planting kisses and grabbing their lunches and adjusting their winter coats as they flew through the back door and slamming the screen.
Jack leaned back against his chair and forced himself to sip his coffee and enjoy these precious morning moments that Denise like to call her favorite M and M's. He tried to will his aching chest away.
Denise attempted to appear nonchalant as she removed the bread from the oven and brushed the tops with butter, "Oh honey, I forgot to tell you that Amy from the office called again last night."
Coming around and leaning over the back of his chair and wrapping her arms around his neck she whispered, "I told her to quit bothering you or I'd come down and punch her nose." Denise was smiling over her confession as she kissed his neck.
Tilting his head back he could see her green eyes shining as they were surrounded with the faint scent of Christmas Jasmine.
Enormous storm clouds began brewing off in the distance causing Thyrus to break his watch over Jesus momentarily.
He could sense the other warriors gathering behind him.
Cautiously Thyrus looked towards the Throne as Jesus (His Commander) walked across the valley to Gethsemane.
The growing army of darkness was amassing ... yet, reluctant to draw near to Jesus.
Peter, James and John were in tow lagging behind as if fatigued. Turning to his disciples, Jesus shared the depth of his sorrow.
Thyrus tapped his gleaming sword hanging from his ornate belt. His agitation was felt by his men standing close around him.
Thyrus snapped to attention brandishing his sword as Jesus fell to the ground ...
All manner of warriors and princes gathered around as Jesus prayer echoed throughout the Throne Room.
"O my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
The commotion happening below in the garden was deafening in heaven... along with the voices of the cherubim's and others around the Throne.
Yet, Thyrus heard the order ....... Stand Down!
*** Chapter Two - Silence in Heaven***
A hush fell upon Heaven ... a great cloud of witnesses stood behind Thyrus.
No words were spoken between the Warrior Angels ... eye contact was all that was needed.
All eyes upon Jesus, the Warriors longed to intervene in the garden as they watched the soldiers and chief priests surrounding the Son of God.
A light gasp rippled through the sea of witness as they watched the multitudes of men with swords and wooden clubs crowding around Jesus ... and then ... the kiss from Judas betraying their King.
No one could speak.
*** Chapter Three - Lies & Truth ***
All of heaven could see the confusion enveloping the waking disciples. Peter jumped into warrior mode, drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the servant of the high priest ... this brought a slight smile to Thyrus's lips.
Calmly Jesus reached out and healed his ear as he was taken from Gethsemane by force.
Jesus was mocked and beaten. They tried to humiliate him in everyway ... yet, Jesus reacted Not!
Drug before Pilate and Herod he was finally condemned to crucifixion. Jesus was spat on while wearing a crown of thorns and tormented as he carried his cross through the streets to the place of Golgotha ... to be crucified between two thieves.
Pilate wrote "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews" and they placed it on the cross.
All of heaven was thinking ... If you only knew!
*** Chapter Four - Six Hours in Heaven ***
Those in heaven spotted the Army of Darkness surrounding Golgotha ... appearing as black snakes slithering about.
Thyrus and his fellow Warrior Angels glistening with their body armor and weapons were poised for action ... seething while watching their Commander being nailed to a cross.
Thyrus knew that the weapons and strength they had were nothing compared to Jesus.
Jesus was more of a warrior enduring the pain and suffering than all of the Angel Army in total.
Heaven's occupants did not question the wisdom of the Throne.
Love for Jesus's brethren and his followers rained down from heaven.
Thyrus saw Jesus speaking to one of the thieves on a cross ... "See you soon my brother," he thought.
One centurion in particular caught Thyrus's eye.
The mocking continued for hours until ... darkness fell upon the land, and a noise like thunder ... Jesus, the Son of God bowed his head and gave up the ghost.
In heaven the silence endured.
*** Chapter Five - An Empty Tomb ***
Heaven erupted into rejoicing ... heard clear into the farthest galaxies ...
Thyrus and his warrior angels were back in action again doing the will of the Father ... the Commander had returned.
Echoed from the tomb ... "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said." Matthew 28:6 (NIV)
Roughly 30 years ago, I had enjoyed a small (and I mean small) amount of freelance writing success for about 10 years ...
Then, while in Washington State I was afforded the chance to manage a Denny's restaurant.
Thrilled with the promotion, I decided to devote myself to staff and position ...
SO ....... I took my 44 boxes of writing ideas to the dump ... including cartooning ideas, children's stories, business articles and greeting card ideasAND a cartoon cookbook I had been working on for 4 years called - "A Cookbook for Dummies" ... dad and I agreed it was a dumb name for a book ... NEVER catch on ... Yikes!
Pray before making life changing decisions .... please pray first
That decision ranks right up there with my decision years later to throw away 400 batches of greeting card ideas (7 ideas to a batch) before my trip back across the states to the west ...
