Category Archives: redemption

Saved

28 years ago I was SAVED and am still being SAVED today.

The word SAVED, as in the Christian sense, has been derided, mocked, and even seen as something negative though it is used in the Bible to denote the idea of soul salvation or rescue.

Even I have tempered the word for fear of how it would be received.

Yet, I have been SAVED from a life of drug and alcohol addiction, a future in prison, and/or a premature death. Scores of people around me have been SAVED from the negative and violent interactions of an emotionally abusive man. My grown children were able to become stable professionals and homeowners despite the dysfunction I inflicted on them in their early years.

And, yes, my soul has been saved from eternal separation from God and that is better than a good thing.

Beat the Odds

Hunger Games Meme Odds not in favorThe odds are not in our favor, but I believe we can still beat them.

Never let bad odds ruin your hour, day, week, year, or your lifetime. Despite truly terrible odds, you can reject their tyranny.

Odds and dreams quote purpose

In gambling, the odds are always tilted in favor of the house.

ODDS
ädz/
noun
  1. the ratio between the amounts staked by the parties to a bet, based on the expected probability either way.
    “the bookies are offering odds of 8-1.”
    • The chances or likelihood of something happening or being the case.
      Plural noun: the odds
      the odds are that he is no longer alive.”

      Synonyms: the likelihood is, the probability is, chances are, there’s a good chance

      odds are that he is no longer alive”Dice percent symbol

 

Beating the odds is the message of my next book. Taking Jericho breaks the mold of supernatural fiction and crime stories that I had cast for myself. Jericho is not fiction, yet supernatural events and crime play a colossal part in the story. As a writer more comfortable within fiction and addicted to words, I succumbed to temptation and embellished a little here and there.

Taking Jericho is about overcoming the incredibly poor odds wagered against our lives in an unseen cosmic duel. We war daily against unseen forces on a spiritual battlefront present mostly in the field of our minds and hearts and crossing over with awful regularity into the real world.

Accosted by these overwhelming odds for failure, our desires and dreams seem to stand slim chance of success. Many cower and cringe rather than risk losing. The hope of sheer survival and the desire to make a difference, a dent or even a small scratch in this cold, sometimes cruel and always amazing world melt away in the face of daunting probabilities.

Like the gladiators of old we are slaves to this wager, we have no real choice, fight and possibly win or refuse and die a miserable death. To simply survive the bout is a losing bet, only the victors come out on top. Survivors lose fighters win.

Fighter

Note: the purpose of Taking Jericho is not to make you, or I, feel better about ourselves. Nor, will it give us permission and the justification we need to sit around and bemoan our sad fate while doing nothing.

Wal-Mart and your local Christian paraphernalia store stock hundreds of books that will tell you how great you are, which is true. But odds (there’s that word again – the fortieth time) are, that reading those books will only succeed in scratching your tummy while you roll over, kick your leg at the sky and do nothing.

Humans are built for the struggle; we were created for the fight; it is part of what makes us into who God had in mind when he created us. Perhaps, that is why we find life so difficult.

Can you picture the Master of the Universe reflecting on how much he adores you and me as we stare unblinkingly at the endless proliferation of television shows about how terrible life is?

Pause for a moment. (I’ll wait while you think about it.)

 

 

 

 

I didn’t think so.

Taking Jericho is a story of God. God’s story in me, once the worst neighbor on anybody’s block, a one-time atheist motorcycle outlaw, and the little inner-city church my wife and I founded in the city of Sacramento.

If the G-O-D word just made you spit your coffee, chamomile tea, or beer onto your Nook or Kindle, STOP take a breath and give it a chance. The story—not the spill. I promise not to work overtime trying to convince you of God’s existence and benevolent character, only He can do that. If you don’t care two wits about the God stuff, you still might find something worth your time.

 

At the very least, I know you will enjoy the story.

If I had not lived it, I would hardly believe it was true.

The odds I mentioned a dozen times so far, remember those? Well, they get torpedoed and blown to bits in this story. I said all that to say. It can happen for you. God has a plan and He’s sticking to it.

God knows the numbers before he throws the dice. (That’s a metaphor, don’t get mad).Dice in Gods hand

There is a method to God’s madness, and I do believe he is mad (crazy) for trusting us with as much as he does.

Now if you’re still with me the only other things that might dissuade you could be the words LITTLE and INNER-CITY. Most people, especially in North America, want as little to do with LITTLE as they do with the INNER-CITY.

