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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week Fifty-Eight:Ginny McCabe

             Write On and Remain Faithful


”So God will choose the one to whom he decides to show mercy; his choice does not depend on what people want or try to do. The Scripture says to the King of Egypt: I made you king for this reason: to show my power in you so that my name will be talked about in all the earth.”
Romans 9: 16, 17. (NCV)


I remember the day I met President George W. Bush. I got up at 5 a.m. that morning to go through a Secret Service screening and take my place as one of the media representatives covering his speech, which he gave at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. From the moment I stood in the security line, until the time I was in his presence, the experience was overwhelming and surreal.

When I got back to my hotel room, I teared up. I was so joyful and touched that I had the opportunity to meet President Bush and hear his speech in person. This experience is one of those inspiring, motivational moments that reminds me to be faithful, so that God can display his power in my life.

If someone asked me for advice, I would urge him or her to be faithful in their calling and to allow God to make His purposes known. God knows the desires of our hearts and that He will bring everything to pass when we allow him to do so. Since I was a teenager, one of the greatest passions in my life has been writing. In high school, I joined writer’s club and served on the newspaper staff.

While I was in college I continued to write and, by the time I was a sophomore, I decided to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. I did all kinds of things related to writing, including working for a variety of publications and newspapers and attending writers™ workshops. I prepared myself through skill and training. However,when I asked God to use me for his glory and when I surrendered my own plan for his ultimate plan for me, things really started happening for me .

If you asked me ten years ago if I thought I would ever meet the President of the United States, I would have said, “No.” Not because I didn’t want to, but because I would have never dreamed I would have that opportunity. Because I have chosen to remain faithful and seek Him through my writing endeavors, God has brought about many things in my life like that. Now I have written thousands of articles and I’m currently writing my fourth book. But, I still have to work hard. There are even days when I get rejection letters and times when I fail. And I’ve learned to praise God in the little victories and live in those special moments. God has a variety of ways he uses us and prepares us for His purposes. For me, the path has been unusual, surprising and difficult at times. But, at every turn, or fork in the road, God has had his hand on my life and encouraged me to remain faithful so that He can reveal his purposes.



Ginny McCabe is a best-selling and award-winning author, writer, speaker, teacher and media professional. Ginny is the author of five books as well as four additional collaborations. One of her latest titles, Secrets Young Women Keep (Thomas Nelson) was honored with an ECPA “Silver Medallion Award” and earned a best-selling status from the CBA Booksellers Association. She has penned countless articles for publications, including Middletown Journal and Journal News, Today’s Pulse, Crosswalk.com, Christian Retailing, Assist News, Yahoo.com and Examiner.com, among others. McCabe is also an adjunct journalism and public relations professor at Cincinnati Christian University and serves on the board of directors as secretary for the Society of Professional Journalists, Queen City Chapter. Contact her and learn more about her writing at www.gmwriteon.com.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Week Fifty-Seven: Donna Shepherd


Writing On Purpose

 

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever-do not abandon the works of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 (NIV)

 

 We write to tell stories. We search for the perfect rhyme, or research to produce interesting non-fiction. When I create anything, whether it’s a poem, a piece of fiction, or a song I’ve composed, I feel joy. And God must feel joy, too, when He sees His creatures create. I believe God must be pleased when we create something because He instilled creativity in us.

 
Recently I wrote a children’s book where I created a land from a child’s perspective. What fun it was to come up with a new place filled with crazy animals. How joyful it must have been for

God when He created this world. Who doesn’t believe God has a sense of humor when you consider the aardvark? Or a giraffe? Or a toucan with a beak almost as long as its body?

 

When God inspired the Word of God, He literally breathed— by the power of the Holy Spirit—His words into the writers. When I read the Bible, I see the personalities of the writers coming through. God used their own vocabularies, styles, and experiences to convey His truth.

 

Will everything I write be God-breathed, be published or even publishable? How I wish. But whether I write about the loss of a front tooth or the importance of prayer in a Christian life, I believe God inspires the creativity, and in that way, I am Spirit-led.

