Book 7: Zoe Pencarrow and The Battle for The Bride – excerpt: Chapter 5: The Unlocked Garden

Zoe Pencarrow and The Battle For The BrideChapter 5: The Unlocked Garden

The serpent seethed and hissed with hatred. The beloved Bride had escaped his clutches yet again. Why did Jesus love her so much? She was revolting, detestable! Couldn’t he see she was so weak and feeble? Why was she the one chosen to rule at Jesus’ side, when he was the real king? He would crush her. Yes, he would. He would humiliate her in front of that so-called king, and then obliterate her from the face of the earth.

The form of the serpent changed. He now looked like a beautiful angel of light. Oh, how easy it would be to seduce her away from Jesus, he thought gleefully.

The golden carriage ground to a halt. Zoe swung open the panelled door, and stepped out. She was surrounded by desert. Not a tree, blade of grass, or a bird was to be seen. It was a wasteland. The two horses pulling the wagon panted in the hot desert sun. Surrounding the carriage were sixty warriors, immaculately dressed, who had escorted Zoe through the desert. Each one had a sword strapped to his side, ready for battle. Zoe looked around at their faces, determined and resolute, as they stood to attention. She felt like a princess being escorted to the king.

In the distance Zoe saw a mountain that rose far above the other surrounding ones. It seemed very important. Somehow it made her think of a lighthouse standing tall above stormy seas. I wonder what is so special about that mountain, she thought. A deep longing welled up inside her heart, to climb the mountain and discover who lived there.

Zoe’s thoughts were interrupted when she heard a commotion coming from the north. The sound of a rushing wind came first, and then she saw the sandstorm rapidly  approaching. She instinctively covered her face with the sleeve of her gown, to prevent the sand from going up her nose, and closed her eyes. The whirlwind was traveling too fast for her to even have time to jump back inside the carriage. Then it struck. Despite Zoe’s efforts to escape it, some of the grit found its way past the clothing that masked her face. She coughed, and shook the sand out of her hair.

Out of the sand and dust cloud a convoy of wagons pulled to a halt. They were similar to the one she rode in, but not as fancy. Where hers was covered in gold and beautifully  painted, the wagons were simple and plain. The horses that pulled the wagons were real enough, but looked haggard and tired. Yet that was not the only difference. Zoe peered at the wagons, and realized they weren’t totally real. They had painted stuck-on facades. Some of the pieces didn’t fit together properly, and were broken and falling apart. They were just poor copies of the real thing. Behind the facades, they all looked the same as though they had been mass-produced by some factory machine. Zoe saw the metal scaffolding holding up the facades. The wagons looked like something from an extremely low budget Hollywood western, where the money had run out part way through constructing the props. She was trying to work out what they were really  supposed to be, when some men jumped off the wagons and walked over to meet her.

“Howdy,” one of them said as he smiled, extending his hand to shake Zoe’s. “It’s ever so nice to meet you, little lady. Lovely day for a ride,” he continued, as he eyed Zoe’s golden  carriage thoughtfully.

“Mind if we take a look?” asked another man, as he strode over to her carriage, before Zoe had time to reply. He wore a striped tie, an immaculately pressed white shirt and a pinstriped suit. He must be the leader, Zoe thought. He’s dressed much more smartly than the rest of the group.

“I guess so,” Zoe replied, thinking it wasn’t really her carriage anyway. She’d just found herself in it.

Zoe was shocked at what happened next. One of the men pulled out a sack from his wagon and methodically handed out tools to the others. The group boldly strode to her carriage and began to dismantle it with their chainsaws, axes, and crowbars. Within moments they had sawed and hacked off huge chunks. Wood and sparks flew in all directions. They quickly dragged the pieces back to their own wagons. Then they set about screwing, bolting, and hammering on the stolen pieces.

Zoe was stunned. She was at a loss for words. She opened her mouth, but no words came out. The same impeccably dressed man came over again and said, “I think we may be in for rain. Do you come to these parts often? It’s mighty nice of you to visit our area. Do you know we run excellent study groups? We proudly boast a success rate of ninety-eight percent for our self-improvement class. You are most welcome to join our little family.”

Zoe still couldn’t think of what to say. The man continued.

“We meet every Tuesday and Thursday for study and fellowship. Sunday is family service at ten, and the youth meet at seven. Mind you,” he said, eyeing Zoe suspiciously, “it can be a bit wild in those evening services. To keep things orderly, we have a team of trained adult supervisors, who are specifically equipped to ensure everything runs smoothly. Now then, what do you say? You look like you could benefit from a nationally  affiliated programme.”

Before Zoe could answer, the stranger added, “Actually, we have just had an outreach, and it was extremely successful. Many young folks especially have come to the Lord. We are just about to have fellowship and teaching time. Come.”

