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How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City

How will you survive the coming apocalypse?

Lots of people are worried about political disruption or violent riots. But I think we’re heading for something much worse.

If the infrastructure of our civilization breaks down, what will you do?

What with economic turmoil, civil unrest, and contagious diseases, everyone needs to have a plan in place…but especially if you live in a city!

Your best bet is to get out…as soon as possible, perhaps even now! But to do that you need a plan and know what to prepare.

If “bugging out” isn’t on option for your family, fortifying in place is your next best bet.

By educating yourself, you can make the best choice to protect yourself and the ones you love.

Remember: your relationship with God is of more lasting importance than your survival. And nothing (not even a nuke-proof bunker and twelve-years-worth of canned beans) can guarantee continued life.

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

Image credit: christinprophecy.org

But you can still be smart about this! Go ahead and make responsible plans…just be realistic about your end goal.

Prepare

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

Image credit: Pixabay

That’s what you’re doing now, by the way. Reading posts and books is the first step to knowing your options and making an educated choice.

Assuming you’re not reading this while the rabid mob pounds on your door, you also have time to gather your resources.

Some of those resources should be hard copies of the information you find. If a blog post or article is especially helpful, save it to your device or print it and put the paper where you can find it! The last thing you want is to be counting on a good internet connection while fleeing for your lives.

If the apocalypse happens and chaos erupts, getting out of the city is your best option.

If you have time to move to a rural property, do it. The more open space you have between you and possible rioters and looters, the better.

Finding skills you can learn to provide for yourself will also help you survive in the long-term. Do you know anything about farming? Can you hunt? Maybe get some chickens and goats to provide continuous food.

Remember: canned goods don’t procreate.

If setting up your own personal frontier-homestead is just impossible, at least have a plan for emergency evacuation.

Do you have family, friends, church or school buddies that live out in the country? Make arrangements to stay with them if things hit the fan.

Even if you can’t completely move in with them, have a place where your family can sleep with a roof over their heads…where no one’s going to burn down the house in the night.

If you have elderly neighbors or relatives who live nearby, make plans to take them with you. Just like it’s smart to drill your kids on how to escape the house if there’s a fire, have a drill in place for how you will get out of the city if things get serious. Maybe have it on a printed sheet so everyone can know what’s going on (along with maps you might need).

Many “preppers” recommend packing a “bug-out bag,” which is an emergency pack you can grab on your way out the door if you need to evacuate. (See more later.)

The hard part will be judging when is the right time to leave. When your mayor de-funds the police? When a riot is announced for your neighborhood? When you see the angry mob blocking your neighbor’s driveway and throwing molotov cocktails?

That’s a choice only you can make…but hopefully, with enough thought ahead of time and the right resources, you will be confident to make the decision that’s best for your family.

Finally, sometimes you have no option but to “shelter in place.”

There are resources for you to do that, too. Depending on where you live, this could work out really well.

For instance, if you have good relationships with all your neighbors, and all of you are committed to protecting and supporting each other, you could make arrangements to share out the duties of a self-sufficient community and provide for each other’s needs when crunch time comes.

Now let’s look at all these options in more detail:

Get Out

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia WoodIn a total breakdown of the social order, lots of things will stop working.

People will stop trusting money. Stores will get tired of stuff being stolen, and stop stocking the shelves. Hungry people will do things they were always too afraid to do before…especially when the police aren’t arresting anyone for it.

All of this won’t affect you as much if you’re away from people!

When the rioters are looking for stuff to steal, they’ll go where it’s convenient. Whether they’re walking, or bring U-Hauls to load, the city has more targets (and Targets) close together. They get more bang for their club, if you like.

If you’re a long walk from anyone else, you’re much more inconvenient to steal from.

If you have time to prepare…

You can set up your own self-sufficient farm!

People don’t survive without food. How will you get it without the mega-industrial farms shipping products to the grocery stores? (Just read my post about 10 things I’ll miss after the apocalypse!)

Where you live (or move to) will determine what grows best and what resources are available to get you set up.

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

This is the shoe-shelf I made all by myself! #NailedIt I am totes qualified to do all our woodworking now.

But you can decide what you’re good at…and what you want to become good at!

Now is the time. Get books. Take classes. Dig that garden, plant those heirloom seeds (so they’ll keep coming back year after year!), and decide what skills you want to have when you can’t just order anything on Amazon!

What if you don’t have that time?

Your mayor has deleted your city’s police and the resident angries are drooling over your iPhone.

If you’re looking at days or weeks before these laws go into effect (not months or years), you need a safe place for your kids and loved ones now.

This is where having friends comes in. Chances are you know someone who lives on a farm, or owns a cabin in the woods or something. You might even have a vacation home that’s in a less densely populated area (or even a “quieter” area)!

They might not be excited to have you just move in to their guest room…but lots of things are bearable if there’s an end-goal in mind.

Make those connections, build those relationships, and have a plan in place in case you need to get out right now.

I mentioned a bug-out bag earlier. Some common suggested items are:

  • First aid kit
  • A change of clothes (for everyone, if you have dependents you’re taking care of)
  • Warm clothing, if you live in cold climates…you can’t depend on building or car climate control in a tense situation
  • Energy bars (again, if you have to jump in the car and drive to your safe house before dinner, you need to be prepared)
  • Diapers and other kid-care items
  • Compass, paper maps
  • Candles, lighters, flashlights with spare batteries
  • Water

If you’ve ever been camping out in the wilderness, think about what you would absolutely need for a back-packing trip. These are short-term supplies to get you to your “safe house.”

Once there, of course, you need to be making other plans. Are you spending the next five years in your mother-in-law’s cabin basement? Or is this just a stepping stone to something more sustainable?

Shelter in Place

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

I don’t have a good pic for this, so enjoy Gordan Freeman! Image credit: fanpop.com

If, for whatever reason, you just can’t get to a safe place outside the city, you should be making a plan to survive where you are.

Many preppers encourage you to have so-many canned goods in your basement (three months, six months, whatever). This is great…if you’re sitting out an earthquake, flood, or pandemic.

We’ll ignore the question of whether you packed enough food for all your neighbors as well, and whether you’ll share your precious reserves with everyone who asks you…or start shooting them to keep the canned beans for your own kids.

Quite aside from that is the question: what happens in the spring? You survived the riots, you survived the winter-with-no-grocery-stores…what next?

Will you plant a garden in your backyard? Raid your neighbor’s house to see if he left any canned goods after he died?

If you decide to “shelter in place” – make sure it’s a good place.

If your climate is mild, and your neighbors are friendly, you’ve already dodged two of the bullets that take out apocalypse sufferers: exposure and violence.

But even if you live in a sweet little town where everybody knows everyone else and would never hurt a fly, you have to consider:

  • Where will your food come from?
  • What medical conditions do you have that might need care?
  • What diseases in your area would be highly dangerous without modern medical science?
  • What parts of your modern lifestyle (plumbing, cookies, computers) do you like best…and what would you have to do it produce them for yourself?
  • What wild animals in the area would you need to keep out of your stuff (and away from your children)?! For instance, Chicago (the city) has 250 coyotes roaming the streets as part of their rat-control program. Speaking of rats, these vicious little critters are the reason The Pied Piper is a thing…
  • Good gravy, I didn’t even mention clean water! Sanitation has been a huge problem throughout history…how will you keep your waste away from your drinking water, and get enough clean water to drink – all without electricity or indoor plumbing?!

Fore-warned is fore-armed.

Make a list now of anything you know of in your area that might threaten your survival. Once you have it in front of you, you can make a plan to deal with it.

Which is another way of saying:

Fortify

How do you survive an apocalypse? By focusing on what is sustainable.How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

Are you in a good place? Do you have people around that you can depend on? Is there plenty of room to grow your own food and raise your own animals…possibly in cooperation with your neighbors?

Then plant yourself like a tree.

Research the weapons laws in your area, and take classes on self-defense. If the police won’t answer when someone attacks your home, it’s a comfort to know you can protect yourself…

And that your neighbors have your back.

Vigilante patrols have not turned out well in the past, so I don’t think it’s time for that. But what if rioters announce they’re coming to burn your neighborhood, and you all block the in-coming roads with cars?

I’m sure that violates all kinds of traffic laws, so I can’t recommend it. God tells us to “honor the governor” and “those in authority,” after all.

But I am brainstorming what it might look like if the people who live near you have your back…and likewise know that they can depend on you.

Say if you keep chickens, and your next-door neighbor grows melons…it could be an excellent opportunity to take care of each other.

The crucial thing to remember is: don’t depend on AMERICA* to take care of you [*insert your country, city, or organization here].

The only actions you can control are your own. The only people you can depend on are the people around you.

And they depend on you. So study all you can, pray, think, and make the choice that will best protect you and the people you love.

Survival Is Over-rated

Odd thing to say in this kind of post, eh?

But there’s another side to this whole apocalypse thing.

I may be a prepping homesteader who sees the collapse of civilization looming closer every day…but NOTHING (not gold in my mattress, nor solar panels on my roof) will GUARANTEE the preservation of my lifestyle.

God is the one Who holds my life… Any number of things could throw a monkey wrench in my plans: like martial law, a tornado, or even scarlet fever!

That’s why I say, “Survival isn’t everything”:

Because there are more important things than the preservation of my lifestyle.

Say, for instance, to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.”

And even if I stuff 100 years’ worth of canned vegetables in my bedroom and manage to survive all the bloodshed and starvation and disease that is coming on Western society…I will one day face my Maker, and He will ask me a very simple question:

“What did you do with My Son, Jesus?”

He will ask you the same thing when you face Him. Every single person on this planet will one day be judged for everything they’ve done…but most of all for their response to Jesus.

I believe the cities that are burning in America and the people getting murdered are the prelude to the judgement of God (a nation can’t hum along merrily slaughtering its babies as we have done without facing consequences).

But I also believe that anything that happens here is nothing compared to an eternity of punishment, separated from God.

How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia Wood

And let me never forget that, with all the thousands that will die in a civil war, and the millions more that will waste away in starvation and disease, Jesus the Anointed God-Man bled and died for every last one of them.

I don’t know who will win the election. And part of me doesn’t care. God never gets out of office. He’s King-of-the-Universe-for-Ever-for-Life.

So while you pack your bags, and plant your garden, and learn how to sew clothes or make medicine or whatever…don’t forget the poor souls who stayed behind.

Keep reminding them that Jesus loves them, which is why we love them, and that He wants them to survive the much worse judgement at the end of the world…they just have to trust Him and believe in Him. That’s it.

Thing is, the end of their world might be when a protester drives over them…or when two groups of rioters get in a firefight.

Or when the local pharmacy won’t stock insulin because people steal it too fast, and their diabetes kills them.

Let’s get to them, first!


How to Survive the Apocalypse in a City - Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures (as long as that’s a thing!). You’ll also get a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.

Dear Diary…our greatest nemesis

When Ezekiel and Wonillon finally got back to us, they said they’d had a scuffle with some bugbears. They claim that Ezekiel took two of them out with a single whack each, while Wonillon lay on the floor bleeding, and then Ezekiel chanted a healing spell over Wonillon that seemed to actually work!

Gonna have to keep an eye on Ezekiel. Maybe we didn’t pick out all the shards of potion bottles that the giant spherical rolling pin crushed into him.

We discussed our strategy for facing the Fire Temple, while satisfying ourselves about the secret doors we found in the Air Temple. The one to the south-west leads to a stair down (possibly it goes to the safe retreat Cleric Kelno was trying to reach when we killed him?). The hidden door to the south-east opens onto an empty room, maybe ten by ten.

