God Reveals Himself To Us: Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19

June 25th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16 16

Whether it is in the face of a delighted child or the crash of thunder during a storm, God reveals himself to us. Sometimes he catches our attention in a way we cannot ignore, like when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush. Sometimes we miss seeing or hearing him entirely. Many times we eagerly race toward God only to become afraid as we begin looking around us, just as Peter did when he stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus on the water.

Although God wants us to see and hear him each time he reveals himself to us, he doesn’t stop reaching out just because we weren’t paying attention. God repeatedly revealed himself through Jesus even though those around Jesus often mistook his acts as those of someone else . The reason Jesus’ acts were attributed to the return of a prophet was most likely because God was revealing himself in a way the people of the time were not expecting, yet Peter saw him for who he was and proclaimed in Matthew 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Seeing God reveal himself in our day to day lives means being aware of our surroundings and, sometimes, expecting the unexpected.

As you read Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19, try to remember a time in your life in which God revealed himself to you. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

 

Meditation Activites

Jynette w funky do

 

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take 10 to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Matthew 14 22-33, 16 13-19, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to how God provides for you.
  2. Spend some time with a child. Notice their reaction to discovering something new. Think about how God might be revealing himself to you in a new way.
  3. Go to a park or zoo. Watch the people and animals around you and ask God to reveal himself in a special way. If you have the equipment, take some pictures. Put the pictures together in a scrapbook or collage to remind you of a time God revealed himself to you.
  4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding how God has provided for you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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God Provides For Us: Exodus 15 22-17 7

May 28th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Exodus 15 22-17 7

“Yahweh shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfy you.”

Exodus 16 8

It is quite easy to believe God will provide for you when you have your basic needs. However, not many of us can say that we trust God to provide for us in the midst of our problems. When loved ones suddenly become ill or we’re surrounded by debts that continue to pile up, when we lose a job we need to survive or a disaster strikes and we lose everything it becomes more than just a challenge to believe God will take care of our needs.

Crises test our faith in God’s abilities. Oftentimes we become like the Israelites, grumbling in the desert to Moses, asking if they were brought there to die of hunger. Yet God tells the Israelites through Moses in Exodus 16:8, “Yahweh shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfy you.”

Our needs do not end with the basics: food, shelter, clothing. Our needs include emotional and spiritual support. God can provide all of these, but we must ask and be open to God’s guidance once we have. God’s provisions sometimes come in unusual packages that we may not expect.

As you read Exodus 15 22-17 7, try to remember a time in your life in which God provided for you. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

 

Meditation Activites

 

Produce

 

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take 10 to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Exodus 15 22-17 7, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to how God provides for you.
  2. Bake or buy a loaf of bread and take it to a friend. Start a conversation about how God has provided for your and your friend’s needs.
  3. Create some colored rice, or use plain rice, and place it in a jar where you will be able to see it on a regular basis. Think of all the ways God has provided for you.
  4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding how God has provided for you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.
New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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God Keeps Us Safe: Exodus 14 13

April 30th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Exodus 14 13

“Don’t be afraid.”

Exodus 14 13

Everyone at some point in their lives experiences something that scares them, something that seems impossible to overcome. For one it may be the diagnosis of an illness. For another it may be a looming mountain of debt. For yet another it is the possibility, or perhaps the reality, of being homeless. And for someone else it may be the loss of a significant relationship. The list of frightening experiences is endless.

At times we may feel like the Israelites trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea. The odds seem insurmountable and God seems so far away. Even though he has kept us safe until that moment, it is difficult to believe that this time isn’t different, that this time God will care for us just as he has before. Yet, God continues to be with us regardless of whether we believe he will be or not.

Just as Moses tells the Israelites, “Don’t be afraid,” in Exodus 14 13, God reminds us that we have no need to fear the seemingly impossible circumstances of our lives because he cares for us and is with us always.

As you read Exodus 14:1-15:21, try to remember a time in your life in which God cared for you. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

 

Meditation Activites

 

 

Canyon

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take ten to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Exodus 14:1-15:21, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to God caring for you.
  2. Take a walk near a river, lake, ocean or other body of water and collect rocks of various shapes and sizes, which remind you of your thoughts and feelings regarding the picture. Place the rocks somewhere you will see them on a regular basis.
  3. Create a tambourine to play while you “sing” your thoughts and feelings to God regarding the picture.
  4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding the picture and its relationship to God caring for you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.
New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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God Keeps His Promises: Exodus 12 25

March 26th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Exodus 12 25

“It shall happen… according as he has promised….”