 

The best seller by Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? urges us to find our purpose. As a Christian and temple of the Holy Spirit, I endeavor to allow God to direct me in everything I do, including my writing.


Does everything I write have to have an overt spiritual message? I don’t think so. God made the beautiful flowers for us to enjoy. Would we only paint images depicting Jesus? If we can
paint for fun we can write for fun while using the talent God has given us.





Donna J. Shepherd, children's picture book author and inspirational writer, has hundreds of articles and devotions to her credit. Her writings appear in Daily Grace for Women, Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms, and The Best Grandma in the World to name a few. Her children's books feature short, playful rhymes and humorous illustrations. Donna is founder of Greater Harvest Workshops and Middletown Area Christian Writers, and in demand as a Bible teacher, conference speaker, and singer with over thirty years of experience. Visit Donna on the web at http://www.donnajshepherd.com.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Week Fifty-Six: Chris Stratton

                       God and the Unsolicited Manuscript




“That’s when we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes.”  Romans 8.28 (NIV)


In a cartoon, an aspiring author, holding his manuscript in his hands, is standing before an editor’s receptionist seeking admission to the editor.


The receptionist says, “The editor will be with you in a few minutes. Just have a seat on those unsolicited manuscripts over there.” Turning, the man sees hip high, waist high stacks of papers leaning against the wall behind him.


If God were the editor and your life, my life, were His
publications, how would he deal with unsolicited manuscripts?
 

In the Lord’s publishing House of Life, He solicits some manuscripts; He plans for them and assigns them a time to be published in our lives.


Some manuscripts are unsolicited. To us they might look like accidents, bad luck, insults, fallen dreams, self-aggrandizement,
unmet goals, sickness, even tragedies. At times they seem to be
stacking up against our wall in hip high, waist high stacks.



Unlike human editors, God reads every manuscript. He
Himself edits, revises, rewrites a little here, adds an emphasis, cuts redundancies, lengthens, strengthens; sometimes he slightly changes the direction of the publication itself, until the unsolicited manuscript exactly suits His purpose for the life into which it has dropped.



That’s when we look back and say, “It was a terrible time, but it has all worked for good,” or “I learned so much,” or “grew in the Lord,” or “I wouldn’t change it if I could, although at the time it was so difficult that I wondered how I could live through it.”


That’s when we know we are the LORD’S publication, the product of His House of Life Publishing, and in our
pages the people in our world find evidence of Him, His love and His care.



Chris Stratton, Appleton, serves the LORD in her primary roles of wife, mother, and grandmother.   She is currently working on a novel.  Her writings include poetry, devotionals, short stories, and memoirs. She is locally published.  She is the facilitator of Word and Pen Christian Writers Club.









Sunday, November 02, 2014

Week Fifty-Five: Beth Ziarnik

                           The Fear




“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind”—2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)


Fear gripped me in the pre-dawn dimness. Had I tackled a writhinganaconda?What made met hink I could weave all the intriguing elements of fiction into flowing perfection? What made me think I could capture readers’ attention...entertain them...inspire them...make them feel all my characters’ passions as they pursued their dreams?

I squeezed my eyelids shut and burrowed my head in the pillow. Even if—by some fluke—I managed to do all that, what made me think someone would want to publish my novel? The marketplace grew tighter every day, the competition greater. I was getting older.



I groaned. Was I out of my mind? O God, you gave me this dream. I’m doing my best, but I’m scared to death I can’t pull it off.
*God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.*



Wha...? The words wrapped me like a warm blanket, words I had written on a note card and kept on my desk to remind me that fear is not from God. His enemy uses it, pressing in to squeeze the life from my creative efforts, to stop me from accomplishing the good God gave me to do.
I threw back the covers and bolted from my bed, wielding the words like a sword. “God has not given me a spirit of fear!” I shouted, “but of power! Of love! And a sound mind!” Fear slithered away.


I took a deep breath and marched into my home office, vowing to fight fear with the Word of God every time it showed its scaly head. For “I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13, NIV)” and “with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26, KJV).”
Sitting down before my computer, I prayed and booted up. Time to get to work...with the Lord.




