March 31, 2013

Sharing the Lord's Comfort - Janet Seever


Thank you, Janet, for joining InScribe Writers Online as our Guest Blogger today. 

“I’m so glad your husband is coming to the retreat,” wrote Doris in her email. “It means that I won’t be the only one there with mobility issues.” Her words surprised me at first, but then I understood.

My husband suffered a major stroke in 2004, and along with the loss of speech, came the loss of the ability to read and write. He now walks slowly with a cane. A life-changing event for both of us, the stroke suddenly threw me into the role of caregiver and turned our world upside down.

At the conference, Doris and I greeted each other warmly. I knew her from one face-to-face conversation, but mostly from short emails, since she lives in another province. In her early 50s, she now uses a walker because of a mysterious, undiagnosed illness that is gradually stealing her motor skills. Her life has undergone a dramatic change in the past few years.

“People just don’t understand,” she confided, as she freely shared with me at coffee break some of the challenges she and her family are facing. She instinctively knew I would understand, and I did. There was an automatic bond between us. And I was able to tell her how the Lord has been faithful throughout the years in spite of numerous difficulties our family has been through.

Later, I reflected on the retreat with Laura, a friend of mine. "When I look back, I think the most valuable thing I have to offer others has come through the difficulties the Lord has brought me through—especially my husband’s stroke and the bipolar mood disorder in our family,” I told her. “Those very things that were so painful at the time are what the Lord has used to enable me to relate to and comfort other people.”

Laura was intrigued.

I went on to explain how when my husband first had his stroke, a friend told me, “What a tragedy.” I thought about it for a while, and said to myself, “I’d rather see it as a challenge.” A tragedy looks back at what used to be, but challenge looks forward to the future, giving a person a reason to hold on to hope.

And challenges we certainly have had . . . but the Lord has never abandoned us. He has given me joy for the journey, and His peace and presence. And for that, I thank Him. He has also enabled me to be a comfort to others going through struggles.

As a writer, I’ve been able to share with others that hope I have in the Lord and how the Lord met me in the challenges I’ve faced. Some of my stories, floating around on Internet, have encircled the globe and I’ve had emails from people in various countries who have been encouraged because I’ve been willing to share.

As fellow writers, we all have the opportunity to be encouragers. May each of us use the ability the Lord has given us to reach out to others in need. And may the Lord be glorified as we use the skills He has given us.

A long-time InScribe member, Janet writes for 'Prayer Alive' and 'Word Alive', two Wycliffe Canada publications. Married to Dennis for 37 years, she is the mother of two adult children, one of whom is married. She enjoys being a grandma to five-year-old Andrew.

March 30, 2013

Down with Religion! - Susan Barclay

I recently posted the following on my Facebook page because I think it's so cool how science is catching up with what the Bible has said from "the beginning", even going so far as to acknowledge "intelligent design":

An atheist acquaintance, who describes herself as a "freethinker", replied to my post. "Good to see science is progressing - too bad the same can't be said for religion!"

I always try to be careful what I say to her "religious" comments, since I don't want to fuel her fire, but do want to keep the conversation open. Finally I posted this: "Jesus was against religion, too! Down with religion! Up with Love and relationship!" To which she could only "*facepalm*". I like to think she *facepalmed* because I succeeded in stumping her, but I suspect it was more "I can't believe you actually believe this stuff."

But the truth is Jesus hates religion, or at least religious people. In Matthew 23 he calls the religious leaders hypocrites numerous times. In verse 33 he even calls them snakes and sons of vipers! Ouch!

Religion is typically about following a set of rules, but Jesus is about love. It is love that sent him to the cross to make a bridge between mankind (who was separated from God by sin), and a just but kind God. Christ-followers are to share Jesus' love with others so that they too might know him and enter into relationship with him. Unfortunately, there are a lot of religious people in the church, people who are more concerned with regulations than they are with the heart. They forget how much they have been forgiven, how much grace they've been shown, and fail to welcome others with compassion.

Christians should represent Christ and represent him well. We are the only Jesus some people will ever see. I don't know about you, but when I get to heaven and have to account for my deeds on earth, I don't want to be ashamed of how my actions turned others off of Christ instead of on to him. I want to hear "well done, good and faithful servant."

