**Spoiler Alert- if you want to read The Oath, do not read**
The book starts out with a murder. Yes, a murder. As it more and more investigated, they decide what they thought killed the person, a bear, in fact did not kill the man.
More people go missing in the little town. A town superstition is learned of, by the outsider, while he is looking into what/who killed his brother. The town is one of those that one family has been in charge of it for a century. Plus they have a dirty secret, which a century ago an oath was signed to keep it a secret. They are the don't talk about it type of town. Someone goes missing and excuses are made up "She went to go visit her mother"...etc. They try to hide the truth.
Right before the people go missing, they get a black stain/mark that appears on their chest, right over their heart. And it is painful. Then the people digresses, kinda start going crazy (being outspoken, rude, etc.) and the black stain starts to ooze and get worse. Then they feel no pain. They are numb to it.
Then the people disappear.
More investigation goes on, the outsider finally learns more from the "religious nut" character about the town superstition. There is some type of dragon-type creature that eats the people, only the ones with the mark.
The story line gets really good. Finally at the end, the "religious nut" seems not so crazy to the outsider. He tells him that the town's sin created the dragon. The town had the motto "If this is sin, let sin be served". The town's sin made the dragon grow more and more and made it more violent. The mark was their sin eating through them and then they would be killed by the dragon or their sin. The outsider learns that the only way the dragon can be defeated is to give his life to Jesus. It is only then that he is free from his sin, and his sin no longer can kill him.
I loved this book. It is something that I have read in other Christian writers books (Dekker). Sin is embodied into something physical.
I also wanted to share with you the music videos. Warning: These are pretty jammin' Christian rock songs, I like them, that doesn't mean you will :) If nothing else, try to listen to the lyrics, they are awesome!
"Monster" by: Skillet
This one is a little more rockin' but the lyrics are so amazing!
"The Fight Inside" By: Red
Ok, I promise there is a meaning of all this. Here it is.
As a Christian, we deal with a constant struggle. Not a struggle that most can see, instead we struggle within ourselves with sin. We struggle not to get angry at someone who cuts us off in traffic, we struggle with telling the truth to our peers, we struggle. Everyone has something. Something that hinders us in our walk with God. We try not to, however our sin nature does not help. Plus, the sin is always waiting.
6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genisis 4:6
What happened in the story is something that really happens. No we do not get a black mark and get eaten by a dragon. However if we do not master our sin, it will devour us. Have you ever noticed that when you get jealous of something, anger, ungratefulness, selfishness are soon to follow! Usually one sinful thought leads to another, unless you master it....learn/understand what just happened and change the situation.
I love these music videos because it is something that we deal with! Skillet's song talks about a monster inside them. "A secret side of me, I never let you see. I keep it caged but I can't control it." "I feel it deep within it's just beneath the skin. I must confess that I feel like a monster.... It's hiding in the dark, its teeth are razor sharp. There's no escape for me, it wants my soul, it wants my heart."
Red's song deals with the same thing. There is a struggle within ourselves. "Knowing Truth, whispering lies. And it hurts again.... The fight inside is coursing through my veins. And it's raging. The fight inside is breaking me again."
Such truthful words.
However, as Christians we have hope! God gave his son to us, so that we may not be a slave to sin anymore.
When Adam and Eve were in the garden, God warned them not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. "for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genisis 2:17
Once they ate, sin entered the world and we would never be the same. Sin separated man from God. God sent his son to show his graciousness. Without Jesus, we would die, not just physically but also spiritually, separated from God's presence for eternity. Knowing Christ and having Him in your heart allows us to never die spiritually! We instead get to live eternity in God's presence.
One of my favorite verses is:
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1 Corinthians 15:55
Death is no longer scary! Jesus was victorious over death!
When you become a Christian, you do not become perfect. Instead we have forgiveness from Jesus. This does not mean that we should continue sinning over and over again. But instead realize that we did not honor God in our actions, ask for forgiveness, and turn the other way (away from the sin). Sometimes we do the same sin over again, that is the struggle. Even though we may struggle with it, it is so that we may glorify God by being obedient to Him and His word. We are not always successful, however God is so gracious in giving us his son and that forgiveness.
If you are reading this and are not a Christian and want to know that peace and joy from God, know that this is not something you can buy into. It is a matter of the heart. Jesus paid the price, he sacrificed himself so that death could not bound us. He died for everyone. Not just for a select group. Everyone!
How do you become a Christian? Admit that you have sinned. Believe in your heart that Jesus died for you. Ask Him to come into your life and make you new. When you commit your life to God, you enter a relationship with Him. The best relationship you will ever be in, one with your Creator who knows everything about you, everything you will ever do, and loves you more than you will ever be able to understand!
After you commit your life to Jesus, you can talk to your pastor or another person you know who is a Christian. You can set up accountability with that person. If you have a sin that likes to come back, having someone help you stay accountable might help you better fight it away, even though we are always held accountable by God. This should be someone you can really trust, since some sins can be a little embarrassing, and usually you want someone as the same gender as you. The accountability thing is optional, it is not required to be a Christian.
I know this is a super long post. I just felt like I was supposed to write this. I'm sorry if it's a little everywhere.
I just want to let you know that God is amazing, He will rock your socks off, if you let Him into your life. There will be times that are hard, but knowing that you have a Creator that does not make accidents and loves you gives you hope for the sunshine ahead.
Have a great night!