“Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Titus 2:10

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Red deer/hind loping away across the moor
Author Dr Richard Murray Wikimedia Commons

Last night I heard a speaker on the book of Titus call attention to this phrase, “adorn the doctrine of God.” I was trying to figure out how we as sinful men could do that. I also read portions of Habakkuk today and was deeply impressed by a familiar passage in chapter 3. The chapter is short so I’m sharing it all here.

Note that it’s a song. Imagine singing this in your church. Just imagine, in the middle of all that goes on in churches nowadays passing for worship songs, hearing this mixture of thoughts and impressions about our God.

 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, according to Shigionoth.

Lord, I have heard the report about You and I fear.
O Lord, revive Your work in the midst of the years,
In the midst of the years make it known;
In wrath remember mercy.

God comes from Teman,
And the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah.
His splendor covers the heavens,
And the earth is full of His praise.
His radiance is like the sunlight;
He has rays flashing from His hand,
And there is the hiding of His power.
Before Him goes pestilence,
And plague comes after Him.
He stood and surveyed the earth;
He looked and startled the nations.
Yes, the perpetual mountains were shattered,
The ancient hills collapsed.
His ways are everlasting.
I saw the tents of Cushan under distress,
The tent curtains of the land of Midian were trembling.

Did the Lord rage against the rivers,
Or was Your anger against the rivers,
Or was Your wrath against the sea,
That You rode on Your horses,
On Your chariots of salvation?
Your bow was made bare,
The rods of chastisement were sworn. Selah.
You cleaved the earth with rivers.
10 The mountains saw You and quaked;
The downpour of waters swept by.
The deep uttered forth its voice,
It lifted high its hands.
11 Sun and moon stood in their places;
They went away at the light of Your arrows,
At the radiance of Your gleaming spear.
12 In indignation You marched through the earth;
In anger You trampled the nations.
13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people,
For the salvation of Your anointed.
You struck the head of the house of the evil
To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.
14 You pierced with his own spears
The head of his throngs.
They stormed in to scatter us;
Their exultation was like those
Who devour the oppressed in secret.
15 You trampled on the sea with Your horses,
On the surge of many waters.

16 I heard and my inward parts trembled,
At the sound my lips quivered.
Decay enters my bones,
And in my place I tremble.
Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress,
For the people to arise who will invade us.
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

I would say there’s quite a bit of doctrine here in this short passage. God is a God of both judgment and mercy. We fear Him but we are captivated by His splendor. He has fought for our salvation — And He will also turn back the weapons of evil ones against themselves.

This describes past and future events — God’s people have been judged for sin. So have those wicked ones who rose up as His instruments of judgment. They had no idea they were used by God or would face God’s wrath for their evil. This has happened more than once, and will happen again.

In our future, the Christ Who died for our salvation will come again to defeat evil once and for all. Those who right now suffer real persecution around the world have testified that they know God is holy, just, and merciful. They praise and worship him in the midst of suffering. They adorn the doctrine of God.

Habakkuk trembled and feared at the thought of coming judgment. He foresaw destruction, and famine, and great hardship. But he knew above all else that God is just and merciful and that what would happen was for God’s glory.

So that’s how we adorn God’s doctrine. We proclaim His holiness even as we see and experience suffering, starvation, and destruction. Because we see the whole God, both the just and the merciful aspects. We expect those hinds’ feet, and find ourselves able to run up the mountain to worship Him in all His glory.

Not after everything’s all better. Now. In the midst of whatever trouble we are going through. Now is the time to adorn God’s doctrine by letting everyone who’s still down below the high places see our worship, no matter what.

 

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You see that happy missionary family smiling out of the postcard on your fridge? Their marriage is probably hanging by a thread.

Excellent words! Ways to pray more intelligently for missionaries.

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Anybody can smile long enough for an updated newsletter photo

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I winced as the lights suddenly cut off.

“Really? Three nights in a row?” I thought to myself as my wife rounded the corner on the verge of tears.

“I can’t do this…I can’t do another night of no sleep!” she moaned. She was sick of the heat and the lack of air circulation every time the power cut out. In that moment, I should have hugged her but I wasn’t in the mood for complaints.

I scornfully shot back, “You are lucky to have running water! Most of the people in El Salvador would love to be in the circumstances that you are complaining about!”

I knew it was wrong but I hoped she would feel guilty enough to just suck it up. As this thought crossed my mind, my daughter’s voice rang out from the bathroom…

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Findley Family Video Publications Sampler One: Historical Fiction

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Have you ever wanted to dip into our fourteen historical fiction books but couldn’t decide which is right for you? Now you can “taste and see” anything from Ice Age times to the New Mexico territory. Some have romance, some have political intrigue, all have life and death struggles for what’s right. Sample chapters from all our historical fiction works, only 99 cents!

