A Journey of Faith

A Journey of Faith

You may have noticed my absence during the past month. This is because of an unexpected journey of faith. So today I’ll bring you up on our recent history by using a recent speech I gave about God’s Provision. Here’s the speech. It makes for a long blog, but I wanted you to hear the full story.

… today’s talk is about God’s Provision, with special emphasis on the period beginning August 30th.

As you listen to the story please understand I am bragging on God. Although we will be mentioned, keep your focus on God and not us.

PRINCIPLE #1: TRUST GOD

  • “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” (Luke 6:31)
  • Called the Golden Rule, we often hear it as “Do unto others as you would they do unto you.” This is a simple rule, yet one that the world at large would call naive. Jesus, on the other hand, gives it to us as a desired characteristic. When we treat others as we want treated we discover most people will reciprocate.
  • “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
  • This often quoted verse is connected to Philippians 4:15. The Philippians had given support for Paul’s ministry in accordance with Luke 6:31. Paul was promising God’s provision as a reward for their giving. We, as Christians who give tithes and love offerings, can claim this promise. It’s as if every time you give to God, He banks the money on our behalf in a high interest savings or CD account. You get back more than you gave!

But I am not here to give an in-depth study on these Bible verses. Rather, I mention them as a basis for trusting God’s provision.

And we’re not talking only about money. In the Old Testament Daniel trusted God and prayed when it wasn’t safe to do so and in God’s provision He delivered him. Or Daniel’s three friends who trusted God and again in His provision He delivered them.

We have a God we can trust whole heartedly!

PRINCIPLE #2: WAITING ON GOD

  • In the Bible trusting God is often related to Waiting on God. It is easy to say we trust God, but waiting is another matter.
  • “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”(Ps. 27:14)
  • “Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.” (Ps. 37:34)
  • “Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.” (Prov.20:22)
  • On August 30th our landlady came to our door. She was upset and in tears.
  • I was sitting at my desk working on the computer and saw her through the window.
  • She’d received a letter telling her the owner of our condo was going to sell and we had 30 days to pack up and leave!
  • She was so upset that we spent some time assuring her that God would provide for us. She’s not a Christian and probably doesn’t understand the idea of God’s provision.
  • After she left, both Teresa and I immediately went to the Lord and trusted Him. We could claim these verses and even identify the evil (the owner). But waiting on Him still became a journey of faith.
  • A journey that was interrupted by Hurricane Irma which sent us to what we thought was the safe haven of Lakeland, Fl. But the eye of Irma, as a Category 1, went right over Lakeland and where we were staying.
  • We had now personally experienced a hurricane.
  • Basically we slept right through not knowing it had turned northeast in Fort Myers and was heading our way.
  • Thus began our wait. It was already becoming frustrating.
  • And there was more to come.

PRINCIPLE #3: GOD’S THOUGHTS HIGHER THAN OUR THOUGHTS

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 59:9)

  • Have you ever had a plan that God changed?
  • We did.
  • Our plan was simple: Find another place to live and move there. Can’t be more simple than that. But it wasn’t as simple as we thought.
  • Our first step was to hunt for a two bedroom apartment, or at least a one bedroom.
  • Everywhere we turned we were met with “nothing available” for at least 3 months for a double. But for a one bedroom it ran anywhere from 6 months to a year!
  • We tried everywhere. Well, everywhere but the one place we had rejected from the beginning, Murdock Circle.
  • Although we were familiar with the area we had acquired a dislike based more on rumor and personal opinion than any real facts. It was on the church’s bus route, but so were the other places we checked.
  • But even there we were met with a waiting period.
  • At first a one bedroom apartment would not be available until November 12th and someone was already getting ready to sign. By this time God had us right where He wanted us: trusting Him.
  • We went home to get some additional papers they said we needed.