This Easter, let's give thanks for what Christ has done for us, and let's begin anew to live in a way that pleases him. Let's set religion aside, and with repentance seek to extend to others the grace and mercy that we have been shown. The kingdom will be better for it.


For more of my writing, please visit 

March 28, 2013

"He That Hath An Ear, Let Him Hear" - Bruce Atchison

On my Bruce Atchison's books page a few years ago, I've mentioned the day that I was thrown out of a vacation Bible school because I couldn't read the microscopic print in the Bibles that the pastor handed out to us students. His callous action deeply hurt me. I had a keen interest in Christianity but my poor vision and lack of proper magnifying glasses thwarted my attempts to read sacred scripture.

When I did acquire a large print New Testament and a decent magnifying glass, I eagerly read it from cover to cover. Not only did I read what people formerly read to me but I learned much. One fact which touched me deeply was that many of the apostle Paul's letters were written in prison. I felt thrilled that I could finally read for myself what these early saints wrote. I began thinking of these people as friends rather than distant historical figures after reading their epistles.

I took a Bible correspondence course in 1979 and bought a large print King James version of the scriptures. As I rested between patrols while on guard duty at the bank, I read through the entire Old and New Testaments. The course also filled in the background regarding the culture and history of the Middle East. All those strange sacrifices that I'd formerly heard about began to make sense as I studied the Word.

Through friends, I heard the scriptures on cassette tapes. These were nice but I wasn't able to pinpoint individual verses as the numbers were left out of the reading. Though I enjoyed listening to God's Word, something was missing.

Bible Seeker, a free downloadable program from filled in the missing connection between hearing and reading scriptures. It let me not only read verses but copy and paste them into documents. Many of the scriptures quoted in how I Was Razed, my memoir of how God led me out of a cult and into the truth, were copied from Bible Seeker. Additionally, the program helped me learn the spelling of names and terms used in God's Word. If I didn't understand something, I could easily proceed letter by letter or word by word so I could get the gist of the passage. Better yet, Bible Seeker's functions are screen reader-friendly, allowing sight-impaired folks like me to study the Bible for free.

Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind freelance writer as well as the author of How I Was Razed, Deliverance from Jericho, and When a Man Loves a Rabbit. He lives in a small Alberta hamlet with his house rabbit, Deborah.

March 25, 2013

God's Intervention -- Martha Fehr


We're pleased to have Martha Fehr, one of our InScribe members, as our Guest Blogger today on InScribe Writers Online.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord." Isaiah 55:8

I know that my puny brain can’t begin to understand all there is to know about our awesome God, but I’ve been wondering about some things: How directly is the God of the universe involved in the details of the lives of believers and non-believers?

In reading through Genesis, I’ve come across two stories that give us some insight about this. In chapter 16 we have the story of how God intervened in the life of Hagar, Sarai’s maid when she fled due to harsh treatment from Sarai. She probably deserved this treatment, because, since conceiving a child with Abram, she had become arrogant and was no longer a submissive maid, perhaps even taunting Sarai about her inability to conceive.

After fleeing, Hagar ended up resting by a spring of water in the wilderness where the Angel of the Lord found her and questioned her as to what she was doing. When Hagar admitted that she was fleeing from her mistress, Sarai, the Angel of the Lord asked her to return to her mistress and be submissive. He also promised that the child she carried in her womb would be the first of many descendants.

Hagar then called the name of the Lord, “You Are the God Who Sees” and she followed that statement up with a question, "Have I also seen Him who sees me?"

What a powerful couple of sentences! Hagar ended up in the wilderness due to the sin in her life, yet the Angel of the Lord found her, comforted her, promised her a blessing, and gave her instructions for her next step! We don’t know if Hagar had embraced the God of Abraham and Sarah, but God intervened directly in her life.

In Genesis 20 we read how God intervened in the life of Abimelech, the king of Gerar. By this time, God had renamed Abram, Abraham, and Sarai, Sarah. Since Abraham lied and said that Sarah was his sister, Alimelech saw her beauty and sent for her. However, before Abimelech could take Sarah as wife, God intervened to warn him that she was someone else’s wife and that he was in trouble for having taken her.

