June 17, 2018

Journey Food by Lynn Dove

I love this month's theme about which Scripture verses keep me nourished as a writer...

As with all Scripture that feeds my spirit as well as my writer's heart, it's hard to pinpoint just one verse that encapsulates the journey.  My blog, "Journey Thoughts" is all about my journeying with God through the mountain top and valley experiences of life.  A writer faces those same peaks and lows: the first time an article/book is published, or the first (of many) rejection letters.  My writing career has seen its share of highs and lows but through it all the Word of God is constant and unchanging!  It encourages me throughout my writing process and transforms my heart to not give up when I'm faced with those discouraging moments.

There are two passages of Scripture that I have displayed prominently as I write:

"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11

The first passage my husband and I chose as our life verse when we got married 39 years ago on June 2nd.  Over those many years, there have been so many numerous twists and turns on life's journey together they are too numerous to recount.  Whatever road we walked, whether in plenty or in want, joy or in sorrow, sickness and in health, we learned to lean on and trust in God.  Sometimes we tried to navigate on our own strength, and that's when we had to reclaim Proverbs 16:9 and submit to God again to chart our course, because His way was (is) always the best way!

That verse has also guided my writing through these many years.  I did not ever intend to be a published author, but God had a different plan!  With three books published, and numerous articles and stories published in anthologies and magazines, I still am humbled and amazed by where God has taken me with my writing.  All Glory goes to Him!

The second verse in 1 Peter, is actually a call to minister, and the responsibility that involves.  To those of us who have been called by God to write, we are ministers of our words.  It is a privilege but also an awesome responsibility to write so others may be kingdom-affected.  I purposely changed the verse to make it even more applicable to me as a writer. 

"“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks (writes), they should do so as one who speaks (writes) the very words of God. If anyone serves (writes), they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things (writings) God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.  Amen.” 

This keeps me very mindful that to write is a gift from God.  Writing should bring Him Glory, and I must write thoughtfully and carefully so that my words do not bring dishonour to Him.

Amen.

Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at lynndove.com 

June 16, 2018

The Writer’s Bread of Life by Nina Faye Morey




Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry,
and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
~ John 6:35 NIV



The Word of God nourishes and supports me so that I am able to remain faithful, focused, and fruitful on my writing journey. I look to God’s Word for:



Inspiration



My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
~ Psalm 45:1



Scripture is a great source of inspiration for my writing—both fiction and nonfiction. I often draw on Jesus’s parables for short story ideas, and I regularly employ His technique of using everyday experiences to illustrate my messages. The themes and plots Jesus employed in His parables could certainly form the heart of many insightful, present-day novels. For instance, the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32) provides the essential plot for a coming-of-age story. The Book of Revelation formed the foundation of possibly the best-selling Christian fiction of all time, the Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. The Saviour’s Second Coming, the Pretribulation Rapture, and the End Times all served as the backbone on which they built their plots. Many of the themes, ideas, and characters contained in the Bible provide wonderful sources of inspiration for powerful and profound stories.




Guidance



Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
~ Psalm 119:105



There are times in the middle of a piece when I’ve lost my sense of direction and feel uncertain about the path I’m taking. No matter how lost I feel, God’s Word always points me in the right direction. It shines a light before me, so I don’t stumble down a treacherous path and fall in the darkness. There are also times when Scripture counsels me on how to deal with those cynical critics who make disparaging comments about the references to Christian faith in my writing (1 Peter 3:15).




Reassurance



Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”
~ Matthew 19:26



Whenever I’m plagued by self-doubts, this verse bolsters my spirits. My attempts to write may be going nowhere and success might seem beyond my reach, but I know I can rely on God’s help to do what appears impossible. I may be an imperfect vessel, but His Light will shine through the cracks (2 Corinthians 4:7). Another Bible verse that helps me persevere when I encounter those inevitable potholes on my writing path is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”



Affirmation



Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm.
Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to
the work of the Lord, because you know that
your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
~ 1Corinthians 15:58



It is easy to get discouraged when I experience rejection after rejection. But if I wish to serve the Lord and truly believe in what I’m doing, it’s much easier to maintain my resolve. As a Christian writer, I believe that God has blessed me with this gift and called me to create (Ephesians 2:10). He plans for me to prosper, giving me both hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). While those who consider themselves worldly give me cold shoulder, I must remain firmly committed to my purpose (Proverbs 16:3). Since the Lord desires that I serve Him through my writing, I must put on His armour of light so that it may shine within me—and through me light the darkness of the world (Romans 13:12).




