Devotional: A Vision for Writing

visionDisclaimer: This article talks about religion in general and the Christian faith, in particular. Psalm 118:17 says “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

Christian Writer or Writer Who Is a Christian?

Not all writers who are Christians are called by God to a full-time writing ministry or to write in the inspirational genre. Let’s be honest, not all authors writes about God, Jesus or Christian themes.

People write about a variety of subjects. Writers write about what they know or what interests them. I know that is the way I do it.

Not all Christians actively practice their faith and beliefs. Many have struggles with their faith.

I consider myself a writer who is a Christian, not a Christian writer. My faith affects all areas of my life. It slips into my writing most of the time. Sometimes I even do it on purpose!

It’s Okay to Encourage Others Toward Trust Christ.

Psalm 118:17 is in an account where the psalmist reminds us we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust God to accept and bless us. It says we should seek to live to declare the works of God.

It’s okay for a Christian writer to encourage others to trust in Him, serve Him and live for Him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.

Commit Our Works to the Lord.

We should commit our works to the Lord. Try praying for a vision for your writing, to God to give you the desire to write, and to open doors of opportunity for you to write.

If you are a Believer in Christ, you can then “declare the works of the Lord.” Include your faith in your writing just like you do in your everyday life.

Do Not Hold Back

In the late former Beatle George Harrison’s autobiography “I, Me, Mine”. In the book, he mentioned he did not hold back in promoting his Hinduism faith and the Hare Krishna movement with songs like “My Sweet Lord”. He viewed his celebrity as a way to support his beliefs.

Include Your Faith in Your Writing

Why shouldn’t a Christian include faith in his or her writings? Again, Psalm 118:7 says “…declare the works of the Lord.” Habakkuk 2:2 declares “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” The key is the writer needs to write. Your faith is part of who you are.

Devotional: How To Have True Peace


Do you want peace of mind? Peace of mind is something that we all want. We all want to be able to rest, to not have to worry, to feel free to enjoy life, family, friends, work, church, hobbies, entertainment, etc. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened down with worries that rob us of vigor, life, and purpose. Sometimes when we can’t find peace of mind, we get depressed. We often get angry and lash out at God or someone else near to you.

What do you do to get peace? I mean real peace in your life. Where do you start? What do you do? Well, the best place to start is with God. In the Bible in the book of Philippians chapter 4:6-9 teaches how to have true peace in your life.

In Philippians 4:6-9 tells us: 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. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (NIV)

Point one – God wants you to have true peace by having you not worry – about anything (act of thinking)

Worry shows you are not trusting in God. God says in verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything.” That means don’t worry. The word for “anxious” in the Greek here means to be troubled with cares He hasn’t given you that command without you being able to carry it out. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth your hand” (Mark 3:5)

But the man could not–yet He obeyed and did it! Because the Holy Spirit is in you, you are able to live by faith, and not worry…no matter what happens. Because the Spirit empowers you to be faithful, to trust, to yield to the Lord’s will. With the Spirit you are able to trust God beyond your ability to know what will happen in your life.

Matthew 6:25, 27, 31, 33, 34.  25 teaches, “25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 31So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety (same word) on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (NIV)

God doesn’t want you to worry because worry means you do not trust God that you are not taking Him fully at His word. God has been providing for you all along – look at the cross. God wants you to have true peace by praying – about everything (act of doing). v. 6 “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

All things in your life are of concern to God. The big and the small: where to move, who to marry, what job to get, even your hobbies, and leisure times. The peace that God gives you will guard your minds. The peace that God gives you will strengthen you. Because of the cross you have access to the throne of God which is why it says “with thanksgiving,” because of the cross, the proof of God’s faithfulness. In the presence of God there is peace. Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Practice the presence of God – pray! In prayer you are transformed. By praying you will intern want to think about holy things. That is why…(next point)

Point Two – God wants you to have true peace by meditating on what is holy (act of thinking)

Your minds have been set free from slavery to sin. Romans 8:6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; (NIV)

God wants you to fill your heart with what is good. Phil. 4:8, “whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent worthy of praise. Let your mind dwell on these things.” (NASB)

God wants you to think, to meditate on truth, purity, and excellence. Psalm 119:78 “…I will meditate on your precepts.”

The precepts of God, the Word of God, is truth, purity, and excellence. Meditate on the Word of God so that you might be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Point Three – God wants you to have true peace by putting into practice what you have learned. (act of doing)

He wants you to… trust Him for everything. Philippians 4:6a “Don’t be anxious for anything.”

