Tag Archives: Prayer

Charles Simpson Celebration

Charles Simpson, a man whose influence touched the lives of many, bid farewell to Earth on February 14, 2024, leaving a profound legacy in each of us who knew him.

Several hundred folks from around the country and globe gathered to joyfully celebrate his life and legacy. It was a true party, as one would expect. Stephen, Susanne, and the CSM leadership team, guided by the Holy Spirit, orchestrated a gathering of joyful, expectant, grateful, humble, accomplished, spiritual warriors and warrioresses at Covenant Church, Mobile, AL, to celebrate the gift that Charles Simpson was and honor the man he was.

When I received the invitation, I wondered how they would pull this off. Let the people assemble two hours before the service begins to hug necks, tell stories, and catch up on each other’s lives and what Charles meant to them, for starters.

Once the official service started, one got the idea that Charles himself had laid out the plan, and Stephen (and the other speakers) said as much. “I hate long funerals,” Charles said. He gave each speaker a certain amount of time, mostly five minutes, which was mostly honored. His children may have been given a little liberty on the time or taken a little liberty, but it was beautiful and special.

I won’t try to recreate what Stephan, Susanne, Charlyn, and Jonathan said. I will say that what the ladies shared was very real, honoring, candid, relational, and beautiful. The whole service was recorded as a YouTube video, which is worth your time to experience for an inside look at the beauty we all beheld at some distance.

Don Poythress led us in worship. Michael Coleman delivered the eulogy. Bishop Joseph Garlington brought some special music and words of insight about Charles. To the surprise of many, Pastor Aaron Früh, Charles’ personal pastor for the last few years, welcomed us and provided us with some surprising pastoral insights into Charles’ final days.

Most of us were there for four hours, from 10 AM to 2 PM, and it seemed like thirty minutes—also seemed that time didn’t matter. The Spirit moved like a Gulf breeze through the family gathered to honor Charles, warming hearts, giving revelation, and bringing a soul-stilling peace.

It was even more special to experience it with some West Monroe, LA, friends who knew Charles well and had been similarly impacted by his life, teaching, and preaching.

To top it all off, many of the crowd ambled over to the fellowship hall for an authentic Cajun meal of seafood gumbo, cheese grits, collard greens, pork, chicken, and more. Indescribable deserts were centered around a large plate piled high with apple fritters, which we learned Charles enjoyed daily with his dog as part of their breakfast. Who knew?

My heart is smiling, and I’m rambling. The reality is that I have no words to describe God’s unfathomable reach and majesty. I also struggle to find words to describe the depths and impact of a man so given to knowing God, experiencing His Spirit, and making Him known to others most of the hours and days of his life. Such a man and friend was Charles Simpson. To God be the glory.

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[Click here to enjoy some photos and videos from the event.]

As I think of Charles several Scriptures come to mind, like Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Malachi 4:2, and Psalm 112:4. With a heart smile, I’ll end with this one:

“I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you” (Isaiah 46:4 NLT).

I invite you to pray with me the Aaronic Blessing over Charles’ family, ministry, and closest friends:

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26 NIV).

Charles Simpson 1937-2024

One of the most influential men in my life has departed this earth for heaven. This morning, I sit in silence and solitude by the fire, grateful—full of joy and peace. I’m still inspired by his inspiring life, incredible Bible teaching, and leadership within the church as a minister of the Gospel and along the pathways of life wherever he went. And go, he did, to the ends of the earth and crisscrossing the country until he fell ill a few months ago.

Reflecting now, I think it was his fear of the Lord, humility, and close walk with God that touched me most. Also, it was his familiarity with the Holy Spirit and the way he flowed in the Spirit so effortlessly. “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument” is one of his quotes that comes to me now and often. He lived that and helped me do the same — a quiet assurance of faith that comes from spending time with God in His Word, meditation, and obedience to what you hear.

