The commandment is a lamp

The commandment is a lamp

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light;…

God’s Word sheds light upon us. Think about that. What a powerful statement. We Christians need not operate in darkness. Whatever is going on in our life, including our secrets, is open to God. His Word reveals our deepest secrets and needs to us!

But if that is true (and it is) then how does that affect us as authors?

Considering the trials and tribulations of writing a book I look upon this verse as a strong encouragement. When I hit a wall that stops my writing God already knows all about it and has provided the solution. When I need to be encouraged God knows that and has already prepared the perfect encouragement for me.

In other words, the Word of God is a powerful resource for us as Christians and as Christian authors. All too often Christians separate their faith and their daily lives, but God intends for us to be in His Word daily and to apply it to every aspect of our life.

One of the advantages I have in blogging on Scripture is that it requires thoughtful reading of the Scriptures in addition to my daily devotions. It causes me to actually ‘think’ about the passage in relationship to my writing career. And that makes me stronger!

As an author I also write stories that are based on Bible stories. Although similar to writing stories based on secular historical events, it has the added benefit of once again involving me in the reading and meditation of God’s Word. It helps me to picture the actual events and to bring them alive for myself. And if I bring it alive for myself, it is likely to be alive for my readers.

But back to my basic point, which is that Christians need to be in God’s Word daily. This is true no matter what their career. God has something to say to us and we’ll only ‘hear’ it if we delve into His Word. And like a lamp it sheds light upon our feet and lightens the path before us (see Psalm 119:105)!

If you haven’t begun a daily devotion I encourage you to do so. The light won’t blind you but will show you how to move forward. It may even show you the possible pitfalls that await you if you persist in going a certain way. That is the beauty of it. The light shows both the good and bad in our life and acts as a guide. You won’t regret starting your own devotions.

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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.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3

While this blog is aimed at authors, this verse applies to all Christians. Daily prayer is a must for the Christian. As first a Christian and then an author I find that I need that time with the Lord. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter what your vocation is, whether it is student, engineer, lawyer, author, laborer, or whatever. Daily prayer is a must!

The Bible refers to morning prayer more often than any other time of day. While we can and should pray to God throughout the day there is something special about morning prayers.

Here are just a few special things:

  • It puts God first.
  • It gets me starting out on the right foot.
  • It refreshens me.
  • It reminds me of how great God is.
  • It strengthens me.
  • It encourages me.
  • It emboldens me.

I could go on but you get the drift. The fact of the matter is that when you pray in the morning you have the rest of the day before you. You have the opportunity to talk to God about your plans and, for that matter, the unknown events of the day. In my opinion it gives me a leg up on the day. I may be surprised by a particular event, but I know God is never surprised and I can trust Him to see me through.

Prayer accomplished many things for the writer: It enables you to:

  • Acknowledge His Lordship
  • Confess your sins
  • Pray for others
  • Seek His face
  • Talk about your book
  • Talk about publishing & marketing
  • Ask for help on particular scenes, etc.

We have a very practical God. Assuming He called you to write He gives you the right to seek His guidance in all of your writings, publishing, and marketing. He is an all-hands God. He takes a deep interest in all we do.

But again, if He called you to write then He has a stake in how you respond!

Keeping your prayer life constant (daily) also keeps you in constant communication with God. We are strongest when that communication involves our entire day. Morning prayer establishes that connection at the beginning of the day and provides a strong basis for all we do through the remainder of the day.

Does prayer really work?

The short answer is YES!

For the believer prayer absolutely works. God has obligated Himself to listen to a believer’s prayer (2 Chron. 7:14). Of course that is tied to how we conduct ourselves. But He promises to hear us if we humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways. It sounds hard and it is, but God looks at our hearts and knows whether we are truly seeking Him or not. So the promise is legit.

That’s another reason for prayer in the morning. If we begin our day in prayer even the sins are likely not to have occurred yet.

There are many ways to pray. I like to start out by acknowledging that I am a sinner; a sinner saved by grace. This puts me in the right place. Because getting saved didn’t remove my old nature and transform me into sinless perfection. People who believe they cannot sin are only fooling themselves. It is not taught in the Bible.

Then I move on to thankfulness and joy. What an amazing God He is! He saved me. He loved me so much that He sent His Son to take my sins, pay my penalty, and shed His precious blood to cover my sins. Prayer gives me the opportunity to express my thankfulness and love to Him.

So let me finish by encouraging you to have an active prayer life. God wants to hear from you. And take your writings to Him. Seek His involvement in your writing. You won’t regret it!
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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.

Creation of Man and Our Responsibility

Creation of Man and Our Responsibility

“And God said, Let us make man in our image…”

Because we Christians say that the creation of mankind was God’s highest creative act we are accused of pride. But that is not so. God demonstrated throughout the Bible that mankind is considered higher than any animal. We are simply stating a fact.

When God created us He did so in His image. What does that mean to us as writers?

