A Writer’s Heart: Encouragement

A Writer’s Heart: EncouragementIMG_4412 ridgecrest

“I’m not sure I should continue writing.” The woman’s eyes told the story. She wasn’t ready to quit. She needed some encouragement. She wasn’t alone in her need. During my time at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference, her discouragement echoed through others.

  • “I’m doubting my writing is good enough.”
  • “I wonder if God is done with me. Maybe it’s time to quit.”

For myself, I didn’t doubt my call to keep writing. I needed encouragement in how best to proceed. Would the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference provide my need?

When wondering about the importance of writer’s conferences here are some verses to consider.

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith

without wavering;

(for he is faithful that promised;)

Christian writers write with conviction to the call God puts in our hearts. Writing is the venue used to speak the truth and love of God to another. When discouraged, press forward knowing the Lord is faithful to give the words, provide the teaching, and bless the work in the hearts and minds of our readers. When we write in his name and for his glory, he prospers the word, accomplishing what he sends it out to do. Keep writing. Keep believing. He honors his work in us and through us—for it is his name we represent.

 And let us consider one another

to provoke unto love and good works.

Writing to publish, in order to speak the word to as many as the Lord gives us, is hard work. We all appreciate an encouraging word—this includes the hard words an agent, editor, or publisher offers when our work needs sharpened to bring it to its best. Those words can be hard to swallow but if we swallow, digest, and spit them out into better manuscripts there is reward. We must keep the goal in sight.

These influences are found in writer’s conferences, along with, the encouragement of other writers’ stories and experiences.

Maybe the cost of a conference doesn’t fit your budget. Many offer scholarships. If none are available, there are free online courses offered—these don’t offer the fellowship but do give us a place to learn. Another excellent place to receive encouragement is in a local writer’s group. If there isn’t one in your area, start one.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,

as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another:

and so much the more,

as ye see the day approaching.”

Hebrews 10: 23-25, KJV

I know these verses speak to gathering with the church. Don’t discount your local church for a place of encouragement. Need prayer? Ask for others to pray for your writing ministry. Share with them what the Lord is doing in your life. If appropriate, offer a reading that lends to bible study. It’s a way to give back to your local readers.

In reality, the Christian writer’s conferences are a gathering of the church of Jesus Christ. A group of likeminded people come together in love united in one spirit. The unity of love, mind, and spirit quiets the voice of discouragement.

The ones discouraged, at the beginning of the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writing Conference, left with their commitment, vision, and purpose renewed. They left encouraged.

For me, I found encouragement through the workshops, times of worship, and fellowship.

I left with a myriad of new friends, and the workshops answered my prayers. If I failed to thank you then, I thank you now. I left with instruction in writing nonfiction, a clearer vision in writing fiction, and much more information in marketing. Now, I need to rehash it all and learn to apply it.

One last verse for your encouragement and mine.

“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, KJV

The Lord is faithful. He gives worth to our words. Keep on keeping on.


A Writer’s Heart: Ponderings

A Writer’s Heart: Ponderings

woman in gray crew neck shirt running on brown soil during daytime
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“Know ye not

that they which run in a race run all

but one receiveth the prize?

So run, that ye may obtain.”

1 Corinthians 9: 24, KJV

Pondering, a more poetic term for the thoughts running through my mind. Soon my husband (who is going along for the sightseeing), my daughter, myself, and about a couple hundred others will be heading to the Blueridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. While there the Selah Award finalists will discover who has won the prize.

Each author in the Selah competition has shown a certain level of excellence in his/her writing to the perspective judges. We all encourage and applaud their recognition. Writing and writing well is hard work. The truth in the end—there is only one winner in each category of the Selah Award prize. Here, I will take a moment to say, “Congratulations to each of the finalists and the award winners.”

The ponderings floating through my mind raised the question of the value of entering the many different contests offered to writers.

There are contests—

  • for all genres,
  • for published, and non-published works,
  • for articles,
  • blogs, short stories, poems, and the list goes on.

The contests range in cost from free to a couple hundred dollars. Yet, there is only one winner. What is the benefit and is it worth the cost?

For the winner—recognition, sanction from peers, a marketing help, encouragement. There is also recognition for your publisher and editors.

For the one who walks away with the prize, my answer is, “Yes.” Although, I don’t have any statistics concerning how the author’s sales or opportunities to market increased following the award.  Award winners, how would you answer the questions of benefit and cost?