Is it a place to retreat, while the owners of the temple work on their strategy? A place to keep prisoners temporarily? Perhaps it’s where the air creature that we fought the first time was staying?

At any rate, there was nothing for us there, so we left through the east double doors.

Directly across the hall from those doors, another corridor slants south to the Fire Temple.

Our strategy mostly involved Ezekiel holding the attention of whatever we encountered, while the rest of us tried to kill it. We gave Wonillon the ring from the fire-resistant troll, and Mikael cast “Protection from Fire” on Ezekiel (also making sure he was as healed as we could get him).

Then Ezekiel pushed open the double bronze doors…and we saw that this was, indeed, the Fire “Sanctuary.”

The huge room blazed with light – from flambeaux on the walls, and flecks of something glowing in the red granite walls, and even motes of something red floating in the air.

Ezekiel checked behind the tapestries that hung at our backs on either side of the entrance – but he must not have looked very thoroughly. The tapestries weren’t covered with ugly creatures torturing people, for a change…just images of fire. But there’s something not right about the fire…something Evil.

Several yards into the room, a huge brass tube hung vertically by chains from the ceiling. The ceiling soared above us, so the tube must have been twenty feet if it was a foot – and so wide in diameter that Raven said he could shove me up there no problem. I think he would have run into difficulties with that…

I stayed at the threshold, hugging the wall, while Ezekiel and Wonillon tip-toed forward into the room.

Two stands near the tube held rows and rows of little charcoal bricks, and in front of it was a fire pit in the floor, full of glowing coals.

Beyond the tube, about the same distance from us to it, two cauldrons stood on either side – with a table of some kind in front of each of them.

At the far end of the room, something glowed golden. I never really got close enough to see it, but Ezekiel says there’s a golden altar, with a sizable pit in the floor filled with tongues of fire.

Mikael told us that the brass tube, the altar, and the cauldrons were all magical in some way…although the whole room “radiated” magic energy. (Probably the floating light specks or something.)

Ezekiel made complicated signals to us, and then Mikael came over to explain that he was going to pick something to mess with, and see if it called out the “elemental guardians.”

Heiron and I got our bows ready (as we always are). Ezekiel wound up, and slammed his mace into the brass tube.

It gave a booming “gong” that reverberated in the air…and we all agreed it was ironic that Ezekiel chose to hit something that was apparently meant to be hit.

In one of my routine checks of the hallway, I spotted two ogres lumbering toward us. I shot one through the throat before the second one could finish saying, “There him is!” (I’ll probably never find out what they mean by that, if I keep killing them on sight, but that’s the way it goes.)

Heiron and I finished off the other one, and turned our attention back to the main room…in time to see a crowd burst from a door behind the eastern tapestry.

Ezekiel was standing on the far side of the tube-gong from us, waiting for it to do something. Mikael was standing near him (those “cleric types” sticking together), and they both stood and stared while Heiron and I loosed our prepared arrows.

I took out a half-orc wearing some kind of cleric dress, and Heiron felled a man carrying all kinds of weapons, who looked kind of important.

With those two dead, there was a human commander of some kind, and a group of bugbears. Our melee fighters charged, Lydia tossed her smelly egg, and I shot the head off a bugbear in the front line.

And that’s where the cakewalk ended.

Heiron and I were both digging out fresh quivers of arrows when the commander stepped out of the stinking cloud (Ezekiel says he wasn’t even gagging or anything!) and flicked a rope like a lasso.

This was no ordinary rope! I couldn’t even track its movement, as it looped itself around Heiron, Corby, Lydia, me, Cuddles, and Mikael – and pulled tight.

Holding the rope taught with one hand, the commander flourished his sword – and flames licked up the blade.

Talk about an entrance. (And what kind of rope is this, anyway? What won’t they think of next?!)

Raven was still free. He palm-smacked a bugbear in the face so hard that it stood staring and shaking its head stupidly.

Ezekiel charged around from behind the gong and swung at the commander, who swung back with his flaming sword.

While they kept each other busy, Mikael called to Raven to come cut the rope. But I mentioned how this was no ordinary rope…He sawed at it with a dagger, but it didn’t even seem to fray it.

Seeing that was no good – and that not all of the bugbears were choking on the stinking cloud, Raven took his magic ring of stars and lit up the commander with faery fire (assuming it might possibly help Ezekiel maybe), and then shot sparks at the bugbears.

Raven and Wonillon were getting pummeled by the bugbears as they tried to cut the rope — when Ezekiel whipped out a scroll, read something off of it, and then fire erupted a few feet in front of him – scorching the commander and frying one of the bugbears.

Mikael suddenly shrank to the size of a frog – in fact he was a frog, and hopped out of the loop of rope.

This was no ordinary rope, though, as the pressure on our arms was no less. We couldn’t get our hands in our pockets or to our weapons…Lydia couldn’t even gesture to cast any spells.

A new man stepped out from behind the tapestry, wearing cleric robes, and waved his hands at us. Suddenly, the clangs and grunts of battle disappeared as silence blanketed the room.

Raven stepped back from the bugbear he was dealing with to gulp a healing potion. Ezekiel was apparently so frustrated that he hit the floor, instead of the commander. The commander wasn’t landing a blow, either, and tried to swear at him or something…but of course we couldn’t hear him.

Ezekiel said, “You can’t talk in a silence spell, you know.”

The new priest guy ran behind the bugbears and down to the end of the room, and started chanting in front of the altar.

Mikael suddenly grew back into his own shape, and cracked a bugbear over the head with his staff.

Raven was doing a good job of keeping the bugbears focused on him, instead of the ones who couldn’t use their arms…but about this time, something made him change his mind, and he quaffed a potion and suddenly disappeared.

While Mikael and Ezekiel killed bugbears (which is like the single thing I am best at) I looked around for what Raven had seen, and noticed – the snake-things.

They were like a cross between a snake and a lizard, and glowing like fire. They swarmed out of the fire pit in front of the altar, and although I couldn’t see them very well at that distance, I figured I didn’t want to meet them.

Something tugged at the rope – and although it didn’t fray or loosen, it did finally give me an idea.

Mikael had chewed through the bugbears, and was attacking the commander from behind. The priest was shouting something (that we couldn’t hear) and jabbing his finger at Ezekiel…but of course, if he was trying to cast a spell on Ezekiel, that wouldn’t work, either.

Wonillon stabbed a bugbear in the ribs, but it seemed like too little, too late. Ezekiel was bleeding from several places, and weaving slightly on his feet. And those fire-lizard-things were getting closer and closer.

I couldn’t say anything that would be heard, so I kicked Lydia’s ankle and lunged for the door. The rope wasn’t wrapping my legs, after all.

Lydia and Heiron quickly got the idea and surged after me. As Heiron shoved against the floor, the rope jerked out of the commander’s hand…and the loops digging into our arms abruptly went slack.

We staggered backward through the door. Cuddles and Corby, apparently disconcerted by all this, bolted past us up the corridor.

Wonillon had also figured out the discretion thing, and dashed after the animals. Past the threshold, I was far enough away from the battle to speak, and told Heiron to stand by to help me with the doors.

I expected Lydia to put distance behind her, too, but she stood in the doorway with us, pulled out her gold lion statue, and said, “Simba.”

Her magic lion leaped into existence and charged the commander.

That left Mikael, Raven, and Ezekiel.

As we watched, a bugbear swung at Ezekiel and bashed him so hard he… Lydia tells me he “turned into a gaseous form.” It was basically a see-through, billowy version of Ezekiel.

He started cackling wildly, and bellowing, “Fly, you fools!” or something like that (so, why don’t silence spells affect him?!), and charged the fire-lizard-things, swinging his foggy mace left and right.

Raven popped into view in the middle of the room, snapping the no-ordinary-rope like a lasso…but nothing special happened, so he and Mikael finally backed out of the room while Simba mauled the commander.

I figured Ezekiel was a big boy and could take care of himself – or we’d just have to raise him again or something – so Heiron and I pulled the doors shut and tied the handles with rope.

Mikael pounded on the doors, hollering at Ezekiel that he was a gas, for goodness’ sake, and needed to come float through the door!

Raven tapped Mikael on the shoulder with the hand that wasn’t holding his arm on, and asked for some healing.

Simba gave a roar from beyond the door. I guess it must have been a victory roar, since Lydia gave a little smile (you can tell by the way her eyes crinkle) and dismissed him by twisting the statue in her hands.

Well, with that worry out of the way, I could worry more about the fire-lizard-things, and I ushered Heiron and Lydia up the corridor, preparing another arrow on my bow (now that I could hold it again).

Shortly after, Raven joined us. He said Mikael was still worried about Ezekiel, so he gave him the potion of invisibility so he’d have more options.

I’ve learned long ago…arguing with Ezekiel is one of those things that never goes anywhere. So I had to trust Mikael to take care of himself, and assembled the party at the north end of the corridor (where it happened to connect with the “great hall,” as I call it).

Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long before Mikael joined us – dragging a now-solid Ezekiel along with him. He said, “I asked Obed-Hai to get some sense into him, and I guess it worked.”

Ezekiel says he received new instructions from a weather-beaten man leaning on a staff. He says that when he saw the man shaking his head in disbelief, he decided he wasn’t supposed to die in a blaze of glory, disintegrating salamanders from a ghostly form.

(Oh, yes…Michael says the creatures were salamanders, which are only harmed by magical weapons. Good to know.)

Ezekiel touched Raven’s remaining wounds, and they closed and stopped bleeding.

I thought we were finally going to get out of that area, and into some place where we could control the approaches…but, no, you have to keep a sharp eye on Ezekiel.

He abruptly stared off into the distance, through a solid wall, and announced that there was something very, very important that we had to check out right that second.

Raven apparently decided that compromising would be more efficient than arguing with EzEkIeL, and stationed us on watch while he checked out this room that was so very important (it’s a solid door a little south of the junction where we stood…yes, back towards the salamanders just a bit).

The floor of the room is white marble, with an alabaster ceiling. Raven says it feels very “safe” there, though he didn’t specify if the approaches are defensible, or if there are arrow slits in the walls, or extra weapons, or what exactly makes it so safe.

There’s a second door across from the entrance, and (apparently) a sheet of crystal that seemed cloudy until Raven opened the other door – when it started glowing.

If I had been there, I would instantly have suspected that it was some kind of alarm to tell when people open the door…but of course I wasn’t there. I was guarding the hall with Heiron.

The crystal started glowing, and when Ezekiel and Mikael joined Raven, they spotted two figures (like men with white wings) walking toward the crystal, as though they were on the other side of a mirror or window.

The figures asked them what “such fair folk of good” were doing in such a “vile place” – which should have been their first warning. I mean, what would make them think we were all Good, after all?

Ezekiel asked the two who they were, and they answered that this “sanctuary of good” had been “placed here” to give aid to any righteous adventurers…and if they left all their magic gear, holy symbols, and silver items in front of the crystal mirror – and left the room for a few hours – the winged types would restore their charges and increase their efficiency.

Raven says he was getting flashes of déja vue about that point…and then apparently the figures told them all to hurry, because the “window of opportunity” was short, and that “Euz,” in his goodness, had put this room/mirror-thing there to help good people –

And at that point Ezekiel started laughing so loudly we could hear him outside through the walls.

We could also hear something else – a rope snapping some ways away.

I opened the door to tell them to hurry up, and by that time, the figures had retreated in embarrassment or something, so the others rejoined us.

