Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Last Book Review

The Last Book Review

John 21:25
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

            There was a time when I wrote copiously. I began just after 9/14/2001 and the writing didn’t cease until about 2012. I wrote enough material by myself to self-publish 11 books. Another three were co-authored with my wife. I blogged on one site about 1,500 entries which had over 100,000 hits. The reason I am conveying this here is to give you an idea that I know about book reviews. It is not to pimp my work.
            I wrote. I wrote, let my wife edit the work, and simply walked away. Some folks liked the writing, others, I guess not. I had one Yale English professor tell me I needed to review one of the books I wrote and condense it for word count by 50%.
            Two of the books were pieces that followed current events around 2009-2010. They spoke to the reality of things as they truly were during the time. If I were to rewrite one of the pieces I’d amend only two bits of the work as I misjudged character qualities of two folks I mentioned.
            As I watched the world spiraling into chaos, I needed to find a subject that made sense. Through the writing cycle I met a man of God. Pastor Paol is a Jamaican born American. As my partner and I wrote a co-authored auto-biography, he had written a testimony, “I Have Seen the Living God”. Our title was “Convoking Hell”. The old saying ‘opposites attract’ was made for this friendship and brotherhood.       
            At our first meeting, he got around to inquiring of my intentions with Tracy who at the time was as indicated, my partner. Now we are married. It was an abrupt question to be sure. Knowing he claimed to be a man of God who had written a personal testimony, I gave him a respectable honest answer which for the time quieted his curiosity. I simply said, this woman humbles me.
            Around the same time we made introductions, Tracy had kept watching a Sunday morning program called “Give me an Answer”. Two or three times I told her to change the channel as I didn’t want to hear some holy roller on a Sunday morning. She did until I gave up telling her to change the channel. Then one morning while trying to ignore the broadcast I heard this skinny guy Cliff totally shred this college kid that seemingly knew nothing about formulating a question.  It was like a wait a minute moment. After a couple of weeks of intense watching the same guy Tracy mentioned we could go to his church. I said, yes.
            It is important here to realize that when our relationship began, Tracy had asked me what my plans were for a Christmas Eve that we were speaking to each other via phone call. She had indicated that she might go ahead and attend a Christmas Eve Mass. I had told her I’d be lucky to avoid jail, or the emergency room. Furthermore, she’d never catch me dead in any church. I hated religion and all the hypocrisy that goes with it. I still do.
Long and short of it comes down to a personal testimony of my own.
During the time of my writing it can be said that opportunities for work in the service business industries weren’t available. The TARP bailouts had crushed the economy. At the same time, I also suffered a back injury that left me pretty much useless. I had a surgery which enabled me to walk, but the rehabilitation didn’t allow me to go back to steady work. I overmedicated myself trying to kill the physical pain as well as the guilt associated to many bad decisions I made earlier on in life. And even after writing of things I knew to be true, which if ever were seriously read by anyone of influence willing to take a chance, my financial luck might just change. Thankfully it did not. I was quite literally broken on the Rock of Christ.
In 2013, we decided to move to NC. We had been living in CT. And we had been pressing into God’s word seriously since 2010 when we were married on September 4th by none other than Pastor Paol.
Before that time Tracy had been the bread winner of the household. The tables turned. Some amazing things had changed. I was able to work regularly and well over 40 hours. It was her turn to write and study while I went out and met our provision from the Lord. Mind you, doctors responsible for my health had instructed me to file for disability due to my back condition. The prognosis was determined on several MRI’s indicating I had an extraordinary amount of bone spurs in my lumbar sacral area of the back. Today I’m 54 years old and on average I work 60 hours a week. My answer is that I received a miraculous healing.
Now in regards to the title of this piece. Let us delve into it.
I have already stated that I have written books. Five genres. My greatest work is five books of fiction. They are all in the Hard Justice Series. Violation, Peregrination, Expurgation, Final Destination and Terminus. The total page count of all these books is around 960. The writing is very dark and brutal, some of it pornographic. But it is clean writing that doesn’t give physical descriptions of characters. The descriptions of the characters come only from their actions. I wrote it as such for purposes of it being made a movie. Easier for the director in actor selection. Race of any of them wouldn’t have mattered.
As a fiction I am told it is very believable. For a movie production the screen play would not need any continuity checks. So here is the thing, I know how difficult it is to write a story that is believable.
If you read the Bible accepting it as literal, it would be difficult for any author, if not impossible to write such a work. From the beginning to the end, the intricacy of the stories in the Bible connect almost impossibly.
Prophesy happening time and again with historical substantiation as it has, makes the Bible a numerological anomaly for certitude. If many prophesies have already happened why wouldn’t the ones yet unfulfilled not happen?
Considering what the prophesy of Jesus says in the Book of Revelation, at His coming all things, elements of this earth will be consumed and melt away in fervent heat. Everything in this world will be laid to waste.
Jeremiah 4:23-27 gives a pretty good visual.
People will have one of two choices to pick. Light with the Lord in eternity, or death and hell with the wicked.
As I said, I hate religion of men. What I put my whole life value on now is a relationship with the Lord. How do I do that? I read God’s word. I make his commandments my focus. I realize what He did for me and all mankind in paying our debt for being sinners and not good or nice people is worth all of my effort. Every day I ask for the Spirit of God to lead me to what Jesus taught said and did. His mercy and grace are working on sanctifying me. Sometimes I get down on myself for what I perceive as failures. But after time most of what I consider failure is just God’s way of perfecting me. The stories in the Bible are timeless and help show these hard-known truths. And for learning them, I can always point to Jesus as my honest teacher loving me unconditionally.
In becoming a worthy workman rightly dividing God’s word, my life has done a 180 degree turn around for the better.
I would love to have more five-star book reviews for my writing. It would be a well-received relief from the work I currently do. It doesn’t matter though. My comments for the Bible are simple. For every problem man knows, there is a solution in the writing of God’s word,
The Truth
Is the Last Book review that will ever be written.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Approved workers

2 Timothy 2:14-16

Remind them of these things, charging them before the Lord not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers. 

