KISSING– A Crucial Component of Christian Publishing

no kissing

Before your mind travels to the gutter, let me tell you that this post is not about kissing in the traditional sense. It’s about publishing and what to do after your book has emerged from the printing press–when the hard work of writing it has ended and the even harder work of promoting it has begun. What? Did you think you could sit back, relax, and watch your book sales rise without work? Sorry to burst your bubble, my friend, but that ain’t happenin’–not in the indie publishing world anyway. So the tip I will share with you today is essential, especially for the Christian writer. It is summed up in this acronym… KISS–Keep It Spiritual Sweetie!

Now, what do I mean by keeping it spiritual? If you are a Christian writer, your content will already be based on spiritual principles (let’s hope so anyway). But I’m talking about ways in which your content will reach the masses. So beyond the book’s spiritual content there are spiritual things you can do to spread the Good News of Christ and at the same time experience publishing success. Here’s what I did and am doing to “keep it spiritual” in my publishing journey.

1. Dedicate the book. My launch party and book signing wasn’t an ordinary book launch and signing. It was a ceremony, so to speak. I had the food, the music, and the books, but I also had prayer, a theme scripture, and an occasion read because I wanted everyone in attendance to know that this was both a celebration for what God had done in my life and an official send off of my book baby into the world to be used by God to bless lives. Most importantly, I used this moment to have my book baby dedicated back unto the Lord, much like new parents do with their children. The Biblical figure, Hannah, also did this when she bore Samuel.

They first butchered the bull, then brought the child to Eli. Hannah said, “Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life. Then and there, they worshiped God.           (1 Samuel 1:25-26 Message)

Like Hannah, I prayed that God would help me write this book, and He gave me what I asked for. Dedicating it back to Him was just the right and spiritual thing to do. I did this by asking my Pastor and Elect Lady (Pastor’s wife) to say a special prayer over the book for its success at the launch party. As he prayed he held it in His hands. I believe that the prayers and the anointed touch of the man and woman of God have hugely impacted the success of my book. Instead of it being just another interesting read, it is actually changing mindsets and thus changing lives. That’s not because of me. It’s because of the anointing, and I don’t want anything I do to be void of God’s anointing. It makes all the difference in Heaven and on Earth.

2. Pray that God would touch the hearts of potential buyers. I’m not the best salesman there is. Sometimes it’s challenging to talk to people about a product in a way that will convince them to buy it. Add to the equation that it is your own product, and you’ve got an even bigger challenge because it’s almost like selling yourself. I admit that the ability to sell yourself is a good quality to have, but what has compensated for my lack of skills in that area is prayer. My prayer is that God would draw the buyers and supporters in and that the book would sell itself without any gimmicks. Although I have tried to use free giveaways to appeal to my audience, I’ve learned that if someone is going to invest in a meaningful product they will do it despite any additional add-ons because it’s in their heart to do so. How do I know that the Lord has the ability to influence the heart’s of men and women? Because He said so in His Word.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1 KJV)

After all, it’s not about me as the messenger, it’s about the message, so whomever needs to hear it will hear it in God’s time and in His way.

3. Trust Him to provide opportunities. 

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another. (Psalms 75:6 KJV)

Remembering that promotion comes from above has helped me to put things in the proper perspective. Being in business for yourself requires a lot of commitment and time. Time that in some cases I do not have with all of the other responsibilities on my plate like my job, ministry work, and my family. To keep from neglecting those responsibilities, I have to trust God to provide opportunities for me to promote my book. I could pursue each and every opportunity that I can find, but it would be at the cost of something else really important in many instances. If God is responsible for your promotion, then you don’t have to worry. He will NOT disappoint or fall short on His job. He will make every opportunity that you do take advantage of benefit you far more than the ones you pursue on your own while neglecting your other obligations in the process. Yeah, that means you may have to turn some events down when there’s a scheduling conflict in favor of things that are higher in priority, but this is a sign of your trust in God’s ability to put you in the right path, at the right time, with the right people. God’s opportunities are always golden opportunities!