A quote from his website says it succinctly, “Embracing the truth with our lives. In an age of confusion and challenge, there is a great hunger for clarity and courage. We believe that we are called to stay rooted in the Bible, to listen to God’s Holy Spirit, and prophetically declare what we hear Him saying in this generation.”

A friend from Louisiana just texted me to ask if I was coming to Charles’ Celebration of Life service. It’s a hike from here, but I’m planning to go—to honor one of the most humble, gracious, influential, and godly men I have ever known and to celebrate his life with friends who knew and walked with him.

I read many of his articles in New Wine Magazine and listened to many hours of recorded teaching and sermons before I met Charles. Then, once on an F-4 deployment to Gulfport, MS, a squadron mate and I drove to Mobile, AL, to hear him speak on Father’s Day an incredibly inspiring and insightful message, “The Missing Man.” It was the first time I saw him and shook his hand after hearing his Spirit-given, razor-edged wisdom and truth in person.

By the grace of God, I eventually had a couple of one-on-one conversations with him. With a small group of friends, I also visited his home for an evening of coffee and conversation. Just last year, he graciously wrote an endorsement of my latest book, Puzzling 2020.

I have no words to communicate what the man means to me for the infusion of the Word and Spirit he deposited in my life or was a catalyst for the Lord to deposit in my life. I can only sit in silent awe with a joy-filled and grateful heart, reflecting on the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living to His servants and friends.

I just read a blog by Charles’ oldest son, Stephen, which caused my heart to swell again with thanksgiving, love, and joy.

I remain very quiet in my spirit—thankful. My heart is full of quiet joy to have known him. What a race! And victory won. And Sabbath rest for him… the first Easter with his Redeemer and Friend.

Easter Shalom to you all.

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“One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4).

“O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” (Psalm 71:17-18).

“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand” (Hymn by Edward Mote, 1834).

Christmas and Hanukkah 2023

On an early-morning, 3-mile walk around our neighborhood with my wife, we stopped at a restaurant for breakfast. Soon, our conversation turned to soul care — reading the Bible habitually, praying, staying in a community of faith — and abiding in the Light.

“Soul care” seems to be jumping out to me everywhere. Ron, my neighbor, came into the yard yesterday evening, catching me putting the last touches on our Christmas angel, and he was there for the lighting ceremony just as the sun was setting and Hanukkah was beginning. While enjoying a beautiful moment and sunset, our conversation turned to “soul care” — the habits, disciplines, and rhythms of the Christian faith and subsequent peace.

Hanukkah is from the Hebrew word for consecration. Hanukkah, according to dictionary.com is “A Jewish festival lasting eight days, celebrated from the 25th day of the month of Kislev to the 2nd of Tevet in commemoration of the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees following their victory over the Syrians [168 BC] under Antiochus IV, characterized chiefly by the lighting of the menorah on each night of the festival.” Sometimes spelled Chanukah, it is also called the Feast of Dedication or the Feast of Lights.

Bethlehem Light

On our morning walk, we also discussed that “people believe what they want to believe.” When it comes to Bethlehem, can you really overlook such a carefully placed puzzle piece? You can if your heart doesn’t want to know, see, or believe.

On the same note, if you do want to believe there is a God who cares, Who is there, and always does what He says from generation to generation, then pause at Bethlehem. Open your eyes, your ears, your heart, your soul, your spirit, and peer in wonder at a humble Baby and the very heart of your Creator God.

The sky was full of light that night! Happy Hanukkah.

Bethlehem and Hanukkah

What do these two have in common? Other than both will begin on the same day December 25, 2024 — light! Those living in darkness will see a great light in Galilee of the Gentiles (Isaiah 9:1-2, Matthew 4:14-15). A prophet, priest, and King is born in Bethlehem, Judah, as predicted by the prophet Micah (5:2). Bethlehem, “the house of bread,” is a fitting beginning for Jesus, who would call himself the “bread of life.” The Lion of Judah, the Son of David, was born in the same town David was, 1000 years earlier. Seems like too big a coincidence, doesn’t it?

