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?


A Writer’s Heart: Precepts, Prompts, & Prayers

The Writer’s Heart: Precepts, Prompts, & Prayersbloglove-699480_960_720

“I will meditate in thy precepts,

and have respect unto thy ways.”

Psalm 119:15, KJV

What do we consider morally right? If we want to end with confusion, we can ask politicians—or any random persons on the street. The first question leads to a second. What gives us the right to set moral standards? There is only One who has the authority to set the rules for right and wrong. What does this have to do with writing well?

Our readers want to know our words, whether fiction or nonfiction, carry a weight of truth and will lead them in right ways—even to that “happily ever after” ending.

“The statutes of the LORD are right,

rejoicing the heart:

the commandment of the LORD is pure,

enlightening the eyes.”

Psalm 19:8, KJV

The scriptures show us good and evil. They, also, provide a great resource for purpose, themes, and story prompts. We would like to think people have become smarter and wiser as the ages rolled by. But when we look around our world, we can see we haven’t changed much from those of the Bible. In the Old Testament book of Judges we find—

“In those days there was no king in Israel:

every man did

that which was right in his own eyes.”

(21:25, KJV)

If we understand the context of biblical precepts, can answer the Lord’s purpose in giving them, and recording them to span the ages, then our readers can trust our source. They can find help whether we write fiction or nonfiction. Both will speak truth and lead our readers on a journey of discovery. As we write, we may discover treasures of growth for ourselves. In truth if we don’t grow from the writing process, is it fair to expect our readers to grow from what we write?

What’s the next step?

  • Pray for direction.
  • Start writing.
  • Don’t know what to write? Remember for what purpose and for whom you are writing.
  • Start writing.
  • Begin with a question to answer, a statement of fact, an emotional thought, a description, a scene. This may not remain your opening, but it will free your blocked mind to keep writing.

A Writing Exercise:

Choose one of the following scriptures as a writing prompt. Keep it in the biblical setting, change it to a contemporary setting, or whatever comes to mind. Just have some fun with it, and share it with us in the comments, if you so desire. The key is to—start writing.

  1. “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.” Luke 2:25, KJV
  2. “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;” Luke 2:36, KJV

A Prayer to help you on your way:

Heavenly Father, Open our eyes to see with awe the wonderful things you have done and want us to tell others. Give us understanding of your precepts, the life you have declared right and good. Guide our thoughts, inspire our writing, and help us write in truth of you, your majesty, your marvelous work. May our words always point to you in truth and love. May we trust you with the results as we give our best to the work you’ve given us. Thank you. And we ask all in Jesus’s name and for your glory, honor, and praise. Amen.


Using God’s word correctly will lead us and our readers to what is right and good—and to the “happily ever after” we all seek. What writing goal do you seek?

The Writer’s Heart: Good Gifts

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A Writer’s Heart: Good Gifts

“Every good and every perfect gift is from above,

and cometh down from the Father of lights,

with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

James 1:17, KJV

The Lord gives only one kind of gift—that which is good and perfect. All people everywhere enjoy access to a great many of his gifts. Some don’t acknowledge our Father of lights as the giver—even though without his gifts they would not have the breath of life. Others receive his gifts with thanksgiving.

The best gifts the Father makes available only to those who will receive the offering of his Son, Jesus Christ. These gifts are given to share with others. Through this season of giving, one of the Lord’s gifts I want to share with my writing and reading family is the gift of prayer—using Isaiah 55:11 as my base.

 “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:

it shall not return unto me void,

but it shall accomplish that which I please,

and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

A Prayer For You:

Heavenly Father, bless each author with the words flowing from your heart to the writer’s pen, pencil, or keypad. May each message bring a return of much fruit to your glory by accomplishing your pleasure in the readers’ lives. Send the message to those who will receive it. Give increase to your kingdom through strengthening and encouraging author and reader.

Guide us in all we write to bring you glory, honor, and praise by pointing others to your truth in love. Thank you, for this gift of writing. May we guard it and share it as you send it out. In Jesus’s name we pray. Amen.


The Writer’s Heart: God’s Voice

he Writer’s Heart: God’s Voice

“And after the earthquake a fire: but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” 1 Kings 19:12, KJV

At the ECPA  Art of Writing Conference and Christy Award Gala, I enjoyed connecting with good friends, eating too much delicious food, and hearing God’s voice through the words of his servants—one of which was Edwina Perkins.

Edwina spoke about diversity in our writing, being sensitive to all cultures, and knowing diversity was more than a trend. Interesting, yes, but not relevant to my genre of Biblical fiction, or so I thought. Nor did I think diversity a topic for me to pointedly adopt.

