The Writer’s Heart: Thanksgiving

The Writer’s Heart: ThanksgivingNaz soul cross

“We give thanks to God always

for you all,

making mention of you

in our prayers;”

1 Thessalonians1:2,KJV

My verse for today is not included lightly. As authors, we know reaching our goal in writing takes a community of like-minded people.

  • Some of us need a bigger community than others depending on where we are in life (i.e., tech people to teach us our way around the different computer programs!). I am thankful for the tech saavy people, plus opportunities to take classes—we are never too old to learn. You can find them online, through adult education, books, and my favorite, writer’s conferences.
  • We appreciate faithful followers of our blog posts. You know the ones—they link others to your posts, read each post, like, and comment. Many times a relationship is established.
  • I’m also, thankful for those who happen by. It means one more has read something that hopefully encourages or gives them something to think about. We may never know what seed is planted in the heart of the one who stumbles on our site—especially when we pray for our readers.
  • Our hearts are filled with thanksgiving for the family, friends, and writing groups who pray for us, and give us input on what we write.
  • I am even grateful for the editors I’ve worked with. They pushed me to make The Nazarene’s Price its best—and believe it or not—the good ones(which I have had) even make it fun. Thank you is too small a word for how you have touched my life.
  • And I definitely want to include my publisher at Elk Lake Publishing, Inc. who has given me the opportunity to get The Nazarene’s Price into the readers’ hands. My novel’s release date is scheduled for sometime in July. I can hardly wait to have a cover for my book to share with my launch team.
  • My launch team is the latest addition to the community helping me along this journey. I thank God for each of you and my first email to you will be coming around May 15th. If you haven’t joined my team, you are invited to do so with this link; https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdCB_9dgbWBFAn0FYvHW2Iobh0SDPxhzZWicorvzZ0lkxjBVQ/viewform?usp=pp_url
  •  To keep from sounding like an academy award winner, I want to end this post thanking the One who sparked the desire to write my novel, The Nazarene’s Price. The Lord has been my guide in presenting this fictional story of the rich young ruler who Christ pursues with his unending love.

Thank you and God bless each of you on your journey.


Who would you thank for helping you to get where you are in your writing journey?

The Writer’s Heart: Bibles

The Writer’s Heart: Biblesbloglove-699480_960_720

We find various bibles written for our instruction—The Fisherman’s Bible, The Mechanic’s Bible, The Cook’s Bible. A bible is a collection of writings, an anthology of instruction, and revelation on a particular subject. Those mentioned were all written by one or more authors from their personal acquisition of wisdom—making their books the authority—until someone with greater wisdom comes along.

The Holy Bible stands alone in its category. That’s why it’s called holy—there will be no greater wisdom or author to come along and make it greater.

“Knowing this first,

that no prophecy of the scripture

is of any private interpretation.

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:

but holy men of God spake as they were moved

by the Holy Ghost.”

2 Peter 1:20-21

Forty men, from all walks of life, penned the words of God. He instructed them, over a period of fifteen hundred years, in order to give us the Holy Bible—forty scribes, one author. The one-of-a-kind work stays consistent with its theme—the revelation of Almighty God and his plan for people in the present and in the eternal.

As the Lord moved in men to write his words, He still moves in the writer’s heart to continue to make his story clear to readers. Jesus, God the Son, used parables—stories with heavenly meanings. We use stories in the same way to encourage and inspire others to know God in a way they can understand.

In God’s word, He tells us there is no new trial that others haven’t experienced. The only thing new comes in the telling. The Lord has made each of us unique and given us imagination and inspiration. Whether we write fiction or nonfiction, He enables us to bring his story to life in another’s heart. That’s why we write.

When discouragement comes, take heart. God’s story is still being completed, not the written word but its fulfillment. By the way, His parables(fiction) taught truth. Whether we write fiction or nonfiction, may each speak truth to live by. And know another story, your story, is waiting to be told for the one person who needs it. So,

“Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58


Which do your write, fiction or nonfiction? Where do you find encouragement to keep on writing?

The Writer’s Heart: Another Book?

The Writer’s Heart: Another Book

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Luke, the beloved physician and companion of the apostle Paul, sat at his desk with quill, ink, and parchment, ready to write all the information he had acquired concerning—

those things which are most surely believed among us,”

Luke 1:1b

Luke acknowledges many have already written about those things. What is left to be told? Who will he write it for? What’s the purpose in another book? How will The Gospel According to Luke differ from what’s been written? We can learn much about starting and completing a book from Luke’s first four verses.

