Being Wise

Being Wise

A wise man will hear, and increase in learning…”

In Proverbs 1:5 we are told to be wise, to increase in learning and be a man of understanding. We have all probably heard sermons on this, but this blog is aimed at authors so what does this mean for the Christian author?

Actually this verse is related to Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” Taking these two verses together and applying them to us as Christian authors is a very impactful action.

The very first thing that must be done to gain wisdom is to worship God. More specifically we need to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which occurs when we invite Him to save us. This is what we call being Born Again. This term is misused today to mean something like a fresh start. But it actually means a new relationship, of becoming a child of God (which only occurs when we are saved not when born in the flesh).

But what does wisdom mean to me as a writer?

I have stated this previously but it is worth restating. There is plenty of advice on and off the internet about writing, publishing, and marketing your books. The question is not do I listen but how do I discern good and bad advice. The answer is the Bible. God has laid out principles for us to follow. A wise writer takes those principles and used them as a filter for understanding and applying the wisdom.

Not only should a Christian writer use a biblically sound filter, but they need to apply the wisdom gained. So what are some of these principles?

Principles:

  1. Romans 11:29 : “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” We usually apply this to spiritual gifts, but God also gave us other gifts which we are expected to use. The ability to write is a gift. Has He given you that ability? If yes, then use it.
  2. Joshua 1:8: “…meditate therein day and night...” Whether your book is based on the Bible or not keep your focus on the Scriptures. He has promised to bless you!
  3. I Thess. 5:17: “Pray without ceasing.” Pray about your writing, publishing, and marketing.
  4. Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart…” Trust Him, He knows what is best and will provide.
  5. Proverbs 12:24 : “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule.” Be diligent in your writing, apply yourself. You may say your story wrote itself, but it still requires you to do the typing, editing, proofing, etc.
  6. Colossians 3:23: ‘…do it heartily, as to the Lord…” Put your heart into it, be proactive.

These are but a few principles. They are like nuggets of gold. The Bible is full of principles, so search for them and apply them. I believe that if you base your career upon the sure Word of God that God will bless you.

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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.

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.

Why do the heathen rage?

Why do the heathen rage?

“Why do the heathen rage…”

Psalm 2:1-5 shows the futility of man’s pride.

Men and women rise to power and all too often forget that it was God who enabled them to rise to their position. While the psalm is speaking of kings and rulers the truth is that all of us are subject to pride. And pride is the underlying force behind man’s rage against God. Yes, the love of money is the root of all evil, but pride is often the source of our rejection of God’s will for us.

We writers, yes Christian writers, have the same battles, the same temptation of pride. In fact, the more successful a person is the more vulnerable to the sin of pride. When we wrote that first book we were humble and thankful for whatever success it commanded. But as our careers ascend to greater heights it becomes so easy to forget.

But the truth is that success is not built upon sales. You can have tremendous sales and yet not be a success in God’s eyes. One reason that we are so vulnerable to pride is that our livelihood is firmly attached to sales. So we can’t ignore sales. And today writers have to do much of their own marketing. So again it is easy to start thinking “I did that.”

This is a sin that athletes are prone to fall into. They work and play hard, they develop their game, and put their best effort out there. And when success comes they say, “It wasn’t God that did this; I did it.” And when we hear of this we condemn their shortsightedness. But we do the same thing with our writing careers.

So how do we avoid the temptation of pride?

I don’t pretend to be a theologian. But I have been a Christian for awhile and a student of God’s Word. I have found that humility doesn’t just happen. If I want to be humble before my Lord, I have to realize that He is in charge. It is a daily challenge to submit to God and give Him all the glory.

It is easy to say, “I always do.” But that is often an expression of pride. No one is always humble. For that matter no one is always obedient. We have that pesky humanity that seeks to glorify itself. Thus we have to daily read God’s Word, meditate upon it, and apply it to our lives. And when I go to God in prayer I like to start out by acknowledging that He is Lord and I am a sinner saved by grace.

Someone once wrote that Christians should not identify themselves as sinners saved by grace. The idea being that we are saved, have a new heart and the indwelling Holy Spirit. While that is true, we still have our old nature which desires to rebel against God. And when we get careless or over-confident in our lives, we can be tripped up by our old nature and get proud.