Pray to Him for anything. Philippians 4:6b “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)

Meditate on what is holy. Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. (NIV)

These things are written to you so that the God of peace will be with you. Not simply peace…but the God of peace will be with you. Ultimately this is about God dwelling with you. He wants you to be holy, pure, and right. Will you trust Him and not worry? Will you pray about everything in your life? Will you meditate on the Word of God? And finally, will you practice, will you do, what God calls you to do?

Short Story: Prairie Dogs’ Helmets

I was notified this week my 5900 word short story “Prairie Dogs’ Helmets” received final acceptance from “Bewildering Stories”. It is on their publication schedule.

When Washington Burned: An Illustrated History of the War of 1812

One of the least known wars in United States or for that matter British history is the War of 1812.
The War of 1812 was a rather disorderly event. At times it had several minor campaigns going on at the same time. They weren’t coordinated, were hundreds of miles apart and had little or nothing to do with the other campaigns.
The author has produced an understandable account out of this disjointed war. His narrative is well organized. The structure used has each chapter covering a distinct area. They are restricted to a geographic area.  The genius of this approach is let you keep needed focus without covering everything happening on all fronts at the same time. The coverage of the Naval engagements is excellent. They receive their separate chapters.
The illustrations are first-rate. The majority of the images are present-day. He makes skillful use of maps to show the more intricate campaigns. This is an excellent single volume history of the War of 1812. It explains what happened. It explains why it happened. The coverage is balanced with US and British material. The book would be an great addition for community libraries, school libraries and is a must for the personal library of military historians. It would also make a nice “coffee table book”.
Arnold Blumberg and Casemate Publishing have provide a well needed, quality book on the War of 1812.

Review: Acres of Diamonds

AcresOfDiamondsOrgCover“Acres of Diamonds” by Russell Conwell is an all time inspirational classic. It is choke-full of wisdom for those who aspire to make more of their lives.

Conwell’s book (originally a lecture) includes several principles for living.

  • He admonishes all to become more aware and sensitive of the opportunities that may be closer to you than you think.
  • He points outs one should be careful about giving children a very large inheritance lest they fail to learn to work for their wealth.
  • He includes the spiritual with a strong reminder to not separate your religion from your business.
  • He hammers home the principle of know what people need, then invest yourself in meeting what is needed.
  • He concludes by pointing out knowing what people need will give you more knowledge of obtaining a fortune than any amount of capital can give you.

The book is simple. It is full common sense.


Review: A Requiem for Love

Requiem of Love“A Requiem for Love” by Calvin Miller is a dramatic work in the tradition of Milton’s Paradise Lost and J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy.

With A Requiem for Love, the first book in the “Symphony Trilogy”, Calvin Miller displays the strength of his voice and the clarity of his vision. It is a story of fallen love, of impossible dreams and ancient longings, of frustrated ambition and a love so strong that it endures forever.  The first volume of his Symphony trilogy retells the Genesis story.

Miller has a poetic pen. It is on display as he plays off the images of light and darkness. It evokes a poignant picture of the love of power and the power of love.

The original drawings and distinctive page styling make the book a work of art from cover to cover. This is Miller at his best.  I read the book originally when it was first released in 1989.  Read and reviewed by Jimmie A. Kepler.

Devotional: How Christian Love Works

“How Christian Love Works”

1.   Christian love is thankful for the best in others.

“I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers” – Philemon verse 4 KJV

  • Do you pray for your friends?
  • Are you more concerned about what you can get from your friends than what you can do for them?
  • Are you thankful for your Christian friends?

2.  Christian love seeks the welfare of others.

“I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: ” – Philemon verse 4 KJV

  • Onesimus is a slave.
  • He had run away.
  • Paul lead him to Christ.
  • He is concerned about Onesimus’ safety and welfare.
  • Do you seek the welfare others?

3.  Christian love deals fairly with other.

“Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:” – Philemon verse 12

  • Paul sent Onesimus back to his owner.
  • He interceded on Onesimus’ behalf.
  • He is concerned about following the law and Onesimus’ welfare.
  • Do you deal fairly with others?

 4. Christian love bears the problems of others.

“If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;” – Philemon verse 18

  • Paul pleads for forgiveness of the offense.
  • Paul is willing to takes responsibility for whatever Onesimus may owe his master.
  • Do you bear others burdens?

5. Christian love believes the best in others

“Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.” – Philemon verse 21

  • Paul tells Onesimus that he believes in him.
  • He tells him he knows he will do his best.
  • He encourages Onesimus.
  • Do you encourage and really believe in your friends?

This is an original devotion written by Jimmie A. Kepler on March 19, 2012.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License by Jimmie Kepler.

I Am a Writer

I belong to the Dallas Writing Practice Group. A recent assignment was to write why “I am a writer”. Here’s what I wrote …

I’m a writer because I enjoy writing.

I get my ideas from the world around me as well as the fantasies within me.