Ezekiel told us it was another scheme like the pool of wish-granting, and Lydia asked why he hadn’t left his mace for them to pick up.

Well, he got a good laugh out of the whole thing…but I still don’t know why it was so very vital that we drop everything and investigate it right then. Of course, Ezekiel has been having trouble all day…as I write, he’s vibrating in his seat, and every time he speaks, he garbles it so quickly we can’t understand a word.

Lydia asked all the rest of us to pray that he wouldn’t explode or anything. Shame that she doesn’t feel comfortable doing that herself…but maybe one day.

Anyway, the majority ruled that we wanted some distance between us and the fire-salamander-lizard things. We’re doing much better than we were, but Ezekiel still looks like death warmed over…and Wonillon and Raven didn’t get off without a scratch, either.

I have a nick that looks like the scratch of a spear, but it only itches.

We still have to decide whether we need to restock in town before returning…but I for one am happy to have a retreat at my back, as well as a controlled approach in front.

Now, if Ezekiel doesn’t explode, or turn purple, or something, we should be fine.

Maybe the God of gods is paying attention and rooting for us…but it’s nice to know Obed-Hai and Ehlonna and Merikka approve of our mission and are listening, too.


Find the previous entry here.

Short Fiction: The Prayer of a Paladin

In the absence of a D&D summery this week, please enjoy this short story I wrote, inspired by the world of Greyhawk!

My brother is clamoring for it to continue to a better resolution…What do you think?


Marcius woke, shivering the whole length of his body. The back of his tattered tunic stuck to the stone wall, and his legs and arms had long passed the point where he noticed their throbbing.

By all rights, he should have been surprised at being able to sleep at all…but he couldn’t ignore the pressure of sheer exhaustion.

The clanks of armor and the flap of feet snapped his attention back to what had woken him.

Marcius peered through the bars of the cell, fighting the surge of panic that shot up through his heart.

He recognized the figure that led the small party — though Gorm, as he called himself, shared the ruddy skin and dark robes of a human cleric, the fangs sticking up from his lower jaw betrayed his orc parentage.

The green-skinned grunts behind him were dragging another prisoner — human, and dressed in something brown, though that’s all that Marcius could see underneath the mud and dried blood.

The orcs in chainmail dragged their prisoner to the wall opposite Marcius and began shackling him in the same way – locking his wrists in manacles just above the head…at just the right angle to prevent him from hanging his body in a comfortable resting position.

Gorm, the so-called cleric, approached Marcius.

At his smug smile and squint, Marcius felt the bile rise in his mouth.

“Good morning, holy warrior,” Gorm croaked past his fangs, giving a smile that revealed all their jagged glory.

Marcius tried to lick the roof of his mouth, and failed.

“I could tell you that Pelor has brought the sun back to the skies outside,” said Gorm. “And that in the peaceful lands of your home, the green fields wave back a welcome to the light.”

Marcius said nothing. There was no answer.

He knew as well as Gorm did that he was not out there, raising his sword against the invading hordes to protect his master and his people.

No, he was here, buried deep in a dungeon where the only light were the torches of his enemies…or their sickly green orbs placed at the foot of the stairs.

“You must long for it,” said Gorm, with another smile. “The holy warrior misses his brothers-in-arms – misses his polished armor and his sharpened sword. Perhaps we should have let you watch as we melted it down.”

Melting Marcius’ blade would negate the enchantment on it. It was just the sort of thing they’d do, though, as Quintus had been outspoken about his loathing for foul humanoids.

Thinking about it would do no good…but at the memory of his enthusiastic sentient sword, Marcius choked.

The two foot-soldiers, finished with their work, glanced at Gorm. At a nod from him, they passed through the cell-gate to head for the stairs.

“Have you spoken with your god, holy warrior?” asked Gorm. “Surely his light could do something for you here. Surely he would send aid to you…if he knew you were here, of course. The mighty master of light is strong enough to reach these halls, is he not?”

When Marcius didn’t answer, Gorm reached into his cloak.

“No,” he said. “Surely he would not abandon his child like this – would he, paladin?”

With the final sneer, he pulled something out of his cloak and shoved it into Marcius’ face.

It was a mask – worked to resemble a bear, or a wolf — it was impossible to tell which, exactly.

A red teardrop painted on the forehead was almost obscured by the crusty stains of real blood.

Marcius screamed, lunging to the side. The chains snapped metallically, bringing him to a halt; the manacles bit into his wrists and the fleshy base of his thumb.

The sores in those places broke open – warm blood trickled down his arms in well-worn patterns.

But he noticed none of that. Darkness clouded his vision, as the cleric’s taunting laugh echoed in his ears.

Pelor should hear him. Pelor was his Master, the Lord of Light. Pelor was the name he carried when he defended the widows of homesteads, and the orphans of besieged towns.

Yet here he was.

Marcius slumped, hanging in the chains. They were placed so high that he couldn’t kneel on the ground…either his swollen and aching legs must support him, or his shredded arms and wrists would.

How long had this gone on? How many days had this fiend with the shape of a man, who worshiped an obscene and vile god, come down here to taunt him?

How often had he been forced to face that thing – that symbol of all that was twisted and murderous in this castle?

That reminder – in physical form – that he had failed…that the patrol had been slaughtered…that he, Marcius Farin, had been dragged from his company and his duty, and locked up here…perhaps to die, perhaps worse –

Worse? To renounce his oath. He was no ignorant blade-for-hire…He served a higher authority, and dedicated himself to the cause of his master.

From his sword to his speech to the manner in which he passed his free time, everything was a reflection of that greater light – the great Pelor, whose sun shone on the just and the unjust, and whose will was the protection of the helpless and oppressed.

And now…where had that brought him?

Marcius realized he was sobbing. A fiery pain stabbed through his limbs, raising them above the constant ache that racked his whole body – and making them worthy of his mind’s notice.

But there was nothing he could do. He could no more protect the innocent than he could keep himself alive. No more than he could make the sun rise.

He was nothing.

Gorm laughed again — for as human as his face was, his voice sounded like a pig fused in an unholy union with a bear.

“We’ll talk again tomorrow, holy warrior,” he said. “I’m sure we’ll find something more to talk about. You must tell me all about the wonders of Pelor, and how he takes care of his faithful servants.”

Gorm turned and strutted out – locking the cell with the keys at his belt before climbing the stairs.

In the sickly green light of the orbs by the staircase, Marcius huddled against the wall at his back.

Sweat coated his face and ran into his eyes. With a shaking arm, he drew his hand far enough over to wipe the hair out of his eyes.

Across the way, the new prisoner was watching him. He twisted his hands in the manacles, as though testing their tightness…but Marcius knew there was no way to slip out of them.

How often had he tried? Even with shredded skin and blood-slicked arms, the metal was sized just right to keep his bones pinned.

How often…? How often had this happened? How long had he spent in this hell-hole?

And could Hell itself possibly be any worse?

A part of him rebelled at that thought. Ever since he was a child in his father’s house, he had trained his body and disciplined his mind for service to Pelor…and, by extension, as a symbol of Good and comfort to all innocent people who depended on him.

And that had brought him – what?

Was this, then, to be his end? This dim, stinking dungeon would be his grave?

Or would one day…one black-as-night morning…would his resolve break? Would the torture of his body and mind become too much, and would his mouth speak words that he himself would never dream of?

At the horror of that thought, Marcius sank into a revery that eventually led him to sleep…or rather, the shifting consciousness that served him as sleep in that place.

Once or twice, he started awake, straining his ears for an unfamiliar sound…

A soft crunching – like the chewing of flesh and bone…accompanied by stifled gasps of pain.

But his blurred eyes could see nothing in the dimness – and even if there were undead in the shadows beyond the cell, preying on some helpless victim, it wasn’t like he could do anything to help them.

Finally, he heard the familiar alarm of morning – the thump of the cleric’s boots, and the jingle of his chainmail and keys.

Gorm reappeared – this time alone – and placed a torch in a bracket along the wall before unlocking the cell door.

Marcius already felt the tears coursing down his face. His heart pounded. He had no more blood to bleed, no more strength to stand –

“Morning has dawned yet again,” said Gorm, with another of his hateful smiles. “Or do I need to tell you that, holy warrior? A devoted acolyte of the sun-god surely knows when the sun rises and sets. Who am I to tell you differently, my righteous friend?”

Marcius could think of nothing to say. Instead, he squeezed his eyes shut and pressed his cheek against the wall, steeling himself.

“I hope you have enough light to see, you little human weakling, you,” said Gorm. “I have something to show you. Open up and look, now. I think you’ll find it very interesting–”

Something clanked and gurgled.

Surprise overpowered Marcius, and he instinctively looked.

First, he noticed Gorm’s starting eyes and pale complexion.

Next, he noticed the other prisoner, pinning a metal bar from the prison floor against the cleric’s neck with his elbows – and hauling back for all he was worth.

A moment later, the prisoner raised his knee to Gorm’s back, and convulsed backward with a jerk.

Gorm gave an explosive cough, and crumpled to the ground, a little trickle of blood darkening his mouth.

The stranger exhaled, and straightened up, letting the bar drop.

As he straightened his arms, Marcius saw that his hands were entirely red. Now that they were closer together, he could see the pulpy stubs were both his thumbs had been.

From the blood around his mouth, the stranger had chewed them off.

Marcius felt oddly sick – but as he hadn’t eaten anything in several days, nothing happened.

“Oy,” said the stranger, and stepped forward, holding out his hands. “Do me a solid, man?”

Marcius continued to stare.

“Snap out of it, greater-goody,” said the prisoner. “You’re a paladin of Pelor, right? Can’t be all bad, right? So lay it on me before we blow this.”

After all this time…how long had it been, again?…surely the power of Pelor had left him.

Surely, in this vile place –

Marcius reached out — he couldn’t lower his hands below his head, so the stranger stepped forward and raised his arms. Marcius cradled the strangers’ hands in his own, closed his eyes, and started mouthing a prayer.

If Pelor heard him…if Pelor regarded him…then surely it was Pelor’s will that he help someone else…

At the long sigh of relief, Marcius opened his eyes.

The stranger examined his hands, turning them over as he opened and shut his new fists – complete with new thumbs.

“Feels good enough to function,” he said. “Now—”

He bent over Gorm, and within seconds was unlocking Marcius’ manacles with the keys.

As soon as his arms were free, Marcius sank to the ground. At the sudden relief, every nerve in his body seemed to fire, and every tense muscle collapsed.

The stranger busied himself rooting through Gorm’s body.

Yes, the cleric that had tormented him for time without measure was well and truly dead. And so easily. It made him wonder– But he was too tired to wonder. Besides, there was no time for it.

Marcius forced himself to crawl forward and join the hunt.

While his new companion stripped off the chainmail and pulled it on, Marcius detached the cleric’s small hammer — Gorm’s main weapon, a mace, was hanging from a loop on his other side.

Good thing he’d done some practicing with maces. They couldn’t compare to his old sword, of course, but at least he’d have an idea what he was doing.

He looked up at the stranger.

His new companion was standing again, and muttering something.

“Well, been worse,” he said at last, and looked down at Marcius. “Can you stand, paladin?” He held out a hand.

Marcius honestly didn’t think he could…but he said nothing. Instead, he took the offered arm and scrambled upright – letting the stranger pull him to his feet.

“Marcius Farin,” he panted. “Do you have a name, my generous friend?”

“Generous is new,” said the stranger. “Call me Benj.”

