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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week Sixty-One: Nancy Richardson

              The Final Chapter Is Not Yet



“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet formed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”  Psalm 139:16  (NKJV)

This particular passage hit home in me one evening as I sat reading my Bible. In it, it says ... in Your book they are written, the days fashioned for me.
I am in God’s book. He know what each chapter that is written is about. It is a story fashioned for me. I became so excited to suddenly realize I am in God’s story. Yes, a character worth writing about. The plot He knows and I get to experience, one chapter at a time.

He knows each one’s particular style. You may be a poem with rhyme and reason. You could be a mystery yet to be discovered. You could be a hero or heroine or one of many smaller characters. You are a part of the greatest book ever written, God’s Book. The final chapter of your story is not yet. It is still left for you to experience.

Ask God to prepare your heart to complete the days He has written for you, with zeal and passion. Give Him the glory. Give Him the praise. And live the story He has fashioned for you. There are still chapters to be completed.



Nancy DuBose Richardson is a born-again follower of Jesus Christ and is living in Camden, Arkansas with my husband and one child, the last of six, left at home. After teaching Sunday School class for many years she wrote and self published a 30 day devotional called "Seek First.." for her class and friends. Currently, she is working on another devotional series called "At the Kitchen Table", and one dealing with choices which is yet to be titled.



Sunday, December 07, 2014

Week Sixty: Janet Elaine Smith

A Mindless Writer, or a Writer Who Can’t Make Up Her Mind?


I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I Corinthians. 9:22, (KJV)

When I started writing my first book, I hoped to inspire people to find a walk with God. At the same time, I wanted “regular” people to read my books. We hear about preaching to the choir, and I wanted to go out in the highways and byways of life, to the traditional bookstores, not just to the Christian bookstores.
I also wanted to write a lot of different types of books, different genres. The plan God gave me was to share the message of hope not by preaching in my novels, but to do it through character development. If a not-so-perfect person could grow and change, there was hope for my readers to do so too.

Has it worked? I now have 16 novels out. Some of them fall closer to the “inspirational” definition than others do. But even a cowboy rebel can lead a person to God. In Pampas, a very influential man in New York City told me he had returned to church and to God because of one very small statement by my cowboy, Raul Escobar. He told the woman of the house in Argentina, “I…I think I’m a Catholic.” She replied, “That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t even know what you are!”

The man in New York wrote to me that he stopped dead in his tracks, realizing that he couldn’t honestly answer what he was, or what he believed. I have spoken with him on the phone and he told me that if Raul had not been forced to question his faith, he probably would never have given it a second thought. As he followed Raul’s quest for returning to a belief in God, he found himself making his own way back. He laughed as he related how he had even been attending church for the first time since he was a teenager. “I even went when there was a blizzard!” Thank God, he knows now.

Did I set out to convert big businessmen through a cowboy book? No, but God knew who needed the message. I was just an instrument in His hands, putty in the potter’s hands. Will I write more cowboy stories? Well, another man, this one from South Dakota, told his wife, after he read Dakota Printer, “That’s the best Western I’ve read since Zane Grey died.” Who knew? I thought I was writing an inspirational historical romance? If God wants to use it as a Western (i.e., cowboy book), I’m more than willing to become “all things to all men.”


Janet Elaine Smith is the author of 16 novels and 2 non-fiction books: http://www.janetelainesmith.com janetelainesmith@yahoo.com





Sunday, November 30, 2014

Week Fifty-Nine: Margaret Daley

                                                  Peace

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 29:11 (NAS)



When I read this, I thought of the trials and tribulations we have gone through this past few years as a nation and this verse gave me hope for the future. Since September 11th we have feared for our safety and well-being not only as a nation but individually. Terrorists prey on the innocent, but with God’s strength and love we will endure and win in the end. Peace comes in many forms and our belief in the Lord gives us a peace no one can take a way, not even terrorists.

When I write, I want to convey the hope God gives us and the power of His love. His strength will see us through so much. If we start each day believing He is with us, we can do anything.
   




Margaret Daley, an award-winning author of ninety books (five million sold worldwide), has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at http://www.margaretdaley.com.

 
 
 
 

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.