I made a brand new (and probably final) trailer for Sea Change, my Space Western short story for the Lights in a Dark Sky (Christian Sci-Fi) anthology which releases on August 9, 2022. Feedback welcome.
Christians have just celebrated Easter. Some call it “Resurrection Sunday.” Originally, it was called Passover. And Passover was when God instructed Moses to have the Jewish people, who were still captive in Egypt, to put lambs’ blood on their doorposts. They did this so the Death Angel would pass over their homes, sparing them from the final plague on all the firstborn of Egypt in one night.
Exodus 12: 12-14 (King James Version = KJV)
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
As the lambs were used in the original Passover, Jesus — who is often called The Lamb of God — was the sacrifice for everyone’s sins: past, present, and future. And He was crucified on the Friday (Good Friday) before Passover. His resurrection occurred during Passover.
John 13:1 (KJV)
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
John 19: 5-16 (KJV)
Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!
When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.
Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
Jesus, who had reigned in eternity with God the Father and created all things in the beginning, was sent to Earth to be born a man, live a sinless life, and demonstrate that not only was He fully man and fully God, but that He was sent to reconcile us back to God through sacrifice — His death, burial, and resurrection. In those actions, Jesus Christ fulfilled His mission as the Messiah to conquer sin and death. He ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to act in His place as the Comforter.
Romans 6: 3-10 (KJV)
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
Salvation is available to everyone. God loves us because He is Holy, and we are all His children. He made each and every one of us, so we are His sons and daughters. He wants us to be at peace with Him, though we were separated from him by sin at birth.
Romans 5: 12-19 (KJV)
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Easter/Passover is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and victory which paved the way for us to be restored to peace with God. Through that salvation, we have the hope that He will be with us and see us through the trials and wonders of this life…and that we will spend eternity with God in Heaven.
This is what inspires what I do, personally, as a man, husband, father, and Christian author. I know He is real because I couldn’t have a successful day without Him. I make mistakes and am always learning, but He guides, teaches, and helps me every step of the way.
It is a daily effort to live Biblically in today's society. It takes leaning on the Lord through prayer and striving to better understand God's will for our lives. It takes a mental and spiritual resistance — through peace, kindness, and love — to what society not only says is okay, but actively encourages people to engage in, when those same things are in defiance of God's Word.
But the Lord is more than able to provide solutions to any problem.
John 16:33 (KJV)
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
My mind jumps back in time. Twelve-year-old me was sitting at the dinner table with Grandma and Grandpa for supper. I stared down at the blackened crust atop Grandpa’s overcooked meatloaf. As he sawed through its center to distribute slices to me and Grandma, I knew it would taste just like last time: more salty than instant ramen. The green beans and corn side dishes were equally brined. And while I didn’t like Grandma, I wished she had made supper. At least she could cook.
“Sean,” Grandma barked suddenly in her smoky voice. “Say the prayer for us, boy.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I complied, resigned to the inevitable. Still, I knew how to say the prayer the way she liked: short, sweet, and respectful.
I closed my eyes and clasped my fingers together in front of me. “Lord, we thank you for this food. Please bless it. Amen.”
When I opened my eyes and looked at her, she briefly smiled at me, verifying her acceptance. Then she took a bite of the meatloaf and almost spit it out. Aggravated, she cursed and focused her ire on Grandpa. Her deep blue eyes were like lasers.
“Jeremy Winter, what is this supposed to be??”
“Meatloaf,” he replied apathetically.
She cursed again, picked up her slice from the plate and threw it at him. He barely deflected it with his right arm. The tomato sauce covering the meatloaf splashed across the top of his long-sleeved white shirt. He sighed. I could see he was mentally bracing for what came next.
“I’ve had juicier cereal—before adding milk!” she yelled. “You’re gonna get on the phone right now. Order us some pizza. And you better not mess that up!”
“All right,” Grandpa said without looking up as he wiped off his hands and shirt with his napkin. Then he took out his mobile phone from his pocket.
“Honestly, do you expect me and your grandson to go without?” she muttered.