For those who do not receive awards—What benefit is found in entering the contests? Actually, the Apostle Paul gives an answer in our verse today— So run, that ye may obtain.

  • If you don’t run, you can’t possibly win.
  • Contests push writers to examine their work and find where improvements may be needed.
  • Contests demand discipline in following the rules.
  • They exercise patience and humility.

The cost must be weighed against the benefits, which will differ personally for each author. A few questions to consider:

  • Why am I entering this contest?
  • Why do I write?
  • For whom do I write?
  • How important is the winning?

The apostle Paul further explains it this way:

“And everyone who competes in the games

exercises self-control in all things.

They then do it to receive a perishable wreath,

but we an imperishable.”

1 Corinthians 9:25, NASB

The awards we receive here are momentary, but the one that truly matters is eternal. When we write as unto the Lord, by his calling, we have a great award now in the satisfaction of pleasing him, and one greater in the future where we receive his Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim …

I press toward the mark for the prize

of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

1Corinthians 9:26a; Philippians 3:14, NASB

By spirit, I am competitive—I like to win. Who doesn’t? But my aim is not winning in this world but in the next where we all are victorious through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, where have my ponderings led me?

  • Pray about each contest.
  • Count the cost against my budget.
  • Know winning or losing here isn’t the aim—It’s a hope but not a goal we can control.
  • Ask myself if there is a better way to market my books than through this/that contest for my dollars’ worth.

One final pondering:

We need to be on guard against a subtle temptation to compare our successes or our failures to that of others. Knowing the Lord is the ultimate judge of all our work, he alone is the one we are to please. This gives us peace in the winning or losing and keeps us rejoicing with our peers for their successes. The Lord gives value to our writing as we write for his glory. His smile is our reward.

What are your ponderings concerning contests? I’m interested in your thoughts as I’m contemplating one final contest for this year. Thank you, and I look forward to rejoicing with all of you at Blue Ridge.

A Writer’s Heart: A Prayer

A Writer’s Heart: A Prayerblogreligious-2598299__340

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of glory, may give to you

a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened,

so that you may know what is the hope of His calling,

what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

and what is the surpassing greatness of His power

toward us who believe.”

Ephesians 1: 17-19a, KJV

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory …

Our heavenly Father, Father of our Lord and the Father of glory, you are God and it’s to you we come asking you to give  us…

a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him …

a greater knowledge of you—who you are and your wonder. As we write, may we do so from a heart filled with your pure, peaceable, unwavering wisdom that’s from above and seen in the truth of who you are lived out in our lives—a wisdom none can resist.1

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened …

And heavenly Father, may we see life as you see it. As you give us understanding through your word, the teaching of your Holy Spirit, and life experience, may we meditate on how you work all things together for our good. Help us share this understanding with our reading family for their encouragement and growth.

so that you may know what is the hope of His calling …

Father, help us remember we may not readily see our reward for faithfully engaging in the calling you have given us. Keep us mindful our work in the Lord is not in vain but will reap its reward in your time and your place. This is our hope—your glory.

the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints …

Help us remember our reward is the glory our work brings you. It is your smile, your pleasure, your “Well done.”

and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”

Father, you have called us to partner with you in the work of the gospel. One plants, one waters, but you give the increase.2 By your power bring increase to your kingdom through the work you have called us to—for yours is the kingdom, yours is the power, and yours is the glory forever. Amen.3

1James 3:17; Acts 6:10; 21 Corinthians 3:7; 3Matthew 6: 13;

A Writer’s Heart: Launching With Prayer

A Writer’s Heart: Launching With Prayerblogsunset-585334__340

“Cast thy bread upon the waters:

for thou shalt find it after many days …

In the morning sow thy seed,

and in the evening withhold not thine hand:

for thou knowest not whether shall prosper,

either this or that,

or whether they both shall be alike good.”

Ecclesiastes 11: 1, 6, KJV

It appeared in my email—again—an invitation to join the Kingdom Writers Conference. Free online live zoom conference was the lure. I had seen it before, several times.

Free conferences usually come filled with a thirty-minute push for joining the not free rest of the conference. A nugget or two thrown out to the attendees is the bait. Generally, I dismiss them opting for more writing time. This time I pushed the, “reserve my seat” button. Why? I had been praying about relaunching my novel, The Nazarene’s Price. This conference advertised launching a book, and a nudging in my spirit compelled me to join. I’m so glad I did.

