Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bible Novels

From Wichita, Kansas, USA, 
Welcome Author Jim Baumgardner!

Jim says...

I grew up in a Christian home, although neither of my parents did. My mother gave her life to the Lord in her late teens, and she brought my dad to Christ after they were married in 1939.  April 30, 2013 marked my 56th year as a Christian. The Lord has blessed me far more than I deserve, and I am ever mindful of that fact. You may have thought: ‘I don't know any cowboy Bible story writers.'  Well, now you can say that you do. I love the West and western stories, nevertheless I love the Bible more. 

The Scriptures tell us of the greatest love ever manifested to mankind.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.       --Romans 5:8

Why write Bible novels? The answer lies in my desire as an author to expand upon the truths in the Bible, and furnish the reader stories about great men and women found on the pages of Scripture. By expanding the truth, I do not mean changing what happened, but filling in the gaps with what may have happened day to day which brought about what holy men of God recorded so long ago. How did people think and act in ancient times? What were the manners and customs which shaped the way they responded in certain situations? I attempt to answer these questions in these novels. Presenting everyday social, religious, and political life of Bible characters conveys a better understanding of what we read in our Bibles.

Released November 1, 2013, Queen of Persia: A Courageous Woman for a Dangerous Time, has become a quick favorite. This is the largest book I have written, and I honestly can say the best. The story of Queen Esther interests women because she is a true heroine. Even the men will enjoy this book as it has information about the war with Greece and the battles of the Jews with their enemies who sought to destroy them. Read an excerpt.…

          “A strange name. From what far-flung province do you come?”
          “Not far, sir. My home is Susa.”
          The eunuch looked up from the sheet of parchment on which he recorded names. “You mean—?” He stopped mid-sentence, his breath caught away by the most beautiful maiden he had ever gazed upon.
          Hegai’s eyes darted to the soldier standing guard over this new group of girls. Although young, 14-18 years, these virgins were of child bearing age, and that made them worthy candidates to become Queen of Persia. Of course, being able to bear a son for King Ahasuerus was not the only qualification, but it certainly was one—a crucial one.
          Squinting through dark, steady eyes Hegai addressed the soldier, and his tone of voice told of surprise and slight doubt. “This girl claims to be from Susa.”        
          “She is. All in this collection were taken from homes in Susa.”
          Hegai glanced from one young woman to the next. The females, all beautiful of face and form had been brought to Shushan the palace; most against their will, for examination and consideration as the next Queen of the Persian Empire. Yet, the one named Hadassah stood out from the others, gorgeous beyond belief. To which harem girl could she be compared? Certainly after one year of applying beauty preparations to this girl’s face and body the answer would be none. Hegai’s thoughts were loftier than consigning this girl to the life of a common harem concubine. This young woman could be a goddess…a Persian goddess.
A side door opened. King Ahasuerus entered, and Esther’s heart raced, her breath caught. The time had come. She could not ignore it. She could not delay it. No more thinking about it, the king stood in his royal robe, his crown no longer in place. He wore sandals and one ring on each hand.
          The door closed behind him, and he walked to where Esther sat ridged upon the edge of her couch. Bending down he took Esther’s hand, kissed it, and then lightly brushed his lips against hers.
          Esther’s head spun with excitement, she felt she might faint dead away. He was freshly bathed and smelled of lavender. His kiss was her first. Soon there would be more and her insides knotted in anticipation.
          “Esther, welcome to my table. We shall be served directly.”
          Releasing her hand he took his place on the golden couch.
          She avoided his eyes. Her heart continued to race, and color, which she felt heating her face, he surely would notice.
          “You may look at me. Were you told to lower your eyes, and not speak unless asked a question?”
          “I am releasing you from those instructions. I wish to have a conversation, not one word answers. Is that fair?”
          The king chuckled. “No more one word answers—that is now my command.”
          “Yes, my lord.”
          “Oh, now you speak three words and still you lower your eyes. You are frightened. Is that it?”
          Esther brought her eyes to meet his. “I am but a common girl from Susa,” she said softly. “You are the great King of Kings. If I were not frightened, you would have thought me stupid or arrogant, I know my place.”
          The king’s brow furrowed in thought. He remembered their encounter in the court. This young woman showed intelligence. She spoke her mind regardless of her fear.
          “You are an intelligent one! You do not pretend, do you?”
          Esther’s eyes remained on the king. “Lie? No, I do not. I shall always tell you the truth.”

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