Grandma crossed her arms over her chest in a huff and looked away from Grandpa. She was shorter than Grandpa and her wide and angular shoulders made her drab gray blouse spread out like a tent, especially the way she always hunched forward. Her bitterness had aged her beyond her fifty-eight years. Frown lines tugged the sides of her mouth and she had developed a permanently furrowed brow above the thick, square-framed bifocal glasses she’d be blind without. She dyed her shoulder-length hair black, but her natural silver roots were starting to shine through.
I’d seen pictures of her and Grandpa from when they were much younger. Grandpa appeared to be a stylish charmer, based on his confident poses next to Grandma, who was very beautiful back then. She had a bright complexion and long, wavy hair. She seemed easygoing and had a wide, infectious smile that complimented Grandpa’s boyish face, crisp mustache and goatee. He’d lost the goatee, but he still had the mustache and a full head of white hair.
I liked Grandpa, especially talking with him one-on-one. He showed the most positive interest in me since I came to live with them. He was closer to my mother, too, based on our conversations. She’d told him when she was pregnant with me, and he’d broken the news to Grandma.
Grandpa still refused to look up from the phone. “I’m calling right now, Debra.”
He sounded miserable already. I felt sorry for him.
I’d learned to stay quiet when Grandma was this angry. She grabbed a cigarette from her purse on the table and lit up right there. The odor of the burning tobacco immediately saturated the air. Then, without another word, she walked to the dining room door, opened it, and walked directly onto the back porch. It was what she did when she wanted to calm down. Grandpa finished making the pizza order and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator.
I was reminded this week of the fluid nature of language and jargon. As an author, I am confronted by this surprisingly often. In Jordan's Deliverance, which takes place about fifty years in the fictional future, it was fun and challenging to craft jargon that doesn't exist yet. And in Unto Dust, I've had to research American jargon from the 1930s.
In a more colloquial sense, not all of the terms and words my generation (Generation X) used mean the same thing today. Often popular culture influences these changes, sometimes politics, and some things seem to happen at random.
It can be confusing sometimes, especially between generations of adults, because words have power. They are supposed to mean something. They can lift people's emotions or bring them down. They can be helpful or they can harm. They can bring clarity or they can obscure.
This is not so with the Living Word. Its meanings are not beholden to trends, popular notions or altering cultural influences. It is the Word of God and like God Himself, it does not change. The Bible's Old and New Testaments work together to inform, inspire, and comfort. They share a history of how God chose a people, interacted with them, sent His Son as the Messiah, and following Jesus's death, burial, and glorious resurrection, God sent His Holy Spirit into the world to make God's salvation available to everyone.
Hebrews 13:8 (King James Version = KJV)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
John 1: 1-4 (KJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
From the days of Abraham and Moses to the judges, kings, and prophets to the days of Jesus and His disciples to today, God has stayed the same. His Word has not changed. It has been read, studied and used from inspiration and comfort throughout the ages. It is a Living Word and that is why it can still affect lives for the better now and with whatever the future brings.
God does not change.
Malachi 3: 5-6 (KJV)
And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
I Peter 1: 24-25 (KJV)
For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
So, no matter what changes occur in this world — from words, language or jargon to real-life events and experiences, you can be sure of two things:
1. God and His Word will never change.
2. If you keep your eyes on the Lord and strive to be like Him, according to His Word, He will bless your efforts.
Take comfort in that, now and in the days to come.
Here's one more excerpt from my upcoming novel The Former Things, which is a Christian fiction story told from the perspective of an atheist.
I don’t feel like heading straight home. Between everything that’s happened so far today, I’m agitated and restless. I need to clear my head. I’m not far from a park, maybe a few blocks. I hope it wasn’t too damaged by the storm.
It takes me about ten minutes to get there. I see a large white tent set up on one side of the grounds next to some large dogwood trees with vibrant white flowers. I see some people going in and out of the tent, but I can’t tell what they’re doing. Curious, I walk closer for a better view.
Of course, I think bitterly as I come to a halt. It’s a Christian group. The Hopes & Prayers Relief Organization. It figures. One crisis arises and they swoop in like vultures under the guise of “helping.” I start to feel a little queasy at the thought. But as I turn around, I almost bump into someone.