Most authors agree the hardest part of writing a book is not the writing, not even finding a publisher, but the marketing.

Marketing begins before the long-awaited release date arrives. Plans are made for a launch party, either online or in person.

  • We tend to grow anxious about finding a launch team to help with the advertising,
  • offering ideas,
  • helping with the planning.
  • Then we worry whether anyone will join the party?
  • Who’s going to buy our books?
  • Will anybody leave a review?
  • Will readers think our book is good?

The list could continue. There is a way to alleviate this anxiety and enjoy the planning and the party.

In the opening address of the Kingdom Writers Conference, CJ Hitz addressed the need to launch our books with prayer. That’s not a novel idea (excuse the pun). Christian authors make a regular habit of praying over their work. But CJ offered a three-point prayer plan to guide us to a successful launch by adding a prayer team to our planning.

Without prayer we cannot be sure our books are being blessed by God and finding success in his plan. With prayer, God stays in control.

The Three Point Plan:

  1. Invite others who will bathe the book and launch team in prayer. Choose three to five prayer warriors who will share the launch of your book on social media.
  2. Institute a 40-day countdown to the launch. Each day before the launch specify one thing to pray for concerning your book.

Use scriptures or quotes from the book to inspire for prayer;

pray for last edits,

for the planning committee team,

pray for each other.

3. Three days before the launch—retreat. When our Lord had a big decision to face, he would retreat to a quiet place and pray. Ask the prayer team to bathe the launch in prayer and if possible fasting three days prior to the launch. During this time focus on seeking the Lord to take the message of your book to whom he wants to speak to, and to where it needs to go.

For a relaunch, I’m adding this: ask those who have previously bought and read your book to invite three friends to the launch party whether online or in person.

When we cover our writing, publishing, launching, and continued success of our books in prayer, keeping the purpose of our writing before us (bring glory to God by pointing others to him in truth and love) worry and anxiety find rest in the working of the Lord.

Thank you, CJ and Shelley Hitz for casting your bread out. They sowed the seeds and good fruit is growing. I would encourage you to take advantage of their next Kingdom Conference.

In the meantime—pray and sow the good seed.

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God,

that he may exalt you in due time:

Casting all your care upon him;

for he careth for you …

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks:

for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, KJV

What ideas for a launch/relaunch do you favor?

A Writer’s Heart: Discipline

A Writer’s Heart: Discipline

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“Till I come,

give attendance to reading,

to exhortation, to doctrine.”

1 Timothy 4:13, KJV

The word discipline carries with it a negative connotation. Children view discipline as punishment and loss of freedom, i.e., “Do I have to, Mom?” When we grow up with this mind set discipline turns into a commandment. In reality, discipline is self-control’s learning mechanism. It produces growth and freedom to become all the Lord intends us to be. Discipline reaps reward.

“Meditate upon these things;

give thyself wholly to them;

that thy profiting may appear to all.

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine;

continue in them:

for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself,

and them that hear thee.”

1 Timothy 4: 15-16, KJV

The Christian life exemplifies a disciplined life—a life controlled by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us. There are certain disciplines we practice which encourage growth in our relationship with God, i.e., Bible study, Prayer, and Stewardship. Each of these play an important part in our lives and work of the Gospel. These three parallel the disciplines writers need to fulfill the calling on our lives.

We begin with Paul’s instructions to Timothy—

  • give attendance to reading; Read, read, and read some more. Read authors of the genre you write. Read books on the craft and art of writing. Read other genres.
  • give attendance … to exhortation: Be ready to encourage others by giving reviews, offering help, rejoicing over successes and comforting through disappointments.
  • give attendance … to doctrine; Keep learning the mechanics of writing through reading, online classes, conferences, applications. Be a lifelong learner, ever growing and improving your craft.
  • Meditate upon these things; Keep what you learn fresh in your heart and mind.
  • Give thyself wholly to them: Do your best writing all the time.
  • Your reward—that thy profiting may appear to all.

Discipline is a mind set to progress through perseverance and is summed up with—

  • Study; covered above
  • Prayer; Calling on the best Teacher available to guide us in all we write, along with other authors he puts in our path.