He picked up his length of metal and hefted it a moment. “Nope. I’ll trouble you for the hammer. Hope we meet some grunts soon. I don’t do much with blunt trauma. Needlessly delays things, if you ask me.”

Dark spots washed before Marcius’ eyes. “You realize we have no real chance –” he began.

“Stuff it, city boy,” said Benj. “Is that any talk for a paladin of Pelor?”

He headed for the door of the cell.

Marcius said nothing and followed.

Benj took the torch from the bracket and held it in his off-hand. He glanced up the stairs, then along the wall that led farther into the dungeon.

When he looked back at Marcius, he smiled. “Guess you can’t do another number on yourself, eh?”

Marcius shook his head.

“Ever been down that way?” He pointed into the darkness. “Is there another stair you could find for us?”

“Sorry,” said Marcius.

Benj glanced up the stairway again. “Known impossibility,” he grunted, and turned toward the darkness, “Or unknown possibilities.”

He shrugged. “Come on, man. We’ll stick together, that’s all.”

He headed off along the wall.

Who knew what they would find over there? On the other hand, could it be more threatening than the full guardhouse at the top of the prison stairs?

Marcius followed close behind.


Kimia Wood lives somewhere in the American Midwest, bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing…and other excuses for not gardening.

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Dear Diary….air demons

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Night passed quietly. Rest seemed to do Ezekiel good.

First thing, he pulled Mikael aside for a “strategy session” – both of them being “cleric types” and all.

So Raven and I went through Bel-Sornig’s room to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. No sign of a secret passage…so that’s good, I guess.

I think Ezekiel said something like he got “something” to “replace” the healing potions he lost, but I’m not sure. He was kind of muttering.

Mikael performed healing rites for Ezekiel and Raven, and we were set to keep moving.

First order of business was to “deal with” the altar-basin in the Water Temple “sanctuary.” It’s bronze and about four feet high.

I’d known it had water and coins in it, but I didn’t realize how deep it was. Ezekiel stuck his arm all the way in, said, “Oh, that’s saltwater,” and told me to bring the bag of holding over.

As soon as he started messing with the altar, the pieces of the “juggernaut” idol on the floor started hooting. Obviously an alarm of some kind…but fortunately we seem to have killed everything within earshot of the alarm. It sure got annoying, though.

We cleared a whole pile of gems out of the water basin, plus a hefty amount of coins. So I guess it was worth it to take a look – besides irritating the dumb rock, of course.

The rest of us were ready to keep moving – but Ezekiel had something he wanted to do first.

He headed over to the fountain with the hideous fish face, and filled up his waterskin…but then he stood there praying over it for what felt like a long time.

He says he was sanctifying it to make “holy water” — I didn’t know he could do that, but I guess sometimes you gotta try new things to find out.

There are double bronze doors on the east side of the “sanctuary” – I don’t know how we managed to miss them until now – covered with more of those ugly, leering faces. (Leering on the other side of your faces now, eh?)

When we opened the doors, they revealed a wide corridor that seemed to glow with a green radiance. Farther down, it looked like it turned to red…but Ezekiel was not interested in venturing in to find out.

(He’s a puzzle, that’s for sure. Some things, he’s all ready to charge in without hesitation. Then, suddenly, he seems to get fits of caution and won’t even step through a door.)

Anyway, we took the long way around to the Air Temple “sanctuary” (where we had such a rough encounter with the spirit that wasn’t undead and RAVEN’S SMOKE).

While the rest of us stood guard at the top of the west stairs, Lydia cast Detect Magic and ran around the room with the Boots of Speed, trying to get an idea what we should look out for. She said the north door (with the repelling runes), the two crystal braziers on silver chains, and the altar (and utensils) were all magical.

The decor of the Air Temple is certainly more spartan than several of the other temples.

Ezekiel had Lydia cast Protection from Evil on him (since we were out of a paladin), and ventured onto the floor alone to take the other crystal dagger and the crystal bowl from the altar.

When he picked them up, funnels of wind seemed to rise out of the pit and hit him, but he kept his feet. A glyph of some kind on the altar also flared…perhaps it thought that, since he was grabbing all the tools, he was going to do a sacrifice.

Ezekiel brought us the two daggers and the bowl and made me put them in the bag of holding (Lydia said they weren’t magical anymore, but you can never be too careful with these cursed things. On the other hand, Ezekiel hasn’t been hurt by walking around with the one dagger in his belt. On the other other hand, he wasn’t carrying the complete set. What if it tries to mind-control me?)

Ezekiel went back down the steps with his waterskin of holy water and tried to douse the brazier nearest us.

Like before, smoke poured out of the brazier, burying the floor in dark, choking fumes…but something else happened, too.

A creature – at least as big as Ezekiel, maybe twice as tall, and looking like a human mashed with a vulture – appeared next to him and slashed at him…but it recoiled with an ugly exclamation I’m sure was swearing, wherever it came from.

Heiron let loose the arrow he had ready, and nailed the thing in its birdy face.

Mikael cast faery fire, and the creature flailed around a bit – but the sparkles seemed to “take,” and I could see its vital areas light up.

It slashed at Ezekiel with four arms and its beak – but only nicked him a bit while he was ducking in to try and bash it.

I lined up my shots, with the help of Mikael’s spell, and landed both arrows in it…it died with a squawking, screaming cry.

By this time, Ezekiel had worked his way back up the stairs to escape the smoke. While we waited for it to dissipate, he smacked himself with his own mace, muttering – then gave a sigh.

He told us the creature was a “vrok demon” – and someone (maybe Heiron?) said it went down pretty fast for a demon. So Ezekiel explained it was pretty low down on the totem-pole of demons.

Once the smoke had evaporated, and nothing was on the floor but the reliable swirling mist of this place, we crossed the room to take up positions on the opposite staircase so we could cover the second brazier while Ezekiel doused it. (The first brazier seemed to have gone out, so that was progress.)

(The east staircase led to more double doors, which we found led to a corridor that leads back to the “great hall.” Have to explore that more later.)

Ezekiel dumped the rest of his waterskin on the second brazier, and the system repeated itself.

Dark smoke poured out, and a hideous vulture-demon-thing with (at least) four clawed arms appeared.

It was at this point that we remembered Ezekiel’s protection from evil had run out.

I got the creature in the joint between shoulder and wing…and then my next shot took out the first crystal brazier and knocked it to the floor. It was – twitching, all right?

Ezekiel kept it distracted while I put a couple more arrows in it, and then he hit it. Even from where we were standing, I saw the purple lightening surge up the mace, and ram’s head on the end glowed briefly.

(That can’t be healthy, right?)

Chuckling, Ezekiel joined us on the stairs for a minute while the smoke cleared. Then we could recover the silver chains and the crystal that was still valuable.

Mikael healed Ezekiel of his little demon scratches, and we went to investigate the southern doors at the top of the southern stairs.

This proved to be a new kind of area. The doors opened to a hallway – we assume it connects with the corridor we saw in the Water Temple – but the area there was glowing with a grey luminosity. It seemed to be pulsing, too.

Off to the west, it turned to the green of the Water Temple…to the east, it turned red (where the Fire Temple, the last of the under-temples, must be).

Straight across from the door, a huge bronze sheet sat – with a windlass to help raise or lower it.

According to the map, we figured it connected with the corridor in between the hydra and the unnatural-cross-of-owl-and-bear.

Ezekiel and Wonillon were first, and ventured over the threshold. They both yelped as a magical wind tossed them against the bronze barrier, and their noses turned red with cold.

One of them said the air in there smelled funny – like history and ages and war or something – but I don’t know what that would smell like.

I got out a rope while Raven tested the hallway by tossing a pebble from his boot over the threshold. The pebble dropped to the floor and didn’t do anything interesting.

I told the rope of climbing to attach to Ezekiel’s waist (being specific, see…can’t be too careful) and tried to pull him back…but he’s way heavier than I am, plus wearing plate armor, and I was trying to keep from losing my balance and falling through the door – so anyway, it didn’t work too well, and he peeled the rope off and tossed it back to me, grumbling about something.

He called across to us that he and Wonillon would raise the barricade and take the long way around past the hydra corridor.

That leaves the rest of us with nothing to do but sit on our hands…and search the other corners of the Air Temple for secret doors.

Raven and Lydia found several – we assume they’re to provide escape in the event the temples fight each other.

We must keep our eyes and ears open. If undead show up while we have neither a cleric, nor a paladin, things could get dangerous…


Find the previous entry here.

5 Miracle “Explanations” That God Knew About

5 Miracle “Explanations” That God Knew About

Ever noticed how people like to “explain away” miracles? I call them “just so” stories.

You know those “just so” stories…like the one about how the bear lost his long tail, or “why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears,” or how the vulture poked his head through the night sky and burned it bald with the heat of the sun (and the hole he left is now the moon).

Silly little kids’ stories to “explain” why something is the way it is – which are often so much more complicated than the truth.

People like to come up with these “explanations” for the miracles in the Bible, too…but —

God knew about our explanations before we came up with them.

How do I know? Because, if you look at the Bible, you’ll often see details in the stories of the miracles that disprove whatever “just so” story the skeptics have come up with to “explain away” what God did.

Here are some examples to get you thinking. Those seminary professors may have nice stories, but if you actually read and believe what God said, even a child can tell that they’re just making up stories to sound good.

Turning the Nile to Blood

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Actually, it was ketchup. Image credit:

In Exodus 7, God ordered Moses to hit the Nile River with his staff and turn the water into blood.

The purpose of this was to convince Pharaoh that God was serious about wanting the Hebrew slaves set free…and also to punish the Egyptians for following false gods, show God’s strength to the Israelite people, etc.

Take a look:

And the LORD said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, their canals, and their ponds, and all their pools of water, so that they may become blood, and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.

And the fish in the Nile died, and the Nile stank, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts. So Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.

Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart.

And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the Nile. (Ex. 7:19-24)

Some people don’t believe this really happened!

The “just-so story” I’ve heard about this is that red plankton flowed up from the Mediterranean Sea or something, and that’s why the Egyptians couldn’t drink the water.

But God put in details that contradict this theory:

Notice that not only the water in the river, but even the water in “vessels of wood and stone” (vs. 19) AKA the water-pitchers and stored water in people’s houses also turned to blood (according to God Himself!).

Then Egyptians dug wells, and God allowed them to get water.

Crossing the Red Sea

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: bible.ca

Exodus 14 gives us the account of the Hebrew people crossing the Red Sea. God had rained such brutal plagues on the Egyptians that they were eager to set the Israelites free…but then Pharaoh and his officials had a change of heart.

They caught up with the Israelites at the Red Sea:

The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward.Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.

And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

And in the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”

So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.

But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. (Ex. 14:15-30)

Does this really need explaining?

Well, some people think so. Some people will tell you that it happened to be low tide or something, and so the Israelites actually walked through shallow water.

God knows better.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

I couldn’t choose so here’s another picture! Image credit: SeedsOfFaith.cph.org

God actually told us explicitly that the Hebrew people walked on “dry ground” – with a wall of water on either hand.

And when the Egyptian army chased them into the sea, God made their chariots stick in the mud, and buried them with the waters.

Yeah, I know I literally just repeated what God said…but who’s complaining?

If the Red Sea was only a couple feet deep…then why did God say “walls of water”? How were the Israelites able to cross on “dry land”?

And how on earth did the Egyptians all drown – so that their bodies washed up on the shores – if they could have just waded after the Hebrews and re-enslaved them?

