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July 16th, 2012
Thanks to those of you who have been subscribing through the RSS feed. It helps us growing on the Google Search Rankings. Help us to continue to grow by signing up today if you haven’t already. Just click on the icon right after the title to do that.
There are new things to look at on the site.
- The is a new trailer of the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” It is on the right side under the Amazon icon. Click on it to see what the book is all about.
- There is a new page forming called, “All About Writing.” That page will talk about publishing; have guest authors share, and discuss writing trends.
- I have posted two 5 star reviews of my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” on the “All About Writing” page. Click on the All About Writing tab to also see all my other places you can connect with me.
- There is a new page called, “Publishing News.” This page will bring you news from around the world on trends, latest news on publishing, and any other things that may be interesting.
Another shocking announcement! ( That got your attention!) “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World, ” is now out in eBook form. I You can acquire it at all the eBook outlets. It is only $4.99. Help it climb the www.amazon.com best selling list. You can even order it right from this site by clicking on the Amazon icon on the right.
I have a podcast here that I did with John Kremer, the marketing guru. He invited me to share unusual places to sell books. Take a listen and hit those streets running: goo.gl/WGTF7
Thoughts just for you….
As Christians, we are to Try to be more Christ Like. (Romans 8:29.)
This doesn’t mean that the day you accept Christ into your heart, that you are to be a perfect Christian. This is a gradual, lifelong, process that will only be completed when we see Christ face to face. (I John 3:2.)
To be “worthy,” of this calling means you want to do what is right and good, just as Christ would.
Some ways to grow more like Christ are:
- Read the Bible every day, and understand what it means by searching the concordances, etc.
- Speak to God each day in prayer and feel the closeness He provides, just like He did for Jesus.
- Fellowship with other Christians, through your church, or in Bible study groups.
It is hard, at best, to survive in this unfriendly world, but when we try to follow the right path God has for us, it is much easier.
You are not alone.
You are not forsaken.
You are not unloved.
Above all…never ever, give up!!
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January 30th, 2012
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I have another excerpt for you today, from my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” It tells us that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s what you do while you are there that does.
The book reaches out to those who may be suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects.
The book is on sale right now at this site. It sells for $19.99 in the retail stores, but on this site it is only $15.99, and the shipping has been cut in half as well. A total savings of over $6.00.
Just click on the “Bookstore,” tab at the top of this page and check it out.
Going to Church Doesn’t Make You a Christian Any More than
Going to McDonalds Makes You a Hamburger
In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.
1 Corinthians 11:18–19
So many people go to church and criticize what is going on there. They think they have the perfect plan to reach out to others. They may be right in some ways, but we must never think that our ways are the only ways. God knows those who are truly members of the body of Christ and He wants those He has gifted for the task do the true leading of the church.
I have been going to church for many years. Does that make me a Christian? Some people think attending church is all you need to do to make it to heaven. The answer is, of course not.
I have seen churchgoers come to church Sunday after Sunday and then go home, tell filthy jokes to their friends, use profanity on a regular basis, and be bigoted about minority groups. Jesus would not do these things if He were on earth today. He accepted everyone—even those on the fringes of mainstream society. He would be gentle and frown on those who used language not acceptable by God’s standard.
The formula is very clear: We need to develop four habits to be a strong Christian after we have accepted Jesus into our hearts.
1. Read the Bible
3. Tithe (give back to God)
4. Fellowship with other believers
1. Read the Bible. I don’t mean scanning it for a certain verse. I don’t mean reading only the chapter the message or lesson is about. And I don’t mean reading it only when there is a crisis. I mean we need to continue to read God’s Word—every day.
I realize this may be a tough task, with all of the hustle and bustle in today’s busy world. But most of us find time to read the newspaper. (There are much more exciting stories in the Bible—and they are all true.) We should be able to read a few verses in the Bible daily to get draw closer to God. It’s all a matter of priorities.
It’s so much easier for me to remain close to God when I’m consistently reading the Bible. I’ve read it through a couple of times already and every time I read it again, I find things I hadn’t seen before.
