Judas Iscariot and The Last Supper

The Last Supper catherinehackman.com

The Last Supper catherinehackman.com

Judas Iscariot isn’t mentioned very often in the Gospels. I found 28 verses with him in them.  Of those, only a handful take place outside of the Last Supper and subsequent day. If Judas hadn’t betrayed Jesus, he would be, to most people who read the Bible, just a name in a list of twelve men who followed Jesus and were called disciples.

When I think of Judas, I have several questions:

Jesus knew Judas would betray him even before Judas was born. So, why choose him as one of his disciples?

Jesus and everyone else knew Judas Iscariot stole. John 12:6 tells us “he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it.” So why put him in charge of the finances?

At the Last Supper, John sat to Jesus’ right, and Judas (most probably) sat to His left. These were the two seats of honor. During the meal, Jesus handed Judas a special piece of bread dipped in wine or a fruit sauce. This gesture was a sign of friendship and trust. Why give this vile man these honors?

I believe the answers to all of the above questions is: because Jesus loved Judas Iscariot, and He loves us. Even though Judas didn’t repent,  Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to do so. Every time Judas stole money was an opportunity for Judas’ conscience to tell him it was wrong. Every time Jesus spoke of His imminent death and the disciples expressed sorrow was a chance for Judas to change his mind about betraying his friend. The honored seat at the Last Supper and the bread dipped in the bowl were Jesus’ silent appeal to Judas not to do the evil thing he was about to do.

Jesus was telling Judas something even more important than, “Don’t do this.” He was saying, “I love you, and even if you do this, I can forgive you if you believe in Me.” God can and will forgive anything we do against Him because He loves us. After Judas betrayed Jesus, he was sorry and gave back the money, but there is no indication that he asked Jesus to forgive him. If he had, he would be in heaven now. Yes, Judas Iscariot could still have gone to heaven.

Last Sunday, my pastor asked an important question about Jesus’ relationship with Judas. He asked (These may not be my pastor’s exact words.), “How did Jesus feel at the Last Supper, sitting with Judas, knowing Judas was about to betray him?” I think Jesus felt sad.

If you don’t know Christ as your Lord and Savior, maybe you could give Him a chance. Go to church this Easter Sunday, and, read the Bible, all the way through, just once. Don’t go by what other people say is in the Bible, read it, and decide for yourself if it is true or not. I have also put a simple illustration of what “Christ as Savior” means on a page of this blog. Just click on the “What is Christ as Savior” tab above.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them below or to email me at catherinehackman@catherinehackman.com

 

 

 

Coons and Dogs Back In the Day

A Hunting Book for the Common Folk  catherinehackman.com

A Hunting Book for the Common Folk
catherinehackman.com

My family loves to sit around telling stories. However, they often accuse my dad and me of lying. I say, “We don’t lie, we exaggerate.” Like the time I went hunting with my dad. We got a whole mess of rabbits. It was so hot out, we just put them rabbits in a pan of grease in the back of the truck and by the time we got home they were brown and bubbly and ready for gravy. My family claims we stopped at Kentucky Fried on our way home, but they have no proof. . .

My family also always had at least one dog. When I was little, Frisky was our bird dog (pointer? not sure what the proper name is), and Snoopy was our beagle. My dad trained his dogs himself and took them hunting. They were always good dogs.

Don Lerch’s book Coon Hunting in Schuyler County, Illinois, Volume 2 gives the feeling of sitting around the supper table or campfire swapping stories of the Good Ol’ Days when a dog could run for miles without trespassing on anyone’s property and coons were thick as fleas on a dog’s tail. In this book, Don has compiled stories written by 76 coon hunters or their families. It is rich with humorous reminiscence like Nellie on the River in which two men start out in a boat and don’t realize that the plug isn’t in until they are well into the middle of the river.  Other stories, like We Were Rednecks When Rednecks Weren’t Cool, tell childhood memories of hunting with dad and how coon hunting wasn’t a sport, it was a way of life: important for income and food.

A great feature of this book is each story comprises three or less pages. Anyone reading it can read one story, put it down, and pick it up again at a later time to read another. If you have a boy who likes to hunt and doesn’t like to read, this would be a good book to get him to read.

Another great feature of this book is that it is printed as written. To some people, this could be annoying since the sentences’grammar and punctuation aren’t  always perfect and sometimes the stories take detours. However, the stories being printed as submitted gives the book a truth and honesty that isn’t always present in today’s world of scripted “reality” television shows and “based up on a true story” books which may contain a kernel of authentic life but seem to stray far from real happenings.