God meant what He said…and if you believe what He said, you have to accept what He meant.

The Wine at Cana

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Joseph Martin Kronheim/Kean Collection/Getty Images via SCPR.org

This example comes from John 2:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (vv. 1-11)

This “explanation” comes from Lloyd C. Douglas’ novel The Robe.

He suggests that the servants took water from vessels that used to hold wine (and so might have a residual taste) and then when everyone at the party tasted the wine, the magnetism of Jesus’ personality made them think it was really wine.

I call baloney-sauce!

Notice that our eyewitness account says the water came from “jars [used] for the Jewish rites of purification” — I don’t think they’d be storing wine in there at any time!

You’ll also notice that Jesus told the servants to take the wine in to the master of ceremonies…which implies (although it doesn’t explicitly say) that He Himself was in another room at the time.

The master of the feast didn’t know anything about where it came from – but thought it was the best wine he had ever tasted.

I doubt he would mistake water with a little lemon slice for real lemonade, regardless what scintillating conversation he was listening to.

Noah’s Flood

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: AnswersInGenesis.org

God judged the world by sending a great flood of water, so that only Noah, his family, and the animals they took with them on the preservation-craft were safe.

Some people insist that this was a “local” flood. But that is very silly on the face of it.

Check out Genesis 7:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature.

They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.

The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters.

And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.

And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days. (vv. 11-20, 24)

Also Genesis 8:

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (vv. 20-22)

We know this was a global flood…

…because it covered the tops of all the mountains – as evidenced by fossils of fish found on high mountain peaks!

Also, God promised He would never repeat this show. He would never “strike down every living creature as I have done.”

There have been plenty of local floods, but nothing approaching the world-wide devastation that Noah saw. Either the Bible is right…or God broke His promise.

You do believe what God says, right?

Feeding the Thousands

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Photo by Kate Remmer on Unsplash

We all know these stories, right?

The original accounts are in Matthew 14 and 15, Mark 6 and 8, Luke 9, and John 6.

For simplicity, let’s look at Mark:

And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. Send [the crowd] away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”

But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?”

And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”

And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”

Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all.

And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.

And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:35-44)

And again:

In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, [Jesus] called his disciples to him and said to them, “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.”

And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?”

And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?”

They said, “Seven.”

And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them.

And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full.

And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. (Mark 8:1-9)

Here come “some people”—

What do they say about this passage?

They say that when the people saw Jesus sharing his sack lunch with all the hungry people (only John mentions that a little boy brought the food – John 6:8-9)…then they all decided to pull out their lunches and share, too.

Because SHARING. (And hiding your snacks even though you’re hungry because someone else might want some…)

I think Jesus said it best:

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Dudes…I’m going to be executed and come back to life. You think food is a problem? Image credit: Pixabay

And Jesus, aware of this, said to [the disciples], “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?

“Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

They said to him, “Twelve.”

“And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?”

And they said to him, “Seven.”

And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:17-21)

Do you not yet understand?

  • First:

The crowd of 5,000 was in a desolate place, and it was late in the day (so, dinnertime, not lunchtime – their sack lunch was already eaten, I guess).

The crowd of 4,000 was also in a “desolate place,” and had been listening to Jesus for three days. Chances are that – if they had packed some supplies for camping out, they were running low. Jesus even worries that they’ll pass out from hunger before they get home!

  • Second:

Notice how many left-overs they picked up! I don’t have the linguistic skills to prove whether it was a large or small basket…but just look at the number of them!

That’s way more food than you’d expect from some people hoarding rolls up their sleeves.

  • Third:

“Do you not yet understand?”

Jesus is literally teaching them that He is God.

When He’s done with the crowd in Mark 8, He takes the disciples and jumps in a boat. The disciples are worried because they didn’t bring bread – even though Jesus literally just created baked bread and cooked fish out of thin air.

Jesus warns them about “the leaven/yeast of the Pharisees” (v. 15) – meaning their wicked teachings which are contrary to God. Just like it’s “not what goes into a man, but what comes out, that makes him unclean,” it’s not physical food we should be worried about.

We need to be eating the spiritual bread of Jesus and His word…because when we do that, we will find we have just what we need physically.

Also…y’know…Jesus literally has the power to make literally anything…since He did literally make everything (Hebrews).

Why Do People Do This?

Maybe you were basically familiar with all my examples already…and you just wonder why anyone would do this?

Maybe you’re a “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” kind of person. It must seem strange that people make up reasons and little explanations to cut the metaphysical part out of the Biblical miracles.

Why would they want to?

First group: they don’t actually believe it.

These people may call themselves Christians, go to church, or teach in a seminary…but they prove by their actions that they don’t really believe what Jesus said.

They think “moral lessons” are the true heart of Christianity, and that teaching people to be “nice,” to share, and to “look on the bright side” is all there is to it.

Actually…that’s a very sad, pathetic view of the world.

Second group: well-meaning but clumsy.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Do they just want to sound smart? Image credit: Pixabay

These people want to make the Bible more “believable” – perhaps more “acceptable.” They might be embarrassed by the flame-strikes and the rising-from-the-deads, and they want to explain the “Bible stories” to their kids without looking like they don’t know physics exists.

They don’t seem to understand that – of course physics exists, God just out-ranks it. ‘Cause He made it. ‘Cause He’s awesome.

These people don’t realize it, but they’re really saying:

“Well – this is what really happened. Don’t believe the physical world obeyed God to part rivers, cover the desert with bread, rain fire on wicked cities and people, devour Herod with worms, shrivel fig trees, make a day last more than 24 hours, and return life to people who stopped breathing days before.

“But totally believe you should obey God to forgive your enemies, deny yourself lusting over the opposite sex, tell the truth in all circumstances, not let food control you, and practice kindness to everyone regardless of how annoying they are.”

The historical accounts in the Bible don’t need us to make excuses for them.

5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia Wood

Image credit: ThisFragileTent

I hope these examples encourage you that the next time someone smart-sounding starts telling you this-or-that “didn’t really happen,” God probably put details into His Word that defies exactly what they’re suggesting!

So get out your Bible, and you can know what the real story is!

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.
We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.
For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 15:12-20)

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.
For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:16-21)


This post is approved by my spiritual head.


5 Miracle "Explanations" That God Knew About — Kimia WoodKimia Wood was raised by an aspiring author, so spinning words and weaving plots is in her blood.

She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing exploits! You’ll also receive a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.

Dear Diary…Ezekiel’s death counter

Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventure: “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Lydia has given Raven her cloak of protection – since after all, he is more likely to run to the front and hit enemies (although she showed us some techniques she’s been learning at the tower with her staff, and is excited that she might actually hit something if it came down to it).

By the way, while Ezekiel was fiddling around with the weird magic trident, he discovered it had a hollow handle, with a nice, big aquamarine inside – plus a long scroll covered with cleric spells. (He’s calling the trident a “Trident of Yearning” because when you touch it, it makes you want to get in water or take a bath or something.)

As for Mikael’s new rod of smiting, though, no one in town knows specifically what its deal is.

Mikael and Raven have recovered their supplies as well as possible, buying replacement clothes and boots for the ones destroyed in acid…

I guess that’s a danger of carrying around too much expensive stuff – but there’s not a good way to get around it.

Had a lovely time in the woods with my “friends,” if by “lovely” we mean lots of push-ups and obstacle courses and getting my butt kicked. On the other hand, I really feel like I can swing an ax without pulling my muscles – or hitting something I don’t mean to. Even Master Elmo said I was getting “pretty good” at it. If we come across another ax in the dungeon, I can try it out…but until then, I think I’m carrying enough stuff. Continue reading

3 Rules for Writing Comic Strips

The comic strip world is in shambles. Back in my day, we had good comics.

Call them the “funny pages,” do you? These simple line drawings are the touch-stone of our culture!

Or – they should be…if they hadn’t been infected by lazy writers who don’t know what they’re doing.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen: it is I, knower of everything, who have come to share exactly what is wrong with modern comic strips (that even goes for classics like Blondie whose current strips are being written by contemporary wannabe hacks)…and how anyone can produce a quality comic strip with my three easy steps.

Listen to me. After all, I know everything there is to know…and I am here to offer my gracious instruction to all you young whippersnappers.

1. Look Pretty

In the good old days, comics were nice to look at. Maybe the characters weren’t beautiful, but they weren’t a pile a squashed polygons that look like a made-in-China Picasso.

The lines were clean…the shapes were pleasing… You could tell what the backgrounds were, and what the characters were supposed to be.

3 Rules for Writing Comic Strips — Kimia Wood

Image courtesy of xkcd

Even “ugly” characters were somehow cute – or at least funny.

Minimalism is okay, too. But even simple designs can still lead the eye smoothly and give it satisfying shapes to look at.

Bottom line – in the old days, you could stare at the drawings without going blind.

You want to be a real comic strip writer? (Of course you do!) Then draw characters you wouldn’t mind hanging full-size on your wall!

If the people’s heads look like a pumpkin had an unfortunate accident with a tall building, you need some more work! If you don’t want your characters attractive, or cute…at least make their designs funny. You’re a comic strip writer.

2. Be Funny

Listen, my friend. You hold a valuable piece of our republic in your hands.

The comic pages are the one and only reason my grandpa buys a newspaper at all…and then only on Sundays…

And only for Sherman’s Lagoon.

You’re not competing with paint drying, you know. Put in a little effort! Do you want your character’s face used to light the fire in the morning?

Or do you want to hang on the bulletin board at work, for all the coworkers to see?

3 Rules for Writing Comic Strips — Kimia Wood

Image credit: ComicsKingdom

Trust me, your fellow comic writers are scraping the bottom of the barrel. (The next person to invent a fresh joke about Black Friday sales is getting the Pulitzer.) You don’t have to reach that far above them.

We all get that social media is a thing, now. Unless you have a really, truly unique gag about that inane fact (or about wives dissing their husbands, or kids whining about school, or any of the other tired, boring stereotypes) then just leave it alone.

Make your characters do interesting things. Force them to say interesting things.

If they’re just floating aimlessly across the page – nobody is going to care.

I don’t! And I am the gold standard for everything. (I also know everything, in case you’ve forgotten.)

There are loads of hilarious things in the world! Use some of them! Like the time our goat got so snarled around a tree with her cable that she literally got her hoof stuck in her collar.

Yeah, I just had to chuckle while I was untangling her.

Be the strip we tape to the bathroom mirror so we can wake up happy. Don’t be the strip that we read – and then feel absolutely nothing.

3. Aim for Timelessness

I don’t think I’ve said this part yet, so let me be clear:

You’re writing a comic strip.

This is not your personal editorial column, or your MySpace page. (Though if you can’t get published anywhere but MySpace…there might be a reason for that?)

By the way, no reason but I saw this hilarious comic strip skewering President Ford the other day. I can’t decide if that, or the one mocking Caesar Augustus, is my favorite –

Said no one ever!

Look. Shakespeare made bank with Julius Caesar because he tapped into the emotions of pride, jealousy, and betrayal that span all humanity.

Hamlet is still performed because it speaks to the doubts and longings common to our shared human experience…not because the Danish royal court is “relevant” or anything.

Yes I just compared Shakespeare to comic strips no I’m not sorry.

Sure, everyone else calls you the “funny pages” and uses you for a coffee mug coaster. Is that who you want to be?

Close your eyes and imagine five years from now…ten years from now… You’re holding the anniversary collection of your strip in your hands.

Are all the jokes lame and nonsensical because you’re mocking political figures that ran out their terms of office before your kids were born?