Then there was a stirring in my spirit. I recognized the voice.

“My sheep hear my voice,

and I know them,

and they follow me:”

John 10:27, KJV

The voice brought to mind an incident from about twelve years ago when I lead a children’s bible club in a public school. One dark-skinned, eight-year-old boy challenged me when he asked, “What color is Jesus? Is he white or black?”

My first response—“Jesus is neither white nor black. We don’t have accurate pictures of Jesus so we don’t know for sure his color. But because he was born to a Jewish family, his skin probably was more of a shade of olive color, like most people from that area of the world.”

The answer seemed to satisfy him for the moment, but Edwina’s message tugged at may heart. My mind filled with thoughts of how the Lord might use Edwina’s message and my experience to encourage all children of their unique place in God’s family.

Currently, I have another novel, a sequel to The Nazarene’s Price, half written, and two other projects I write on occasionally. I have the first draft of a children’s book speaking to color in God’s family close to completion, with a second one formulated in my mind. Would you join me in this project by praying for me?

Diversity can be a sensitive issue. Which brings me to a second request. Once completed, I would welcome sensitivity readers to examine my manuscripts and offer constructive feedback. I don’t feel qualified to handle this subject, but I know the Lord goes before me and will provide those who can be of help.

Three things I gained from this conference:

  • Go with an open mind to learn.
  • Listen and you may hear the still small voice of the Lord tugging at your heart.
  • Be ready to be a blessing to others. This topic is another story for another time.

I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3 when he talks about one planting, one watering but God giving the increase—“For we are labourers together with God …”

If you would be interested in laboring with me as a sensitivity reader and/or prayer partner, please, note it in the comments. Thank you.

I received more than I expected at this conference. What have you gained from attending a writer’s conference or writing group?

The Writer’s Heart: Schedules & Blessings

The Writer’s Heart: Schedules and Unexpected Blessings123_1[7665]

“Come now, you who say,

“Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city,

and spend a year there

and engage in business and make a profit …

Instead, you ought to say,

“If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that.”

James 4:13,15; NASB

We had made our plans for the book event a month earlier. But I’ve learned plans are made to give us a semblance of control when the real control belongs to one.

My daughter, Heather, and I checked off the list. No car—check. Extra driving—check. Unexpected meeting—check. Family member with covid—check. And that’s only Saturday’s list of changes—check. Saturday’s list rolled over into more unexpected plan changes and blessings on Sunday—where the best unexpected changes and blessings appeared.

The first change—the baptism of my best friend’s grandson. Because of the first alteration of plans, my husband and I attended a church dinner and auction to provide needy children with a good Christmas.

Mike bookHeather, at the last minute, asked to donate my novel, The Nazarene’s Price, for the auction. She, also donated one of her novels, Love In Any Season, a collection of four novellas by her and three other authors. Both books sold for about twice their selling price, providing a blessing—

  • for the children;
  • hopefully, for the purchasers as they read our stories;
  • for us as we see the Lord doing more with our writing than we had expected or planned. For—

“God gave the increase …

For we are labourers together with God”

1 Corinthians 3:6b,9a, KJV

Interruptions bombard our lives and the writer isn’t exempt. When these intrusions worm their way into our day, do we get frustrated? Or do we give thanks? We are told to—

“Be anxious for nothing,

but in everything by prayer and supplication

with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6, NASB

(I have to work on this one on a daily basis.)

Writing takes time, concentration, and determination—which often leaves the writer exasperated, discouraged, and lacking in consistent progress. How do interrupted schedules become unexpected blessings? Three things come to mind.

  1. If we do as James tells us and speak God’s will into our day instead of our own plans, we understand that our change of plans come at the Lord’s direction and serve his purpose.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart,

But the counsel of the LORD,

it will stand.”

Proverbs 19:21, NASB

  1. Pray for the Lord to order our day, direct our steps, and receive what He brings and where He leads with thanksgiving. For our interruption may turn into a blessing for another and an unexpected blessing for us.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD;

and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Commit thy way unto the LORD;

trust also in him;

and he shall bring it to pass.”

Psalm 37:4-5, KJV

  1. Remember, God sends unexpected blessings packaged in the people he puts in our lives.

“This is my commandment,

That ye love one another, as I have love you.”

John 15:12, KJV

The Lord turns his interruptions into blessings and helps us complete what He wants accomplished when we keep our focus on the eternal instead of the temporary.