Joining a Bible study group (Bible Study Fellowship1) has been great for me. The rewards are more than I can explain. I love sharing the verses we’re assigned to read each week. Imagine ten to twelve men/women all commenting on the same verses. The different insights help me understand what the words really mean. I enjoy the time, and I know that I have to study each week if I want to take part in the discussion. I need the commitment to study each night. It helps me to stay on task.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16–17
2. Pray. This is the close encounter with God that we need every day. I can’t emphasize this more strongly than to say that prayer works! Some people say, “I prayed for weeks, and nothing happened.” God hears those prayers. He is listening, but we must remember that God answers prayers on His timetable and not on ours. God may decide that what we’re praying for is not what He wants for us. He will answer our prayers in a way that will help us understand why He moved in the direction He did. We may see that it was good that things worked out the way they did. God loves us, and He wants the best for us. When we pray, He listens, and then He helps us out in a way that He feels is best for us.
When I prayed for God to help me write this book several years ago is just one example of how He answers our prayers.
Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.
3. Tithe. I’m the first to admit that I was very slow in getting around to tithing to God. I know that I need to give more to my church. I give every time there is an offering, but I am talking about a full commitment of giving 10% of your earnings to God each month. This is a difficult commitment for many people—me included.
God has blessed me a great deal, and I want to show Him how much I care for Him by giving back some of the money He has provided for me. (It’s all His anyway!)
I have had some very good times through tithing. When I was first married and we had some little rug rats running around the house, I tithed. It was tough because we weren’t making a lot of money back then. The amazing part of those times was that the bills still got paid and we still had money for clothes. We often got a check in the mail that we weren’t expecting. It might be a rebate or refund that we forgot was coming.
There were also times when a note with the bill said, “You may skip paying this month.” It was the timing that was wonderful. It seemed that every time we received a check, it was in the month that was very tight for us. God provided for us. He feeds even the little sparrows, doesn’t He?
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always.
4. Fellowship. I feel this is the most important part of being a Christian. There was a time (before March 21st, 2001) that I didn’t think I needed to go to church to grow as a Christian. I felt that some of the so-called Christians in church weren’t Christians anyway. (You know what? That is true, but it’s not the point to me anymore.)
The point is that me, myself, and I—all three of us—need to be in church to continue to grow! It doesn’t matter if some of the members are not acting like Christians. What does matter is how I act and the state of my relationship with God. I can’t think of a better place to grow as a Christian. The lessons I learn from what I hear in the sermons are very valuable and can teach me how to cope during the next week.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Becoming a fully developed (mature) Christian takes a lot of work and effort. Try to build each one of the four aspects into your walk with God. It may take a while, but you will feel the love of God in you grow as you add each one.
Something to Ponder
Isn’t it funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe anything the Bible says?
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August 13th, 2010
I have a busy week coming up by Monday. I will going “Door to door,” visiting all the bookstores in Salem, Oregon. I am diving head first into my marketing for the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”
I did the research, and there are twelve bookstores in Salem. Lots of “Mom and Pop” level bookstores, and one Borders bookstore. My goals to to have a least one of my book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” on the shelf of each of these stores.
You have a chance to own the book before it hits the shelves in about 2o days. You can go to www.winepresspub.com right now and save 27% of what the retail price will be when it comes out.
When you get to the site, click on the bookstore at the top, and then when you are there, put in “Signs of Hope,” in the search area. That should get you right to my page. You will see that you will only be paying $14.59 instead of the retail price of $19.99.
When the book comes out you will get the book sent to you that day.
What follows is an actual excerpt from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.”
A Small Stumble May Lead to a Big Fall
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
1 Peter 5:8–9
Lydia Moeller was at her recital and ready to play for the audience. The girl before her finished and Lydia walked onto the platform. She sat down and began to play “The Enchanted Stream” by Christopher Goldston. She started out playing a beautiful tune, but about halfway through she stumbled when she forgot her notes. She stopped, tried to start, and stopped again. You could she the emotions building, and tears were coming down her face. Then a wonderful thing happened. She regrouped and played the song without error. So, yes, she stumbled, but she didn’t fall. She kept her balance and finished the race. I said to her afterwards that I was very impressed with her. Not that she stumbled, but that she finished the race.