Without being offered the chance to reply, the man in the pinstriped suit gripped Zoe’s shoulder firmly, and led her toward one of the wagons. There was a bustle of activity as chairs and tables were unpacked from the rear of the wagons. Neat orderly rows, with two feet between each table, were set up within minutes. This was a well-rehearsed event! Everybody knew their place and what to do. The womenfolk brewed tea and  coffee over makeshift portable gas burners. Homemade cakes and cookies were being unpacked, and served on white china plates. Starched red chequered tablecloths were unfolded, and placed over the tables. Pretty wildflowers were placed exactly in the center of each table. It was a picture perfect scene.

Everyone took their designated seat and Zoe was ushered to the seat of honor next to one of the ladies. The leader stood up and raised his hands to heaven. The rest of the group followed suit, as he prayed an elaborate prayer full of very long words. Zoe had no idea what he was talking about. Everybody sat down, and another of the elders stood up.

He announced there would be a teaching on spiritual gifts from 1 Corinthians 12 verses 7-10. At the mention of the Bible, Zoe thought this was the first sign of real life she had seen from these people.

The teaching that followed though was long and boring. Zoe fought to stay awake. It was probably the effects of the coffee more than anything else that kept her from nodding off and falling off her chair. At the end of the teaching, Zoe realized something was dreadfully wrong.

“So,” concluded the speaker, “as it says in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 10: ‘when perfection comes, the things that are not complete will end.’ This goes to show spiritual gifts are not for today. They ended with the time of the apostles. Gone, finished, that’s what they are. However, when our loving Lord Jesus Christ appears in the clouds, true spiritual gifts will come with him and be restored. Now let us bow our heads in prayer.”

Zoe wanted to shriek, “Noooooooo that’s not true. Holy Spirit is alive! He still gives his gifts to his children!” What about what the apostle Paul said: “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy,” Zoe thought.

 How can these people talk about Holy Spirit as though he were a thing of the past? Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say to stop seeking his gifts. Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”

 “Anyone who believes” is anyone, not just a small bunch of disciples in the time of the Bible. What a sneaky lie of Satan, to stop people from knowing that God’s Holy Spirit lives in us.  Holy Spirit, working through us, means we can now still do amazing stuff, thought Zoe.

“And to conclude,” the speaker said, speaking slowly in a very strange voice, “love never fails. Love—that is the way we need to go,” he continued, gesturing dramatically. “Lord, lead us into a deeper revelation of your love, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“Amen,” a chorus of voices responded back.

A group of women walked over to Zoe. Their faces looked rather fierce. If this hadn’t been a church meeting, Zoe would have thought she had been called to the principal’s office at school to be told off.

“We have been thinking,” one of the ladies said, without introducing herself, “that dress you are wearing is mighty pretty, but not really appropriate for church. You might lead some of the young men astray wearing a thing like that.”

“Yes,” continued another of the women. She wore her hair scooped up on top of her head, as though she were wearing a beehive. “It’s far too expensive looking. Modesty is what we need in the church. You must behave properly.”

Zoe looked down at her dress. It was the same one she had been given in the courts of heaven.

“Let us deliver you,” said a third woman, with a dramatic wave of her hand.

Without warning, all three women swarmed around Zoe, reached out and roughly hauled the white diamond encrusted dress up over her head, leaving some of it in tatters on the ground. They quickly unwound the white turban, complete with its blue sapphire and golden plate, and stashed it in one of their handbags. Then they yanked a too-tight dress, retrieved from one of their other handbags, back over her head, and tugged it down into place. It was made from some sort of synthetic, shiny material, with a garish pattern of flowers and seeds. The pattern didn’t quite match, as though the machine had been out of alignment when the fabric was printed, causing it to look fuzzy and blurred.

“There my dear. Don’t you look lovely!” said the lady with the beehive hairstyle, approvingly. Zoe looked at her aghast, as a worker bee flew into her hair and disappeared inside her massive locks. The ladies stood admiring Zoe for a few brief seconds, nodding in agreement with each other. Suddenly, they turned around with big smirks on their faces, and marched off, clutching their prize—the remains of Zoe’s beautiful white dress and her turban!


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Book 6: Zoe Pencarrow and The Lion’s Roar – excerpt: Chapter 2: The Road to Damascus

Zoe Pencarrow and The Lion's Roar by Dan RobertsonChapter 2: The Road to Damascus

“I, John, am writing this to the seven churches in Asia province: All the best to you from The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive, and from the Seven Spirits assembled before his throne, and from Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings. Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us, who blood-washed our sins from our lives, Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father, forever—and yes, he’s on his way!”

