Go to the ant, thou sluggard

Go to the ant, thou sluggard

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” Prov. 6:6.

Has God called you to be a writer? Is it hard? Do you feel like quitting?

Here in Proverbs we learn that God takes a dim view of laziness and basically not doing the work. It is true that writing can be hard work. But if God truly called you to be a writer He never provided the option of quitting.

But I know how you feel. Before I ever published my first novel I often felt like quitting. Especially when a story would suddenly hit the wall and I knew it was going nowhere. While I did quit the novel, I never quit writing. And it is important to know there is a difference!

Anyone who has been a writer for awhile has had to change directions at least once but probably more often than they might want to admit. When writing you are investing a part of yourself and it becomes very difficult to stop and reject the work. However, if you consider what you have learned about writing during the project then it has not been a waste of time and effort. Instead you have learned something you can use in your next project.

Quitting as a writer is altogether different. By quitting you are saying that God never called you. If you say no, God called you and it didn’t work out then you are saying God made a mistake. God never makes mistakes! So you need to re-evaluate your calling. Did He call you to be an author or not? If He did then you can’t quit, because it would be disobedience.

Assuming therefore God called you to be a writer then you need to evaluate your writing. What is stopping you? Are you in the right genre? Do you need additional skills?

When I was trying to write and not succeeding it was very frustrating. To offset this I wrote computer programs (most of which were used only personally) and poetry (which helped me win my wife). But behind it all I still had that drive, that calling to write. I often prayed about it and would pick up pen and paper and try again. I even developed a model train hobby that I converted into a story. It didn’t work, but my point is I kept trying.

In my case the solution came through my daily devotions as God showed me that the Bible is loaded with true stories waiting to be the foundation for novels. Your experience will probably be different except that God is just as interested in your success as mine. So keep your prayer life strong and listen for His guidance.

Not only did God open the door for my writing career to open, He also opened the door for my wife and I to become the publisher of our own books (soon she will have her first novel published). In 2014 God gave me the idea for being a self-publisher in the truest form. I talked to my wife and she immediately was enthused. Thus was born T&R Independent Books with her as president and yours truly as vice president. This decision opened the door for us and provided us not only with greater potential earnings but with greater control over every aspect of writing. But it wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t listening to God!

It is my belief that roadblocks in a Christian’s life are there for a reason. Sometimes it means quit  a project to be sure, but never to quit doing His will. Roadblocks come with multiple solutions which could include plowing through them, going around them, going over them, or even going under them. In other words, roadblocks are often opportunities. We just need to stop, pray, and seek to discover what the opportunity facing us might be.

So if you’ve been called to write don’t let a roadblock stop you. It might just be God trying to get your attention and redirect your path.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

When I consider thy heavens…

When I consider thy heavens…

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalm 8:3-4.

As a writer I am always impressed and often overwhelmed by the poetic power of the Scriptures. The Scripture being considered today is one such passage.

In this passage we have man (David) looking at God. He is overwhelmed by God’s creative power. He looks at the heavens and is amazed at how beautiful and ordered it is. He considers the moon and stars which God ordained and placed in their orbits.

The sheer immensity of the heavens boggles the mind. To the believer it is glorious. To the unbeliever it is simply the result of evolution with no meaning. Theirs is a sad life as they view life from a animalistic viewpoint. They are to be pitied though they might not want pity.

The fact is that when you take God out of the equation you take everything of any value or meaning out as well. He created this world and the imprint of his fingers is upon every living and non-living thing! Knowing this should make your heart soar!

When I consider God it humbles me. What am I that He gave me any skills at all? And that is not taking into consideration His wonderful plan of salvation which is open to all. Think of that! According to His Scriptures we are all sinners (Romans 3:10-12, 23) for whom He died (Romans 6:23) and offers us free salvation (Romans 10:9-13). What a God!

All of that not only makes me want to live a holy life for Him but to use my talents according to His will! It motivates me to do my very best. Of course, that also means that I must humble myself and seek His will in every aspect of my writing career.

