donovanmneal

Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

Inspiration Tuesday!: Because Music makes you braver!

In Uncategorized on October 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

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Every now and then we all need something to inspire us.  To propel us forward to contend with choices and or tasks that might be hard and dangerous.  If this is you today let my word of encouragement be that you can do it.  Look not at the things that are seen but at the things that are not seen, and move out in faith and determination.

To put a fire in your belly this weeks piece is from the Original Superman soundtrack.  Listen to it, and do the impossible!

Oh and don’t forget to check out my new novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars.

 

Past Performance Does Not Guarantee Future Results: thoughts on faithfullness

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Rock of Gibraltar

The rock of Gibraltar stands as a beacon of both majesty and reliability. The idiom, “solid as a rock” has come to mean faithfulness, and is synonymous with the Rock of Gibraltar. It’s fitting that even modern day companies such as Prudential have used this symbol to convey reliability and strength.

Faithfulness is a highly praised quality that persons of all persuasions admire. The Bible is replete with thoughts on the subject. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Proverbs.

Pr 25:19

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

If you have ever had a toothache, or twisted an ankle then you are getting the imagery here that the writer Solomon wished to convey. This communicates to me that times of trouble really help reveal the quality of faithfulness in a person, and that unfaithfulness can carry pain and impediment to a persons hurt if we are not careful.

But what is faithfulness? The first occurrence of the word in the Bible is found in 1 Sam 26:23 and literally means firmness. In other words something that you can stand, build, or otherwise rely on the character of. Solidity. Ultimately, it means to be trust worthy.

Trust however must be “found”. It requires examination. Daniel was examined and found faithful. Dan 6:4

Stewards of the mysteries of God must also be examined and found faithful. 1 Cor 4:1

Jesus teaches us to avoid building our lives on things that shift. Matt 7:24-26.

God constantly has appealed to humanity to place its trust in Him. Mrk 11:22. To examine him, and find him faithful. He proclaims that he changes not. Mal 3:6

But what if you’re not faithful? What if you have had troubles being faithful?  Sometimes in our zeal to serve, we like Peter know not our own heart and its capacity to turn. Peter thought he would never deny the Lord. But Jesus knew him well enough to let him know not only would he deny him, and would show his unfaithfulness three times in one evening.

It’s astounding when one thinks about this, could it be that Jesus didn’t follow his own advice in Proverbs, and relied on an unreliable Peter? But the actuality is that Jesus had indeed examined him, and knew that after his testing, he would come forth as pure gold.

Lu 22:31, 32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Jesus knew that after Peter’s trial by fire, and after the dross was removed he would come forth a vessel qualified to carry his message beyond his own race of people. Peter’s end in faithfulness was so astounding that according to church tradition he would not only stand up for the cause of Christ, but would be crucified upside down.

God makes the unfaithful, faithful. Such is the power and transformative love of Christ.

As you, evaluate the faithfulness of things and others around you. On what can we really guarantee our future success? Keep faithful men and women around you. Be not weary as others examine you, and as the Lord reveals to you the need for a deeper level of reliability as you walk with him. Don’t be offended if you are submitted for examination, it simply means that God or persons are simply looking for faithfulness in you.

More importantly keep Him around whose faithfulness knows no limits. I suppose I can’t say it any better than what it states in Hebrews.

Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Now that will guarantee future success!

Unsure how to price your ebook? This mig

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Unsure how to price your ebook? This might help! http://ow.ly/q9CKI

Would you like a free digital copy of my novel?

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

Would you like a free digital copy of my book to read on your kindle or nook? I am willing to give a copy to you for free in exchange for your honest customer review on Amazon.com! Contact me @ donovanmneal@yahoo.com for details! http://ow.ly/pR9cN

Opening up my book proof

In Look what I did!, My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on October 15, 2013 at 3:52 pm

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An Interview with Christian Fiction Historical author Allison Kohn

In On writing on October 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm

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So So today I’d like to take the time to introduce Allison Kohn.  I had the privilege of meeting Allison on Goodreads.com

Allison describes herself as “a seventy-four year old woman who has been through muddy waters and over steep mountains and knows how to show others the way in an interesting and entertaining way.”