First of all it means we have three parts: body, mind, and soul. The soul is that part of us that communicates with God. When we die our body and mind is corrupted; that is, they return to dust. But our soul is separated. If we are born again then when we die we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. If not, we are absent from the body and in Hades (similar to but distinct from hell).

Secondly, it means we are responsible to Him for our eternal state. God created us with a inborn desire for Him. Some have said we were created with a hole inside that only God can fill. He gave us life, therefore we owe Him all that we are. We not only owe Him, but we need Him. Because we are born in sin we are estranged from him. We need to ask Him to save us (Romans 10:9-13). Don’t ask and you won’t be saved.

Thirdly, we are responsible to Him for any skills He gave us. If we don’t have Christ then the talents we were born with never bear fruit for Him. But if we are saved, then we are responsible for the talents given through our DNA and the gifts we are given at our second birth (salvation).

Fourth, if we are saved then God has a plan for us. (Actually He has a plan for everyone, but the first step is always salvation.) His plan for you is probably different from His plan for me. Sure we may both be authors but even what we write may be different. So we are responsible to discover His plan and boldly act on it.

That fourth item is particularly hard. I am not a Type A personality so boldness doesn’t come that easily. But I have discovered that knowledge and skill by themselves won’t get it done. I need to involve God in my work. When writing, I need His guidance. Would He approve of what I’ve written?

In other words, is God in it? Not only the writing, but the publishing and marketing. For example, there is all sorts of advice about marketing but the question is does it meet God’s standards? Will it pass through the Bible filter?

I’m not advocating that you ignore or ditch all advice, but you need a firm grasp of the Scriptures and they should be absolute. Yes, I know that today people say there are no absolutes but for a Bible believing Christian the Word of God is absolute!

Fifth and last is we are responsible to glorify God: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor. 6:20) This should be our chief aim in life to glorify Christ. It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, a farmer, a street cleaner, a pilot, a politician, a minister, a writer, or anything else, you are to glorify Christ! When you think of it that way, it really impacts you. Can you really say that everything you do or say glorifies Christ? You probably can’t, but that should be your goal. And I believe that if you pursue that goal God will honor you and He will work out His plan through you. Just be prepared that His plan may slightly differ from your plan.

When I wrote Perished I was of course basing the entire book on the first six chapters of Genesis. But the novel sprang out of my devotions. Did that guarantee it was of God? No, but it certainly focused my attention on keeping the novel true to the Bible. I often say the book tells the rest of the story. I filled in the back story that thus brought to life the Biblical story itself. Throughout the writing I did a lot of research within the Bible to make sure that I didn’t violate Scripture in any fashion. Did I glorify Christ? I hope so. But that’s up to individual readers and ultimately up to God.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. 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.

Blessed is the man Part 3

Blessed is the man Part 3

“Blessed is the man that…nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful”

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 commented on each part in separate blogs.

In this third part we are warned not to sit in the seat of the scornful. But what does that mean? And what does it mean for the struggling author?

Parts 1 and 2 spoke of particular advice looking at the ‘who’ and the ‘what,’ but here we are looking at the attitude. I think this applies both to the person giving advice and to the one receiving advice.

There are some people who not only have unscriptural practices, but have a scornful attitude towards God. Generally speaking we are to avoid such people. It doesn’t matter whether their advice agrees with scripture or not, they are themselves ungodly. Part 1 actually warned us about such people.

So part 3 is more about us. We need to watch our attitude!

What does that mean? For starters, we should never oppose God. Sometimes even Christians develop an attitude that is in opposition to God’s will. We ask, God answers, and we refuse to accept or believe it. Sometimes because our faith is weak; sometimes because we have our sights set on our own solutions and nothing else; and sometimes we have become so frustrated that our frustration carries over into unbelief.

I have stated before to get into God’s Word. He will speak to you through it. I might add that periodically you need to take a look at yourself in the mirror of God’s Word. If you don’t like what you see, then your first priority is to change.

Attitude can prevent success or lift you up. So we need to constantly affirm our faith in God, trust Him, and do His will. Then we are ready to receive advice.

Recently I have been contemplating our marketing efforts. I have learned a lot about marketing over the course of years, but I still needed to apply that knowledge to myself. On this particular evening I was getting ready for bed when God began working on me. How do I know it was God? My spirit knew.

All of a sudden pieces of the puzzle began falling into place and by the time I closed my eyes, I had the makings of a new plan (to me). The following morning I began developing that plan. It was like my mind was on steroids or something. It was exciting and spiritual at the same time. It is not necessary to go into the plan details as they are for me alone. The important thing here is that God took time to instruct me in the way I was to go (Psalm 32:8). And I listened!

But if I had been scornful, careless, or inattentive, I may have never heard His counsel. You want to succeed as a Christian author, well God wants you to succeed also. That’s why it is so important to avoid bad attitudes. A bad attitude can keep you from hearing the most important counsel, His counsel.

So, to summarize Psalm 1:1, Don’t follow ungodly people, don’t perform ungodly practices, and watch your attitude.

 

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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.

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.