Zoe had walked for hours. The hot Middle Eastern sun had sapped her strength, and she was thirsty. Many other Christians had also hastily grabbed whatever belongings  they could carry and fled Jerusalem. The wealthier ones, who owned horses and carts, quickly loaded them with whatever possessions they could grab and joined the exodus. Most carts were full of people, though, with no more room on board. Everyone was trying to get away as fast as possible. The time of religious freedom had come to an end. The religious leaders and city fathers were plainly furious and extremely jealous. Things were getting out of hand. Jesus had risen from the grave and the disciples had performed signs and wonders in his name. What if the religious leaders lost control over the people? This ‘Jesus sect’ had really taken off; they were the buzz of the town. Everybody in Jerusalem was talking about them. The religious leaders had decided that it was time to shut them down and demonstrate who was really in control.

Zoe was exhausted. She slumped down on the edge of the road beneath an old olive tree. At least it offers a bit of shade, she thought. Anyway, it will be dark soon. I wonder how cold it gets in these parts.

Zoe had heard that in desert regions it can be scorching during the day and freezing cold at night. She intended to only lie down and snatch a few moments’ rest. Then she could continue and try and find shelter before night fell. But she was so tired. Zoe closed her eyes, and within moments fell fast asleep.

Immediately Zoe was caught up and found herself in a vivid dream. A dashing man sat on a throne in Jerusalem, handing out titles, rewards of huge sums of money, and land. He promised world peace and an end to all war and poverty. It was an awesome offer. The kings, queens, presidents, and world leaders bowed before him, mesmerized by his eloquent words and brilliant strategies. A veil was removed from Zoe’s eyes. Behind the man, Zoe saw a red dragon. It was Satan, the archenemy of God. Satan had given his power and authority to the man on the throne. Zoe saw with the eyes of her spirit what the man really looked like—a hideous monster! His body was like a leopard, his feet like a bear, and his mouth like a lion with ferocious teeth. Zoe then saw a strange creature rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, and ten crowns upon its horns. And written on each head were blasphemous names, each one defying and insulting God. One of his heads seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! All the world marveled at this miracle and followed the Creature in awe. The beast—the leopard, bear, lion-man— had sealed a deal with Israel—a seven-year peace agreement. But the beast was treacherous. Three and a half years after the agreement, he broke his promise. Arrogant, foul, and proud words gushed out of the beast’s mouth—a torrent of filth and lies against God and his precious children.

Then Zoe saw another man dressed in elaborate religious robes standing next to the beast. He had two horns, like a lamb; but he wasn’t a lamb at all! He was a false prophet. When he spoke, he sounded like a dragon—all raspy and violent! But to people who weren’t Christians, his words sounded persuasive and innocent. The false prophet was sweet-talking the world into worshiping the beast, convincing them by performing false signs and wonders. He even set up an image of the beast—televised worldwide so that the beast could be continuously worshipped day and night. Some people, though, were not fooled and refused to worship the beast. The monstrous man with the religious robes and two horns called down fire from heaven, as part of his trickery. This false prophet made out that those who refused to worship the beast were enemies of the free world. The reign of terror got worse. The false prophet ordered everyone to receive the mark of the beast on their forehead, or on their right hand. Without this mark, they couldn’t buy or sell anything and would starve to death. The name and number of the beast was 666. All those that refused the mark of the beast were executed—no mercy was shown. The reign of terror was beyond anything the world had ever seen before. Those who had received the mark of the beast were lost forever. They could never remove it or choose God’s kingdom. It was now too late. Their fate was forever sealed. They would spend all eternity in torment in the fiery lake of burning sulfur in hell.

Still, despite the worldwide reign of terror of the beast, multitudes refused the mark and chose to follow Jesus. The violence escalated beyond anything imaginable or that the world had ever seen. Zoe wanted to look away, but she knew she had to keep watching. Suddenly, when all hope was nearly lost, there was a blinding flash. Jesus returned from heaven, exploding onto the scene. Following their King was his mighty army of men, women, and children, clothed in dazzling white linen robes and riding heavenly white horses. Jesus’ eyes blazed with glory fire and he wore many magnificent crowns on his head. As the two-edged sword exploded out of his mouth, he captured the beast and the false prophet. They were hurled into an everlasting prison of burning sulfur in a fiery lake. Jesus spoke again and at his words the rebellious armies of the world still resisting his lordship were destroyed.

Zoe awoke out of her dream, shaking. Jesus was standing before her, surrounded in radiant glory. A golden menorah, as big as a house, and with seven branches, burned brightly all around him. He had come as the light of revelation to show Zoe something profoundly important. His robe went all the way to his feet, and a golden sash was tied around his chest. His head and hair were pure white, white as wool and white as snow; his eyes blazed like a fiery flame; his feet gleamed like brightly polished bronze, purified to perfection in a furnace; his voice filled the air and sounded like a roaring waterfall. He held seven stars in his right hand, from his mouth darted a sharp double-edged sword, and his face shone a brilliant light, like the blinding sun. Jesus was fearfully and wonderfully awesome!

