Praying the Scriptures

cross-1448946__180I can’t believe it’s been over six weeks since I blogged! Please forgive my silence.

The August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference was powerful. I’m praising God for all He did and will do.

I’m also thanking the Lord for the ministry of my dear friend, Laura Shaffer. The prayers she emails daily go deep into God’s Word and His answer for the struggles we all face. Today’s prayer especially spoke to my heart. Perhaps to yours, too?


O Father, these are some of the verses that have come to me in the darkest times. Times when I truly thought there was no hope. Times when I was at the end of all I could think to do to save myself from what appeared to be dire and dark circumstances that I believed held no happy ending.

These words are spoken by Your prophet Isaiah who is telling how it will be when the judgment of Israel is over. “You are the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth! You will not grow tired or weary…You give strength to the weary and increase the power of the weak…those who hope in You will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

What hope that gave me Father – because I was weary and weak. But because I know You as my Savior, I believed that these verses were true of me. It’s like You were speaking right into my heart then, and since then. You were promising to give me Your strength and power. You promised to renew my strength. When I felt like I could not take one more step, You empowered me to go on, to “walk and not grow faint.”

You told me “Do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand.” And even more than that, You sang it to me. I could hear a melody in Your words. That became a theme that I could sing to myself over and over – Your words of encouragement and empowerment. I still sing them today.

Thank You Father, that Your Word, written down so long ago, has power and influence and still speaks right now. And not just to me, but to any and all who will seek You there.

And these words of Paul – I love them and have prayed them over and over again for myself, my family, and my loved ones. I pray them now, again Father, for everyone reading this prayer. “I give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know [1] the hope to which He has called you, [2] the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people [that’s us], and [3] His incomparably great power for us who believe.”

Father, speak these words of comfort and empowerment to all who need to hear them from You. When the evil one whispers “you’ve failed again, there’s no hope,” let them know what it means to “not fear” and “not be dismayed.” Give us victory! Amen

Isaiah 40:1–41:16; Ephesians 1:1-23


To receive Laura’s prayers in your inbox, email her at davidtshaffer@juno.com. You’ll be blessed and encouraged.

Compassion rocks fixedI’ve  been and am so focused on preparations for the August 3-6  Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference that I almost missed the email from Operation Blessing that today is World Day against Trafficking in Persons.  I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to visit their website. Click here.
Scholarship help and time payments are available. It’s not too late to register and join us for what I know will be a life-changing conference.


This morning I needed to re-read the poem my friend, Sue Cameron, gave me years ago. While “Words” was a gift to me, I suspect you may also need to read this. Father, help us to choose to listen only to Your words.


Is there anything more powerful?
To heal, to hurt,
to destroy?
Words in my mind—accusing me,
dragging me down
into guilt and helplessness.
Words from outside—attacking me,
tearing at the fragile image of who I am and hope to be.
I struggle under their heavy weight
and fear I’ll suffocate.

Not all words are true, but they feel true.
Some are lies wrought in the basement of hell,
sent to defeat those who march in the army of God.
My Leader warned me of such warfare,
so subtle and hard to detect.
A sudden attack strips my defenses.
Wounded, bleeding,
I am left to die.
Now my fate depends on
to whom I choose to listen.
To the liar,
or to my Leader.

His Word consoles and strengthens me,
binding my pain and wrapping me in acceptance.
He does not condemn me in my weakness,
or require me to run on broken legs.
He asks only that I listen to him
and believe what he says.
His truth banishes falsehoods
and sets me free.

Living on the battlefield isn’t kind and gentle;
it is demanding and stretching.
I must often pause and ask myself,
To whose voice do I listen?
And in whose voice do I speak?

(c) Sue Cameron, 1993. Excerpted from Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers by Marlene Bagnull.

ant-306677_640Guest post from
GPCWC Faculty member
Patricia Durgin

David and all our children are home safe and sound. Hallelujah! They came home to a house filled with an ant infestation. They’re everywhere!

In our cars (not only around them–in them), on our counter tops, in our beds, I can’t tell you how maddening it is!

We’ve tried everything we can think of, but we can’t get rid of them. It’s intolerable, but we’re stumped as to what to try next.

Life here is just one thing after another right now. Sometimes your life is like that, too, isn’t it? What shall we do?

Bringing It Home To You

When random, mysterious, wonky issues crop up out-of-the-blue, the enemy is usually behind them.

God gives us lessons to teach us, refine us, and deliver us. He’s not trying to trip us up; He wants to grow us up.

The enemy, on the other hand, wants to destroy us and if he can’t do that, he wants to make our lives miserable, so that we’ll listen to his whispers when he says, “If God really loved you, these things wouldn’t be happening to you.” 

Which is, of course, a lie straight from the pit!

Thoughts To Ponder

When life is topsy-turvy (for whatever reason), that’s no time to turn our backs on God. And it’s certainly no time to think He’s turned His back on us!

We might review how we got in this mess, and if it was by following God, we can ask Him if He wants us to continue going in this direction, or if He’s ready for us to change directions.