Now 20 years later I may not be wiser, but I sure pray first!
day 1 - "Pleasing God" Proverbs 16:7 ... When a man is trying to please God, God makes even his worst enemies to be at peace with him ... (LB)
day 2 -"In Search of Wisdom"Proverbs 2:6 ... For the Lord grants wisdom! His word is a treasure of knowledge and understanding ... (LB) day 3 -"Prayer Life" Matt. 14:23 ... And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart ... to pray ... (KJV) day 4 - "Consider Your Ways" Eph. 5:13 ... So be careful how you act; these are difficult days. Don't be fools ... be wise ... (LB) day 5 -"Guidance - It's Never Too Late" Psalm 32:8 ... I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you... (NIV) day 6 - "The Lord will guide you always" Isaiah 58:11... (NIV) day 7- "No Boredom Here" John 21:25 ... And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the Books that should be written... (KJV) day 8- "Christian Courtesy" Phil 1:27 ... Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ ... (NIV) day 9 - "Devotion" Titus 3:14 ... Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good ... (NIV) day 10 - "This is Living" 2 Corinthians 6:16 .. I'll live in them, move into them; I'll be their God and they'll be my people ... (Message) day 11 - "Quiet Time" Mark 1:35 ... The next morning he was up long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray ... (LB) day 12 - "Gratitude & Joy" Psalms 92:2 ... Every morning tell him, "Thank you for your kindness, and every evening rejoice in all his faithfulness." ... (LB) day 13 - "Stay" Jude verse 21 ... Stay always within the boundaries where God's love can reach and bless you ... (LB) day 14 - "Success" Exodus 33:14 ... And the Lord replied, "I myself will go with you and give you success" ... (LB) day 15 - "Trust Issues?" Psalms 62:8 ... O My people, trust him all the time ... (LB) day 16 - "Strength" Isaiah 41:10 ... I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you ... (LB) day 17 - "Recharging" Phil 4:7 ... His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet ... (LB) day 18 - "Perfect In Him" Hebrews 12:2 ... Keep your eyes on Jesus ... (LB) day 19 - "Fear" Isa. 41:10 ... Fear not, for I am with you ... (LB) day 20 - "Practical Practice" Phil 4:9 ... Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice ... (NIV) day 21 - "Continually" Colossians 4:2 ... Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving ... (KJV)
day 22 - "Not On My Own" Habakkuk 3:19 ... The Sovereign Lord is my strength ... (NIV)
day 23 - "Unshakeable" Isaiah 54:10 ... My unfailing love for you will not be shaken ... (NIV)
day 24 - "When We Suffer Derailment" Deuteronomy 33:27 ...The Eternal God is your refuge... (LB)
day 25 - "Gifts & Treats" James 1:17 ... But whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God ... (LB)
day 26 - "My Stuff" Hebrews 13:5 ... Be content with such things as ye have ... (KJV)
day 27 - "A Good Path" Proverbs 4:18 ... But the path of the just is as the shining light ... (KJV)
day 28 - "Daily Planners" Proverbs 16:9 ... In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps ... (NIV)
day 29 - "Drifting" Revelation 2:4 ... Yet there is one thing wrong; you don't love me as at first ... (LB)
day 30 - "Night Terrors" Psalms 4:8 ... I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety ... (KJV)
day 31 - "Healing the Breach" Colossians 3:14 ... and above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness ... (KJV)
day 32 - "No Hide & Seek" Jeremiah 29:13 ... and ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart... (KJV)
day 33 - "Never Alone" Matthew 28:20 ... I am with you always, even unto the end of the world ... (KJV)
day 34 - "Night Thoughts" Psalms 63:6 ... I lie awake at night thinking of you ... (LB)
day 35 - "No Worries" 1 Peter 5:7 ... Cast all your anxiety on him because he care for you ... (NIV)
day 36 - "All My Travels" Genesis 28:15 ... behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest ... (KJV)
day 37 - "Copy Cat" Romans 12:2 ... don't copy the behavior and customs of this world ... (LB)
day 38 - "Trustworthy" Psalms 28:7 ... I trusted in him, and he helped me ... (LB)
day 39 - "When Anxious" Matthew 6:34 ... So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too ... (LB)
day 40 - "Walking With Gladness" Romans 12:12 ... Be glad for all God is planning for you ... (LB)
day 41 - "A Perfect Choice" 1 Peter 2:9 ... For you have been chosen by God himself ... (LB)
day 42 - "Giving Life" John 10:10 ... My purpose is to give life in all it's fullness ... (LB)
day 43 - "The Greatest" Matthew 23:11 ... To be the greatest, be a servant ... (LB)
day 44 - "Peacemaking" 2 Timothy 2:24 ... God's people must not be quarrelsome ... (LB)
day 45 - "Troubles ... Troubles" Psalms 55:22... Pile your troubles on God's shoulders -- he'll carry your load, he'll help you out ... (Message)
day 46 - "What God Wants" Micah 6:8 ... be fair, and just and merciful, and to walk humbly with your God ... (LB)
day 47 - "Good Deeds" Titus 2:7 ... In everything set them an example by doing what is good ... (NIV)
day 48 - "It's a Journey" Ephesians 5:10 ... Learn as you go along what pleases the Lord ... (LB)
day 49 - "Bulls Eye" 1Corinthians 14:1 ... let love be your greatest aim ... (LB)