This Writer’s Heart: Grouch Meter

This Writer’s Heart: The Grouch Meterdscf6859

“O that ye would altogether hold your peace!

And it should be your wisdom.”

Job 13:5, KJV

One thing I have learned, there is a time to speak and a time to be quiet. The teens we took on mission trips knew when I got quiet, it meant the day’s work left me not trusting myself to speak in the kindest manner. I could use fewer words and say, I got grouchy. So, I kept quiet. The same principle for speaking applies to writing.

Workshop leaders at writing conferences, editors, publishers, and seasoned writers give the same advice to new writers our friend Job spoke to his lousy comforters. We are encouraged to keep our writing tight.

  • Writing tight doesn’t mean telling, i.e., I got grouchy.
  • It does mean showing, i.e., my words registered high on the grouch meter.
  • It means deleting unnecessary words—that, every, just; instead of got up, use rose or stood;
  • words clouding understanding instead of giving it—dollar words instead of fifty cent words—keep it simple unless it adds to the story;
  • words taking the reader out of the story—too much description;
  • writing tight keeps our editors from registering on the grouch meter.

For tonight, I’m tired. It’s time for me to use wisdom and be quiet. Do feel free to add to the list—and have a good night.

The Writer’s Heart: Retreat

The Writer’s Heart: RetreatIMG_1438

“And he said unto them,

Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place,

and rest a while:

for there were many coming and going,

and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”

Mark 6:31

Are you a planner? I’m not talking about in writing but in everyday living. Or do you take the day as it comes no matter what it brings? Maybe you’re a combination—trying to plan but rarely seeing your daily plan being what you envisioned.

No matter the stage of life we find ourselves in—distractions, too much to do with not enough time to do it in, voices vying for attention (not to mention the laundry that needs done, the house cleaned, meals cooked), responsibilities we are thankful for but yet, pull our focus away from the time we carve out of our day for writing.

Using Jesus’s words and applying them to the writer in us, I can hear him say, “Come apart—retreat—to a quiet place, rest from the daily responsibilities and enjoy an uninterrupted time of writing.”

The Once Upon a Page ladies took care of the planning to provide a writer’s retreat for last weekend. By the way, you can check out their videos at Once Upon a Page youtube.com.

They scheduled plenty of:

  • free writing time,
  • a period of joining together for morning devotion—reminding us why we write, and encouraging us to keep on keeping on.
  • We brainstormed ideas for those who were stuck on their current WIP.
  • They prepared three different writing exercises. My favorite was the story cube. It produced a lot of laughs.
  • My favorite evening ended around a fire making s’mores and playing some games.

I would encourage you as Jesus did his disciples to—

“Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while:”

You don’t have to be a writer to need to rest from all the world throws at you or all the voices calling for attention. Remember to schedule a retreat for your self—a time to step away from all else and find your rest in your heavenly Father’s arms.

If you could go anywhere in the world for a retreat, where would it be?

The Writer’s Heart: Words

The Writer’s Heart: Words

“Oh that my words were now written!

Oh that they were printed in a book!”

Job 19:23, KJV

Is this not the dream, the driving desire of every writer? With the publication of The Nazarene’s Price, my desire became a reality, as it does with every author who holds that first copy in his/her hands.

Within the cover of our work, whether fiction or nonfiction, power to change the world resides by reaching out to the one the words capture. We’ve heard it said,

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”*

Long before this famous quote, the Lord inspired his writers to pen the power of our words.

“The lips of the righteous feed many … 

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life …

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones …

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”**

The author’s tongue finds its expression through the written word. We hold a great responsibility in handling our words carefully.

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

bringeth forth good things:

and an evil man out of the evil treasure

bringeth forth evil things.

But I say unto you,

that every idle word that men shall speak,

they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Matthew 12:35,36, KJV

Daunting isn’t it? But the workshops and speakers we listen to at conferences teach us the same concept—except for the judgment of God part. We do learn our words are judged by the publishers and editors as they remind us to make every word count. Each word drives our purpose, our message. Done well the words have the power to change one life at a time through encouragement, hope, feeling as if the reader is not alone, someone understands.

When one is touched by the author’s writing, the writer and the reader become partners in sharing words powerful enough to affect change.

My novel, The Nazarene’s Price, has been out for two months now. Many came to celebrate with me at the book signing. A few have left public reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, a few have been left in comments on my website, but just as important are those who have called to say, “I identified with Matthias and his doubts because of the places I have been,” and “Your book made me feel I was there with those I’ve only ready about before,” or “I’m passing this one on to _________.”

My readers encourage me, and I want to thank them for expressing how my words touched them.

