November 30, 2019

A Channel for the Word - guest post by Valerie Ronald

Words are my passion, my vehicle for expression, my pathway to knowledge. Words energize and inspire me. But there is only one person who is the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  (John 1:1 & 14 NIV)

The Greek word logos, translated word, has many shades of meaning, from something spoken, to reasoning, to intent concerning communication. The Word, as the apostle John employed it, translates as divine expression. God the Father spoke forth the divine expression of Himself in the person of His Son Jesus, God in human flesh.

Through the Holy Spirit, God inspired writers to record His sacred story in the scriptures. The Lord told Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered….” (Exodus 17:14) He instructed Isaiah, “Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.”  (Isaiah 30:8) When John received God’s revelation, he was told, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

Writing is a permanent record, a remembrance of thoughts, history and stories accessible long after the author is gone. God chose the written word as His means of expression because He knew what mode of communication would have the most impact on us. As Christian writers we’ve been given a calling to express God’s truths in whatever genre we show aptitude. The indwelling Word moves us to write what will reach those who need to hear of Him. Our role is to be available, to couch our craft in prayer, seeking guidance and inspiration. We are to hone our writing skills and educate ourselves in our literary field. Writing requires solitude, introspection, time, and foremost, a close relationship with the author and finisher of our faith. (Heb. 12:2) When a writer has an active spiritual life, the pen becomes a channel through which the ink of God’s purposes and promises can flow.

I enjoy the mystery of how God guides my writing. Upon completion of one writing project, I immediately begin to pray about the next one. I never know how God will indicate what He wants me to write next. Keeping my writer’s radar tuned in, a scripture verse may impact me, or an aspect of nature, or a snippet of conversation. An idea begins to percolate in the creative part of my brain, gradually bubbling up into a full-blown premise for a new piece. Most of the work has already been done internally before it reaches paper. I am always energized as I write, knowing the living Word is inspiring my words.

Author Madeleine L’Engle writes, “When the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand.” 1

The Word, that Divine Expression, Jesus Christ, has been spoken into the world. Everyone is able to hear the Word, but not everyone receives its truth. As writers who are Christians, we have been gifted with a sacred task. It is not to write, but to listen. Listen for the stirrings of God in all the world around us, then let that sound become a symphony of words declaring His glory.

1  Madeleine L'Engle, "Walking on Water", Harold Shaw Publsihers 1980, p. 22

Valerie Ronald is a lifetime writer living in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. She is a member of the Manitoba Christian Writers Association and blogs at

November 29, 2019

Ready, Write, Submit!

There are so many opportunities to share your writing. It's one of the many benefits of being an InScribe member!

Contests: We host two contests per year - our Fall contest which is for new writing in a variety of categories and our Winter contest (coming soon!) for published pieces.

FellowScript: Yes, FellowScript takes submissions! Why not submit an article or poem? Check out the themes for coming issues and the submission guidelines.

This blog: Would you like to become a regular contributor to this blog? We can make that happen! We are also looking for guest posts, and book reviews. Contact Tracy for more details.

Professional Blog: We host a blog on our website that deals with a variety of writing topics. Stephnaie Nickel is our moderator, so why not check it out?

Writing Challenges: Our Writing challenge guru, Glynis Belec, posts a topic (usually monthly) on the listserv and members can write a short piece which is shared among the group. Winners get 'accolades', but sometimes even prizes or publication! How cool is that? 

Note: Most of these links require that you 'LOG IN' to our website. Not sure how to do that? Contact our webmaster, Marnie Pohlmann. 

November 28, 2019

When Your First Drafts Are Better than Your Old Published Articles - Bruce Atchison

I cringe when I think of my class essays and other writing attempts from childhood. English was never my best subject. My test papers came back filled with red Xs and no explanations. What a help a tutor would have been if I had one.

Decades later, I still was a poor speller and my letters were filled with the sort of sentences which drive English teachers mad. But Thanks to WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS and its spell checker, I began learning why my spelling tests looked like somebody's whipped back.

And being almost blind, I either had books and magazines sent to me in audio form. Therefore my punctuation had many errors. Semicolons were the hardest for me to fathom. Therefore, I avoided them as well as colons in my writing.

So what saved my writing? Thanks to my book editors and punctuation teachers, I know how to properly punctuate and I now know where to put paragraph breaks. I'm not perfect yet but at least my first drafts are better than my finished articles and essays.

I also learned that it's hard to write a short article or letter. I have to laugh at Hebrews 13:22 (Bible in Basic English) which reads, "But, brothers, take kindly the words which I have said for your profit; for I have not sent you a long letter." Imagine if the writer had sent a long letter.

And thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have many encouraging letters from Christ's apostles. Even letters of rebuke helped straighten out problems, bringing eventual joy to the churches. As 2 Corinthians 7:8 (BBE) explains, "For though my letter gave you pain, I have no regret for it now, though I had before; for I see that the letter gave you pain, but only for a time."

How wonderful it is then that God works through us to spread encouragement as well as righteous chastisement. Like James 3:2 (BBE) says of teachers, "For we all go wrong in a number of things. If a man never makes a slip in his talk, then he is a complete man and able to keep all his body in control."