Members of Christ’s Nation

Christ jerseyMy husband is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. He is so enthused about this team that anytime he sees someone else, stranger included, wearing Cowboys apparel he has to have a conversation with them about the team’s status. Actually, to my husband there is no such thing as a stranger in the Cowboy “nation”. And in the body of Christ or Christ’s “nation” there should be no such thing as a stranger either.

Ephesians 2:11-13 says this…

11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

It is always a blessing to me when I find someone outside of my normal circle of family and friends who loves God and is not ashamed to talk about Him. I found one such person on my job a few weeks ago. I was in my office one morning when this particular co-worker came by to clean my room. I knew that he was a Christian, but I didn’t know the magnitude of his relationship with Christ until he began to share his love for God’s Word and his desire to please God and be in His will. I too shared some things with him that I had recently studied in the Bible, and in this brief conversation I was encouraged. I was encouraged to know that there was another person in the building with a genuine connection to the Father that we both share. I was encouraged to know that if needed, I had a brother in Christ who could pray for me and give me an uplifting word.

And that’s how it should be. We should be willing to share the good things that Christ has done in our lives to continue building one another up. Far too many Christians tear their brothers and sisters down with lies, jealousy, backbiting, and other ungodly behaviors. Those things should not be named among us. Instead we should allow the peace, love, and joy of the Lord to radiate between us. Believe it or not, how we treat interact with one another, whether positively or negatively, says much about our condition as a family and can impact others’ decision to become a part of it. If we don’t encourage one another who will? If we don’t boast about the Good News of Christ, who will? If we don’t band together in favor of our Savior, who will? So let the members of Christ’s nation be the beacon of light that we are supposed to be so that we can compel those who remain strangers of the covenant of promise to join our team.

When Marriage Trumps Shopping

I love to shop. Even mIMG_0045ore than that I love to find killer outfits for a bargain. With all the options and my extreme indecisive nature, my search for THE perfect dress at THE perfect price for my launch party has been a challenge. But this post is not so much about the dress as it is about what occurred today as I was on the hunt for it.

I decided to travel about an hour away from home to look for a dress today at my favorite discount department store–Ross. Mind you, I had already purchased a dress last week from a different Ross that was nice, but I didn’t quite get the feeling that it was THE ONE, so the search continued. I perused the racks for all of the viable options (I found about eight) and headed to the dressing room. One after one I tried them on. Not all of them were in the running for launch party dress, but they were on sale so the shopaholic in me couldn’t resist giving them a try.

Then the indecisive me kicked in. I narrowed it down to two possibilities, but couldn’t decide which one said what I wanted it to say. I’m sure the women out there understand what I mean when I say my clothes should talk. They should speak to me and to everyone who sees me in them. The way I know that a dress is perfect for me is if it says “Girl, you look good! Buy me!” What it should say to others depends on the occasion and the look I’m trying to achieve. For my launch party I’m going for classy sexy, you know something that screams “sophisticated author” . Since I couldn’t interpret the language of these particular selections, I asked someone else’s opinion, which is not unusual for me. The salesperson seemed friendly and accommodating enough so I modeled for her. I walked out in the first dress, which was a red lacy sheath dress.

“Ok. Turn around and let me see the back,” the salesperson said emotionless.

I turned around in a circle to let her take in the entire look, pausing to get some indication of her opinion.

“Next,” she said.

Obviously that one was either too quiet or mute.

“How about this one?” I asked as I came out in my other choice, a red and black A-line dress with a satin bottom.

“Now that is the one!” she said. There was the emotion and enthusiasm. “It fits perfectly and looks very classy,” she went on–and on. It was equally obvious that this was speaking her language.  I can admit that it did say part of what I wanted it to say, which is classy, but the sexy part was still lacking in my opinion.

At that point I went on and bought the second dress anyway since it got such rave reviews from the salesperson and a few onlookers, but I wasn’t completely sold. As I was leaving the store a thought popped into my head. Maybe I can go back to the other Ross and find something better.  Surely they’ve gotten in a new shipment of dresses since the last time I was there. Not knowing how to get there from this location, I consulted Siri. The distance was 74 miles and would take 1 hour and 45 minutes. Yikes! I was already out later than I had originally planned, and I told my husband that I would be back home shortly. Besides, he wouldn’t quite understand my need to keep searching for the perfect dress, especially if it meant traveling a much further distance and being gone all day. Then for a split second I missed my single life.        

