I thank God, whom I serve

I thank God, whom I serve

In 2 Titus 1:3 Paul makes the statement, “I thank God, whom I serve” as he begins his letter to Titus. It is almost lost amongst  Paul’s message to Titus, but it says a lot about Paul. The question is does it apply to us as well?

Do we serve God?

If we compare the extent of our service to God to Paul’s service, does it measure up? Do we serve in the church? And if we do is our service selfless? Do we serve because God called us or is it merely a duty?

These and many other questions need to be asked and answered by us. Another question is does our service change? Sometimes it does. God is an unchanging God but His dealings with us sometimes change as seen from our perspective.

I remember the story of a couple who were called to the mission field. They thought it was to Mexico. So they committed themselves and attended a language school to learn Spanish. But while there God redirected their mission to another Spanish speaking country. Did God change His mind? No. It was His plan from the beginning, but they had honestly thought He was calling them to Mexico.

So while God is unchanging, His call may change when it is seen from our eyes. We follow God to the best of our abilities and understanding. But our understanding may change. There are also countless times God has called a man to pastor a church and years later called him out of that pastorate to another ministry. It happens often.

So God reserves unto Himself the right to change our calling. This is true in our church service and in our personal lives. But our commitment to Him must never change. When He calls we are to respond willingly. Then we are to maintain our sensitivity to His Spirit whereby we can change our direction.

When God calls us He also equips us to perform His will (1 Cor. 12:4-11). Not only equips us but He may give us more than one!

If you are a born again believer in Jesus Christ then He has called you to serve (Eph. 2:10). All Christians are called to be a godly witness (not just pastors), but He has other areas of service available. He may place you in a particular ministry for the rest of your life or He may move you around. Whichever it is, trust and obey Him.

Does service only mean within the physical church? No. I believe He has a job for everyone within the physical church, but I also believe He wants to use our personal lives as well. That is why I call writing a calling. God called and equipped me to write. That obligates me to seek His will pertaining to the writing, such as what I write, how I write, and so forth.

The first thing a Christian should do after getting saved is to get baptized. This is a picture of what happened to you, is the first commandment to you, and a witness to all. But after that a new Christian should immediately seek God’s will for their lives, particularly in the area of service (Titus 3:8). And this seeking should characterize them from then on!

I have been a Christian for over 44 years and have been serving Him almost from the beginning. Over the years my service has changed, but I have learned that wherever God puts me He is faithful and always equips me to do the job. That is one way of knowing if it is God’s calling. If you believe you are called and no provision is made for your equipping, then you might be wrong. God may gift you with a talent to be used, provide training in your church, provide college education, or provide other ways of equipping you. But He will never call you and then leave you stranded.

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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.

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Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Profiles in Faith Gouverneur Morris

Known as the man who wrote the final draft of the Constitution, Morris was also the man who spoke the most often during the Convention (173 times).

But what is known of his faith?

Actually we don’t know that much in spite of his much speaking. Nonetheless, we can surmise a few facts.

First of all we know that he was a member of the Episcopal Church. While little is known of his activities within the church it is hard to believe that this gifted man simply faded into the background. It is likely that he served within the church and, since he came from wealth, gave substantially to it. This is speculation, but this author feels it is a logical conclusion.

Second we know he was familiar with the Bible. This is based on his speeches and his writings where he often quoted the Bible. This suggests that he spent a fair amount of time in the reading of the Bible, which would not be the habit of a deist.

Third, he believed in the depravity of man which was more in line with Christianity than the Enlightenment. Deists tend to believe in an absentee God rather than a personal God. They also reject the supernatural as seen in the Bible. Morris, as stated above, was very acquainted with the Bible and was apt to quote it.

Fourth, while some claim he was a deistic realist, the evidence seems to be more correctly that he was influenced by this thinking.

Fifth, he strongly favored freedom of religion.

Sixth, he was against slavery.

The truth is we simply don’t have enough information to say whether Morris was a Christian or not. However, his career reflected not only a highly education mind (attended King’s College, later known as Columbia), but a mind attuned to Christian thought.

So where do we place him?

In my opinion he would be considered within the Christian faith. Probably a weak Christian (theologically speaking) with ties to both Christian and Enlightened thought. He was also a close friend of George Washington whom we will profile next.

A comment on historians who point to Deism as the religion of our founders. First, this time period coincided with the Enlightment, so historians seem to think this impacted everyone. Second, modern day historians may have a bias against Christianity. Yet the founding documents of this nation (Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution) all indicate a Christian belief. I think the burden of proof must lay with those who claim deistic beliefs of our fathers and we should assume Christian beliefs unless proven otherwise.

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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.

Mistaken Call

Mistaken Call

Mistaken call? What is that?

If you’ve been a Christian for awhile, you have probably been guilty of this. Sometimes when we are desirous of God’s will, we actually get ahead of him.

