Writing Opportunities

I recently received “Christian Communicator” Magazine. Some months back they announced that they were going to combine their professional writer’s magazine with their normal writing magazine. This month that concept grabbed my attention.

One year at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, the editors and agents gathered for a question and answer period for the participants. They told us that we should pay attention to the business side of writing. I think this combination of “Christian Communicator” will help us do that.Christian Communicator 5 6 2017.jpeg

The first article this month is written by James Scott Bell. I like his fiction and his writing craft books. The article for the May/June issue is entitled, “Short and Strategic” under the heading, “Marketing.”

He gives advice for getting an author’s name in the public realm and he tells how to make some money and how to increase or establish an email list of readers.

The next article under “The Write Stuff” is entitled “Making Editors Smile,” written by Dr. Dennis E. Hensley. He too, is a prolific author and gives valuable insights to avoid rejections and to develop relationships with editors and to earn income as a freelance writer.

I didn’t write this with the express notion of advertising the “Christian Communicator.”

I tried one of James Scott Bell’s ideas as I wrote a small article this morning right after having time in the Word and in prayer. I called three different family members whose opinion I value and they gave critiques and support, so after I let my rough draft set for a few days, I hope to submit it. I just prayed today for an opportunity to earn some money since a freelance writer’s income is sporadic until they have established customers and even then they need to keep marketing their work and/or services to new editors and clients since circumstances change.

Reading in the book of 1Kings and of Solomon’s wisdom, it reminded me to ask God for help with my writing. In a dream, Solomon told God that he didn’t have the wisdom to lead the multitude of Israelis. He wanted to be a king who judged the people with insight and he wanted to please God. 1Kings 3:11, (ESV):  And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,

1Ki 3:12  behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

1Ki 3:13  I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days.

1Ki 3:14  And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Having read in James_1:5 , (KJV), “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him,” I figured God wouldn’t object to me asking for wisdom about projects to write and markets to send pieces to various editors.

He is a good God.

So, I’ll see what this latest opportunity provides. I thought I’d write a thank you note to “Christian Communicator” if my article gets accepted.

May God bless you.

 

Remember Who You Are

Our Wednesday morning Bible study had a lady attending who belonged to another church. She used to be a member at our church many years ago and then left. Part of her heart is still with us, so she attended Wednesday mornings for years. This year near the end of the year she backed out because her sister got a life threatening disease and she’s spending more time with her. I miss her because she’s a likable person and she added to the group.

Unfortunately, as Christians we may be well aware of our sins and shortcomings and spend more time on them than God may want us to. In the psalms, we are told that God loves us and forgives us.

Psalm 103:11, (ESV):  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Psa 103:12  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Psa 103:13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

Once we truly repent, He does not expect us to continually beat ourselves up. He expects us to love ourselves in a healthy way, not a narcissistic way. These verses show God’s high regard for us loving Him and loving ourselves and loving others.

Mark 12:28, (ESV)  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Mar 12:29  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Mar 12:30  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Mar 12:31  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mar 12:32  And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

Mar 12:33  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Mar 12:34  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

So, as I was saying, this lady attended our group and if we got down on ourselves, she would nicely tell us to remember who we are in Christ. We are forgiven. God calls us righteous in His sight because of the shed blood of Jesus for our sins. He took on the payment of our sins so when we stand before God at judgment day, we can claim that Jesus covered our debt or He wiped our slate clean so there’s no mark against us.

We must continue to seek God, despite distractions, despite our flesh crying out for entertainment or more money or whatever it is that keeps us from opening the Word of God. Thursday and today I intended to read the Word early in the day. Today it was almost one thirty in the afternoon. I’d done laundry, finished a writer’s magazine, did dishes, got myself ready for the day, called people, etc. My husband and I needed to be somewhere around four and I had to prepare some things before getting there. Plus, I needed to go to the store.

I made myself sit down and focus on the Lord. I remember doing that when the children were little. Putting all else aside for a short period of time and concentrating on the Lord. I told them to behave and to be quiet while I spent time with God and they did. When I don’t give time to the Lord the cares of this world press down on me, I feel lonely inside, I may become fearful over things. All those things are alleviated by spending time in God’s Word.