These are just a few of the Scriptures that sustain me as I pursue my writing path. What verses provide nourishment for your writing journey?





Photo Credits: Pixabay

June 15, 2018

My All Time Favourite Writing Verses - Tracy Krauss

Many of the verses shared so far are also ones that I have found inspiring, encouraging or motivational over my years of writing.

Karma Pratt shared Galatians 6: 4- 5 with me a few years ago and I keep it on my bulletin board because it reminds me to write what God wants me to write - not what someone else says I should - and to do it with all my heart, soul and strength. (Check Karma's post this month for more.) 
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (The Message)

I have long appreciated Habakkuk 2: 1 - 3 for its admonition to write what God gives, committing the result to Him, and Sandi Somers mentioned this in her first post this month.
I will stand on my guard post
            And station myself on the rampart;
            And I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me,
            And how I may reply when I am reproved.
  Then the LORD answered me and said,
            “Record the vision
            And inscribe it on tablets,
            That the one who reads it may run.
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
            It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.
            Though it tarries, wait for it;
            For it will certainly come, it will not delay. (NIV)

InScribe's key verse for the year of 2018 fits really well here, too: Isaiah 54:2 says, "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes." (NIV)
For me, this speaks about stepping out of my comfort zone when it comes to my writing. It also speaks to us as an organization - to expand our metaphorical territory, possessing the good inheritance God has given us as writers of Christian faith.

Our theme verse for this year's Fall Conference is also a wonderful encouragement to write for God's glory. Psalm 45:1 says, My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. (NIV) May we all be inspired this year to be 'skillful writers' as we present our 'verses' to the King of Kings!

Finally, I end with perhaps my all time personal favourite verses which I try to apply to my writing life, and often use as a prayer. They are actually two separate verses from Psalm 90 - (verse 12 and verse 17) which when taken together, motivate me to give the best of my time to what I believe God has called me to do and ask for God's blessing on my endeavours.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (v12)
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands. (NIV)


Tracy Krauss writes from her home in northern BC. For better or worse, she relentlessly writes what she believes God is calling her to write. Visit her website for more: tracykrauss.com  - fiction on the edge without crossing the line - 

June 14, 2018

My Scripture Verses for Writers - Ruth L. Snyder

This month we have been asked to share some verses that keep us fuelled for our writing journey. Most of these memes were created using the Wordswag app. A couple of the memes I created by hand.


Although writing is a calling, and often a gift, it takes work to become a skillful writer. I want to continue to fan my gift of writing into a flame that provides the warmth of encouragement, the light of truth, and even the heat of correction. I need to be sensitive to God's leading to know what He wants me to share with my readers.


Last year during our InScribe Fall Conference, Connie Inglis urged us to not only be aware of the spiritual element of writing, but to also start our writing times with prayer. This is an example of what I often pray.



Not all writing days go well. I will choose to give thanks when the words just don't flow. I will choose to give thanks when the needs of my family crowd out my writing time. I will choose to give thanks when my computer crashes.


As I write, I need to ask God for wisdom in discerning the truth. Sharing God's truth in a way that draws the reader in and makes them hungry for more is a challenge. 


I'm grateful that I don't need to live or write in my own strength. God wants me to rely on Him and is ready to help. Often my biggest struggle is giving up control and resting in my Heavenly Father.


It is natural to get discouraged when I don't see success in my writing journey. We all benefit when we help others by giving feedback, writing reviews, and celebrating book launches. When I focus on helping others, I often find that God blesses my writing as well.