Unsurprisingly, Zoe could not move. The weight of Jesus’ glory and presence crashed into her like a star, exploding into life. Thankfully, she had already given her life to Jesus. His presence already lived inside of her. If that were not the case, she was sure she would have been instantly vaporized! Even so, Zoe dropped like a stone at Jesus’ feet. No problem, she thought, lucky to be alive!

Jesus placed his right hand on Zoe’s shoulder and tenderly, yet with great authority, said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

“Just as I came to Apostle John, on the island of Patmos, I now come to you. Now is the time that my Bride, the church, will arise and shine like stars in the night sky.”

As Jesus spoke, Holy Spirit pulled Zoe up to her feet. Zoe couldn’t see Holy Spirit, but she knew he was there.

“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

“Each of these seven churches is part of my Bride. My Bride is also a city. For her to be complete and reign with me in eternity, all seven cities must overcome. Every city worldwide has at least one part of my bridal calling in her. This is what I am going to show you. My Bride is also the New Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven when Father creates a new earth. But before this can happen she must walk out her destiny on earth and overcome the evil one.

“Very soon my Father will send me back to earth. Only he knows the time when this will happen. I will come quick as lightning, and my glory and power will fill the skies. Those who have given their lives to me will be snatched up to meet me in the clouds. I will take them back with me to heaven where we will be together, forever. Those who haven’t given their lives to me will be left behind. When I leave with my Bride, Holy Spirit will also depart from the earth. He lives inside my Bride, and when she goes, he goes with her. “The evil ones you saw in the dream, the beast and false prophet, will no longer be held back by my Spirit on earth living inside of my people. Satan will begin his reign of terror through the beast and false prophet. I am telling you this now so that through your testimony you can warn others. This beast will set himself up as my counterfeit: an antichrist pretending to be me. He will say that all religions are the same and lead to God, but he is a liar. Only through asking me to remove his or her sin, can someone have everlasting life. Everything else is just religious activity and can never lead to heaven.

“And the beast? He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

“This will happen very soon, once my Jewish people have rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and start sacrificing and worshiping there every day. The beast, the lawless one, will come and make the temple unclean, setting up his throne there. With the false prophet’s help, he will also set up a one-world religion. Through his propaganda he will promote the idea that all religions lead to God and then declare that he is God. His promises of world peace will be used to manipulate the masses. Those who stand in his way will be put to death.”

Zoe had never heard Jesus speak with such earnestness. He was passionate about his Bride, but he was also resolute about putting an end to the evil one. His beloved earth and people had suffered long enough. Soon the predetermined time set in the heart of the Father would be revealed. Jesus was about to return for his Bride.

Jesus bent down and plucked a weed that was growing up between two flowers. “Satan has sown his evil into the hearts of men since Father created Adam and Eve in the garden. It is nearly time for the weeds and the flowers to be gathered up as the time of harvesting draws near. This coming time of great persecution is actually a time of grace. Those who have never heard of my message or whose hearts have been too hard or preoccupied with the world will have to decide whether to worship the antichrist or me. As awful as it will be, they will be forced to choose. The choice they make will last for all eternity. I always give every single person many opportunities to choose me. The heart that truly seeks to find me will. No one will perish without making their choice. Those who choose me, in the time after all the Christians have left the earth, will go through a three and a half year period of tribulation, but I will return for them and deliver them. They will be rescued and go to heaven!

“On your adventures you have learnt to recognize the gifts and callings in people. It is the same with a city—just on a larger scale. When the demonic rules, evil flows in. When my Bride has taken the city through prayer and holy living, then my Kingdom breaks in and my blessings flow. Now your journey is to help prepare my bridal cities to become what they are meant to be. Seven cities existed in Apostle John’s time. You have read what he wrote about them, in the Bible book called Revelation. These cities are now in modern day Turkey. The same seven giftings, callings, and strongholds are still found in these cities today.”

Zoe looked up at Jesus. He had said so much and yet he trusted her. More importantly, she knew he was to be trusted. If this was how things would be then that must be his best. Yes, she would willingly do whatever he asked of her. There was no greater honor than to serve him wholeheartedly, and others depended on her. She would be his messenger.

“There will be much joy, and many will be set free in the coming battles. You will not be alone.”