Hebrews 4:12, (ESV)  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Heb 4:13  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Heb 4:14  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Heb 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When the lady at Bible study reminds us that we belong to God by our own choosing, and that He makes us righteous, it always brings a smile to my face and to the others. She hasn’t had to say it a lot, but more than once.

We’re praying for her sister to recover and be perfectly whole.

May God bless you and yours.

Jesus Doesn’t Say or Do Things for Popularity

 

Jesus spent three years in the public eye doing ministry and early on He called men to follow after Him as disciples. He cared about these men, but He certainly didn’t sugar coat things. When Peter speaks out, Jesus corrects him.

Matthew 16:20,(ESV)  Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

Mat 16:21  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Mat 16:22  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”

Mat 16:23  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Mat 16:24  Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Mat 16:25  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mat 16:26  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Mat 16:27  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

I remember many years ago when my husband worked for a company, we attended a conference. We met up with someone who used to work for the company, but now they hired out to help someone with the same business many states away. When they finished helping the owner of the business he was going to give them their own business as a thank you for getting his enterprise on the right track.

I felt as if the Holy Spirit spoke to my inner most being: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?”

I got very quiet. I didn’t pray, I thought about it. Then I prayed, “Lord, am I supposed to tell them that or is that for me?”

I didn’t get a leading either way. So, I let it go. After that I prayed for them. I still pray for them, because I have no idea what their relationship with God is. I pray when they come to mind. It’s not often, but I trust God to remind me if they need a current prayer and I count on Him answering prayers that I’ve forgotten about.

I’ve seen Him do that in my life. The town I live in has some nice features that I heard about in the 1990’s. I prayed that if we should ever move, I’d like to live here. I totally forgot about it. Then ten years or more later, we got the opportunity to pastor a church here. I only remembered my prayer a few years ago. God amazes me.

Sometimes I wonder if I pray something because He wants that for me, or if I pray and then He graciously answers. I’ve had so many wonderful blessings from God over all these years. I’ve found He’s incredibly trustworthy, even if I don’t see it at first. In other words, I don’t always get my way. I praise God for that. I’ve thanked Him for not answering certain prayers with a yes when at the time I was sure I wanted that yes. Then something would come to my attention and I’d understand that a yes would have been painful.

He’s a perfect Father.

I’ve been asking God for wisdom because Proverbs three talks about all the benefits of wisdom. Solomon wrote much of Proverbs and he was supposed to have been the wisest man ever. As God answers that prayer, which He tells us in James  1:5, (ESV):  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him,” I  know that He wants to answer it because it tells me to ask in the Word.

The next verse does remind the readers to ask in faith and without doubt.

I’ve been thinking if God supplies me with His wisdom, then I’ll know whether the Scripture about being careful not to lose my soul because of gaining the world is for me alone or for me to share with my friends.

Jesus spoke the truth in love. Even when He spoke forcefully to the Pharisees about not being hypocrites, He was livid that they were taking their positions of authority and hurting people that lived under their rules. Some of them became His followers.

God is love!

Be blessed.

Writing

Writing comes easily to me at times and other times I’ll put words on the page and consider them drivel. The problem is that I don’t always know what is a waste of time for me and for the reader and what is not. In the book of Proverbs, Wisdom tells us to seek her. She is more valuable than silver and gold. I believe that. King Solomon wrote this advice to his sons: Proverbs 3:13, (ESV)  Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,

Pro 3:14  for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Pro 3:15  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Pro 3:16  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.

Pro 3:17  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Pro 3:18  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

Pro 3:19  The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;

Pro 3:20  by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Pro 3:21  My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion,

Pro 3:22  and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.

Pro 3:23  Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.

Pro 3:24  If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

I remember years ago in college I needed to write a paper for a political science class and I couldn’t seem to get to it in a timely manner. So, the night before it was due, I began. At three a.m., I had reached the word limit allowed and it flowed according to the assignment’s structure. Answer these questions and give your proofs. I did that. Exhaustion prevailed, I read it and told my boyfriend the next morning on the way to class that the paper stunk and I was going to throw it away.

He said, “What?”

I was serious and he couldn’t believe I’d throw it away moments before the final deadline.

“Let me read it quick.”

“Okay, but it’s garbage.”

He scanned it before we went our separate ways. “Hand it in.”

“Are you serious?”

“Hand it in, it’s due, it’s done, hand it in.”

I shook my head in disbelief and handed it in. I got an A-.

