The Writer’s Heart: Branded

The Writer’s Heart: Branded

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“From henceforth let no man trouble me:

for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.”

Galatians 6:17, KJV

My Bible’s translation help offers the word “branded” for in my body. When I think of branded, my mind travels to the first movie my husband, at the time boyfriend, and I saw. The local drive-in theater featured John Wayne in The Cowboys, a western set in the late 1800s. Needing cowhands and finding no men available John Wayne hired a dozen or so schoolboys for his cattle drive. Before the drive the cattle had to be branded with a mark burned into the cow’s hide. The mark identified each cow as belonging to John Wayne’s ranch.

The Apostle Paul’s branding identified him as belonging to Jesus Christ. He bore the brand of Christ in his body through scars from being stoned, beaten with rods, and the many times he received thirty-nine lashes from a Roman whip. Paul’s life, and message remained consistent with Christ’s brand.

“For Christ sent me not to baptize,

but to preach the gospel:

not with wisdom of words,

lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect …

For I determined not to know any thing among you,

save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

1 Corinthians 1:17; 2:2, KJV

Paul’s brand revolved around preaching Jesus Christ, crucified. Authors are encouraged to discover their brand and reveal it in their writing, websites, email, marketing, and book cover designs. Readers want to know what they can expect concerning style and message from an author. The message needs to be consistent but engaging, creative, and encouraging to the reader. It can be written in fiction or nonfiction—the same message presented surprisingly different.

Paul spent three years in the desert learning and growing with Christ as his teacher. He had spent a lifetime learning the law from the best teachers. Authors are called to be diligent in growing and learning our craft in order to keep our message fresh, new, and taking our readers into deeper thought and their own growth.

Our readers want us to be real—living out the message that motivates our writing. As the old saying goes, we need, “To practice what we preach.” Although, we don’t want our message to sound like preaching. We want to present ourselves and our message in such a way as to leave our readers asking, “When’s your next book coming out?”

Paul bore the brand of Christ in his body, his life, and his writing. If we are called to write—our bodies, lives, and writings, are meant to carry Christ’s brand and bring him glory. I believe Christ’s brand could be summed up in coming not to be served but to serve. What would you say Christ’s brand is? How does your brand reveal to whom you belong?

For more on the discovering your brand check out the article, “Seven Author Branding Tips,” by Mark Coker. It appeared in Publisher’s Weekly under, “Seven Branding Tips for Indie Authors, 11/19/2018. His tips aided in my thoughts for this blog.


Full Assurance

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“My soul fainteth for thy salvation:

but I hope in thy word.”

Psalm 119:18, KJV

Hope mends a broken heart. Hope strengthens the weary soul. Hope brings life to the dying but only to the degree of the foundation of our hope.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians concerning hope or confidence placed in our personal determination—

  • to put on a happy face,
  • to walk in our strength when the road is rough,
  • to press on when there is no where to go—in short, our self-will, works, or status.

Paul writes, these things’ worth is like dung—that’s right, manure—when compared to the value of knowing Christ Jesus.

“Yea doubtless,

and I count all things but loss

for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:

for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,

and count them but dung,

that I may win Christ,

And be found in him,

not having my own righteousness, which is of the law,

but that which is through the faith of Christ,

the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

Philippians 3:8,9, KJV

Hope we place in our ceremonial rites, our government, our family heritage, or even our zeal for right, is not hope built on a solid foundation … it will leave us hopeless. Full assurance of the thing desired waits for those who—

hope in thy word.

God’s word. For—

“thy word is truth …

In the beginning was the Word,

and the Word was with God,

and the Word was God …

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,

(and we beheld his glory,

the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)

full of grace and truth …

grace and truth came by Jesus Christ …

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way,

the truth,

and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

John 17:17b; 1:1,14, 17b;  14:7, KJV

Because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the living Word of God and Jesus is truth, God’s word is truth. Truth gives full assurance of hope. We don’t have to wonder if God’s word will come to pass. When he speaks to us through his written word or his living Word—it has happened, is happening, or will happen. No lie of Satan swallowed by people, no unbelief will change the truth, nor God’s performing the truth of his word.