It amuses me when unbelievers accuse Christians of being prideful and exclusionary. The truth is that Christians (at least Bible believing Christians) understand that salvation is available to all! The problem isn’t our pride but the pride of unbelievers who want to add their personal works to the salvation plan. Salvation is Jesus Christ plus nothing more. He bore our sins, He was nailed to the cross for our sakes, He surrendered His life for us, and He rose again three days later. These are all facts that the unbelieving world doesn’t or isn’t capable of believing.

When you consider your writing career, or any career, in the light of His creative work it humbles you and motivates you to serve Him. It not only motivates me but energizes me and that is a good thing!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD

Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” Gen. 6:8

This is the first mention of grace in the Bible but not the first occurrence. In Genesis chapter three we see God’s grace at work in the lives of Adam and Eve. But now we see it in action again and in full display.

Noah lived in a wicked world. The vast majority of the people were idol worshipers and only a few worshiped God. The first term we have for God is Elohim which speaks of the Triune Godhead of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In my book Perished I used this term to identify the worship of believers. I called it Elohism.

In writing Perished I followed Biblical details in structuring the story of Noah adding back story to fill it out. His story is one that in these days is often distorted both in print and film. So let’s take a look at him.

While the Biblical story basically starts out with him finding grace, we find first of all he was the grandson of Methuselah. There is much speculation about Methuselah, but I believe he was a godly man who lived long enough to see Noah build and maybe complete the Ark. If he was a godly man it is easy to see his influence upon his grandson.

Noah was a farmer not a shipbuilder. Actually he was known for his grapes, but it is likely that he produced more than grapes. Farmers then and now have multiple skill sets including the knowledge of using such tools as hammers, saws, and more. But he was not a shipbuilder.

This blog is not about the Ark but let me say that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Ark was the first or only ship. What was significant was its size, which was comparable to modern day ships. Noah probably used a crew that was familiar with shipbuilding albeit not large ships like the Ark.

But back to grace. This godly man was singled out by God to oversee the building of an Ark to the saving of mankind. And he was also instructed to preach of coming judgment and extend an invitation to be on the ship. For 120 years he preached and had few converts. Some say there were none other than his family. But there could have been some saved who died before the Flood. All we know for sure is that 8 people were on the Ark though it was built to handle many more.

Just as the Ark was the refuge from the judgment of God through the Flood Jesus Christ is our Refuge. God has extended His grace to us through His Son. It is a wonderful thing to know that God loved me enough to send His only begotten Son to die in my place! That is true grace! And it is available to anyone who puts their trust in Him (see Romans 10:9-13).

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Bind them continually upon thine heart

Bind them continually upon thine heart

“Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.” Prov. 6:21

This verse is referencing the Word of God as the Father’s commandments. Today I want to apply it specifically to authors.

Perhaps because I am an author I am slightly biased. Since we deal with communicating to people, albeit through fiction, I think we need God’s wisdom to a very high degree.

Thousands of books are published every week and tens of thousands every year. All authors are trying to sell their books to the widest audience possible. I am no exception. And we need God’s wisdom if we are to succeed.

I’ve talked before about the principles of God’s Word and I don’t want to be merely repeating myself. So instead of talking about marketing advice seen through the lens of the Bible, I want to talk about God’s wisdom and how it helps us write better.

Every book I’ve written has been bathed in prayer. It is not enough to merely follow principles, whether they are secular or spiritual. Writing is more than that. It involves the plot of the work, the characters involved, and the cohesiveness of the story. For that to happen requires a great deal of skill. But it also demands more.

People talk about inspiration being required. I’ve talked about being inspired, but it goes beyond simply being inspired to write. We need God’s guiding hand as we write every scene and develop every character.

It can be taxing, but when we have God in our corner it makes things much easier. Whether writing Perished, or World of Noah and the Ark, or even the current writing of World of Shem I have needed God’s guidance. I seek God’s guidance. I’m not talking about formal prayer, which I do, but of communicating to God throughout the process.

