Christian Service in the Church

FeaturedChristian Service in the Church

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about the Christian Service in the Church.
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:” Eph. 6:5-7
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Eph. 6:9
Last week I wrote about the Christian in the Workplace and used the Scriptures above. They are just as applicable in the local church as in the workplace.
Let’s take a look at the first passage, Ephesians 6:5-7.
Work as Unto The Lord.
If you are working in the local church can you image doing your work any other way? You are literally working for the Lord for it is His church! With that in mind it is the same as last week, everything follows from working unto the Lord.
When working in the local church your pastor is your boss. You are commanded to love him both as a fellow Christian and as the Under Shepherd. If you can’t love him then you can’t really serve him. And there is something wrong either with him (doctrine or his disobedience) or you. Chances are it’s you.
Be Obedient
I’ll use the same story as last week: When I was called by God to become a financial secretary at my church I started attending school where I learned the basics of church finances. When my pastor told me he wanted me to start I hadn’t become an expert yet, but I did know the basics of the job. So I dropped out of school and started work as the Financial Secretary.
I said last week that it is your job to do it the way the boss wants it done. This is even more important in the church. Have there been times my way was the right way and the pastor was wrong?
Yes.
But I did it his way. I am thinking of one such event right now. I reported a problem, identified it, and told the pastor what needed to be done. He didn’t agree and wanted to bring in a professional. We did, the professional messed things up and we ended up doing things the way I’d originally planned.
Did You Let Him Know He’d Made a Mistake?
No, I did not. I, at his behest, made a report on the whole matter and eventually turned it in to him and the deacons. But aside from reporting the facts I made no other mention to him. You see the pastor is the Lord’s servant. It was his call. My job was to obey.
So You Never Complained?
Not to him. But I took my complaints to the Lord. Last week I discussed skip level meetings. I had a skip level meeting with the Lord and the pastor wasn’t invited. And the Lord took care of the matter!
But yes, I complained to the Lord about it. And I have used the skip level meeting idea throughout my work in the ministry as a Financial Secretary. Did God always work things out in the way I wanted? Of course not.
What is the Best Attitude to Have in Church Service?
Sometimes, believe it or not, the pastor is in the right. In fact, the safest attitude to take when working for a pastor is to assume that the pastor is right and I am wrong. Saves a lot of heartbreak.
A lesson I learned decades ago involved something my wife and I wanted to do in relationship to our getting married. Our pastor knew exactly why we wanted to do it and even understood it. Ordinarily he would have approved, but he knew something that we didn’t and said no but didn’t tell us why at the time. Did I complain to the Lord? In all honesty I don’t remember. But I do remember that years later both my wife and I fully understood the pastor’s decision and it was the right decision.
The fact is the very nature of a pastor’s job puts him in possession of information the rest of us simply don’t have. So it is a wise thing to trust your pastor.
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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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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State Motto, In God We Trust

FeaturedState Motto, In God We Trust

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Monday’s I try to focus on issues. This week I am taking a look at State Motto, In God We Trust.
Part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (Florida) reads thus, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ the designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”
According to the Sunday newspaper “the national and state motto, already featured on American currency, the state flag and even some Florida license plates, is now required by law to be displayed in all Florida schools.”
This article went on to tell about the history of the law and how schools are implementing it. But, aside from a Florida law, how are we to implement the truth it represents in ourselves?
Are We Trusting God?
It is one thing to say In God I Trust but it is altogether different to actually practice it. The truth is we often fail to trust God. It is a failure not just in big things, but in the little things as well. We want to trust Him but we don’t. We know it isn’t His fault that we lack trust although we often point the finger at Him. There’s a lot involved in trusting God.
In What Do We Trust God?
There is a public affirmation and a private affirmation. The state law deals with the public affirmation. It is a good law that needed to be done. And it is just about all the state can do, but what about us?
The problem is that in our private lives we don’t always measure up. Some people will declare the motto publicly, but without any personal (private) commitment or follow through. Trusting God can’t be legislated and this law has wisely refrained from that. It requires the public display of the state motto and nothing more. But we as a people need to take it much further and make it a part of our personal makeup. True revival only comes when we place our whole trust in God.
Trusting God is belief in God and in what He’s said. In some languages there is no word for believe. The closest we can come in conveying belief in that language is to say something like, “put your whole weight upon Jesus.” That is what trust is about, placing our full weight upon Him.
How Do We Trust God?
There is no formal routine to follow or formula to apply. Trusting God is different from one person to another. Let’s pretend there are 10 billion people in the world. I would say then that there are 10 billion ways of trusting. Each person is unique. And not only because of the number of people, but you can also through in the number of issues upon which we need to trust him. Now you’re talking about billions, maybe trillions of ways.
For example, I may be trusting God to provide for my next meal, but someone else may be trusting God to use them to bless others. If He so chooses He can use the one to respond to the trusting need of the former. In the end, trusting God is both personal and constant. Simply starting your day by saying I trust in God is a good start, but we need to reaffirm that throughout the day. We all have needs and wants, but we need to trust God’s daily provision that He knows what is best for us!
The Result of Trusting God
There are two places where the results of trusting God are manifested. The first is in our earthly lives, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. We’ll see the fruit of trusting God or not trusting God right here in our lives as they are lived out on Earth. That is very important. And the truth is that God wants to bless us.
But the more important place is in heaven. Someday in heaven all the saved throughout time and throughout the world will stand before the Lord. And He will reward us according to our works, including how we lived our lives. He will reward us with Crowns and blessings.
What crowns will I receive? I don’t know. While the crowns I’ll receive are all important the most important thing is what I’ll do with them. Read what the Bible says in Revelation 4:10: “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne.”
If you believe as I do that these elders represent us then we’ll cast our thrones before Jesus!
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), or Pauline A New Home (Book Two) I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

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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.

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.

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.

the LORD hath set apart him that is godly

the LORD hath set apart him that is godly

“…the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself, the LORD will hear when I call unto him.” Psalm 4:2

We have been looking at Scripture and applying it to us as writers, but today I will apply this passage to the whole person. Our Scripture today speaks to our hearts. How wonderful it is to know that God wants to fellowship with us!

This should be the goal of every Christian, namely to be set apart for Him. The goal is a wonderful goal but the means of attaining it are difficult. According to this verse we must be godly. I know that some Christians believe that once you are saved you never sin again. However, such a person has never been revealed outside of Christ Himself.  We are sinners, but our sins are covered by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Godliness is not natural for us. We must seek it, pray for it, and work to be holy.

Godliness is like humility. We pray for it and seek it, but the moment we think we have attained it we lose it. People who claim to be holy rarely are because they are exhibiting false pride.

One reason it is so difficult is that the closer we are drawn to Christ the more aware of our shortcomings we become. We discover a sin and deal with it. But when that occurs we discover that there are additional sins. From our perspective it can be frustrating, but from God’s perspective He is pruning us like a woman prunes a plant. He is making us more and more like Him. This is a lifelong process that doesn’t end until we die or are raptured (rapture is the English translation of a Latin word that is a translation of the Greek words ‘caught up.’)

One of the characteristics of a Christian is the desire to be holy. God not only gave us that desire when we were born again but He has commanded us to be holy (Be ye holy for I am holy (I Peter 1:16). So we know it is possible to attain it, but we will have to leave to others and especially to God to decide when we have attained 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.

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.