Do you stumble and fall because you have worries and problems that overtake you? Well, you are not alone my friend. This is an all too common occurrence in our lives.
We let enemies like divorce, abuse, overweight, low self-esteem, depression, fear of failure and bills that are not paid to cause us to stumble, and wonder, Where is God?
Satan loves this kind of doubt. He can plant many thoughts in our heads to cause us to fall even further. Some of these worries may be small by themselves, but put enough of them together and they become as large as Mt. Everest.
That broken-down car isn’t such a horrible thing, but you have already missed some work because of it, and your boss said you are not to miss any more work. The illness that attacked your daughter isn’t life-threatening, but you have no insurance to pay for the doctor’s visit. You want to put that glass of whiskey down, but you can’t.
Each of these issues may be small to some people, but for you it is like taking on Sir Lancelot and his sword with a wet noodle, or trying to swim ten miles and not knowing how to swim.
Some of the most successful people in the Bible have stumbled many times, and still are loved by God.
Abraham lied—not once but twice—to save his skin, but God gave him all the land he could see and promised that he would be the father of a nation.
Moses killed a man, and doubted God many times, but he led the nation of Israel out of Egypt.
Rahab was a prostitute, but her heart was open to God, and she protected three spies for Joshua. God in turn spared her life.
David committed adultery and had a man killed to cover up the first sin. (And both of these sins are biggies in our book.) Yet, God called him “a man after his own heart.”
Jonah tried to run away from what God commanded him to do and was swallowed by a whale. He later followed God’s command to preach to all the people in Nineveh.
Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, but became one of the prominent leaders in the early church.
Each one of us has stumbled many times. We have the choice to lie there flat on our face when we stumble, or we can get back up and continue our walk with God. The longer we lie there, though, the harder it can be to get back up and into the race again.
We wonder sometimes why God would love us. The good news is that He loves us just the way we are. But He doesn’t want us to stay that way. He didn’t want all those people in the Bible to remain they way they were. However, He accepted them the way they were, and transformed them into spiritual leaders.
How can we change? By taking our focus off our failures, fear and worries and turning them over to God.
The mind is like a stream running through our brain and the stream has been polluted. It will tear us down and eventually affect everything if we let it. When we stop the flow of “sewage” (unwholesome input, negative thinking) to the brain, it will take awhile for the creek to clear. We can’t clean up all the sewage at once, but we need to take the first steps.
Before he became the king of Israel, David was so down and desperate that he had to live in a cave to get away from his pursuer—the king himself. It was there that he realized that all he had to do was to cry out to God, asking Him to protect him and bring him back to where God really wanted him to be.
I myself was so down from my stumbling that I seriously considered suicide. I cried out to God to rescue me, and He did.
We need to not focus on our times of stumbling and need to focus on God instead. Our weeks need to include reading the Bible, praying to God for guidance, going to church to be with other Christians, being part of a Bible study, and reading Christian books (like mine, of course!) We need to take time to be with other Christians.
We can’t afford to dwell on the negative. Instead, we need to seek out the positive. If we have failed in the past (and we all have in one degree or another), we are not doomed to live in the past. God desires that we live for today—and the future.
Others may have turned their backs on us because of our stumbling and seeming inability to “get it together.” But they’re only seeing the outside. Remember that God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
Maybe you haven’t stumbled, but you think people look down on you because you don’t have as many of this world’s possessions as they have—or maybe you have more than they do. Or maybe you feel you don’t measure up in other ways—too overweight, too this, too that, or not enough this or enough that.
Remember, please, that God doesn’t care about any of those issues. He is looking at your heart. He is looking for you to follow Him and do great things for Him.
