Sunday, 28 November 2010

Scribbling Saturday Web Site Review: Write Space

Subtitled 'Capture Your Creative Sparkle' this is a simple website with inspiration and advice for writers. Vanda Inman lives in Cornwall and has taught creative writing and english literature, and has had lots of short stories published, mainly in women's magazines. Her web site has details of her distance learning courses and critique service, and copies of her 'Quick Fix' articles which are published as a monthly column in Writers Forum magazine. Well worth a look.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thinking Thursday: Living By Faith

What is faith?
1. Faith is not a mystical power that makes things happen by the sheer force of belief.
2. Faith is not a substitute for facts – a willingness to believe in things that cannot be substantiated.

Rom.14:23 'everything that does not come from faith is sin.'
Therefore every Christian has to 'live by faith,' otherwise he is 'living by sin.'

The all-important thing is not the quantity of our faith, but the quality of the object in which our faith is going to be placed. Small faith in a strong object will still enable that object to work.
Faith in God is an attitude of trust in God which enables him to work.

What is needed on our part to enable God to work?
1. Obedience to what God says.
2. Trust in who God is.

John 9:4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me.

[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Scribbling Saturday Web Site Review: Authonomy

This is a site for authors to share their work and get feedback. If you are a reader you can also use the site to read original work. Some sites insist that you read others' work to earn credits to get your own work reviewed. This site has no criteria to make anyone read any work. So there is no cumpulsion, but you may not get many people read yours.

You can leave messages for people, and comment on their work. Put books you are interested in on your watchlist. Put your favourite 5 books on your bookshelf. Hopefully others will do the same for yours. At the end of each month the top five books on the most bookshelves get read by the editors at Harper Collins.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Thinking Thursday: Marks of the Holy Spirit

Acts 19:2 … "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
Rom.8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.
1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them.
1 John 4:13 We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

It is not 'being a Christian' that gives you the right to have the Holy Spirit, it is having the Holy Spirit within that gives you the right to be a Christian.

Three things that show the Holy Spirit's presence:
a. A hunger to know Jesus Christ
1 Cor.12:3 … no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
John 14:26 But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 15:26 When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
John 16:14-15 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and making it known to you.
This includes a hunger for the Bible, which teaches us about Him.

b. A hunger to be like Jesus Christ.
Gal.5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
The fruit of the Spirit produce character, and a changed character will be expressed in three ways:
a. A changed attitude to people
John 13:35 All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.
Phil.2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
1 Cor.13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Fruit: love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness
b. A changed attitude to circumstances
Phil.4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always.
Neh.8:10 … Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Phil.4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rom.5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Fruit: joy, peace, patience
c. A changed attitude to ourselves
Prov.25:28 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.
Fruit: self-control
Note: These are fruit, not flowers. Flowers are decorative, fruits are for consumption. We are not talking about qualities that make Christians nice to look at, but that enable them to meet the needs of others.

We also have to remember these qualities are fruit, which is a natural result of growth. We are not being asked to manufacture these qualities in our own lives, we are being asked to submit to the Holy Spirit and allow him to grow these qualities in us, as we participate in the divine nature.

2 Pet.1:3-7 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

And these spiritual gifts are not just for our benefit.
1 Pet.4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
1 Cor.12:7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good

c. A hunger to serve Jesus Christ
John 7:37-39 … "If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Scribbling Saturday: yWriter software

This is a fabulous piece of software written by a writer especially for writing novels. It would be worth paying for, but it's free to download. (Click the title to go straight there.)

Create your chapters and split each chapter into scenes. Each scene has a description, which is your outline, and content, which is your actual writing. Keep records of your characters, locations and items and assign them to each scene so you can keep track of what appears where.

Record details for each scene of how much humour, tension etc., point of view, goals, timeline and set the status to outline, 1st edit etc., to keep track of your progress. Reports give you the synopsis in various forms and daily writing targets.

Since I discovered it, I have used nothing else for my writing, and I am writing my NaNoWriMo novel on it, after planning the outline scene by scene last month. Heartily recommended.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Thinking Thursday: The Spirit Within You

We are Christians because we have the Holy Spirit, not because we are forgiven.
Rom.8:9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.

So if he has control of us, who is the Holy Spirit?

