The Author and Finisher

Years ago, when I was struggling against self-sabotaging fears about the worth of my writing and my ability to finish a novel, I labored in prayer. I did not wish to spend a large percentage of my life writing unless it was God’s will. I wasn’t asking for a best seller or even a certain number of five-star reviews to corroborate His will. I simply went direct, as I have for many things which have borne out for me. So it was that I found some rock-solid motivation for writing fiction in God’s will. Sounds pretty pretentious to think one can hear from God on specific matters, I suppose, when you have grown up on the bland diet most churches provide. They teach that God’s will is the ten commandments and maybe the two that Jesus gave on loving God and each other. And these are God’s will, but God’s will is also that we rejoice in His grace, that we walk by faith not sight and stop consulting with what we see, feel, and hear as our primary source of peace and belief. God also has a specific will for each of us, and it can be discerned. (See John 16:13, Jer 29:11, Jn 10:27; the many examples of Paul in the book of Acts including Acts 18:9-11) Oh, that’s just for Paul, he was special. Oh no. not true. But many of us have been unable to hear from God because we trust what our senses have been telling us and not the Word.

In a moment when reading His word as the logos became reading it as rhema specific to me, I understood the verse in Heb 12:1-2 to be adaptable to my situation:

“And let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” (NKJV)

The words rang through my mind, as the Holy Spirit spoke to me about my writing: Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of my books! I may be the author but what I write are the books He’s shown me to write from start to finish. It’s my job to keep consulting with Him. I have many ideas on what to write. I don’t suffer from writer’s block. However, I know I must write only what He has shown me to write. As the process of writing this book brought me to this place of hearing from Him, I prayed this scripture over my novels. The Lord led me triumphantly through numerous revisions to publication.

If you think about it, IF Jesus is the author and finisher of one’s faith, that means he is involved in every detail of our living it out. And since one of those details for me entails writing novels, then it can be reverently and respectfully applied to writing my novels, too. The play on words is absolutely wonderful, since author is so very applicable to the writing of a book.

You can do this with any activity the Lord has called you to, and I highly recommend it. Find a scripture or scriptures that apply with modern relevance to the work, pray them over your work as you are doing it, and it will give strength to your endeavor. I wonder what scriptures Paul would have chosen as he sat side by side with Priscilla and Aquila, making tents while staying in Corinth? I am not a betting woman, but if I were to bet, I would wager there were a few that the beloved apostle would have used, when he wasn’t writing the books of the new testament in his head, of course.

My verse is not a formula, some mantra I began to say before and after every writing session. It is far more. It is a meditation of the heart. And as I meditated on its truth while writing, the voice of God spoke to me through it. He showed me how to write, led me to resources I could learn from, directed my time as I allowed Him to.

Nor is my verse meant to imply that my books have the validity of scripture, with me as the amanuensis and Jesus dictating them. No no. In the same sense that He is the author and finisher of our faith, and the working out of it, so is He for my novels. Neither my walk nor my books are perfect, but He will make them beautiful, and He will use them. I have faith in this! Not in the books or in the other things I do as I am led to. It’s the same use of the scripture, applied specifically.

Gathering it firmly in my mind the truth that Jesus is the author and finisher of my novels helped me to rest in His guiding hand over my writing sessions. I could create with joy, in a rich flow of His Spirit. As the revisions mounted in number, so did I place my faith on the great Finisher to guide me on putting the finishing touches upon the story. Meditating and adopting this verse lets me rest in His timing for my books to find their way to the people who need them.

I haven’t met a lot of Christian authors who have adopted scriptures as a lifeline for their writing. Then again, I haven’t met a lot of Christian novelists with anything of substance who have placed their writing on the altar of God’s will, either. For this field, just as any other dubbed “christian”, including most churches, is a vast wasteland of those seeking first not the kingdom of God but the top marketing niches and numerous high ratings. They have not even considered whether their books are a heart’s direction derived from hours in the throne room of grace. They remind me of a line in one of Becky Wade’s novels Stay With Me, “But just like a set of keys you can’t find right when it’s most urgent that you locate them, she’d misplaced God somehow.”

There have been exceptions which I’ve come across; I’m sure there are others. Some started out that way and waned, others discovered God could be the Lord of their writing along the way. There is always redemption available. I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for awards and feedback and all the accoutrements of developing one’s field of influence. It’s just that for the Christian, above all else come the springs of grace from within the heart of the novelist, flowing through the novel itself. “For ye shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind…” The knowledge of God that only comes with time in His presence and the Word.

The DayWolfe Imprint

“What’s in a name?” asked Juliet, pondering sadly how her beloved Romeo’s family name was so at odds with her own. I can relate to this dilemma. Born under the name Wolfe became a source of mixed feelings as I got older.