“There are many devices in a man’s heart;


the counsel of the LORD,

that shall stand …

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD,

and whose hope the LORD is …

Heaven and earth shall pass away:

but my words shall not pass away …


And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

Proverbs 19:21; Jeremiah 17:7; Luke 21:33;1 Peter 1:25, KJV

We can know God and trust his word through God the Spirit dwelling in us.

“Howbeit when he,

the Spirit of truth, is come,

he will guide you into all truth:

for he shall not speak of himself;

but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak:

and he will shew you things to come.

He shall glorify me:

for he shall receive of mine,

and shall shew it unto you.”

John 16;13-14, KJV

We have three witnesses of the truth of God’s word that makes it trustworthy for hope—The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Their words will always—

  • agree,
  • speak truth,
  • and glorify the Father.

With prayer and study of the word we can be filled with hope that is fully assured, backed by the Lord God himself.

  • Pray to,

“be filled with the knowledge of his will

in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;”

Colossians 1:9b, KJV

  • Be in the word to aid in answering your prayer as you—

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God,

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15, KJV

  • When your hope leaves you ashamed, look to the one who is hope—

“which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Christ in us is our healer, our strength, our life. He is our hope of glory—our full assurance we will complete our journey in victory.

How has Christ given you hope when hope seemed impossible?

Longing For Salvation

Longing For Salvation

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“My soul fainteth for thy salvation:

but I hope in thy word.”

Psalm 119:18, KJV

“I want out of this mess! I can’t take it any longer! Where is God!”

When life throws us a curve, we want the straight path of peace, joy, normalcy. We want what we can understand and control. We want out. We want deliverance. We look to our resources whether it be finances, health, a relationship gone bad, recovering from a disastrous event. After our resources leave us weaker than when we began, if we are smart, we turn to God and plead, “Help me. Be my deliverer.”

His answer when we call,

“Let us draw near with a true heart

in full assurance of faith,

having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,

and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10: 22, KJV

In the Book of James, we are told if we draw near to God, he draws near to us. He has not left us in our suffering. He is not far from us. He lives within us to strengthen us. We can trust him.

“But it is good for me to draw near to God:

I have put my trust in the Lord GOD,

that I may declare all thy works.”

Psalm 73:28, KJV

When tears and prayers rise and fall, when God is silent, and the salvation we seek remains a dim hope, what then?

We wait. We keep trusting our God who is faithful to his word. Jesus understands. As he hung on the cross bearing the weight of our sin and the wounds they caused, as he poured out his life for us in obedience to the Father, Jesus cried out in anguish,


 Jesus knows how we feel when we feel forsaken, when the clouds hide the face of God from us. We, also, know, according to Psalm 22: 23,27 and Philippians 2:8-11, the Lord God heard Jesus’s cry.

“For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;

neither hath he hid his face from him;

but when he cried unto him, he heard …

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:

and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee …

And being found in fashion as a man,

he humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,

and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus

every knee should bow,

of things in heaven,

and things in earth,

and things under the earth;

And that every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.”

The Lord heard him and delivered him through death to bring him to life and to glorious exaltation. Not only did the Lord deliver Jesus Christ through his suffering, he delivered us from the fear of death to share in his everlasting life and glory. We are told,

“The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him,

to all that call upon him in truth.

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him:

he also will hear their cry,

and will save them.”

Psalm 145:18,19, KJV

Because God is faithful to his word, we can, hope in thy word. We can draw strength and peace in his presence for we know—

“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;

therefore will I hope in him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

It is good that a man should both hope

and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:24-26, KJV

When the heart falters, wavers for lack of strength, and feels faint—

  • Hope in the Lord,
  • Hope in his goodness,
  • Draw near to him,
  • Hope in his word, for he is faithful who has promised.
  • Then hope and quietly wait for his salvation.




Hebrews 10:37, KJV

Look up. Your redemption, salvation, deliverance is near.


The Writer’s Heart: No Excuses

No Excuses

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“Then said he unto him,

A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

And sent his servant at suppertime

to say to them that were bidden,

Come for all things are now ready.