Exodus 12:25

Believing God keeps his promises is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. We’ve often had others break their promises and been guilty of breaking them ourselves. However, God shouldn’t be measured by human standards. Whether we believe it or not, God does exactly as he says he will.

Moses reminds the Israelites in Exodus 12:25 “It shall happen… according as he has promised….” that God will bring them out of Egypt into a land of their own. The Passover celebration became the Israelites way of remembering that God kept his promise, not only to keep the firstborn among them safe, but also to bring them safely out of Egypt.

God’s promise to save the Israelites continued to echo through time, setting the scene for another important Passover sacrifice much later when Jesus was crucified. The sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God, was God’s way of continuing to keep his promise to save all his creation. In this salvation God declares his promise to be with us, to care for us, until time’s end. As he has demonstrated from Exodus 3:1 to 10:29, we can believe God does what he says he will do.

 As you read Exodus 11:1-12:42, try to remember a time in your life in which God did as he said he would do. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

Meditation Activites

RipplesBW

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take ten to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Exodus 11:1-12:42, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to God doing what he says he’ll do.
  2. Create a collage of pictures showing your views on how what God has done in the past echoes in your own life as God continues to do as he says he will.
  3. Make some unleavened bread and share it with a friend. Discuss how God continues to do what he says he’ll do just as he did for the Israelites.

Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding the picture and its relationship to God being with you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.
New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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God Is Powerful: Exodus 7 17

February 26th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Exodus 7 17

“Thus says Yaweh, ‘In this you shall know that I am Yaweh.’”

Exodus 7:17

We have heard and read about the miracles God has performed both in the Bible and in modern times. Most of those miracles were obvious demonstrations of God’s power. However, the power of God comes in all shapes and sizes from the miraculous healing of a terminally ill patient to the blessing of a gentle breeze on a hot summer day.

On a clear night, one can view the power of God in the stars either by the naked eye or by use of a telescope. NASA satellites have sent back amazing photos of galaxies in various formations from spirals that resemble a child’s pinwheel to irregular shapes that look like nothing else.

God’s miraculous power can even be observed in the smallest ant carrying a leaf to its colony and in the ability of a child’s cry to move the heart of an adult to soothe the child. The power of God is everywhere, visible to anyone who chooses to see it.

However, because God granted humans free will, we can decide to see God’s power or to turn away as Pharaoh did. Eventually, though, God makes it clear that it is God who is in control as he has Moses say to Pharaoh in Exodus 7:17, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘In this you shall know that I am Yahweh.’”

As you read Exodus 7:1-10:29, try to remember a time in your life in which God revealed his power. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

Meditation Activites

Pinwheel galaxy

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take ten to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image of a pinwheel galaxy means to you as it relates to the reading of Exodus 7:1-10:29, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture of the pinwheel galaxy and its relationship to God’s power.
  2. Create a pinwheel and give it to a friend going through a tough time. Describe your thoughts on how the pinwheel demonstrates God’s power in our lives.
  3. Choose a clear night to gaze at the stars. Let God know how you feel about his power and its influence on your life.
  4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding the picture and its relationship to God being with you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.
New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

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    “It shall happen… according as he has promised….” Exodus 12:25 Believing God keeps his promises is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. We’ve often had others break their promises and been guilty of breaking them ourselves. However, God shouldn’t be measured by human standards. Whether we believe…
    Tags: god, exodus, cares, meditation, virginia, ripple, study, christian, writer, bible
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  • 99
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    Tags: god, exodus, cares, meditation, virginia, ripple, study, christian, writer, bible
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God Is With Us: Exodus 3 12

January 28th, 2014

bigstock-Open-Bible-glowing-with-Cross-26156423

Exodus 3 12

“[God] said, ‘Certainly I will be with you.’”
Exodus 3:12

Have you ever watched the latest news cast and wondered, “Where is God in all this?” Have you ever sat under the stars, feeling smaller than the smallest ant, and thought, “Is God out there somewhere?” Have you ever asked: “Does God see me?” “Does God hear me?” “Does God care about me?”

Yes. God cares about each of us. God sees us better than Santa Claus and hears us better than the wolf in Grandma’s clothes. In fact, as Moses discovered from the burning bush, God is always with us. Even so, we often do not see God in the midst of our lives. Sometimes we see the evidence of God’s care much later. Sometimes we struggle to see that evidence and never find it, but it is there.