Abimelech pleaded his innocence and claimed he had done this in the integrity of his heart. Graciously, God answered Abimelech in a dream, saying, "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore I did not let you touch her...."

This is truly a unique passage. We do not know if the people in this place knew God; Abraham seemed to think not as he replied, "Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place..." Yet God intervened to stop Abimelech from sinning against Abraham and Sarah, but especially from sinning against God Himself.

I think Hagar's statement, "Have I also seen Him Who sees me?" is significant! Do you and I recognize God's intervention in our lives and are we drawn closer to God when we do?

I’m wondering too, "How often does God intervene to stop me from sinning against Him, especially when He sees that the intentions of my heart are to honor Him? And because God sees the big picture, are there times when He keeps me from sinning in ways that would not only grieve Him, but would also affect other people negatively?

March 24, 2013

Christmas Has Its Cradle, Easter Has Its Cross - Lynn Dove

One of my most favorite hymns is "Christmas Has Its Cradle, Easter Has Its Cross" by Rae E. Whitney. Although probably sung most often at Christmas than at Easter, I think it is a hymn that is equally appropriate for both celebrations. After all, the hymn's lyrics link Christmas with Easter. Without Christmas there would be no Easter. The two most important celebrations in Christian history are inseparably linked together, all part of God's perfect plan to redeem the world.

Christmas has its cradle, where a Baby cried; did the lantern's shadow show him crucified?

Did he foresee darkly His life's willing loss?
Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its cross.
Christmas has its cradle; shepherds came to see, Little Son of Mary, Lamb of God to be.
Had His Father warned Him, none would grant Him room, save in the Christmas cradle and in the Easter tomb?
Christmas has its cradle, wise men came to bring, myrrh and gold and incense, offering for a King;

Myrrh alone stayed with Him, death's balm for this Boy, from the Christmas cradle and to His Easter joy.

Christmas has its cradle, where that Baby cried; in the Easter garden, Christ lay, crucified;

When death's power was conquered, God's life through Him poured;

Christmas has its cradle and Easter has its Lord!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:16-17

March 23, 2013

Come To The Throne Of Grace - by Terrie Lynne

One of the things I enjoy doing during my morning quiet time is to sit in my rocking chair. There's plenty of room there for me plus my furry little friends, my dogs Lilly and Bo. There are times when Lilly will come freely and sit on my lap without hesitation and we enjoy cuddling together. Then there are times when I beckon her to come and sit with me only to see her staring, as if frozen in fear. Then she'll shift her eyes to our other dog Bo, who is already sitting next to me. Bo can be possessive, staring Lilly down as if to say, "This is my lap and my chair."

When I see this interaction going on between the two dogs, I immediately reassure Lilly that she is to look at me as I open my arms and call out her name. I calm Bo and remind him that there is plenty enough room for both of them. I have heard it said that a dog can be as intelligent as a two-year child. I don't know if that is accurate, but I would have to agree that dogs are definitely smart. They play the same games and act out like a toddler can!

But what stuck in my heart the other day, while calling out to Lilly, is that I too experience this in my own life. Sometimes I stand still, unable to come freely to the throne of grace. I might be frozen with concerns for the future or allowing worries about the past mistakes to hang over me like a cloud. I'm focusing my eyes on such things instead of shifting them onto my Heavenly Father. He is calling out to me to come to Him just as I am, with all of my worries and fears, trusting that He will take care of them and me. He wants me to lay my burdens down and just be...just breathe.

As we approach Easter, let us be reminded that through Christ's death and resurrection we can all come boldly to the Throne of come just as we are, with all of our worries and fears, trusting that our Heavenly Father will take care of us and our concerns.

Heavenly Father, we come to you and to your throne of grace just as we are. Help us to keep our eyes focused on you and not on the worries of the future, the regrets of the past or the concerns of today. We cast our cares on you, trusting in you to be our everything. In Jesus name Amen (Let it be so)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

My writing name is Terilyn Writer. After a five-year hiatus from writing, I've decided to pick up my pen and write, or should I say turn on my computer and type! If you enjoy this article and would like to follow me on this journey, you can visit me at Where The Healing Begins.

I love spending time with my family, friends and my dogs. I also enjoy camping, reading, writing, singing and baking. I was raised on a farm in the western prairie province of Alberta. My favorite time of the year is autumn and, although I now live in the city, I'm a country girl at heart!