Who’s going to be laughing then?

No one! That’s who!

And your job is to be funny, for Calvin’s sake. (Calvin and Hobbes, of course.)

If no one will be interested in buying hardcover collector’s edition books of your strips because they’ll be meaningless after the next election cycle – think about that for a moment.

Crafting the Perfect Comic Strip

My time as your muse is drawing to a close. Just remember these three crucial points:

  1. Draw pictures you can enjoy looking at…staring at…and coming back to.
  2. Write plots and dialogue that actually get a chuckle. Or a wry grin. Or an appreciative snort.
  3. Dig deeper, aim higher, and create something people will come back to again, and again…and again, to read to their kids.

Unless, of course, you’re just here to make sure Frazz still has newspapers to distribute his genius.

In that case, I bow to your sacrificial support of the greater good.


3 Rules for Writing Comic Strips — Kimia WoodKimia Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family…including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing exploits. You’ll also receive a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier!

Dear Diary….pool of perdition

Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Ezekiel sent Mikael and Raven off to find Cuddles. Turns out he was keeping an eye on the double-doors we came through to reach the “sanctuary.”

They’d just met up with him when Raven says he heard the wall beside the door moving aside.

A voice said, “Master?” – and then we all heard shouting in some other language. (I assume it was bugbear.)

Most of the temple-room was still dark, of course – Mikael had a torch, but it didn’t shed light like our shiny shields used to (and the humidity in that room made things difficult, too).

Simba charged off into the darkness, roaring, and I heard the squeals as he tore into something (again, it sounded like bugbear).

I think Cuddles and Raven both lunged at the same time and bumped into each other – but that’s just going from what I saw across the room, and Raven insists it went differently.

Ezekiel moved forward, and as soon as Lydia followed him far enough to light the enemy, he bashed a bugbear-head in with his mace.

I speared one through the throat before I even realized Lydia had thrown an egg through the doorway…the figures beyond were gagging and choking on thick green smoke.

Something bellowed, “Who make stink?” — I didn’t see what. One of the bugbears tried to get out of the cloud, bumped into Ezekiel, and promptly got bit by Cuddles…but the rest of them seemed to be keeping their distance.

By the time Lydia dispelled the cloud, there were no enemies to be seen.

Raven took a torch from Ezekiel and ran forward a few rooms to check things out, but the enemy had made tracks and decided not to face us.

Wonillon pointed out it was the sensible thing to do, from their perspective, since I killed two of them with one arrow apiece…but it still means I couldn’t properly finish them off, and I dislike loose ends.

We did find something interesting in the bugbears’ rooms…a chest with some ogre-sized clothing, a rusted saw, a candlestick, and a whole pile of money. Wonillon and I were busy for several minutes shoveling it into the bag of holding.

Raven checked the armoire in Bel-Sornig’s room, and found a fancy robe – watered green silk – with a gold embroidered octopus wrapping around the garment and kind of smothering the wearer. He also found a gold censor and twenty blocks of incense wrapped in paper (I hope they don’t get jostled into powder in the bag…I don’t understand the physics of bags of holding).

Ezekiel called us all over so we could “deal with” the big pool in the south room.

Did I say –? Yes, the south wall is covered with a mosaic octopus – red highlights with green orbs here and there (guess that’s where they get their special symbol from?) – which is clutching a sacrificial victim in each of its tentacles.

(Seriously, all these evil temples seem fixated on ritual murder. What’s with them?)

Mikael advanced first…he put his hand to his temple and said “someone” told him that there was a “triton” (apparently a good-aligned mer-person) chained up in the pool, and it wanted to help defend us against the “krakon” on the far wall.

Well, while I was worrying about the mosaic coming to life, Raven hurried forward, handed his torch to Mikael, and jumped into the pool (he says he saw a humanoid figure in there).

The lights in that room were very weird. The crystal ceiling and floor seemed designed to reflect and twist the light to make it as confusing as possible, and the pool (with its basin of lapis lazuli) seemed to suck up the light and glow in a very disorienting way.

Anyway, whatever Raven saw, he quickly jumped out of the pool again, yelping in pain, and announced there was nothing in there at all.

His magic cloak (was that the one we got in the crypt, maybe?) was all ribbons and holes now, and he pulled one of his magic rings off his finger and threw it into the corner, spitting (he says it was the ring of protection).

While Raven shook himself and tried to wipe his peeling skin, Mikael raised his hand and chanted some words I hadn’t heard yet. Apparently it was “purify water,” and while I couldn’t tell a difference, Ezekiel says the whatever-it-was didn’t like that.

Ezekiel ordered our two companions to get back to us, past the threshold of the room…but Mikael had been talking to the voice in his head, I guess, and said, “No, no, the pool can grant me my wish,” and jumped in.

He jumped out again even faster than Raven – crying out in pain – and as Ezekiel rushed in to help them, Raven pulled Mikael out and away from the pool.

As the left, Raven aimed his “ring of shooting stars” at the thing, but there were only some under-whelming sparkles. The pool didn’t seem disturbed at all.

Heiron shot an arrow into the “water” (if it was water) but that didn’t get a reaction, either. (I figured there was no point throwing good weapons after bad.)

Wonillon tossed a torch – which did what torches do even in normal pools, and went out.

Lydia told everyone to stand back, and tossed a little lump of something I don’t want to know about.

Even though she said, “Fwoom,” nothing seemed to happen…and she said the room must neutralize fire magic.

Well, Mikael had asked Obed-Hai for two “Purify Water” spells, so he chanted the words again – and this time something definitely happened.

Specifically, the crystal dome that formed the ceiling shattered, raining down shards that would be pretty painful if we weren’t all standing in the shelter of the corridor.

The lapis lazuli basin also broke into fragments, the “water” or poison or whatever it was spilling out into the room.

Wonillon recovered first of any of us – by pointing out that the lapis lazuli would be pretty valuable.

Ezekiel agreed, so Wonillon unloaded all his magic items and ventured into the room with a rope around his waist.

Raven put on a fresh robe from his pack and helped Lydia search the room of the under-clerics (poor Mikael was going around trying to straighten out the pieces of his staff of striking, but I think something vital was eaten away. Good thing Bel-S just “gave” us a new rod).

Well, when no voices were tempting Wonillon, I went out to help him – the chunks of lapis were big enough it took both of us to maneuver them into the bag).

Ezekiel tied a rope around me, too, but I wasn’t so worried since Raven (Lawful *cough*) didn’t hear any voices, either.

Can’t say the room was made worse by the mess. The few cressets along the walls gave off a pale green glow that made the whole room look sickly…the tapestries hanging at either hand were more of the same vile displays we’d seen in the rest of the temple, but somehow in the green lighting they made my skin crawl.

Ezekiel gave me permission to burn them. I can’t easily get rid of a fresco or mosaic, but I can rid the world of this filthy torture-porn.

Wonillon must not have been avoiding looking at the tapestries, since he spotted something shoved up in the ceiling.

Mikael grabbed it down and found it was a coral scroll-case with a parchment inside.

It wasn’t a scroll or anything…just a note in Common.

Ezekiel wrote down a copy of it. I don’t understand it…something about “Vile Good cloaked by Fair Evil” and “will you answer, Answerer?” and the “whelp of Mitrik”. The pool was pretending to be good – promising things to lure in its prey – but that doesn’t explain who would hide a note like this in the ceiling…and why.

Is it a message for whoever killed the pool and so broke the ceiling?

Well, while we were busy, Lydia and Raven found “club rings” on the under-clerics – gold rings cut like tentacled monsters set with peridots (that seems to be their favorite stone – that and lapis).

We ransacked the rest of the room – and Bel-Sornig’s – and found some extra clothes for Mikael so he didn’t have to go around in rags anymore (though I think I was more embarrassed than Lydia).

There was a lot of the standard: dishes (malachite for the underlings, gold for Bel-S). Lydia found a secret drawer in the desk with a scroll that only Ezekiel could read – and he got very excited. He says it’s got three different spells on it – including “resist fire,” which should come in handy for the next temple.

Bel-S had some good gear – plus a gold belt with malachite and lapis lazuli. His magic steel ring went to Raven for the time being, and he had an iron key that Ezekiel used to unlock his private chest.

A trident hanging on the wall is magical somehow…but it a “bad” way, since after Ezekiel touched it he quickly let go and told everyone else not to mess with it.

Oh, yes…Raven found a box of sugared fruits. After asking Mikael if he’d prepared Neutralize Poison today, he tried one…next time I saw him, he was singing to Merrika in the corner (not exactly on tune, which is weird because usually Raven is a good singer).

Ezekiel found a cloak in Bel-S room that he says is a “Cloak of the Manta-Ray,” which lets you turn into a manta-ray when you go into the water…which I guess is useful in you need to breathe underwater and stuff, but only works for one person at a time.

By the time we were done wrapping the trident in the cloak (so we wouldn’t touch it) and forcing it into the bag of holding, Cuddles was hugging Raven just hard enough to keep him in one place…and Raven had used his magic ring to cast Faery Fire on the two of them, and was busy giggling and saying, “Sparkles.”

Mikael cast Neutralize Poison – and Raven stopped giggling.

The under-clerics had several glowing green orbs about the size of Heiron’s two fists, so we took a couple of those to help light our way.

It was getting pretty late by then, and we’d had a full day, so we decided to bunk down in Bel-S’s room, since Wonillon could wedge the door shut, and none of us could find any secret doors (even sober Raven).

That doesn’t make sense to me, since Bel-S must have had an escape strategy…but perhaps it was more sophisticated than “run far and fast.”

****

After some discussion, Lydia studied up on one Continual Light and one Stinking Cloud, so she could put light on Ezekiel’s shield and give us crowd-control in case we ran into trouble on the way out.

As it all turned out, we were fine…although I was kind of worried about running into undead without a paladin’s oh-so-helpful shield.

We got an early start…which is good, because Ezekiel started out by trying to find a secret door from the under-cleric’s room to connect with the sloping passage by the hydra (according to our maps, and if we’ve been counting our feet right, the floors should connect about there).

Well, while we found their bedroom-proper, with some more jewelry and coins (and two identical little libraries on the “Secrets of Water Evil” and stuff like that…I guess they both had to get the same textbooks), we didn’t find any secret doors.

So in the end we had to return to where we came in – through the “great hall,” past the barracks, and to the spiral staircase.

Not only did we not meet those bugbears and ogre that evaded us yesterday, but we also didn’t meet any undead – which I think is just as well, all things considered.

Our horses took care of themselves nicely (especially considering Yeti’s horse Syphon wasn’t there). Nulb seemed about as quiet as normal (we made no eye contact if we could help it).

****

Reached Homlette with no trouble (we passed a caravan on the way).

This time we dropped our treasure at the tower, since the money-changer is getting a little overwhelmed. The lapis lazuli alone weighed a couple hundred pounds!

Mikael says he’s taking Cuddles and Corby to visit Master Geru in the morning. Ezekiel’s going to go talk with Canon Turjon…he has some questions for him, and more to the point he wants to show him the strange note we found in the ceiling.

I’m going to take Heiron to the practice yard and show him some dodging techniques. Maybe I can teach him some ways to roll with a blow, so that even if an attack does connect, he doesn’t get hurt so badly. Wonillon says he wants to watch, at least for a little bit.

Wonillon also says that lapis should earn us a huge chunk of change for our accounts.

****

So much has gone wrong I can’t even focus.

A messenger says all the prisoners we were keeping in the tower – have been assassinated.