So fellow Christian I encourage you to spend time with our Lord and in His Word. Facing a problem, take it to the Lord. Experiencing success, take it to the Lord. Needing advice about how to write, publish, or market your book, take it to the Lord. It sounds too easy, I know. But He is stronger, wiser, and more capable than any of us!

Speaking of marketing our books, I am finding inspiration in the Bible. You can’t do a google search and find any scripture speaking on how to market products, especially books. But there are a lot of scriptures that deal with the attitudes and principles that govern how we influence others and how we run our business.

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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.

Profiles in faith James Madison

Profiles in faith James Madison

Many people, including historians, claim that Madison and the other founders as well were deists. But they do so without much evidence. But what do Madison’s own statements reveal?

“…watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” (emphasis added)

Notice the words Annals of Heaven. This is not a deist term, but clearly speaks of heaven, whereas the word ‘annals’ would indicate a book or record. In other words, he is speaking of salvation and having our names written in the Book of Life, which is Christian in doctrine and thought.

“For men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”  (emphasis added)

Here he indicates a desire that men of high position be bold in their faith, even becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ! This is a strong statement and evinces a belief in personal soul winning.

On these two quotes alone we can safely surmise that Madison was a Christian not a Deist. But there is more.

Although initially opposed to amendments, he supported the idea of freedom of religion where the government does not favor one denomination over another. He wasn’t afraid of the church influencing government, but rather government establishing a national religion. Read:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” (emphasis added)

An interesting fact was that he was inclined to have paid chaplains for Congress. As President he signed a bill that economically aided a Bible Society to distribute Bibles. Further, as President he signed proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. These are not the actions of a Deist.

Later in life he seems to have retreated from these positions with his ‘Detached Memorandum.” However, this memorandum does not reflect his public statements and actions, which in my opinion makes one wonder if it was written by him at all. But whether it was or wasn’t the fact remains that both publicly and historically his actions were that of a believer in Christ and not that of a Deist.

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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 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.

Profiles in Faith James Madison

Profiles in Faith James Madison

Many people, including historians, claim that Madison and the other founders as well were deists. But they do so without much evidence. But what do Madison’s own statements reveal?

“watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.” (emphasis added)

Notice the words Annals of Heaven. This is not a deist term, but clearly speaks of heaven, whereas the word ‘annals’ would indicate a book or record. In other words, he is speaking of salvation and having our names written in the Book of Life.

“For men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ.”  (emphasis added)

Here he indicates a desire that men of high position be bold in their faith, even becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ! This is a strong statement and evinces a belief in personal soul winning.

On these two quotes alone we can safely surmise that Madison was a Christian not a Deist. But there is more.

Although initially opposed to amendments to the Constitution, he supported the idea of freedom of religion where the government does not favor one denomination over another. He wasn’t afraid of the church influencing government, but rather government establishing a national religion. Read:

“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established.” (emphasis added)

An interesting fact was that he was inclined to have paid chaplains for Congress. As President he signed a bill that economically aided a Bible Society to distribute Bibles. Further, as President he signed proclamations for national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving. These are not the actions of a Deist.

Later in life he seems to have retreated from these positions with his ‘Detached Memorandum.” However, this memorandum does not reflect his public statements nor his actions, which in my opinion makes one wonder if it was written by him at all. But whether it was or wasn’t the fact remains that both publicly and historically his actions were that of a believer in Christ and not that of a Deist.

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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.

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

5 STAR REVIEW OF PERISHED

The following review was posted by a reader on Amazon. (http://amzn.to/2u1Y409)

This book was like a dialogue to the bible. I could feel and hear each character…they became life like or real to me in the way the author pended their various responses and reactions to their unique situations. My favourite chapters were 44 and 45, where Queen Esther expressed her love for both men. The one she was in love with before she was ordered to marry the King-something she became willing to do and her now established love,for the King-something that obviously grew with time. I also loved the King’s reaction upon his death bed in that he now entrusted the life of his soon to be widowed wife back to the man with whom she was previously in love. I loved how she displayed faithfulness and trust in a most uncertain time in her life..a time when her daughter-in-law was seeking to take her place as Queen. This gives a fresh feel to the bible and is a real eye opener. I will definitely be looking out for book 2.

As noted above the link to this book on Amazon.com is http://amzn.to/2u1Y409.

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.