When I consider thy heavens…

When I consider thy heavens…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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.

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.