I’m so mad I could spit.

We go to all the trouble of catching them, and keeping them alive, and bringing them back – whether or not they could (or would) give us any useful information, you don’t just slaughter prisoners.

Killing people in the heat of battle is different than offing caged birds.

Obviously our old assassin nemesis (or more like him) are still floating around. Sneaky, deceitful, disguise-wearing, lying, murdering… I just hope he gets a sheaf of arrows in his gut one day, that’s all.

(Raven says we’d better make sure to apply the arrows during battle, when they would lawfully apply, but frankly I don’t feel like waiting that long.)

Better warn Master Osler to take care of himself. He’s been so nice to us, I’d never forgive myself if something happened to him.

Anyway, Ezekiel is back from the Chapel of St. Cuthbert, and he says the Canon thinks the note has something to do with the missing princes. Specifically, the prince had a magic sword named “Answerer.”

They think it’s some kind of taunt.

I think we’d better get the hustle on and skewer some Evil things.

Raven says he paid someone who knows to reassure him the steel ring from Bel-S isn’t some Good-smiting thing. They say it’s a “ring of free action” (like Master Ramne got), which might come in useful to keep Raven from getting paralyzed quite so much (very helpful if he decides to punch ghouls again).

They’re saying I should channel my passion and go ask Elmo for advice (about killing things). Maybe they’re right…he always makes me do push-ups.


Find the previous entry here.

Dear Diary….path of the paladin

Alert: Contains spoilers for the adventure “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

In the morning, our healers did their magic. The prisoner asked if he got any, and Ezekiel asked him if he was planning to do any fighting.

We returned to the first dungeon without problems, but as we were passing through the barracks on that level, we smelled ghouls.

Everybody hugged close to Yeti so Ezekiel could hit them with his mace – and when he did, the runes around the ram’s head glowed and there was a flash.

A little further on, Raven warned us about some more undead – but not soon enough for Cuddles, who got clawed and paralyzed, and Mikael, who whacked the ghoul that hit Cuddles, and then got paralyzed.

Raven and I dragged them into the safety zone around Yeti, then Heiron and I shot down a couple ghouls that were too close for comfort.

Then we all held off so Ezekiel could use his mace. By the time I could pay attention to what he was doing, most of the undead were gone…leaving barely a film of dust behind.

So apparently this mace method is even cleaner than turning them. Who knew? The two bodies with arrows were already half-rotten – but they’re going to smell bad for a while before they turn into dust.

We reached the courtyard about mid-morning (lovely to see the sun again!) and collected the horses.

The rescued woman insisted that she wanted to leave right away – that she would take the High Road to live with her sister in the Wild Coast – and didn’t want any help. I think Raven gave her a ration or two to get her started, but I’m not sure.

I guess she’s got guts…or it’s all a plot to prey upon our compassion somehow.

We reached the campsite just fine (Nulb was thankfully quiet) and started making dinner and dealing out what healing we had left for the day.

Ezekiel went over to talk to Yeti – he says he doesn’t like all these neutrals clinging to him…that it’s not the company he wants to die in, and that he needs to seek guidance from Ula before continuing.

From what I caught of Ezekiel’s answer, he rambled something about being an insane party.

Maybe Yeti doesn’t like being taken for granted. Ezekiel sure lays it on thick about being off his rocker, serving a god that doesn’t exist, but it gets pretty old.

Back when he had the “hot meal” clinic in Ertuli, sure, he talked about his God – but he seemed to understand that no one knew what he was talking about, and just left it at that. But that was before he could dust undead…that was before having these visions (which I guess we have to take his word for), and getting the elf lady to cure his disease (Yeti tried to explain to me why that shouldn’t have happened, or something).

After all that’s happened, nobody’s calling him delusional…except maybe that priest he and Mikael met in Greyhawk, and nobody cares what he thinks.

Ezekiel does have some kind of understanding that a God above all other gods would also be over the Evil gods…which is kinda confusing. It doesn’t change my perspective, though, because Good is still obviously superior, since it exists.

After all – just the fact that we can have Good, and some people can be Evil (they’re allowed to be) shows that Good is the better, or the default one. If Ao (or whatever His name is) was Evil, then the whole world would be misery and blackness and those hideous pictures from the Temple.

I had a dream about one of them last night.

Just the fact that beauty and happiness and sunsets exist shows that they must be stronger than the anger and bitterness that oppose them. Winter is allowed a season, but not forever – Good insists on spring, when Ehlonna clothes all the trees and hillsides with life again.

All of which means, I guess, that some Evil is allowed to exist (for some reason)…but I also firmly believe that, if it must exist, it should have the decency to do it on its own plane.

So what we’re doing here is perfectly right and legitimate…not only are we upholding kindness and life and normal-ness (which is the better of the two), but we’re also spanking those perverted human-sacrificers back to the Dark Planes where they belong.

O— Heiron says he thought he heard something, but it’s nothing. He volunteered to patrol while we watch…when he gets older, he’ll learn how I can listen to my surroundings while also focusing on something else.

Anyway…I guess Yeti has to figure out his own path. Ula and Ehlonna might both serve the same Good (the same Good Person???), but they don’t hang out much.

And he’s also right that there are Right ways of doing Good, and Wrong ways of doing good. I think Ezekiel gets side-tracked by this idea of totality, of allowing the Evil gods to punt around – and trying to figure out how to serve Someone nobody else has ever approached before.

Also, none of us are any good at interrogation.

****

Got into Homlette just before sunset. Dropped the prisoner at the tower, and reported our latest findings to Sir Rufus.

Raven says he wants his magic dagger identified if possible (you never know…it might have a deadly magic trap against Good people on it). We’ll also have to get the treasure appraised and divvied up so we can give Yeti his share.

He never talked that much, but it’s sad to think he won’t be with us next time.

Am I also taking him for granted?!

****

Good treasure haul. Sent Heiron to buy us some more arrows (and paid him for the week, since after all he might need to buy something while we’re in town).

Ezekiel asked where he could buy some sheep, then left the inn. What’s he up to now?

****

The roads are still remarkable quiet. Maybe we’re just so loudly dangerous that anyone who might be trouble gives us space.

We returned to second basement of the Temple, via the same route and the same spiral staircase.

The minotaur body had become the home of some gross-looking eggs, so we squished all those. Not excited about dousing and burning all the bodies we make, but short of lugging them out for burial, I’m not sure how we can be any cleaner about our corpses. Cuddles can only eat so much…and he isn’t a dignified final resting place for a human, anyway.

Turns out, I really had noticed a secret door in the hallway by the Air Temple (y’know…the place where we almost died of poison gas thanks Raven). Inside, it was just a tiny L-shaped passage connecting the “sanctuary” with the corridor. Lydia supposes it could be a place to hide during a raid from the other temples…which makes sense given that they’re competing with each other.

… …

Well. Things got more interesting after that.

Wonillon checked the other double-doors in that hallway (the ones to the west), and when we opened them, we found a corridor basically the same width, with the same type of disgusting paintings on the walls, of death and destruction and oppression. The painted clerics organizing all this suffering and debauchery are dressed in green robes with the circle symbol.

The corridor isn’t very long, comparatively, and leads to more double doors covered with bronze bas-relief.

Wonillon checked those, too.

Beyond…so much of the rooms comes from the sensation of being there, that it’s hard to describe.

The floor and walls are azurite malachite stone, and the ceiling is vaulted with buttresses. The air is damp, and there’s a luminosity that doesn’t seem to come from any one place…it just floats in the air, giving everything the same sickly blue-green glow.

In the center of the west wall is a huge bronze plate in bas-relief of various sea life…but it must be all the ugliest of the sea life, with tentacles and fins and teeth, and one central fish-head acting as a fountain (there are 4 stacked basins below to catch the water).

Raven agreed with me that the one relief was that this hideous, fanged fish-head wasn’t the “fishy wave” one from Greyhawk. I suppose that much bronze must be worth something, but we haven’t discussed touching it yet.

A four-foot basin in the center of the room holds some coins, gems, and seashells – covered with a shallow pool of water. I suspect they’re the kind of thing Ezekiel says we should only touch one of.

Across from the doors was some kind of statue or idol, in front of a curtain made from seaweed and water. The idol was at least eight by eight, and…like if several bushels of eels, sea monsters, spiny fish, and other gross creatures had all been poured together and fused against their will into one monstrosity. You can almost pity the things that served as models.

While we were still all taking this in, Ezekiel put his finger to his lips and motioned each of us into position. Then he pushed the seaweed of the curtain aside and stepped through the doorway under the water.

(So we got at least one thing right.)

Beyond the curtain was a twenty-five foot corridor. A door stood on each side, and beyond lay some kind of big room with a huge oval pool (we couldn’t see much from there, but it was lit by cressets. Raven says the pool seemed to be absorbing the light or something, and the floor was blocks of crystal designed to reflect the light in confusing ways).

Heiron and I each took a corner to cover the doors, while Raven and Wonillon listened.

Then Ezekiel made a choice – pointing at everybody to get them where he wanted them – and Wonillon blocked the east door with those “crampons” that seem to work so well.

We didn’t have Yeti, of course, so Wonillon stood up near the door with Ezekiel…while Mikael and Lydia waited behind them to see if their spells were needed. Raven stationed himself at the corner leading into the room with the pool to make sure nothing snuck up on us from there (and he knows enough now to not attack any of the furniture without due preparation).

When Ezekiel opened the door, the first thing we all noticed was the man sitting in a green velvet robe on the couch across from the door.

Everything in the room was green – even the brazier in the center of the floor. Gossamer hangings from the ceiling gave the feeling of an underwater forest…but a haunted forest. Maybe like those paralyzing bubble-animals of death Raven told us all the scary stories about.

The man noticed us about the same time we noticed him, and he put down whatever he was reading and smiled.

“Well, hello, friends,” he said.

Ezekiel said, “Bel-Sornig, I presume.” (High Cleric of the Water Temple…pretty safe guess.)

The cleric smiled some more and said he assumed we were responsible for Cleric Kelno’s death, and that we should talk reasonably with him.

Well, talking is not something we do…but you don’t get good at something by not practicing. I guess that’s what Ezekiel figured, because he said, “Go on.”

Basically, Bel-S said he knew we were after the Greater Temple, and that he could help us against them, and the Fire Temple…but that in return we would leave his temple alone.

Of course, I thought what a precious deal that would be – help him to step into the shoes of the Greater Temple, and backstab us whenever he was ready! That, and of course we’re here to stop all the sacrificing-prisoners-to-demon-gods stuff, not just a majority percentage of it.

I was afraid Ezekiel would ask him to touch the magic mace or something, but instead he said we could accept info – in return for letting Bel-Sornig, personally, leave the Temple and not return.

I wasn’t too keen on that, either (bad guys don’t just retire quietly…they like to plot revenge and stuff), but it didn’t matter since Bel-S didn’t care for that deal, either.

So he put out all our lights.

I had an arrow on the string, covering his major organs…all I had to do was put tension in the string, and release, and I had a chance to hit something. (I had a chance to hit Ezekiel, too, of course, but nothing is fool-proof.)

I heard the arrow hit what sounded like a cushion – and then heard the twang of Heiron’s bow. Neither shot earned us a yelp, so all I could do was fumble in my backpack for a torch.

Why are they always at the bottom?

I heard the shuffle-pad-scrape of Raven’s dancer-like feet, and the doorway glowed for a second (he says he used his ring to case Faery Fire, but it didn’t do any good).