“Let the words of my mouth,

and the meditation of my heart,

be acceptable in thy sight,

O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer …

Shew me thy ways, O LORD;

teach me thy paths. 

Lead me in thy truth,

and teach me:

for thou art the God of my salvation:

on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 19: 14; 25: 4-5, KJV

  • Stewardship; using the gifts the Lord has given us for the edification of our readers. As we share those gifts with others, the Lord grows us, too.

“So, we, being many, are one body in Christ,

and every one members one of another:

Having then gifts differing

according to the grace that is given to us …

Neglect not the gift that is in thee …”

Romans 12:5-6a; 1 Timothy 4:14a, KJV

A disciplined writer keeps learning and growing. What practices keep your mind set on writing your best all the time? How do you keep learning and growing?

A Writer’s Heart: True Identity

The Writer’s Heart: True Identity

lamb of God
picture courtesy of Pintrest

“He saith unto them,

But whom say ye that I am?”

Matthew 16:15

Biblical names identified the character or calling of a person the Lord God chose for a specific purpose. Jesus identified himself as the Son of man, when he asked his disciples who others said he was. They listed three names floating around on the tongues of the people. None used his name—Jesus—identifying him as the Son of man.

“And she shall bring forth a son,

and thou shalt call his name JESUS:

for he shall save his people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:21, KJV

After nearly three years of seeing his miracles and hearing his teaching, the masses didn’t recognize Jesus’s true calling—save them from their sins—or his true identity found in his name.

But when Jesus asked Peter, “whom say ye that I am?”

“Simon Peter answered and said

thou art the Christ,

the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 16:16, KJV

Peter answered with Jesus’s calling, the anointed one, and identity—who is the promised seed of God—the Son of the living God.

Jesus further revealed his identity when speaking to a group of questioning Jews.

“Jesus said unto them,

Verily, verily, I say unto you,

Before Abraham was,

I am.”

John 8:58, KJV

The Jews understood full well Jesus declared himself God by using the meaning of the name by which the Lord God identified himself to Moses.

“And God said unto Moses,


and he said,

Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel,

I AM hath sent me unto you.”

Exodus 3:14, KJV

FYI: Moses’s name means drawn out. The Lord saved Moses when the princess of Egypt drew him out of the water. Then the Lord used Moses when He drew Moses out from the Egyptians and out from among his own people in order to free the Israelites from slavery.

As Moses was set apart as an instrument of I Am, Jesus, a greater than Moses was set apart as the—

  • Son of man—to save us from our sins,
  • the Son of the living God—a holy sacrifice acceptable for payment of our sins,
  • I am—the physical declaration of the invisible God,
  • and “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Both Moses and Jesus were men sent by God with a specific purpose or calling. If you were to ask me my name, it would bear little meaning to you. If you asked me, who I am, you would see beyond the physical and into my heart.

Telling you I am a mother, you would know I have children. Telling you I am an author reveals what I do, but little about who I am. But when I tell you my name is Donna and I am a born again child of God, now you know my identity. I am identified as one of God’s own, which tells you He lives in my heart by the Spirit of Christ in me. From there you can surmise much about what my character should be and what motivates me.

No matter what we’ve done—had children, written a book, our calling, or gifting, it is vital to know our true identity.

Authors are as vulnerable to lose ourselves in our work as any others. As a Christian author, with my identity found in Christ, my writing is a calling—a means to proclaim who this Christ is that lives in me. This truth often gets entangled in our accomplishments and our failures.

When rejection slips pile high on our desks, temptations blind our eyes to truth, and—

  • We see ourselves as failures. The truth—in our failures we learn our writing isn’t an editorial on us as a person, our identity. Our failures are a stepping stone to growth in the craft and business of writing.
  • We question our calling. The truth—It is good from time to time to examine our purpose for writing and renew our commitment, remembering God doesn’t withdraw his calling. He may change our direction in it but our calling remains the same.
  • Discouragement cripples our creativity. The truth—What God has called you to do, he equips you to do.
  • In discouragement, the temptation is to quit. The truth—Keep on keeping on. God gives the increase in his time.

Remember you are a child of God and all is done for his glory.

