Tag Archives: devotional

Why I Write Steampunk … A Part Two of Sorts … Author post by Sophronia Belle Lyon

jeremiah steampunk

We were reading in Jeremiah this morning, and I ran across these verses. It made me think of how we fail the Lord sometimes … Get distracted and fall away from wholehearted service, or become rebellious and stubborn. The Lord invites us to return, and His forgiveness will restore us to “stand before him”, like a servant stands ready to do his master’s bidding.

Then I thought about writing Steampunk, and how man takes good things and twists them, making them evil and vile, or real-life people who corrupt the innocent. Classic themes, characters, and settings become vehicles for sex-peddling, feminist diatribes, exalting the occult, and all the other things Steampunk sometimes does.  But the verses above say God urges us to “take forth the precious from the vile”. He says … *shivers running up and down my spine* … “thou shalt be as my mouth”. I get to speak for God. I get to speak for God!

Listen to what Johannes Keppler says about his studies in Science:

“Now, eighteen months after the first light, three months after the true day, but a very few days after the pure Sun of that most wonderful study began to shine, nothing restrains me; it is my pleasure to taunt mortal men with the candid acknowledgment that I am stealing the golden vessels of the Egyptians to build a tabernacle to my God from them, far, far away from the boundaries of Egypt. If you forgive me, I shall rejoice; if you are enraged with me, I shall bear it. See, I cast the die, and I write the book. Whether it is to be read by the people of the present or of the future makes no difference: let it await its readers for a hundred years, if God Himself has stood ready for six thousand years for one to study Him.”

—Johannes Kepler, Book V, The Harmony of the World

But there’s a strong caution in the Jeremiah passage. I can use Steampunk for His glory, but I have to be careful not to let my hunger to extend my reach — to use this offbeat but popular genre to attract people into the sphere of God’s influence — God says, “let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.” It’s the old analogy of the person standing on the chair trying to pull up the person on the floor. I can’t end up on the floor. I can’t get down on the world’s level. I have to bring them up into that “Sun” Keppler talked about. I also have to remember that I’m supposed to be rescuing souls, real, precious lives, not just writing a book about it.

I love that reference to a “fenced brasen wall”, because Steampunk things are often made out of bronze. My characters use bronze tools and weapons for defense and offense against the enemies they face. But in reality it is God who protects and preserves those who “stand before” Him. I need to be clear about that with my characters ,too, that as they face “the hand of the wicked” and “the hand of the terrible”, that they rely on and give glory to God for their deliverance.

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Filed under Bible Teaching, Excerpts from our Fiction Books, Writing, Reviewing, Publishing, and about Blogging

More Reviews of Christian Books You Ought to Read!

5.0 out of 5 stars “As automatic as panicking.”, April 29, 2013

Joana James has a secret formula for instant Christian success. Well, no, it’s not instant, but it will work. These “wisdom bursts” were tougher to write than the first book in the series, I bet, but so necessary. We want to worry, we want to pick up that burden we were supposed to let Jesus have, we want to ask friends instead of asking God. James sets all these normal human behaviors up like tin cans on a fence ail and shoots them right off, pop, pop, pop. Through dark times, through tough times, through the “over and over” times we fail to be like God, we have to listen to these simple, practical lessons. Get up. Go on. Trust God.
4.0 out of 5 stars Faith Makes a Way, April 27, 2013

I hoped the adventure part of this story would get rolling a little sooner, but the reality of life is that it isn’t all fun and fantasy. I loved the part where Patty had to fix up the boat. And the whole point about temptation and deception is that it catches us off guard, so this story is both fantastic and realistic. There are plenty of creatures in Kingsley to delight and keep the interest of young readers. It seems like a perfect “read to me, mommy” kind of story.
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Love Casts Out Fear, April 23, 2013

This historical suspense romance has lots to like. Some of the characters reminded me of the Emma Thompson movie version of Sense and Sensibility. Andrew is steadfast and sweet like Edward. Kate, Tara’s little sister, is boisterous like Margaret. Tara is her own person, though. You can feel her fear and sympathize with her keeping life at arm’s length. God, Andrew, and her family all practice persistent love through the terrors of the past and present.

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Guest Post by Naty Matos: Loneliness Doesn’t Mean You Are Alone!

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Loneliness is defined by my friend Wikipedia as a complex and usually unpleasant feeling in which a person feels a strong sense of emptiness and solitude. The causes of loneliness are varied, but it can be affected by social, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors. See that the definition says that it’s very unpleasant to feel lonely. It also says that whoever is feeling loneliness feels empty.

The thing about loneliness is that it is not equal to being alone. You can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. I believe loneliness is more related to a feeling of disconnection, where our senses, our feelings and our spirit are lacking the right connection. Like I said, if we are in a room, and we don’t know anyone or don’t have anyone there that we can relate to.

