Friday, March 31, 2017

Expressions of Faith: God Knows



For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
(Colossians 1:16 NIV)

God Knows

No matter what we come across in life, Jesus knows about because
·      He was involved in its creation, and
·      He was who it was created for.
Examples:
·      Lousy politicians?
 God knows.
·      Upset with a situation?
God knows.

We need to realize that God is aware of all things.


If this doesn’t give you peace, ask God to guide your thinking.

Next Friday's Expression of Faith: The God Particle?

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Timeless Truths: What Follows You - Integrity


"Some Assembly Required" series.

Series Theme Verse

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of our relationship with God.
The fruit of the Spirit is not evidence of our God-gifts.
·      This is not the “produce section” in your local store.
·      There is no choice among the listed attributes.
·      All the attributes listed are part of the single fruit.


Fruit of the Spirit means nothing to non-Christians.
The term “goodness” appears only four times in the New Testament. It is hard to define, other than being “more than good.”

That being said . . .
Goodness Means
·      Generosity of God
·      Going the second mile
·      Guarantee of integrity

Integrity is deciding to integrate my heart’s values into my daily actions.
This is a good definition of holiness.
Deciding is a key element. Integrity is not an accident.
I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. 1 Chronicles 29:17a
Integrity is important to God and vital to us.

THREE TESTS OF INTEGRITY
1. Integrity in my work.
How do my associates see me?
Work is a test of our integrity.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
People watch more closely for integrity in bad times.

Integrity Action Plan
1.   Give our best in the worst of times.
2.   Look up to those beneath you.
3.   Stand up for our convictions. This may be painful.
 No job in the world is worth sacrificing our integrity.

2. Integrity in my worship.
Remember God’s goodness.
Public worship is only as good as your private worship has been
Three “Goods” you can count on.
God’s Word
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.
Psalm 119:9
God’s Work
You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 119:68
God’s Will
And we know that in all things God works for the good those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

3. Integrity in my witness.
Our witness is what is left behind when we leave the room.
The real value of integrity for a relationship . . . it builds trust!

Three Benefits of Integrity – all three of these strengthen and build a relationship.
Protection – less fear
May integrity and uprightness protect me because my hope is in you. Psalm 25:21
Security – greater confidence
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. Proverbs 10:9
Guidance – better decisions
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Proverbs 11:3

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ONE.
“A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your names on hearts and not on marble.” Charles H. Spurgeon
Make sure that people know of your intent to be a person of integrity, as it will help you be accountable.

Next week: What Follows You – Faithfulness

Special thanks to Dr. Keith Newman for the primary teachings used in this post. I invite you to his blog, which he's titled, Curious Sojourner.

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!


Email me at: chuckdowningauthor@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Authors: Reviewing Reviews – 2 of 3, Reviewing the Reviewers


In my last Author’s blog, I presented to very different reviews of the same book. The book was my first published novel, Traveler’s HOT L – The Time Traveler’s Resort. Here’s the link to that blog if you’d like to review or read it before continuing.
This article is part two of the three-part series. It’s titled, Authors: Reviewing Reviews – 2 of 3, Reviewing the Reviewers. Keep reading, and you’ll find out why.
What follows is a dissection of each review in turn. I removed pieces of the review and comment on each. The post ends with a section titled, Comments and Conclusion.