As much as we might like for God to announce his presence from a burning bush, or even from a candle flame, God often chooses not to for reasons we may not understand. Yet God promises to be with us. In fact, he says just that to Moses in Exodus 3:12: “[God] said, “Certainly I will be with you.’”

There have been a multitude of writers, poets, artists, photographers, philosophers and regular Joe’s who have tried to capture God’s answer to Moses in a variety of forms. Perhaps one of the most famous attempts at depicting God with us is Mary Stevenson Zangare’s poem “Footprints in the Sand” in which she tells of dreaming about a walk on the beach. When she looked back at the footprints she noticed sometimes there were two sets and sometimes one. When she asked about the reasoning behind the single sets, sets through some of the worst times of her life, she is answered that those were times when God carried her. The poem is a beautiful reminder of God’s promise to be with us at all times.

As you read Exodus 3:1-4:22, try to remember a time in your life in which God called you to do something new and, perhaps, frightening. Then, download the Questions and Reflections and take some time to work through them before engaging in the Meditation Activities below.

 

Meditation Activites

DSCN1602

Find a quiet place, preferably in nature, and take ten to 20 minutes to contemplate what the above image means to you as it relates to the reading of Exodus 3:1-4:17, then choose as many of the following suggestions as you would like to express your thoughts and feelings outwardly.

  1. In your journal, write a free-flow of thoughts and descriptive images as they come to you regarding the picture and its relationship to God being with you.
  2. Using play dough, clay or some other medium create a 3-D sculpture that captures your overall feelings and thoughts of the picture and its relationship to God being with you.
  3. Tell a friend, or God, about your thoughts and feelings concerning the picture and its relationship to God being with you.
  4. Decide on your own creative way to express your feelings and thoughts regarding the picture and its relationship to God being with you.

***

For more non-fiction work, including Bible studies, check out my Non-Fiction page.

You can also purchase your eBook copy of Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises for Our Lives for NookKindleKobo, and on Scribd or a paperback copy from Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.
New-Subscriber-thumbnailIf you haven’t already, sign up for my monthly newsletter to get sneak peeks (such as first chapters before they’re published) and special prices just for fans. Just enter your email address in the sidebar and click subscribe. Sign up today and download my thank you gift Behind the Scenes: The Malkin Stories.

Related Posts

  • 100
    “Yahweh shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfy you.” Exodus 16 8 It is quite easy to believe God will provide for you when you have your basic needs. However, not many of us can say that we trust God to provide…
    Tags: god, exodus, cares, meditation, virginia, ripple, study, christian, writer, bible
  • 100
    “It shall happen… according as he has promised….” Exodus 12:25 Believing God keeps his promises is perhaps one of the most difficult things to do. We’ve often had others break their promises and been guilty of breaking them ourselves. However, God shouldn’t be measured by human standards. Whether we believe…
    Tags: god, exodus, cares, meditation, virginia, ripple, study, christian, writer, bible
  • 99
    “Thus says Yaweh, ‘In this you shall know that I am Yaweh.’” Exodus 7:17 We have heard and read about the miracles God has performed both in the Bible and in modern times. Most of those miracles were obvious demonstrations of God’s power. However, the power of God comes in…
    Tags: god, exodus, cares, meditation, virginia, ripple, study, christian, writer, bible
  • 93
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    Tags: god, exodus, meditation, virginia, ripple, cares, bible, christian, writer, study
  • 85
    “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16 16 Whether it is in the face of a delighted child or the crash of thunder during a storm, God reveals himself to us. Sometimes he catches our attention in a way we cannot ignore, like when he…
    Tags: god, meditation, virginia, ripple, cares, study, christian, writer, bible

Hearing God Word By Word

January 19th, 2012

There are a multitude of ways to study scripture. One of my favorites is to choose a favorite verse and meditate on it word by word. With each word added to the sentence a new layer of meaning is revealed. Let me show you what I mean using Psalm 46: 10, Be still, and know that I am God.

Be…

We spend so much time doing, we sometimes forget what it means to be. The sense of being is to rest in the hand of God. In this one word, we can feel God’s call to stop and enjoy being alive.

Be still…

Not only does God call us to enjoy the simple fact that we’re alive, but to enjoy time just doing nothing. There’s also the subtle reminder to listen to God, to others, to ourselves.

Be still, and…

From a call to quiet listening, God is adding something. What, we do not know and perhaps that is the point. We cannot see all God has planned for us. All we can see is this moment, but we can rest our hopes on God’s love of us.

Be still, and know…

At some point, the promise God has made will be fulfilled. We can know what was previously unknown.