Everyone experiences loneliness at some point. The lack of a significant relationship, the loss of a loved one, a move to a different place, are just some of the reasons that can trigger feelings of loneliness. We can also feel emptiness when we don’t exercise our spiritual life. When we lose contact with God, we have the tendency of losing sight of those things that are relevant in life and get caught in the trivialities of life, getting overwhelmed and feeling lonely in our fight for our lives.

So what should we do when we feel lonely?

  • First we need to remember that God never left us, he was always there, we were the ones who walked away. He says to us in Matthew 28:20 ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Live in the comfort that he will always receive us back. That no matter who has left, who we left, who we lost or what we lost he will always be there for us. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” Psalm 27:10
  • Remember that in times of trouble, He will be your protector. God will be there with you and for you in spite of you. “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. “Joshua 1:5
  • Least but not last, rest that God will take care of you, all your needs and all your burdens.”He will fill your heart, spirit and life with his presence, peace and the right people. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

If you are feeling lonely today, I hope that this message comforts you and that the word of God gives you the strength to get through this time.

Blessings
Check out my new novella “Season’s Greeting from Amelia” available now on Kindle, Smashwords and Nook. This great novella brings mystery, suspense and the best stocking stuffer for your favorite e-reader. You can get your copy for just 0.99 cents on only during the month of December.

season (1)

Book Description
Daisy has the perfect life, beautiful children and a wonderful husband. And Christmas is right around the corner. Tis the season to be jolly… Or is it?
Daisy’s life is flipped upside down by strange letters that are sent to her by her best friend, Amelia. And as her life continues to quickly spiral out of control, she realizes that something BIG is about to happen. Can she put aside her confusion, hurt, and anger in order to solve a mystery that may have a horrific ending????
Can Daisy’s life ever return to normal regardless to whether she does or doesn’t?

Author Bio
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at www.therisingmuse.com
Copyright © The Rising Muse 2012

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Wisdom Bursts — a Review of “From Redemption to Maturity” by Joana James

Joana James is fast-becoming one of my favorite authors. I have read two of her fiction works and look forward to a third coming out soon. But then she had to go and write a devotional. I don’t normally read devotionals because I’m already so spiritual I don’t need them. Seriously, there are many devotionals that, with the best of intentions, cover ground familiar to me and don’t challenge me. I look for tough teaching because that’s what I need.

I found it. Joana, in her introduction, explains that people are short on time and attention span. Whether that’s a “in these modern times” thing or a “people through the ages” thing, she’s right. So she calls her short devotionals “bursts of wisdom.”

So many precious, tough “bursts” I could pick out of this little book, about experience, trust, faith, patience. You’ll get some insight into “killing your promise.” (Doing what?) You’ll learn a lesson about childlike, “staple faith.” Then there’s the admonition not to “suffer pain in vain,” not to end up a worthless rock …

Study these wisdom bursts. It won’t take a lot of time. And hang on. She says she going to write more of them. I can’t wait.

http://www.amazon.com/From-Redemption-Maturity-Soul-ebook/dp/B007PKUBU2

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Conceived in the Mind

Welcome once again to our Guest Blogger, Author Joana James.

You’ll find that the longer the mind contemplates sin, the easier it is to get past your misgivings and do it. Lesson: Renew your mind quickly!

I often wonder how serial killers, rapists, pedophiles and other unsavory characters find the gall within themselves to commit the heinous crimes that they do. I mean, apart from spiritual bondage, how does a normal person go from normal to sadistic? The answer lies in the mind really. One would imagine that before any of their crimes are committed, these people have imagined doing these things for days, months or even years before they convince themselves that it is ok.

You and I may not be serial killers, rapists or pedophiles, but the same holds true for sin. You often see mature Christians making some big mistakes and wonder, “how did they end up there?” The truth is, they lost the battle in their minds.

Sin begins as a seed planted in the mind. The devil sows the seed of temptation and we water it and let it grow. We entertain the thought. At first, we tell ourselves that it is wrong and we mustn’t do it, but if we don’t do as Romans 12:2 instructs us to and renew our minds, you’ll find the thought coming back over and over again. Slowly we get comfortable with the idea and begin to fantasize about making it happen. Pretty soon, you begin to rationalize, “Well, it would be okay if this was the situation, or if the situation somehow changed in this manner.” Slowly, we’re so comfortable with the idea that when given the opportunity to act, we grab it. And just like that, a mature Christian has committed adultery or fornication etc.

Paul was correct when he instructed the Romans to renew their minds. As Christians, we ought not to entertain carnal thoughts as they lead to our downfall.

Live out Romans 12:2 and kick those seeds of temptation out of your head.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 KJV

Be Blessed.

Joana James – Author of From Redemption to MaturityNightmare at Emerald High , Alana and Alyssa’s Secret

About Joana

Joana Melisia James is a young Christian author from the island of Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Her work includes the two-part series “Alana & Alyssa’s Secret: Rise from the Ashes”, a Christian Thriller “Nightmare at Emerald High” and her latest devotional series Soul Food, with book one, “From Redemption to Maturity” currently available.

