Moive Reivew: Pompeii

Posted By on February 23, 2014

Pompeii - movie poster, IMDB

Pompeii – movie poster, IMDB

When I first saw that someone made a movie on Pompeii, I thought it had to be one of two novels of that title: Pompeii by Robert Harris or Pompeii – City on Fire by T.L. Higley 

Deo Volente! - God Willing by Giselle AguiarIt was neither. At that point, I was curious. Having done so much research on Pompeii and the Roman Empire in the 1st Century BC, for my award-winning novel, Deo Volente: God Willing, Love in the First Century, I was hoping to enjoy a good movie set at the time of Vesuivius’ eruption in 79 AD.

I specifically set my novel in 69 AD, to avoid the destruction of Rome by Nero in 62 AD and the destruction of Pompeii by Vesuvius in 79 AD. But when my agent told me it was too short. I decided to take my main characters 10 years later to Pompeii arriving there just days before it erupted. I had read Harris’ book before and I re-read it to get a real feel for what it would have been like to be in Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted. Higley’s Pompeii came out just about the same time as mine did. Both had excellent plots, and sub stories as well as the excitement, drama, and tragedy of the volcano.

PPompeii by Robert Harrisompeii – the movie is not based on any novel (Though it would have been nice if it could have been mine – I still think it would make a great movie – any takers?), but an original screenplay by Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler and Michale Roger Johnson. The movie stars Kit Harinton as Milo, a Celtic slave/gladiator, Emily Browning as Cassia and Keifer Sutherland as the mean, arrogant Roman senator, Corvus. It opens in Brittania when Milo was just a boy and his clan of Celtic horsemen is massacred by Romans led by Sutherland’s character, Corvus. Milo survives and is taken prisoner. Years later, he arrives in Pompeii to the gladiator school. He’s an invincible fighter and he’s put up against Atticus, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. There is a lot of gladiator fighting – hence the PG-13 rating barely missing the R.

Milo meets Cassia, the daughter of a nobleman (The Romeo & Juliet paring – here’s where this story and my novel are kind of similar, but my nobleman’s daughter falls for a working-class Christian merchant), and they are smitten. Being from the horsemen clan, he helps her calm her horse who goes wild during an earthquake (preview to the eruption). He sees that Corvus is in Pompeii on business with Cassia’s father, Severus, played by Jared Harris and recognized him as the man who killed his family and seeks revenge.

I have to stop here to draw out some historical inaccuracies…

1. Vesuvius, before it erupted in 79 AD, had a conical peak as depicted in this fresco in a villa in Pompeii. In the movie, it shows it as it is now, with the open crater. Vesuvius had not erupted since before mankind. Read: Vesuvius then and now

In this fresco from a house in Pompeii we see Bacchus, the god of wine in front of Vesuvius.

In this fresco from a house in Pompeii we see Bacchus, the god of wine in front of Vesuvius.

2. Pompeii did not have a lighthouse. The first and only lighthouse in the Roman Empire and the Mediterranean was in Alexandria, Egypt. It was badly damaged by an earthquakes, the last in 1323. I learned about this doing research for my 2nd novel, “Follow Me: Love in the 2nd Century” which I’m still writing.

3. Though there were many tremors in the days prior to Vesuvius’ eruption, they were not severe enough to cause the huge chasms depicted in the movie. If there were, there would be signs of them among the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

4. The opening scene of the human casts are from Herculaneum. Where Pompeii was rained on and subsequently buried by pumice and volcanic ash, Herculaneum was flooded with magma hence causing the casts which an archeologist discovered. They were carefully cleaned and left there.

5. When Vesuvius erupted, it rained pumice not fiery meteors as depicted in the movie. (Hollywood took a bit too much of artistic license to add drama.) Pumice floats, but when piled up on roofs, it does get heavy enough for them to crash in.

6. Yes, there was a festival going on the day that Vesuvius erupted – Vulcanalia – the feast of the Roman god Vulcan – the god of fire (how ironic). In the movie, they called it “vinealea” or something like that. (Maybe the didn’t want to seam too much like Star Trek.)