Satan uses our stumbling to tell us we might as well give up. “You won’t succeed no matter how much you try,” he whispers. You want to stop smoking, but you can’t. You want to finish that project your wife has been screaming for you to finish, but you don’t have the desire. You can fill in the blanks because you know what your issues are.
Please don’t give up. Never give up! Find friends you can turn to at times like this. Share your fears and let them be your protectors, coaches and encouragers. A true friend wants only the best for you, will listen and not criticize, and is a person you can feel safe with. A true friend may have to say some hard things to you, but his intention is that you become the best person you can be.
I have friends like that here on earth, but I also have one more—Jesus Himself. He meets all the criteria listed above for a true friend. I am never alone—He is always just a prayer away.
We don’t have to try to make more money—or lose 50 pounds, or climb the ladder at work—to feel worthy in His sight. Our willingness to simply turn all our troubles over to God and let Him love us is the “proof” of our worth. Success in this life can be measured by how much we love God and desire to serve Him.
So you’re not in line to be named as the next Pope. You’ve done some things you’re not proud of? You gave up too early on a dream? Do you feel like Custer and you’re on your last stand? Do bad things keep resurfacing like a cork in a lake?
Well, join the “Been there and done that” club. Here’s a news flash: Churches are filled with the down-and-out. They may look like the “up-and-in” crowd, but they need someone who’s “been there and done that” to come alongside them for encouragement and fellowship. You may be the one person in your entire church who can honestly say to that person, “I know how you feel.”
I have a hearing problem. I have to wear hearing aids in both ears. I have learned to use selective hearing. (Don’t tell my wife!) I take off my hearing aids when I want a quiet time. I go somewhere that noise cannot find me, where I can really concentrate on reading the Bible or praying.
However, I’ve found there are two types of thoughts I can always hear, and I get to choose which side of the “argument” I’ll listen to:
- 1. Yes you can … No you can’t.
- 2. God will help you … There is no God.
- 3. You have self-worth … You are worthless.
All of us can choose to use selective hearing too. We can turn a deaf ear to those stumbling days and the years of doubts. We can walk the straight path toward the future and listen only to God.
I don’t seem to hear Satan as much anymore—because of the ear-plug effect. I can choose to plug the ears to my thoughts and not allow negative thoughts to penetrate, but open my mind’s ears wide to uplifting, soothing thoughts.
All of us have ears; we just haven’t learned to use them properly. We can turn the volume down on people who want to degrade us and turn up the volume on those who come alongside to help us.
When we’re standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst from feeling depressed, dejected and beaten down, we can wade ashore and quench our thirst on the love of God. God responds to our sighs, our tears, our fears—even our stumbling and falling—as a prayer to Him.
Each of us is a child of God—made in His image. Don’t you think that since He went as far as to make us in His own image that He will do everything He can to love and do what is best for each one of us? Of course He will.
Stop stumbling and start walking with God.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
We all fail sometimes. It may be small thing like forgetting where the car keys are. It may be you lost the important papers you boss told you to take are off. It may be a broken marriage. It may even be your own job that you have lost. It is what you do after each of these happens that shows what we are made of. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost my keys. I have had to have Charlotte bail me out often by getting the keys for me, but I am still driving. I didn’t give driving up because I feared I would lose the keys again. I have lost important papers. I had this book all one and was getting ready to go back through and ad some Further Adventures to it like the one you are reading now. I completely finished it one time. But somehow I lost the whole file. I think I must of sent it to a friend and asked them to proof read it and forgot who I sent it to. I haven’t found it to this very day. So this is my second attempt at writing this Further Adventure. I vaguely remember the other one I wrote for this chapter, and I like this one much more. Could it be that it was God that “lost” that file for me?
The point to all of this is that you stumble and you fall. I did. You need to get back up; dust yourself off and start up again. I will get all the Future Adventures done the second time, and now I am convinced that they will be better than the first time I wrote them.
Something to Ponder
Isn’t it funny that we seek happiness from the outside, but true happiness is found on the inside?