Jesus handed Zoe a flower. It was a daisy, so simple and beautiful, with its yellow center and shiny white petals. She smiled and looked up to thank him, but he had vanished…

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Book 3: Zoe Pencarrow and The Falling Star – excerpt: The Golden Tower

Zoe Pencarrow and The Falling Star by Dan Robertson Chapter 6: The Golden Tower

Zoe sat hunched up inside her bubble. It wasn’t exactly
uncomfortable, just rather round. She pressed against
it with her feet and felt it move like springy rubber. She
didn’t want to push too hard in case it burst and she fell
into the sea! It looked a long way down. The bubble drifted inland over a vast sunbaked plain. Zoe could see villages that dotted the plain wherever there was water. She made out what must have been wells that the villages and houses were built around. Sheep and goats were being herded by the villagers. But what struck her most was the harshness of the environment, so bleak, so dry. Even the houses looked poor compared to the lavishness of Nineveh.

The desert winds carried the bubble and its precious cargo deeper over the heartland of the plain. In the distance stood a tower. It was the tallest tower she had ever seen—
more like a skyscraper. Its foundations were massive. Layer upon layer of brick formed the thick ramparts. Six levels rose toward the heavens. The tower’s size and beauty made her shake. It was breathtaking, and yet at the same time, it felt very evil. Thousands of workers clambered over the structure like busy ants as they rushed to finish building it.

The bubble slowly descended toward the tower like a hot air balloon. No one saw her land. As it touched the ground, it popped, and she effortlessly stepped out and onto the ground. Someone then noticed her and thrust a heavy blue glazed tile into her hand. Zoe was shoved roughly toward the massive tower entrance.

“Take this to level one,” the man instructed her harshly.

He looked worn and haggard as though he hadn’t eaten properly in years. Zoe looked at the ornate door. It was decked in the same blue tiles she was carrying, covered with patterns of white and gold flowers. How can something so beautiful feel so evil? she thought. With nowhere else to go Zoe joined the line of people walking up the ramp to the open doorway. From their clothing it looked as though the people must have been from every known country. They ranged from the very young to the very old. Some could barely have been twelve years old. All carried bricks and tiles that were far too heavy for them.

The door was even more massive and impressive up close. It was lined with gold and precious stones of turquoise, emeralds, and rubies. The people were oblivious to its beauty, and their heads were downcast. They needed all their strength just to walk up the ramp to carry heavy loads. Stepping through the doorway was like walking into the
most luxurious chamber imaginable. It appeared even larger on the inside, larger than any church or railway station you had ever been in. The walls were lined entirely with gold, and the whole place glowed with its radiance. Overhead, the turquoise blue tiles formed an intricate pattern framing the open vault many hundreds of feet above. This was a place of opulent beauty and awesome power.

Directly opposite the entrance stood a throne, high and imposing, set on a great pedestal. Above the throne was a canopy supported by six pillars of gold. The canopy was an amazing lapis blue color and contained many hundreds of stars that twinkled and shone. Zoe couldn’t tell if the stars were just lights or real ones—they looked so beautiful. Six wide steps covered in gold, each two feet deep, led to the throne. On either side of the six steps sat a statue of a menacing lion guarding the throne. A woman sat upon the throne, staring back at Zoe. Slowly the woman raised her hand and pointed straight at Zoe.

“I have been waiting for you,” the soothing voice said. “Come forward, little one.”

Hesitantly, Zoe edged closer to the woman on the throne, feeling dwarfed as she stood before her.

“Come closer,” the woman commanded.

Tentatively, Zoe walked up the first step. The lions’ heads moved. They weren’t statues at all but alive. Their red eyes followed her as she climbed the stairs. She could see their breath coming out of their half-open mouths. They sat panting, silently watching her. Zoe’s legs began to shake, and she thought that she was going to fall over. She had been in the presence of the Lord before, and knew what it was like to be overcome by his glory and majesty. This was somehow different. Despite all the glory and splendor there was in this place, there was something terribly wrong. The woman on the throne was dressed in luxurious clothes made of the finest silk in purple and scarlet. Elaborate starry patterns had been stitched in rich clusters across her gown. Along with embroidered moons, they shimmered and glittered as she moved. Even the woman’s skin seemed to glisten with a golden hue. Precious stones, jewels, and pearls were also fastened to her robes and crown. She was stunningly beautiful. Her gaze was regal, and even though she was seated on her throne, Zoe could tell that she was very tall. The woman looked perfect. She held a golden cup shaped like a star in her hand.

“I am the queen of the whole world and rule over all,” the woman announced matter-of-factly, as though she were giving a lesson to schoolchildren. “Don’t look so frightened,
little one. Yes, I am the Bride. God has called me to have dominion over the world and rule on his behalf.”

Zoe had been wondering, Can this be the Lord’s precious Bride that I saw before? So perfect, so flawless. Can this woman read my thoughts?