7. The day before a minor earthquake had cracked the aqueduct that brought water into the city. That was a huge warning and the movie didn’t show that at all.

Beside the above mentioned historical inaccuracies, the movie was one-dimensional. There are so many good stories from Pompeii. They couldn’t weave one of them? What about Pliny? I tell his story in my book.

Overall, if you like lots of gladiator fighting, earthquakes and meteors falling, it’s a good disaster movie. As a romance, mine is better. It is a Romeo and Juliet story, but with a happy ending. I didn’t care for the ending in the movie. I would have done it differently. It’s worth seeing in the theater (not sure if I’d watch it in 3D), just for the enormity of the eruption and earthquakes. Typical disaster flick. Very flashy, no meat. For me, they could have cut back on the fighting and put more story in it.

Wait for the DVD.

Here’s an excerpt from my the first chapter of my novel…

Here’s an excerpt from the Pompeii/Vesuvius eruption part.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

An Excerpt from Deo Volente: God Willing – Surviving Vesuvius in Pompeii

Posted By on February 23, 2014

Deo Volente (God Willing) Love in the First CenturyHaving just seen the movie Pompeii which in my opinion was

1. Historically inaccurate in several places; and…

2. Rather lame

I thought I’d share an excerpt from my novel, Deo Volente! (God Willing) Love in the First Century:

Let me set the scene. Vesuvius has erupted. The day before, Anthony, a Christian missionary spoke in the forum warning the citizens of Pompeii that something big was coming to repent and come to Jesus Christ. Anthony and his family were about to leave on a boat back to their home city of Puteoli (now called Pozzuoli).

Hora Quinta

Two servants carried their luggage on board the Africus. The ship brought olive oil from Carthage and picked up wine from Pompeii for Rome via Puteoli.
“The water is running!” A voice from inside the city at the Porta Marina shouted. “It’s slow, but running!”
A few people ran into the city. Darius, who was just stepping onto the gangplank said, “See that! I have to stay and go to work!”
“No you don’t,” Aurelia said from behind him. “Gaius knows what to do. He will take care of everything.” She put her hand on his shoulder urging him forward.
Darius knew arguing with his wife was useless and walked onto the gangplank.
As they stepped on board, Phoebe protested, pulling her mother’s hand. “Why do I have to go?” She shook her light brown curls. She was a miniature image of her mother.
“We’re going to visit your Aunt Julia. She hasn’t seen you in a long time. We want to show her how much of a young lady you are.”
“Very well.” She looked to the sky and noticed flocks and flocks of seagulls, pelicans, sparrows, crows, ducks and many other types of birds flying north. “Look, Mater, look at all the birds!”
Everyone looked up.
“That’s odd,” Darius said. “It’s too early for birds to migrate and they would be flying south.”
“Ducks wouldn’t be flying with crows either,” Anthony added. “Something is wrong.”
As they walked on deck, Captain Meti welcomed them, recognizing Anthony. “Anthony Supreus! How good it is to see you!”
“Captain Meti! It is good to see you, too! You remember my wife, Claudia. This is her Aunt Aurelia, her husband, Darius and their daughter, Phoebe. We’re going to visit our family in Puteoli.”
“Come to my cabin while we finish boarding.” The Captain led them inside. “I will have the steward bring you some wine. We should be leaving at hora sexta. The trip is just an hour or so, if the winds hold up. We have eight oarsmen in the event that the wind is unfavorable.”
“Thank you so much, Captain,” Anthony said.
They made themselves comfortable on the couches against the cabin walls as the captain walked out. Anthony took Claudia’s hand and said, “Let us pray.”
Claudia took Aurelia’s hand and she held Phoebe’s. Phoebe looked up at her father and reached for his hand. “Come on, Pater, you can pray, too.”
Darius smiled and took her hand.
Anthony prayed, “Almighty father, be with us as we embark on this voyage. We thank you for the opportunity to visit our families and we ask that you carry us safely in your arms and protect us from any dangers that we may encounter. This we pray in your son, Jesus’ name. Amen.”
“What dangers can we possibly encounter on such a short voyage?” Darius asked.
In that instant, they heard two loud cracks. Moments later, the ship rocked violently.
“What was that?” Darius asked grabbing Phoebe and holding on to the wall.
“Maybe… that’s the danger Uncle Anthony prayed about,” Phoebe said her bright blue eyes wide with fright.
They ran outside and witnessed something never seen before—the top conical point of Mount Vesuvius was gone and there was a thick pillar of smoke rising high into the sky. All they could do was stare at it.