You get the idea. It’s a simple way to find new meaning in scriptures you’ve read and heard a thousand times.

What different methods do you use to gain new understanding in God’s Word?

***

GFront-Cover-25-percentod promises to be with us through everything,
encouraging us to trust him through every situation we encounter.

Individuals and groups alike will find themselves
discovering that every day is a new opportunity to see God’s touch on their lives as they journey through scripture to uncover that:

  • No Matter Who You Are…
  • No Matter How You Feel…
  • No Matter What People Do…
  • No Matter What Happens..
  • No Matter Where You Are…
  • No Matter How Little You Have…
  • No Matter What You’ve Done…
  • No Matter How Old You Are…

Trust God!
Paperback edition also available on Amazon.

Ebook version available for Kindle, InkteraNookKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

 

Vol1Cover25percent

Get six Bible based, inspirational messages by Virginia Ripple from the blog One Servant’s Heart all in one .zip file.

Messages include:

  • Called to Forgive Called to Serve
  • New Beginnings
  • No Fear In Love
  • The Boneyard
  • The Dirty Little Penny
  • The Hardest Commandment

Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Simply Prayer ebook

When we find ourselves stymied by what we think prayer should look like, it’s time to step back and think like a child. God loves each of us and wants to hear from us.

Prayer can be as complex as we want or as simple as we need, but sometimes we need a little help getting started. In this book you’ll discover the basics of:

  • What prayer is
  • Why we pray
  • How to pray
  • How to know your prayers are answered

From repetitions to labyrinths to dancing to journals, it is all Simply Prayer.

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or…

buy the .pdf version here

You can purchase this book at Amazon.com or in my CreateSpace store front.

Or Pay What You Want for the audiobook.

 

Fear NotWhen life seems impossible to cope with, God reaches out to remind us of his promises for our lives. Journey through scripture to meet God in new and unexpected ways as you discover what it means to “Fear Not!”

Anyone can use Fear Not to meet God in new and unexpected ways.  Each of the eight sessions begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

The eight sessions are:

  • Session 1 … God is always with us
  • Session 2 … God is in control
  • Session 3 … God keeps his promises
  • Session 4 … God keeps us safe
  • Session 5 … God provides for us
  • Session 6 … God reveals himself to us
  • Session 7 … God gives us new life
  • Session 8 … God sends a Helper to us

Ebook version available for NookKindleKobo, and Scribd or …

 buy the .pdf version here

Paperback edition also available on Amazon.com or in my Lulu.com store front at: Virginia’s Store Front.

I’m No Artist, But…

October 15th, 2011

Welcome to Toolbox Saturday where you’ll find tools for various things from writing to whatever.

Okay, so I maybe putting the cart before the horse, but I believe in getting a head start when I can. I’m only about half finished with my third book (first draft!) and I’ve been considering cover art. Why? Because you only get about 8 seconds to entice a prospective reader to take the time to read the blurb about what’s inside the cover.

Well, as this post’s title indicates, I’m not an artist. (I can draw a mean stick figure, but that’s about as far as it gets. :D) I did design the cover for my first book, Fear Not!, using a photo from the drive-thru window of the Northwest Missouri Regional Credit Union where I work and Photoshop to create a rainbow. I also designed the text for the cover. However, being as it was a Bible study I felt the artwork was appropriate in its simplicity. With this Apprentice Cat being a fantasy, though, I thought maybe I should see if I could hire a real artist to design the cover.

I went to Lulu.com first because they “supposedly” have professionals who do cover designs. Here’s my problem: each Lulu sponsored designer stated that they would design my cover for a fee, but I would have to submit all the images I wanted to be incorporated in the cover. Huh? I have to give you the images? Isn’t that your job? That’s the whole reason I’m looking for a designer. Sure I could probably merge some pictures together and come up with something nice, but I want a really great professional cover.

I’m still looking for a good artist with reasonable fees, but in the meantime I’m trying to find ways to use my Photoshop and the skills I learned at Rush Printing as a desktop publisher to create a cover I can be proud of.

When buying a book, how important is the cover art to you? If you’re an Indie Author, how have you tackled the cover design?

***Apprentice Cat Cover

Update: I did end up designing the cover for Apprentice Cat myself and, I think, it’s pretty good. Sometime in the future I would like to have all the Malkin series covers re-designed by a professional, but until then, I’m satisfied.

***

Catch up on the adventure with other books in the Malkin series.