PRINCIPLE #4: God’s will is perfect and timely

“Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.” Ps. 143:10

“If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (Luke 12:28)

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

  • God had allowed us to check out other apartments.
  • We had even looked into the possibility of buying the Condo we were living in. But that door was closed right away.
  • By this time we were praying and seeking God’s will.
  • The apartment at Murdock Circle is the result. We moved in last Friday (Oct. 27).
  • But God’s Perfect Plan didn’t simply solve our immediate situation. There was still a time gap of 31 days between leaving Sunshine Villas and moving into Murdock Circle.
  • Where would we live in the meantime?
  • We were now highly dependent upon God. We even considered moving into the Homeless Coalition if we qualified!
  • But then God’s plan began unfolding.
  • It was as I called it earlier a journey of faith. It was also a journey of frustration!
  • Once we secured Murdock Circle, we looked for temporary living quarters.
  • But the 31 day gap was in essence putting us right back where we started and nothing immediately was available.
  • At this time I approached Pastor Jay about the problem. He immediately got on the phone.
  • As a result a big break came when we were offered a place to live further outside Port Charlotte. It represented a fairly long drive to the church, but it was affordable and available.
  • Or so we thought.
  • The opportunity fell through because the owner had a recalcitrant tenant who refused to leave. This left the owner unable to help us and with an immediate problem of his own.
  • Almost immediately, within seconds actually, another opportunity arose: the Church’s RV.
  • It needed cleaned and repaired, but Pastor Jay felt he could get it done in time (we had about a week to go before leaving the Condo). But this proved difficult and there were no guarantees the repairs would work.
  • Then on Wednesday, September 27 we learned about the camper. This demonstrates another truth about God’s provision. Not only was He preparing us a place to live, but He was providing for the owners of the camper to buy a new home. On Friday September 29th they bought their house and moved in. On Saturday September 30th we moved into the camper.
  • In the meantime, we rented a motel room at Knight’s Inn in Port Charlotte for three nights. (I usually like Knight’s Inn but I cannot honestly say I would recommend this one. But that’s another story.)

So what can we draw from this journey?

In Conclusion no matter who you are or how long you’ve been a believer or how old you are God can be trusted. In our case our plans were constantly changing. While we had no idea how things would work out, God had it all planned and He was in control all the time.

That is the point of this message.

Each one here can probably tell a story about God’s Provision. That is both a joy and a danger. The danger being taking God for granted. Trusting God often involves a deep sense of trust that sometimes takes us where we do not want to go. But God always knows best! …

Today Teresa and I have a new home. Did we do anything great to get it? No, unless you count trusting God. It wasn’t easy to trust Him. Circumstances didn’t always look bright, but He was in charge even when things looked the worse.

So if any of you are facing difficulties, you can trust Him.

God is worthy of our trust!

PRINCIPLE #5: GIVE GOD THE GLORY

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31)

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” (Heb.13:15)

In other words, when you see the mighty hand of God working on your behalf, praise Him and offer thanksgiving!

One of the reasons for choosing this message was for it to be a public praise of God for His provision. Is our story different from yours? Maybe in details, but the truth is that practically everyone here could tell a story or two of God’s provision.

It is good to reflect back on His provisions, because as long as we live we will face new problems, new obstacles, and new opportunities. While it is true we often fail to meet God’s standards, He never fails to care for us or meet our needs.

I believe the following passage expresses today’s truth about God:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lam. 3:20-26)

We are never too old to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and mercy. I dare say that as we get older, we need to trust God more because we can no longer do the things we once did. So we need to depend on Him more.

PRINCIPLES;

  1. TRUST GOD!
  2. WAIT ON GOD.
  3. HIS THOUGHTS ARE HIGHER THAN OURS.
  4. GOD’S WILL IS PERFECT & TIMELY.
  5. GIVE GOD THE GLORY.

We have a wonderful God!

Thank you.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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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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 hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

This passage is deep with a rich supply of theology and application. But I want to zoom in on the first part: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained.

The pride of men is such that they see all the handiwork of God, but refuse to believe that it was created by God. That view has pervaded our schools, government, and some churches. But the truth is that God is the Creator!

As a Christian author I have more than one motive for writing. Like all novelists I write to entertain, but I also have a Christian  motive: Psalm 71:18b, “until I have shown thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.”