This involves talking to Him about every scene, indeed every word. I approach my writing in the spirit of open prayer. Sometimes it is unconscious praying and sometimes I actually ask Him directly. I ask questions like,

  • How do I write this scene?
  • Is this scene too suggestive?
  • Is this character believable?

Sometimes I have typed several words or entire sentences and upon further evaluation have erased them. We’ve all done this, but the question is was God involved in the process.

How do I involve God?

That’s not a hard question to answer. If you are a Christian, having received Christ as your Savior and you have been called to write, then you can expect His involvement. He doesn’t call and then abandon.

On the other hand, He doesn’t force His Will upon us. According to Psalm 32:8 He will guide us. That is a two-fold promise. On the one hand, God promises to guide us, but on the other hand we are responsible to listen to Him and obey.

What a great feeling it is when we have written a story and can say that God helped us all along the way! Whatever genre you write in you can count on His help as long as you are doing it His way. And that is a source of a huge sense of confidence and peace.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

And God saw…it was very good

And God saw…it was very good

“And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” Gen. 1:31

The Book of Genesis is the foundational book of the Bible. It is the only reliable source we have on the creation of the world. God created a world where there was no sin and no death. It was a perfect world.

And within that world He created Adam and Eve. In fact, He created Adam before He created the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:7-8). Within the Garden He created Eve (Woman) from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:21-23). We have an amazing God who created a perfect world with perfect people.

Then of course there came sin. That was man’s contribution.

Fortunately human science is beginning to catch up to the Bible. While it still stubbornly adheres to evolution, it has made discoveries that not only disprove or weaken their theory but also adds information to the Biblical account which we didn’t know.

You may have heard of the supercontinent Pangaea. But did you know they now believe it was the second and last supercontinent and that it was underwater? That’s right. They now believe it was formed during and under the Flood. Further, it is believed it may have lasted only weeks or months.

So what was before Pangaea? Rodinia! Russian for “mother earth” it is believed to be the original supercontinent. Evolutionists don’t believe that, instead they say there were probably previous supercontinents. But there is no evidence supporting such a theory.

Thus, the Garden of Eden was placed within Rodinia. When Rodinia broke up and became Pangaea it then broke into seven continents. It is easy to understand why human skeletons may be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, or some island. Scientists like to complicate things (it makes them seem more important), but even a child would understand this fact. The world likes to say that the Bible says the Garden was in Mesopotamia, and then tear it apart noting inconsistencies.

But when you understand geologic history through the lens of the Bible you can see that the similarities of names of pre-Flood and post-Flood geography are likely the result of Noah and his descendants naming things after the world they had known. By the way, we still do that today. We move to a new area, start a town, city or street and name it after something we left behind. It’s human nature.

In writing Perished I blended the Biblical account with the latest scientific findings. Obviously I used the Biblical account as the primary and science as only supplemental. Why? Because the Bible remains the same (in spite of attempts to alter it) while science is constantly changing. Take evolution for example. Compare today’s version with that of a 100 years ago. Vast changes!

As a foundation book to the Bible Genesis provides both a spiritual and practical bedrock for our understanding of the need for salvation and many other doctrines. In fact, the entire Bible rests upon Genesis. That is why atheistic evolutionists attack Genesis. If they could knock it out, it would disrupt the rest of Scripture. But although they have tried countless times, they have always and will always fail.

Unfortunately we will have to wait until the millennium (1000 year rule of Christ) to ever see the world as it was meant to be. In fact, we really won’t see it in pristine beauty until the New Earth.

The novel Perished has consistently received four and five star reviews. One reason is because it sticks closely to the Biblical account. It’s the story behind the story, or “the rest of the story.” It is available in both print and eBook. And it is available through Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords, and other fine sites. If you enjoy the book I invite you to post your review on the site where you purchased it or at least on Amazon. I’d be thrilled to hear from you at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me

“But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me…” Psalm 3:3

Today we live in a world that is increasingly anti-Christian. They mock us and, in some cases, try to harm us. But no matter what they do we have a God who is our shield. Nothing can be done to us without His knowledge and permission. So even if they kill us, God protects our soul and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.

