The Writer’s Heart: Excellence

The Writer’s Heart: Excellence

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for I will speak of excellent things;

and the opening of my lips shall be right things.”

Proverbs 8:6, KJV

Why do people buy Christian books? Many I’ve talked with, say it’s because of what’s not in them, rather than what is in them. Readers trust Christian books to be free—

  • of crude language, including cursing;
  • of explicit sex scenes,
  • and a secular world view to solve problems.

Our readers trust us to speak of excellent things. Shouldn’t they also expect our writing to be excellent?

Three authors spoke to me through a book and a podcast concerned with mediocrity in Christian writing. Bodie & Brock Thoene in their book, Writer to Writer, reminds the Christian author of our employer. As much as we need our publishers and editors, we are first servants of the Lord and should be—

“With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men;”

Ephesians 6:7, KJV

Cecil Murphey, in his podcast course, “Beyond Mediocrity,” with Christian Writer’s Institute, echoes the Thoene’s sentiments and seeks the goal of excellence in writing. Mr. Murphey’s personal goal—is to write a manuscript ready for the first edit without any editing needing done. That would be an editor’s dream come true. It’s a worthy and lofty goal for all of us—one we should strive for.

Reaching the goal begins with dedicating our work to the Lord in excellence and to—

“Commit thy works unto the LORD,

and thy thoughts shall be established.”

Proverbs 16:3, KJV

For the Christian author we have no excuse not to do our best. If we believe we have been called to write, the Lord put the calling in our heart. The Lord fails in nothing he sets out to do, and has promised to take our thoughts, our plans and establish them. He will see they become all they are meant to be for his glory. That does not mean we throw something together and wait for God to make them excellent. Trusting in the Lord in this way does mean we do all we can to make what we write excellent—for he is worthy of nothing less. Then we trust him with the outcome.

If we want excellence in our work, first commit the work to the Lord, and keep learn all we can to improve our best by taking advantage of—

  • online writing courses,
  • writer’s conferences,
  • a Christian writing group in our area or online,
  • the expertise of our editors,
  • remembering who our Employer is,
  • prayer,
  • of the task we’ve been given for his glory.

What are your writing plans for today? Where would you like your writing plans to take you in the next five years? Ten years?

We don’t know the future. It’s important to reach for excellence now, and keep reaching until our best becomes excellent. So, if the Lord has put a pen in your hand, take it and do what He’s given you to do.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Colossians 3:17, KJV

Our Lord is excellent. Our work needs to bear his image. Our best becomes better, and the Lord establishes where it goes, who it reaches, and it’s final success. Let’s commit our work to him in prayer and see where he takes us. The journey is exciting.


Teach Me

Teach MeIMG_3740

“Teach me, O LORD,

the way of thy statutes;

and I shall keep it unto the end.”

Psalm 119:33

Do you have a favorite teacher in your past? Three instantly come to my mind, each from a different stage of learning.

  • Mrs. Brewer taught first grade through fourth grade in our one room classroom divided into two by folding doors. Mrs. Brewer was my only teacher through those years, but that’s not why she was my favorite. She taught me penmanship in the third grade. I got to use an old fashion ink pen that had to be dipped in a jar of ink. Mrs. Brewer taught my class how to write with our arm rather than our fingers. We filled our lined primary paper with a connected spring of the letter o and a connected row of lines similar to an uncrossed t. It was fun, and I learned from this grandmotherly teacher.
  • In seventh grade, *Miss Claus taught me how to diagram sentences, which meant I learned the parts of speech and how to use them. Miss Claus always smiled, even when she finished correcting a student.
  • High school introduced me to *Mrs. Paddington, my bookkeeping teacher. She taught me to stay away from bookkeeping as a career.

Each of these ladies and a parade of others, including those who faithfully taught me the word of God, added new dimensions to my life. I thank God for all of them. He used each to teach and prepare me to live for his glory.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,

do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Colossians 3:17, KJV

The Lord continues to be my greatest teacher in all of life, and he can be in yours.

“It is written in the prophets,


Every man therefore that hath heard,

and hath learned of the Father,

cometh unto me …

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,

whom the Father will send in my name,

he shall teach you all things,

and bring all things to your remembrance,

whatsoever I have said unto you.”