In the area around the church I founded, lots of yellow police tape gets unwound; within two blocks there have been numerous daylight killings and shootouts.Inner City Police tape

 

 

 

 

People of North America are not interested in things small. Super size me

They want their meals super-sized and their entertainment HUGE.

Panasonic 152 inch Plasma TV

Panasonic 152 inch Plasma TV

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacramento, my city, despite all its history in the building of the United States and its place on the world stage as the capital of California and being a key player on the world scene, remains a cow-town in most people’s eyes.

DowntownSacPano

If you’ve made it this far, I thank you.

The story of Taking Jericho goes from my daring leap from the insanity of a maniacal and dysfunctional life to the craziness of pastoring an inner-city church. The tales of people and how we met them, at the same intersection God happened to be driving through at the time, are endless and often hysterical; sadly and more often there are the tragedies and failures of life without which nothing rings true.

That mountain of bad odds, bad blood, and bad luck that we slog our way through daily is the same mountain we climb to the win we so desperately crave.k2-big mountain dice

If you are waiting for your life to turn problem free, you are on the wrong planet, reading the wrong book and desperately need to wake up from your dream.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I hope you remember to buy Taking Jericho when it comes out hopefully by the end of the year. Subscribe to updates and you’ll be informed just as soon as it does.

Peace,

Mike Matheson

subscribe-blood-btn

M. Matheson

August 8, 2016

hand from ground680x350

If you are reading this, you already know it’s true. M. Matheson has gone from the land of UNDEAD Blogger page (no offense, it served me mediocre-like for years). Thank you, Google, but WordPress is better. I feel like a real… something. Let me pause to celebrate.

WhooHoo!!

WhooHoo!!

While you are here, pour a beverage of your choice, download a free story, read my last post, and Preorder Flatline. If you like anything you see send me a note. If something bugs you and sticks in your craw, do likewise.

WordPress made this chore a snap, my hat (if I wore one) is off in solemn salute.

Thank you, to all my loyal readers and fans. May your life be filled with peace and good things.

M. Matheson

Life Better Lived Dead

Life Better Lived Dead, that’s the tagline of my second novel twisting in the grinder of the editing and revision process. I can’t recall how those words first emerged from the loamy earth, but I immediately liked the taste, smell and sound. That short phrase encapsulated the message of, ‘FLATLINE’.

It’s a crime novel, a fun little read, 90,000 words plus of bullets, blood, splattered brains, and big – make that – HUGE knives slipped from hidden sheaths between the shoulder blades of Goliath-sized cartel soldiers.

Can a book like that have a message to edify one’s soul?

All books and stories have a lesson, moral or message – for someone. I’m a believer. Every book I’ve read had something to say.

Stories, like primeval notes stuffed in bottles, are penned, corked and set adrift upon stormy seas just waiting to land on some foreign shore in the hands of its next reader. This happens by chance and providence alone. Or, how else would they find us? Or, we find them?

Every year for Christmas, Nichole, one of my five daughters, has given me a book. Not a one of those has failed to spark some big shift in my psyche. They arrived exactly on time. She had no idea what was swimming in my soul at the time, and we never discuss books since she is not a big reader. Even our tastes and styles run divergently to one another.

Asked how she picked them, she responded, “Oh, it just looked like something you would like.”

By the same process, ‘Life Better Lived Dead’ came to life. If I were to think on it much longer, I might wonder if it would stir some controversy, but then again, it may drive some people away. Perhaps it was not in the stars for them to read this book.

How do those words strike you? What do you think of me as an author for penning “Life Better Lived Dead?” Does it bring up thoughts of suicide or vampires, or a biblical verse you once read or heard?

Suicide:
Do I think suicide would be a better option than a living breathing above ground existence?
Not on most days, no. This story and that line are not a lead into a discussion on assisted suicide. I have strong thoughts on that, but would rather leave them where they’re at for right now.

Vampires and the Undead:
Am I a vampire or am I promoting the life of the undead as some better option than what most of us have here? Or, on the other side of the same coin, do I have something against the undead or a vampire’s lifestyle?
I’ve enjoyed reading vampire tales, but it doesn’t stir a belief in them. The original Dracula tale might come close, but is definitely more Christian than my story. Dracula was chock full of Christian truths in a metaphorical battle of good against evil.