You see, if I was still single I would have taken that trip with no reservations. I’d drive that nearly two hours with no guarantee of finding the coveted perfect dress and think about it later. But since I’m married I have to think about things from a married woman’s perspective. My husband would not like it very much if I came home after dark with yet another dress without considering him, and honestly speaking I wouldn’t like it if he did something without considering me. The shopaholic in me tried to justify my desire to keep looking by saying I could just pick up dinner on the way home, but the wife in me knew better. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of my responsibility as a wife. It’s not all about me anymore. My responsibility is now to another, and that’s alright with me. It’s the life I chose and it is a blessing to me just as being single is to the single woman.The blessing for me is being married keeps me grounded. More specifically, being married to my husband keeps me grounded and rational when I’m sometimes irrational. So I drove past the exit to the other store and headed home to my husband. The funny thing is, I received a text from my husband on my way back asking me to bring home dinner and peach tea. I knew it was the Holy Spirit who advised me to go home, and I’m glad I listened. Besides, Ross will be there tomorrow. 🙂

***Look for future blog posts on http://www.BrianaGWhitaker.com.

Certainty

Not much is certain;certainty

Not the call after the date
Not the reciprocity of feelings
Not the new guy you considered a prospective mate.

Not the ring
Not the happy ending
Not the promise to be his one and only

Not the check in the mail
Not the weather
Not the price of gas
Not the state of racial affairs
Not the stock market
Not job security
Not the next 20 years, 2 weeks, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 minutes or 2 seconds.

But one thing is certain:
There is a God who cares about everything we face
Who wants to supply all our needs
Who wants to hold us, love us, and spend time with us
Who wants to paint a rainbow after your storm
Who wants us to know that He never changes;
that His mind toward us is evident in His Word
that we are His beloved.

Now should we trust in a God like that–certainly!

Operation Relinquishing Control Success

Operation Relinquishing Control This Holiday Season wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I didn’t have a list of gift ideas to hand out to friends and family, and I didn’t spend as much time as usual even thinking about what I’d like to have. Surprisingly, I haven’t even been taking advantage of all the holiday sales like I have done in the past. So this has been a pretty care-free and relaxing holiday.

I can admit that my former habit of stressing over getting the perfect gift can be just that–stressful, especially if things don’t go as expected. So letting go for a change and allowing my loved ones to be a blessing in their own way has lightened the load. And light is how God intends for our load to be. This reminds me of one of the benefits of being His child–the ability to cast all of my cares on Him.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” (1 Peter 5:7 AMP)

For me, it is humbling to know that such a mighty and great God cares about the things that concern me because He cares about me. He doesn’t want you or I to be burdened down with senseless worries since worrying does nothing to solve the problem anyway. In light of Christ, my problems, unfulfilled requests, and desire for material things just aren’t that important. Truth is, He is the answer to every problem that could ever exist, and He is the fulfillment of every desire anyone could ever have, so as long as He’s in control of my life all I need to do is rest in His goodness and allow Him to bless me as He sees fit. I am content in knowing that because I have Christ in my life I already have the BEST gift anyone could ever have–the gift that keeps on giving.

Be blessed with God’s best, everyone, and Merry Day After Christmas!

Faith for Daily Living

Yesterday I shared a post about the need for confession in a believer’s life, and it was met with some resistance. One of the concerns brought to my attention that I would like to address here is the idea that confessing God’s Word is a way to try and manipulate Him to give us what we want and that having a desire for more and better is not what belief in God is all about. While I do agree that we do sometimes put more emphasis on self than on the needs of others, I do not believe that our personal successes and victories or our desire for them are necessarily a hindrance to the work of Christ. I actually believe that God places a desire for more and better on the inside of us so that we can be more of an asset to His Kingdom.