I don’t know what your motive is, but I imagine that assuming you’re a Christian you want to be a witness and to influence people for Christ. That doesn’t mean your book(s) have to preach or present the gospel, but it does mean that your book(s) should reflect your Christian beliefs.

As an example, I write historical fiction, primarily Biblical, while my wife is writing her first novel which is a mystery aimed at teens and adults. My Biblical books are based on actual events recorded in the Bible, whereas my wife’s novel will reflect modern living. In other words, we are writing for two entirely different genres.

Let’s get back to my books. My writings explore the relationships man has had with the Creator. Since my books are based on actual events they also include actual people some of which are good and some bad. Exploring this relationship excites me. It takes me deeper into God’s Word, which not only benefits the books but it benefits my own spiritual journey.

The worship of the Creator has been and still is a foundational doctrine for the Christian faith. Only the Creator has the right to be worshiped. Not only that but He has the right to demand our obedience to His will! He didn’t create us and then walk away. Every day He watches us and takes pleasure in us when we do His will. And I find that to be a blessing and an encouragement rather than a threat.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian 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.

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.

Handling God’s Blessings

Handling God’s Blessings

If you have been a Christian for awhile then you have experienced God’s blessings.

You say you haven’t?

Then you’re not paying attention. What you need to realize is that God doesn’t just deal in world shattering miracles or blessings. He knows you intimately and can bless you in so many uncounted ways.

Take a step back and take a look at your life as a Christian. If you do that I think you will change your mind. Here are some things to look for:

  • Have you ever had money come in to pay a bill just in the nick of time?
  • Has someone given you something no one knew you needed?
  • Have you been in an accident that could have been much worse than it was?
  • Ever solved a problem but in all honesty you don’t know how you did it?
  • Ever been mysteriously healed of a disease or injury?
  • Ever lost a job and somehow things just worked out for you?
  • Or lost a job, maybe homeless, but you survived?

These are all possible blessings. And I could go on, but hopefully you get the drift.

As for me I work with computers. I am not a technician by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I a software expert although I have written computer programs. But there have been times when writing those programs that I ran into a roadblock that I couldn’t solve. I prayed and later (maybe minutes, maybe days) I got it working. But ask me how I did it and I would tell you “I don’t know.” That, in my opinion, was a blessing of God.

I have been involved in car accidents. One that comes to mind was a car pulled out in front of me and I reacted. I “saw” children in the back of the car. I knew I couldn’t stop in time, so I went for the shoulder of the road. Driving parallel to the road I went down into a ditch and up the other side and finally brought the car to a halt. When I got out and walked back toward the ditch I saw my gas tank lying on the ground. But my biggest shock was in the ditch there was a concrete culvert and about a car’s width away a good size stump – and my car went right between them with me never seeing the stump! Not only that another car followed the car that had caused me to have the accident. He later came back to see how I was and told me there were no kids in the car. Now that was a blessing!

But I have experienced much smaller blessings as well. There have been times when I and my wife have been extremely short on money and money showed up. Sometimes it was money we knew was scheduled but had forgotten about and sometimes it was money we hadn’t expected at all!

The truth is that God blesses us in great and small ways, but He most often uses the littlest things to bless us and sometimes we aren’t aware of them. Unless were looking.

But how do you handle blessings when they come?

This is actually a key question. Christians should expect God’s blessings either as answers to prayer or sometimes just plain unexpected. But how we handle is even more important than our anticipation of it.

What follows are just three basic ideas. You could build upon these as you see fit. These are not complex.

  1. Thankfulness. Not just saying Thank you, but meaning it. God loves a thankful heart (Col. 3:15).
  2. Be encouraged. God blesses you because He loves you and has plans for you (Joshua 1:6-9).
  3. Seek God’s Will (Heb. 11:6).

These are just a few ideas. Consider them building blocks and add to them. I have found that walking with God is a series of experiences. Growth is not always smooth, but it sure can be adventurous. I have had bad experiences, but when I consider how He blessed either in or afterward, I am glad they happened. So in summary:

  1. Be Thankful.
  2. Be encouraged.
  3. Be seeking His Will.

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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.