November 26, 2019

My Tattered Map - Marnie Pohlmann

I gaze at the map as it once again lays open on the table. It is well used, crinkled, and faded. Spills have stained it, hiding parts of the contoured landscape. Some of the folds have torn from being manipulated too many times while studying the way to go, and by constantly trying to restore it to its original state. Highlights and ink spin a web of trails across the country, circling some of the special places I have enjoyed.

I consider a starting point and my finger traces along the road to see how far I have been. Like a maze, though, I follow the path only to remember how I had turned back to find another way. I recall those trips. Sometimes I had become lost. Other times, a rabbit trail took me off the planned route.

Backing away from the table, I look at the map from further away. Overall, it seems I have not traveled to many destinations I had meant to visit. Some of my friends have shared wonderful stories of their adventures to those places; places for book releases, successful sales, or awards.

On the table beside the map is my Bible. Pen and highlights mark the pages. Corners are folded and some pages are glued together from sticky fingerprints. It is well used. Flipping through the thin sheets, I can trace the journey of my life through this map, too.

With a sigh I take a closer look at the journey of my life. Am I disappointed? A little. The map shows trails I had not been meant to travel. There were times I walked shortcuts through dangerous terrain, daring the darkness to overtake me. And there were times I followed the direction of people I should not have listened to. Yet although I have not traveled to where I had wanted, or to where I thought I wanted, I have discovered some exciting and special places I will never forget. And I have had wonderful companions on many of my adventures.

My eyes shift between my marked map and my marked Bible. I overlay some of the onion paper with highlighted Scripture onto my worn map and see how God has spoken to me throughout my journey. God’s Word has provided teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training. On the rabbit trails, He gently showed me His truth that redirected my path. In the dark times, He provided protection and comfort, encouraging me to make better choices in how and where I traveled. When I was lost, God’s light shone on the path He desired me to follow.

Both my map and my Bible look tattered but are filled with who I am, and who I desire to be.

I close my Bible and gather the map, once more folding it along the ever-thinning creases. The result is an uneven bulk of paper. It does not look like it was meant to any more than my journey looks like I meant it to look, but it is still what it is. The map reflects my past and reveals the place where I presently find myself.

I tuck the map into my Bible, ready to continue my travels, wherever the journey may take me. I try now to depend more on God’s map than my own, so I am sure to discover delightful company and destinations, all of which will provide new marks on the map - my map, that tells my story. This is the story I write about and share.
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
(Psalm 119:105 NASB)

Read about Marnie's journey on her blog, Phosphorescent.

November 24, 2019

New Trails - Shirley S. Tye

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

When I set out into the world of writing, I had no idea where it would lead.  Oh, I had dreams; grandiose dreams; my name world renown. Ha!  Although much of my writing is published, I’m far from being known even in my hometown. What did I set out to write and why?  Who knows?  Who cares? Ah, but the Lord knows and cares!  Oh, He certainly does!  He took hold of my pen and guided my hand.  And off I went down new trails, gladly trotting along with Jesus. 

My writing journey has been exciting and wonderful.  I’ve met published writers, journalists, broadcasters, and actors.  While working as a freelance writer for a magazine, I interviewed business people, artists, and politicians. My story ministry was in demand.  Various groups wanted to hear my stories that illustrated life lessons; some stories were humorous.  Although my story ministry is no longer active, I am still asked by groups to speak and tell my stories.

The Lord gave me the love of words.  And He put that interest to good use; to encourage others.  As I have encouraged others, they have encouraged me.  What a gift God gave me!  He knew what I needed. Interesting how His gift circulates; from me to others and back again.   

On my writing journey I have learned and experienced much.  But more importantly, my faith has deepened.  Whenever I thought I couldn’t do something or felt afraid, God strengthened and calmed me so that I could complete the task.  This past summer, at a ladies’ retreat we were asked to tell a story or joke or do a skit or sing a song for the Saturday evening fun time. Many gladly participated; singing, reading poetry or short jokes, etcetera.  I decided to play my guitar as I read a poem at the end of which I sang a chorus from a song that suited the poem.  Both the chorus and the poem fit the retreat’s theme.  I thought it was a great idea until that Saturday evening.  I wondered what on earth possessed me to think I could sing.  I hadn’t sung or played my guitar for a group in nine years.  I was terrified!  But God said; “Just play for Me as you do at home.” And so, I did.  Before I began, I whispered; “This is for you, Lord.” I was surprised at how many came to tell me how much they enjoyed the poem, singing, and guitar music.  In fact, I was invited to play it again at one of the evening services at the camp so that others could hear it.  And again, I was surprised by the many compliments and encouraging words to keep playing; “we want to hear more”.  

It is true that if God calls us to do something, He’ll provide all we need to complete the task.  I’ve enjoyed this journey and no doubt there are still many wonderful things to experience.  There are more new trails to explore and I’ve got the best guide; my Saviour, my Lord Jesus!