My favorite story is about the man on his deathbed who tells his son-in-law how much he really paid for one of his dogs. He was too afraid to tell his wife, but he wanted someone to know so the dog wouldn’t just be given away.

My dad, who loves to hunt, read this book. It has to be of interest to hunters and dog lovers if he read it.

Thank you to my friend Buffy Tillitt-Pratt for recommending this book and for introducing me to Don Lerch who signed the inside. (Buffy has a story in it, and she signed it, too.)

This book retails for $19.95 (before  tax and shipping). Since it is a self-published book, you can purchase it by calling  the publishing company, iUniverse, at 1-800-288-4677.

Enjoy!

*Nellie on the River written by George Kieslar  We Were Rednecks When Rednecks Weren’t Cool written by Buffy Tillitt-Pratt

 

 

Catholics, Bruce Willis, and Zombies

Tears of the Sun starring Bruce Willis baffled me for many years. In the movie, a team of Navy seals is sent into Nigeria to rescue a U.S. doctor before a group of guerrillas slaughters the residents of the mission where the doctor is volunteering. In the movie, the priest and two nuns stay behind with the people who cannot be evacuated. I didn’t understand that. Why would they sacrifice their lives for people who were going to die anyway?

Years later, while working at a Catholic school (I am Protestant b.t.w.), I learned. Catholics believe every life is valuable up until the moment of death. Every person alive deserves to die with dignity and the best possible care. The priest and nuns stayed behind to make sure those people had quality of life until the moment of death.

Today, I was watching The Walking Dead. Spoiler Alert: I am going to tell what happened in Season 1, Episode 4. Skip this paragraph if you haven’t seen it yet.  In the episode, Rick Grimes takes a team into the city to retrieve guns. He finds a group of young men holed up in a nursing home, caring for the elderly residents because those elderly people cannot be moved. Why? The answer again: quality of life, and additionally, respect for the elderly.   

You may say, “In a situation like that, nobody would stick around.” My husband has elderly parents, and he would stay. My daughters and I are pretty self-sufficient, so he’d know we would be alright without him. As for my parents, my dad is “The Last of the Mohicans,” so the girls and I would be staying with them, not for their benefit, but for ours.

Tears of the Sun and The Walking Dead are works of fiction but can still teach us something about real life. Catholics instill quality of life into their children’s world view from a young age. We all would do well to follow their example. Every life is valuable, every person is valuable. Deep down, we all know that, instinctively. Why else, when we see scenes in movies like the ones I described, would we feel admiration and empathy for the characters sacrificing themselves for others, even those who will soon be dead?

Autism Awareness Month: A Christmas Prayer a.k.a. A Father’s Prayer

Christmas Prayer

I do not enjoy realistic fiction. And, I especially do not enjoy realistic fiction without a romantic twist.  A Christmas Prayer (Also published under the title: A Father’s Prayer) by Linda Wood Rondeau blew away all of my stereotypes about this kind of story. This book turned out to be a great realistic fiction read with a romantic thread to pull it together. In fact, I eschewed my 8:30 p.m. bedtime and stayed up until 11:00 p.m. to finish reading it.

After her parents die unexpectedly, Alexis Jennings leaves a successful, high-octane newspaper reporter career in Los Angeles to return to her small hometown of Jasper Falls to care for her twelve-year-old autistic brother, Gib. Caring for an autistic child is both physically and mentally challenging. Although her parents handled the difficulties this presented while parenting their adopted son, the job proves to be too much for Alexis to do alone. When the story begins, she faces losing custody. At the same time, country music superstar Ethan Jacobs has chosen to perform in Jasper Falls at a benefit for the local teen crisis center. When Alexis interviews Ethan for the Falls newspaper, romance ensues. Ethan’s secret, that he is Gib’s biological father and intends to take custody of his son, could tear that relationship apart and prove disastrous for all three of them, especially for Gib.

I love a romance, and the interaction between Alexis and Ethan didn’t disappoint. The reader wants them to be together but doesn’t see how that can be if Ethan takes away Alexis’ beloved brother. Honesty is important in any relationship, and I like that Ethan wanted to be up-front with Alexis from the start. A court order prevented him from revealing his true motivations for staging the benefit. Alexis also has a high self-esteem, and although interested in Ethan, doesn’t fall “head-over-heels, will give up anything to have him” in love. I like that in a romance.

This novel portrays how difficult and costly raising an autistic child can be, even if the child is high-functioning autistic like Gib. It also shows how a system, in place to represent the best interests of the child, can actually damage the child because of rules and regulations. Gib is a likeable kid, and the reader empathizes with him, worries about him, and roots for him throughout the book.