***

In Misenum, 32 kilometers across the bay from Pompeii, Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder), admiral of the Roman fleet, lay resting in his windowless room when his sister, Julia came running in.
“Pliny! You must come and look.”
“Julia, can you not see that I’m resting.”
“Across the bay…one of the mountains…exploded!”
“Exploded? Woman, what are you talking about?” He rose, tossed on his casual toga and followed his sister.
On the balcony, his nephew, Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus (Pliny the Younger), pointed to the plume of smoke. “Uncle! It seems to be Vesuvius. There is a tower of smoke rising into the sky!”
Fascinated by nature and known for his writing, especially his encyclopedic work, Natural History, the elder Pliny, enthralled by the phenomenon he was witnessing, ran to the veranda. As they continued to stare, the plume reached its highest point and then started branching outward.
“Look!” exclaimed Pliny. “It looks like an umbrella pine. Prepare my fastest ship! I must get closer! Come with me Gaius, this is something we may never see again in our lifetimes!”
“No, Uncle, I will stay and finish the assignment you gave me.”
“Very well.”
Moments before he was about to leave, a messenger came with a letter from a friend, Rectina, who feared for her life since her villa was in the Vesuvian foothills near Herculaneum.
“Call out the whole fleet. This is now a rescue mission!” Pliny ordered his servant.
“Be careful, Pliny,” Julia pleaded.
“I will be fine, Julia,” Pliny assured her. “I have the greatest fleet accompanying me.”

***
Hora Sexta

All the passengers on the Africus, still at the dock in Pompeii, stared at the churning column. Sometimes it was white, sometime grey with black speckles. The passengers watched the cloud crawl across the sky hiding the sun. It was day, but it was as black as the night. Suddenly, it seemed to fall like a dark curtain covering the city.
“I have to go to the house!” Darius screamed walking towards the gangway.
Aurelia grabbed his arm. “Have you lost your mind? It is too dangerous! What is there that is so important?”
“Our money! Our things!” He screamed back at her, yet he couldn’t take his eyes off the tower of smoke. “Our lives! We’re going to lose everything!”
Aurelia put her arm around Phoebe. “Darius, this is our life.”
Darius stared at her then stared at Vesuvius.

***

In the city, people had no idea what was happening. Standing in the open atrium of his house on the Villa dell’Abondanza, Polybius and his family—including his daughter who was eight months heavy with child—ran under the peristylium for protection as ash and pebbles rained down on them. The chunks that landed in the atrium pool dropped into the water and bounced back up to the surface.
“Look, Pater,” his daughter exclaimed. “They float!”
“How odd,” Polybius said. “I think it is best that we all stay inside the house—the walls are solid and so is the roof. We will be safe inside.”
A few blocks away, Livius, the baker, ran with his wife and two sons to the port. “It is amazing! Anthony was right. Quickly! We must get to a ship!”