November 22, 2019

Through These Words by Alan Anderson


“You shall remember all the way which Yahweh your God has led you” (Deuteronomy 8:2)

My writing has always been a companion for my soul. This is most prevalent in my times of sorrow or loneliness and life-changing upheavals. Writing also witnesses my periods of joy and excitement as life moves on. The words I write help me express what my heart longs to say.

My childhood enveloped me in a cloak of shyness. This took years for me to come out of my shell. Even then I shunned being noticed by other people. I lived my youth like an unheard of book hidden away in a musty corner of a library. 

Now as an almost old guy it seems years have gone by in the speed of light. I look back on decades of trying to find myself, and where I fit into God’s plan. Even today I can blush at mistakes I made in my faith. If it is possible I’m sure I must have been an embarrassment to God.

In the past three years I know of God’s leading and care. He has brought my wife and I to a stage in life we can rest in. No, we don’t have money to burn. We have our children and grandchildren close by. We belong to a caring church family we love to be part of. Besides such blessings, I am in a deeper love with my writing.

This month brought a new chapter in the life of my writing. I am in love with poetry, a beautiful form of storytelling. A serious consideration to write poetry is new to me. From a distance I have always admired poets. Poetry, done well, can have a powerful emotional impact on readers.

In the first week of November I listened to a poet on the internet radio channel, Ancient Faith Radio. Angela Doll Carlson, hosts her program, The Wilderness Journal. Her way of reading poetry drew me in right away. Nothing else in the moment mattered as I listened to the beauty of her poem. She read like she loved every word. Through, Angela Doll Carlson, poetry embraced me. I sensed God’s call for me to enter this beautiful form of writing.

I am unsure where poetry will take me. For now I’m exploring its territory. From my point of view, a storyteller who is a Christian, I pray my poems will give peace to readers and stir their souls. I pray I stay true to the writing God lays on my heart. I trust my poetry presents a sense of suffering and hope. This is what my writing is all about.

Please accept this humble poem written for our InScribe family.

Through These Words
By Alan Anderson

Life’s storms assail,
while waves crash over us.
We reach for the shore,
but the waves are stronger.
Weakness overtakes us,
we are frail,
we cannot do this on our own.

Our Creator, the Author,
gives us words.
Be faithful to these words,
true heart words from God.
Like fresh air,
His truth sets us free.

Our call, to minister with words,
What a way to view life!
To give peace to the world,
comfort to mourners,
strength to the fearful,
and life to the dying,
Through these words!

Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry. Alan contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017 and Story by Story: The Power Of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018. Blog: Alan is BC rep for InScribe.


November 20, 2019

In All Ways for Always – Denise M. Ford

One year I painted our verse and hung it in the kitchen.

I cannot remember why we began sending this phrase back and forth to each other, but over the course of our long-distance courtship, my husband and I repeatedly closed our letters or cards with the words: In All Ways for Always.

It became a comforting concluding thought for our telephone conversations. It reassured us to emphasize to each other that our love would continue despite the circumstances or the length of time that kept us apart.

During the early years of our marriage we tossed it back and forth in laughter, whenever my husband travelled on his business trips. Our end of day reports would feature the comparisons of my struggles with our sons and his challenges with his clients. Every time we would close with those calming words: In All Ways for Always.

Carefully chosen words that created a rhythm for us, a refrain that repeated our commitment to the love we expected of and hoped for each other. As is true for any stated pledge we had to follow through with the appropriate actions to prove that our reality confirmed the intended meaning of this verse.

Why declare such a poetic expression over and over? Why didn’t we write or say something original for a change? Sometimes my writer’s heart longed for a new inspiring declaration from my husband. However, to this day I still know and believe in the sincerity and weight of those simple words that we say to each other: In All Ways for Always.

Sifting through scripture I found repetitions of covenants made by God that I might hear over and over again, as His love letters to me. Psalm 136 reiterates the same refrain following a series of specific accounts of why we should give thanks to God. After each trustworthy action the writer claims, “His faithful love endures forever.”

What if we wrote our own Psalm of praise and thanksgiving to God?  What if we placed the story of our lives line by line, noting each event that happened? Even when we had to write of our moments of dark despair or embarrassing errors, after each one we could hear, “His faithful love endures forever.”

It’s a closing line we could remember for ourselves. Perhaps it could become our reminder that He will encourage us as we continue writing.

Another repeated concept in the Psalms mentions God’s constant watchfulness. Picture for a moment how that might work. Even as we pray for the ideas that will form our writing pieces, He guides us and provides for us. In practice could we pause, allowing Him to watch over our selections? In that watchfulness, His promise “His faithful love endures forever,” could become a reality.

Psalm 121 echoes loudly in my mind, “The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.  The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life.  The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”

I take great comfort in those words. I have a responsibility as a writer to interpret through words, to persuade, to encourage, to relate life situations that may evoke emotional responses from readers. I will remember to pause, so that He may watch over me, as I choose the appropriate stories to share.

Actually, I realize I don’t have to conjure up a clever new closing to share with my husband. As I wrote this today, I discovered these lines as a new lead-in to our own promise:

His faithful love endures forever,
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever,
In All Ways for Always.