Pictures courtesy of,,Terilyn writer

March 21, 2013

Risen Christ--How do I Portray Him? - Sulo Moorthy

In ten days time we’re going to celebrate Easter-the resurrection of our Lord Christ Jesus. Two thousand years ago, when the news of risen Christ came from the mouths of the women and hit the ears of Peter and John, they couldn’t believe it at first.

These men had spent whole three years walking beside their Master, listening to His teaching, attending weddings and funerals, watching in amazement at the touch of their Lord's hand, blind man seeing, lame man jumping, lepers healed and demon possessed ones calmed and restored. They had witnessed a young maiden pronounced dead brought to life and the young  man Lazarus dead and buried for three days walking out of his tomb in his burial clothing at the sound of Jesus call.

Yes, they had witnessed all that and more. They were the chosen ones to be in the inner circle of three.  They were there with Jesus on the mountain to witness His transfiguration and to see their Lord conversing with Moses and Elijah. They may have even heard the voice from heaven affirming that their  Master was truly the Son of God.

Great witnesses, they could  have been, but they failed to rise up to the occasion when Jesus needed them the most. In the garden of Gethsemane, at the time of His distress, the Lord requested them to watch and pray. What did they do? They gave into sleep and started to snore instead of praying. These devoted disciples who vouched to follow Him to the end couldn’t even boldly accompany Him to the courtroom of Caiaphas or Pilate. Instead, in order to save their own lives, they completely left  their beloved teacher alone to defend Himself. 

Probably I too would have done the same in their situation. The threat of arrest and torture at the hands of Roman soldiers, on top of lingering doubtful thoughts about Jesus’ divinity, would have driven me also to flee and forsake the Lord I might have vouched to die for.

But the encounter with the risen Lord on His resurrection evening and afterwards completely changed these men's attitude and behaviour.  Jesus never accused them for deserting Him in His time of trial.The sovereign Lord knew the limitations of humanity. Being the Son of Man, He understood the fears and doubts His disciples had. The miracle of seeing the buried One alive released the disciples from the grip of fear and uncertainty there onwards.

At times I had wondered whether Peter, John, James and Thomas would have chosen the path of Cross to the end, if they hadn’t seen the risen Lord face to face. Truly, something amazing started to happen when they encountered the risen Christ. Their passion for the Lord got rekindled and was set ablaze.With the empowering of the Holy Spirit on the Pentecostal day, they ventured into a new journey with no turning back.

These men painted as deserters previous to their encounter with the risen Lord emerged as giants of faith fearing not even death in the post resurrected period. It is said that when Peter was sentenced to be crucified, he requested him to be crucified upside down because he found himself unworthy to be crucified in the same way like his Lord.

John,the beloved disciple, who got exiled to Patmos island finished his life well by writing down his vision of the Lord in the Book of Revelation for our benefit. Thomas, the doubting one, journeyed all the way to India to spread the Gospel and later got beheaded for his unshakable faith. I was privileged to visit the site of his execution when I was studying at a  college in India. Named after the disciple, the place is called St.Thomas Mount. James too was beheaded.

Because these men were eye witnesses of risen Christ, many came to accept the Lord through their teaching and acquaintances in the early years of the Church. In my time of doubts and dry spells, I too have looked upon these men’s lives and drawn strength. If they weren't convinced what they had seen and believed, no way they would have gone to the extent they went to spread the gospel.

I hope and pray that the risen Lord within me would be so evident that  many would draw strength from my walk of faith too.  But if I use Jesus as good luck charm or as someone who grant my wants and get me out of trouble,  others would see Him through me only as a  miracle worker,  a holy man  or a spiritual guide. Today as well as in the past,  there are so many spiritual gurus who have been sought to gratify people's emotional and spiritual needs. So, I need to be watchful of how I portray Christ- The Risen Lord and Saviour or  a miracle worker, who helps me out whenever I need Him?