“Be seated,” the queen said calmingly. “You must be very tired after your long journey.”

One of the many officials dressed in a purple robe with a gold sash hurriedly placed an elaborately carved wooden chair inlaid with ivory next to the queen. Not knowing what
else to do, Zoe tentatively walked up the remaining steps and sat down next to the queen. The lions turned their immense heads as she walked past, watching her every step with their glowing red eyes.

“My kingdom extends from shore to shore and stretches to every continent.”

Majestically the queen waved her hand and the floor below lit up, revealing a map of the world. Every country and nation was present.

“All adore me and want to partake of my wealth and wisdom. That is why they bring tribute to me: so that I can make them rich and wise.”

The queen leaned forward toward Zoe.

“I am the one who has access to the Most High God. I am the one who talks to him on behalf of his people. I am the one who can make you like him, to make you like God himself. With me by your side you can ascend to heaven.”

Her voice grew in power. “‘I’ll climb to heaven. I’ll set my throne over the stars of God. I’ll run the assembly of angels that meets on sacred Mount Zaphon. I’ll climb to the top of the clouds… I’m about to take over as Queen of the universe. Come, all you have to do is bow down, and I will give you riches and splendor beyond your wildest dreams. Together with me you will rule over the world.”

The hair on Zoe’s neck stood up. She wanted to scream and run from the room! Her mind was awash with thoughts. Sure, God had promised to everyone who believed in him that he would come and live inside them so they would become like him. She knew that all power and authority had been given to mankind in the beginning, back in the garden. They were to rule over his Creation on his behalf. But because they had disobeyed God, and eaten the forbidden fruit, they had lost their authority, and everything had been given over to the devil. She knew that Jesus had come to restore all that had been stolen by the devil’s lie. Jesus longed for the day to come when he would bring back his family to the Father. Jesus was reclaiming his Bride and restoring her to rule alongside him. Yet something was terribly wrong here.

That was it! The Bride, his Bride—all had access to him. It wasn’t about a system, a priesthood, a person standing on behalf of others, but each person making his choice and having a direct hotline to God.

“Whom do you serve?” asked Zoe, rising from her seat.

“Why, ‘the Maker of heaven and earth,’” replied the queen quoting from the Bible. She paused for just a moment as though weighing her words carefully, and then continued,
“‘…but the earth he has given to mankind.’”

Hmm, thought Zoe. I know the Bible says that . . . but she’s only choosing the part that suits her. I know the bit before it: “The highest heavens belong to the Lord…”

“And who is the Maker of heaven and earth?” Zoe probed deeper, feeling a wave of righteous anger rise up inside of her.

“The lord God, of course, who is forever to be praised.”

“What is his name?” demanded Zoe with such authority that she even surprised herself. She remembered: “Here’s how you test for the genuine Spirit of God. Everyone who
confesses openly his faith in Jesus Christ—the Son of God, who came as an actual flesh-and-blood person—comes from God and belongs to God. And everyone who refuses to confess faith in Jesus has nothing in common with God.”

“God, of course,” the woman stammered, “just God. It’s simple really and he has appointed me to …”

Gripped by the power of the Lord, Zoe stepped toward the now shaking woman, raised her right hand, and shouted, “You are not of the Lord!” She turned and ran down the steps as fast as she could. The lions had started advancing up the steps toward her, but when she proclaimed the truth, they parted before her like melting butter.

Zoe ran with all her might. Her feet barely touched the floor as she bolted for the door. But it was closed tight— there was no way out, or was there? Officials were scurrying in all directions, obviously in a state of confusion. Some were running toward her and some away. The lions seemed to have recovered and were bounding straight for her.

Jesus, she cried silently in her heart, help! You said that you’d always provide a way out and that you’d never abandon me. Where are you now?

“Down!” she heard. The voice was clear and sweet like honey on a warm spring day.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Zoe slammed herself down on the floor.

“I worship you and you alone Jesus. You are the one who has saved me. You are the one who has made it possible for me to come to the Father. You are the one who died for me and rose from the grave on the third day. You are the one who has set me free from sin and death to live in your presence forever.”

Zoe could hear the snarl of the lions approaching. She closed her eyes and proclaimed, “‘My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouth of the lions!’”

Silence fell….

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Book 1: Zoe Pencarrow and The River of Life – excerpt: Chapter 4 The Father’s Favorite Story

Zoe Pencarrow and The River of Life by Dan RobertsonDid God really say…..?

Perhaps the biggest lie of the enemy comes wrapped up in the Devil’s opening line, in Genesis 3:1: “Did God really say….?”  How many of us have found ourselves overstepping God’s guidelines at various times of our lives, simply because we allowed ourselves to gradually slide along a continuum, away from God’s clear directives, to accommodate our own desires?