And they all with one consent began to make excuse …”

Luke 14:16-18a, KJV

So the story goes. The invitation spread throughout the community to many, but the RSVPs were riddled with excuses. One wanted to tend to a new piece of land he purchased; another desired to try out a new team of oxen; another was newly married and wanted to tend to her.

Upon hearing the excuses, the host extended the invitation to those less likely to be invited to any event and filled his house with guests. The final analysis—

“For I say unto you,

That none of those men which were bidden

shall taste of my supper.”

Luke 14:24, KJV

Many have been invited to the marriage supper of the Lord.

And he saith unto me,


Blessed are they which are called

unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.

And he saith unto me,

These are the true sayings of God.”

Revelation 19:9, KJV

True to Jesus’s parable, many will offer excuses why they didn’t answer the call—

“For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:14, KJV

Excuses are invalid reasons for neglecting our calling. In other words, they are like a bucket filled with holes—they won’t hold water. Those refusing the call won’t taste the fulness of God’s goodness.

As Christian writers and authors, we have a calling to extend the Gospel’s invitation through the medium of our written words. The genre doesn’t matter, fiction or nonfiction, our words in imaginative ways are to reflect the good news of Jesus Christ. Thereby encouraging our readers in a life of walking in love with the Lord and others.

IMG_4163This past week my sweet and generous husband bought a secretary work station to replace my thirty year old computer desk. This new vintage beautiful piece of furniture serves its purpose well. I jokingly told someone I now had no excuse for not being inspired. It’s beauty invites me to sit and write.

Truth is—I still find myself procrastinating at times. Writers are creatives. We are good at creating excuses for not fulfilling our calling.

  • Lack of focus—too many other things calling for our attention, the phone, social media, laundry, TV
  • Fear of that first word—how to begin
  • Not the right atmosphere—too much noise, too much quiet, a cluttered desk, the right music
  • The time change—I need sleep
  • You can fill in your biggest culprit stealing you of writing time.

This list doesn’t include valid other responsibilities—a family to care for, unforeseen circumstances invading our normal existence, helping others, and other ministries the Lord has called us to. Learning to manage our time well helps in these things but cannot always produce the time we want to give our writing. Here is where we learn to give our time over to the Lord.

There are times when writing isn’t possible. Frustration becomes our enemy. Ours is to remember those times are in the Lord’s hands. What He has called us to, He will give us strength and time to fulfill in due time, in his time.

On that day the Lord calls us to his marriage supper, no excuses will be accepted. When the robber of time is our excuse, it is time to make our choice. Toss the excuse and answer the call. Accept no excuses. Sit down and start writing—a letter, a thought, a scene, that first word. It’s time to pray, put pen to paper, and allow God to answer your prayer.

How much time to you give writing each day? How do you manage your time?

No Shame: A Sound Heart

No Shame(2):A Sound Heart

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“Let my heart be sound in thy statutes;

That I be not ashamed.”

Psalm 119:80, KJV

Each day, morning and evening, a lamb poured out its life by the hand of a priest and the command of the Lord. Each day, atonement by the blood of the lamb provided forgiveness enabling the people to meet and commune with the Lord God.

Following the offering of the lamb, the designated priest for that day, would pour out a drink offering of specified amounts of flour, oil, and wine on the fire—creating a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It was to be a continual offering, every day twice a day.

Over a thousand years later, after the final sacrifice had been given and poured out on a cross, the Apostle Paul made reference to this offering in his service to the Philippian church.

“But even if

I am being poured out as a drink offering

upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,

I rejoice and share my joy with you all.”

Philippians 2:17, NASB

  • Paul emptied his heart of his fleshly desires,
  • walked in the power of the Holy Spirit,
  • and consecrated himself to the Lord God through the blood of the new covenant.

He poured out himself as a drink offering to the Lord, completely devoting himself in the work of the gospel. He could rejoice knowing his work was not in vain, his heart was blameless/sound, and he would be unashamed on the day of Christ.