Beth Ann Ziarnik enjoys writing and speaking to encourage Christians to push past the fear and use their writing gifts to further Gods kingdom. Discover more on her Web site at www.bethziarnik.com

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Week Fifty-Four: Sally Clark

                           Doubt




“Then the LORD replied: Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time….though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.


Habakkuk 2:2, 3 (NLT)


We all know what doubt feels like.
Sometimes, my self-talk goes something like this: I wonder if
I should write this down? Is it a good idea? Will it serve any purpose? It was just a passing thought; it’s probably not even worth remembering.
God asks for faithfulness, not success. He has His own timing and I may never see the effects of the words I record. He asks
only that I write it down and make it plain so that someone else
may pick it up and run with it.
I believe I have my answer.




Sally Clark lives in Fredericksburg, TX. Her Christian stories and poems have appeared in Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression Journal, A Man After God’s Heart, The Best Grandma in the World, Inspirit Literary Journal, and Life Savors. Her first children’s book, Where’s My Hug? will be released 01-01-15Find her at http://sallyclark.info .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Week: Fifty-Three: Brandy Brow

Unadulterated Delight




“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)


I had prayed much with few results. My writing was still fruitless though I spent most of my energy on it. Attempting to find direction and solace, I opened my Bible to Psalm 37:4-5 and read. When was the last time I had spent any length of time in God’s word? When had I last worshiped with praise music pouring out my speakers instead of tapping away at the keyboard? What was the last Scripture I had memorized and when? I couldn’t answer. It had been too long since I did any of them. I realized, without much feeling, I had exchanged delight in the Lord for delight in writing. The barter left me frustrated, cold-hearted and empty.
Fear of God told me I had to change.


Out of obedience, I asked God to help me restore my delight in Him, yet my heart wasn’t in it. As I prayed, it (my heart) said, “Then He will give you your heart’s desires. You will finally get published regularly and be fulfilled.” What my heart spoke stirred more emotion in me than the thought of delighting in God. With shame I realized I could not use God to get article ideas or arrive at publication. Attempting to delight in Him so He would fulfill my writing desires was adulterated delight that God would not honor, for it was still delight in writing, only cleverly disguised.


We cannot fool God into granting our desires, even if we fool ourselves by appearing to follow His word. May we examine ourselves and do whatever we must to worship Him with true,
unadulterated delight.


Lord, please forgive us for seeking to please You so we can have our own ways. Help us relinquish our agendas and delight in You alone. Thank You, Father. Amen.




Brandy S. Brow lives in Vermont with her husband and seven children. She enjoys entertaining, teaching, and encouraging through the written word, and loves to help writers via freelance editing and mentorship. www.brandybrow.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Week Fifty-Two: Chris Duncan

Anxiety


Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:1b-42 (NLT)


I am a wimp. Oh, not about everything. I’m not afraid of heights or airplanes or water. I am introverted. Social situations can make me incredibly anxious and the thought of getting up in front of a crowd to say something can make my face as red as my hair, no matter how important the message. Years back, I had to go around the Sunday Schools in my church and make an announcement about the need for donations for the food closet. That morning still gives me nightmares.


All of that anxiety was getting in the way of my writing. Writing itself was fine, the problem was showing it to people. That was a problem. I would take writing classes, sit in the back and try not to share. I would send a manuscript into a publisher and be almost relieved when it got rejected because it meant I wouldn’t have to promote. When my first mystery novel was accepted for publication, I had to force myself out of the house to do talks, signings and the usual promo. It was always a struggle. But this verse from Isaiah is such a comfort.


The Lord not only doesn’t want us to be afraid, He promises to be with us. Now, He doesn’t promise that I won’t say something dumb or stammer, but He’ll be there. He’s always there, listening
and helping us through. In the middle of the night when you’re up late worrying where your teen is, in the middle of the storm that sounds like it’s about to tear the roof off, and yes, in the middle of
the retirement home’s book club where I’ve gone to promote my book The Lord is there.





Christine Duncan is the author of the Kaye Berreano mystery series. She resides with her husband in Colorado. Visit Christine online at www.ChristineDuncan.com