January 29, 2020

Winter Contest 2020!

2020 INSCRIBE WINTER CONTEST

Members Only ● Works Published in 2019

Deadline: Midnight March 1st, 2020

The InScribe Winter Contest is now open for submissions by InScribe members who had writing published in 2019.

Professional writers/judges will follow the rubrics posted on the InScribe website to mark and provide commentary on each piece. (If fewer than 4 submissions are received in a category, the category will be closed and fees will be returned). One prize of $100 will be awarded to the winning submission in each category. Prizes will be awarded by April 30, 2020, or sooner. Please check the publicly posted rubrics for your Winter Contest submissions.

Criteria:

·      Members in good standing (membership must be paid up)
·      All entries must have been published between January 1 and December 31 of 2019
·      Publication sources include magazines, anthologies, newspapers, online publications, etc.
·      Not accepted: online pieces that you self-published on your own online site. They must be published on a 3rd party site. 
·      Deadline March 1st, midnight, 2020.
·      Fee: $30 per entry by cheque (includes commentary by a professional writer/judge).
·      Email two copies of each piece to contests@inscribe.org by midnight March 1st, 2020
·      1) The first copy should be a scan of your published piece (or a link). It must clearly show your name as author, the date of publication, and name of publication (magazine etc.)
2). The second copy will be exactly the same piece but without your name, and without any photos, advertising, name of the publication source or any other distraction. Please block these out of the scanned piece. If that is not possible, then please re-type it into a Word or PDF Document. Do not put your name on it. This copy will be sent on to the judge. The goal is to make all pieces consistent in appearance, without advertising or pictures, and without the author’s name, to eliminate bias and distractions for the judges.  
·      Simultaneous submissions are acceptable
·      Multiple submissions welcomed—fees must accompany each entry
·      Mail entry fee cheque to InScribe, PO Box 68025, Edmonton ABT6C 4N6
·      Make cheques out to full name of InScribe Christian Writers’Fellowship
·      Subject field of your email: InScribe Winter Contest
·      Body of your email – two copies of your published piece, your name and all your contact info, and confirmation that your cheque will be mailed by March 1st at the latest.

Categories:

·      Non-fiction
·      Poetry – free verse or rhymed
·      Fiction – Short Story or Drama Script
·      Devotional

Watch for more information and details to come on our website http://inscribe.org/contests/
Questions? Please direct them to contests@inscribe.org



January 28, 2020

Diligence: My 2020 Vision - Bruce Atchison

I'm not usually one who chooses mottos or listens for a word for each year but 2020 is different. I feel that "diligence" should be my watchword. The Bible certainly has plenty to say about the subject.

The Proverbs of Solomon are a rich source for gleaning wisdom. Proverbs 10:4 (BBE) reminds us, "He who is slow in his work becomes poor, but the hand of the ready worker gets in wealth."

I need to remind myself of that whenever I feel like checking my e-mail or watching YouTube videos. Practically none of that activity results in inspiring blog post ideas. It doesn't help me write my next book either.

Neither do I want to be under the economic thumb of any one but I'd rather earn money for the work I love doing. As Proverbs 12:24 (BBE) advises, "The hand of the ready worker will have authority, but he who is slow in his work will be put to forced work."

Likewise, I don't want opportunities to go to waste. Using a hunting metaphor, Solomon advises in Proverbs 12:27 (BBE) that, "He who is slow in his work does not go in search of food; but the ready worker gets much wealth."

I especially must master my wandering mind. It usually veers into the proverbial weeds instead of keeping focused on the path of creativity. Proverbs 21:5 (BBE) is a good reminder of this. "The purposes of the man of industry have their outcome only in wealth; but one who is over-quick in acting will only come to be in need."

Of course some apparent sloth is due to illness. I suffer from sleep apnea and using the CPAP machine gave me the horrors. Consequently, I feel groggy for the first part of my day and I sleep longer at night.

What I've decided to do is to use the groggy times for goofing off and the alert times for productivity. Much of what I do during the early part of my day is unimportant so it doesn't matter if I waste time then.

And since I can gain knowledge at any hour of the day or night through the Internet, I'll use those times of alertness for research. As Proverbs 18:15 (BBE) says, "The heart of the man of good sense gets knowledge; the ear of the wise is searching for knowledge."

I thank the Lord that he gave me the gift of writing and the even better gift of solitude. Both will certainly help me be creative but only if I use the opportunity of wakefulness to the maximum possible effect.