But how do I apply this to my writing career?

As a Christian you have standards – Bible based standards. And when you take a stand on those standards the world attacks you. This can come in the form of writing ‘experts,’ editors, publishers, and marketeers, or just well-meaning friends.

When this happens remember that God is your shield. Look to Him for guidance and reassurance. If your stand is Biblical then He will “have your back.”

For example, let’s say that you been searching for an agent to help you get a publisher. You finally found one you like. When he reads your book he says, “Your book is too bland. You need to spice it up. Your characters need to be more realistic.” Usually a statement like that means you need to have more sex, violence, and vulgarity than what you’re conscience permits. That’s assuming of course that your characters are well developed.

Don’t get me wrong. Sex and violence are part of life. But as Christian writers we are not to exploit sex and violence. There is a big difference from inferring sex and actually describing it. As for violence we don’t need to be overly graphic. In both of these areas our understanding of Biblical standards governs what we write.

Back to the agent. The agent has given you his advice and has made it clear that unless you change things as he has described, he won’t represent you. Complicating the matter is the fact that you have not been able to find another agent. What do you do?

You stick with your Biblical principles. You need to remind yourself that God is your shield. And since God knows everything from before Creation, He already has prepared for you a safety net. That net could be the sudden appearance of an agent who will represent your work without compromises. Or God could lead you to go the self-publishing route. Or He may provide something altogether different.

The point is that if we trust God and do things His way He will work it out to be for our good (see Roman’s 8:28). And chances are you may even be surprised by how He does it!

One last comment: As a Christian writer you don’t measure success the same way the world does. The world uses sales, royalties, etc. as the measuring stick. While you certainly shouldn’t ignore such data, your real success must come from a Biblical perspective. Does God approve? Not that you’re going to hear a verbal “good job” from Him, but your Christian conscience will let you know and He may well give you a great sense of peace. And no matter the sales, God takes care of His own!

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Why do the heathen rage?

Why do the heathen rage?

“Why do the heathen rage…”

Psalm 2:1-5 shows the futility of man’s pride.

Men and women rise to power and all too often forget that it was God who enabled them to rise to their position. While the psalm is speaking of kings and rulers the truth is that all of us are subject to pride. And pride is the underlying force behind man’s rage against God. Yes, the love of money is the root of all evil, but pride is often the source of our rejection of God’s will for us.

We writers, yes Christian writers, have the same battles, the same temptation of pride. In fact, the more successful a person is the more vulnerable to the sin of pride. When we wrote that first book we were humble and thankful for whatever success it commanded. But as our careers ascend to greater heights it becomes so easy to forget.

But the truth is that success is not built upon sales. You can have tremendous sales and yet not be a success in God’s eyes. One reason that we are so vulnerable to pride is that our livelihood is firmly attached to sales. So we can’t ignore sales. And today writers have to do much of their own marketing. So again it is easy to start thinking “I did that.”

This is a sin that athletes are prone to fall into. They work and play hard, they develop their game, and put their best effort out there. And when success comes they say, “It wasn’t God that did this; I did it.” And when we hear of this we condemn their shortsightedness. But we do the same thing with our writing careers.

So how do we avoid the temptation of pride?

I don’t pretend to be a theologian. But I have been a Christian for awhile and a student of God’s Word. I have found that humility doesn’t just happen. If I want to be humble before my Lord, I have to realize that He is in charge. It is a daily challenge to submit to God and give Him all the glory.

It is easy to say, “I always do.” But that is often an expression of pride. No one is always humble. For that matter no one is always obedient. We have that pesky humanity that seeks to glorify itself. Thus we have to daily read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and apply it to our lives. And when I go to God in prayer I like to start out by acknowledging that He is Lord and I am a sinner saved by grace.