He is the Spirit of truth: John 16:13 'the Spirit of truth'
He is the Counsellor: John 14:26 'the Counsellor'

He is a person:
a. He thinks: 1 Cor.2:11-12 … no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
b. He feels: Rom.15:30 … by the love of the Spirit …
Eph.4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God

c. He decides: 1 Cor.12:11 … he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
d. He speaks: Acts 13:2 … the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for work to which I have called them."
e. He teaches: John 14:26 But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
f. He intercedes: Rom.8:26-27 … We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
g. He guides: John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.
h. He commands: Acts 16:6-7 Paul and his companions travelled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to.
i. He appoints: Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all of the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.
j. He can be insulted: Heb.10:29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished … who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
k. He can be lied to: Acts 5:3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit …?"

Seeing him as a person rather than a force causes us to ask not 'How can I use him?' but 'How can he use me?'

He is God:
a. He receives divine acclaim: Acts 5:3-4 … you have lied to the Holy Spirit … You have not lied to men but to God.

b. He possesses divine attributes:
* He is all-powerful (omnipotent): Luke 1:35-37 … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
* He is all-knowing (omniscient): 1 Cor.2:10-11 … The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God… no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
The Spirit who indwells us knows everything there is to know, will never be taken by surprise or caught unaware of, or unprepared for, any event that we pass through.
* He is in all places (omnipresent): Psa.139:7-10 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? etc.
* He is eternal: Heb.9:14 … the eternal Spirit

c. He performs divine activities:
* He creates:
Gen.1:2 … the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
Psa.104:30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
* He regenerates:
John 3:5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Rom.8:11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
* He is sovereign: 1 Cor.12:11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
* He is the author of prophecy: 2 Peter 1:21 … men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

d. He participates in divine authority:
* Matt.28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …
* 2 Cor.13:14 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

The Holy Spirit and Christ:

John 14:16-17 … another Counsellor

Greek word used (allos) means 'another of the same sort'. Alternative word is (heteros) which means 'another of a different sort'. The Holy Spirit's identity and ministry is the same as that of Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit who lives the life of Jesus Christ within us, and who desires to express the character of Jesus Christ within us.

See John 16:13-14 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own, he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is to come. He will bring glory to me by taking what is mine and making it known to you.

1 Cor.12:3 Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.

[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Scribbling Saturday: NaNoWriMo Week One

My first week of National Novel Writers Month is almost over, and it has been quite an experience. I thought it would be hard to write 1700 words in one go. That turned out to be quite easy. What is hard is doing it day after day. I thought I might struggle after a couple of weeks. Actually I struggled after three days!

But I still determined. The discipline is good for me. My characters are coming alive for me and I already have a few conversations that I didn't anticipate. I hope the inspiration lasts!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Thinking Thursday: Forgiveness and the Justice of God

Awareness of guilt can be an awful thing.
Psa.32:3-4 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

There are two ways to cope with guilt:
1. Redefine it so as to reduce personal responsibility and personal failure
2. Face up to it as a reality, accept responsibility for it, and cope with it from a position of responsibility Acts 2:38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven."

Conviction or Condemnation
We have to be careful to distinguish between conviction and condemnation. The devil will condemn us, and make us feel hopeless. The Holy Spirit will convict us and give us the power to deal with our sin.

John 16:8 When he comes, (the Holy Spirit) he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin.
the devil is 'the accuser of our brothers'
John 8:44
the devil is a liar: When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The Basis of Forgiveness
We can be confident that forgiveness is available to us, because of the basis of forgiveness.

1 John 1:9 on the basis of justice, not mercy: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

With the demands of the law satisfied by Christ's death, God is legally and morally obligated to forgive us.

The Unforgiveable Sin
One thing that bothers many people is the question of the unforgiveable sin.

Mark 3:29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.

The Holy Spirit convicts us and points the way to forgiveness. To resist the working of the Holy Spirit therefore closes the way to forgiveness. Thus the unforgiveable sin is not an act one can commit in a moment but is a refusal to accept the only means of obtaining forgiveness.

1 John 1:7 'the blood of Jesus … cleanses us from all sin'
Rom.8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
See also 1 John 1:9 above

What God Does with our Sin
Ps.103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
East and west are non-existent points. In travelling east you never meet west.

Isa.38:17 … you have put all my sins behind your back
God sees everywhere, so this has to be very far indeed – outside existence!

Isa.43:25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers them no more
God knows all things and cannot forget. He deliberately refuses to recall our sins.

Rom.8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Only Satan brings condemnation.

1 John 4:17 Love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him.
Why will we have confidence? Because in this world, we are like him.

[Based on Christ For Real by Charles W Price]