The religious (those trusting in their own knowledge and works) didn’t see it. Check for yourself. Does any prophet come from Nazareth? (John 7:52). Who else doesn’t see? And who does? That’s a fascinating study within itself as you follow Jesus’ life and ministry on the pages of the Gospels.

It’s by invitation only! But the guest list is immense, in keeping with the wealth and goodwill of the Host. There is an RSVP stated or implied, and that’s our only responsibility, apparently. 

Please, stop what you’re doing. Put worldly cares and your to-do list aside. Enter into the joy of the Lord, where there is feasting without strife and rest — where there is true life.

Take care of your soul. Start living your faith or keeping your faith in an ever-increasing and deepening fashion. There dwells light and life — love and joy.

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But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity
” (Micah 5:2).

But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish; in earlier times He treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He shall make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; those who live in a dark land, the light will shine on them” (Isaiah 9:1-2).

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst’” (John 6:35).

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12).

Love What God Loves

As barbaric and evil as the October 7, 2023, attack on Israel by its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza was, the anti-Semitism that has come to light around the world since then may be even more disturbing. There are people marching, rioting, burning flags around the world, and threatening violence against Jews who probably don’t know a Jew or who have never met a Jewish person. How do you explain that? Outside of dark, evil spirits?

Yes, people are jumping up and down around the world, protesting for media attention, burning Israeli and US flags, waving Palestinian flags, and defacing and destroying property while they chant “Free Palestine” or “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” 

Not surprisingly, in a recent survey, American college students were asked about the chant  “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” They were asked which river and which sea. An overwhelming majority of them did not know. Their guesses were as preposterous and humorous as they were sad and telling — telling that college-educated adults in the US have so little grasp of the history, religion, geography, and politics of the region, as well as the Bible.

My own experience asking three college students in our church wasn’t all that different. That’s also telling. The referenced sea and river are the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The PLO popularized the phrase in the 1960s, calling for themselves to have a state that encompasses all of Israel and for Israel to have no country or state at all.

Those familiar with the Bible will recall that God gave Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and their descendants forever the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River, a much larger part of the Middle East. Israel’s boundaries under King Solomon about 1000 BC — 1700 years before Islam — were as large as they have ever been, but the whole possession hasn’t been under Israeli control yet. All the while, for 4000 years,  since Abraham, Jews have lived in the land. They just didn’t have an officially recognized nation since the Romans destroyed and dispersed them 70-73 AD, that is, until the miraculous return to the land after WWII and the rebirth of their nation on May 14, 1948.

“Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west” (Joshua 1:4— also see Genesis 15:18-20, Genesis 26:3, Genesis 28:13).

So that is a little history and geography lesson. Maybe a theology lesson, too. Grab your Bible and some history books, or do some valid research on the web. This is going to be an important issue going forward to the end of time. You should know what you believe and why it’s important. You should know what is right, historical, just, and true — the facts.

Jesus said, “You shall know them [people] by their fruit,” by what they do, not what they say. Have a serious look at what both sides in the conflict have said and done throughout history, especially since 1948. Then, draw your own conclusions. 

In the meantime, you can dwell on the Bible-stated truth that God hates violence, and God loves Israel. You will always do well to love what God loves and hate what God hates.

“And God loves Israel, declaring, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness’” (Jeremiah 31:3). “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion” (Psalms 11:5).

Those who do not love what God loves and hate what God hates, those who passionately support violence and hate Israel, are shaking their angry fists at God. This never ends well for them, their political organization, and those who support them.

This is how to make sense of it, even with the smoke and media haze — misguided secular-humanist deception. Harvard? Pit? MIT? CNN? BBC? Beware of deception!

Be aware of these verses: “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10b-11).

Choose the age-old wisdom and most basic Bible teaching, “Fear God and keep His commandments.” Or if that seems out-of-date or too draconian for you, “Love What God loves, and hate what God hates,” and you’ll be fine and fare well.