The one thing we absolutely, positively, undeniably should NOT do is make a decision based upon our circumstances, for they waffle to and fro. They are unreliable. God is not.

Sooner or later, these pesky ants will leave our home. But the enemy will remain, trying to distract us, discourage us, and if possible, destroy us by destroying our faith.

We cannot let the enemy win! I encourage you to hold fast, and keep believing.

If God says to move, do so. But if He does not, stay right where you are and wait for Him. He is on His way!

Thanks for joining me on this journey, Patricia.

If you like this edition of The Encourager, please forward it to your friends. If you received this from a friend and would like your own free, weekly edition, sign up at: http://patriciadurgin.com/newsletter/.

Follow up questions or comments? E-mail me at pd@patriciadurgin.com.

Patricia Durgin for Marlene Philly '14Patricia works with Christian speakers and writers—already established offline—who want to take their message online. She focuses on the basics, discovering (or rediscovering) the specific people Christ wants you to serve, the unique message He wants you to communicate, and the transformation your audience can expect to receive. Then we create your professional online presence to make that happen so you can attract and serve your ideal clients around the world.

Like my clients, I have an eclectic background. For over 35 years, I trained employees in my professional life and served adult survivors of childhood abuse in my ministry life.
During those years, I delivered over 5,000 teaching sessions at work, church, and in the community, not counting the 8 years my husband David and I home-schooled our 2 daughters. We’re now empty-nesters living in Atlanta.

Workshop: Who Is Really in Your Audience (Friday, 4E)
Christ gifted you to serve a specific audience. Discover precisely who they are and create content that fits them perfectly to establish a loyal following.

Services Offered: I am interested in clients who are hungry to know who is in their target market and are ready to start developing their websites or blogs. Click here for an exciting opportunity Patricia is offering at the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

GP banner 2016

It’s not too late to register! Although the $15 late fee will kick in at 12:01 am July 25, if you print a copy of this blog and bring it to the conference book table, we’ll give you two free CDs.

Faith rock“Do you believe God can use you?” I asked in my last post.

It’s a question I also ask myself on days when doubts threaten to overwhelm me. I don’t doubt Him. I know He is faithful. It’s self doubts fueled by the accusations of the accuser that I struggle to overcome.

How can I – how can you – overcome the self-doubts that hold us back from experiencing the  victory that faith brings?



1. Cut the old tapes. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 TLB).

2. Stop listening to the wrong voices. “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:4 NASB)

3. Change your focus! “Look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had” (Phil. 2:4-5 TEV).

4. Renew your vision. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV).

5. Set specific and measurable goals. “We should make plans – counting on God to help us” (Prov. 16:9 TLB).

6. Refuse to let disappointments derail you. “No one who believes in Christ will ever be disappointed” (Rom. 10:11 TLB).

7. Don’t reinforce your doubts. “But I’m not the person for a job like that” (Ex. 3:11 TLB).

8. Refuse to fall victim to discouragement. “He is a mighty Savior. He will give you
victory. He will rejoice over you with great gladness; he will love you and not accuse you” (Zeph. 3:17 TLB).

9. Stop procrastinating and persist. “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness, and there is ruin in a flood of empty words” (Eccl. 5:7 TLB)

10.Draw near to the Promise Keeper. “When you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him” (James 4:8 TLB).

11. Stay in the Word. The whole Bible “is God’s way of making us well prepared at
every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Tim. 3:17 TLB).

12. Get to work. “Be strong and courageous and get to work. Do not be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly” (1 Chron. 28:20 TLB).

13Put on the armor and commit to what He is calling you to do – NOW! “So I run
straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow-boxing or playing around” (1 Cor. 9:26 TLB).

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power
for doing his will are yours
during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

Marty poster for web

It’s not too late to register for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and to request free one-on-one appointments. But the price increases tomorrow, July 25. None of the workshops or continuing sessions are closed. Lodging on campus is still available.If you need time payments or some scholarship help, please ask. And choose to believe that if the Lord wants you to come, He will make a way.

July 9 I gave a day long “Write His Answer” seminar in Baltimore. I quoted Chuck Colson’s sobering words in Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages:

‘Dark Age’ is a strong term. I recognize that. Yet in recent years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon . . . The forecast is foreboding . . . We  scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away. Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates.

The times seem to smell of sunset. Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land. . . . We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”


I feel such a strong sense of urgency to “write His answer” – now. I believe the day is fast approaching when we will not have the freedom to print or distribute Christian literature or to share our faith on the Internet.

Critical days are ahead. As so many are saying, America is teetering on the edge of collapse. I urge you to watch Michael Gantt’s keynote, “The Cross Is the Main Thing,” from last year’s conference.

“The sad fact for America is that
our sin has made God our enemy.
Because of the rejection of God and His Word
and because we have exchanged
the God of Life for the gods of death
and perversion,
America is already under
the Hand of God’s judgment.

