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Monthly Archives: June 2016
10 Rules for Writing from Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
‘looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…’ Hebrews 12:2
Here are some tips that you can choose to apply to your writing. Decide for yourself.
Write so that your product will provide consumers with joy. Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Write what is in your heart. Don’t write what you think people will like or to please other people. Follow your heart when you write and be true to who you are and what you want to say. Luke 6:45 A good man produces good out of the good storeroom of his heart. An evil man produces evil out of the evil storeroom, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.
Believe in your vision for what you want to write. The Apostle John was directed in writing the book of Revelation to “Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this.” Revelation 1:19
Learn the art of writing. Practice the discipline of writing. Proverbs 23:12 Apply yourself to discipline and listen to words of knowledge.
To communicate a message understand what you are saying. Be sincere, have a clear conscience, and seek to find the purist form in your words. Avoid abstract, vague, confusing language. The Apostle Paul uses this advice when sharing with Timothy how he should stay true to the message they are supposed to be teaching. 1 Timothy 1:5-7 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.
Think of your writing as a sacrificial gift to others, and expect to be paid what it is worth. Acts 20:35 includes part of the Apostle Paul’s direction to the church elders in Ephesus. In it he states “In every way I’ve shown you that by laboring like this, it is necessary to help the weak and to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, for He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”. Likewise when Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia he advised them similarly “For each person will have to carry his own load. 6 The one who is taught the message must share all his good things with the teacher. 7 Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap,” Galatians 6:5-7a.
Apply careful investigation to what you write. The Gospel attributed to Luke begins with this explanation: “Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us. 3 It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully investigated everything from the very first, to write to you in an orderly sequence, most honorable Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the certainty of the things about which you have been instructed.” Luke 1:1-4
Have a clear and specific purpose for everything you write. Joshua 18:4 Provide for yourselves three men from each tribe that I may send them, and that they may arise and walk through the land and write a description of it according to their inheritance; then they shall return to me.
Write when you find yourself most challenged. Write when it seems like it’s the last thing you should do. When in doubt, write. No matter what excuse you have not to write, write anyway. Here in John 8:6 is an example of what Jesus did: “They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground.”
Write for a higher standard. 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 “It is of little importance to me that I should be evaluated by you or by any human court. In fact, I don’t even evaluate myself. 4 For I am not conscious of anything against myself, but I am not justified by this. The One who evaluates me is the Lord.”
The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’ | History | Smithsonian
With two rat terriers trotting at his heels, and a long wooden staff in his hand, J.R. Gavin leads me through the woods to one of the old swamp hide-outs. A tall white man with a deep Southern drawl, Gavin has a stern presence, gracious manners and intense brooding eyes. At first I mistook him for a preacher, but he’s a retired electronic engineer who writes self-published novels about the rapture and apocalypse. One of them is titled Sal Batree, after the place he wants to show me.I’m here in Jones County, Mississippi, to breathe in the historical vapors left by Newton Knight, a poor white farmer who led an extraordinary rebellion during the Civil War. With a company of like-minded white men in southeast Mississippi, he did what many Southerners now regard as unthinkable. He waged guerrilla war against the Confederacy and declared loyalty to the Union.In the spring of 1864, the Knight Company overthrew the Confederate authorities in Jones County and raised the United States flag over the county courthouse in Ellisville. The county was known as the Free State of Jones, and some say it actually seceded from the Confederacy. This little-known, counter-intuitive episode in American history has now been brought to the screen in Free State of Jones, directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) and starring a grimy, scruffed-up Matthew McConaughey as Newton Knight.Knight and his men, says Gavin, hooking away an enormous spider web with his staff and warning me to be careful of snakes, “had a number of different hide-outs. The old folks call this one Sal Batree. Sal was the name of Newt’s shotgun, and originally it was Sal’s Battery, but it got corrupted over the years.”
Source: The True Story of the ‘Free State of Jones’ | History | Smithsonian
REVIEW: FOREIGN AGENT
Foreign Agent: A Thriller (Scot Harvath) by Brad Thor
What I liked:
The best of the genre is exemplified by a driving force of will. There you experience a relentless pace of action, conflict, and contest. The NBA Championship finals just concluded. LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers over a potentially historic Golden State Warriors team in a Game 7 nail biter that wasn’t settled until a series of dramatic plays in the final moments. What we sports fans relish about this only pure form of reality television is the back and forth cage match that brings out both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Not much else compares. What Foreign Agent does so well is reproduce like emotions in scripted form. Kudos.
The adrenaline rush that runs constant throughout the story is a rare treat. This is a modern war story. Violent political conflict across the globe is a threat to American safety as the Untied States’ superpower influence becomes a pawn in the chess match that is power politics on steroids. As is true about most great chess games, this one involves Russians. Scot Harvath, as a deep cover operative, is the point man for the home team. A tribute to the superlative quality of this book is in part owed to Harvath’s character. He isn’t just cunning and highly competent. He also demonstrates an intellect generally presumed to be possessed by more refined, less violent members of the male species. So yes, readers get to have their beefcake and eat it too.