Wolfe – my maiden name – created several controversies for me growing up. But, if given the choice of a pet between other wild animals, such as the lion or the bear (David’s foes), I’d choose the wolf. Loyal mates and marvelous parents, wolves are characterized by the personality of their pack. Numerous studies of wolves have been completed at Yellowstone National Park, as part of conservation efforts to preserve them. These have revealed that only rogue wolves kill for the sake of killing. Nor are they ravenous when the ecosystem supports their feeding. Known for skilled team effort in hunting, the eat as a team, too, sharing the spoil with all the pack, not just those who hunted but also those who watched the den and the cubs. Their social structure is complex, elegant and defined. An alpha wolf will take a mate, who usually becomes the beta wolf, but if the alpha dies, the beta will often take over as alpha. This is only one example of the many complex, sensible structures of wolf society that makes them both loving and strong. When it comes to their families, wolves are very self-sacrificing, and both father or mother wolf are known to fast rather than let their cubs go hungry. Wolves have been known to adopt abandoned baby animals of other species, nurse them and raise them. Lone wolves are in fact very rare and will usually be absorbed by a pack eventually. Like people, wolves would rather not be alone. Meanwhile, let’s not forget that some dog breeds are descended from wolves, and we all know dogs are cool, right?

And yet, the bible has little if anything good to say about the wolf, or the dog, for that matter. It’s not like wolves are singled out for slander – snakes get a very bad rap as well. Lions are often characterized as ravenous, cruel and heartless. I think most of us know that these references are meant to be symbolic. One giveaway of this is the way that lions have another identity, being a symbol of holy boldness and even of the Lord Himself, the Lion of Judah!

Hollywood hasn’t done much better by the wolf. From werewolves to the series, Raised by Wolves, there just hasn’t been much good said about them. Though I did like the werewolves in Twilight. They were different, just as the vampires are in that series. But that’s another article. I have to say the giant wolves that come and pick people up for a ride to Great Wolf Lodge make quite a wonderful commercial, as well. But I’m not holding out great hopes for an improvement of the wolf’s image.

I suppose it could have been worse. I could have been named Rattler or Viper. Nothing is more identified with the satan than a snake. And yet, I have had friends with pet snakes, and while I personally wouldn’t want one, I appreciate that they are one of God’s creatures. It’s not their fault that this was the form the devil decided to take, and to a degree Jesus redeemed them when he told us to be wise as serpents.

The most important issue with my name growing up, however, was that it is Jewish. I never dreamed this would be an issue. I grew up around my Christian relatives more than my Jewish ones; so I was surprised when anti-semitism reared its ugly head toward and around me. Writing in the 1920s, Agatha Christie wrote of one of her characters who turned out to be the hero of the story, yet who had a definitively Jewish last name, that he was of “unfortunate ancestry”. I’m almost ashamed to disclose this but I think it really needs to be said that as a female, being a “Wolfe” was sometimes misconstrued by hopeful teenage boys. It was not always fun to be a wolfe on the playground. I mean, give me a break! What a bunch of heathens. And can I add that it was even a problem in bible school. But that was long ago, before the awakening to our Judaic roots among Christian circles.

So how to own the name Wolfe as a Christian? While my last name is now Read, I refuse to leave the name Wolfe behind. Like many Jews under Hitler’s regime, I refuse to bow to unclean prejudice and hide my identity. I am a Wolfe. In fact it’s precious to me, because it’s really a beautiful name when I think of all it symbolizes. It’s the name my friends used when they dubbed me “Wolfie”. And it’s the name my father bore, the man I have loved more than almost any other in this world.

Enter the imprint DayWolfe. In case you are not familiar with it, the reference “day” comes from I Thess 5 which says that we are not children of the darkness or the night, but of the day, the light. A Day Wolfe speaks of one who has been redeemed, it speaks of a God-given identity in Christ. And it speaks of my Judaism. It carries the connotations of loyalty and fealty, kindness and compassion, teamwork and passion demonstrated by wolves toward their fellow wolves, with few exceptions. All qualities of the Holy Spirit, by the way. And in a way, it is a constant reminder to choose to walk and to write in the Holy Spirit’s light which indwells me. In Christ, I am indeed a Day Wolfe. Nice to meet you.

The DayWolfe logo was created by Danyelle Wolfe Read and has been and is protected by copyright since 2019.

Holiness and the Prophetic In The New Covenant

The concept of holiness is actually a cluster of meanings. Its primary concept is “the other”, or “otherness”. This is meant to lead us to understand the Creator’s glory and nature cannot be humanly manufactured or earned. The fundamental understanding of holiness is that His ways are not our ways! Yet in knowing Him, we also know that He IS love, He brings peace, He is surrounded by glory, and so forth. In the idea of holiness, therefore, we also have all of who He is that we can appropriate as His children. Receive it and be holy yourself! If you do, you’ll find yourself walking in His ways. If you seek His face and His ways, you will hear from Him. This function of communicating with us is accomplished by His Holy Spirit.