March 20, 2013

X Stands For... -- Brenda J. Wood

Do you remember your A-B-Cs? You know, the traditional A is for apple; B is for baby and so on. I wondered if there could be a Christian version. Strongs Concordance supplied the following: 

A-Adopted         B-Blessed         C-Conquering          D-Delivered  
E-Established     F-Free               G-Graced                H-Healed     
I-Inheritor          J-Justified          K-Known                L-Loved M-Ministering 
N-Named           O-Over comer   P-Precious              Q-Quickened  
R-Redeemed      S-Saved             T-Transformed        U-Upright      
V-Valued           W-Wanted          Y-Yielded  
X-                      Z-Zealous 

Theres no X word in an English Bible, but in the Greek, its Xpioros, or Christos, meaning anointed, Messiah, an epithet of Jesus Christ.

The Dictionary says X stands for Christ as in Xn (Christian) and Xmas (Christmas).  X also stands for the algebra unknowns we fought  in math class. We may wish to have or be everything in this new alphabet version but without X, the Christ, its impossible.

Where is the X, the Christ in our lives? Is He  X, the unknown?
 X, the Christ, a shortcut to what we want?
Or is He X, the crucified Christ, raised from the dead and our personal Saviour? 

John 6:69: And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (KJV)

Prayer: Father, thanks for X, the known Christ!  Amen.

Brenda J Wood, author & speaker
The Pregnant Pause of Grief, the first trimester of widowhood

March 19, 2013

Alive Again - Linda Aleta Tame

  Alive Again 

To rise up at dawn
hear meadow lark
emerge from shadow
recall a song
recover the lost

To see the sunrise
& spring grasses
the smell of fresh rain
early blossoms
trees verdant budding

To breathe the Spirit
expand the heart
be embraced in love
quickened with life
A Living Saviour


 "My beloved spoke and said to me, 'Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.'" Song of Songs 2:10-11 (NIV)


March 17, 2013

Resurrection by Bryan Norford

There are many animals I would rather not be, and the caterpillar is top of the list. It’s a decidedly grubby life, and a place of distinct vulnerability. But on consideration, it seems not much different than our life on earth.

What the caterpillar does have over and above the other creepers and crawlers of the earth is the change that is genetically built in: the metamorphosis into the butterfly. Both states, in ability and beauty can hardly be reconciled in one creature.

The caterpillar is a non-biblical example of the life, death and resurrection each new spring brings us. But Jesus specifically portrays the death of a seed that brings new life (John 12:24), and Paul the bulb that provides the flower (1 Corinthians 15:37–38).

What I find interesting are the ideas of beauty and recognition that run through these examples. The few of us who exhibit earthly beauty will be transformed into immensely greater beauty measured by the difference of the caterpillar and bulb with the butterfly and the flower.

Even those of us of lesser beauty will all be an accurate reflection of the beauty of God. But as the gardener knows the flower that will come from the seed, and the naturalist knows the butterfly that comes from the caterpillar, we will be recognisable within the new beauty.

But in all these things, Jesus Christ is the centre, and is always the centre. His resurrection is essential to the Christian faith, for it confirms Gods acceptance of the redemption gained for us at the cross. Thus His resurrection ensures ours.

So every fresh bud, each new butterfly, all signs of new life, point to the reality of resurrection. they reinforce our belief that resurrection is God’s design, not only for the earth He has given us, but also, and especially, in the promise of our resurrection to glory with Him.

March 16, 2013

The Mirror - by Marcia Janson

When we were children, my brother and I argued a lot. These set-tos usually ended up with one of us accusing the other of being a liar, cry-baby or worse. The inevitable rejoinder was something along the lines of, “Look in the mirror, why don’t you?” For some reason, the mirror remark always hurt worse than the name-calling.

Almost half a century later, I am doing much the same thing, albeit in the private confines of my head. I glare at the driver who just cut me off and mutter, “Selfish so-and so!” When a movie character sulks and indulges in a pity party, I think, “Grow up!”

Lately, the Holy Spirit has been giving me little nudges concerning this attitude…quietly holding a mirror up to my inner eye. Not to shame me or accuse me, but so I can see what is really going on when I launch into attack mode. It comes down to this: I don’t want to see the mess in me, so I deflect my accusations toward others. It’s painful to poke around in my own trash pile. Some things are too icky to expose to the light of day.

