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Archive for the ‘God’s promises’ Category

Do you feel called to “write His answer” and yet struggle with self-doubts?

Truthfully, through working with hundreds of writers through the years, I find that the those who have a message that needs to be published are the ones most likely to be crippled by self-doubts.

I shudder when I think of how many times I almost gave up because my self-doubts were so loud and insistent. Why would anyone want to read what I wrote? What made me think that I could write for the Lord? I wasn’t qualified! How could He possibly use someone who was only a high school graduate? I felt ashamed and woefully inadequate.

cross in sand

How it must have grieved the Lord when I failed to see
that the Cross turns my minus into a plus –
when I believed the lies of the evil one instead of His promises.

And how much time I wasted in my self-centered and selfish focus on my doubts instead of on the needs Father was calling me to address through the words He would give me if I would just trust Him.

I’m so grateful that I didn’t give up despite the deadly Ds of disappointments, doubts, and discouragement. And I continue to thank the Lord for my pastor who sent me to my first writers conference. That was over 40 years ago, and that conference changed my life!

Today I have the privilege and joy of directing not just one but two Christian writers conferences. Registration is now open for the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, our 34th year of ministry.

The website has not yet been proofread and I still have lots more info to add, but the list of 53 faculty and descriptions of our 20 early bird workshops, 8 continuing sessions, 42 workshops, and 4 clinics are online. Faculty photos, bios, and info on this year’s Teens Write will be coming soon.

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And it’s not too late to register for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and to request free one-on-one appointments with the faculty of 56 agents, editors, and authors. It’s also not too late to apply for a clinic:

Fiction Clinic with Jim & Tracie Peterson
Nonfiction Book Clinic with Craig Bubeck
Speakers’ Clinic with Roy Hanschke

But do it now! (That’s a great motto for writers who are tempted to procrastinate.) The April 15 price has been extended through today, April 18.

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Father, thank You for the ideas You have planted within us and for holding them and us safely in Your hands. Help us to believe, to really believe in You and the gifts You have entrusted to us and expect us to use to build Your Kingdom.

seedling
God never changes his mind
when he gives gifts
or when he calls someone.

Romans 11:29 GW

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blessed

“Blessed is He
who comes in the name of the Lord!”
The crowd cheered and sang praises.
They waved palm branches
and threw their cloaks before Him.
But Jesus was solemn as He traveled that road –
that road to the cross.

As God incarnate He knew all that was to come.
He saw not just His own death on the cross,
but the persecution of His followers
and the destruction of Jerusalem.
He saw nation rising against nation –
the madness of yet-to-be-born rulers.
And Jesus wept.

He would be wounded and bruised for our sins,
chastised that we might have peace,
lashed that we might be healed;
yet few would accept His gift of life.
The darkness of evil would continue to reign,
but the light of His love
would not be extinguished.

Entrusted to us,
His light will grow brighter.
A cloud of witnesses are cheering us on,
to daily take up our own cross
and follow Him closely.
Blessed is He who is coming – again!

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My constant boast is God.
I can never thank you enough!”
Psalm 44:8 TLB

“How was your week?” a friend asked me at church last Sunday.

“Awful,” I said as I began sharing the details of my stressful week.

He interrupted me. “Well, did anything good happen? Isn’t there anything you’re thankful for?”

Ouch! It had been a tough week – a week where I’d been focused on the problems rather than on the Lord and the many, many reasons I had to be thankful. This week hasn’t been any easier. But then Jesus never said it would be easy to follow Him. What He has promised is always to be with us.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
Psalm 91:4 NLT

  • Thank You, Father, for Your promises.
  • Thank You for the problems (yes, I know it’s better to call them “challenges”) that cause me to need to rely upon You.
  • Help me to thank You for my computer especially when it exasperates me. It enables me to do so much more than the manual typewriter I used years ago.
  • Thank You for the opportunity to teach the “Grow Your Writing Ministry” day-long seminar in New Jersey March 25 even though the prep is taking far more time than I anticipated. Click here for more info and to register.

Ad NJ CWS

  • Thank You that I live in a nation where I am still free to live and to write Your answer.