***

All together, there were about fifty passengers on the Africus. Captain Meti yelled, “Set sail, set sail! Passengers! Get below or under cover!”
Anthony guided his family back to the shelter of the cabin.
The cloud seemed to be following the northwesterly wind so sailing with the wind was not a viable option—the only way was to row to Puteoli where it was still clear. The wind changed and the sails were useless. “Take down the sails! Oarsmen! To your posts! Hurry!” Eight men scrambled down a hatch.
The captain shouted to the helmsman, “We must go to Puteoli as planned. It is our only escape!”
“But, Captain, the wind is against us!” the helmsman yelled back.
“Steer against it! The oarsmen have to do all the work.” To another member of the crew he yelled, “Add two more oarsmen to each side.”
Everyone did as ordered, but the oarsmen were not only fighting the wind, but also the ever-increasing high waves. It was a tough challenge, but they finally were able to pull away from the dock.
Anthony looked out the window, saw Livius and his family on the dock frantically waving and ran outside.
Claudia tried to stop him. “Anthony, where are you going?”
“It’s Livius. We need to save him!” Anthony ran out searching for the captain. “Meti! Please we need to pick up Livius and his family!”
“We cannot! Look at that cloud, it is getting closer!”
“Then, let’s hurry! Please! He is a good friend!”
The captain shook his head and shouted to the helmsman, “Back to the dock! Let us rescue some of these people! We cannot take everyone! Oarsmen stop!”
The helmsman obeyed and turned the ship with the help of the oarsmen. It wasn’t three feet away when people on the dock started jumping towards it. Some were able to grab a rope but many ended up in the water. The captain yelled, “Throw out more ropes!”
The ship was two feet away. Anthony threw a rope to Livius. Livius caught it, gave it to his wife and put his youngest boy on her back. She leapt to the boat. Anthony caught her, grabbed the boy and helped her aboard. Once they were safely aboard, he threw the rope back to Livius, who caught it and with his older son on his back, leapt to the ship. Anthony pulled the rope and was able to grab the boy’s arm. The boy let go of his father and Anthony pulled him in and handed him to his waiting mother.
“Help!” Livius lost his grip and fell into the water. The rough waves rocked the ship violently.
Anthony tried to get the rope to him. There were several people in the water fighting Livius for the rope. Anthony thought about jumping in to help him, but Claudia came outside just as he was going to climb on the rail. “Anthony! What are you doing?”
“It’s Livius. He fell into the water!”
“Look, he’s climbing the rope ladder!” Claudia pointed.
Dripping, scratched and bruised he climbed over the rail and hugged his wife and children. “Thank you, Anthony. You saved my life!”
“Come, let’s go inside, it’s too dangerous out here.”
The sky was now thick and dark with the cloud enveloping the city and slowly inching out to the bay.
When Anthony entered the cabin, he found Darius in the corner on his knees praying. “Darius, who are you praying to?”
“Vulcan of course!” Darius rose to his feet. “He wasn’t happy with what you did yesterday on the day of his festival and he’s releasing his wrath on the whole city!”
Anthony, Claudia, Aurelia, Livius and his wife stared at him not believing what he was saying.
“You should be thanking God that we are safe!” Anthony said trying not to sound angry.
“What about those people dying in the city? Why isn’t God saving them?”
“They don’t believe.”
“So you’re saying only the Christians are going to be safe?”
“Maybe—I don’t know that. Livius and his family are safe—however, not without a struggle. It is not for man to judge who will die and who will survive. Some people will make the right decisions that will save their lives and some will make foolish decisions that will end theirs. I just pray that people like Iulius Polybius and other people that heard me today turn to Christ before they die. Then I know that even though they may perish in this disaster, they will live in peace and love with Jesus and God in heaven.”
“Mater, I’m scared,” Phoebe looked up at her mother tugging at her dress.
Claudia squatted down, looked Phoebe in the eyes and held her tiny hands. “A long time ago, when I first met Anthony, I was going through something scary and he gave me a passage from scripture from the Godly people who came before Jesus. It goes like this: ‘I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber…’ See, Phoebe, if you believe and have faith, the Lord will be with you every step of your life. You can call on him whenever you feel scared, lonely, hurt—even tired. ‘The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.’”
“Is that true?” Darius asked, humbling inside and sensing it was true after all.
“Yes, Darius,” Aurelia replied. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Like Anthony said yesterday at the forum, ‘If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’ It’s that simple.”
Everyone looked at Darius silently praying that he would finally understand.
Convinced of all he had witnessed, Darius fell to his knees. “I believe. Jesus is the Lord, the son of the one and only God.”
Aurelia broke into tears, knelt down beside him and hugged him. “Oh Darius, I prayed for this moment for 10 years! Thank you Lord, now our family can grow in your love.” They stood up and Anthony and Claudia hugged them.
“Praise to the Lord for he is good,” Anthony said.