  1. Luke knows the market—He has read/heard about the many others already written. What makes his needed?

Those already written come from a Jewish perspective of events that the Jewish people would understand. It’s widely accepted that Luke was probably a Gentile and possibly a Roman citizen. The Lord lead Luke to write a chronological account of the life of Jesus Christ his Gentile readers would understand. He wrote to show Jesus as the Son of man who lived a perfect human life.

  1. Luke knew the veracity of his information—His information came from reliable sources, those, “which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word:” Luke 1:2b
  2. Luke knew his audience from the beginning—Theophilus. He wrote with one man in mind—one who needed a full detailed account of the life of Christ. Yet, he knew this account would be shared with many. He even wrote a sequel, The Acts of the Apostles, detailing the spread of the gospel.
  3. Luke didn’t rush his manuscript. He waited until he had gathered all the information and understood the order of events before he wrote his book. (I believe he was a plotter!)
  4. Luke knew his purpose in writing this historical account—”That thou mightiest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.” Reading through Luke’s writing, we see he kept his purpose before him.

Luke wrote nonfiction, inspired by the Holy Spirit. His technique is echoed in writing conferences.

  1. Know your market. How will your story be different from the many others out there?
  2. Keep your information believable, and if nonfiction, be sure of its truth.
  3. Know your audience—write for one to keep your focus. But like Luke, be aware many will read.
  4. Take your time to make your manuscript the best it can be.
  5. Know your purpose in writing, and keep it before you throughout the journey.

Our manuscript won’t find its way into the bible, but it can be inspiring to our readers. If our writing serves as a ministry to our Lord, we can believe the apostle Paul when he wrote to the Corinthians.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren,

be ye stedfast, unmoveable,

always abounding in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye know

that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

This Writer’s Heart:

This Writer’s Heart: Conception to BirthNazarene money

“And he said unto them,

Go ye into all the world,

and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Mark 16:15

The mind conceives many stories. Some will die in thought. The ones conceived in the heart may have a good start but not be carried to completion. When a story is conceived in the spirit, the spirit wraps itself around the heart to love the story, and fills the mind to move the story to completion. Joy and fulfillment are celebrated at the story’s birth and grows in hope as it reaches into the heart, mind, and spirit of its readers.

My first novel, The Nazarene’s Price, is scheduled to be born into the world sometime in July. The idea behind the story began in my mind during a bible study in Mark, where we read of the rich young ruler. The love of Jesus for this unnamed young man pricked my heart. Knowing this person sought the secret to eternal life, caught my spirit—a story was conceived. I will add here—it took more than nine months to bring the story to the last trimester!

The birth of The Nazarene’s Price will fulfill a purpose the Lord has instilled in my mind, heart, and spirit since I was a young adult—to reach as many as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I thought the Lord would use me as a foreign missionary. He didn’t, until recently, when he put in my heart to start writing a blog that people from around the world read. And when studying the book of John, the Holy Spirit made it clear why I write.

“But these are written, that ye might believe that

Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;

and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

John 20:31

My question for you: Would you be interested in joining me in reaching others with this story of Jesus’ pursuing love, through promoting it to your family, friends, and contacts? If, yes, go to the link below to sign up.+

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdCB_9dgbWBFAn0FYvHW2Iobh0SDPxhzZWicorvzZ0lkxjBVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

Thank you, for your time and consideration of this project—together we can reach more with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Writer’s Burning Heart

The Writer’s Burning Heart

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“What do you make of the stories being told?” Cleopas asked his traveling companion.

He shook his head as the two walked the dusty road. “I cannot make sense of it. The women had to be hysterical with grief.”

The two men grew quiet in the late afternoon shadows, until Cleopas opened his heart to his friend. “I hope the women spoke truth. We had all believed Yeshua to be Messiah. Hope for me died on that cross.”

“Shalom, friends.”

The two stopped in their tracks as a third man joined them and kept walking, not giving them opportunity to clearly see his face. “What are you talking about that makes you so sad?” He asked.

Cleopas and his companion took a couple quick steps to catch the one walking ahead. As the trio finished the seven and a half mile trip from Jerusalem to Emmaus, they told the stranger of the crucifixion and supposed resurrection.

The traveler chided them. “How foolish you are for not believing all the prophets said about the Christ, his sufferings, and his glory to come.” He didn’t end there, but related all the scriptures that speak of the Messiah from Moses through the prophets, until they arrived at Emmaus.

“We stay here,” said Cleopas, “won’t you stop and break bread with us, since it’s getting late in the day?”

When Yeshua broke bread with them, the two men immediately recognized who they had been talking with. At the same moment, Yeshua vanished before their eyes.

“And they said one to another,

Did not our heart burn within us,

while he talked with us by the way,

and while he opened to us the scriptures?”