Shalom and Godspeed on your journey to truth — also righteousness, peace, and joy.“For the kingdom of God is … righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” Indeed, that’s what Israel is in the process of doing right now. They are freeing Israel /Palestine from a people who love violence, oppress their own, practice lawlessness and injustice, hate Israel, their neighbors, and fire rockets and missiles at them incessantly. You reap what you sow. There is One who sees to it.

May our gracious Creator and King exercise justice and judgment mixed with mercy. It’s His to do. And He is the only One who can.

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To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).

[An article I wrote about end times events in 2018]

A Time for War — Day 19

A Time for War — Day 19

Those who know me know I don’t watch the news much — that is an understatement. I speak to that and why in my latest book Puzzling 2020. It’s something along the lines of these verses and what they convey:

“Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed and shuts his eyes from looking on evil, he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty; they will see a land that stretches afar” (Isaiah 33: 15b-17a ESV).

It’s also so that I can be still and quiet in my spirit and hear impressions from the Holy Spirit. I’m a fighter pilot and a warrior at heart, so I can get as stirred up as anyone. But I try not to do so. Not being tied to the news aids my joy and effectiveness in living the kingdom life God has gifted and planned for me. The following verse speaks to this aspect of living:

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).

Who’s Reporting Can I Trust ?

All the above said, I can quickly tell you who’s reporting to trust, or at least that I trust — Amir Tsarfati, a Jew living in Israel. He has a historical, Biblical, and God-fearing perspective. He also has served in the IDF and has military insights and battle-field awareness. I would call it finger-on-the-pulse awareness of how the Israeli defense forces and intelligence community are thinking about the defense of Israel and her people. Also, what’s really happening there on the ground.

Objective, truthful, no hype, to the point — that’s how I see his messages and briefings. If you want to know the man, and hear some of his reporting click below.

Recent Amir Tsarfati Interview where he shares his own life story and Biblical/historical perspective on the nation of Israel. Who is Amir Tsarfati and what is the truth about Israel?

Amir Tsarfati  War Day 17 Report

His Bible teaching is best accessed on his YouTube channel, Behold Israel.

His military and world perspectives are best followed via Telegram. [Download this App then enter “https://t.me/beholdisraelchannel” and select “View Channel.”]

Another Good Perspective

I was in a men’t meeting early this morning that concentrates on the spiritual habits, disciplines, or rhythms like reading the Bible, prayer, mediation, etc. so we can hear better spiritually and follow those leadings to live joyful, productive lives while getting to know the King better and better. The leader, Ron, introduced us to another preacher and his Biblical/historical perspective on Israel, and also the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is excellent, so I’ll share.

Here’s Some Related Music With Relevance to Israel Today

Psalm 121 by Joshua Aaron performed in Jerusalem

Zion by Aaron Shust

Raise Us Up by a Hebrew/Arabic ministry I’ve visited in Jerusalem

Pray! For the peace of Jerusalem, Israel, and the world — to the One Who can make it happen and controls world events ultimately. Shalom שלום

African Spiritual Adventure 2023

One of our members at Harvest Community Chruch has a fledgling relationship with an African pastor who is four years into a church plant in Uganda. Our church sent a five-member team to support this church in July/August, and scout out whether the Spirit might be leading us into an ongoing relationship. This turned into a beautiful, relational adventure.

We were their first team to host, and they did a remarkable job. Our lodging was clean and safe, and their hospitality was exemplary and warm. We felt honored and well cared for — indeed, welcomed into their family.

Buyera Community Church (BCC) is a non-denominational church in an association of about 200 similar churches throughout Uganda. We found Pastor Steven and his wife Judith to be very hard-working, self-sacrificing, genuine Christians who are laying their lives down to further the church and Kingdom of God. They have put together a fledgling church in four years of about 100-150 people in Buyera, a village on the outskirts of Kampala, the capital. While the area is relatively impoverished at the moment, its proximity to the capitol with some recent business and governmental activity promise to bring needed economic resources to their village as well as many new people.