Sneak a peek at historical fiction chapters spanning time from the Ice Age to the American frontier. 1. Even after he rescues a damsel in distress, Prince Tristan hasn’t quite arrived at happily ever after.  2. Widowed by the Civil War, northerner Carrie Wilkes needs to save her southern farm, but has she invited a traitor in as a hired man? 3. New Mexico Territorial judge Bart Durant can’t face both an assassin and a mail order mistake. 4. A marriage of convenience might painfully distract Ham Jessup, or give him just the information he needs to save Texas. 5-9. Meet the builder who met Abraham, the dragonslayer who sat while Sargon attacked, the warrior with a secret weapon and weakness, the rebellious wife who became an advocate for women, and the peacemaker who wonders how much it will cost him to save the Hittite Empire. 10. Seventeen-year-old Hope rebels against an arranged marriage in Medieval England but must trust a disgraced crusader when her family disappears and everyone thinks she’s mad. 11-14. Benny Richardson works his way west through loss, hardship, and mysteries that sometimes include murder as he fights for his family, his friends, and his future.

Please enjoy this free sampler by downloading the pdf file to your computer. You may put it on any reader device and share with friends.

Findley Family Video Publications Historical fiction Sampler pdf format

 

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He Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

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Dr. Bobby Kelly’s portrait from the Oklahoma Baptist University website. www.okbu.edu

Yesterday Dr. Bobby Kelly of Oklahoma Baptist University preached at South Tulsa Baptist Church on John 21. He pointed out that after the extraordinary events of Chapter 20 — the Resurrection and all that surrounded it, Chapter 21 is such ordinary-sounding stuff. The disciples went fishing. Jesus made breakfast on the beach.

But, while Dr. Kelly pointed out the usual agape vs phileo love conversation between Peter and Jesus, he said the point about which word was used when was far less important than something else. Peter denied Jesus three times. He must have been so racked with guilt over that. Yet Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to express his love. Now Peter could get over his guilt and move on. Jesus offers us the same opportunity, to get rid of paralyzing guilt and move on into His service. We should take Him up on that.

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South Tulsa Baptist Church www.southtulsabaptist.org/

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Review Or Die! (Not you, the Reader — the Author)

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It’s a pain to write reviews. If I liked a book, I liked it. I don’t need to review it. Maybe I’ll tell some friends. Maybe I’ll lend the book to someone else. And it sounds stupid to say, “This book was great! I loved it!” What good does that do anyone? Other readers don’t care about reviews. They pick a book because they get pulled in by the cover, they’re a fan of the genre, or a friend or some bigshot blogger they follow recommended it. Who cares about my little dumb reviews?

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Honestly, I can sympathize with those reasons for not writing a review. But I’m still going to shoot them down and give you some help to understand why every time you read a book but don’t review it, you are sucking just a little bit of life out of that author. If people keep taking these attitudes and not writing reviews, eventually, those authors will die, in a publishing sense. Their books will receive little attention and that’s death for a book and for its author. He really can’t keep his story alive by himself. He needs your help.

  1. “It’s a pain to write a review.” No, it’s not. It’s easy. I even gave you a pattern in a previous blog post. Take a look, follow the steps, and voila! The review is done before you know it. Here’s that link.  https://elkjerkyforthesoul.wordpress.com/2012/02/09/how-to-write-a-book-review-the-author-will-love/
  2. “Maybe I’ll tell some friends.” Please, please, do. But imagine how many friends you can tell if you write your opinion down. You can widen your influence and the author’s if you just take those few minutes and write that review.
  3. “It sounds stupid to say. ‘It was great! I loved it'” Maybe it does to you, but it sounds like music to the author. It’s like water on brown grass. It’s like food to an author’s empty stomach. Be that water. be that food. Say whatever you can say. Write whatever you can write. Just go there and do that review thing!
  4. “Other readers don’t care about reviews.” You might be surprised by how many do. Many people read reviews before deciding to buy a book. If there aren’t many, they might skip on to one that has some.
  5. “Who cares about my dumb little reviews?” But there’s another reason to give an author reviews. It helps give his book reality and credibility with sites where he might want to promote it. Real, genuine reviews are like seeds. They multiply opportunities for an author to get known, get read, and get more sales. You can help in this way that costs you so little. You can help a lot.

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I, as an author care about your reviews. They’re not dumb. They’re your thoughts and feelings. People who put their thoughts and feelings into writing a book welcome feedback. What’s the point in writing a book if no one cares enough to share their thoughts about it? I look at my beloved children, my books that I worked on to produce. I think, when some have ten or more reviews, and some have one or two, or even none, that nobody loves those children. Nobody cares about them, so it must be nobody cares about me either. And I wither a little. I get thirstier, and hungrier, and I die a little.