I tend to think that it’s going to kill me if I admit to certain flaws in my character. I certainly don’t want God to look too closely at the real me. He might point out that “this and this and this has to go or you are no longer in my good books.” Ouch! Of course, I know that this is a lie, that God isn’t condemning, but saving me; that he isn’t trying to whip me into shape, but is transforming me by renewing my mind. He doesn’t want me to feel ashamed and full of despair at my failings. In Christ, my most dreadful weaknesses will become my greatest strengths.

I may know these things to be true, but the “keeper of the mess” can’t live with that kind of grace, so hauls out pitiful excuses and useless rationalizations for maintaining the status quo. Lately though, I’ve sensed the Spirit saying, “Let her die, darling…she’s sucking the life out of you.” I’d like to do that, but how do I go about it? First of all, I need to look at her straight on, with no deflecting and no excuses. Giving in to fear tends to enlarge the mess rather than shrink it.
Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards, but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them…they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight. ~ Orison Swett Marden
I don’t need to be afraid because Jesus will be right there with me. The battle is not mine, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15) and I can do all things through Christ - including facing my mess head-on. Once the ugliness is exposed, I must then cut ties with it and invite Jesus into that area of my life. After all, light always overcomes darkness.

So, the next time I’m motoring around town, perhaps thinking snarky thoughts about other drivers and then feeling ashamed about it, I hope God interrupts the process. I hope he reminds me that, “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Be willing to surrender
 what you are for
 what you could become

Photo credits: Drawing - BasvanuyenBe willing to surrender - Hoolah Tallulah

March 15, 2013

Spring Writing - Tracy Krauss

Spring break starts tomorrow in our school district, and believe me, kids and teachers alike are ready for a reprieve! Unfortunately, the weather man didn't get the memo. It's been nothing but WINTER weather in the past few days. All the extra snow we've had lately will make the skiers, snowboarders and back country sledders happy, I'm sure. Fortunately for me, I have other plans that won't be affected by the inclement weather.

In my mind, March isn't really spring anyway, so why bother 'spring cleaning'? Instead, spring break from school means an opportunity to dig out some writing projects that I've set aside. I've got so many 'Works In Progress' that it might be hard to choose which one I want to focus on. Still, I plan to spend large portions of my day clacking away at the computer or even sitting with an old fashioned pen and my journal. Either way, I can hardly wait to let the words flow without worrying about the time.

My goal for this year has been to put my writing first over many of the promotional activities that seem to suck up so much of my time. 'Just Write' has been my motto - something I've been blogging about on my personal blog since January. While I've accomplished more in terms of word count than I normally would by this time in the year, it has still been a challenge to write creatively everyday.

Like anything worthwhile, it takes self discipline to write on a consistent basis when there are so many other things vying for one's attention. The 'lack of time' factor is mostly an excuse, I've found, since I can think of more than one occasion when I've sat down to watch TV for half an hour and it turned into three.The more consistent I am, however, the easier it is to 'just write' and skip the distractions. As many of you know, once a story gets going, its hard to stop writing, and when you visit that story on a daily basis, you soon find yourself waiting with anticipation for that precious time of day when you can get back to your story. It doesn't take much time to reacquaint yourself and get immersed once again, since it is still fresh in your mind. Also, practicing on a daily basis speeds up the process itself. I'm quite sure that I am writing more in less time and with a higher quality.

May I encourage you to dust off that writing project? Or, why not start a fresh new one? Either way, make it your habit to write everyday!

Tracy Krauss blogs at: 'Expression Express'

March 13, 2013

A Writer's Worst Nightmare by T. L. Wiens

I recently agreed to swap reviews of my books with another author. I’m not sure what made me even consider it but I was committed to read the two books I received in an email.

I don’t know what I expected but I got a menu guide to all the restaurants in the area where her books are set as she described in detail every meal eaten by her main characters. The plots were cliché and predictable.

This author can describe menus and settings so she must have some writing skills. So what happened that she published these books that are amongst the poorest I have ever read? Judging by who published her book, I’d say she was a victim of bad publishing, poor editing and well meaning friends of family not being honest with the quality of her manuscripts. She was published by Publish America.

Here’s what the Preditors and Editors site had to say about Publish America: “PublishAmerica (aka PA, aka AmErica House): Conflict of interest. Also runs literary agency. A vanity press with a poor contract. Numerous writer complaints. Author mill and plagiarist. Strongly not recommended. Rated F by the BBB.”