They’ve put together an amazing, well-kept campus, and started an elementary school with about 80 children. That’s Judith’s passion and dream, because she was a Project Compassion child herself who came out of the slums and a bad family situation to get an education and wants to give back or replicate that for others. Teaching children is about the best way to make disciples imaginable. Pastor Stephen is well-educated, with Christian parents who recently celebrated their 47th anniversary — their age being a rarity in Uganda where the average age is 15.5 years.

Steven has a young, energetic leadership team — one quite large for the size of the church. It occurred to us that their real call may be to raise up and train leaders for the church in Uganda and Africa. Steven’s main focus seems to be the church, as it should be, the bride of Christ and a representation of His family. Their local church is bursting at the seams, space wise — meeting in the three-room school each Sunday. They have the foundation built for a church building on the campus, with standing metal beams. They are also ready to pour concrete for the floor and are in the process of making their own concrete blocks — a process in which we participated.

We enjoyed our recreation day at the beginning of the trip (desert first!) instead of at the end as usual, resting Steven and Judith, by going on a safari. This turned out to be perfect for getting to know the couple and their hearts, as we let them know us and gain their trust. We feel like family now.

On that note, a safari is a good option for the recreation and reflection day that most short-term-mission trips build into their schedules. It’s about a 5 hour drive from the BCC to the national park/game preserve. That’s a hike, but it allows the team to recover from jet lag — while experiencing a long, peaceful drive through the countryside getting a feel for the culture and people while resting and chatting.

As a veteran of about 20 short term mission trips, each one a success in its own right, I’d say this trip ranked near the top. BCC is very kingdom minded, and the fields are “ripe unto harvest” in Uganda, which may prove to be a hub in Africa for sending out young preachers and church planters. “Can anything good come out of Buyera?” is a common saying there. 🙂

At a Charles Simpson leadership conference in May of this year I sat at breakfast with two gentlemen who were involved with training young pastors and preachers near Kampala, Uganda. What are the chances? On the flight from Amsterdam to Uganda, I sat by a very lovely Belgian woman, a nurse, who met her husband on a medical mission to the Congo, just west of Uganda. She married her Canadian-pilot husband, and he currently flies for Uganda Air and they live in Entebbe. She told me Uganda is mostly Christian and the gospel is spreading rapidly, but that the depth of the church is somewhat shallow, with a lot of prosperity teaching, etc.

We found Pastor Steven a grounded student and teacher of the Bible. He and his wife met working for Project Compassion, and the church they attended at that time sent them out as church planters. They have established a nice church campus with a building used for a Christian elementary school, a building for church and school offices, a mission building, and the start of a church building. The campus is clean and well laid out in a good location for growth as Kampala spreads south toward Lake Victoria and Entebbe Airport. But it’s the hearts of these two leaders, their four children and their staff that are the treasures. We plan to help them any way we can as the Spirit leads, with funds and sharing lives via visits. It’s beautiful and refreshing to find God’s Spirit in God’s family in many different parts of the planet — and to experience their love is an inexpressible joy!

Photos of African Mission Adventure 2023

Blessings at Gerizim

Greetings and welcome again to a current thought and my newest book Puzzling 2020.

I consider this book a somewhat eclectic group of puzzle pieces that when connected describe [1] where we are as a culture and church, [2] how we got here, and [3] how we should live in these strange times going forward. It’s addressed mainly to the community of faith and Christians, but truth is truth wherever you find it, and we all profit when we know the truth and act accordingly. “Nothing gives rest but the sincere search for truth” (Blaise Pascal).

In addressing where we are and how we got here I chose to simply point to a time in Bible history 3500 years ago when God spoke through Moses a blessing and a warning to a nation. True it was a nation, Israel, who had entered into a covenant with Him, at His invitation and by their free will. But since He’s the God of creation and the King of the universe, (the same yesterday, today, and forever), these conditions for grace and blessing, judgment and correction have been true for Israel and all the nations of faith and the whole earth for millennia as demonstrated throughout history.