In this taster from Zoe Pencarrow and The River of Life, Zoe and her friend the Eagle are tucked up in the heavenly Library, reading a Book that will have a dramatic impact on Zoe’s life, as it helps her realise how seemingly insignificant decisions can have devastating impacts.

Despite its great height the room was warm and inviting. The ceiling was dark blue and tiny pinpoints of light sparkled from it like stars on a summer’s night. She started to get giddy looking up at the starry lights when she heard the reassuring voice of the eagle coming from near the fireplace.

“Sit down here,” he said as he motioned with his wing towards the chair nearest the fireplace.

Zoe sat herself down in the oversized armchair as the eagle pulled a book off the shelf and began to read from it.

“In the beginning there was no earth as it had not yet been made.”

She peered over the eagle’s shoulder at the book and saw a blank page next to the page the eagle was reading from.

“Why has that page got nothing on it?” she inquired.

The eagle just looked at her, and Zoe realized that if she kept interrupting it would take a very long time to find out the answer. Better to just let the eagle continue, she thought. She picked up the nearest cushion and hugged it tight. She loved stories, especially ones about adventures. She somehow knew this story was going to be the most important story she had ever heard.

“In the beginning,” the eagle began again, clearing his throat, “in the beginning there was no earth as it had not yet been made. Father God was very happy with his family, his Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit. But even though everything was perfect, they wanted to share their happiness. So Father had a wonderful idea. He would create a Bride for his Son; a beautiful Bride to be part of their family.”

The eagle paused and looked very thoughtful as he handed the book to Zoe. “You read it now,” he said. Still clutching the cushion, Zoe took the book, which—despite its size—was as light as a feather. She was so tempted to turn to the end and find out exactly what was going to happen. Zoe was the kind of girl who knew what everyone was going to get for Christmas and what was inside all the Christmas presents before they were even opened. This time though she just knew that it wasn’t right to turn to the end.

As Zoe took the book, she noticed the cover was very old and worn. Pressed into the leather cover was an embossed picture of a large and very beautiful tree. The tree was covered in fresh green leaves and delicious fruit that looked so real and tasty that you wanted to try some immediately. She was just about to open the book when she saw what looked like a crack in the leather right in the middle of the tree trunk.

Unexpectedly the wood on the fire gave a “crack,” and the fire cast a reddish glow over the book. For a moment Zoe thought that the tree looked like it was bleeding; then the fire flickered again, and the deep split in the tree looked golden. It was as if the tree was weeping a dark golden glowing resin that was somehow very painful and yet very precious. She felt the eagle’s eyes fixed upon her. As she glanced up she noticed again the golden scar on the eagle’s back. Both the eagle’s scar and the wound in the tree looked very similar.

Still wondering what this could mean, Zoe noticed the eagle nodding to her that it was time to open the book. As she opened it, the fire gave off another “crack,” and she nearly dropped it. The book was written in green ink. Next to the story were intricate pictures painted in beautiful colors.

There were birds, and animals, stars and planets, maps, and lots of people. The story was written in a language she had never seen before, yet Zoe knew that as soon as she started reading she would somehow know what it meant.

“In the beginning,” she read, “there was love.” She liked this story very much already. “Love was with the Father, his beloved Son, and his precious Holy Spirit. They all loved each other very much, and there was perfect harmony. The loving Father said to Jesus his Son, “I want to give you a Bride to share our creation with: someone special, made just for you. But because I love you so much I am not going to give you just one person but many, many people who will come from all different tribes and nations. Just one person would not be enough for you because your love is so great. But together with all of these people you can share your kindness and goodness forever and ever. And this Bride will love you back not because she has to but because she wants to.”

Zoe could see what looked like a dark cloud lined with gold that looked like molten lava. It was hovering back and forth over some sort of night sky, which is really kind of strange as most pictures in books don’t move as you look at them! But this one did. The hovering cloud reminded her of a bumblebee buzzing back and forth as it went to and fro between flowers. Zoe instinctively knew that this moving radiant light was Holy Spirit; the third person of the God Club. Everywhere the light touched, darkness became light until the whole page was aglow.

Zoe could see Jesus speaking and where his words went, continents began to form. At the same time as the Father spoke, his words were like hands, pressing and pushing the earth, like a potter shaping a piece of clay. Giant ridges that became mountains rose up. Holy Spirit then began to cry and whirl around dancing. But these were not tears of sadness but of joy. The tears fell like gentle rain on the earth and where they landed lakes, rivers, and oceans were formed.

This is amazing, thought Zoe.