A simple search turned up a lot of complaints about this publishing house.

The lure to publish can be so strong and if you don’t know anything about publishing, it’s easy to fall prey to the promise of your words in print. After reading these books, I am reminded just how wrong things can go without checking things out. And it can be so daunting. I’ve been going through my “2012 Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market.” Even with this resource, I’m overwhelmed. Thank goodness I have years worth of experience only one email message away.

Inscribe is a wonderful place for authors. If only the author of these books would have had a group like this to turn to when she began her journey into publishing. We can share with one another and ask the questions that need asking. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all stuck the wrong word in the wrong place at some point in our careers. As fellow authors, we have so much we can do for each other and there’s no fear of looking silly. It is truly a blessing to be part of such a wonderful group.

March 12, 2013

Flickering Light: Lorrie Orr

I love looking up at the sky on a clear night.  Glittering and brilliant stars illumine the darkness.  A star’s energy source lies deep within it.  Gases combine and change in nuclear fusion. Energy, in the form of light and heat is emitted.

Jesus Christ tells me, his follower, to “let (my) light shine.”  Sometimes the light emitted by others seems so much brighter than my own.  It’s easy to look at the glowing Christian stars surrounding me and to compare their brilliance to my own wavering light.  I feel like a useless failure, faint, not shiny at all.

But, if just one dim star shone on a dark night, I know that my eyes would be instantly drawn to it.  God say in Isaiah 42:3b “A dimly burning wick he will not extinguish.” That promise gives me encouragement that the smallest spark of faith will not be snuffed out as if useless and unnecessary.  He has no desire to quench the sputtering light of my life.  Rather, God nourishes the faint glow of faith with His love and gentle presence in my life.  Although dim, my ordinary life contributes to the total amount of light in the world.

I can be encouraged that my life, my light, counts for something. As God’s presence and Holy Spirit fill every facet of my life, spiritual fusion will occur, resulting in a light that shines just as God wants it to shine.

March 10, 2013

Staying Awake on the Job by Sharon Espeseth

Thursday is the day of Holy Week when Jesus meets his disciples in an upper room furnished by divine arrangements and prepared by two of the apostles. As planned, Jesus and his twelve celebrate the Jewish Passover. During this in-camera session, Jesus provides his men with more information: this will be his last supper with them; the bread and wine are his body broken and his blood shed for all of us; a betrayer is among them.

Although the men heard Christ's words, they question their understanding, and they can scarcely believe what they do comprehend. A betrayer in their group? What will they do without their Lord? The men talk among themselves, wondering what the others got out of the Master's message.

Jesus speaks of the shepherd being struck and the sheep scattering. Peter protests that he would never leave him. Christ warns Peter that even he will deny him three times before the cock crows.

Filled with anguish and knowing his hour is here, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John to the foot of the Mount of Olives to pray. He shares with them how overwhelmed and sorrowful he feels. "Stay here," he say, "and keep watch."

Walking a stone's throw further, Jesus falls to the ground. In agony, he cries, "Abba Father. Everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." After spending time with his Father, Jesus returns to his men and finds them sleeping.

Reproachfully, he says, "Could you not watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you fall not into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Jesus goes back to spend more time with God. Returning, he finds them asleep again.

Some years ago, I was at church for an hour of adoration. With company at home, I knew I'd be challenged to stay awake, so I came prepared.
I read, I prayed, I talked with God in earnest. Then I wrote the following prayer.

Prayer for an Easter Vigil

I have a short attention span, Lord. I am not sure I would have stayed awake either, that night in Gethsemane. I need to keep busy or I too will fall asleep. No doubt, your companions did not fully realize what you meant when your said, "My hour is at hand." My mind, much like the disciples, is so limited to the present, Father. Hindsight for me is such a great illuminator. "If only I had known," your disciples must have said regretfully.

Often it is those sins of omission, Lord, that trip me up; those things I wish I could go back in time and do over, or do right. Forgive me, God, when I fall short, when I have words I would like to have said, an act of kindness I would like to have done, a prayer for someone I wished I had prayed for.