So tell us about your book Allison. Why did you write it and who is it targeted towards?

Evelyn’s anxious Bench is the first in the Baker family saga. It tells the story of Jonathan Baker’s extended family’s departure from their luxurious homes in Maryland with all the servants and other amenities – like bathrooms – to help blaze a trail through the untamed country between Independence, Mo. and the west coast.   Jonathan Baker had a strong personality and when he got the manifest destiny bug, he expected his children and their spouses to pick up their children and follow him into the unknown. The story focuses on his oldest daughter, Evelyn. She is the last of his children to give in to his desire and she doesn’t like it one bit, but she is determined to be a “good woman” so she puts on her martyr’s bonnet and does her best.

Why did I write it? I was responsible for the unmarried adults in our church and they were reading novels full of things not listed in that “whatsoever things are pure…” guideline for walking in the light.  Writing has always been second nature to me, so I decided adults needed to read things “…of good report” as the guidebook says; and the adventures of the Baker family and their part in manifest destiny would make exciting, romantic reading.

Sounds like you were looking for a way to do ministry.  What were some of the biggest challenges in writing the book?

For me, the greatest challenge was a lack of technology. I wrote on notepaper with a pencil – my first typewriter was an old pharmacy model. Rejection was the next biggest challenge. I sent in my first pharmacy typewritten copy to Zondervan in the early eighties. I got a three page letter back and was so ignorant about the process; I threw it away and had a good cry. What I should have done was made the suggested changes and sent it back.

Four books are quite a number to have under your belt.  What advice would you give new novelists?

Don’t give up, of course.  A good editor is a must, but you better be a good editor yourself too, because it’s your book and your editor is human – and humans make mistakes. I have also advised authors to get a writer’s thesaurus with a language guide in the back and spend time with the guide.

So I of course have to ask about your faith.  How did you become a Christian?

That’s a long story. My mother was sure about God and she made me pretty sure about him, but when I asked her why Jesus died on that old rugged cross, she said she didn’t know – to her, it seemed like a stupid thing for him to do. Years later, during 4th and 5th grades, I went to a Mennonite school where a friend led me in the sinner’s prayer and explained that I should cover my head with my hands when I prayed – since I didn’t have a prayer cap and she was pretty sure my mother wouldn’t let me wear one.  I didn’t remember the prayer, but I remembered the thing about covering my head with my hands when I prayed. When that didn’t seem to be getting through, I tried prostrating myself – but that didn’t work either. I asked a Baptist if being baptized would help. He said, no, I didn’t have to be baptized to be saved, but he wasn’t sure what a person did have to do.

By that time I was seventeen years old and I had an asthma attack and had to stay home alone. I got my mother’s Bible – she never read it, it was important to her, but she said it contradicted itself, so she kept it dusted and cherished it but never opened it. I looked up to the ceiling and said, God if you’re there, mama says this is your word, so use it to speak to me and show me how to know I am going to heaven when I die. Then I let the Bible fall open in my hand to wherever it would. Well, I’d been to Sunday school enough so I’d heard about the serpent of Moses’ and when the bible fell open to the third chapter of John where Jesus explained to Nicodemus about that snake on the pole being a picture of Jesus dying on the cross, it all became clear and I jumped and shouted for joy. I didn’t have to do anything, Jesus did it all for me.  A few months later we got a lot of books from my aunt with a Bible in the lot. I started reading and fell in love with God. That was 58 years ago and the love has grown exponentially through the years.

What a wonderful testimony.  Do you any favorite authors and or books you like to read?

While I was going to that Mennonite school, I discovered Grace Livingston hill and have read her over and over again through the years. Recently I discovered Eugene Peterson, Glen beck, Fred Herron, P.L. Gaus, Nancy Mehl, and a assortment of new Indie authors with Paula Rose Michelson in the front.

Now that you’ve written the book what other projects if any are you working on?

I have written four of the Baker family saga books and am working on the fifth. I am going back over the first four and re-edit them, and, if necessary, re-publish. That’s the best thing about self-publishing. The writer has complete control of fixing the errors.

When did you start writing?