Apprentice Cat CoverApprentice Cat available in paperback and for KindleNookKoboScribd and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Also available as an audiobook on AudibleAmazon and iTunes.

 

 

Journeyman-Cat15percentJourneyman Cat available in paperback and KindleNookScribdiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

Audiobook coming soon.

 

 

Secrets-of-the-Malkin-sidebar-newsletterSecrets of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookiTunes and Kobo.

Buy the .pdf now 

 

 

 

Huntress of the MalkinHuntress of the Malkin ebook version available for KindleNookKobo and iTunes.

Buy the .pdf now 

Am I Qualified? One Author’s Look On Writing A Bible Study

August 12th, 2011

Bible photoIt just occurred to me that some of you may wonder what qualifies me to write a Bible study, since that was my first published book.  I know I wouldn’t trust just anyone to write a Bible study worth journeying through.

To be honest, I asked myself that same question many times as I wrote it.  As I said before, “Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives was born from a need in my church for an adult VBS class that had no curriculum.” (read my entry “Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises Available” for more specific info on the book.)

I’ve been in ministry since I was a teenager; however, just because I’ve served in various capacities in different churches, does that automatically mean I know how to put together a Bible study?  Maybe, but there’s more to my story.

I spent 3 1/2 years at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas, working toward my Master’s of Divinity.  It was during this time that I re-discovered my calling — writing.  Ministry had always been a struggle, as if I was trying to eat with my feet while walking on my hands, yet writing was almost as easy as breathing (so long as I didn’t let my perfectionism get in the way).

So I decided to quit the ministry and devote my time to writing. (Well… okay, so it took two more years, but I did it.)  I’ve still been active in my church, but not as part of the staff.  When the opportunity to write some curriculum came up you would think I would have jumped at the chance.  After all, it would be a blend of a former passion with a life-long passion.

I hesitated.  I wasn’t convinced I was qualified.  I was a ministry dropout.  What could I possibly offer?  Then my husband reminded me that many of the greatest people in the Bible weren’t “qualified.”  In fact, Moses, the man whose story is the main part of the first six lessons in Fear Not, kept giving excuses to God why he shouldn’t be the one to go to Pharaoh.

Keeping that in mind, I dove in and gave it my all for two (long!) months.  Is it the best Bible study ever written?  Probably not.  Is it a Bible study anyone can use to meet God in a new and, perhaps, unexpected way?  Most definitely.  Each lesson begins with an introduction, then moves on to a scripture reading (included), questions to ponder, a meditation picture and lastly a list of possible hands-on projects you can do.

I don’t plan on writing another Bible study, but if the opportunity arises I may just turn that corner and forge ahead.

Photo by Ryk Neethling

Fear Not: Discovering God’s Promises available

August 12th, 2011

I am so excited!  I just discovered my first book, a Bible study, is finally listed on Amazon.com.  Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Liveswas born from a need in my church for an adult VBS class that had no curriculum.  I spent two months putting it together and then an anxious seven weeks waiting for it to appear on Amazon.

While I’m very excited, I’m also a bit disappointed by Lulu.  First of all there is no preview available.  I hope to be able to rectify that soon.  Secondly, there is supposed to be a download version available on Lulu for about half the price of the printed version, but darned if I can find it.  I can’t even find my own store front on Lulu.  This does not bode well for my staying with this company.  I’m going to do some more research to find a solution to the problem or decide to use another company for the next book.  (See my blog entry “Research Your Publishing Options” for why this is so important.)

And speaking of the next book, it’s in the works.  I hope to be finished writing it sometime in the spring.  The Misadventures of Apprentice Cat: The Secret of the Wobbly Wizard (working title) is a book based on a short story I wrote awhile back called “Apprentice Cat” that received several good reviews.  I fell in love with the main character, a cat going to school to learn how to be a witch’s companion, and decided he deserved to have his story told in a longer format.

As I’ve worked on this book I’ve discovered new and intriguing things about Toby and the people and cats around him.  I think that’s the wonderment of telling stories.  The reader isn’t the only one who enjoys the twists and turns of a good book. I plan out the general direction I want a story to take, but a lot of time my characters take me down paths I never anticipated.  It’s all part of the joy an author experiences.

UPDATE:

If you’ve purchased Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives on Amazon.com, please remember to leave an honest review. Thanks!

I finally fixed the URL to my storefront on Lulu.com.  Here it is: Virginia Ripple’s Storefront.  You can download Fear Not! Discovering God’s Promises For Our Lives for $5 in .pdf format in my Lulu.com store.