Wednesday, 27 November 2013

THE POWER OF A PRODUCT MANUAL


I’ve been working on the manuscript for my latest book, The Emergence Of A New Generation for the past three days getting it ready to upload on an online ebook platform Smashwords. (Nana Awere Damoah, author of I Speak of Ghana influenced my going to Smashwords). Now to get an ebook published with Smashword, there are two options available to the author or publisher.
1. Get a professional to work on the manuscript
2. DIY—Do it Yourself.
The first option will cost money which I am not prepared to part with. I have already spent money in producing paperbacks of the same book, so I thought it prudent to take the second option. Now, the layout requirements of an ebook I learnt quickly differs  from the usual print out copies. So I had to “dismantle” my old formatting and start from scratch. Taking the second option therefore means I have to design my manuscript to meet the professional standards of ebooks to make them readable on various devices. The second option has also opened my eyes to many lessons in the world of digital printing. The second option, DIY, thankfully comes with a manual, The Smashwords Style Guide. I printed a copy for myself. It took me about a week to read through it, and for the past three days, I have gone through it step by step, word by word, instruction by instruction and slowly I am getting an ebook to upload for publishing.

Wow! I am fascinated about the things I have learnt about Microsoft Word. For a technical person, some of the lessons learnt might be ordinary. But to me, they are extra-ordinary lessons. All of a sudden I “deceptively” feel like a professional Microsoft Word user. I have learnt about bookmarks, hyperlinks, creating Table of Content in word etc. I “feared” Microsoft Excel, the sister of word, but suddenly, my confidence in following through with this manual has produced a level of confidence in me to go look out for a manual for excel, sit by it and crack it. 

Now, the life of a writer is “some way”. Every lesson forms a foundation for a write-up. So just as I was “wowing” about all the things I have learnt from this writing manual, it suddenly hit me how powerful manuals are if they are followed through. A message a friend, AlfCollins Djan, preached some time ago suddenly came back to me with fresh insights. Has it ever occurred to you that there is a manual for life? See 2 Timothy 3(NLT) below
16: All Scripture inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
17: God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
The Scripture above is self-explanatory. I believe the bible is a manual for life. It is not a mere religious book. It contains the mind of God and the procedures for life.  It’s not just a code of do’s and don’ts. It’s a God inspired document which when followed has the power to change any life. It contains the very mindset and intent of God for humankind. The Bible contains practically an answer for all of life’s issues. Charles R Swindoll, one of the writers whose writings have imparted my life so much said

There can be no more reliable authority on earth than God’s word, the Bible. This timeless trustworthy, source of truth holds the key that unlocks life’s mysteries. It alone provides us with the shelter we need in times of storm. If I could have only one wish for God’s people, it would be that all of us would return to the Word of God, that we would realize once for all that His book has the answers… Turning back to the scriptures will provide something that nothing else on the entire earth will provide.1

“Turning back to the scriptures [Bible] will provide something that nothing else on the entire earth will provide.” Ponder over that and decide what to do with the word of God—the Bible. Let’s consider some specific things the Bible as a manual does in our lives.

The Bible: 

1. Points us to Christ
  • And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:27)
  • Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39)

2. Purifies and cleanses our life.
  • Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee (Psalm 119:11).
  • Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you (John 15:3).
  • Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).
3. Gives us directions for living.
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him (2 Samuel 22:31).

4. Makes us wise.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7).

5. Makes us fruitful and prosperous.
  • Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper (Psalm 1:1-3).
  • This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success (Joshua 1:8).

I can continue to list numerous things the Bible does for us; but let’s take these few points and maybe let me assign you to dig out for yourself more things the Bible will do for you. How about that?

Notes
1. Charles R. Swindoll, Growing Deep: Exploring The Roots of Our Faith (Portland, Oregon: Multnomah, 1986),pp. 55-56