Every day I need to make the choice to abide in Jesus. I need to talk with Him throughout the day. When His will becomes my will, I will want what He wants and it will be done.

How do these verses speak to you? Feel free to share in the comments.



Ruth L. Snyder squeezes writing in between caring for her husband and children, and teaching piano lessons. She is also enjoying sharing adventures with her first grandson.

June 13, 2018

Nourishing Scripture Verses - Wendy L. Macdonald




Which Scripture Verses Nourish You Best?

The question of which Scripture verses keep me nourished as I travel the writer's path stumped me at first because I’m nourished by a new one each morning. Now, before I explain how that happens, I need to warn you not to be impressed I’m one of those people who gets up early and reads her Bible every day.You see, I read the Word each morning while holding a hot mug of coffee (with the works) and while leaning against a hot water bottle (to keep my osteoarthritis quiet while I read to my heart’s content).

It’s not a good work’s thing—it’s a joy thing because I—capital LLove my alone time in the Word—with the Word.

Drinking deeply from the Scriptures is one of the ways God healed me of eating disorders many years ago. I used to live a pretty crazy life before I understood:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
 but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 
2 Timothy 1:7 KJV   

That was the first nourishing verse I made note of during my recovery journey. And since then, I’ve feasted on a hearty fare of His words for most of the last thirty-five years. I’ve also continued to journal and jot down any verses the Holy Spirit nudged me to pay attention to.

A couple of years ago, I decided to share my verse of the day on my Social Media sites. Every day from Monday to Saturday, I schedule a post on my author Facebook page. Each post has a nature picture I’ve taken, a Scripture of the day I’ve chosen, and a short poem I’ve written that ties the photograph and Bible verse together.



Even if I think a post won’t be popular, I still share it because my words are from-the-heart-honest. I share out of obedience rather than for the pursuit of more followers. I wouldn’t enjoy pretending; but I do enjoy sharing how God is tending to my heart.

Now I’d like to share what my nourishing verse of the day was at the time I wrote the first draft of this post:

You are my refuge and my shield;
 I have put my hope in your word.
 Psalm 119:114 NIV

And here’s the tanka poem I wrote to go with it:

raindrops on roses
my garden drinks morning rain
I savour God’s Word
as I read pages of hope
finding refuge in each line.
~ wlm 

I’m nosey-to-know if you enjoy a daily dose of God’s Word.

Word Blessings ~ Wendy Mac 

Wendy L. Macdonald is an inspirational blogger and podcaster who loves to photograph nature on Vancouver Island. Her byline is: “My faith is not shallow because I’ve been rescued from the deep.” Her main website is wendylmacdonald.com where she enjoys interacting with readers.

    
 

June 11, 2018

Nourishment for My Writing Life- Carol Harrison

I recently took a train journey with my husband. The travel plans included thoughts about what we would do to nourish our bodies. Since we traveled in the economy class, we needed to pay for all our meals or bring along items that could be eaten cold or things like instant soup and oatmeal that simply required hot water. It took thought and planning in order to travel as economically as possible but still be able to enjoy the journey.

We chose to treat ourselves to a few hot meals prepared by the train's excellent chef but most of our nourishment came from snacks and instant options.

I thought about my life in general and my writing life more specifically. How many times as I travel my journey do I settle for a quick bite rather than the full meal deal where I sit quietly with the Lord? No matter whether a few moments, a remembered verse or a longer time of reading God's Word, I am grateful for the promises of God. I love the fact that He is always there and never changes.

At times writing feels isolated. The negative thoughts of self-doubt and the lies of the enemy haunt me. At other times life is full of challenges that change the direction I need to take and the why of circumstances beyond my control fills my mind.

I cling to verses like Isaiah 41:9b & 10 (NIV)

"You are my servant; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

and Isaiah 43:1-3a (NIV)
"But now, this is what the Lord says - he who created you O Jacob, he who formed you O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour."

No matter where my life journey or my writing travels take me; no matter what the negative voice inside whispers to me; I know that God has a plan and a purpose. He has given the promises in His Word, not just to the children of Israel but to all of us as well. They nourish my soul and come to mind even when all I have time to do is nibble on the Word of God.