Looking for the correct words to describe my experience with Dracula, I searched the internet and found Mike Duran’s tremendous blog and comments. His well-worded explanation for what I found during my read of the original Dracula was better than I could have come up with.

“For one, Christianity is portrayed in a positive light throughout Dracula. The protagonists pray, quote Scripture, seek God’s guidance, and ultimately prevail. If Count Dracula is meant to symbolize the devil, then it is clearly Stoker’s intent to show that the evil one is resisted through the power of God. And unlike much contemporary vampire fiction, Christianity is not minimized or mocked. Rather, our heroes display an unabashed reliance upon the God of Scripture and His Son, Jesus Christ.”

“Life Better Lived Dead,” should be better explained…

In my novel ‘Flatline,’ Troy Bittles is retired from decades as an enforcer for the world’s most notorious motorcycle gang. He sees his best years behind him. Life was once a constant flow of blood, bullets, and fists which never stopped flying. But those wild times have slowed to a nonexistent trickle. He and Sam, his Bulldog, go from one day to the next in a snails-paced progression towards the end…

All in one day, Troy moves from bemoaning his flatlined existence to tumbling headlong into a mad dash of crime and murder across two states and three countries. Troy is strong-armed into using his former skills in the killing arts to perform for a mystery organization. These deeds run counter to his newly formed set of values, but his only choice is kill or be killed. The only reason Troy finds to go through with it is one faint sliver of hope that he can redeem himself from an old dark regret that looms over his life.

He pours his life into that purpose rather than keep his life to himself. And, in that sense, his life is better lived dead.

“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” (Matthew 10:39 NLT)

When Jesus said this, there were no churches, so he meant more than church attendance and missions service. What he meant was, if you pour your life into his cause, you will find your life.

Jesus’ cause was people, not necessarily their comfort, but their life.
Our lives scream for a purpose, a cause to throw ourselves into, a cause outside of our own small world. When we chase that cause, it brings us life. Hence, our life is better lived dead.

You could read Flatline, ignore its message, and still enjoy it, but, why the hell would you waste your time like that?

I’m on my second pass of revisions. My next pass is to print it and read it aloud to the cat before turning it over to an editor.
Hopefully, it will be done by the end of 2015.

‘Flatline’ The heroes of this story are NOT the good guys.

My next novel, (which I initially expected to publish in 2015) started as a speculative fiction piece intended to be a short story. But, the characters and events got loose, and I was never able to corral them into the seven or ten thousand words I originally intended. They wanted a crime novel, and I became their galley slave.

Despite its cry for guns, guts, blood and violence, it is a clean and fairly flinch-free read. Flinching as you duck the bullets and brains.

The protagonist, Troy Bittles, is a retired enforcer for an infamous worldwide motorcycle club (gang). In retirement, he has turned his former exploits into fodder for a semi-successful writing career. He lives alone with an aging English Bulldog, Sam.

Life seems good, but the monotony is not all he thought it would be. Stacked against his former action-filled life, as an enforcer amongst outlaws, his current life is a definite flatline. For a while, he finds peace with the life he yearned for, yet one haunting deed he never can shake, the accidental murder of a child, continues to haunt his mind and heart. The hit was never supposed to go down that way. The boy was not expected to be in the house. On law enforcement logs, the child is still listed as missing, likely kidnapped.

While out for a routine walk with his dog, Troy is rat-packed by a group of street thugs. Initially, it seems unplanned although provoked by Troy. A much older outlaw shows up to help. Silas Parker, who in the spectrum of organized gangs, is the polar opposite of Troy’s world. The only thing the two have in common is violence and murder.

Silas’ help comes with a bite, though, as both men are propelled headlong into a series of calamitous events filled with hitmen, murder, drug cartels and runs from the police. Within these developments, Troy sees a dim chance at redemption for the one deed he felt had doomed him to a life of torment.

The story winds its way through California, Arizona, Mexico, Central America, and Brazil. In Recife, Brazil they are killing killers, the death squads preying on children whose only real crime is poverty. The story took a turn I could never have imagined, and redemption for the protagonists remains in sight but just out of reach.

The ending flabbergasted me and made me flinch.

Flatline is a crime novel. A wanton wild tale with a cast of strong, colorful characters that ride with impunity through violent circumstances mostly of their making.

The heroes in this novel are not the good guys.

Look for Flatline’s release by mid-2016.