I had glimpsed a doorway off to the side while Ezekiel was talking, and I was torn between the fear that Bel-S would go through it, circle around, and hit us in the flank – and the fear that he would go through it, and just run away.

Maybe all the worrying is why I couldn’t seem to lay hold of a torch, even though I was carrying several.

While I was being useless that way, Lydia threw something and shouted, “Stink!”

Mikael and Raven both told Cuddles to “block the door,” and Ezekiel started banging on his shield, bellowing, “Light, light.”

All that, and I still heard someone moving around inside the room – maybe it was the soft chuckling.

Mikael cast faery fire, and someone huge and bulky started glowing in the doorway.

The someone had Ezekiel’s voice, because he told me to get out of the darkness so I could take a shot.

He must have remembered (though I didn’t at the time) that the pool-room and the fishy room were both lit in various ways – but it wouldn’t really have mattered because when I tried to make my way to the fishy room, I banged right into Heiron and wiped out on the floor.

Of course that is the moment Lydia chose to light her torch. She didn’t wait the three minutes for me to pick myself up…no, she didn’t. She lit her finger and set the torch alight while I was sprawled on the floor and wondering which sword I had fallen on.

On the bright side, I guess nobody noticed because Bel-S appeared, feathered with faery fire and in full plate-mail (probably green, though I didn’t notice).

Lydia summoned Simba – who promptly charged into the room, where her stinking cloud was still giving off sickening vapors.

Heiron stepped over me to take a couple shots (he must have been very excited, though, since he hit the couch) and the others crowded forward to attack. I heard the clang and caught a glimpse of the lightening from Ezekiel’s mace.

By the time I had untangled myself and stood up, Simba was dragging himself back into the hallway, gagging. I found an arrow and launched it, finding a chink between the plates of Bel-S’s armor.

That’s when Bel-S did what he probably should have done from the very beginning – made for the southern door to escape. He didn’t make it, though, as suddenly I heard a heavy clatter, and Wonillon appeared in the room – holding a bloody dagger and grinning from ear to ear.

(So if we wanted to question him more, we missed our chance. Not like he was very – persuadable, anyway.)

After all that noise, it’s no wonder someone had started pounding at the other door – but Wonillon’s wedges held.

Ezekiel got us into position again and threw the door open. Wonillon felt on a roll or something, because he pounced through the opening at once – stunning one of the guys in chainmail there.

Ezekiel took him out, and I took out the other one.

They were both wearing cowled green robes – kind of like Bel-S – but we didn’t really have a chance to notice that until they were dead.

(We’ll never know, of course, if they would have been more cooperative…because they’re dead.)

Ezekiel pointed out that they each had two hammers – so he says they were under-clerics (apparently there’s a cleric spell that involves a hammer as reagent).

That seemed to be everyone in the area…but we sure weren’t letting our guard down.

And we still had to find Cuddles, who seemed to have gone off somewhere.


Find the previous entry here.

Start at the beginning of the second level here.

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Prophecy—Messages vs. Theology vs. Smoke-and-Mirrors

Prophecy—Messages vs. Theology vs. Smoke-and-Mirrors

Whenever people start on a tear about “prophecy has ceased,” I usually dig my heels in.

Not because of any personal, emotional connection. I was born in a semi-liturgical denomination, and grew up in pretty rationalist circles.

No, I never bought the cessationist mantra because of what I see in the Bible.

Then I came across a new presentation of this theological ideology, and I think I’ve gained some perspective. Maybe we’re not so different, you and I, Mr. Apostolic Age.

I mean, I still don’t believe in an “apostolic age”…but I think if we narrowed down some definitions, you’d find I’m not such a flaming heretic as you think. And maybe we’ll both be able to agree over the Scriptures.

Smoke-and-Mirrors

The book is The Ever-Loving Truth, a group Bible-study book by Voddie Baucham, and the chapter in question is Week 4, Day 3 (pp. 104-107).

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

I don’t think that’s what it’s supposed to look like… Image credit: torrilynn@hubpages

The chapter starts by talking about church-attenders who use the “God told me —” or “I’ve really prayed about this, and —” to excuse un-Biblical behavior.

That is baloney sauce, and these Bible teachers are right to call people on it.

(Y’know: “God has given me peace about leaving my wife.” No, He hasn’t.)

It is never okay to divorce your wife for un-Biblical reasons, or to pursue a ministry you are obviously unqualified for (like a woman as pastor), because you “feel at peace” about it or “really feel called.”

That is called “emotions” talking…sometimes called “selfish ambitions” or “evil desires,” and the Bible tells us how to respond to them.

Consider:

If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. (Deut. 13: 1-5)

To take the point and drive it into the ground, if your own heart tempts you and tries to draw you after other gods – sports, money, chocolate, nice vacations, Disney movies – any other god that doesn’t start with J- and end with -esus, then…cut it out and throw it away. (See Mark 9:43-45.)

“It is better to enter life without your heart, than with a functioning aorta to be thrown into hell.”

*another metaphor bites the dust*

God warned us that false teachers and prophets would try to drag us away from Him with lies and dreams and all kinds of false signs. The best way to tell the real ones from the fakes is to live in God’s word.

Messages

Another kind of “prophecy” is just personal, specific, time-sensitive messages.

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: ThisFragileTent

When the prophet in Acts (11:28) warned the church of an up-coming famine…they didn’t brand him as a “charismatic,” they didn’t accuse him of undermining their faith, and they didn’t chant, “The cannon is closed, the cannon is closed.”

They started raising money to send aid to their fellow believers affected by the famine.

This kind of prophecy doesn’t contradict God’s word. God is very serious that, if you say such-and-such in His name, it had better come true…otherwise you better like rock sandwiches.

(Okay, I am only joke – we can’t stone false prophets anymore. At least not dead.)

But you get the point…claiming “God told me —” is super, deadly serious.

And if you say, “God told me to divorce my wife so I can pursue my dreams,” I will be hunting for the nearest stone.

God does not contradict Himself!

Which is why I don’t believe prophecy has ceased. After all, the same God who taught us:

“All Scripture is God-breathed, and useful…” (see 2 Tim. 3:16)

also gave us:

“Some He made apostles, some prophets, some teachers, some pastors…” (see Eph. 4:11-13)

From this I assume two things. 1) That the second passage is still useful for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness. 2) That prophets and teachers are not identical…and therefore prophets are still a thing.

I don’t get it, and I’m not actually comfortable with people standing up in worship services saying, “I have a word –!”

—But I’m not comfortable saying, “God’s word doesn’t apply to us anymore.”

We have to remember the prophet from the days of Judah and Israel, though. (Read 1 Kings 13.)

He went to prophesy against the wicked king of Israel, but God had warned him he shouldn’t stop and eat or drink anything on the way home.

Some other guy (whether he was a real prophet or a self-styled prophet, I don’t know – God knows) came and stopped the first guy and brought him home for a snack.

The second guy told the first guy, “God told me to tell you to come back and eat.”

Now, the first guy should have said: “God told me not to stop and eat, so I’m going to stick with what I know He told me.”

Instead, he had the snack – then Mr. Two told him he was doomed to die on the way home…and sure enough, a lion killed him on the way home.

I’m not exactly sure what the moral of the story is, but, “Don’t take some guy’s word over God’s word” is a pretty safe bet.

Theological Truths

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit living inside us guides us into all truth. Every time we read the Bible, new things jump out at us. In each stage of our lives, God prompts us and prods us to grow in the direction of His choosing.

Not all of us grow in the same directions at the same time. Not all of us are called to minister in the same places, or in the same ways. The same passage of Scripture can say two different things to two different Christians, depending on their own sin struggles, their stage of growth, their mission callings, etc.

Is this “prophecy”? Does this count as “God told me – in such-and-such passage – that I need to apologize to my neighbor”?

According to The Ever-Loving Truth – no. The author there says that this is the work of the Spirit through God’s word, and not actual “revelation,” and therefore not banned under the “prophecy has ceased” mantra.

So what is “prophetical revelation” according to this author?

Apparently it’s a “dream, a vision, a spiritual visitation”…something that claims spiritual authority because of its metaphysical appearance, and so trumps Scripture.

And with that definition, I totally agree with them.

As Paul said:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)

“…even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Cor. 11:14)

There are a lot of silly ideas floating around Christianity. Some of them come from reading too many “Sunday school versions” of the “Bible stories” – and not enough of the actual historical accounts in the Bible.

Some silly ideas come from listening to the culture around us, and not thinking hard about the things they say. A lot of our mental images of angels don’t come from the Bible (bright, terrifying, male) but from the world (pretty, winged, female).

You know – the world Jesus was talking about when He said:

“I have given [my disciples] your word[, Father], and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:14-19)

The Ever-Loving Truth makes the case that God has given us everything we need to know Him and grow in Him.

After all, Jesus is the culmination of all history and prophecy (cp. Heb. 1)…the whole Law of Moses, all the prophets, the setting apart of Israel as God’s chosen people – all of it was a flashing neon arrow pointing at Jesus.

What more could we need?

I’d like to ask that question of the people trying to figure out how election works. Mostly to see the sparks fly, because I’m wicked.

(When I’m done there, I’ll go put the question to the people making timelines for Revelation.)

I’ve never been satisfied with the arguments that, “The cannon is closed; get over it.”

Revelation 22:18-19 is specifically talking about “the words of this prophecy” (and isn’t charting out the time-table kind of adding to the book, eh?).

I don’t see why new revelation would challenge our faith, cause us to doubt, or destroy the church. After all, the New Testament didn’t do any of those things.

It did tear down the top-heavy system of Jewish religion…but only because, with the Perfect Passover Lamb sacrificed, there was no need for all the rest of it. It was complete…fulfilled…

“It is finished.”

If God really had anything more to say, whatever He said would align perfectly with everything that went before, from Genesis to Jude and beyond. It wouldn’t just rhyme…it would harmonize.

He’s awesome like that.

But what more could He possibly add to the cap-stone and cornerstone that is Jesus Christ the God-Man?

How about, “I am Jesus, and I am the way to God. Find this Christian to find out more.”

This is apparently the message to many Muslim people in closed countries, who see Jesus in a dream so they can seek out believers and hear the gospel.

It’s not “the work of the Holy Spirit through God’s word” because they don’t have the word to read… And they’re not Christians yet, so they don’t have His Spirit living inside them to guide and teach them.

I don’t know about you, but when this “prophetic revelation” is driving people to seek Jesus, not “other gods they have not known,” I can but praise God and give thanks for more brothers and sisters saved.

Discernment Required

Prophecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood

Image credit: Pixabay

I don’t think I’ll ever take in stride people standing up in the middle of corporate prayer or something and spouting out a “message” they’ve been given.

Fortunately, God loves us all, and is big enough to take us all in.

As long as we’re matching everything against what God has already said, I can’t say, with my dispensational, cessationist brothers – “Prophecy has ceased, gifts have ceased, get with the program, you heretic.”

And I can call you my brothers as long as we can agree on these key things:

God never lies. He does not change. God cannot prove false to Himself.

Jesus Christ, Son of God – sent by God, crucified for our sins according to the Scriptures, buried, and risen again according to the Scriptures.


This post is approved by my spiritual head.

KimiaProphecy—Messages vs Theology vs Smoke-and-Mirrors — Kimia Wood Wood currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend.

She’s bracing for the collapse of society by knitting, baking, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.

Subscribe to the mailing list for periodic updates on her latest reading and writing adventures! You’ll also receive a FREE e-copy of her post-apocalyptic adventure novella Soldier.