The Times

When I first got the vision and leading for this book, I considered a title like Bonhoeffer, Isaiah, and Solzhenitsyn. I knew that would never fly for a title, but it described what I was seeing. These men lived in times very much like our own, in nations that were not only ignoring God, but shaking their fists at Him, going there own way, ignoring the Bible and His ways while making policies and laws in direct opposition to His truths. The three named above were seers, who saw where this would lead, tried to do something about it by speaking the words of the Lord to the people and their leaders. But the people wouldn’t listen. They were blinded by an enemy, and determined to go their own way, until the evil, injustices, and cancer of their sins invited the action of the Almighty, to save the whole, make a correction, and protect people going forward from themselves. People of faith in Germany, Israel, and Russia had read, but apparently forgotten Deuteronomy 28.

Book Blurb

“Where are we, and how did we get here — as a church and nation? Doesn’t that seem puzzling? It is to most if they are even aware our churches and country have plunged into some moral morass. This swamp has economic, health care, political, national, energy, business, security, and international ramifications unheard of and unexpected two short decades ago.
“Shortly after the COVID outbreak began in 2020, I read this chapter in a daily quiet time of reflecting and engaging the Bible. Deuteronomy 28 is timely and timeless in describing what’s happening in America and speaks to what we need to do in response. As our country went into isolation for the better part of two years, that gave us time and a chance to ponder our ways, consider what was happening, and why it might be happening.
“This chapter of the Bible describes an isolated situation. Still, it’s far from isolated in its summary and the story it tells for ancient Israel, Israel through the ages, all nations through the ages, and the USA today.
“I encourage you to read and meditate on the entire chapter so you can see its relevance. The message is very plain — the imagery is clear and explicit.”

I go on to quote a good portion of chapter 28 which is very straightforward but not unique in the Bible: “…, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways. So all the peoples of the earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will be afraid of you. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them [emphasis added]“ (Deuteronomy 28:1-14).

Daniel and “The Respect for Marriage Act”

As you’re no doubt aware the bipartisan congress of our country passed the act referenced above and the president signed it into law two days ago. Our country and the West has been on this tact for sometime. But this is the most incriminating, public, line-in-the-sand crossing to date. It remains to be seen how and when the Lord will react, and when and if people of faith will wake up and speak up publicly, and to the Lord in prayer.

Yesterday the thought came to me of how Daniel reacted when the bureaucrats, not the wise men, of Persia, the most powerful nation on the earth, pushed through a very bad law. Daniel, the prime minister, and one loved by the King of Persia, and the King of Kings, at great risk to himself, went on to do what he always did, in direct opposition to the bad law, honoring and fearing God more than man. “Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Daniel 6:10).

Something Changed

Has something changed with this latest law being passed and enacted? It seems to me something is changing with the publication of Eric Metaxas’ new book Letter to the American Church. And other books like Strange New World by Carl R. Truman, and a host I’m hearing about but haven’t become familiar. It seems that the Spirit might be leading us to say and do things differently going forward. Stay tuned or wake up! Whatever and whichever applies. Follow Daniel’s lead. More to follow…

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“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be” (Thomas Jefferson).

“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe” (Thomas Jefferson).

Write Your Book !

Go ahead! Write that book. “…Give wings to the truth…” (Gutenberg).

My First Book

All along the authoring path I’ve had people pull me aside and ask questions about the process of writing and publishing a book. So it’s time to speak to that briefly while it’s fresh on my mind.

As far as writing goes, I suggest to aspiring authors, “Just write!” Journal, blog, or communicate with your pen or computer whenever you feel inspired, or are given some opportunity or occasion to express yourself. All practice hones and improves your skill and effectiveness. You know if you enjoy writing and if you have something burning in you to communicate or there’s a message you want to share. Take opportunities and practice.

Personally, I journal a lot and find more and more that inspiration comes as I write. Much of my current book was lifted off the pages of my journals these past two years. In the early morning while fresh is the best time or whenever you feel inspired with thoughts or insights you haven’t known or considered before. Keep a journal or notebook handy.