***
Hora Octava

The people of Pompeii, outside in the streets, forced out by collapsing roofs, climbed higher and higher atop the rising drifts of light stones and pieces of rock. They found breathing difficult. The air smelled of sulfur. Lightning lit up the sky followed quickly by the boom of thunder. Why gray snow was coming from the mountain, they couldn’t comprehend.
“It’s a sign from the gods!” someone yelled. “They have decided to kill us all!”
“Didn’t that man in the forum yesterday say something about a “critical event?” a woman asked.
“Maybe he was a prophet,” another man said.
“Maybe he was right,” said another.

***

In Puteoli, from a third floor balcony above the baths, Stephanus and Marcus noticed the cloud emerging from across the bay and called to Julia and Olivia who were inside.
“Is it coming from Vesuvius?” Julia asked.
“It seems so,” Stephanus answered.
“Oh, I hope Aurelia, Darius and Phoebe are safe!”
“Weren’t Claudia and Anthony visiting them this week before coming here?” Stephanus asked.
“I believe that was the plan. Oh, I hope they left already!”
All they could do was watch.

And all you can do is get my exciting, award-winning novel! Available in hardcover, paperback or Kindle!
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Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Christian Persecution Continues Today

Posted By on May 15, 2013

Cover of "Fox's Book of Martyrs: A Histor...

Cover “Fox’s Book of Martyrs” via Amazon

It started after the resurrection in the first century (Acts 5:17-42) Stephen, “a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 6:1-15) was the first martyr. You can read about it in Acts 7:1-59. And it continued all through the Roman Empire until Constantine declared that the whole empire would leave behind their pagan beliefs and follow the true faith of Jesus Christ. There were some emperors that were more lenient than others, but most would try to force Christians to bow to the Roman gods, burn incense or declare that the emperor was a deity. When they didn’t, the were killed. You can read all about them in Fox’s Book of Martyrs: A History of the Lives, Sufferings, and Deaths of the Early Christian and Protestant Martyrs.

Christian Persecution Continues Today

All over the world, Christians are being persecuted daily. It seems to be increasing and not just in 3rd-world countries, but in the U.S. Jesus prophesied and warned us:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” ~Matthew 5:10-12

“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” ~Mark 10:29-31

 This video show the current persecution of Christian in Nigeria:

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. ~Tertullian (an Early Christian Apologist)

Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
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The Protestant Reformation

Posted By on October 31, 2012

October 31 is not only Halloween, it’s also Protestant Reformation Day – a pivotal point in Christian History.

It started with Jesus and the Resurrection when he defeated death. Then Pentecost when God gave us the Holy Spirit. The Paul’s missionary journeys to spread the Gospel. Emperor Constantine converted from Paganism to Christianity declaring that Roman Empire was now Christian in 4th century.

Though there are many more pivotal points in Christian History, besides the ones mentioned above, The Protestant Reformation is the most crucial.

Martin Luther - the father of the Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther – the father of the Protestant Reformation

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, a German monk posted the 95 Thesis on the door of the Catholic church in Wittenberg, Germany. It listed 95 ways that the Roman Catholic of the time, did not follow the Bible.

The Bible, back then was only available in Latin, a language that only Catholic priest read and spoke. He translated the Bible into German so that the public could read it and learn the truth as God declared it rather what the Catholic Popes & church fathers invented.

Some of the “inventions” of the Catholic are:

  1. Purgatory – doesn’t exist and it’s not in the Bible
  2. Buying or praying someone into heaven – only belief in Christ Jesus can get you into heaven.
  3. You cannot be saved by works – people are saved by the Grace of God and Christ Jesus.

The church was selling “indulgences” saying that you can buy your way into heaven. This was a scam to raise money to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Luther, as a monk, was bothered with going to weekly confessions and having to confess his sins to a priest. He felt that if he died before he went to confession, he would go to hell.