In the Old Testament we read of Rebekah. When she gave birth to Esau and Jacob, God had made a prophecy, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

Rebekah knew by this that Esau, the first to come forth, would serve Jacob. But Isaac favored Esau. So Rebekah took it upon herself to deceive Isaac so Jacob would get the blessing. In doing so, she actually got in front of God and the consequences of her action are felt to this very day.

In like manner, we as Christians get in front of God. Sometimes we hear a call that was never given.

Like all Christians, when I got saved and immediately had a desire to read God’s Word, to worship Him, and to serve Him. These are the first calls upon us, but we’ve got to be careful. We need to get into the right church, worship in the right manner, and serve according to His will.

Like Rebekah knew God’s will concerning Jacob getting the double blessing, I knew God wanted me to serve Him. So when the head usher came to me and asked if I was willing to be an usher, I jumped at the opportunity. I didn’t pause to ask God if that’s what He wanted me to do nor did I stop to think about the opportunity. I simply said yes.

Later that same day I did ask God’s blessing on my call to service. But the problem was I got the cart ahead of the horse. Moreover, I got in front of God.

I believe that if I’d asked God His will, He would’ve said yes. But I never gave him the chance. As a result I was miserable that first year of service. But when the term was up, I went back to God and asked Him if He wanted me to continue serving as an usher. He said yes.

I learned a valuable lesson. Always seek God’s will first! That is more important than the call itself. Once I learned that principle I put it into practice. And God has used me in a variety of areas.

It is always a mistake to assume God is ok with your decision. If your decision is wrong, it can lead you down a wrong path. But asking God first doesn’t guarantee a right decision.

There have been times when I asked God first and didn’t receive an answer right away. I have even asked several times, but didn’t receive an answer. Then I made a mistake. I looked at the facts I knew and decided God was leading me down a particular path.

Don’t get me wrong. I truly believed it was God’s will. But as time went on I came to realize I was mistaken. But what had I done wrong?

I got impatient!

God has a plan for us and we need to patiently wait on His calling. And when we haven’t heard the reply we thought was right, we need to patiently wait longer. Getting ahead of God can be costly in terms of time, energy, and money wasted. So we need to make sure of God’s leading.

How does this apply to me as a writer?

It means questioning myself. It means asking myself questions about the book before I ever write my first sentence. I means asking Him questions throughout the writing; questions like “Is this the right scene?” or “Is the plot correct?” or other questions. I need to involve God in all of my writing.

But not only that, I need to involve Him in the publishing and marketing, as well.

As with other aspects of the Christian life, God doesn’t always answer with a yes. I once knew a man who claimed he always got a yes. But nobody is perfect. All of us err sometimes. And God has three possible answers: Yes, No, and Wait. Wait is actually a delayed Yes. But wait means wait.

So seek God’s leading and let Him do the calling. And be patient. Then when He does call, be ready to follow.

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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.

Buy A Good Bible

Buy A Good Bible

You may find this blog to be controversial. You may even disagree, but that is alright.

On the other hand your appetite for more information may be whetted. I have written a book that covers this and actually the early Baptist history. At the conclusion I will tell you how to get a FREE copy.

In today’s world there are many versions of the Bible. So before buying a Bible, you must first learn what is the best Bible.

You walk into a Christian Bookstore and you will see all sorts of Bible versions. Do you know the history behind them? Do you know why most you cannot trust?

Let’s take a closer look.

Argument #1: Easier to Read

Many of these new versions are written in today’s language, while the KJV still reflects the Old English. Publishing houses promote their versions as easier to read.

While it is true the new ones use modern English, that doesn’t make them any easier. Here are a few observable facts:

  1. Children can be taught to read and understand the King James English.
  2. Adults regularly learn new languages, new terminologies, and new words without blinking.
  3. The KJV ranks first in all-time sales and 2nd in current sales.
  4. And it ranks #1 in being read.

Why is the KJV Better Than Other Versions?

To my knowledge there are only two Bibles (currently printed) that are written in the King James Language: The Geneva Bible and the King James Bible, with the KJV dominating. All other Bibles are based on what is known as the Corrupted Text.

During the early years after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ there arose two schools that produced copies of the New Testament. These were Antioch and Alexandria. Unfortunately Alexandria was the home of a host of pagan beliefs that infiltrated the texts being copied there.

The Alexandria texts became corrupted even further under Origen in A.D. 250, which had a major impact on Jerome’s Latin Vulgate (A.D. 380). Later there was an even greater corruption by Westcott & Hort.

Westcott and Hort were members of the Anglican church, but there is no evidence they were ever saved. We know they did not believe in the Trinity and other Biblical doctrines. Yet their work became the basis for the modern translations of the Bible.

