What Doors Do You Need Opened Today?

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (Luke 11:5-10, 13)

What Doors Do You Need Opened Today?Your pantry is empty. You have nothing left to set before your guests, your family. Spent, exhausted, frustrated, all you can do is borrow from friends.

Late at night you go next door and ask your neighbor for a little something to eat so you can feed your guest, but your neighbor replies:

  • “Don’t bother me.”
  • “I’m in bed.”
  • “Go away.”

Jesus warns that when we ask our friends for help—even when what we seek is for others—many will reply, “Don’t bother me. I’m your friend, yes, but…”

It’s as if Jesus is saying, “Do not be surprised by this. The nature of man is to withdraw, withhold, allow others to go without.” Instead Jesus encourages us to:

  • “Ask your Father in heaven for what you need.”
  • “Seek from your Father in heaven your provision.”
  • “Knock on heaven’s door for the help you need.”

Grab these promises of Jesus. Hold onto them with both hands.

  • “I promise you will receive from my Father.”
  • “I promise you will find all you need in my Father’s house.”
  • “I promise my Father will open doors for you.”

These promises from Jesus are not simply for those who are “good,” righteous in their own eyes—for those who can quote chapter and verse. These promises from Jesus are for all who come to the Father in humility, repentance, and faith.

What doors do you need opened today?
What supplies do you lack?
What have you conceived but not yet received?

Jesus says,

  • “EVERYONE who asks, receives.”
  • “EVERYONE who seeks, finds.”
  • “EVERYONE who knocks, a door is opened.”

How is that possible? Jesus replies, “Your father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

  • God’s Holy Spirit reminds us of the character, works, and words of Jesus and the father. (John 14:26) God is good. God is loving. God is generous. God is compassionate. God is faithful. God gives all the grace we need for every task.
  • God’s Holy Spirit convicts us of sin. (John 16:7-8) When sin interferes with our relationship with the father, his Holy Spirit brings our offenses to mind. Through his mercy and our repentance, our relationship and communication is restored.
  • God’s Holy Spirit searches the deep things of God and the deep needs of our soul. (1 Corinthians 2:10) We think we know what we want, but the Holy Spirit digs deep into our soul and supplies us with wisdom, revelation, and vision from the father.
  • God’s Holy Spirit guides us in all truth, making our steps firm. (John 16:13-15) Our wants, goals, and needs may seem right, but God’s Holy Spirit reveals all truth, all that is noble, all that is good.
  • God’s Holy Spirit gives us good gifts for the common good: wisdom, knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miraculous powers, prophecy, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in different kinds of tongues, interpretation of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) Our daily needs are not for us alone but for others. The works of our hands are not for our enjoyment alone, but for the benefit of others.
  • God’s Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, searches our hearts, intercedes for us according to God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27) When we are frail, tired, and beaten down, God’s Holy Spirit continues to ask the father on our behalf.
  • With patience and self-control God’s Holy Spirit enables us to live in love, joy, faith, and peace while offering kindness, goodness, and gentleness to others. (Galatians 5:22-25) With God’s Holy Spirit within us, love, joy, faith, and peace replace anger, worry, fear, and stress.

With God’s Holy Spirit we have all we need to provide for others and ourselves. And should we lack anything, we only need to ask.

Jesus tells us we will, “Do the works I do and even greater works than these. (John 14:12)

Are we doing great works?
Are we writing great words?
Are we spending our efforts on others?

If you believe your words, your books, your vocation as a writer serves God’s kingdom in small and great ways, then invite others to join you in this prayer.

“‘My Father, your name is holy. Your name is greatly to be revered and honored. Your kingdom is here with me, within me, for you are in me and I am in you.

Each day you give me all that I need. You know my needs, even the needs I cannot fathom. Provide today as much as I need.

Forgive me of my sins. I confess them before you now. I repent of my sins. Have mercy on me.

I forgive all who offend me, hurt me, ignore me, past judgement upon me, and seek to harm me.

Lead me not into temptation. Instead lead me to open doors where I can display your love, joy, faith, peace and patience to others. Lead me to open doors where I, in the mighty name of Jesus, can show your kindness, goodness, and gentleness towards others. May it be so, father. Amen.

 

Pick The One Best Thing

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (Luke 10:38-42)

Once there was a reader named Martha who hosted an author event.