Successes in the writer’s life come with their own set of lures that conceal our true identity. Finding our worth—

  • in our awards. The truth—our greatest award is the Father’s well done found in our obedience to his calling.
  • In an abundance of writing contracts. The truth—Ours is to do the work and give thanksgiving to the Lord for giving the increase.
  • In our own talents. The truth—this too is from the Lord. Ours is to glory in him.
  • In our new-found fame. The truth—fame comes bundled with the temptations of fear of losing it; of lazy writing, believing because we’ve “arrived” our manuscripts will automatically be accepted. Further truth—do all we do as unto the Lord. He deserves our best.
  • In sales. The truth—numbers do not equal success. When we write our goal isn’t sales—although these are good, and we should do our part—but to fulfill the purpose for which the Lord has called us. For me that is to know God and make him known to whomever he reveals himself.

I’ve given you a little insight into my true identity today. If you want to know more, read my writings, my blogs, my novel, The Nazarene’s Price. Remember it’s not me that’s important to know but the One I write for.

To get to know you better, I leave you with one question, “Who do you say Jesus is?”

The Writer’s Heart: Preparations

The Writer’s Heart: Preparations

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“And if I go to prepare a place for you,

I will come again, and receive you unto my self;

that where I am, there ye may be also.”

John 14:3, KJV

The season of writers’ conferences comes with the appearance of spring and flows into fall. A year of preparing for authors in every stage of the writing process invites writers to come and gain from the experience of others. Conferences don’t just happen.

Much planning, organizing, and providing a venue, checking out equipment, recruiting speakers, and workshop leaders, advertising, bookkeeping—what did I leave out organizers—must be done before registration opens and the seats fill.

Here, I’ll take a moment to thank those who work so hard to offer us opportunities to keep learning and growing in the writing craft and the business that goes with it. Your sacrifice and work do not go unnoticed. Thank you!

Writers’ conferences may be costly to our budgets, but they are also costly to produce. I have not attended one that I didn’t receive my money’s worth. In order to reap a return on expenses, conference attendees need to prepare themselves and their work for the experience. We must do our homework—

  • Examine the courses offered. Choose according to your needs.
  • Visit the workshop speakers’ websites in order to get to know them.
  • Read last year’s comments about the conference you’re considering.
  • If offered, join the conference Facebook page.
  • Consider the cost against your budget.
  • Check out the editors, agents, publishers, and authors who will be available for appointments. Which one best fits your questions, genre, and purpose?
  • Come wanting to learn, questions written down, and knowing the audience and message of your work in progress.
  • Pray and be ready to give, at least, as much encouragement to others as you hope to gain.
  • Try to be physically prepared by getting rest and being as confident as possible that you’re ready for the conference experience.

Preparing for our conference experience is important, but there is an event in our future the Lord has been preparing for us for over two thousand years. We cannot afford to be unprepared for this meeting.

Jesus told his disciples he was going away to prepare a place for them to come be with him. I can’t begin to imagine—

what that special place will look like,

what we will do there,

what change that will take place in us.

Yes, I know the description John gives in Revelation,

the worship,

praise, and songs,

the supper of the Lamb.

I know we are told when Jesus appears again, we will be like him.

But pictures, real life pictures of all this overwhelm my mind.

We will be in the presence of the fulness of God’s glory,

of the majesty of the place,

the pureness of praise,

and the completion of my own salvation fills my heart with anticipation.

The season of all things being made ready seems to be upon us. Are we ready? Have we been preparing for the day of Christ’s appearance?

Our part in preparing for this day—is a heart cleansed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ.

“Behold the Lamb of God,

which taketh away the sin of the world …

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

And from Jesus Christ,

who is the faithful witness,

and the first begotten of the dead,

and the prince of the kings of the earth.

Unto him that loved us,

and washed us from our sins

in his own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;

to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh …”

John 1:29b; Revelation 1:5-7a, KJV

Are you prepared?

A Writer’s Heart: One Word

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A Writer’s Heart: One Word-Write.

A mind game of word association is meant to reveal the thoughts of a person. What picture do you see when reading the following words? Go. Peace. Charge. Tell. Write.

The word write is used 91 times in 82 verses of the Bible. Written appears 277 times in 268 verses. I’m told the more times a word appears in Scripture the more it cries for our attention. Why are these words important?

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for


for reproof,

for correction,

for training in righteousness;

that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:16-17, NASB

Searching through the scriptures, we find the Lord gave the written word to us for several reasons.

  • Revelation
  • Warning
  • Encouragement
  • Example
  • Reference/remembering
  • Continuation

“This will be written for the generation to come;

That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.”