Luke 24:32

*

Cleopas and his friend now had a story they believed in—

  • a story that burned in their heart—“Did not our heart burn within us.”
  • a story prompted by a familiar picture of Yeshua—They saw the completed story in the breaking of bread.
  • a story with a purpose—to pass on the truth of the resurrection
  • a story for a specific audience—the eleven back in Jerusalem
  • a story they committed themselves to telling—it couldn’t wait until morning. They turned around and headed seven and a half miles back to Jerusalem.

When we set out to write our story, we can take these lessons to heart. We need to—

  • know if the story doesn’t resonate in our heart, we can’t expect it to resonate in another’s heart.
  • have a picture of where our story will take our readers and keep it in front of us.
  • understand why we are writing this story
  • know who the story is for.
  • commit ourselves to the task at hand, keeping our focus, so to complete it.

*

What story burns in your heart waiting to be told? What keeps you from sharing it? Don’t let the fire in your heart burn out. Someone is waiting for your story to be written.

The Writer’s Heart: Why

For the Writer’s Heart: Why

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“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning,

that we should love one another.” 1 John 3:11, KJV

Rage masked his face. “Not acceptable.” The Lord said his offering wasn’t good enough. To Cain that meant he wasn’t good enough. But Abel … always Abel was the good one—the one who did everything right.

“You just had to show me up, didn’t you Abel?” Cain stomped around the altar where Abel had offered his lamb. When Abel started to speak, Cain grabbed a heavy stone from the altar and slammed it against Abel’s head, killing him.*

The apostle John shares the biblical account from *Genesis 4 to show what love is not. Throughout John’s first letter he used the word love 46 times and in his gospel 57 times. John’s brand was believe and know the Son of God. His theme, the love of God and others, gives credence to his brand.

Why writers write reveals their brand—what readers expect when they read your work. It is important to know the why from the beginning of your project, in order—

  1. to have a unified plot
  2.  and a satisfying ending.

Your theme should give validation to your why.

  1. Through your story arc moving the why forward,
  2. while conflict dares it to be so.

The account of Cain and Abel produced the conflict found in the human heart to love God and others above self. The ending supplied a resolution. Abel was accepted and continues in death to be an example of righteousness and love for God through obedience.

The Lord gives a satisfying resolution in Genesis 5, where we see his provision for performing his promise of a Savior through Adam’s and Eve’s third son, Seth. In Seth hope was kept alive.

God’s brand throughout scripture is the revelation of his plan for people through knowing his character. His theme is the love that desires and provides for a relationship with us. The conflict remains the same as we saw with Cain—enmity with man and God. Christ provided the satisfying resolution with his death and resurrection for all who believe.

For Thought: What message do you want your readers to carry with them at the end of what you write? Is it always the same?

A Writer’s Heart: Stories

The Writer’s Heart: Stories

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Nabal shoved the wooden-slatted door shut, wrapped the heavy chain through the iron handle on the door and wall, and secured his treasure with a padlock.

He stroked his curly black beard and nodded his head as he placed the large key on a smaller chain and hung it around his neck.

“All is well now.” He walked to the table in the center of the room and sat with a smile. Nabal opened a leather bag bulging with fullness, and poured its contents onto the table. “Ah, how beautiful,” he said as he filtered the gold through his fingers. “My treasure is safe. I have need of nothing or no one. I can buy more land, build bigger barns, and amass more.” Nabal laughed as he dreamed of his future. The laughter grew louder, filling his ears, so that he could not hear when Jesus came knocking at his door—wanting to give Nabal the treasure of life—a life required of him that night.

Nabal would have done well to heed Jesus’ admonishment to,

“lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there will you heart be also.” Matthew 6: 20a, 21, KJV

***

This story grew out of a writing prompt at our Carbondale Christian Writer’s meeting. What is shared here is not the one done at the meeting but another that popped into my head later. It is a mixture of one of Jesus’ parables, his teachings, and a man from the Old Testament. Ideas for writing are found everywhere when we take a moment to notice the world around us.

Whether fiction or non-fiction, the writer’s heart is filled with stories—some one story at a time, others with many. For the one story at a time heart, you wonder if there will be another. The heart filled with many—you don’t know which to start or how many to work on at a time. You may wonder if you will ever finish even one. Whichever one you are, you can know,

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart

bringeth forth good things …”

Matthew 12:35a, KJV

There is always another good story to be told. It will breath a theme that has been written many times before but never written from your perspective.


Which kind of writer are you? One story at a time? Or many works in progress? What was the writing prompt?