Before Paul offered himself as a drink offering, Christ led the way for us all to be a drink offering to the Lord.

“And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it,

and gave unto them, saying,

This is my body which is given for you:

this do in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:19, KJV

Jesus was the final burnt offering, our atonement, the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the world. He was, also, our drink offering.

  • The drink offering consisted of flour. Jesus was and is the bread of life—

“and the bread that I will give is my flesh,

which I will give for the life of the world.”

John 6:51b, KJV

  • The priest poured oil into the flour even as the Lord pours his Spirit into us—




For this promise is unto you, and to your children,

and to all that are afar off,

even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Acts 2:18, 39, KJV

  • The final ingredient to the drink offering consisted of the wine poured on the fire—

“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,

This cup is the new testament in my blood,

which is shed for you.”

Luke 22:20, KJV

The burnt offering reveals our salvation, followed by the drink offering which leads us to a consecrated life, sanctified by the word of God. Whereby, when Christ appears our hearts are sound, and we stand unashamed in Christ’s offering.

Consecration comes to us after we have believed Christ to be our burnt offering. Next, we practice giving ourselves to the Lord each morning and ending each evening with him. The Lord commanded the burnt offering followed by the drink offering as a place of meeting with his people.

“This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations

at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD:

where I will meet you,

to speak there unto thee.

And there I will meet with the children of Israel,

and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by my glory …


Know ye not that your body is

the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,

which ye have of God,

and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price;

therefore glorify God

in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Exodus 29:42-43;1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV

Do you want to meet with God? Hear him speak to you? Be a continual drink offering. There is reward.

  • God will meet with you.
  • He will speak to you.
  • He will dwell with you and be your God. And—

“they shall know that

I am the LORD their God,

that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt,

that I may dwell among them:

I am the LORD their God.”

Exodus 29:46, KJV

We didn’t walk out of Egypt with the Lord, but He did bring us out of the kingdom of darkness into his kingdom of light. He is the Lord our God.

And finally, we will know when we stand with Christ—

  • our heart is sound,
  • we need not be ashamed,
  • and he will say to us,

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant:

thou hast been faithful over a few things,

I will make thee ruler over many things:

enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

Matthew 25:21b, KJV

No Shame

No Shame

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“Let my heart be sound in thy statues

that I be not ashamed.”

Psalm 119:80, KJV

The young woman, we’ll call her, Sheila, listened to the words spoken against her. A muddy puddle of thoughts splashed through her mind. How could her friends, those she loved, think such things—but not stop there, speak them publicly before others? Sheila answered the charges brought against her through gossip, greed, and ignorance. She may as well have kept her mouth shut. Shame gripped her heart—but why? She had done nothing wrong.

Once home, alone with the Lord, Sheila shed a river of tears for the shame she felt. A scripture came to her mind.

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings …”

Sheila contemplated Christ’s sufferings. He had done no wrong. False charges had been brought against him. One of his closest friends betrayed him and another denied him. The Roman whip left his back in shreds, and the beatings he took left him unrecognizable as a man. He hung in shame, as one cursed, on the cross, while people gawked at him, mocked him, and tempted him.

Sheila’s Lord knew her heart, her pain. He had taken her shame. In fact, she had no shame—for in being reproached it was not her but Christ being put on trial again. A flood of tears embraced the love of her Savior. Why would his own people do this to him?

“Forgive them, Father,” she whispered. Her heart was sound, without blame, before the Lord.

Sheila reached for her Bible and read,

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ,

happy are ye,

for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:

on their part he is evil spoken of,

but on your part he is glorified.”

1 Peter 4:14, KJV

Sheila knew how she handled this situation would reveal who held her heart. Sure, some would believe what they wanted to believe, but the testimony of Christ in her would show the truth for any who would see it. Sheila read on.