  • Martha opened her home (but not her heart) to her guest.
  • Martha was distracted.
  • Martha was worried.
  • Martha had to to make preparations.
  • Martha petitioned others for help—her family (perhaps friends) .
  • Martha grew upset with othersher family (perhaps friends) due to their lack of help.
  • Martha questioned (doubted) her guest, Jesus, regarding his heart, compassion, and concern for her.
  • Martha commanded Jesus to act.
  • Martha pitied herself.
  • Martha praised herself.
  • Martha participated in many activities.

Martha’s sister Mary joined the others as they gathered around the guest of honor, the Author of all things.

  • Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.
  • Mary listened to Jesus’ words.
  • Mary chose the best: time with Jesus.

Pick The One Best ThingWhen we choose Jesus, no one can take him from us (John 10:28).

When we choose anything other than Jesus, those things we select will distract us from him. So much so, that often we miss the best and only thing we need for task at hand.

If you find that your efforts produce little and leave you tired, worried, upset, distracted, filled with self-pity, pride, and on the outs with others, take a break and sit with Jesus. Listen to his words. Rest in him.

Words matter. The Word matters most of all. Get into the Word. Then ask him to bless the works and words of your hands.

Expanding Your Book Sales With Little or No Money

Book Marketing Jesus' Way (Luke 9:12-17)

“You Give Them Something to Eat!”

Crowds came from all over to hear Jesus preach on the kingdom of God. For days leading up to this, Jesus had healed all who came to him. Demons were cast out and afflictions cured. Folks flocked to get more of this healing and help. So when the Twelve came to Jesus in private and warned that he needed to disperse the crowd so they could get a bite to eat, no doubt the Twelve thought their compassionate advice would be rewarded.

Instead Jesus basically says, “You take care of ’em.”

How often do you feel this is Jesus’ response to your prayers for book sales? You’ve written, pitched, published, promoted… advertised on Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Google… tweeted, flittered here and there on blog tours… held launch parties, post-launch parties, given away books, Amazon gift cards… and still your books languish, buried at the bottom of categories.

In response to this gentle rebuke, the Twelve answered Jesus, “Unless we…” 

You’ve given all you have. All your time, all your effort, all your hopes… And still your books will remain lost under a surging sea of new releases… Unless Jesus steps in.

That’s one of the main lessons from this incredible story. What you cannot accomplish, Jesus can. Let’s look at how Jesus created abundance out of scarcity.

  • Jesus spoke about the kingdom of his Father’s goodness and love. That’s step one.
    Jesus spoke to them about the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:14)
    When it comes to promoting your books, lead with God’s words, promises, and truth. Speak less about what you think might or might not happen and more about what our Father says will happen for those who love him, are in his Son, and whose Son is in them.
  • Jesus looked to heaven for his help. 
    I lift up my eyes to the mountains. Where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1)
    You must look up as well. This is where active faith is born—in knowing that only he can do what we cannot.
  • Whether little or much, give thanks.
    Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1)
    An attitude of gratitude opens the heavenly gates of provision. One book sale, two? Say thanks. No book sales? Say thanks for allowing you to publish a book. The world is filled with people who wish they could write, wish they had published book, but don’t. You are blessed. Reflect your gratitude for this gift of writing.
  • Break, divide, and sort what you have. A little can go a long way. 
    “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says. ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry.’” (1 Kings 17:14)
    Broken into small pieces, our promotional efforts become easier. Do those things that bring our Father glory, that give you joy, and cost little or nothing. Do those things that can be sustained for years, not simply weeks. Ours is a long haul delivery. Enjoy the journey, the scenery, the people you meet.
  • Distribute to those willing to help. 
    “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
    Don’t try to do it all yourself. You can’t. Give tasks to those who offer to help. Then hold them accountable.
  • Carefully place your promotional efforts before others. Don’t simply toss out your best work like you’re feeding hogs.
    The servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. (Matthew 22:10)
    Be gentle and wise, considerate and frugal. What you produce is precious. Treat it with care.  Share with all who are in need of your words and message, not simply those you think are your “target audience.” The least may very well become your best and most loyal evangelists.

If you do this, you will be pleased with the results. The remains will be gathered to feed others. You will not be worn out from your work. Joy and peace will follow and all who hear of you will be inspired by your example. That is the lesson for expanding your book sales Jesus’ way.