day 50 - "Feel Free to Apply" Proverbs 23:12 ... Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge ... (NKJV)
day 51 - "Sarcasm" Titus 3:2 ... to malign no one, to be peaceful, gentle ... (NASB)
day 52 - "A True Presence" Zephaniah 3:17 ... For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you ... (LB)
day 53 - "Sheltered" Psalms 91:4 ... He will shield you with his wings! They will shelter you ... (LB)
day 54 - "Belief" 2Corinthians 5:7 ... We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing ... (LB)
day 55 - "Contentment" Philippians 4:12 ... I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment... (LB)
day 56 - "True Energy" Colossians 1:29 ... To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me... (NIV)
day 57 - "Tenderness" Psalms 33:5 ... He loves whatever is just and good; the earth is filled with his tender love ... (LB)
day 58 - "Rich and Poor" Proverbs 22:2 ... Rich and poor have this in common; the Lord is the Maker of them all ... (NIV)
day 59 - "Mighty" Zephaniah 3:17 ... The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save thee ... (KJV)
day 60 - "Hard Hearted" Hebrews 3:13 .. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin ... (KJV)
day 61 - "Holding Hands" Psalms 73:23 ... Nevertheless I am continually with you; you have taken hold of my right hand ... (NASB)
day 62 - "Family" Proverbs 20:7 ... It is a wonderful heritage to have an honest father ... (LB)
day 63 - "Step by Step" 1Peter 2:21 ... Follow in His steps ... (NIV)
day 64 - "Enough is Enough" 1Timothy 6:8 ... But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that ... (NIV)
day 65 - "We Are Not the Judge" Exodus 20:12 ... Honour thy Father and thy Mother ... (KJV)
day 66 - "Forgiving Love" 1Corinthians 13:4 ... Love never gives up ... (Message)
day 67 - "Encouragement" 1Thessalonians 5:11 ... Therefore encourage one another ... (NIV)
day 68 - "Call Out" Psalms 145:18 ... The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth ... (NIV)
day 69 - "The Peace Symbol " Ephesians 2:14 ... For Christ himself is our way of Peace ... (LB)
day 70 - "True Delight" Isaiah 61:10 ...I delight greatly in the Lord ... (NIV)
day 71 - "Thought Control" Isaiah 26:3 ... He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord ... (LB)
day 72 - "What a Gift" 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ... Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means ... (KJV)
day 73 - "The Giver" Luke 6:38 ... Give, and it will be given to you ... (NIV)
day 74 - "Mighty Weapons" 2Corinthians 10:4 ... I use God's mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knockdown the devil's strongholds ... (LB)
day 75 - "A Few Words" Proverbs 17:27 ... The man of few words and settled mind is wise ... (LB)
day 76 - "Kind Words" Proverbs 16:24 ... Kind words are like honey -- enjoyable and healthful ... (LB)
day 77 - "Keep Looking" 1Chronicles 16:11 ... Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always ... (NIV)
day 78 - "Hunger Pangs" Proverbs 15:14 ... A wise man is hungry for truth ... (LB)
day 79 - "Our Every Need" Isaiah 65:24 ... and it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear ... (KJV)
day 80 - "Challenge Yourself " 1Timothy 4:7 ... Train yourself to be godly ... (NIV)
day 81 - "Fulfilled" Psalms 138:8 ... The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me ... (NIV)
day 82 - "Burdens" Galatians 6:2 ... Carry each other's burdens ... (NIV)
day 83 - "Drifting" Hebrews 2:1 ... Listen very carefully to the truths we have heard, or we may drift away from them ... (LB)
day 84 - "Hard Workers" 2Thessalonians 3:6 ... Keep away from every brother who is idle ... (NIV)
day 85 - "Honorable Mention" Philemon verse 4 ... I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers ... (KJV)
day 86 - "With Certainty" John 14:6 ... Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life ... (KJV)
day 87 - "Don't Be Afraid" Mark 16:6 ... He is risen ... (KJV)
day 88 - "The Fullness of Strength" Ephesians 6:10 ... Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord's mighty power within you ... (LB)
day 89 - "Heart Thots" Proverbs 23:7 ... For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he ... (KJV)
day 90 - "My Soul Sings" Lamentations 3:23 ... Mercies > They are new every morning : great is thy faithfulness ... (KJV)
day 91 - "God's Word" Psalms 119:105 ... Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path ... (KJV)
day 92 - "Evil Tidings" Psalms 112:7 ... He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord ... (NIV)
day 93 - "Refreshing" Proverbs 11:25 ... He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed ... (NIV)
day 94 - "Good Conduct" 2Corinthians 6:3 ... We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited ... (NIV)
day 95 - "Preservation" Isaiah 43:2 ... When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee ... (KJV)
day 96 - "Battles" Exodus 14:14 ... The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace ... (KJV)
day 97 - "Self-Appointed Judges" James 4:11 ... Speak not evil one of another, brethren ... (KJV)
day 98 - "Time Out" Job 5:17 ... Happy is the man whom God correcteth ... (KJV)
day 99 - "Control Freak" Proverbs 21:23 ... Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles ... (KJV)
day 100 - "You Are Precious" Zechariah 2:8 ... For he that toucheth YOU toucheth the apple of his eye ... (KJV)