As a speaker, published author and storyteller, Carol Harrison is passionate about mentoring people of all ages and abilities to help them find their voice and reach their fullest potential. She shares from her heart, telling stories from real life experiences and God’s Word to encourage people and help them find a glimmer of hope no matter what the circumstances. She believes we need to continuously grow in our walk with God and lives out her storytelling passion by speaking at women’s events and retreats, Bible Camps as well as school assemblies and church events. Carol is a wife, mother of four adult children and grandmother to twelve. She makes her home is Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

June 10, 2018

Writing to Mend Broken Vessels by Sharon Espeseth


Free photo with Scripture Verse
I am an earthen vessel. I didn't notice the cracks when they were smaller. . . Right now, the clay pot that is my life feels broken.

Normally, I write about how I am feeling. I write about the joys and sorrows of the day. My writing helps to keep me healthy--mentally, physically and spiritually. I write to mend my soul and spirit. This time I felt so poorly I couldn't write.

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7

My writing fingers are becoming untied. The healing process begins, but this time I suspect the journey may be longer. Different symptoms. Other illness(es) so far undiagnosed? I do not know.

Below is some of the writing that got me writing again. I am humbled to publish this, polished or not. The asterisks indicate where parts have been omitted to spare you the reading.


"Hello, Darkness!
my old nemesis.
I should have heard you whisper
in my good, but aching ear:
"I am darkness your old friend,
I've come to bother you again.'

"Humph! I thought you were ignoring me
with your thankful-to-God ways."

"How could I ignore the migraine,
or the pain of skin, scalp and muscles
on the left side crying in pain
from the slightest touch?"


                      * * *


"Six weeks I've been ill.
One day I was well, functioning,
Carrying on with normal tasks.
Then, as if attacked from behind,
I had headache, earache, fatigue,
nausea, dizziness, vomiting."

"I did get your attention!
I am Darkness, your old friend.
I've come to talk with you again."

"You are not my friend!
You, Darkness, are making me sick.
I don't want to talk with you!"

"May I remind you.
Nothing happened "out of the blue."

I've been following you for years.
Downsizing. Selling the home you loved.
Packing moving--not once,
But three times in three years!"

"Landlord #1 wanted too much lordship.
All we wanted was our own space
where we could carve out a comfortable home
for our family and friends.
Instead this became a discomfort zone
Where my husband would become ill.

                     * * *
"Don't you remember?
Life wasn't the same after that.
Yes, you moved again,
But life would never go back to the way it was.
Did you take time to grieve the loss of life
As you had known it?"

                      * * *

"Place #2 and then Place #3 appeared.
We saw an ad in the local paper.


"Would it hurt to look? We actually liked it
It has character. A small raised garden.
Room for the kids and grand ones to stay over.
Our adult kids helped us move. Again.
Pack. Move. Unpack. Settle in. Repeat."


"You sound defensive, my dear.
What about your almost-twin sister, Joan?
Her years of Alzheimer's--you suffered with her.
She moved to a residence.
She was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer.
You suffered with her."

                         * * *

"So joyful was I for her that I didn't acknowledge
how much I would miss her. Three years later,
when depression strikes again, I realize her loss
all the more.
Until we meet again, Joan."


My story may help others realize they are not alone in their suffering, be it depression, loss of one kind or another, or pain, but that is not my job. God can work through my physical or mental weakness, my weakness of faith, my sorrow when I share my story and leave it in His hands. If God can use my story for mending one other person, the glory is His. I may never know. Nor do I need to know.

"But God choses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NIV

For some time, I have appreciated the hymn Earthen Vessels by John Foley, 1975.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAZhIw49ULc

Free photo with Scripture verse

This is a good place for me to conclude my story about "writing as mending." I had original planned to write this for May 10th, but I was not ready to write anything at that time. I pray that God will continue to shine His light on my darkness and on any darkness you may have as well, my readers.