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 

But shun profane and idle babblings,for they will increase to more ungodliness.

These are instructions for Timothy and all followers of Christ. As I read them, I try to imagine Paul's earnest intent.

First of all Paul, is indicating that the subject matter is holy and not to argue over words, such will drive away listeners, thus missing the point of Jesus' saving grace.

Second, Paul says know the subject matter. Have no regret for making a statement concerning God's word.

Thirdly, once you realize the conversation about God's Holy Word isn't really what is written in the Bible depart from the foolishness of such conversing.

Key concepts: Do not strive, Be diligent, Shun the profane.

If we go to the Book of Acts 2:1

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

This scripture describes the setting of the new church birth. They were all single minded. No division, no striving, diligently praying.

Let's move again to Acts 17:11 where the author is speaking of the Bereans.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 

Within the book of Acts on two different occasions single-mindedness is presented as a characteristic of those converting to Christ.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Every Spoken Word

Every Spoken Word

In Matthew 12:36-37 Jesus is giving advice to all that will hear.
But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
            Often as the case was in the days of His preaching the Pharisees were in plain hearing of what Jesus said. Some may have been present during His offering of the beatitudes, but there is no record of it in scripture. He does however point to the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 5:20 as a bench mark of righteousness. And while He points to the high bar of righteous morality Jesus brilliantly gives all to hear some very valuable advice. Matthew 5:37.
            But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
            This scripture has its foundation in Proverbs 17:28
            Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
            Before I sought Christ as my Savior and Lord, I never gave much thought about speaking words. I was educated in the worldly way which demanded concise communication for pitching and selling ideas. I even studied debate as an interest. There are those that are eloquent in their word usage, other are pointed and still others are soft-spoken. The are many different styles of speaking amidst the secular world. There is no stopping new creations of babble either. The results are escalating hatred and violence even among the faithful!
            Earlier I had written that I take what Jesus said very seriously. As I press into His words I realize more and more how much of my old me was in ever-present peril. I thought about words I spoke in the way I had an expectation for the world to hear them. They weren’t gentle, filled with compassion, encouraging or even altogether helpful That was 30 years of my life! I couldn’t possible recall all the words I said, or spoke either in truth, lies, exaggerations or verbal assaults. So, when I read the words of Christ as in the above scripture, you can imagine how mortified I felt. At first, this was very hard to read, just as much of Christ said was difficult to get through. Then I had to ask myself if these were loose suggestions. But in rereading His words I saw and understood on the day of judgement ‘every’ idle word was up for review. Then I did scripture comparison. And more than the above scriptures I came to find another even more specific.  James 3:8.
            But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
            As I reflected on the old me, this scripture rang true. An ex-wife of mine used to say, “What you say is right, but the way you say it makes it impossible to hear”. This revelation presented me with a choice. It wasn’t a choice such as flipping a switch as to turn on a light. A choice which provided immediate change, oh no. This choice was one I’d have to contend with until I unlearned some very well-established habits. And even still to this day, I care very little about what people think against what I have to say. I’ve chosen to be less outspoken. I am inclined to consider what folks articulate. What they do articulate doesn’t always require a response and most certainly doesn’t demand a reaction.
            In our world we have celebrities. These folks have a platform to speak like none other. And depending on where their agenda leans to they always seem to find a curious and supportive audience. Many folks in the new technology of the internet have also been given platforms to speak like celebrities. In most cases the position of influence is a very desired place to possess.
Celebrities makes lots of money for their personas. They for the most part protect their identity very carefully. Their language is currency. You can meet any celebrity you want, if you have the right amount of money to depart from. Certain types of speaking are highly sought after by very influential people willing to pay for the privilege of a private audience. They quite literally control the narratives talked about on many different information venues. Very few of them have humble roots. They consistently must outdo prior realities to remain current in that celebrity status.
Self-centeredness is a must for most these folks just because that is the nature of the beast. Self-worth also becomes very important to them. All of these traits remove the individual away from a relationship with Jesus. Self-centeredness requires such departure from humble truths.
In as much as we struggle to feel good about ourselves because we have determined we deserve such a wellbeing, we must look around and wonder why it is that there is such misery in this world. Might the misery begin with our readiness to be judgmental in our walks of life? Are we too busy with the details of our own well being to consider what might be helpful to others? Or are we just so opposed to certain thinking that we consider becoming involved as beneath our position? Do we just not care?
If we go to the book of Genesis during the story of creation. Genesis 1, God said, called and saw all of it. By God’s word our entire reality exists. Are words important to God? My inclination is that His words are very important. And if we as men and women are made in His image, then our words must also be important to Him. So much so that every word will be accounted for come the day of judgment.
The good news is that by God’s grace and mercy, Jesus paid for all of those poorly spoken idle words we have uttered. The most important words you may choose to speak today are by confessing that Jesus is your Lord and savior. By that confession all those ill willed words will be covered by the blood shed by Jesus on the cross as the perfect sacrifice for all of our corrupt creation. Then you must choose to walk in the way taught by Jesus looking for the citizenship privilege of being in heaven for eternity with The Word.