That’s why I like people to read my manuscripts before I submit them to an editor or to a client.

That’s why I like to read the Bible and pray. I may be ready to enter a meeting, ready to state my opinion loudly and clearly without an ear to hear someone else’s viewpoint. If I pray, “Lord, give me wisdom, give me clarity of thought and guard my lips before I speak,” I’m apt to go in with a kinder attitude. I’m likely to listen with the intent to understand the other person as Stephen Covey advocates in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, copyrighted in 1989, published by Fireside, New York, NY. Then when I give my viewpoint, I’m hoping they’ll understand what I’m trying to convey. Which Mr. Covey said in his book as well.

Do you like to write? Do you like to listen?

May God bless you!

Hear Instruction

I was reading Proverbs 8:33-35 about hearing instruction and being wise. So I checked out Proverbs 8 to choose some verses so people would know the above referenced section referred to Wisdom. I couldn’t cut any portion of it, so here it is in full:

Proverbs 8:1, (KJV)  Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?

Pro 8:2  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand;

Pro 8:3  beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

Pro 8:4  “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man.

Pro 8:5  O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

Pro 8:6  Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right,

Pro 8:7  for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Pro 8:8  All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

Pro 8:9  They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.

Pro 8:10  Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold,

Pro 8:11  for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Pro 8:12  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.

Pro 8:13  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Pro 8:14  I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.

Pro 8:15  By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;

Pro 8:16  by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.

Pro 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Pro 8:18  Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

Pro 8:19  My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.

Pro 8:20  I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,

Pro 8:21  granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

Pro 8:22  “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.

Pro 8:23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

Pro 8:24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

Pro 8:25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth,

Pro 8:26  before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

Pro 8:27  When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

Pro 8:28  when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,

Pro 8:29  when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

Pro 8:30  then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,

Pro 8:31  rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

Pro 8:32  “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.

Pro 8:33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

Pro 8:34  Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.

Pro 8:35  For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD,

Pro 8:36  but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”

I felt certain God was talking to me today about choosing a television show over spending time with Him. I felt bad about that, so I’m not making the same mistake tonight. I decided to grab a rectangular paper off of the fridge with Proverbs 8:33-35 on it. I like posting Scriptures around the house. They remind me of principles I want to follow. Occasionally the Scripture is one I want to memorize.

I love the idea of asking God for wisdom according to His wishes.

James_1:5, (ESV) says, ”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I remember a Bible study teacher I had that asked God for wisdom on a continual basis for a time because she felt a need for it. I thought that was a good idea for me, too.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you!

 

To Speak or Not to Speak

I went to the library today to see a friend. Sometimes we get kidding around and then I second guess if I said the wrong thing. I think I should pray every time I interact in person or by text or on social media for God to put a guard on my lips and for clarity of communication.

Our Ladies’ Bible Study finished The Mind Connection by Joyce Meyer which I intend to give to our local library. We got the study book and that will help me if I want to reminisce about her points later on. She spoke of controlling our thoughts so we can control our words and ultimately our actions. I recommend it.

The Bible mentions quietness as an asset many times. For instance: Proverbs_17:28, (KJV) Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

Pro_18:6  A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

(Strokes in the eighteen hundreds meant hits or punishment of some sort.)

Pro_18:7  A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

Pro_19:1  Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.

Pro_23:9  Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

Exo_14:14  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

(When I looked up this word peace in a concordance it meant to be quiet.)

Ecc_9:17  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.

This is a favorite verse of mine: 1Thessalonians_4:11 (KJV) And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

It’s a good reminder to me to stay out of the middle of things that are not my business, to do my own work, and to learn to be quiet. Quietness does not come easily to me. Sometimes my strengths can be my weaknesses. I appreciate verses about stilling my tongue, as in the book of James when it describes the tongue as being unruly. God helps people to control their words.

Be blessed and have hope in Jesus. He is perfect and He is love. I’m holding on to Him whenever I hear unsettling news.

Wisdom for All Things

I love reading Proverbs, even when some of the pearls of wisdom hit me hard. My daughter-in-law, husband, son and I went to a Christian bookstore today and she bought a book entitled Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul, by Sarah Mae, copyrighted 2016, published by Tyndale Momentum, Carol Stream, IL. I told her I could write a book on housekeeping and organizing from all the books and articles I’ve read on the subject, but because I still struggle with the actual doing of it all, I couldn’t help but scan the WHOLE thing. I really liked it. She had so many good ideas and fresh insights, and she quotes others with their individual points of view.