Jesus continued to speak. His words flowed out of him like a river and became a song. Wherever his song touched the land, it sank into it like seeds into fertile soil. Before her eyes plants and then birds and animals grew up out of the ground. Stars and planets overhead burst into life as the Father, too, danced, clapped, and sang for joy.

Zoe then saw the Father hunched over and crouching on the ground as though he had a bad stomach ache. There was a stillness and expectancy in the air. All eyes and ears were turned towards the Father; watching, waiting. It was like he was baking the most amazing cake and everyone wanted to see what kind it was. Slowly the Father stood up and stepped back. In the ground was a hollow. The Father had pressed the exact shape of his body into it. He had then taken some earth and lovingly pressed it into the mold. The Father stepped back as Jesus lay down on the mold. He opened his mouth and blew into the still form. A cloud of gold flowed out of Jesus’s mouth. It was like when Holy Spirit was creating the earth and the sky. The cloud covered the still form like toffee over a caramel apple. Jesus then stood up and stepped back.

The form sneezed, stretched, yawned and then sat up. A man looked around. As his eyes focused on the paradise he found himself in, he smiled. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit watched the man with great contentment. It was almost impossible for them to remain quiet as they were so excited.

The man got up and walked around. The smile on his face slowly faded. The Father said, “He is lonely; it’s time he had a friend just like himself—yet different.”

Suddenly Zoe found herself inside the story book, in the garden, standing next to the man. The man looked at her shyly and smiled. At that moment Zoe knew that they would be great friends. Before she had time to introduce herself the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit stepped out from behind a tree. 

The Father said, “You can eat from any plant or fruit from this garden, except that one over there.”

Zoe turned to look at where he was pointing. It had exceptionally juicy looking fruit with beautiful flowers. She was just about to ask, “Why not?” when all three disappeared and left her alone with the man.

Well, the days and weeks that followed were times of great adventure and excitement. The man’s name was Adam because that name meant “red” like the earth. Every day they would go off exploring and discovering new things in the garden. One day as they were playing hide and seek, Zoe found herself at the foot of an unusually tall tree. It was the same tree she had seen many weeks ago that someone had said something about not eating or something like that. As she looked at the tree, it looked very beautiful and the fruit seemed so ripe and delicious. Zoe stared at the fruit and the more she did, the more hungry she became.

I wonder why the Father said not to eat it, she thought. He has always been so kind to me and has only wanted me to have good things. Surely he would want me to have this fruit too. It’s bound to have lots of vitamins and be very healthy for me. What he probably really meant was not to eat too much at once so I don’t get a tummy ache. Yes, I’m sure that’s what he meant.

 The more Zoe thought about it and looked at the fruit the more she convinced herself that was really what the Father meant. She reached out to take the fruit, it looked so good. Zoe’s heart was pounding and yet at the back of her mind she knew that what she was doing was wrong. Crunch, she bit into the delicious fruit. It tasted every bit as good as it looked.

Just then Adam burst onto the scene. “Found you,” he shouted. Zoe was caught in the act with the fruit still in her hand, its juice dripping down her arms.

“Isn’t that the fruit the Father said not to eat?” Adam stammered.

“Yes, but it is so tasty,” she replied sheepishly, offering Adam the remaining piece to taste.

Adam looked at her, then at the fruit. He too wanted to taste it for himself. He also didn’t want to disappoint Zoe. He took a deep bite into it.

Suddenly Zoe began to feel sick. It wasn’t the kind of sickness that you pretend to have when you don’t want to go to school. She felt sick all over. Her chest felt all tight, her head hurt, and she became dizzy. But worst of all the sick feeling was inside her; inside her heart. She knew that she had done something dreadfully wrong. Nothing she could ever do would be able to remove the deep feeling of guilt she now felt.

“Oh my,” she said, “I hope that fruit wasn’t rotten.” Everything started to spin around and around before her eyes. The ground looked like a giant whirlpool that spun faster and faster. Everything became a blur—then all went quiet.

Buy the book HERE!  

OR get the Kindle version HERE!

Want to get insights into the way the Word of God can transform your life, news of fresh resources as these become available, and the chance to be the first to peek inside the books?  Then sign up to be one of Zoe Pencarrow’s  Friends & Champions HERE

Zoe Pencarrow and The Battle For The Bride

Zoe Pencarrow and The Battle For The BrideWow! Doesn’t this look awesome! So thrilled with the way Xulon’s graphic designers have captured the essence of the final book in the Zoe Pencarrow series.

Buy it direct from Xulon to show support for great Christian books (just click on the book you want, in this website’s header, and follow the Buy it here! link on each page.)

And for those who love travelling paperless, stocks all the Zoe Pencarrow books on Kindle. Great for Christmas presents for the teenagers or adults in your life, and no need to queue at the Post Office!