In a review of the preceding book in the series (see Code of Conduct), I criticized it’s lack of balance. Where was the romance in Harvath’s life? Is he little more than Batman redux? Well shut my mouth, because Harvath has come home. The dilemmas he faces, though serious, credible, and not simple to resolve, are none the less dealt with in satisfactory fashion.
What I didn’t like:
Did you ever witness one of the nagging complaints about professional boxing? How champion fighters too often scheduled miss matches with less than capable opponents in order to pad their paychecks while protecting their posteriors. I’m talking about patsies. Well Russia appears to be playing patsy here. Is Thor paying homage to the dozens of Russian heavy weights over the years who took the dive for the George Foremans, the Joe Fraziers, and the late Muhammad Ali? As the story proceeds, Russia seems incapable of state of the art technical espionage or classic trade craft, that is until the plot calls for it. But hey I’m being too picky. You can’t have it both ways. Or can you?
What you should know:
The rules of engagement include torture. Enhanced interrogation techniques are used. The warning sign reads: Squeamish individuals will enter at their own risk. I find that there are distinct messages in Thor prose. One such message here is that the use of extreme measures are a necessary aspect of winning fights where the alternatives are not palatable. Brad Thor may or may not be right. What he does is force readers to consider the issues. That is one quality I respect in an author.
A real Good Read
Tips for the Imperfect Marriage
Sometimes all the cars break, and the blender breaks, and I get the kids to school an hour late. Sometimes I set the cooking utensils on fire and shatter a $400 window. Sometimes there are surprise…
Source: Tips for the Imperfect Marriage
Review: Code of Conduct
Code of Conduct: A Thriller (Scot Harvath Book 14) by Brad Thor. This is a NY Times best seller in the Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Category. Brad Thor is a well known bestselling author of the Scot Harvath Thriller series. His next book, entitled Foreign Agent, debuts June 14th.
What I liked.
The thriller genre is not as attractive to me as others I prefer to read more often. So I tend to be more demanding. I’ll often judge this type based on whether I feel compelled to skip ahead while reading (a bad sign). However, some would argue that the death knell for similar stories is when you put the book down and awhile later discover you haven’t picked it back up. Phrases like ‘page turner’ are key to separating the wheat from the chaff in this regard. Needless to say, Thor definitely does pass muster with this book. What need I say? There is a broad, ambitious story, involving the fate of mankind. Thor has mastered the art of maintaining tension and interest as characters navigate through conflicts that challenge their morality, their determination, and their intelligence.
Because of an epic scale that spans the globe, multiple groups of characters are introduced and reintroduced. Thor weaves these stories at a pace that allows you to keep track of who’s who, without bogging down the action. And there is plenty of action. As is typical of the genre, the violence ramps up towards the final climactic ending, and you will be ready when the time comes.
One perceived weakness of the genre is the balance of substance. Here we’re found wanting if it appears to be ‘all action, no talk’. Thor adds meat to the prose by interspersing political philosophy: it isn’t just good verses evil, but government bureaucracy verses individual liberty. So the conflict between ideas is just as entertaining as the cage fight spectacle.
What I didn’t like.
A story of this scope and style often treads lightly on character development. While there is enough there to like the good guys, and dislike the bad guys, I was still left wanting. Scot Harvath is a very well developed protagonist and you’re left with no doubt about his reasons why or raison d’etre, s’il vous plait. Not so much for the people around him. They are more or less two dimensional. For example the two prominent female characters are stereotypical archetypes. But that probably won’t bother the target demographic.
I had a similar issue with the villain. He had to be the nicest serial killer you ever met. What’s up with that! He leads a great life until he suffers a bad loss. Then he reads a bad book? So he goes crazy? Thor has quite the cautionary tale about being careful with your bedside reading choices!
What you should know.
For thriller and suspense lovers, this is definitely the ticket. With respect to the amount of violence, think early Schwarzenegger, if you want a movie comparison. Warning: know that these series can be highly addictive. You may find yourself up late at night and suddenly sleep deprived (and neglecting significant others a la Harvath). Take your time. There are plenty more where this came from if you haven’t read any of his novels before. If you have, don’t worry, you can buy a copy of Foreign Agent and get your fix this summer.
Recommendation: Must Read
WAIT! Donald Trump Is To Give A Speech Near the Site Of A Civil War Battle He Made Up? — RedState
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Next week, Donald Trump announced that he was going to give major campaign speech and had selected the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, as the venue. The event planning then played out in front of reporters. “I don’t even know where yet. I think we…
via WAIT! Donald Trump Is To Give A Speech Near the Site Of A Civil War Battle He Made Up? — RedState
5 Things not to do: The Anti-Blog
#1 Let me start with a question. Is the trendy “list topic” a passing fad that has already become vomit inducing tedium? I, for one, will say so. The use and abuse of this technique …