He insisted that, since forgiveness was God’s alone to grant, those who claimed that indulgences absolved buyers from all punishments and granted them salvation were in error. Christians, he said, must not slacken in following Christ on account of such false assurances.*

Luther wrote about “justification” in the Smalcald Articles:

The first and chief article is this: Jesus Christ, our God and Lord, died for our sins and was raised again for our justification (Romans 3:24–25). He alone is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), and God has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). All have sinned and are justified freely, without their own works and merits, by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, in His blood (Romans 3:23–25). This is necessary to believe. This cannot be otherwise acquired or grasped by any work, law or merit. Therefore, it is clear and certain that this faith alone justifies us … Nothing of this article can be yielded or surrendered, even though heaven and earth and everything else falls (Mark 13:31).*

A Historical Graph of Protestantism

History of Protestantism

 

Further Reading:

Catholicism vs. Christianity

Why do I need to be baptized again if I was baptized as a child?

Legalism is Finished

Christians Should get Back to Basics

What is Religion?

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Christian, Award-Winning Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
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Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

 

*Wikipedia

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St. Patrick – An Early Church Missionary

Posted By on March 17, 2012

St. Patrick preached against snakes, sins and witchcraft converting many druids to Christianity

He preached against snakes, sins and witchcraft converting many druids to Christianity

Today is St. Patrick’s Day when many mark the death of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But he was born in Roman Britain around AD 389 and died March 17 460 or 493. Roman Britain was the portion of the island of Great Britain which was controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 to ca. AD 410. In AD 313, Emperor Constantine, after converting to Christianity, issued the Edict of Milan which proclaimed religious tolerance throughout the whole empire, thus ending the persecution of the Christians.

St. Patrick witnessed the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. His grandfather, Potitus was a Christian priest and his father, Calpornius a deacon.

As a teenager, Patrick was captured by pirates, sold into slavery and enslaved for 6 years in Ireland where he worked as a herdsman. It was his faith that helped him persevere. He prayed daily and grew in his faith.

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~Psalm 91:2

He heard a voice saying that he would go home soon and that his ship was ready. He fled his master and journeyed to a port 200 miles away. There he found a ship and he eventually returned home to Britain. A few years later, he had a vision:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.1

It is suggested that the Victoricus of Patrick’s vision was Saint Victricius, bishop of Rouen in the late 4th century and the only European Christian to support and perform the conversion of pagans. He visited Britain in AD 396.2

The Shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity.

The Shamrock was used by St. Patrick to explain the Triune God.

Legend has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity. That is why the shamrock is the symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.

So if you go out an celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, you are celebrating a Christian holiday.

God’s might to direct me,
God’s power to protect me,
God’s wisdom to protect me,
God’s eye for discerning,
God’s ear for my hearing,
God’s word for my clearing. ~St. Patrick

It was St. Patrick’s unswerving faith and determination that led him to Christianize Ireland which in turn, became the center of Christian influence throughout Europe.

Many of God’s greatest soldiers underwent excruciating trials before God used them. Jesus “learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8)

Shall we not then endure whatever degree of trials God sends to mold us?

Further Reading:
1 Peter 1:6-7
James 1:2-5
2 Peter 2:4-9
Romans 5:3-5

Nothing Separates Us from God’s Love

Fight the Good Fight

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author

WWJD The Revival

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century by Giselle AguiarIf you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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Would you be willing to die for your faith?

Posted By on March 4, 2012

In researching my second novel (which is about 1/3 done), Follow Me: Love in the Second Century, I read a lot about the Early Church Fathers and the Christian Martyrs.

map of the Roman Empire

Map of the Roman Empire

Back in the 2nd century, the Christian church was growing and spreading all over the Mediterranean, Europe, East Asia, India, and North Africa. The Roman Empire covered the whole Mediterranean area. The Romans didn’t know what to make of the Christians.

They thought the Christians were a cult of cannibals because they talked about the Lord’s supper where they drank Jesus’ blood and ate his body.

My novel is about 2 brothers from Alexandria Egypt, descendants from the characters of my first novel, the award-winning Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century. They leave their families to go help a fledgling church in Spain. Before they leave they meet with Clement of Alexandria who teaches them about the martyrs. And on their journey, they witness martyrdom and are almost martyred themselves.