It seems that the biggest reason people don’t follow through on writing or the dream of publishing a book is the mysterious publishing aspect of the process. That’s what I want to address briefly while it’s fresh on my mind. In a word, what it’s come down to for me is Booknook.biz.

This is my third book so I’m no expert, but I’ll share my experience thus far and at the moment. Amazon is the easiest place to publish — certainly for beginning authors. Their publishing company is Kindle Direct Publishing known as KDP. One can go to their website and they will lead you through their publishing process once you have your book ready as a PDF document.

However, there are “conversion” companies who exist for good reason. They help guide authors through the maze at KDP and perhaps make your book look a good deal more professional than it might otherwise, while avoiding some common pitfalls — for a price, usually a few hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on the size and complexity of your book.

New Book to be Released This Month

After researching the web for the best of these services I chose Booknook.biz and couldn’t be more pleased. They are pleasant, professional, service-oriented, and they employ an excellent website and secure email model to help guide you from start to finish through the Amazon publishing process. They also use a good deal of humor to keep you at ease and in the proper state of mind, during the stressful moments culminating in the publishing process, when you’re trying to get your book finished and get it right.

Kimberly Hitchens is the owner of Booknook.biz, “An Amazon Professional Conversion Service.” She and her staff have hundreds of books under their belts, (actually over 7,000 ebooks and 1,000 paperbacks, over the last 13 years by actual count) and many in production at any given time. They are physically located in Arizona, but everything is done on line. You can read testimonials and reviews here.

Their main service and value is taking your Word or Pages document containing your book, and formatting it to a PDF that is industry standard, artful, pleasing to the eye and attractive to the reader. That’s what you then submit to Amazon/KDP through their website. They also educate you about everything from ISBN numbers to print and book size, with sage suggestions. If you wish help to create a striking, professional cover, which I recommend, they can connect you with those services too, for an additional fee.

My Second Book /by Booknook.biz

We read in the Old and New Testaments: “The laborer is worthy of his wages” (Luke 10:7b). Booknook.biz is one of the most reasonably priced services, and they will expeditiously get your job done on a first come, first serve basis, saving you hours of format correction time. This alone makes them worth their wages. When you throw in their expertise in making your book the right size, look professional, avoid common missteps, and be aesthetically pleasing, it’s a no-brainer to employ their services — unless perhaps you are technically skilled and have the simplest of books. You’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing your book. It’s time to make it the best looking book it can be to expand its reach, make it successful, have your message heard, and give it wings.

Send them your text document containing your book and they’ll give you a free quote. For one fee, they can guide you in preparing your book so it’s ready to be printed on demand by Amazon as a hard cover, soft cover, and/or an eBook. Within a matter of days after your Booknook.biz-assisted submission to Amazon/KDP, your book will be available for purchase and shipping anywhere in the country. Enjoy your journey, and Godspeed as you write and publish what you’ve dreamed in your heart to share.

Oh yes, a word needs be said about editors. Every author needs an editor — another set of eyes and an objective mind to guard against grammatical and mechanical (spelling, punctuation, etc.) errors making your work more readable and enjoyable for your audience. I have a very good friend who’s adept at that, shares my vision for writing, and can also advise me on content due to his wisdom, education, and world view. I will mention I used Grammarly this time, to make his job easier, and my writing perhaps a bit crisper. I feel they are worth the expense. If you don’t have an editor, Booknook.biz can put you in contact with one, for an additional fee of course. That is tedious work.

I’m not sure if writing is a gift, a calling, or a dream — maybe all of those — but I do feel it’s important along with all I’ve shared to spend some time alone, in nature, and in community or people’s lives for inspiration and leading on what to say and how to say it. The most important aspect may be to spend time alone with God while you’re in these places — it is for me. His blessings and leading to you as you write!

Sunrise view to the east from the remote mountain top near our cabin — solitude

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“Religious truth is captive in a small number of manuscript books, which guard the common treasure, instead of diffusing it. Let us break the seal which holds the holy things; give wings to the truth that by means of speech, no longer written at great expense by the hand that wearies itself, but multiplied as the air by an unwearied machine, it may fly to seek every soul born into the world!”