I try to write for a regular period each day.

I believe in using adjectives and adverbs frugally.

I structure my work-in-progress by writing according to how the story seems to be telling itself instead of writing to a prepared plot outline though I know my major plot points.

I realize writing self-discipline by making myself work whether I’m in the mood or not.

I handle the difficult, ‘writer’s block’ or ‘dry’ times by working on something else to keep good writing habits.

I attempt to make my work as good as it can be by editing, rewriting and polishing.

In seeking an agent or publisher I research the market thoroughly and learn how to make a professional submission. I also read books by writer’s the potential agent represent or by the publisher where I believe I’m a good fit.

I receive rejection slips with a twinge, and then move to the next submission. It’s not personal.

I see myself in the future finding satisfaction in writing novels and narrative nonfiction my readers enjoy.

I want to write because I have characters and stories bursting to come to life. I have voices in my head that need to escape to paper or keyboard.

If you a writer how would you explain why you are a writer?

Devotional: Encourage & Empower

Do you need a lift? One great way to get that lift is trying five energizes that work!

Did you know there are two types of fatigue?

1. Physical fatigue – You know the symptoms: muscles hurt and joints ache. What is the cure? Rest.
2. Spiritual fatigue – The symptoms are: stress, worry, and guilt. What is the cure? Repentance.

Did you know fatigue can cost you …
1. to miss great opportunities
2. to bring out your worst attitude
3. to limit your performance
4. to lower your resistance to illness

Regular exercise, a proper diet, and enough sleep will help with physical fatigue.

For spiritual fatigue, here are five helpful principles found in the Bible.

Five Energizers that Work:

1. A Clear Conscience
1 John 1:9 (NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

2. A New Perspective
Colossians 3:23 (NIV) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,

3. A Challenging Purpose
Philippians 3:14, 15 (NIV) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

4. A Supportive Team
Hebrews 10:25 (NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

5. Plug into God’s Power
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I Love Rain

I love rain. Most people hate it. I love it. Why should I love rain? It’s not easy for people to understand, but I will try to explain.

Rain is a precious gift from God. It falls from the sky. Sometimes it falls in large amounts. Sometimes it comes from the sky in small amounts. Sometimes it doesn’t visit us for weeks or months at a time. When it does visit it always brings its friend the clouds. Rain can also bring its noisy friend thunder and an its illuminating friend lightning.

Rain is like a guest in your home. At first you’re glad to see the rain, but if it stays around too long, it can out stay its welcome.

Rain can be refreshing. It gives the air and the countryside a shower. It washes the pollen from the air. It washes the pollen off the cars, sidewalks, and driveways. Rain removes the dust from the leaves of the flowers, bushes and trees.

The temperature drops when the rains come. Rain transforms the hot world into a cool, air conditioned environment in the summer and a chilly one in the winter. It helps you appreciate a warm, dry house. It is a muse for Ray Bradbury as he writes short stories about it in “The Illustrated Man” in his short story “The Long Rain”.

Rain also helps a person forget their troubles. You worry less about how you look. After all, the water from the mud puddle may have splashed on you. You enjoy freedom from irritations. Only those people who truly want to see you will come see you in the rain. Most gripers and complainers stay away when it’s wet outside. They wait for a less rainy day.

It is fun walking outside when it rains, especially with an umbrella. “Just singing in the rain” … You can hold an umbrella in one hand, letting it prop on your shoulder. When the rain falls the propped up umbrella can be popped open keeping you from getting soaking wet. It’s fun to take a wet umbrella, hold it at a forty-five degree angle to the ground and spin it around and around. When you spin it around and around something magical happens. The drops of rain the umbrella has collected go flying off in a direction away from the umbrella holder. You can aim the umbrella where the drops spray someone or you can splatter the drops on the ground as you spin the umbrella ‘round and ‘round.

Even if you don’t own an umbrella you can still have fun in the rain. Shopping malls miraculously have parking spaces available closer to the door when it’s raining. The crowds are noticeably smaller. The joy of the mall is intensified as you experience less hustle and bustle. At church, better seats are available.

A sad note about rain is it sometimes cancels baseball games. While this is sad, though not to all wives, it does hold the potential of prolonging our great national pastime’s season and giving the baseball fan the rare double-header (two games on the same day – twice the fun!). Also, during warm weather after the rain departs the heat and humidity can smoother you making your world feel as humid as a rain forest.

Without rain, there wouldn’t be real green grass on the baseball fields, rain checks from baseball games, manageable crowds at the mall, or great seats easily available at church. Rain makes the world a nice place. Why not enjoy the rain? Without rain the flowers would not grow. Without rain there would be no Fillet of Fish at McDonald’s Restaurants. Without rain there would be no people living.

I love rain!