As we are “filled” with the Holy Spirit, which is to say allowing Him to take the reins of our lives to the degree that we experience His infilling, we will be able to hear from Him. This last function of His Holy Spirit will grow in us. There is no replacement for time in many areas of our growth including this one. Hearing from God may come very early in our walk, but it takes time to understand His ways and know when and where and how to apply them.

Seasoned spirit-filled Christians usually make this process look seamlessly easy. We are at rest in Him so we tend not to stress. Those less seasoned may bring more drama to the process. That’s ok, because it’s still new to them. We who have walked in the Spirit for many years will walk with greater and greater ease, but with no less awe and thankfulness.

It never gets old to see the Holy Spirit work miraculously, even when it is one’s daily and hourly experience. So don’t be deceived by the seeming ease of a saint of God. Don’t confuse the natural for the supernatural. The supernatural is still operating right out in the open for you to see in their lives when you have eyes to see it.  And the eyes to see it are developed and brought into focus by functioning in it oneself. This is what is meant by the scripture “the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets.” Yet reading the stories about the prophets, Elisha for example, will reveal how it takes time to grow and develop. Elisha became the head of the school of the prophets of his day, and when it was time for Elijah to depart, his more advanced disciples knew of it. But they still hadn’t gotten the whole story the way Elisha had. Thus Elisha instructed them to be still and watch (get behind me).

Insight and revelation are sometimes learned during dire circumstances when all that is natural fails us. This is one of the reasons why you will hear preachers who do not know better preach that we “need” adversity. However, it’s also possible to focus on God’s will even when times are good, to learn all that is needed this way. And in fact, the seasoned lover of God and believer in Christ will normally always do so, no longer being deceived by natural circumstances but rather flowing with the Holy Spirit. (The Holy Spirit doesn’t lead us into the valley, we walk there all by our little old selves.)

Walking by the Spirit, God repeatedly promises He will make all natural things work together for our good and that we will prosper and be in health. Yet there is a balance because to flow with the Holy Spirit requires putting God’s Will ahead of our own. So our focus must remain on His will despite all the wonderful “things” (love, joy, peace in ourselves and in our relationships, provision, health and healing) being added to us. This beautiful interchange is best described by the relationship of marriage, with each partner putting the other first (The song of solomon is one expression of this). Except in this case your “partner” is God. I’d say that’s a little bit unequal, wouldn’t you? And yet He calls us His beloved and His bride, making us righteous, giving us all the benefits of being His which Jesus has. (the book of Ephesians talks a lot about this.)

 So don’t be deceived just because a believer’s life looks great and because they have all their needs met abundantly and seem to do this effortlessly, don’t conclude that it is because they have a great education or are smart, or some other natural thing. In fact, those who rely on such natural things will experience only a form of success but not the success of God, they will experience a success that brings many troubles and worries.

The good success of God brings the kiss of favor: joy and blessing, family and community and peace, protection, all in supernatural ways with revelation and understanding but it all may look very simple. Unless you ask, you may never realize what’s been moving that person, causing them to make the decisions they have made. Yet as those who are living in it know, this supernatural state of blessing has come because they have diligently applied themselves to learning His ways, have consistently put God’s will first and His kingdom, have been using their faith and letting the grace of God do the work, are listening to Him and to Him only, moving with Him and with Him only, have not grabbed at the many earthly blessings and favor being poured on them daily nor on the temptation to copy the zeal or callings of others, but have instead continued to take hold of God’s will, God’s leading and God’s righteousness in Christ as primary.

This is how we can continue to walk in love, even in the midst of God’s constant outpouring of spiritual and material blessing. It’s is the new covenant way of living in His holiness and in the prophetic. No drama. Just truth!! It keeps a person humble. So that, depending on their calling, you may never notice them. And if you do, you may never understand what is making them tick unless you ask.

Christmas Kittens and Writing Fiction

Like most believers who write, whether fiction, non-fiction, blogs, books, articles, I write because I have a spiritual mandate, an inner urge so forceful, I dare not deny it. I write because the Holy Spirit inspires me to think big. But thinking big is secondary to the mandate.

My books are developing a following today, in this world, even without much marketing on my part. However, I also enjoy my career, my “day job” in the medical field, and unless I am led to stop and write full time, I’ll do both.

It’s true that I am a creative and that writing gives me an outlet for that continually bubbling newness rising up from where soul and spirit entwines with God’s. It’s a magnificent challenge to write well, one I’ll spend a lifetime working toward and never achieving to my full satisfaction, I’m almost sure. But it’s a challenge worth the investment of joyous, painstaking hours adding up to a good chunk of my life.

