Tag Archives: spiritual warfare

Let God Be True, and Every Man a Liar — Post by Michael J. Findley

god be true verse
We live in an age where man is not only the measure, but men sit in judgment on God. People think that God just doesn’t measure up to their standard of right and wrong, so of course their progressing, evolving standards judge God.

While this attitude is nothing new, and goes back at least as far as Nimrod, when this attitude seizes political power, those who disagree with these tyrants are marked for destruction. The Voice of the Martyrs website has a lengthy list of those marked for destruction.

The problem is that America has become a nation of Hezekiahs. We see the judgment of God approaching, but we are satisfied with peace and safety in our time, believing that God’s judgment is sometime in the future and will not touch us.

galatians and hosea

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What does it cost to be a Spiritual Warrior? — Guest Post by Pastor George McVey

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Pastor George told us he was inspired to write this blog by ours, “Molon Laba, Come and Take Them. ” When he shared it with us Michael said it was better than the one he wrote, so we wanted to share it with our readers.

An online and writing acquaintance of mine has a blog that I follow regularly and today she had a political post that sparked something spiritual in me. So instead of answering a question today, I want to spend some time talking about the cost of Spiritual Warfare. If you need a question to be answered I guess it would be this- If I get involved in the Spiritual Battle to bring revival to America again, what will it cost me?

My friend posted that during the ancient battle for Thermopylae the Persian king Xerxes called for the Spartan King Leonidas and his army to surrender their weapons. Leonidas replied, “Molon Laba” which means “Come and take them.” During the Battle for the Alamo in Texas history Santa Anna called for the surrender of the fort the response of Colonel Travis and company was similar to the Spartan’s: “Come and take it.” My friend mentions that in both cases the result was a complete loss of life. I was reading that post when I felt God whisper into my heart that to each of those groups the cost was worth it.

God is looking for people to stand in the gap for America and fight in the Spiritual Realm for a new spiritual revival in our great nation. But God never wants his people to enter the fight without considering the cost. Look at Jesus’ own words on this subject, they are found in Luke 14:25-33 Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’  Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?  Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.  So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”(NKJV)

Jesus makes it plain here that we need to consider the cost of following him and furthering his mission. That is of course what disciples do. He even tells us what it will cost us–all that we have. In my role of Evangelist and End Time Revivalist I hear lots of people proclaim that they want a move of God in their community, church, state, and nation. Yet, when the enemy attacks, they run away in fear or talk about how it cost too much or is too hard to handle.

Yes it is hard to stand against an overwhelming attack, but that didn’t stop the 300 Spartan warriors or the brave freedom fighters at the Alamo. In both of these physical cases they stood till the last man lost his life. It may have seemed like they lost the war but the truth is both loses became the rallying point for greater victory. We might not know the Texan call of “Come and take it”, but we have all heard the phrase issued by Sam Huston, “Remember the Alamo,” which became the Rally Cry that brought Santa Anna defeat and Texas freedom.

Maybe you will chose to stand up and be part of the spiritual army fighting for an awakening of spiritual righteousness in America, and maybe it will cost you everything. But if your payment leads to what you want to see isn’t it worth that cost? I don’t know about those of you reading this, but for me the answer is this: I would give everything up to and including my life to see America become “One nation under God” again. That’s right; to see America return to being known as a “Christian Nation” I am willing to lay down my life. I like the Spartans of old scream in the face of the evil one. “Satan you want me to surrender my weapons and my country to you? Well all I have to say is COME AND TAKE ‘EM”

PG

Here’s the link to Pastor George’s blog.

http://askpastorgeorge.wordpress.com/

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Bringing Light, Casting Shadows: A Review of Lisa Grace’s Angel in the Shadows

Many friends and blog readers may be offended that I have read and am reviewing a book sometimes classified as “Christian Horror.” Calling it an oxymoron or worse, some people say horror has no place in Christianity.

What is appropriate to write and call Christian is a big area of disagreement. Workshops, seminars and conferences teach biblical standards. I have different beliefs and standards from Lisa Grace. Many people will reject this book without reading it because they don’t think they would agree with all it teaches. That would be a mistake.

Lisa Grace has said, “Nothing is more horrible than going to Hell and being without the love of your Creator. I find Christianity and horror extremely compatible for this reason. Why do people commit suicide? Because they lack hope and love.” Most of the modern definitions of horror don’t fit this book. There are no undead. There is no gruesome violence or dwelling on the occult. She deals with both good and bad spiritual power but in a pretty down-to-earth way, at the risk of resorting to a pun.