What about you, friends? Have you remembered to say “thank You”?

Hallelujah! Thank GOD! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!”
Psalm 105:1 MSG

New WHA cover
    Are problems (challenges) discouraging you? Are you battling self-doubts, writer’s block, rejection slips, procrastination? My book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, has 33 chapters of answers I found during my journey of publishing 9 books and making over 1,000 sales to Christian periodicals. And to my amazement it’s been in print for 25 years! Click here for excerpts and ordering info.
    Yes, planning not one but two conferences is stressful, but thank You, Father, for all You are doing and will do.

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Fact or fantasy?

All you have to do to be a successful writer is to sit down and write.

Well, yes, certainly you’ll never be a writer (successful or not) if you don’t write. But the days when all a writer needed to do was to write are history.

In today’s world it is essential that we master technology. Okay, we won’t master technology, but it is critical that we know the basics of how to use a computer. And that doesn’t mean just learning how to use Microsoft Word to create a professional looking manuscript that is properly formatted and has headers and page numbers. The wise and brave will learn how to use Scrivener. (Debbie Allen is teaching a 4.5 Wednesday afternoon early bird workshop on “Scrivener from 0-60: Get Comfortable, Get Writing” May 17 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the actual writing and learning how to use the great tools we now have is just part of what we need to do. I began writing on an old manual typewriter. Well I’m not as old as this antique typewriter although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. My first manuscripts for publication were created on a blue Royal with keys that got tangled when I typed too fast.

Selectric type ballThe introduction of the Selectric typewriter and that marvelous spinning ball greatly increased my productivity. And to be honest, when computers were introduced, I was not at all interested in giving up my trusted Selectric and learning something new. (I really didn’t think I was smart enough!)

Even today, when my computer is causing me grief, I admit I almost long for the good old days of a yellow legal pad and pencil!

The greatest struggle though is all the other stuff that has become essential. Yep! I mean the “building a platform” stuff. While it’s exciting to be able to write something and publish it ourselves as a blog or ebook, the challenge of finding readers is daunting.

Both the May 17-20 Colorado and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will provide help with

Blogging

     Creating a Brand

                    Marketing Plans

           Public Speaking

                       Social Media How-to

     Website Evaluation

Below is a chart of Colorado faculty members who are available for one-on-one appointments to help you grow your platform and thus your writing ministry.

chart-grow-writing-ministry2

Important: For a PDF of the above chart click here.
The links are live in the PDF version.

Father, help us to embrace today’s opportunities to reach the world with the words You’ve entrusted to us. When we feel confused and overwhelmed by all we need to learn and to do, help us to trust You. Thank You for Your promise:

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

 

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starts-with-one-word
I’ve often written about the three Deadly Ds.

Disappointment

Doubt

Discouragement

Anyone seeking to serve the Lord through the ministry of writing, or any ministry, is likely to encounter these Deadly Ds.

But there is a 4th “D” that can transform the three Deadly Ds into something positive.

Dependence

Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me.
Isaiah 26:4 MSG

As long as we’re trying to make something happen in our own strength, we’re likely not only to encounter the Deadly Ds but to miss the ever-deepening dependent relationship the Lord wants us to have with Him.

Jesus put it this way:

Live in me, and I will live in you.
A branch cannot produce any fruit by itself.
It has to stay attached to the vine.
In the same way, you cannot produce fruit
unless you live in me.
John 15:4 GW

The 4th D is what keeps me going and, I trust, growing through the now 21 years of directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 34 years of directing the Philly conference. The past week has been challenging to say the least, but finally the brochure is off press and the bios of all 56 faculty members are now online.

It’s dependence on God that is what Pastor Andrew Brunson, wrongly imprisoned in Turkey, is clinging to. See his words that CCWC faculty member, Catherine Lawton, shared in her blog. (Click here.) Please pray for him.

It’s dependence on God that is enabling my friend, Kelly Fordyce Martindale, to compile a book of stories to encourage and offer hope to readers who, like her, have lost a child or a young person near to them or have supported someone who has. Click here for more information. Stories of 1,000-3,000  words are due by March 10, but please let Kelly know by February 21 if you intend to submit a story.