“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief,

or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian,

let him not be ashamed;

but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

1 Peter 4:15-16, KJV

Sheila chose to forgive, to not allow shame that was not hers to hold her captive, to glorify God, and to rest in the Lord’s word—

“And we know that all things

work together for good to them that love God,

to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28, KJV

On her part, Sheila would continue—

“Holding forth the word of life:

that I may rejoice in the day of Christ,

that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

Philippians 2:16, KJV

When we face situations such as Sheila’s, we have a choice put before us. We can become embittered, blame others, walk away from the word of life, and be held captive to unforgiveness, thereby bringing more shame on the Lord.

Or we can choose to believe the Lord, suffer with him, forgive as he has forgiven us, and be set free to glorify God by continuing to hold forth the word of life.

One decision brings more shame and heartache, the other joy and glory. Through Sheila’s testimony, we know the right decision will be challenged by our enemy. We will need to reaffirm our commitment to continue glorifying God. Which will you choose?

A Writer’s Heart: Inspiration to Completion

The Writer’s Heart: From Inspiration to Completion

“But there is a spirit in man:

and the inspiration of the Almighty

giveth them understanding.”

Job 32:8, KJV

As I rehearse my life, any good thing began with inspiration from the Lord—him breathing his word into my heart; his Spirit witnessing to my spirit in that still small voice; a word spoken from another that sparked a dream or vision encouraging me in a specific direction. For example:

  • As a teen seeking God’s direction in prayer, the Lord spoke two words to me in a vision—“Follow me.” Not an earth reeling revelation but all I needed to know for that time. As a result, the Lord gave me a husband, a family, and the desires of my heart.
  • A word spoken in a meeting concerning the need for our conferences churches to grow sparked an idea. Through prayer, the Lord filled my heart with two words—“Do it.” With the aid of many others a summer camp was born.
  • Studying the book of Mark, the Holy Spirit caught my attention with three words—“Jesus … loved him.” Two words crowded my mind—“Write it.” Three years later, my first novel, The Nazarene’s Price, was published.

Inspiration from the Lord sparks life and hope into our spirits. Immediately, we understand the Lord has a work for us to do in his kingdom—a work that glorifies him. But take note, inspiration doesn’t equal completion without perspiration.

  • A godly marriage and family don’t just happen. They are covered in the work of prayer, tears, and joy. A lot of work goes into making two people one and raising a family.
  • A summer camp would have remained an idea had not many believed in the possibility and sacrificed more than I can count hours of work to pray, build, repair, give, and pour their lives into the children’s and teen’s lives—and they continue to do so.
  • And my novel would have been lost in a bevy of thoughts had I not spent hours praying, researching, and writing.

The Lord God continues to be my inspiration. He also is my strength, my teacher, and guide encouraging me to keep on keeping on. There is still much perspiration ahead to bring inspiration to completion. We don’t lose heart for the Lord promises to bring his work to completion.

As authors, we perspire to aspire, to complete each manuscript, to make our work its best, do our research, take classes, and read books to grow us in the craft, network with other authors by going to conferences and meet publishers and editors, learn the business, and as always, Keep Writing and Keep Praying.

As Christian authors—

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,

but the spirit which is of God;

that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak,

not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth,

but which the Holy Ghost teacheth;

comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

1 Corinthians 2:12, 13, KJV

Our Lord is our inspiration and our greatest teacher giving us the messages and stories he wants written—He employs us to do the perspiring.

What part of writing do you enjoy most? And the least?

What Next?

What Next?DSCF4721

“Before I was afflicted I went astray:

but now have I kept thy word …

It is good for me that I have been afflicted;

That I might learn thy statutes.”

Psalm 119: 67,71, KJV

Have you ever been the object of someone’s untrue judgment ? Your motives?  Your Christian walk? The writer of Psalm 119 endured lies forged against him(vs. 69) Yet he declares God’s goodness in allowing the shame brought to him. He even acknowledges his on culpability in bringing the pressure put on him. He had gone astray and suffered affliction.

Affliction is not my favorite topic to write, teach, or speak about. Affliction means pain. In the scriptural sense, the pain is the result of an outside force pushing in on our spirit. As we see in the above example, we can be the object of our own affliction by going astray—being disobedient to the word of the Lord, knowingly or unknowingly. After suffering the effects—the afflictions—of disobedience, we don’t want to go through it again.