January 27, 2020

Trying on Words by Lorilee Guenter


In response to the question what verse or word have you chosen for 2020, I started trying on words. In the past I have chosen focus words. Two of them still grace my wall as a reminder to continue on. When I tried on words for 2020 none of the words fit well. Just like when nothing fits well during a clothes shopping trip, I chose to walk away instead of forcing an uncomfortable choice that I would leave unused.

I left the word store empty handed, knowing I would not leave God's word empty minded. I have never chosen a focus verse for a year. There are too many and God teaches me through them all as I need. I had no plans or desire to choose just one verse. But then as I went about my days, a verse I memorized years ago began to inhabit my thoughts. "For I have not given you a spirit of fear but of..." Accompanied by this verse I tried on a new word: courage. There are many ways this word can and will be an encouragement and motivation for me this year. Among other things it builds on my most recent previous word: faith; since faith drives out fear. The NIV uses timidity in place of fear in this verse. Boldness fits just as well as courage when I try it on.

I continued to meditate on this verse before settling on my word for 2020. Since context is important I added the whole of 2 Timothy to my reading and meditation, though not memorization. Between my digging into this short letter to Timothy and the ladies Bible study I am part of, the second half of the verse came into focus "...but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control." Some versions, including the NIV, use self-discipline instead of self-control. These two descriptors can seem impossible when changing long standing habits. Yet I find promise in this verse. I have been given God's power through the Holy Spirit because of His love, therefore self-discipline and habit change are no longer impossible. I know this to be true since I have seen it played out repeatedly through the years.

Bruce and I pray regularly not only for eyes to see the opportunities God has prepared in advance for us and ears to hear His voice, but also courage to act. We know this is a prayer God will answer if we are sincere. Now I am adding to it that I will have the boldness that comes through His Spirit to use the gifts He has given me to encourage and build up those around me. I also pray this for those around me because power guided by love will accomplish amazing things for God's glory.

To start 2020 my verse is 2 Timothy 1:7 "For I have not given you a spirit of fear (timidity), but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control (self-discipline)."


January 26, 2020

A Word is a Word - Marnie Pohlmann


“You know you are a testimony, don’t you?”

Inwardly, I shrunk away from the thought.  This wasn’t the first time someone had said that to me, and it wasn’t the first-time regret, disappointment, and even shame were my responses.
Yes, I was a testimony - a bad testimony.

Over the last few years circumstances have pulled me into a deep vortex of darkness. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually; every piece of me has been shaken and overwhelmed. I relate well to Job in the Bible, who had one catastrophe after another spin his life out of control. And while Job did angrily tell God it would have been better if he had never been born, he still, in the pile of mourning ashes, agreed that God is God, even when Job didn’t understand His ways.

In our Christian walk, there will come a time when we must realize God is not only loving but also just. God divides right from wrong. God decides good and bad. While God wants to and does give His people good things, He does so even in what we would consider “bad” ways. God is not mean, He is holy. God is not a “genie in a bottle” who gives us what we want, He is our Father who provides all we need as well as the desires that He plants in our hearts.

And like a rebellious child, we sometimes don’t like the life God leads us in.

A popular worship song speaks of the way we as Christians are encouraged to respond to God throughout our life.
“You give and take away.
You give and take away.
And still, my heart will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
                                                         (Blessed Be Your Name - Tree63)

Even in difficult times, we worship a God who redeems our struggles. He makes dry bones dance. He waters the desert places. He surrounds us when flames of disappointment burn our soul.

And this is where my testimony fails.

I want to be that faithful Christian who always praises God. And in public, with my hair combed, makeup covering sleep-deprived eyes, and a smile pasted on my face, perhaps it appears I am just that. One doctor commented, “You look very put together for someone who is so depressed.”

It’s not that I am trying to be something I am not or that I put on a mask. God knows who I am when I am with others or alone. And while I may look “put together” in my faith on the outside, I am still truthful about my struggles. Anyone who asks will know what is really going on with me.

I don’t believe I have lost faith in God. I still believe.  Yet I have a difficult time being thankful for the path I continue to stumble along. I do not always feel joy, even knowing there is an eternity beyond the dark moments of despair.

Yet, even though I can be honest and admit I did not actively live my faith during these years, I can also see how God redeems my failure.

I can say I believe but I struggle in my belief.
I can say I believe, and I struggle in my belief.