June 08, 2018

Doing Your Creative Best by Karma Pratt


Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message) 


I cut these verses out of a pamphlet for a weekend retreat over four years ago and have carried them with me ever since. The Message translation really stood out to me and these verses have guided me as I've traveled the writer's path. 



As Christian writers, we are on call to write the words God gives us in whatever form they may take. This is why it's so important to "make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given..." It takes time to dig deep into the calling on your life. It takes time and dedication. You must commit your life to God, asking Him for clarity, wisdom and discernment. If you are called to create as a writer, God will guide your steps. You, in turn, have to continue taking the next right step as you go. 

The next right step, according to Galatians 6:4 is to "sink yourself into that" (aka the work you've been given). Walking out our faith as writers can take the form of pen to paper, stylus to tablet, or keyboard to screen. No matter what tool you choose, know that you honour God every time you practice your craft. 

The next two sentences just wreck me every time I think of them. 

"Don't be impressed with yourself." In other words, stay humble. There's no need to get big-headed. It's God working in you, not the other way around. Your value as a writer is not determined by numbers of books sold, or amount of engagement on your platform. It's not about you and that's okay. That's exactly as it should be. 

Along that vein, it's not about anyone else either. We are told to not compare ourselves with others. The comparison trap can create doubts in our hearts and minds. We can succumb to the lie that we don't measure up, or that we somehow don't have anything worth contributing. Here's the truth: God gave you a gift and lit a spark inside of you that only you can fan into flame. Your unique experiences have helped shape your writing. It's not necessary to worry about what others may or may not be writing about. Your words are exactly what God wants you to dedicate yourself to.

"Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

We are called to partner with God in this life, to walk with Him on our journey. The Holy Spirit moves in and through us to guide our creative endeavors. It's up to us to give our best everyday. When we pour out the gifts we've been given, we honour God, and allow Him to multiply our efforts.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV)

***

Karma writes from the golden house in Northeastern BC. You can connect with her online at redraincoatcreations.com

June 07, 2018

When a Believer Hides from God by Kimberly Dawn Rempel

Sometimes I don't want to talk to God. Mostly, it's when I suddenly glimpse all the junk that still lurks in me after all this walking with Him. "You mean I'm not holy yet?!"  


Once in a while, I get real tired of missing the mark all the time, you know? How can I work so hard to please my Father and still be in a completely desperate state of needing Him. Will I ever get it right? Can I do NOTHING?!  Scripture says we can do nothing apart from Him, so why on earth do I ever expect to? Pride I guess. Wanting to be good on my own, without His help.
... sounds alot like a two year old. "No! I DO IT!!!"

But, it happens. I get discouraged. I hide myself in movies, shopping, overeating... anything to keep from thinking about how short I fall.

And He lets me, loving Father that He is. He lets me walk away, taking His blessings with me. Even if I end up going quite insane and find myself inexplicably chin deep in a pig pen, He lets me. 

But, when I've had enough of the guilt and hopelessness, he also lets me come back. Finally I become ready to show my ugly self to Him (the ugliness was only ever a surprise to me), and allow Him to fix me. 

I still don't really feel like reading or praying. I'm not happy or relieved. I'm desperate and dirty and so very dependant on Him to help me. So I tell Him my feelings, and show Him my dirt. 

And do you know how He responds? 

"My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline,
and don't give up when he corrects you. 
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child." (Hebrews 12:5,6)

I love that. He knows how much we want to give up when He corrects us. It feels near hopeless when He shows me how wrong I am - how I'm missing the mark. I want to hear 'well done', not 'okay, here's your sin...' But He loves me enough to do it. 

And He continues to reassure me:

"No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening - it's painful! 
But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living 
for those who are trained in this way." (Hebrews 12:11)

He gets it. He knows this is hard for us, and He's right there with empathy, reassurance and even a promise, setting joy before us so we can endure the now. 