Psalm 102:18, NASB

When the Lord spoke one person received the message. For many years his message passed from generation to generation through the telling. As writers, we are told telling is not the best way to make our message heard.

The prophets heard the word of the Lord. He instructed them to speak it and to write it. What we hear often floats in and out of our minds. What is written gives us a point of reference—a place to check our facts. Read enough times, the word becomes solidified in our minds. If memorized God writes his word in our hearts, shaping our lives accordingly.

When God the Son entered this world in the flesh, the Lord God gave us a living example of his word.

“God, after He spoke long ago

to the fathers in the prophets

in many portions and in many ways,

in these last days has spoken to us in His Son …”

Hebrews 1:1-2a, NASB

Words spoken by example—showing—influence our lives the most. Since we cannot physically walk with Jesus in the flesh as his early disciples did, we have the written word to show us the life Jesus lived. We have both telling and showing to infuse the words we read into our hearts and minds.

The words we write have power to shape the thinking of our readers, which influence their lives for good or bad. Our words speak a message to be referenced now and by the next generation. In writing, our words need to show the power of the word in the lives of our characters, whether they be fictional or nonfictional. Our lives need to agree with the message we put on paper. The words we write are important—someone is reading them.

What comes to your mind when you hear the one word—Write?

A Writer’s Heart: Thanksgiving

A Writer’s Heart: Thanksgivingbloggratitude-1201944_960_720

I am back. Life events have a way of robbing us of time and energy. And no, I didn’t slip back in time to the wrong season. Thanksgiving is to be like prayer—never ceasing.

“Giving thanks always for all things

unto God and the Father

in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Ephesians 5:20, KJV

During this Easter season our minds dwell on the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We hear the account of his suffering, betrayal, praying in the garden, his mock trial, a crown of thorns, and merciless beating. We envision our Lord stripped of strength carrying his cross until he could carry it no more, and finally his crucifixion, our death payment—paid in full.

But then comes Sunday! By the mighty power of God, Jesus bursts from death’s hold to live forever and bring us new life. We have much to be thankful for.

“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift …

For God so loved the world,

that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him

should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

2 Corinthians 9:15; John 3:16, KJV

Our gracious heavenly Father first gave us his best gift showing us he would withhold nothing good from us. This includes you, my readers.

What I’ve been wanting to write since Sunday evening, is an expression of thanksgiving for those God has put in my life through this writing journey. Starting with—

“We give thanks to God always for you all,

making mention of you in our prayers;”

1Thessalonians 1:2, KJV

If I mentioned all my friends and family that have encouraged me in one way or another along this journey, my list would be longer than a child’s wish list at Christmas. Without their prayers and words of encouragement, who knows where I would be.

Then there are those from the book world—publishers, editors, cover designers, and other authors who encourage writers to make our writing the best it can be. They faithfully show us our weaknesses and how to overcome them. Then the designers put the “icing on the cake.”

There is another group authors cannot do without—our readers. These people purchase our books, read them and our blogs. Many leave reviews or speak a personal word of encouragement. Because you have given of your time and/or money to read my works, I want to say thank you by offering all my readers an opportunity to win one of three eBooks.

Three people will receive their choice of one of the following three eBooks.

The Nazarene’s Price, my biblical fiction novel—

  • about the pursuing love of Christ for the rich young ruler who is searching for life;
  • Linda Wood Rondeau’s devotional book, Lessons Along the Way, Vol. 1—Short devotions filled with encouragement through scripture, stories, and quotes.
  • and Robin T. Jennings, The Door to Renewal, Spiritual Growth through the Mind of Saint Paul—a clearly written, down to earth, inspirational path to growing in life in Christ through the renewing of our minds.

To have a chance to win one of the three books:

  • You must live in the United States
  • Leave a comment on my blog post or Facebook post.
  • Your name will be put in a drawing to take place on April the 19th.
  • April 20th I will announce the three winners and ask you to message me your email address to receive the book of your choice.

Authors write alone, but our journey to publication includes many. Thank you, for being a part of my journey. May this season of life fill you with the eternal hope found in our Lord.

P.S. I hope to start getting caught up with visiting your sites very soon. Thank you for your patience.

The Writer’s Heart: Branded

The Writer’s Heart: Branded

herd of cattle
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

“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.