A Writer’s Heart: Happy Ever After

The Writer’s Heart: Happy Ever AfterIMG_1812

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;

When shall I come and appear before God …

O my God, my soul is in despair within me …

I will say to God my rock,

‘Why hast Thou forgotten me …’”

(from Psalm 42)

When my Mom walked through the land of dementia, her mind filled with questions. The words of this Psalm identified her want and expressed her need. Her want was for immediate release and understanding of the new world she had no memory of. Peace, hope, and strength for the journey was her need.

In the writing world, I’ve heard authors should give their readers what they want—for most that is a happy-ever-after ending, concluding whatever conflict our characters face. What is needed is how to walk through the struggle and survive to that ending—to know there is peace, hope, and strength available to make it. No one wants a long journey, but the journey is where the need reveals itself. The author’s challenge comes in helping the readers find and fill the need that brings about the happy-ever-after ending we all want. It comes with knowing where to find it.

Three verses in Psalm 42 supply the answer.

“… Hope in God,

for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;

And His song, will be with me in the night,

A prayer to the God of my life …

Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,

The help of my countenance, and my God.”

(from verses 5,8,11)

When Mom would have a really bad day, we would read scripture, pray, and sing praises to our God. Every time, the Lord would meet us there and peace, hope, and strength covered her spirit—until the day He came for her and gave her the happy-ever-after ending she desired.

May we as authors, not only give our readers what they want, but lead them to the place where their needs become their desire. Then our character’s happy-ever-after ending reaches into the reader’s heart where they find their own happy-ever-after ending. And isn’t that what we really want?

The Writer’s Heart: Prayer

The Writer’s Heart: Prayerblogreligious-2598299__340

How is your prayer life? The apostle Paul mentions a fellow-servant of the Lord, a prisoner of the Lord with Paul, whose life was characterized by prayer and concern for others.

“Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings,

always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers,

that you may stand perfect

and fully assured in all the will of God.

For I bear him witness that

he has a deep concern for you

and for those who are in Laodicea and Hierapolis.”

Colossians 4:12,13, NASB

Family, encouragement, and a united purpose—These common bonds characterize the writers and publishers I’ve encountered through conferences, workshops, and working with editors. We cheer for each other’s success, encourage with our words, and offer help where we can.

We are as Epaphras—of the same number, like-minded, if you will. As Christian authors, we want our writing to point to God in truth and love. There are times we are discouraged, at a loss for words, and wonder if we are on the right track. Epaphras’ example speaks to our greatest weapon in encouraging one another. As he labored, earnestly for you in his prayers, may we do the same for each other.

Currently, I am working on a sequel to my first novel, which is in the last phase before publication. If the Lord brings me to mind, would you pray for me as my first comes to completion and for the Lord to lead in the writing of the second? What is your current project? How can we pray for you?

As we pray for one another, and the Lord prospers our work according to His purpose, we all share in the joy. The success belongs to us all with the Lord receiving the glory. Thank you for praying.

The Writer’s Heart: Diligence

The Writer’s Heart: Diligence

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“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

The apostle Paul wrote Timothy an exhortation we would  be wise to heed. Timothy’s work of the ministry required a knowledge of the word of truth. The work of ministering the gospel is a task all God’s children have been given. Paul told Timothy and us—

  • Study the word of truth, God’s word. The word used for study is also translated diligent. We study, study some more, and keep on studying the word of truth.
  • Why to  study—We are God’s workmen. Our work represents Him. As we study we learn of God, how and where to work.
  • The results—We won’t be ashamed to offer our work to God for it will be done the right way, His way.
  • And it proves our work is a work of love and thanksgiving to the Lord. It proves we are His.

It takes diligent study. The Lord has given us this ministry through our writing. Our work needs to be something we are not ashamed to share with the world.

I’ve sat in several Christian writer’s conferences and heard authors talk about their first attempts at completing a book. After sitting in a file cabinet for years, the manuscript gets pulled out of hiding only to be either reworked or filed away—far away. These authors tell us—

  • Study the craft. Keep studying the craft.
  • Learn from those who have gone before us. There are many conferences, books on writing, podcasts, and groups to choose from to help us in our study.
  • Write with a view leave our reader with more than they expected.
  • Remember our words reflects who we are.
  • If we write as a fellow worker with the Lord, our work also represents Him.

The apostle Paul went so far as to instruct Timothy to use words of truth and not to use—words promoting strife, have no profit, words that lead others into wrong behavior, profane and vain babblings(These are sure to get the editor’s red ink if not a rejection of the whole.)

Helping Each Other: Two books I return to in studying the writing craft are: Write Better, by Andrew T. Le Peau—It’s full of illustrations, instructions, and some laughs. Communicate to Change Lives, In Person and Print, by James N. Watkins.

What book/s do you find helpful in studying the craft? The next step—write and write some more.