Seth, a character in the book, is a growing Christian, as any teenager might be. He joins the spiritual rollercoaster ride with his girlfriend Megan (the main character) and shows faith, patience and dependability not everyone would be able to manage. Seth learns that we can sometimes fight the good fight without wholly understanding it, and grow into better understanding of our spiritual battles along the way.

I found technical flaws in the book. The writing style is intended to be simple, to reach more readers, but I think a cleaner, more traditional attention to style and mechanics would not hurt its influence much. The handling of angels living among us and interacting with humans was also a bit clumsy at times. I am not sure their consistent physical presence, like Grace portrays, would really be compatible with an angel’s mission either to help man to good or to tempt man to evil.

People in the story say they don’t have enough knowledge of the Scriptures but little attention is given to more study. The book seems to portray some loose personal standards as compatible with Christianity. While we all come to the Cross with baggage, mental and physical, we need to learn what has to be left at the Cross or quickly discarded.

The book shows a sex and drug party. Little detail is given. The evil angel is active in temptations there. The lifestyle is shown as wrong, resulting in death and terrible consequences. Teenage sex is also there, without real detail, and it is shown to be wrong.

Adults, even Christian ones, are portrayed as weak and are disturbingly uninvolved in their children’s Christian lives. Megan’s mother automatically disbelieves her account of a lifesaving event. Parents and adults are purposefully excluded from the main spiritual warfare of the book. I did not care for this obliviousness, though I know it is sometimes true. We as writers are here to edify, not reinforce what may be true but we acknowledge is wrong. I object to running down parents and lifting up teenagers as superior beings.

This book has a FANTASTIC occurrence near the end drawn from real life experience. The book is worth reading just to see how God can work even in the most impossible circumstances and concerns an issue crucial to our times and our Christian and human natures. It is one of the best descriptions of characters and events I have ever read.

 

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The Hows (And Whys) of E-Books

Screenshot from Kindle of a page from The Illuminated Hope and the Black Lion

Do you really understand the spiritual warfare taking place in publishing? Christian publishers and bookstores are, to put it mildly, not very Christian anymore. There is a desperate need to make writers aware that secularism is a real and powerful enemy determined to prevent the dissemination of any works with a truly godly and scriptural basis.

Conventional publishing, Christian and non-Christian, seems to be completely lost as an avenue of getting the truth out. Christians have allowed so much of the world in, praised such small bits of semi-religious content, scrabbled for any crumbs of good that could be found in a work, that the leaven has leavened the whole lump and there seems nothing left that is pure, good, lovely, or of good report.

Independent publishing disseminates truth when truth is stifled. Writers don’t have to see their message suppressed by indifferent or hostile publishers and literary agents. They don’t have to watch the mangling or destruction of truth, if they are “accepted,” by an editor who “knows what will sell” but doesn’t care what must be preserved because it is right.

E-readers come in many formats. Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader Store, and Kobo are only a few. Smart phones can display e-books. Many e-readers are grayscale. Nook has a color version. Amazon’s Kindle Fire, coming soon, will also support color. People can, of course, read books on their computers.

An e-author should still make his work as “perfect” as he can. Grammar, spelling and punctuation matter to most readers. The work must be original. The author must own the rights. After that, there are two basic ways to translate the book into e-format.

First, an e-author can produce a .pdf document and distribute it online. It can be formatted much like a conventional print book, with specific margins, numbered pages, spacing and fonts like a “real” book. It can have illustrations, in full color if the author wishes, and emulate the size and shape of a print book. Open Office Writer, and the newer versions of Microsoft Word, can convert the document to a .pdf which will look just like the author lays it out. Many e-readers can read a .pdf document. There are limits to how well it can display if the author formats his document rigorously like a conventional book.

The second method produces an e-book formatted very differently from a print book. The author is creating a type of HTML document, similar to a webpage on the internet, that will change its size, shape, font size and type, and  almost everything else from e-reader to e-reader. There are no “pages” as such. The person reading the book can make more changes as he reads the book on his reader. He can in most readers make the font larger or smaller, rotate from portrait to landscape mode, and in some even change the color of the font and background.

If the author has formatted his work like a conventional book, or even with inconsistent styles, and converts it to this second form, it will likely have large blank areas, lines that end in strange places, varying fonts the author can’t even see in the original, and other problems that will make a reader think the book is defective. For most e-readers, it is better to use the second method of formatting, especially to allow the book to be read on as many format readers as possible.