I do remind readers, not only of my work but any author’s work, of the importance of reaching out to others by leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, Barnes and Noble, or other sites. Your words there or by word of mouth serve as a means to others to read books that may speak to their hearts. In this way, the author and the reader share in—

a word well spoken, and seeing another’s life changed.

What book has spoken to your heart?

*Edward Bulwer Lytton penned the quote after Richelieu spoke them to King Louis XIII. Source, BBC News.

**Proverbs 10:2a;15:4a; 16:24; 18:21,KJV

The Writer’s Heart: Remembrance

The Writer’s Heart: Remembrance

Have you ever thought about the books our God has left us? There are sixty-six books of truth in the Bible. I don’t know about you, but I believe the Bible constitutes the longest series ever written.

Besides the sixty-six books, the Lord has his own books He is still working on. These books won’t be seen until time is no more—the books of judgement found in Daniel 7:10—that’s one book I don’t want my name in. The book of life—is one all of us, who have received Jesus as our Savior, will rejoice to find our names in.

Then there are two more books—one records our wanderings and tears, Psalm 56:8. The second is a book of remembrance.

“Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:

and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,

and a book of remembrance was written before him

for them that feared the LORD,

and that thought upon his name.”

Malachi 3:16, KJV

It was a book of encouragement to let God’s people know they were not forgotten. The first picture is, The Nazarene’s Price, used as a book of remembrance from the book signing party. Each name brings me encouragement and reminds me to pray for my guests. If you think this is a great idea, I must to tell you, the original idea came from my daughter, Heather Greer. She started doing this with the release of her first novel. You can connect with her at heathergreer.com.

If you are planning a launch party, a couple other things we did to have some fun was a drawing for door prizes, including a chance for guests to gain an extra ticket if they wore purple. Why purple? My main character, Matthias, owned a vineyard.

Without too much expense, we incorporated some Jewish food, including dibs and challah bread—which makes a great bread pudding. One give away was a bread pudding recipe I found on the internet. It turned out really good.

Instead of reading an excerpt from the story of, The Nazarene’s Price,  I read my dedication, which is to my readers, and the introduction that explains how biblical fiction works. After all, those are things most people don’t read.

As you can see, with friends gathering, book signings, prizes, and food, fun memories were made. Each name in my book holds a special memory.

As special as my book of remembrance is, it cannot compare with being in the Lord’s book of remembrance. To have our names in His book of remembrance, we must first have it in the Lamb’s Book of Life when standing before the Lord.

“He that overcometh,

  • the same shall be clothed in white raiment;
  • and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,
  • but I will confess his name before my Father,
  • and before his angels …

For whatsoever is born of God

overcometh the world:

and this is the victory that overcometh the world,

even our faith.

Who is he that overcometh the world,

but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Revelation 3:5; 1 John 5:4-5, KJV

Which book is your name written in?

What do you remember most about your first book launch/signing party?

The Writer’s Heart: Temptation

The Writer’s Heart: Temptation

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“Love not the world,

neither the things that are in the world.

If any man love the world,

the love of the Father is not in him.”

1 John 2:15, KJV

The gesture should have humbled my heart, and it did—for a moment. The honor another gave me turned from a precious gift to a prideful fall.

Finally, someone realized the work I had done. Therein lay the problem. I had forgotten the many others who walked alongside me, not in my words of thanksgiving, but in my heart.

The greater downfall came as I relished the glory I received that belonged only to God. For that moment I chose to love the world—the applause of others, the mindset that affirmed my worth found in the work—not in the One who made it all happen. It didn’t take my heavenly Father long to correct my thinking and my heart. I learned the hard way Peter’s lessons of failure, repentance, and restoration.

As authors and writers, the temptation to love the world comes to us as we receive special awards, our books become best-sellers, our fans grow, as does our number of followers, comments, and likes. These are all things we desire to see happen for ourselves and each other. The subtle temptation sneaks in when we fall prey to think we need those things to make us real authors or be successful.

If we don’t achieve the numbers, awards, or contracts, love of the world whispers to quit. It shouts we’re not good enough, while our heart’s desire remains to write words that will make a difference in someone’s life. We believe the lie of the tempter instead of trusting the path the Lord has put us on.

It’s important to keep first things first so as not to allow the love of the world to derail our purpose.

  • Love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength,
  • and keep our purpose for writing before us.
  • We are admonished to love God and to please him. After all He is the one who has gotten us this far—He will take us to where He wants us to go.
  • As we continue in our writing journey, let’s remember our is found in—

“whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”