A Father’s Prayer is available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99. A Christmas Prayer is available in large print paperback for $7.25 on Amazon. Enjoy!

Like Linda’s author page on Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/writerlindarondeau?ref=br_tf or by clicking on this link: Facebook Linda Rondeau

The Mark of the Beast~The Book of Revelation

The Mark of the Beast catherinehackman.com

The Mark of the Beast catherinehackman.com

“He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16-17

The purple mark above my eyebrow is what I believe the mark of the beast will look like. My interpretation doesn’t fit, exactly, John’s description in Revelation. Some people think it will be a bar code tattoo of some sort. This wouldn’t work because the skin stretches with weight gain and age, and contracts with weight loss (Unfortunately I wouldn’t have this problem, but other people would.) so that the tattoo would change shape over time. Animals can get a chip implant so that anyone who finds that animal can take it to a facility to scan the chip and find the owner. Over time, the same technology could be available to people. Currently, the chip would have to be large in order to transmit through the skin, etc. (my opinion). If it were large enough for John to see the mark in the vision God gave him, then it will show in some way.

“The Star-Belly Sneeches had bellies with Stars. The Plain Belly Sneeches had non upon thars.” (The Sneeches by Dr. Suess) Convincing people to take this mark will not be difficult. It will be a status symbol like having the latest cell phone technology. People will also like the convenience. Walk into a story, lay your purchases on the counter, clerk scans your chip, walk out. You won’t even have to take out a credit card or show i.d.  In fact, your i.d. will be perfectly protected because no one else can access your chip. People who quote the Book of Revelation will be ridiculed as conspiracy theorists and old-fashioned. Most people who know better will take it just to keep from being made fun of. They will also rationalize taking it by saying it is no different than a Social Security Number or a credit card.

Some who know and believe that the chip is the mark of the beast will take it out of fear and desire for comfort. People who don’t take the chip risk imprisonment and death. Even if they aren’t arrested, they will lose their homes, even homes they own outright, because they will have no way to pay taxes. No water, no food, no clothes, no shelter without the chip. How many people do you know with the strength of conviction to deny the chip under those circumstances?

Think about it, read it for yourself, post a comment below or on my Facebook author page.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by Permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

 

 

Rocky Mountain Tracks and Rapid Fire

Rope Toys and Tracking Dogs catherinehackman.com

Rope Toys and Tracking Dogs catherinehackman.com

I took my pupper-Reepicheep*-to the vet a couple days ago for a shot. When the assistant put her on the scale, I said, “Sit, stay.” Honestly, I didn’t think she would do it, but she did until I released her.  I am so proud! Generally, she only does what I say when she wants to, and that isn’t very often.

And, that is what Reepicheep and Cisco (the main dog character in Donna Ball’s Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series) have in common. In this series of novels, Raine Stockton makes a living from training dogs and giving obedience classes, as well as boarding and grooming. Problem: Raine’s dog Cisco is anything but obedient most of the time which makes for some humorous situations.

Cisco also tracks for Raine and the local law. In Smoky Mountain Tracks, Cisco attempts to find a little girl who has possibly witnessed a murder. The anticipation builds as the reader tries to figure out what exactly happened. Author Donna Ball gives enough clues for the reader to figure it out before Raine, but just barely. As one point, Raine knows something the reader doesn’t know. I didn’t like that, but later I discovered why Donna chose to tell the story this way and was glad she did because it made the reading more enjoyable.

Rapid Fire involves the possible return of Raine’s former boyfriend, Andy, now a nationally wanted criminal. Raine refuses to believe the man she knew in college is the cold-hearted killer the FBI portrays him to be. At the same time Andy  may be in the vicinity, a construction worker is murdered. Cisco helps Raine uncover the truth about Andy and find out if he killed a construction worker or if some other killer is on the loose. I liked this book a lot. A couple of times I found myself getting angry–and I don’t often become emotional over books since I refuse to read the ones where main characters die in the end.

In these novels, Cisco acts like a dog; he doesn’t talk or do human things, but he is a main character. A particularly favorite character of mine is Sonny Brightwell. She has a “gift” that at first I thought, “Really?,” but I enjoyed her talent more and more as the books progressed. Also, I don’t quite know what to think about Raine’s relationship with her “husband.” You will have to read the books to find out about that.

So, what does the picture have to do with the books? Cisco’s reward for a good find is a rope toy. My Reeper just likes to chew on that particular braid. One word of caution: If you give your dog a rope toy, supervise. One person told me that her dog unbraided a rope toy and swallowed some of the strings which resulted in a vet visit.