“If there is no national confession of sin
and if we cannot find a heart of repentance,
a Holy God will complete his judgment;
either by the complete annihilation
or subjugation of what was once a great
and godly people or by rendering it
completely irrelevant on the world stage.”

Michael Gantt
http://growinggodlyseed.com/stand (complete transcript)
Video – http://bit.ly/1JkE8m9

Father, please open our eyes to the “signs of the time” and help us to “Make the most of every chance [we] get. These are desperate times!” (Eph. 5:16 MSG).

Sunday, July 24, is the last day to register for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference before the price increases. It is also the last day to sign up for appointments (based on availability) with up to FOUR (agents, editors, or authors from the 55 serving on this year’s faculty. You can still register after July 24 (and walk-in), but you will need to wait until you arrive at the conference to request your appointments.

But Philly is too far? It’s not the same as being there, but CDs will be available after the conference. And I’ve just posted the order form for CDs from the May Colorado Christian Writers Conference to the website. Click here. Michael Gantt’s keynote that the above quote came from was also presented in Colorado this May and received a standing ovation.

But I can’t afford the cost. If Father wants you to come, He will provide. This is not a pat answer but one that I have personally experienced time and time again. I know all about “thinking lack.”  But I also have been convicted that when I worry (translation “wring my hands”) over my perception that there is not enough money, I grieve Almighty God who promises to supply all my needs from His riches in glory (Phil. 4:19). Partial scholarships are still available. Family, friends, your church might welcome the opportunity to invest in your writing ministry, but you need to ask.

But I can’t get time off work. God can grant you favor with your boss, but again you need to ask. If you’ve used all your vacation time but are off on Saturdays, then come just one day.

But I don’t have anyone to watch my kids or aging parent. Again, you need to ask! Remember, “you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it” (James 4:2 NLT).

As my friend Lee Roddy once said, “eternity will be different” because of the words that will be written and published  as a result of this conference.

Father, please help everyone who reads these words not to doubt You or the gift of
words You have entrusted to them. Move whatever obstacles that appear to stand in their way and get them to the August 3-6, 2016, GPCWC. I know You will meet us there.

Keep believing, living, and writing His answer!

“Reconciled One to Another, Ministry in the Day of #Black Lives Matter” – Please take a minute to go to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/spreadtheword to read this article  that ASSISTNews.net featured. I’m so glad Tracey Lewis-Giggetts contacted me several months ago about teaching this workshop that we’re also offering in Pastors Write. Tracey has just received a prestigious award and needs to be in California Friday, August 5, to receive it. So we’ve moved her “Reconciled One to Another” Pastors Write workshop to Thursday. Her Friday workshop 4G, “Reconciled,” has been switched with Jeff McDonald’s workshop 2G, “What Would God Have Us Say?” If you need to make a change, just email Barb at haleybarb@yahoo.com.


FREE concert, keynotes, and Issues workshops – If you have family and friends who live within an hour or so of Cairn University (or the church you attend is in the area), please send them to http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/FreeConcertKeynotesWorkshops. And please encourage your pastor to attend Pastors Write. It’s a great way to affirm him and the messages he brings.


Tithe your time – I want to encourage you to tithe your conference time by choosing one of the Issues workshops – your writing time, too. Even if you write fiction, issues can be incorporated into your stories. And we can all “write His answer” on social media and in blogs. It’s critical that we use the Internet while we still have the freedom to do so.


Wednesday Early Bird Workshops – Please pray about adding one or more of the Wednesday afternoon workshops to your plans. It’s a good way to ease into the conference, get settled in your room in Heritage Hall, and to receive excellent teaching in a small group setting at a reasonable price. And don’t forget the First-Timer’s Orientation at 4:00. Click here for descriptions of the 18 workshops. (We had to cancel “The Ten Most Common Writing Blunders” that Cindy Sproles was going to teach from 4:45 – 5:45 because she is not able to arrive in time. But not to worry; she is still coming!)


Picture Book Mentoring Clinic – Deadline extended to July 20. The other two clinics are full. This is a wonderful opportunity to have an author and artist team help you with your picture book. Your find the application at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/clinics2016.


Paid critiques – I’ve also extended the deadline for emailing your manuscripts to July 20. Barb Haley, our Registrar and Appointments Coordinator, says: “The opportunity to have a trained pair of eyes look over our work, point out strengths, and offer personal ideas to improve our skills is invaluable. Many years I’ve done 3-4 paid critiques, and I know it is definitely some of the best money I have ever spent! A full half-hour of individual guided instruction and advice for just $30.” For a list of critiquers and genres click here.


Some helpful blog posts – The Internet is such an amazing resource for helpful info. I especially recommend the blogs written by the agents at www.stevelaube.com (Steve published my Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers) and www.booksandsuch.com. Wonder what makes an agent unable to say no? See http://www.booksandsuch.com/blog/im-just-agent-cant-say-no.  Or what’s wrong with your book? See http://www.stevelaube.com/whats-wrong-book.


Father, thank You for meeting us at our point of need as we prepare for the conference. Replace any anxiety with holy anticipation of what You will do.