Booklife Review: 10/1/14
A rundown hotel hides a HOT L (Harmonious Overlap of Time Location), a nexus for time travel, in a series of stories that lack the execution to deliver on the premise. Debut novelist Downing’s conceptual framework is ambitious, sending readers into a medieval historical, two crime stories, and the book’s own alternate-universe sequel, but there’s nothing new in these familiar settings. PI Phil Mamba tries to catch a murderous politician in his past and inevitably ends up altering the future; no one believes the boy who says that his dolls can speak when, of course, they can. By the time Jesus is referred to as a temporal anomaly, it’s all too much, especially given how often explanations of theory and verbose descriptions (“he spoke with tenderness tinged with resignation”) slow the narrative. The recurring characters who direct the HOT L lack personality, limited to droll remarks and clichés such as “smooth the now-wrinkled time fabric.” Nearly every opportunity to treat these concepts originally has been missed. (BookLife)
Dissection: [Note. I wrote what follows as a “dissection” two weeks after that review was published. It still reflects my feelings quite well. See the comments/conclusion at the end of this post.]
My first reaction was disappointment. I can’t imagine anyone not being disappointed after receiving what is, essentially, a dismissal of a project of theirs.
Everyone is entitled to her/his opinion. This individual clearly does not like my style of writing. That’s fair—it is, after all, an opinion.
However, I am now somewhere between perplexed with and angry at some of what is written—because some of it is wrong.
Points.
No one ever goes back and does anything to change the future. Both Mamba and Michael restore the original timelines. This is more than a technicality. No future is altered. This is a point of angriness.
In Battle, three individuals are described as having disappeared from the timeline before Rose goes missing. Jesus disappears from the timeline. He’s never referred to as a temporal anomaly. It is the Ascension that is referenced. His presence on Earth is never questioned. A second point of angriness.
I think this is wrong. Most reader comment on the originality of the ideas. Specifically missing from the statement in the review is any mention of:
·      The method of travel. Ripples, DNA stimulus,
·      The fact that only specific items travel. No artifacts in either direction, consequences for taking artifacts.
·      The fact that travelers return to original timeline with a real time lapse for the time they miss in nearly all cases.
·      The fact that they don’t know how this all began. The premise of DNA Trek.
Collectively, these comprise my third point of angriness.
I disagree. Each character has a unique personality that is reinforced in every story. Chronos is a bit of a tease. Eternity is a literalist. Epoch is a legalist. Tempus is learning how to co-exist with humanity. However, this is now my opinion. It is a point of perplexity.
I guess the bottom line is still disappointment. But now, that disappointment is the lack of content integrity of the review. Much of what is written is a misrepresentation of the book.

Review by TimeTravelNexus <This is not the complete review. The selection illustrates what I want to emphasize. This entire Amazon review is available at https://goo.gl/pE9bmL. The full-length review is on the TimeTravelNexus website: https://goo.gl/BJAazz. I think you’ll find that this selection is balanced in its content.>
…No, there's no missing "E" to make "hotel" - the "HOT L" is the "Harmonious Overlap of Time Location" and is the backbone of the brilliant time travel mechanism which is described most fully in the first short story. The following stories refer back to this - and even build upon it in some cases.
Time is described as a fabric which consists of interweaving threads and which can fold over itself.  Time can also be considered as a pool which suffers ripples.  Such imagery is used fully and allows for some wonderful reasoning behind why (and how) characters travel in time. It's one of the best descriptors of time that I've read and is definitely the high point of this collection!
Three of the eight stories really incorporated the time travel element well  - the first with an explanation, another with a time travel tourist, and a third with its 'discovery' and development…
Time travel, or the link to the HOT L, in the other five stories seemed to me to be rather tenuous, or superfluous. For example, by casting a character back in time for a second shot at something which could just as easily have been covered in the first version of the time line [sic] in the narrative, or by tacking it onto the end of a story which would have been just fine without it.

Dissection: [Note. I wrote what follows as a “dissection” of this review for this post, five months after it was published.]
My first reaction was, “Wow! This reviewer gets it!” It’s obvious that he read this book focusing on the time travel aspect. He goes into detail about every story.
I was pleased to read this. Following this review, I did a written Q/A interview for a companion website https://www.time2timetravel.com/tag/cr-downing/ where I explained the development of the ideas behind the stories.
I agree. J I have problems with most time-travel processes. In most cases, the travelers come and go without ever being “gone.” In addition, materials and devices from the past and the future flit back and forth without little or no restriction in function. There are no checks and balances involved in the process. None of those “problems exist” in my time travel mechanism.
I agree here, mostly. Most readers are unaware that all the stories were not originally time travel stories. Three of the stories could not exist without the time travel component, although the amount of time travel that is described in Michael Casey O’Brien is minimal. Million-Dollar Mistake originally ended with a “storm” sending the counterfeiters back in time as a form of unexpected justice. Although I tweaked that time travel method, it’s always been time travel story to me.
I agree. The remaining stories were massaged to include a time travel component because I needed stories for the book. I added the time travel element to the other stories in what I felt was an adequate amount. This reviewer, who has a broad understanding of the elements of a time travel story, saw through my ruse. However, readers of my book who aren’t diehard sci-fi lovers like the variety in story format and genre. Many continued reading the other books in the series because of that.