Our eyes meet and there’s instant recognition. Of all people, it’s her.
“Jennie, is that you?” I ask, not believing my eyes.
She’s with a young woman I don’t know. But Jennie Lou Harris looks as stunned as I feel. After a few seconds, she remembers how to smile.
“Yes. Yes, it’s me,” she replies. “This is . . . quite a surprise. How are you?”
Her companion, a short Asian woman in a white t-shirt and khaki skirt, wisely stays silent. She’s probably waiting for Jennie to introduce us. Part of me hoped I’d never see Jennie Lou again. And another part is thrilled that she’s here. She hasn’t changed much, except cutting her hair to shoulder-length. She and her friend are wearing Hopes & Prayers t-shirts, which sport ocean blue lettering on a white background. Jennie Lou is wearing blue jeans with hers. She always liked blue jeans.
I almost wish she wasn’t as beautiful as I remembered. I nearly don’t comprehend what she says, I’m so absorbed in her appearance.
“Did you not hear me, Sean? I asked how you’re doing.”
My verbal recovery is less than stellar.
“Uh, I—um, I’m fine, thanks,” I manage to say. “You’re here with them?” I point at her t-shirt.
She smiles uneasily. “Yes. We’re here to help the community recover from the tornado.”
I start tensing up. Don’t say anything. It won’t make any difference. And it will mess up any chance of--
The word is out of my mouth before I can contain it. And it’s filled with contempt.
Both of them stiffen and go quiet. Jennie’s friend frowns and Jennie’s brow furrows. I need to fix my blunder.
I clear my throat. “I mean, what service is the organization providing?”
That seems to diffuse some of their alarm, especially Jennie Lou. She considers my question.
“Hopes & Prayers has a mobile hospital,” Jennie Lou replied. “Since yesterday, the city’s hospitals have been pushed to capacity. This organization has medical professionals who volunteer their time and services. They can help treat those who can’t afford medical treatment.”
Jennie Lou’s friend steps forward and offers her hand. “Hi, I’m Lynn Wilson. I’m a volunteer like Jennie.”
I accept her handshake and give her a polite smile.
“We also have a musical group that will be giving a free concert,” Lynn continues. “Some of our volunteers are licensed counselors. And we’re providing free food for those who need it.”
That all sounds good. Those are all valuable services. Except they’re leaving one out.
“And spiritual counseling?” I ask, looking directly at Jennie Lou. I consciously remove as much negativity from my voice as I can.
Jennie Lou keeps a straight face, but I can see the confidence in her eyes. It’s just short of defiance.
“Of course, for those who are seeking it,” she replies.
“Of course,” I repeat, holding my own emotions in check.
More awkward silence.
“I suppose Lynn and I should get back,” she suggests. “It was good to see you, Sean. You’re looking well.”
I nod and start to walk away. I hear their steps on the grass as they head in the opposite direction. Then I stop.
“I’m not well!”
I couldn’t help it. Those words erupted from me loud and clear. My feet dig into the ground and won’t let me proceed.
“I was there!” I continue. “I was in the building across the street from the twister. I heard it roar and scream and destroy while we cowered in the dark next to our desks! We—thought we were going to die.”
Having said all that, I turn to face them again. Lynn is further away than Jennie. I can’t read her expression from here, but she’s frozen in a half-turn. Jennie Lou is maybe ten feet from me with eyes wide and mouth open. She heard everything I said.
The Former Things is available for preorder on Amazon. It will be published by Ambassador International on July 12, 2022.
I re-made one of The Former Things trailers to update it. I thought it deserved a second chance.
The Former Things is available for preorder on Amazon at the link below:
About the author
Allen Steadham is a nondenominational Christian. Happily interracially married since 1995 and the proud father of two sons and a daughter. He and his wife have been in the same Christian band since 1997. He plays electric bass, she plays strings, they both sing. It's all good.
The Allen Steadham Newsletter!
Signup to get the latest news and updates.
Get a FREE Sci-Fi short story just for subscribing below!
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.