Someone once wrote that Christians should not identify themselves as sinners saved by grace. The idea being that we are saved, have a new heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit. While that is true, we still have our old nature which desires to rebel against God. And when we get careless or over-confident in our lives, we can be tripped up by our old nature and get proud.

So fellow Christian I encourage you to spend time with our Lord and in His Word. Facing a problem, take it to the Lord. Experiencing success, take it to the Lord. Needing advice about how to write, publish, or market your book, take it to the Lord. It sounds too easy, I know. But He is stronger, wiser, and more capable than any of us!

Speaking of marketing our books, I am finding inspiration in the Bible. You can’t do a google search and find any scripture speaking on how to market products, especially books. But there are a lot of scriptures that deal with the attitudes and principles that govern how we influence others and how we run our business.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Blessed is the man Part 2

Blessed is the man Part 2

“Blessed is the man that…nor standeth in the way of sinners”

Psalm 1:1 has been read and memorized by countless Christians. It is a verse that gives us an outline, if you will, of the source for happiness. I have divided this verse into three parts and will comment on each part in separate blogs.

In this second part we are warned not to get caught up in the actions of the wicked. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

When blogging on the first part of this verse I talked about following ungodly advice. This second part is similar yet different.  Here we are talking about actions rather than advice.

For example, say I was advised to use unethical methods by a person who admittedly used them. According to part 1 we shouldn’t listen to that person. He or she is ungodly and the advice given is definitely ungodly. But here in part 2 we are talking about the doing.

Like I said the two are closely related. We are not to follow ungodly people nor do what they do. Period.

Not everyone who gives bad advice is bad. You can get bad advice from a fellow Christian who loves the Lord. He means well. He probably thinks the advice is permissible. But when you hear it you know or at least suspect it is not right to do it. At that point you are to avoid following or acting upon that advice.

So what does a Christian do?

Well, in part 1 I pointed out that you need to be in God’s Word and use it as a filter. Now we go one step further. If you find the advice violates scripture or is not in complete agreement with scripture, you want to ditch the advice. It might be proven to succeed; it might come with all sorts of recommendations; and advocates can be people you respect. But if it doesn’t agree with scripture, ditch it!

As I stated in part 1, “be faithful to God and study His Word. Let Him guide your understanding of scripture and its application.”

So far we have seen in part 1 that we need to be careful who we follow and in part 2 not to “do” the advice. In part 3 we will look at the seat of the scornful.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

Blessed is the man Part I

Blessed is the man Part I

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…”

Psalm 1:1 has been read and memorized by countless Christians. It is a verse that gives us an outline, if you will, of the source for happiness. I have divided this verse into three parts and will comment on each part in separate blogs.

In this first part we are warned not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

Have you ever noticed the abundance of advice out in the world? The world is full of it for any topic you want to discuss. They have advice on how to work, how to live, how to make money, and how to market products.

This last, the marketing of products, really concerns those of us that are authors. As Christians who are also authors this is especially difficult. It’s not like there are a great number of teachers who announce they teach from a Christian perspective how to market books. Yes, there those who teach writing, but marketing is an altogether different animal. So if you actually find such a person that is a great help. But even then you need to be cautious.

So where does that leave Christian authors. Well, we still need information, so we need to find the best information we can. But, and this is important, we must run all this information through our Bible filter. In other words, does the advice violate scripture? Is the advice the type that you as a Christian follow in good conscience?

While an easy question to state it is not so easy to answer. The truth is that none of the advice comes with warning tags, such as “Not for Bible believers” or “Warning, this advice is bad for your Christian conscience.” So you have to be diligent. Read the advice, compare it to the scriptures and decide whether there is a conflict or not. And remember, other Christian authors may differ on what is right or wrong. Don’t worry about them. Be faithful to God and study His Word. Let Him guide your understanding of scripture and its application.

Admittedly this will not be easy, but it is necessary.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.