But it's not just for us. There's an assignment to accomplish for the benefit of others:

"So take a new grip with your tired hands 
and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a 
straight path for your feet so that those who 
are weak and lame will not fall but become strong." 
(Hebrews 12:12,13)

And we can please God and serve Him by the power of Jesus Christ. This book closes with a blessing the author prays over the church. I hope it strengthens and encourages you too. 

"Now may the God of peace - 
who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, 
the great Shepherd of the sheep, 
and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood - 
may he equip you with all you need
for doing his will. 
May he produce in you
through the power of Jesus Christ, 
every good thing that is pleasing to him. 
All glory to him forever and ever! Amen."
(Hebrews 12:20,21)

*This post was originally published at From The Heart Online




Kimberly Dawn Rempel helps authors and entrepreneurs build their business and their faith through 1:1 coaching, editing, and book marketing.  Click here to 
Download her free guide, 14 Ways to Leverage Your Book  or join her Facebook Group, Marketing-Savvy Authorpreneurs HERE.

June 04, 2018

Writing and the Daniel Prayer by Susan Barclay

I recently finished reading The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz and as I was thinking about this month's Inscribe prompt - "which scripture verses keep you nourished as you travel the writers' path?" - it occurred to me that the points Lotz raises in her book apply to my writing life. As a Christian writer I need to be:

1. Centred on God 
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Whether I am writing for the Christian or secular market, I can't do anything without Christ. As I sit to write, I need nourishment from the Vine if I'm to bear fruit. This means reading His Word, understanding who He is and who I am in relation to Him. It means letting Him lead, no matter who my intended audience is or what my work is about.

2. Compelled by God
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9 

As a writer, I have ideas and plans for my writing. As a Christian, I need to ask what God wants so that His will is the driving force behind all that I do. I need to submit to Him as His plans for me, and for my writing, are always greater and better than my own. It's not necessarily easy to think like this; as a creative, imaginative person, I can get carried far down the road of a story before it occurs to me to ask God about it or invite Him to be part of it. I can get carried away in my mind before I've captured a single word on paper or on the computer. But "unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain" (Psalm 127:1).

3. Confident in God
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33
Provision
I'd venture to say that most of the readers of this blog aren't making a living wage from their writing. (If I'm wrong, please tell me how you're doing it!) They write because they can't imagine doing anything else - writing is a gift, something that comes as naturally as breathing. As a Christian writer, I'm encouraged to seek God first and to trust Him to provide for all of my needs. Yes, I may be required to have a "day job," but ultimately if I believe that God is a good, good Father, and I am doing my part (writing, polishing, finding an agent if I need one, submitting to publishers, etc.), I can trust Him to do His part, "adding all these things" to my account.

4. Contrite before God
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:4
Proverbs 3:34 says that God shows favour to the humble. I can't manipulate God by feigning humility, since He knows my heart, but when I come to Him in genuine repentance over the things that ail me, and pray the prayer in Psalm 19:4, I know that He delights to answer. When my heart is clean and my spirit is right, He will give me the right words and meditations with which to enrich my writing.



5. Clear
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is wise reprover to a listening ear. Proverbs 25:11-12
Not quite apples, but you know what I mean
I'm not communicating with my readers if they can't understand what I'm saying. Clarity is key. Part of this is knowing my audience. 

  • Academics and professionals use certain language and buzzwords. Am I using their jargon and speaking at their level? 
  • Children are still learning vocabulary but I shouldn't talk down to them. Am I primarily using words they'll understand while introducing new words they can grasp through context? 
  • Teens have a much bigger vocabulary than most children as well as slang that is all their own. Am I familiar with current expressions or do I know some teens I can ask? Can I write with a teen's voice and perspective? 
  • They say that for a general adult audience you should write at a grade eight reading level. This is because most adults whose first language is English should be able to read at this level, whether they graduated high school or not. 
Lotz's book on the Daniel prayer has unintentionally encouraged me as a writer, reminding me to be centred, compelled, confident, contrite, and clear. The scriptures I've indicated remind me of these things as well. I hope these ideas inspire you too.
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Susan Barclay maintains a website and currently blogs infrequently at www.susan-barclay.blogspot.com