My 3rd novel, Everlasting: Love in the Third Century will be an adaptation of The Prison Diary of Perpetua. She was put to death because she would not renounce Jesus Christ and burn incense to the Roman gods or the emperor. She was pregnant and gave birth in prison!

It’s almost understandable that the Romans thought of the Christians as a threat to their society, culture, religion and way of living. The Christians preached that the Roman gods were non-existent and there is only one true God and Jesus is His Son. And this continued until the 4th century when Constantine converted the whole empire to Christianity.

Youcef Nadarkhani

Christian Pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, in prison since 2009 for renouncing Islam.

In today’s world, there is still rampant persecutions of Christians. The most recent and currently “news-breaking” story is of Christian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani,  who is imprisoned in Iran since 2009. He was accused of apostasy, the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief. He renounced Islam and became a Christian. He is sentenced to death.

As of Saturday afternoon, March 3, 2012, the ACLJ’s sources in Iran have confirmed that Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani is still alive. ~The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ)

He is told that if he converts back to Islam and renounces Christianity, his life will be spared.

Would you die for your faith?

Living in America we take for granted that we can believe what we want to believe, attend or not attend a church, preach out loud, meet in our homes, and write what we please. It’s Freedom and we need to thank God that we have it every day.

But what if you were traveling in a foreign country and someone overheard you say that you’re a Christian and speak about believing in Jesus Christ, were arrested and sentenced to death? Would you renounce Jesus to save your life? Please comment below.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author

I you liked this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

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Israel’s present problems prophesied in the Bible

Posted By on January 22, 2012

Reading the BibleMy church is doing a new 31-week study called “The Story.” As a historical writer, I’m enjoying this different way of looking at the Bible. There series goes through the WHOLE BIBLE, which seems daunting at first, but not if you follow its study guide and skip around the Bible a bit.

Back in the day, before written text was easy to pass from person to person, Bible stories were taught verbally. Then copies of the scrolls were passed around, later codices, which evolved into books. The Old Testament was first written in Hebrew, then translated into Greek (The Septuagint). The New Testament written in Greek, later Latin and finally in the language of the people, English & German first, and now its in over 2,000 different languages.

But I digress. As we’re starting the story from “In the beginning…” reading Genesis 16:9-12, I realized that passage is a prediction of what’s happening in today’s world.

Genesis 16 is the story of Hagar. When Abraham was called Abram, God tells him that he and his wife, Sarai, will have a child. Abram was 90 and Sarai was 80 – a little late to have a kid. So Sarai get’s the bright idea to have her husband lie with her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar.

Palestinian & israeli Conflict was predicted in GenesisWell, Hagar conceives, Sarai is jealous, mistreats Hagar and Hagar flees. (Genesis 16:6) The angel of the Lord finds and tells Hagar:

“Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

The angel of the LORD also said to her:

“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son.You shall name him Ishmael, (which means “God hears”) for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.”

“His Brothers” is the nation of Israel. Isaac is later born to Sarah and Abraham (God changed their names, Abraham means father of many) with the promise that his descendants will number as many as the stars in the sky (the Jews).

Later, God explains himself not to get the two sons confused. Genesis 17:20-21

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.”

The Palestinians are descendants of Ishmael and the Israelis, of Isaac, both of whom are descendants of Abraham (who did become the “father of many.”)

So all the problems Israel is having now were predicted in the Bible and the prophecy came true!

Check out these other great blogs:
Enlightenment, Encouragement & Enrichment by Giselle Aguiar, Award-Winning Christian Author
WWJD? The Revival

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Posted By on January 11, 2012

It’s not too much to hope for – an end to slavery in the world. Jan. 11, 2012 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. $1 from the sale of every copy of historical novel, Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century, 2nd place winner of the Women of Faith 2010 Writing Contest, benefits StreetlightUSA.org to help eradicate child prostitution & human trafficking. Available in ebook, paperback & hardcover.