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I failed to mention one thing about reviews. They don’t have to be good ones. Sure, parents want everyone to love their kids, but if you’ve got constructive criticism on why a book isn’t what you hoped it would be, put that down, too. Don’t think all we want is a string of fives and maybe a few fours. Lay it out there — what you liked and what you didn’t. If we think our books are perfect, we need your humbling. We need your honesty. Help us be better authors. Even if we don’t do a rewrite of that book, it might help us do the next one better.

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So help us. That’s what reviews are really all about. We are flowers. Water us, feed us, encourage us, pinch off our dead blooms and help us grow new ones. Don’t let our books and our fire to write die in discouragement and dim corners. Shine a light on them. we need your help. We can’t do this alone. We are only the authors. You are the readers.

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A Children’s Book I Illustrated — Archibald and the Fiery Furnace — now 99 cents!

archibald ad

A couple of years ago I took the plunge into children’s book illustrating and here is my first effort. This is a fantasy frame tale for children involves a “runt of the litter” kitty named Archibald who helps teach lessons of loyalty and the search for belonging. He travels through Bible history seeking his “forever home,” meeting true heroes of the faith. This first one is about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You’ve never heard the fiery furnace from a cat’s point of view, have you?

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Archie is an odd cat who hates fish, but children will enjoy searching through the story for a hidden fish on each page. The book includes full-color illustrations and at the end there are devotional lessons that make for great snuggle-time teaching moments for anyone who loves teaching kids the Word of God.

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Archie visits the throne room of Nebuchadnezzar but even a cat who has experienced the special love and care of God can’t seem to save his new friends from this king’s wrath.

 

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Maybe the angels who sang Archie to sleep as a kitten will charge in to the rescue?

 

not afraid

Things certainly don’t look good for his friends, and there’s nothing Archie can do but pray!

Archibald and the fiery Furnace is only 99 cents right now, so come to Christian Book Finds and have a look! http://christianfictionebooks.blogspot.com/

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Enjoy the story of Archibald the abandoned kitty’s journey into a better understanding of God and how He works through His Word.

 

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Cover Designing Secrets — Mary C. Findley

queen by force

I have been called the queen of free when it comes to cover designing. That means I try to produce an eye-catching product with free images and elements. I was reading for inspiration an interview with another cover designer, and he mentioned that he created a crest for a fantasy cover using a program that costs over $700. And that was just one element of that admittedly stunning cover.

Well, I want to design stunning covers too, but I can’t afford that much for just one designing tool right now, however cool it may be. So I tried some things I have on hand, and I’m going to show you how I created this cover, which I think is pretty cool.

 

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I started with this man, a free image from Pixabay. My first do-it-yourself tip is make sure you find the highest quality and resolution images you can. Well-trained and well-equipped designers often hire models, create costumes, and shoot their own pictures for covers because they have control of the quality, resolution, and lighting,  critical elements of a knock-your-socks-off cover. But this image’s resolution and lighting are perfect for the effect I wanted, and it’s free.

I didn’t want such a clean-cut scary guy, however. so I grabbed some of his own hair, trimmed and faded edges, twisted and turned it in different directions, created different lengths and shapes, and gave him a case of bed-head that changed him forever.

Next I changed the color of his eyes. Neither one of them stayed its original shade. From blue-grey they went to one ice-blue to match his jeweled crown, and one gold. I wanted the gold eye to match the background, which is also free on Pixabay. I loved the gritty but glowing variety it made.

I decided he ought ought to be a king, so I gave him a crown. These raised shapes, in the crown, the corner ornaments, and the “O” in Force, came with my design program. They have many metallic and colored finishes, and even leathers, furs, fabrics, and plant textures, that I can apply. I have more options I can add, too, from free sites like Webtreats. I just had to tweak the shades and metallic and jewel finishes and add shadows.

So the images were finished, but next I needed a catchy title. Technically I want to sell this as a premade, so I don’t get to decide the final title. But I really hope it’s something with an “o” in it so I can use the Queen’s crown I made as a design element. I love it when the text is a design in itself and incorporates a story element. This font is freebooter, and the author name font is called Hayden.

If there’s someone out there writing a fantasy or even historical fiction story about a forced marriage, or just a creepy old king, let me know if I can help you. My creepy old king needs a home.

Anyone who has questions about cover design, or feedback or suggestions on what kinds of tutorials I could share in the future, please let me know!

If you would like to contact me about any of my covers or designing, here are my links:

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marycfindley/the-design-in-your-mind-book-cover-services-by-mar/

Fiverr: https://www.fiverr.com/maryfindley (I have two gigs — cover design and editing/proofreading/formatting)

UpWork: https://www.upwork.com/freelancers/~01b20038ca35b8d397

Or just post a comment here! Thanks!

 

 

 

 

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