Argument #2: Newer Versions Are More Reliable

This is the most ridiculous argument around. There are only a few (50 or less) copies of the corrupted texts, while there are 5500 copies of the Textus Receptus!

Part of this argument is based on the assertion that the newer texts are actually the oldest copies in existence. While this might be argued, there is another more important fact: these are copies not originals. You cannot make any claims about age based on copies. You need the originals.

Why Should You Use The KJV?

Here are just a few facts:

  1. Scribes faithfully copied each manuscript. If they made an error, they would destroy the current work and start over.
  2. The Textus Receptus has been used of God as a blessing for centuries to bless His people.
  3. It is 100% accurate, while the other versions have major omissions and inaccuracies.

One thing that confuses the issue is there are many godly pastors who use the other versions and still preach solid doctrine. But it is wise to remember that these same men grew up memorizing the KJV. They know the true doctrines and can teach them with any version. But new Christians don’t have that foundation! So they are left with a Bible version that may not support the doctrine they believe, which leaves them vulnerable. Stick with the KJV.

Final note: Some people claim the NKJV is also based on the Textus Receptus. This may be partially true, but it still adheres to the modern texts in that there are omissions and errors.

As I said in the title, Buy A Good Bible. That is the KJV Bible.

If you would like a FREE copy of my Did You Know About The Bible? to be emailed to you, email me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. I am currently revising the book and upon completion will send you a copy (Microsoft Word).

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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.

FIRST THINGS

FIRST THINGS

OK. In my last blog I discussed the first call to service. And I discussed some of the things a new born Christian should do. But today I want to go deeper.
Here is a brief outline:

  1. Establish a personal Bible reading and devotional time.
  2. Pray for God’s will in your life.
  3. Submit your skill, imagination, writings, etc. to His Lordship.
  4. Find a Bible believing church and join it.
  5. Begin serving in that church.

Now, we will look at each a little deeper.

(1) Personal Bible study and Devotions (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 John 2:5)
The Bible often refers to itself as meat for the soul. Just as our bodies need food, our souls need spiritual food. And you get that from reading God’s Word and meditating upon it.
I am not suggesting some college level Bible study program (unless God leads that way), but you having a simple Bible reading program. In designing your program you will need to establish a few guidelines2.

(2) Should I read the Bible through in a year?  (Jos. 1:8; Ps. 1:2; 1 Tim. 4:15)
Many people advocate such a program. And they are passionate about it. They will tell you it really gets you into the Word. Personally I don’t subscribe to that idea. Reading through the Bible in a year requires time; more time than most would want to invest. Why do I say that? Because for a Bible reading program to really work it requires much more than simply reading. It involves reading, comprehending, and applying. For that reason I favor a program of reading through the Bible in about 2 or 21/2 years.

(3) Pray for God’s will. (Dt. 4:29; 1 Chr. 22:19; Mt. 6:33)
Did you know God has a plan for you? Including your chosen career? The weight of Scripture and personal observation convinces me that when I was born in the flesh, God endued me with certain talents, among which were gifts like the ability to write and to imagine. I also believe that when I got saved (born again) that He gave me spiritual gifts that enhanced and enabled the physical gifts.
You may disagree, which is fine. But submitting your career to Him is still a good idea. And don’t forget that His will for your life does contain same basics concepts: soul winning, tithing, church attendance, and prayer. These are part of His will for all Christians!
But it stands to reason if your ability to write is a God-given talent then you owe Him both allegiance and obedience. Throughout the Bible we see men and women used of God. Some sought His will, others resisted, and still others tried to get ahead of God (a bad idea).
So how do you pray for God’s will?
By sincerely seeking His face, asking what He wants you to do. Plus reading His Word and being open to His leading. I have found that when I follow these steps and submit myself to Him that He answers and provides.
I didn’t say it would be easy. Patiently waiting on God can be a battle. But His will is worth the wait!

(4) Find a Bible believing church. (Heb. 10:25)
There was a time when Bible-believing churches were on every corner. That is no longer true. Not even all Baptist churches fit that description. Chances are that the church responsible for sending someone to you to share the gospel is a Bible-believing church. If it is it will be characterized by an adherence to the Word of God. Every ministry will be based on the Bible.
Further the Bible will be taught in Sunday School and preached in the services. The Bible will be regarded as the ONLY authority by which a person can know if they’re saved and how to live.

(5) Start serving. (Dt. 6:13; Ps. 100:2; Eph. 2:10)
“But I can’t do anything!”
Not true. When you got saved God equipped you to do whatever He calls you to do. And everyone can pray. Start praying for your church and its ministries. Look for opportunities, no matter how base, to work. He is both working in you and watching you. He will burden your heart for the very thing(s) He wants you to be involved in both in your church and personally.

These are the first things. Build your life and your career upon them. A Christian sold out to God is a success no matter his/her education, bank account, or status!

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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.