I have dyslexia and am left handed, so it wasn’t until I was twelve years old I learned how to deal with both well enough to read and write well. Before that I told stories. When I discovered the Bible’s many treasures, I started writing commentaries and sermons; but there was always the Baker family in the background, waiting to be written about.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

The fifth book in the Baker family saga is set in the south during the civil war and features Linda Baker, Jonathan’s youngest son’s youngest child. She is a strong willed young lady visiting her cousin when war breaks out. She is quite outspoken about her allegiance to the north, which causes a lot of trouble. Things escalate from there.

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

Since the library was my home away from home for many years, and I got the chance to do a little traveling along the Oregon Trail, there was no problem till I could no longer drive, walk well, or see well – but there are always ways to overcome every obstacle.

Than you Allison for sharing with us today.  I especially appreciate the pointers from another writer. May you have great success!

For those interested in Christian Fiction in the historical /romance genre you can find Allison’s book here

 

To be poor in spirit.

In Controversy is Christian, My two cents and Christian Opinion on October 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm

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In a recent worship service the pastor talked about our need to be totally reliant on God.

Needless to say I have not always done a great job of that in my own walk.  But nevertheless, I find that the lesson is still refreshing to hear.  Recently I received an understanding of a scripture that for many years has eluded.  Perhaps I never studied it as fully as I should.  Maybe I simply was blind to its truth before now I don’t know.  All I know is that I get it now.  And it’s a doozy…at least to me.

Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

I’ve often wondered what that means.  I’m living in the 21st century and in the day when I hear terms like “Google it”, “Twerking” and “hashtag” the phrase “poor in spirit”, just doesn’t come up in my everyday experience.

The word poor here comes from a Greek word ‘ptochos’ which comes from the derivative ptosso.  It means…

“(to crouch); akin to 4422 and the alternate of 4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas 3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):–beggar(-ly), poor”

Now I’ve seen beggars.  Most of what I’ve seen has been homeless individuals as I speed near exit ramps holding signs that state “Hungry, will work for food.”  I’ve had beggars come and ask for a dollar.  I’ve seen them huddled in blankets cold with a tin cup, pressed against the back of buildings to keep warm.  It’s not exactly the most pleasant image that comes to mind.  Perhaps that’s why I have found myself running from such a condition.  I mean who wants to beg?  It’s probably one of the most adverse circumstances any of us would want to find ourselves in.  To be in such abject poverty, and a state of insufficiency that we must plead for the help of someone else.  But this Jesus person comes along and says yep.  Your blessed if that’s the state you are in, ‘in spirit.’

So naturally my logical thinking mind is “what’s this ‘in spirit’ thing?

After studying out that the word; ‘spirit’ comes from the Greek work pneuma, which roughly means breath.  I must admit that my understanding simply didn’t get any help there.  It wasn’t until later that it clicked for me that Jesus used what had to be an idiom.  A an expression that could not be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that had a separate meaning of its own.  Similar to such phrases like, “A Dime A Dozen”, or “A Piece of Cake”.

So what does “poor in spirit” mean.  It means to be totally dependent on the sufficiency of God.  To look to him for sustenance, fulfillment, sufficiency, and resources.

There are numerous scriptures that communicate this truth of the believers need to look to and rely on God.  Everything from Matt 4:4 “man shall no live by bread alone”, to when Paul communicates in 2 Cor 12:9.  “my grace is sufficient for you.”

Oh and these are just a few new testament scriptures.

This theme of dependence on God is one of the central messages of Jesus: that we are in need of God, a savior and that we are powerless (i.e. in abject poverty) without him.  What’s interesting is the contrast to the person who is “poor in spirit”.  I happened to find it, and the person, nay a whole group of persons are described by Jesus very clearly in Revelations 3:17

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”

This was the comment to the Laodician church.  Interesting huh?  Those that know this text know Jesus’s feelings about them.  Words like regurgitation come to mind just to jar your memory.

No wonder I have had a hard time finding the meaning of this phrase.  Between my own life and society around me.  I’m stuck in a morass of people who are comfortable in their own self sufficiency and who don’t realize their true condition.

It’s amazing to me when I can look at my life and see how easily one can move to dependence on something other than God.  Kind of just gets ya doesn’t it?  Laodiceans…sigh.

Are you poor in spirit?