So here’s a question I would like to pose to my fellow bloggers and social media friends…If we didn’t have a desire to want more or better, what would we need faith for in our daily lives? The Bible says that “the just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4b, Romans 1: 17b, Galatians 3:11b, and Hebrews 10:38a). I don’t know about you but every day that I wake up I am living, so beyond believing God for salvation, what should we be believing God for on a daily basis? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

If You Want It, Say It

confessionEvery woman desires for her man to claim her as his. I’m not talking about owning her as if she is his possession, but owning up to being in a relationship with her and being proud of it. I remember the first time Russell introduced me to one of his associates after a few months of dating. “This is my lady Briana,” he said with boldness. I was relieved, as the question of the title he would give me in front of others had been on my mind. Any hesitation or unwillingness to claim me would not only be an  insult but also an indication of doubt about my place in his life. Then I would have been left feeling confused about just where I stood in the relationship equation. This dynamic works the same way when we are waiting on God to fulfill His promises, no matter what they are, in our lives. Here’s what I mean.

The basis of the Christian faith is, well faith–faith in what is not seen with the natural eye or felt with the five senses. The believer lives by faith–period. That is the only way to please God (Hebrews 11:6). One way to express our belief is by what we say or confess out of our mouths. That is how you and I received salvation.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9 KJV).

Salvation did not require jumping through any hoops or performing any grueling rituals. All that was required was a belief in your heart on Jesus Christ and a confession from your mouth stating that belief. Your belief together with your spoken words, which is a work of faith, equal your active working faith.

 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:17-18).

And that is what yields results. This is not to say that everything in your life will go as you expect or that you will live a trial free life of ease because of your faith confessions. Jesus said that in this life we’d experience persecution for the cause of Christ and that trials would come, but those trials don’t have to defeat you. It’s according to what you say and believe. I know because it has worked for me. A few years ago after an annual doctor’s appointment I received a abnormal lab result which indicated the presence of abnormal cells that if not corrected could develop into cancer. My doctor said that she would need to do a biopsy to make sure the cells weren’t cancerous and I’d come back in a few weeks for the results.

I didn’t waste any time. I knew what the Bible had to say about calling on the elders of the church to pray for the healing of the sick so I asked my pastor and his wife to pray for me about that situation. But I didn’t leave it at that. I found a book of confessions on healing and tailored it specifically for the condition my doctor discussed with me, and every day from the day I received prayer until the day I returned to the doctor for the results I repeated it.

“I call every cell of my body to be normal in Jesus’ name. Cancer cannot live in my body. I speak and I say that my body is well from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” I would say aloud and with authority. I said it until I believed it. When I went in that doctor’s office I knew without a shadow of a doubt that all was well, and it was. The biopsy came back negative for cancer, and the next year when I returned for my annual checkup there were no signs of abnormal cells at all. Some people might think this strange or preposterous but it works. It’s the process of faith, and it is how the world was formed. God spoke and everything came into existence.

“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

Now if I had done the opposite by accepting the doctor’s information as truth and either confessed the worst outcome or said nothing at all to combat the attack against me, things may have turned out differently. That was a chance I was not willing to take. I am convinced this process will work for anything you are believing God to do in your life if it is according to His will and in line with His Word. By anything I do mean anything, including a suitable spouse if that is what you desire. Find a confession or create your own loaded with scriptural promises concerning what it is you desire in a relationship and in a mate (I included some relationship-specific confessions in “Wait on God”). Confess it until it manifests. Confess it at all times just like a man should confess his love for his woman at all times, not just when it is convenient or easy. Confess it with power and authority to let God and the devil know where you stand–on God’s Word. You don’t have to let everyone in on your work of faith either because not everyone will understand or agree, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that your words agree with God’s words. Keep in mind that you are not speaking your words. You are speaking God’s words, and God’s words have power!

So just as my husband claimed me that day and just as I claimed my healing, claim what you desire God to do for you. If it is a godly husband, claim him. If it is peace of mind until he arrives, claim it. If it is to live a holy and sanctified single life, claim that too. And do not hesitate or waver because hesitation is a sign of unbelief, which makes it impossible to receive from God.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord” (James 1:6-7).

I encourage you to make a daily habit to say what God says, and watch Him honor your faith by working on your behalf to bring you what you desire.

Based on Chapter 5 of “Wait on God:What Every Single Woman Should Know to Receive God’s Best!”

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