Joana is multi-talented. She has been a dancer for over ten years and a singer for most of her life. She is an Information Technology Professional but her passion is writing. She spends most of her free time relaxing with her kindle or in front of the computer screen.

Joana has plans to release several other titles in the coming months, including her newest project, a three part series called “Her Cross to Bear”.

You can grab a copy of the Joana’s Devotional “From Redemption to Maturity” for kindle today for free.

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Anxiety Part 1: Tense Desire By Karen Baney

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Are you stressed?  Anxious?  Tense?  Fearful?  In 1 Peter, we’re told to cast those feelings on Jesus.  Over the next two Saturdays, let’s dig a little deeper into this verse and the word anxiety.

Dictionary.com gives this as one definition for anxiety:  earnest but tense desire.

See anxiety isn’t always coupled with fear.  Sometimes it is tenseness over too many things coming your way.  You feel like you can’t take one more thing—not because everything is bad, but because it’s just too much.  You may earnestly desire that promotion at work or the news that you’re finally going to have a baby.

These are good things, but when we’re tense even about the good things, it can draw our attention away from God.  We begin trying control the situation to get the outcome we want.  This is what harms us.  We are trying to take control from God—the creator of the universe, all powerful, all knowing God.

Instead, he tells us to “cast all your anxiety on him.”  Sometimes I think this is hard for us to picture.  We generally don’t see casting (throwing things) as a good thing.  I like the word “chuck” better.  Think of a time when you were really angry.  Maybe you chucked the TV remote across the room, or perhaps you just thought about doing it.

Well, maybe it’s time you chucked your anxiety on God—becoming so fed up with the earnest and tense desire.  Throw it on him.  Chuck it on him.  That’s what casting is.  It’s not a pray begging God to take this thing from us.  Instead, it’s active.  “Here.  Take it.  I’m done with it.  I’m tossing it at your feet.”

Why can we actively chuck our anxiety on God?  1 Peter 5:7 gives us the answer to that question as well.  He cares for us.  He will glad take all of the anxiety we hurl his way and absorb it into himself, whether it’s the earnest and tense desire type of anxiety that we discussed today, or it’s the distress caused by fear or danger that we’ll discuss next wee,.

So, get ready.  Wind up your pitching arm.  On the count of three, cast your anxiety on Him.  One.  Two.  Three.

Yep.  He caught it, even if your aim was a little off, because he cares so much about you and for you.

Karen Baney writes Christian historical and contemporary romance novels.  When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys traveling the state of Arizona with her husband, exploring museums and the picturesque landscapes the state has to offer.  Her faith plays an important role both in her life and in her writing.  Karen and her husband make their home in Gilbert, Arizona, with their two dogs.

You can pick up a copy of Karen’s book, A Heart Renewed (Prescott Pioneers #2), on Amazon for your Kindle.  This amazing story of forgiveness and healing takes readers on a journey filled with pain, hope, and love.

Visit Karen at her website:  http://www.karenbaney.com or on Facebook or Twitter.  Visit her special blog for authors at http://www.everythingauthor.com.

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Philosophy of Bible Teaching


We take the historical-grammatical interpretation. “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise. God in revealing His Word neither intends nor permits the reader to be confused. He wants His children to understand.” Dr. D. A. Waite, in Ephesians.

We have examined the evidence and conclude that the facts teach that the Bible should be treated like any other literature in its proper historical and grammatical context. When it claims to be the Word of God it cannot be interpreted to mean something else and must be accepted or rejected. There are literally thousands of available Bible curricula. The question is, how thoroughly do you want to treat the subject? Also, different curricula emphasize different aspects of Bible study. Some focus on devotional aspects. These tend to include a great deal of commentary and less real study of the Scriptures themselves. Many focus on application, trying to make the Scriptures “relevant” to modern life or “age-appropriate.” These also neglect areas of historical, doctrinal or the strict interpretation of a passage. We teach a unity of Science, History, Literature and the Scriptures. Divorcing the Bible from other subjects allows secularists to put it in a separate category from the “Academic” studies.

The Bible is Scientifically and Historically accurate. It also uses literary devices. Other ancient literature contains similar poetic devices and figures of speech which can aid in understanding the Scriptures. The Bible can be studied doctrinally, chronologically, historically, biographically, by doing word studies, or topically. Many good books on all these approaches are available. If your emphasis is on doctrinal study, Evans Great Doctrines is an excellent resource. We follow Baptist belief that the church is not a continuation of Israel. While the true church is made up only of believers, the visible church may have unbelievers in it because it is not possible for us to know men’s hearts with certainty. While it would be difficult for a student to memorize the entire Bible, Elementary instruction should begin with a strong emphasis on Scripture memorization, with a focus on teaching doctrine. Some good Bible memory programs include Bible Memory Association (BMA only works through a church), Awana and Navigators.

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