Mysteries are not a genre I generally read. My friend at the library suggested these. I thoroughly enjoyed them and would recommend them to anyone who loves dogs, a good mystery, or just an enjoyable read.

These books are available in Nook and Kindle as well as paperback versions. You can also check them out at your local library.  Enjoy!

*Reepicheep is named after the mouse in Chronicles of Narnia.

 

The Book of Revelation~BCE and CE

The Book of Revelation BCE and AC catherinehackman.com

The Book of Revelation BCE and CE catherinehackman.com

Since my new novel takes place during the times of the Book of Revelation, I am going to write some posts about the End Times. The posts will give you background information to make the novel more enjoyable and will talk about this part of the Bible and about other parts related to the End Times.

Daniel, who lived between 605 and 530 B.C. (B.C. designates time before Christ’s birth.), wrote about the End Times. “After them another king will arise; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.”  (Daniel 7: 24b-25″) Although some people interpret this passage to refer to Rome in A.D. 70 (A.D. refers to time after Christ’s Birth.)*, Daniel’s description of the “king” follows John’s description of the “beast” in the Book of Revelation closely enough for me to believe the passage could alternately be speaking about the End Times.

Coincidentally, did you know that the terms used for the set times are changing? Many now use the terms: BCE instead of B.C. and CE instead of A.D. BCE means “Before Common Era” or “Before Common Experience” and CE means “Common Era” or “Common Experience.” Textbooks and other literary works are adopting this form of time notation; museums and various institutions are converting to it as well. Archaeologists especially appear to prefer this terminology since it takes the Christian aspect out of recorded historical dates. The numerical designations are the same, i.e. 2014 A.D. is the same year as 2014 CE.

My story has a “beast,” and he does make a lot of changes as the Bible says. The Book of Revelation, written by the apostle John, is the last book of the Bible. If you want to read it before you read my book (which will be tentatively released in the month of June), beware of spoilers.  Enjoy!

*Fun Fact: The B.C. and A.D. calendars do not have a year “zero.”

My Great-Grandpa

I wrote this paper when I was eleven after interviewing my mom’s dad, my grandpa, about his dad. It appears here, exactly as I wrote it then, errors and all.

My Great Grandpa

This is a story about my great grandpa Anthony Stewart Thomas*. He was born in Clarksville, Tennessee on September 1, 1891. He went to school in Clarksville and Memphis, Tennessee.

He then went to school in Syracuse New York and trained in Auto machnics.

When he got out of school he went back to Memphis where he bought a garage. Then he would buy used cars, work on them and when they were running pretty well he would rent them.

He didn’t know the people who rented the cars, but soon he learned that some of them were bootleggers. He also learned they hauled the whiskey in the cars he rented.

He ran an honest business and never got in trouble with the law. Sometimes he would have to show receipts and go identify the cars when the bootleggers were caught.

Later he sold his garage and went to work for Franklin Automobile Co.. They trained him to be a master mechanic and machinest in Kentucky. He did work for this company in Kentucky, Mississippi, and also in Tennessee.

Due to his health he went El Paso, Texas, there he went from town to town to work on cars.

My grandfather said he could remember that back then the roads weren’t paved and there weren’t any road markers or signs. They would have to stop and ask for information. They stayed in Texas until 1930. This was the time of the depression.

Then they went back to Nashville, Tennessee. Great Grandpa worked there till 1933 as an auto mechanic.

In 1933 they moved to St.Lois. He worked there for a Cadillac dealer as an Auto Mechanic.

He later worked for Wilson Truck lines until he retired.

He and Great Grandmother bought a small farm in Centerville Tenesee.

Since he was an active person he took up gardening. My mother and grandfather decided that he had the very best garden in Centerville Tennessee. When my mother was young they would visit her grandparents. Then Grandpa would put vegetables all over the car. They had a station wagon. He would put potatoes around the spare tires. They had a station wagon. They had a spring on their farm and Great Grandpa would keep his watermellon in it.

Great grandpa had one fault, he loved to drink. When he was little his family made bootleg whiskey.

Since he liked to drink and Tennessee was a dry state, he bought bootleg whiskey. One day he was going home after he had bought some and the State police stopped him. Then they found the whiskey. Since Great Grandpa was very old and was never in trouble before they took his liscense.  It must have scared him so bad that he never drank again.

So he worked his garden and since he was in poor health he would take a cane to go to the garden which was down a steep to a flat piece of land.

My great grandpa died on June 5, 1977 in Centerville, Tennessee where he was burried.