Johannes Gutenberg (Inventor of the printing press, Mainz, Germany, 1436)

Puzzling 2020

“The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries.” 
RENE DESCARTES

Greetings All, my blog has been rather silent for the past weeks and months as I’ve focused on finishing my third book Puzzling 2020. It should be available in mid December, and I’m very excited. The book’s cover blurb speaks to its purpose:

“Einstein said, ‘Adversity introduces a man to himself.’ The pandemic and explosion of events beginning in 2020 certainly did that to Americans, both the culture and the church. Many things were stripped away from our lives as we pondered how to stay healthy. Some reacted in fear, and some in faith. It caused everyone to reexamine who they trusted for valid information about safety, health, and hope for the future. Puzzling these events, even after two years, a resolution is still inconclusive. This book seeks to answer some basic questions: “Where are we? How did we get here? Where do we go from here, or how do we live in these puzzling times?” We look to the Bible, history, and God for insight and truth — and for grace to live with purpose and without fear. These puzzle pieces will help you “Light a candle, instead of cursing the darkness.”

I hope you’ll give it a look. I think it certainly gives readers a better grasp on where we are as a culture and church, and more importantly, a healthy paradigm or world view for how to live in our day — the present, a gift from our Creator God.

Its seventy short chapters, or puzzle pieces, could be used as a devotional or daily meditation. Hopefully it will bring spiritual sight, light, joy, and renewed purpose.

By using the Descartes quote I didn’t mean to claim a “fine mind,” but simply give a shoutout to reading as a spiritual discipline. By reading, you humble yourself to hear someone else’s thoughts. You also slow yourself, still yourself, and are alone with your thoughts as you read, away from the din of the media, technology, and rush of our time. It’s like a mini vacation refreshing the soul.

Shalom, and stay tuned for more frequent blogs this beautiful autumn.

Dwayne

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god.”
― Aristotle

Don’t Lose Heart

Besides the prayer scene from the Apocalypse recorded in Revelation 8:1-5, what else do you need to encourage you to pray? Maybe Jesus’ example?

Jesus’ practice was to go be alone with the Father and pray. The disciples saw how it changed Him or affected Him, and said to Him, “Teach us to pray.” He gave them a model prayer we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”

And he told them a parable about prayer—about a poor widow crying out to a wicked judge, who granted her request because of persistence, so they “would always pray, and not lose heart.”

Notice Jesus prayer “for deliverance” and “of submission” in the garden with his sleeping friends. Notice his prayer to Father before raising Lazarus from the dead. Notice his prayer of thanksgiving upon the return of the seventy disciples and their reports of spiritual exploits and spiritual authority poured out on them.

Note Jesus in prayer. Follow his examples. Follow his lead.

Note when he prayed prayers of mercy for the likes of us, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” Notice when he answered prayers for mercy like those of blind Bartimaeus in Jericho, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Mark 10:46-52)

This is a skill you learn by practice as you go your way; it’s an art form; it’s a simple heart cry. It’s individual to you. It’s not complicated.

But it’s done! It must be prayed. That’s the main thing. Often and much. It demonstrates humility and worship. It fosters relationship and knowing the King – to Whom you pray — and Him knowing you.

You can almost hear Jesus as He said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them.”

So pray! It pleases him. He delights in the prayers of his people, the upright.

It’s the most important communication in your earth experience, to know and be known — by Him.

I’m quite certain prayer is an important piece of the 2020 puzzle. Prayerlessness is in large measure what got us into this present darkness. Prayer will be key to getting us out! Certainly personally, and also for our families, our friends, our churches, and perhaps our nation.

Don’t lose heart!

Pray!


“He does what’s best for those who fear him—
    hears them call out, and saves them.” Psalm 145:19 MSG

The Blessing” from a good God, Who hears and answers prayer…