John 6:45; 14:26, KJV

I enjoy learning, not for knowledge sake alone, but for growth as a person. The Lord still gives me those I’m learning from—*Lena, Ellen, Lily, Rhoda, and Richard—to name but a few. These are all at least ninety years old. Some would say they have lived their purpose, but no. Lena, Ellen and Lily live in the joy of the Lord as their strength. Rhoda hosts a bible study in her home, and has a heart for the lost. Richard faithfully waits on the Lord in his many trials and always has a smile.

All are living out God’s purpose:

  • teaching me God’s faithfulness in every age.
  • They are examples of how to live in any age with joy.
  • I want to be like them when I grow up.

To accomplish that, my desire is to continue growing in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, until the day he takes me home to be with him. To him be the glory.

“Teach me, O LORD,

the way of thy statutes;

and I shall keep it unto the end.”

Who was your favorite teacher? Why? If still living, today would be a good day to tell him/her.

*Names have been changed.

The Writer’s Heart: Writing

A Writer’s Heart: Writing

white ceramic mug on white paper
Photo by cottonbro on

“Now therefore go,

and I will be with thy mouth,

and teach thee what thou shalt say …

and will teach you what ye shall do.”

Exodus 4:12, 15c, KJV

Moses made all kinds of excuses why he shouldn’t be the one to go and speak for the Lord to Pharoah.

  • The people wouldn’t believe the Lord called him.
  • They wouldn’t listen to him.
  • He couldn’t talk well.

Most authors can identify with Moses. When beginning the writer’s journey, we write because we enjoy writing. There is something inside moving us to tell our story through the written word. Our own beliefs and fears can hinder us from seeking to enter our written words into the world.

  • Our acquaintances won’t believe our writing is a calling or real ministry of the Lord.
  • What do we have to say others haven’t said?
  • Our circle of influence is small.
  • Who will listen, anyway?
  • There are others who write so much better.
  • Why bother?

When our fears meet truth, we are enabled to overcome the fears and do what the Lord is teaching us to do. Has the Lord called you to write for more than personal enjoyment and growth? He did me in an unusual way and with a particular mission.

I didn’t know the mission when I first started writing to share with others. As an adult, I’ve had a heart for missions and God honored the desire, not by sending me to a foreign field, but through ministering to youth in bible studies and mission trips to Native American reservations, and encouraging others on the foreign fields. During those years, the Lord opened opportunities for me to hold workshops in a couple women’s conferences and speak locally. Then about seven years ago, I began blogging. Here is where the Lord gave me a growing platform to fulfill the desire to take his word around the world—and I didn’t have to leave home, family, or comforts. I only had to wait on the Lord to see that desire come to fruition.

Has the Lord called you to write?

Then write. He will be with you as He was with Moses and me.

Would others respond to my written word? Yes, and others will respond to yours.

  • The Lord will prosper the word he sends out from us.
  • We can’t allow rejection to dictate our obedience or desire.
  • We can rest in where the Lord will send his message.
  • We may not know where it lands but know the work will not be in vain.

Authors wonder how our work can be accepted when we read other authors (our favorites) who write better than we do. Instead of hindering our progress,

  • allow them to encourage us, teach us.
  • Keep listening and learning in the way we should go.
  • Take advantage of the many conferences offered. Find the ones that speak to your needs and fears.
  • Make connections with other authors and writing groups.
  • Keep writing.

The Lord hasn’t called us to write other author’s stories but to write our own. Our own is unique to us, evolved from our time, study, and experience with the Lord, and written from our perspective. What if Matthew, Luke, and John had looked at Mark’s gospel and determined there was no need for their gospel? We all would have missed out on the full story.

Moses grew as he followed the teaching of the Lord’s purpose for him. As the Lord has given each of us a ministry, let’s trust him to give us all we need to bring him glory in the work we do in his name. He has called us to be his witnesses and writing is one of the tools we’ve been given.

As we share the life Jesus desires for all to have, not all will receive or even like the words we write. For those who do, we have this teaching from the Lord.

“And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil,

this is the man who hears the word and understands it;

who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth,

some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”

Matthew 23:13, NASB

Ours is to do what we’ve been called to do and rest in knowing God will bring the increase—in his time.

What’s the greatest obstacle you face in writing? Mine is marketing. But the Lord is with us in that, too. We need only ask. Now, therefore go, write. The Lord will teach you.