 

She mentioned some of what Proverbs said, although many of her verses were not from Proverbs. The Bible often confirms itself in other books with the same insights. One thing Proverbs says is in Prov_6:9 (KJV): “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?”

 

Sarah Mae suggests experimenting with your sleep schedule to see how much sleep actually refreshes you and how much makes you feel logey. I’ve recently discovered that seven hours seems better for me.

 

Proverbs tells us how to raise our children, Prov_22:6, (KJV): Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

Proverbs encourages married folks to be content with each other even into their old age in Proverbs 5:19. It also warns people about the dangers of adultery and alcoholism. Proverbs tells how to handle money:  Prov_22:7, (KJV) says, “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

 

So if you can possibly do it, don’t borrow money. If you’ve had to, try and pay it back as soon as possible. It will relieve stress in your life.

 

Well, I guess that’s all the pearls of wisdom I’m going to speak of tonight. My grandson wants me to blog about the Ten Commandments, so I’ll begin that tomorrow. I’ll ask him to remind me.

 

May God bless you!

 

Iron Sharpens Iron

Iron sharpens iron is what I call “Christianese” type of talk. It’s from Proverbs 27: 17 (LEB) : As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (LEB) is Lexham English Bible.

When I’m at a function and someone talks about something that I disagree with or don’t like or that stretches my thinking, so I have to really ponder what they’re saying, I might quip, “Well, iron sharpens iron.”

In some of the other versions it talks about “as iron sharpens iron, a man sharpens the countenance of his friend”, or “as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens his friend” – this last quote is from the Bible in Basic English (BBE).

God wants people to think and seek wisdom and knowledge. The first universities in America were founded by Christians – Harvard and Yale. They provided courses to train ministers.

Proverbs is filled with admonitions to seek wisdom, and it states in the KJV-BRG in  Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” is in the KJV in Proverbs 1:7a.

Proverbs also states in verses 27:6 in the KJV that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

To me, that means that sometimes my friend will tell me something that hurts but I need to hear it. It’s for my own good. I remember two ladies that attended our church many years ago. One began eating a lot of fresh garlic because she heard it was good for her health. The garlic smell started to come through her pores when she perspired and her friend told her that the odor was strong and unpleasant.

I know it caused a rift for a short time, but the lady forgave the other one and she cut back on her garlic. 🙂

I began to notice that the twenty-seventh chapter in Proverbs had a lot to say about friendships and relationships.

Iron sharpens iron is only part of it.

 

 

 

 

To Fear or Not to Fear, That is the Question

I am working on a novel proposal, and I told my primary physician that I would get it sent out by January 12. For those of you aware of the calendar, that is not very far away. 🙂 She wants to read it when it comes out, she tells me. An article comes out tomorrow in “Live” Magazine and that did not invoke near the fear that the proposal writing did this past week. Maybe because it’s smaller and a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. I’m thrilled, that’s for sure.

I’ve gone to the library twice this week, because I don’t get as sidetracked there. I noticed the last time I was there, when fear hit that I needed to acknowledge it, say a quick prayer and then ignore it. Then I typed on. So today I re-wrote my beginning of Chapter One four times. I will do it two more times when I’m done here, that’s the plan. I’ve been working through a book by David Fessenden entitled, Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract. He published it through SONFIRE MEDIA in 2011. That’s one piece of advice he gives for an essay, plus writing six different endings. I actually liked the fourth beginning the best, so far. I figure if it’s good for nonfiction, it’s good for fiction. He talks of re-writing as part of the process.

At Montrose Christian Writers Conference in the summer, Cec Murphey chose my first chapter to dissect ( a few sentences of it, I should say), along with other writers’ first sentences, and he found a few places he thought needed editing. He is an expert, as well. So, I am listening.

Fear may be a part of life, and sometimes it’s a necessary part of life. It may save our lives, if we take heed. It can also steal life from us if it overpowers us. My daughter told me Jesus says “Do not fear,” often. Although, God told people the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge and the fear of God is the beginning of understanding in the book of Proverbs and in Psalms.

I choose to fear God and try my best not to fear change and opportunities and life. How do you conquer fear?