Your friends who slept in Gethsemane could not go back in time, any more than I can. Help me to hold that thought every minute of every day. You have given me many second chances, Lord. But I know from experience that there is not always another occasion to "fix" a situation. Guide me, Father, in doing more things right, in acting more Christ-like, in seizing opportunities the first time, just in case. . .

(c) Sharon Espeseth

Painting of The Last Supper by Leonardo daVinci
Disciples Fall Asleep by James T. Tissot

March 09, 2013

A Wee Bit of Evidence - Shirley S. Tye

I wish I could give convincing proof of God’s existence to a non-believer. Just slap it on the table and say; “There it is!” But anything I say or point to can easily be rejected. Look at the vast universe, consider the complexity of the human body, see the amazing things of nature, or witness the miraculous healings people have received. Oh, yes, the wonderful stars – they’re interesting; the human body – well, we can almost duplicate it, remember we’ve done some cloning; healings – those are just a few coincidences. Well, then look at me. Look at my life. Look close.

And how can I explain Jesus? He is a close dear friend yet divine. It’s awe inspiring to walk with the King and refer to Him as friend. He’s my Lord and Saviour. I was on my way to eternal torment in hell, when I called on Jesus and He set me on a new path; the path home. He saved me from that torment. I’m grateful. I didn’t see hell yet I knew it wasn’t the place for me. I haven’t seen heaven either but since Jesus came into my life I know it is home for me. And this new path isn’t easy yet I’d rather travel it than the one I was on before. Look at me. Look at my life. Look close.

Some people have looked at me and have seen something different in me. I know because they’ve told me that there’s something different. They may not have recognized what the difference is but they saw it. Praise the Lord! There’s the evidence! Jesus in me! How awesome is that!

I like the saying; “I believe in the sun even when it isn’t shining.” The sun may be hidden by the clouds but it’s still there. I know that to be true because of airplane flights I have taken. One minute we’re on the ground under grey threatening clouds and the next we’re flying high above the clouds enjoying the sunshine. Amazing! God is here. Jesus is here. We may not see them or feel them or hear them but they are here. I know that in my heart. I feel it in my heart. Look at me. Look at my life. No, I’m not perfect. But if you look close, you’ll see a wee bit of evidence. You’ll see Jesus.

March 08, 2013

Are You A Grateful Receiver? -- Vivia Oliver

How many times has someone complimented you on how nice your dress looked or a similar, you look nice today? You blushed and remarked that you got that dress at the Sally Ann. Why do we always apologize for a compliment? Is it that hard to just smile and say thank you?

When we stop and analyze our reactions to praise or a gift, we are often less than receptive and often not really thankful. This is a put down to the person who gave the gift or compliment. We are insulting their generosity when we don’t accept graciously and thankfully.

Do we also insult God when we don’t easily accept his free gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins? Do we mock Christ’s death on the cross when we think we have to “work out our salvation”? We don’t seem to appreciate the tremendous gift of eternal life like we should. What a great and marvelous life God has offered us free of charge. We certainly don’t deserve this gift by our past record, we deserve the death sentence that is assigned us on the outside of his kingdom.

 “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:5, 6 NIV

This reflects how very poor we are at being gracious receivers. And we need to gratefully receive Christ’s salvation. We need to accept the free salvation of Christ or we won’t receive it. We are very proud to give to others and repeat God’s promise that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but in order for us to give, someone has to receive. For instance if we won the lottery wouldn’t we be thankful, and graciously accept the cheque? Wouldn’t we be very thankful and very gracious in our acceptance speech?

Acts 20:35 –“we must help the weak-the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’.” Acts 20:35 NIV

When we receive a great gift, don’t we feel obligated to take it gratefully and thankfully? Also if our employer gives us a healthy bonus or raise, don’t we feel the obligation to keep on doing a good job or maybe do a better job in the future? We should feel obligated and eternally grateful to God for the greatest gift of all times. A gracious, grateful attitude should lead us to follow God in the path that He has chosen for us. We need to walk worthy of our calling.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24 NIV

God has a plan and purpose for our lives; he made us for a reason, so we should gratefully go in the direction he has laid out for us. If we stop to think about what a fabulous gift salvation is, we should be willing to follow God to the ends of the earth and back again.