Comments and Conclusion
If you’re going to do a review of a book,
  1. you should have some “feel” for the genre. The Booklife reviewer seems to have limited understanding of Sci-Fi as a genre and less for time travel as a sub-genre. If it’s not “your” genre, decline the assignment.
  2. please check the “facts” you print about that book. There is no reason to include something as being in the book when it is not in the book.
  3. please read the book; don’t just scan it. If you didn’t read the entire book, say so. Explain why you started scanning. Don’t write about what you didn’t read.

 For me, the “take away” from this blog is to check out your reviewing service—if you can—before you ask for a review. Some of the reviewing services can be a bit more “be glad we agreed to review your self-published book” than “we’ll do our best to match genre interest in our reviewer to your genre.”

I’ll be writing about reviews you pay for two weeks from now.


Next – Review$ by “Professionals”

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!


Email me at: chuckdowningauthor@gmail.com

Friday, March 24, 2017

Expressions of Faith: Dominion of Darkness



For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
(Colossians 1:13 NIV)

Dominion of Darkness

In modern society, this term brings to mind vampires, Darth Vader, and anything opposed to The Justice League.

There are real powers of darkness—fallen angels and evil spirits—that rule in their dark domain.

The goal of those powers is clear:
Entice as many human souls as possible to join them in darkness for eternity.

Since that’s their only job, they are very good at it.

Fortunately for us, however, this God is real. When we allow ourselves to be rescued by accepting salvation, our rescue saves us from eternal damnation.

Thank you, God, for sending Jesus to our rescue.

As Lent continues, help me to give more thanks to The Savior, who rescues us!

Next Friday's Expression of Faith: God Knows

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com
I'd appreciate your feedback!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Timeless Truths: Peace with a Purpose


"Some Assembly Required" series.

Series Theme Verse

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of our relationship with God.
The fruit of the Spirit is not evidence of our God-gifts.
·      This is not the “produce section” in your local store.
·      There is no choice among the listed attributes.
·      All the attributes listed are part of the single fruit.

Common Misconceptions about Peace
Peace is found in another place.
Peace is found in another position.
Peace is found in another program.
Peace is found in another person.

The Truth about Peace
Peace is found only in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This relationship should empower us to be peacemakers.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.
Romans 5:1-2

Common Misconceptions about Peacemaking
Peace is avoiding the problem
Unresolved conflict is like termites. Even though you don’t see the damage, it’s there!
Peace is appeasing another person.
This leads to manipulation. Don’t back down from a legitimate issue!

Peace starts with each of us.
P.E.A.C.E. WITH A PURPOSE MEANS
P. Pray for an open door.
Peacemakers always take the initiative.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.
Romans 14:19
E. Expect God’s help.
God has committed to helping us.
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
Jeremiah 33:3
Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.
Psalm 31:24 [The Message]
A. Attack the problem, not the person.
Speak the truth with compassion.
What you say and how you say it are both important.
Timing is crucial.
Don’t be hysterical or historical.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Ephesians 4:25
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29
C. Choose reconciliation
Reconciliation: reestablish the relationship.
Resolution: to resolve every issue—all conflicts that are within you.
Bitterness is the poison that we drink hoping someone else will die.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18
We are to be ministers of reconciliation.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 3:18
E. Emulate Christ.
Emulate means to strive to be equal to.
Your [MY] attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Colossians 3:15

Paul was probably not a peacemaker.
That may be why he writes so much about peace and peacemaking.

Next week: What Follows You – Faithfulness #1

Special thanks to Dr. Keith Newman for the primary teachings used in this post. I invite you to his blog, which he's titled, Curious Sojourner.

Follow me on Twitter: @CRDowningAuthor and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CRDowningAuthor
My website is: www.crdowning.com

I'd appreciate your feedback!

Email me at: chuckdowningauthor@gmail.com


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