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

The Jewish Jesus – More Prophecies

Posted By on December 13, 2011

And the prophecies continue:

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.” ~Jeremiah 23:5

Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. ~Jeremiah 31:5

This is what the LORD says; “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” Jeremiah 31:15

That’s the killing of the innocents when King Herod, who was a Gentile who converted to Judaism, was afraid of the King of Jews that the Magi spoke of that he had all the babies killed. (Matthew 2:16-17)

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. ~Hosea 11:1

So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”~Matthew 2:14-15

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ~Zechariah 9:9

Palm SundayAs they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” ~Matthew 21:1-3

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son…” ~Zechariah 12:10

“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.

“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.” ~Zechariah 13:1-2

O Little Town of Bethlehem“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor bears a son, and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.

He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth…” ~Micah 5:2-4

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. ~Luke 2:4

Today in the town of David [Bethlehem] a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. ~ Luke 2:11

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. ~Malachi 3:1

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” ~John 1:29-31

The Jews of the first century expected a coronation, but what they got was an act of redemption.

But it is not too late for the Jews and all the nations.

There are many more prophesies about Jesus that I didn’t touch on especially the ones describing His crucifixion to smallest detail. I will save that for Holy Week.

My goal here was to prove that Jesus is The Messiah, The Christ, Emmanuel, God with Us, the Baby in the manger in Bethlehem, the Lamb of God, The Savior, The Son of God, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. I think I did that.

Jesus didn’t die so we could have religion. He died so we could have a relationship with Him.

Do you have a relationship with Him? To become part of the chosen, click here for direction

The Jewish Jesus Part 1
The Jewish Jesus Part 2 

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

More of the Jewish Jesus – Isaiah

Posted By on December 12, 2011

In the prior post, The Jewish Jesus: Prophecies Fulfilled, I started to list some of the various Old Testament prophecies the speak of Jesus, the Messiah.

The Prophet Isaiah may be the best known of the Messianic Prophets. The book of Isaiah was written 700 years before the birth of Christ.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. ~Isaiah 7:14

See Luke’s account of Mary’s conception: Luke 1:26-37

And Matthew’s Matthew 1:18-25

(Note that Matthew 1:25 says Joseph, Mary’s husband had no union with her until after she gave birth. Thus what the Catholics say that Mary was always a virgin, is untrue.)

Some of his prophecies were put to song by Handel in his magnificent work “The Messiah”.

For Unto us a Child is Born – Isaiah 9:1-8

…but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan…Isaiah 61:1

The Romans had a custom of naming roads by where it led. They named the road to the Sea of Galilee, “Via Maris” or “The Way of the Sea”. It goes through Capernaum on the north shore.

In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.~Isaiah 4:2

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.~ Isaiah 11:1

Jesse was King David’s Father. King David’s descendants left Jerusalem and settled in the north founding the town of Nazareth. Therefore, Mary was also from David’s lineage, thus Jesus is a blood descendent of King David.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy… Isaiah 35:5-6

This prophecy was put to song in the lovely modern Christmas carol, Mary Did You Know?

Jesus heals the blind man. John 9:1-41

Jesus heals a paralytic. Mark 2:1-21

Jesus heals the deaf and mute man. Mark 15:29-31

“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” ~Isaiah 40:1-5

The voice in the wilderness – John the Baptist Matthew 3:1-3

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness…” ~Isaiah 42:6-7

Jesus said:
“…This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”~John 3:19-21

For this is what the LORD says:

“…I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. And foreigners who bind themselves to the LORD to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants … Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” ~Isaiah 56:5,7

Jesus clears the templeWhen Jesus cleared the temple of the money changers he declared,

“It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” Matthew 21:13

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. ~Isaiah 61:1-3

In Nazareth, where he grew up, on the Sabbath, Jesus went to the synagogue and read the above passage, after he read it, he said,

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:21

Next: Even More Prophecies from the Old Testament>>>>

If you enjoyed this, you’ll love Giselle’s award-winning Christian novel: Deo Volente! (God Willing): Love in the First Century a historical novel about the early church check it out! $1 from the sale of each book – no matter what format, benefits StreetLight Phoenix to help eradicate child sex slavery. www.giselleaguiar.com/novel1

Great Blessings!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Giselle Aguiar
Award-Winning Christian Author
Follow Giselle on Twitter
https://twitter.com/giselleaguiar

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