Do you see the difference?

but… or and

Both are conjunctive, joining two parts of a sentence. The two parts of the sentence say the same thing, so that little word in the middle is what makes the difference in how I say this.

A word is a word is a word. Right? Or is it?

As much as it may be important to choose a word or phrase that will focus your determination towards your actions each day of the year, it is also important to lay aside any word or phrase that holds you back from moving forward.

While on long-term disability from work, I was assigned a counselor who was to help find practical ways I could handle anxiety in my life so I could return to work. She spoke about rephrasing, which my education in communication and counseling had already covered. Catch your thought, recognize the lie, and change that thought to the truth. There is great power in rephrasing. Scripture teaches it as “renewing the mind.” What this counselor shared about rephrasing, though, was a small difference that can have a great impact on me.

But - a word that often begins an excuse, a reason why something will not work or cannot work. But is often used as a word of defeat. “I can go for a walk, but it is cold outside.” But negates the walk because it is cold.

And - this word offers a choice. There are two sides, equal in truth or importance. “I can go for a walk and it is cold outside.” Two truths to consider. One does not negate the other. I can go for a walk and because it is cold outside - I will dress for it. Or I can go for a walk and it is cold outside - so I will use the treadmill.

Struggling in my Christian walk - or in life - is not the failure it feels like. The truth is my struggle is included as part of my testimony. The past few years have been difficult, and I have lost many of my healthy habits, both physically and spiritually. Basic things like breathing, eating, sleeping, journaling, and even reading Scripture have become areas that need to be relearned. I’m glad I was encouraged to memorize Scripture as a child, so God’s word is never far away.

So, I think my word for 2020 needs to be and. I am not in control of all areas of my life, and God is in control of all areas of my life. I still struggle and I have choices.

A word is a word and one small word, whether thought, spoken, or written, can make a difference.

January 25, 2020

Lessons From The Dental Chair by Sharon Heagy

Happy New Year?  Then what was I doing at the dentist office on January second?  While I am thankful for these folks who dare to gaze into our facial caverns, I must say…. they make me nervous.  In the past, nerves caused my feet to unwillingly suspend off the end of the dentist’s chair. This has not happened in awhile due to the trust built between me and my Doctor.  But now I have a new guy.  After 40 years with the same person prodding and poking around, I now have a new guy. Ugh. And not only is there a new guy, there is a new chair which can only be accessed from one side.  The side closest to the dentist. Not closest to the escape hatch, I mean door. I sidled over to the ominous chair. My cold clammy palm led the way as if it could protect or warn the rest of my body for what was to come. Ready for cold, stiff plastic it slid across smooth black fabric in surprise.  The leather was soft and inviting and the rest of my body followed, enticed by the promise of comfort.  Perhaps it was a trap. My pounding heart rate was diminishing. I was getting comfortable.

The dentist and assistant chatted a bit in ‘Dentaleze’ then turned their attention to me. Commands came thick and fast.  ‘Open, close, turn towards me, more, wider’. I responded to each command promptly like a dental recruit. Obedient to the voice of this stranger. A stranger.

 My obedience is not so quick when I hear the voice of my Father who loves me and knows every hair on my head.  If my curly mop was God’s paint by number, there would be a shade for each strand. But I find myself like Paul, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15NIV) I hesitate and form excuses and think ‘Don’t you trust Him? If you really trusted him your obedience would be instant. Like God’s good recruit.

Obedience is a learned concept and I am a work in progress. God is teaching and encouraging me to be intentional, to respond to his voice immediately with words like Samuel’s, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:10b) To what end?  To be a better daughter of the King? For my own well being? Because He said so?  The short answer is a resounding yes.  But if I desire to be an instrument, tuned to the Lord to accomplish His purposes, to instill hope in others through my words, spoken or written, obedience is critical.

In this crumbling fallen world there is a sense of hopelessness. Many people echo the words of Lamentations 3:19-20. They remember their affliction, lack of direction and bitterness. Their souls are downcast in despair. They stop and stew and dwell, wallowing in the pit. As authors of anecdotes and craftsmen of words, may we join other keepers of the Light, and lead folks onward to Lamentations 3:21-23, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  I am called to be obedient.

Obedience and hope are inseparable. Two words that will not only be my focus but will also be my prayer for every faith filled artist in every medium. May each one’s work abound in hopefulness for a Happy New Year indeed.