Yet, there’s more! Writing is more than a way to express and develop creatively.

The truth is, that as much as I do believe my books are meant for today’s generation, my overwhelming sense with my first two novels is that they will serve future generations, as well. Spontaneously, it comes to me at times that my books will be read by people through the rise and fall of nations, by souls who are groping for a true understanding of the gospel in the end times. I see them stumbling upon my books, finding the living God and hope amidst a deep descending darkness, and then circulating them to their friends.

Already my books have sparked new faith in a number of people. And those are just the ones I know about. It’s hard to find the real gospel in these times, in any time, truly. I know that I have, but because I have, I know how difficult the challenge can be. I write in a way that will allow people to find it.

Another aspect of writing for me is to respond to the need for enjoyable, quality entertainment, especially among God-fearing people. How often have you come to the end of a long week, wanting only to sit and watch a good movie, listen to a podcast or read a good book, only to find the pickings are bare? All too often you’ve opened a book or a movie that promises action and/or romance of real intellectual and inspirational substance, only to find it leads your mind and heart into places you’d rather not go, places not even worth going. Suddenly you’re living in someone else’s anxious nightmare and all you wanted was a a little recreation! If you aren’t careful, many stories will take you from feeling fine to being depressed and hopeless. Quite the opposite of what quality entertainment should accomplish.

Good entertainment should inspire us to dream, not crush us. It might contain sad truths about this world, but in the end, quality entertainment enlightens and in so doing, it uplifts.

We need as many great movies and novels as we can get. Schindler’s List and The Passion, God’s Not Dead, Fireproof and The War Room, Gone With The Wind, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Killing Fields, Snow Falling on Cedars, all are blockbuster hits because they enlighten as well as uplift. Stephen Baldwin has been making some very interesting, offbeat films which carry extremely powerful messages for people of faith. There’s always room for a well-done, quality movie, book or podcast that lets us relax without turning away from God, but rather turns us toward Him. If not turning us directly to God, a good story might also turn us to a greater appreciation of our purpose and our worth. Stories like It’s A Wonderful Life show us the dark and light side of life but in the end help us realize that each of us has value when we light the place we live in. We could also argue that NCIS and Rocky do that for us, too.

My writing is for the hungry ones, the thirsty ones, to let them know that there is a banquet they can enjoy in real life, and where to find it.

A simpler way of putting is to compare writing with rescuing kittens. I have two tiny kittens in my home right now. I am fostering them for the humane society, getting them ready for their forever homes. They are coming along nicely and they are going to make great pets. (photo below) From me they have learned how to enjoy being in someone’s lap, how to be careful with their claws, how to use a litter box, how a human can play with them, how to come when called (to the degree that cats ever do that!). Both of them were quite wild when I got them and they have made phenomenal progress. They are being imprinted with my love and prayers, with the peace, joy and TLC I give them. All this they will take with them for the rest of their lives, as a gift I am giving to those who will own them, long after these little furballs have forgotten my scent or my voice.

In the same way, our spirits can be imprinted with the personality and character of Charles Dickens or an Agatha Christie by reading their books, though we will never know them this side of heaven, and even if they were alive today, we would probably not have the opportunity to become more than superficially acquainted with them. My books, and every book worth reading, really, are like rescued kittens, sharing what I hope is the better part of me in common with the Creator of us all, for the delight and well-being and solace of the family here on planet Earth.

Christmas Kittens 2020

Marriage (for singles)

by Danyelle Wolfe Read

There tends to be a romance in my stories. Sometimes it’s central, sometimes it’s part of other aspects which are driving the story. I portray love in such a way as to bring back the joy of it. As one who has practiced therapy for couples and families, I create realistic love relationships. The romances in my books are anything but fluffy. They are possible. The characters are not idealized, they are flawed. I emphasize their chemistry over their physicality (there is a difference).

To find the person who really cares for us is a blessing, going back to the first man and woman in Eden.

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Garment of Praise

by Danyelle Wolfe Read

“…to give them the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Is 61:3

In the days before the Light defeated darkness and took back the keys to the lower kingdoms, a dark lord held earth captive, blocking all recourse to truth by deception. A stalwart remnant still remembered that God is good.  

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Nazareth, 0 A.D.         

Anna dropped the basket, heavy with wet clothes. The corners of her lips curved upward at the image in her mind – even as her chest heaved – of her three-year old daughter reaching for the handles of that same basket. “Hep you, Imah,” she would say. Anna bent, and rested her hands on her knees. Her eyes roved the horizon, across the fields and pastures colored with Spring wildflowers. She wondered where her Miryam might be, whether she was even alive.

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