My grandfather gave me the information so I could write this.

*I changed the name for privacy reasons. Since I was eleven when I wrote this, I cannot attest to the accuracy of all of the information. Although my paper says great grandpa liked to drink, I am in no way implying that he was a drunk or alcoholic. Family members can contact me with any questions.

Black Boogiemen

 

 

What would you do to change the world?

What would you do to change the world?

“I say this to everyone here. . .what we are about to do is horrendous.  . . .we are about to sacrifice far more than money and time, gentlemen.  Our souls may be at stake.”

Dr. Trenton Branch, an upstanding, married black*man, who lives in modern-day St. Louis, has reached the point of disgust with most of his fellow black men. He is sick of the murder, the drug abuse, the theft, the abandonment of the women and children, and the “sagging.” He sees the great potential of black men and women, and his heart breaks that they can’t see it for themselves. Although he could easily fall into the usual finger-pointing of “the whites did this to us,” he instead decides to ask, “So, what? So what if the whites did this to us? What am I going to do about it?”

His answer proves to be startling, innovative, and earth shaking. Gathering around himself a group of 26 “Black Boogiemen,” he wages war against the inner city in an attempt to clean up the neighborhoods and instill pride in a race that has forgotten its true value as a people, as a culture, and as individual members of the human population.

I have to admit that at one point I almost stopped reading when I realized what Dr. Branch actually planned to do. The idea horrified and fascinated. Once I came to understand that Tallis Piaget’s writing doesn’t focus on gory detail, I plunged ahead, and the book proved to be the page turner Tallis promised it would be.

Also, in spite of the somber nature of the story, several parts turned out to be humorous. I absolutely loved the “Sagging” chapter. When I figured out what Dr. Branch had planned, I told my husband, we both laughed, and I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen. Other, subtle humor is interspersed throughout the book. In the style of a true author, Tallis’ use of humor keeps the story balanced and enjoyable.

Throughout the book, I wondered whether the author condoned all of the ideas his main character promotes. Is it a story meant merely for entertainment, or is it a story meant to stir people to action? As with all humans, Trenton Branch has flaws and some of his methods are questionable–to put it mildly. Those qualities, however, make this a book worth reading. Tallis appears to be whispering to his readers: “Don’t take this book at face value. Think for yourself. Is Dr. Branch a hero or a villain?”

And what about the problems in your own life? So what? What are you willing to do about it?  How far are you willing to go, what are you willing to sacrifice, for the greater good of others and for peace within yourself?

Black Boogiemen  is available in paperback for $17.99 and Kindle for $3.03 from Amazon. 

*In the book, the author refers to the men as “black” and not as African-American. My wording reflects the word-choice of the author. Mr. Piaget is of African-American descent and “was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri.” (Quote taken from back cover of book.)

Initial quote taken from : Piaget, Tallis. Black Boogiemen. Xlibris: U.S.A. ©2011: Tallis Piaget. Pages 119-120.

 

As You Are At Christmas

Fun Clean Romance

Fun Clean Romance

 

This makes book 7 on my 25 book goal.

In this fun romance, Davalynn Spencer weaves the story of a grandmother’s plot to bring her granddaughter together with her handyman. Angela, a third grade teacher, spends every Christmas at the Victorian boarding house run by her grandmother, Mollie. This Christmas, Angela is nursing a broken heart after catching her long-time boyfriend with another woman. Ever the matchmaker, Mollie introduces Angela to her handyman, Matt and conspires to bring them together as many times as possible during the ensuing holiday. Although Angela and Matt know what is going on, they play along to humor this woman they both love. The result is a sweet story about finding love where it is least expected and a lesson that Jesus always accepts us “as we are” at Christmas and every other time of the year.

This story appealed to me first and foremost because Angela has a high self-esteem and isn’t desperate to fall in love with just any man. In fact, at one point when Mollie sends her on an errand with Matt, Angela feels uneasy about going someplace out of town with a man she doesn’t know.

A second, equally appealing, feature is the humor. I smiled or laughed several times at the mishaps that occurred. One in particular, involving guests at the inn, makes me smile even now.

I found it refreshing to read a story without sex or sexual expectations on the part of the characters, with a plot that involved family love, traditions, and a soft, but clear, message about Christ.

Also, since the story involved baking and Victorian decorations, I thought about my friend Kim’s (alittlelunch.com)  Posts: The Trip of a Lifetime and Boxing Day Memories.

I won this romance from Linda Glaz through a contest on the Heartline Literary Agency website. You can purchase the Kindle version on Amazon for $2.99.