Affliction motivates us to learn and keep God’s word—unless we behave like a stubborn mule and need to be afflicted time and again before we learn obedience. For some, affliction drives them away from God. They begin to blame God for the troubles coming against them, screaming, “How can a good God allow this to happen?”

Actually, when our own stubbornness results in affliction, God lovingly allows it to show us our foolishness and turn us towards Him. It’s his goodness keeping us from running headlong over the proverbial cliff. In these instances we’re told the afflictions may come from God’s loving and faithful hand.

“I know, O LORD,

that thy judgments are right,

and that thou in faithfulness has afflicted me …

For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure:

but he for our profit,

that we might be partakers of his holiness.”

Psalm 119:75; Hebrews 12:10, KJV

At this point, we can say, afflictions come to us to—

  • keep us from straying from God,
  • teach us obedience,
  • and make us holy.

And these painful experiences can touch our body, mind, and spirit through the actions of—

  • Others, including Satan
  • Ourselves
  • God

Knowing the Lord uses these trials in our lives for our good does not make us welcome these visitors, but it does encourage us not to shrink from them when the outside pressures begin to weigh heavy on our spirit. The apostle Paul knew much about suffering afflictions. His mindset, while in prison, focused on the higher purpose of the affliction. He explained—

“But I would ye should understand, brethren,

that the things which happened unto me

have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;

So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace,

and in all other places;

And many of the brethren in the Lord,

waxing confident by my bonds,

are much more bold to speak the word without fear …

Christ is preached;

and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”

Philippians 1:12-14, 18b, KJV

Paul’s affliction gave—

  • Him a platform for preaching the gospel of Christ to rulers and other places
  • Confidence to other believers to speak the word
  • Him a reason to rejoice

Remember, others, many witnesses, have traveled this road before us. They are our encouragement to lay everything of this world aside and—

“run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;

  • who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
  • despising the shame,
  • and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1b-2

When you wonder, “What next?”, and the pressures don’t let up, remember Jesus—“lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Deliverance is coming.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous:

but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Psalm 34:19, KJV

You are not alone and all wrongs will be righted.

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is

  • a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God,
  • that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer
  • Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

Rest is just ahead.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,” 2 Thessalonians 1: 4-7, KJV

God’s grace is sufficient for all your need. You have a great High Priest who understands and invites you to—

“come boldly unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need.” 

Hebrews 4:16b, KJV

God is Great. God is Good.

God is Great, God is Goodblogreligious-2598299__340

“Thou art good, and doest good;

teach me thy statutes.”

Psalm 119:68, KJV

The little girl’s blonde pigtails swung down beside her face as she bowed her head and folded her hands in prayer. “God is great. God is good. I will thank him for my food. Amen.”

That little prayer was my first remembered experience of talking to God. Today, the phrase, “God is good all the time. All the time God is good.”, is echoed in camp settings, teen groups, or anytime something really good comes into our lives. It is easy to say and easy to believe as long as all is well. But that’s not what the phrase or God’s word says. All the time includes—all the time.

Not only is God good all the time, but all he does is good. It is who he is. That which is good cannot do evil. In creation, God proclaimed each day’s work good—until he created the first person. Work completed God states—

“it was very good.”

When our focus turns to the state of our world, and views the evil that rules in the hearts of people, we have to wonder what happened to the very good.

When Adam and Eve entertained evil and believed God to be less than good, all goodness but one began to die.

“For we know that the whole creation

groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now …





Romans 8:22; 3:12, KJV

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and called Jesus good, Jesus answered him and said,

“Why callest thou me good?

There is none good but one,

that is , God.”

Mark 10:18, KJV

Jesus gave the young man an opportunity to declare Jesus to be God, and to realize no matter how well the ruler observed the commandments, sin still reigned in his heart.

Like so many today, the goodness standing before the young man is denied. It is true, God is good all the time. He is the only one good. And his goodness is available to all.