Although there are many sites that accept e-books for free distribution or for sale, and many are free to upload, some charge, some reserve the right to reject what is submitted, and all take a percentage if the book is to be sold.  Some sites (such as Booklocker) ask that an entire work be submitted for review. The author is notified if the site declines to publish it. Marketability is one factor in this decision. Content criteria, like rejecting “hate speech,” discrimination, or objectionable content can also be a factor. All sites require an author to be able to list “tags” and search keys to make his work “visible” on the Internet so that people can find it in search engines. Most upload sites have easy places to enter these words reflecting content, identifying and describing the work.

This article will only deal with three sites as examples, all of which have no expressed criteria by which they “accept or reject” books as long as format guidelines are met and content is not rejected as objectionable. They are representative of many others and exemplify probably the easiest (Scribd.com), the “one in the middle,” Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, which is time-consuming but has the most methods of self-promotion, and the most demanding (Smashwords) in e-book upload sites. Detailed submission guidelines and step-by-step instructions can be found on the sites. Only some of the basic requirements will be included here. Any site that allows e-book uploads requires an “account,” free to set up, giving the site email contact information and usually very little personal information. If works are offered for sale, an author will be required to give information so that percentage payments can be made, SSN number for IRS accounting, and an address for checks to be sent to or a bank account for electronic transfers. Many require electronic transfer.

Scribd.com accepts a number of formats and creates pdf documents. Authors’ submissions do not have to be complete books. Many authors submit essays, books in progress, even single poems or photo collections. Many works on Scribd are offered free. Scribd has a rotating display of featured works. It has category listings for searching the site, and the site shows multi-page previews of books for sale. People can become “followers” of authors’ works and links can be made to a facebook or twitter account to announce what the author has “readcast” on Scribd, his own works or those of others.

Smashwords.com is a site that specializes in producing e-books for multiple formats. The site has a detailed style guide which can be downloaded from there or at Amazon.com for the Kindle reader at no cost. This style guide can be used to create the second type of e-book described above, even if the author is not using Smashwords as his publisher. An author can, if desired, upload a book to the Smashwords site and, if accepted, it will be converted for free to most of the formats listed above. (They do not format for Amazon Kindle). The submitted work must rigorously follow their style guide, however, because they use an automated system they call the “Meatgrinder” to convert to the multiple formats. They give very clear instructions in the style guide but it does require considerable simplifying to format correctly.

Books that do not format correctly may be rejected, and Smashwords has a “premium catalog” for perfectly-formatted books that includes distribution in more outlets than ordinary uploads, which are only featured on their site. The style guide is quite detailed. It explains that there are a limited number of fonts that reliably convert correctly into e-documents. It cautions authors to remove most complicated formatting and gives guidance on how to include graphics, though it recommends they be small and few. The philosophy of Smashwords is to focus on the words and message of the book and not to be concerned about the loss of certain conventional features. Smashwords only publishes complete works for sale and file size cannot exceed 5 megs.

Amazon.com allows writers to upload e-books through Kindle Direct Publishing, or kdp. The system is very easy and even cover art is optional but extremely simple to upload with the book or at any time afterward. It takes a day or two for a book to become live, and authors must charge at least $.99 for original works. There are no length limits and books can be illustrated, though the e-book will probably have space gaps above or below the illustrations depending on the page display size and the size of the graphic. Instructions for uploads are very easy to follow. The book cover, information and “look inside” features display like any other book on Amazon. Amazon has sold more e-books than print books for more than a year now. Authors can easily check sales, which are updated very frequently.

Authors can add as much information about themselves and their books as they like. Amazon has Author Central, where a writer can add blog and Twitter feeds, images, videos, and biographical information which can be changed and updated very easily. Amazon has Kindle stores in the UK, Germany and France, and even English language books can appear in Europe. Amazon Shelfari is a reader/writer community where the author can place his books on his “shelf” along with those he reads. He can write reviews and detailed character, plot and book info. The author can also have followers here and send messages back and forth to them. Amazon recently started a facebook page for Kindle Direct Publishing where they pose questions to writers and allow for book promotion and exchange of advice and encouragement.

Microsoft Word is the preferred format for Scribd, Smashwords and Amazon. The 2000 version can be purchased for $30 or less. Covers or illustrations can be created by hand and scanned, or by using simple photo editing or paint programs. Photo Impact from Corel includes impressive faux 3-D titling and object creation and great texturing and effects for under $50.

                                                       Screenshot from Kindle of a page from The Illustrated Antidisestablsihmentarianism

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