Father, help us to look to You when we’re facing the Deadly Ds and to choose to depend on You.

Depend on GOD and keep at it
because in the LORD GOD you have a sure thing.
Isaiah 26:4 MSG

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Not Good Enough

puppy-cropped“Not good enough.” I heard those words frequently when I was growing up. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I was not good enough.

I remember my mother telling me, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” Not true. Words can and do hurt and, sadly, I carried many of them into my adult life. Perhaps you, too?

I was almost 40 when I finally learned the difference between the condemnation of the evil one and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus.  For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 TLB

What joy to know that God loves me, really loves me, even when I mess up.

Still, even today, the old “not good enough” tape can begin to play if I’m not vigilant.

And there’s some truth in the lie. I know I’m not good enough, not smart enough, and yes, not patient enough especially when it comes to mastering technology. But then, do any of us ever master what is constantly changing?

Yesterday and today I spent over three hours each day on the phone with the printer and in Quark trying to fix the line-up of pages 8 and 9 of the brochure for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Yes, as one friend urged, I could have paid the printer’s art department to do it. But then I’d have to pay them to do the same for the Philly brochure. The only way to finally solve the loss of time and money that happens twice a year when it’s brochure time is for me to fix the file myself in Quark so I have a template for future brochures.

I confess – I’ve not been patient the past two days. (See my “Pray for Patience?” post.) I’ve grown increasing impatient, and not just with myself but also with the six different techs I talked with.

After six time-consuming revisions, I’ve finally gotten the columns on pages 8-9 to line up as closely as I’m able. They’re still a hairline off, but I’m refusing to accept the “not good enough” lie. Why? Because wisdom (I believe) says it’s more important to move on to the rest of what needs to be done rather than be controlled by an ego that tells me I must be perfect.

My point in all this? I know there are many of you who will never submit the manuscript you’re working so hard on because you’re listening to the lie that it’s “not good enough.” Friends, let’s all learn to do our best and leave the rest to the Lord. It’s a far healthier and happier place than allowing ourselves to be in bondage to a perfectionist spirit that will always insist that we’re “not good enough.”

Thank You, Father, for Your grace, mercy, and love.

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“I don’t pray for patience!”

I’ve said it. You probably have too. It’s the testing we know accompanies an answer to that prayer that we long to avoid. I mean, be honest. Do you enjoy being tested?

The past week I’ve certainly been tested as I’ve worked on the 16-page brochure for the May 17-20 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Quark, my desktop publishing program, chose to be especially quarky. Text boxes refused to accept text, deciding instead that they were  image boxes. The program crashed more times than I can count. That’s really not surprising considering that the auto backup that was supposed to save just the two latest copies ended up saving 169 (yes, one hundred and sixty-nine) versions of the brochure.

Then, after the copy was written and entered, the real “fun” began with formatting and spacing issues. Especially challenging was the workshop grid that had to be split into two pages (through 8 boxes of text) even though it will be printed on a fold.

split-pages

Yes, computers and the not user-friendly programs I need to use (that often make me feel stupid) could have been the cause for a great amount of hair loss this past week especially since I was on deadline.

And yet, I heard myself praying for patience – and for peace.

Father answered! Yes, my patience continued to be tested, but His peace got me to the finish line.

The brochure is at the printer and is online (click here). And amazingly I have enough work done on the website to open secure online registration at 12:01 am (EST) February 1. Thank You, Father!

Whether it’s planning a conference and designing a brochure, beginning (and finishing) a book, or facing the often intense challenges and heartaches of day-to-day living, our patience (and faith) will be tested. But let’s choose to rejoice for He is able to use our struggles to make us strong in Him.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. – Romans 5:3-4 TLB

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

I’ve not forgotten that I also direct the July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. All the keynotes and continuing sessions are in place along with about 33 faculty. Soon, I trust, I’ll be able to start the 16-page brochure process all over again for Philly. Yes, I’m gonna need lots and lots of patience and peace and prayer!

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