“The LORD is good to all:

and his tender mercies are over all his works …

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:

for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil

and on the good,

and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Psalm 145:9;  Matthew 5:45, KJV

God’s abundant goodness flows deeper than what we can see, the material blessings of sunshine or rain, good health, or material wealth. Evil people, good people receive air to breathe, wealth, and wellness. All classes of people receive the results of sin in the world, sickness, poverty, disasters. But not all people receive all the fulness of God’s goodness. This abundant goodness of the Lord is available to all but received only by those who call upon him in truth.

“For thou, Lord, art good,

and ready to forgive;

and plenteous in mercy

unto all them that call upon thee …

If we confess our sins,

he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,

and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 86:5; 1John 1:9, KJV

Through the death of Jesus Christ, the good Master, God the Son, God’s goodness is made available to us who possess no goodness of our own. Jesus’s death took our sin/unrighteousness and gave us his goodness/righteousness.

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,

wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Ephesians 1:6, KJV

Yes, God is great. God is good … all the time. The questions remaining: Do you trust God to be good all the time? How would life be different if we did fully trust God’s goodness in all times?

A Writer’s Parable

A Writer’s Parable: Contests, Awards, & HumilityFeatured Image -- 4621

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased;

and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Luke 14:11, KJV

The MC announced the five finalists. Sarah Smith sat on the edge of her seat. She and Mary both made the list.

“How did we get this far with so many talented authors?” Sarah whispered to her best friend. Mary shrugged and shook her head.

The MC called out the fifth place winner—an author both young women knew well.

“One of us will at least get third place,” mouthed Mary.

Sarah smiled. How could she hope it would be her and not Mary? No, she had to keep the awards in perspective.

Heavenly Father, by your grace you have brought us here with the help of so many.

Sarah glanced around the room. She knew her story excelled, but even that came with the help of good editors and a publisher willing to take a chance on a first time novelist.

Father, May the glory be yours.

Mary received the fourth place honor. Third place went to another well-known author. Her grace on the stage touched Sarah’s heart. Sarah and the final author with several books and awards to her credit remained. Both were named Sarah.

The MC cleared her throat. “The winner of the first place award—second place will go to the remaining author. First place goes to Sarah …”

The well-known author stood. Sarah Smith expected her to win. The other Sarah was already in the aisle when the announcer finished with, “Smith.”

Sarah Smith clapped for the author as Mary shook her arm. “It’s you, Sarah, You won.”

The other Sarah stopped, a look of shock on her face much the equal of Sarah Smith’s. Only one showed embarrassment while the other pure joy.


After entering my novel, The Nazarene’s Price, in the third and final contest I budgeted for, I had to do some soul searching. What motivated my decision to put myself up against a host of talented writers? What attitude would rule in my heart if I lost? If I won?

First a change needed to take place in my mind; I would not be putting myself up against other authors, but would be standing with them. Before entering a contest we each put in long hours

  • of research and writing
  • studying and striving to write our best
  • following the directions of our experienced editors
  • praying for the Lord to guide us and use our stories for his glory

Keeping these things in mind, aids in having a servant attitude in our writing and in the win or loss of an award. So, why enter contests?

  • Our publishers encourage us to do so.
  • Contests serve as motivation to write our best.
  • Being a winner or finalist serves as a means of good advertising
  • Someone will win. It could be you.
  • Someone will not win but still receives the reward of doing a job well done.
  • It’s good practice in following all guidelines—checking and double checking requirements
  • It’s an opportunity for our publisher and editors to receive well-deserved recognition.
  • It provides another platform for our writing and for God to receive glory, whether we win or not.

Things to Remember:

Image by pixabay.

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,

and he shall lift you up …

Humble yourselves therefore

under the mighty hand of God,

that he may exalt you in due time.”

James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6, KJV

We have not come to this place alone. The word of the Lord planted a seed in our hearts. Our writing groups, praying friends, readers, workshop leaders, editors, and publishers, have watered the seed, and in due time, the Lord gives the increase to his glory.

Our increase may or may not be from our peers. This prize can only go to one. But the real prize we all strive for is the Master’s, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  With that attitude we can rejoice—for we are all winners of the highest award.

What advice would you give to a new author concerning contests?