August 25, 2014

Christian Writer’s Guide to writing options


After starting the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook, I realized that most of our members self-publish because that’s what they know. Since my 30+ years of experience have mainly been with traditional publishers of books and manuscripts for Christian and educational markets, I wrote the Christian Writer’s Guide e-book to provide the info you need to have more options as a freelance or assignment writer in almost any genre.

Hopefully, the table of contents will give you a good idea of what to expect:

Table of Contents

Dedication
Pray!
Let God and the Bible Guide
Welcome Your Gift or Calling
Find Your Favorite Genre
Listen for The Voice in Your Voice
Write, Write, Write
Search and Research
Record Information Accurately
Edit or Revise
Prepare to be Published
Write Freelance or on Assignment
Inquire with a Query Letter
Cover Highlights in a Cover Letter
Prepare Your Manuscript
Propose a Book in a Book Proposal
Track What Went Where and When
Develop Your Bio
Establish a Presence on the Internet
Learn Writing Terms: A to Z
About the Author



© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler is the poet-author of 26 books in all genres and approximately 1500 poems and short manuscripts, ranging from church curriculum to children’s “take home” papers to nonfiction articles on subjects as varied as the Bible, poetry, writing, family life, and natural health.


Christian Writer's Guide e-book on Kindle



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August 19, 2014

Centering Prayers


Focus! Focus! We've said that to our children and ourselves, but the catch is knowing what, or rather Who, to focus on -- and also how or when.

As I look at the review copy Paraclete Press kindly sent me of Centering Prayers by pastor-writer, Peter Traben Haas, the poetic words enable me to see the focal point and adjust my sights clearly to get centered on God.

Each month of the book’s year-long daily devotionals begins with a timely word “as if God says to me _____.” Then each day of that month includes a theme in the title, followed by a brief prayer that comes from the Christ-given heart we have in common-union at the center of ourselves.

To provide you with examples of what to expect, I turned to the preface for my birthday month, July, and read:

It is as if God says to me:

You are a lamp and my love is your fuel.

I love you and wish to anoint your life with the
kind of light that heals your deepest darkness.

I am with you on your journey.

Follow the Son who knows the way and is always close.


Once I'd read that, the inevitable interruptions and morning routines occurred, but after the children had safely caught their school buses for their first day back to class, I turned to the centering prayer for today, entitled “Returning to you in surrender.”

Beloved One:

Bless all students returning to school.
Bless all teachers returning to teach.
Bless all leaders returning to lead.
Bless all workers returning to labor.
Bless all beggars returning for more.
Bless all heart returning to you in surrender.
Remind us all that your gift of grace takes us all the way home.

Amen.

Hopefully, prayerfully, that amazingly timely word to me speaks to you too, and yet we cannot help but be aware of the troubling times around the world where too few choose to surrender to God’s way of love as revealed to us in Christ. And so, after closing this highly recommended book, I opened its pages at random and found a prayer dated June 27 that speaks to current needs, too, in the prayer “The miracle of many voices becoming one.”

Jesus Christ:

Refresh me by your Spirit.

Lead me into peace and understanding with others and help me experience the miracle of many voices becoming one in you.

Amen.


Yes! and amen. So be it in Jesus' Name.


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, Bible Reviewer, poetry reviewer, and poet-author of Living in the Nature Poem and the Bible-based poetry book Outside Eden


Centering Prayers, paperback





August 11, 2014

Modern Poetry and the Christian Tradition


Who would expect a book written over 50 years ago to give serious poets and poetry students such a timely word about Christianity and culture today? Nevertheless, Modern Poetry and the Christian Tradition manages to do just that.

Written by the late Amos Wilder – a New Testament scholar, poet, literary critic, clergyman, and brother of Thornton Wilder – the book, kindly given to me for review by Wipf and Stock Publishers, provides a highly intelligent look at ways we can relate Christianity to the culture in which we live.

Interestingly, the poets Wilder highlighted for significant contributions in this area are the ones I also recommend: Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden, and others.

Why does this matter? As Wilder said, “We recognize that the creative, imaginative expressions of culture are often our best clues to the diagnosis of men’s hearts and the deeper movements of the age.” Furthermore, “of all the arts, poetry, since it is an art of language, of the word, will often retain and sustain a varied relation to religion.”

Attesting to the insight that “poetry is praise,” the author acknowledged different views “held as to what is important and unimportant, what is healthful and harmful, what is Christian and un-Christian, in the tangled skein of cultural traditions” as we find “differing judgments as to the true spiritual heritage of the West and especially as to the Christian tradition in our English-speaking lands. Thus different values can be assigned to such main factors as Catholic order, the Protestant revolution, scientific empiricism, all of which have had their changing roles through the centuries and which have entered into special combinations with more recent phases of culture….”

With a fair-minded presentation of the many factors involved in the “story of what happened to the modern world’s faiths and assumptions” in literature, the author stated how, “We note first the loss of absolutes in our world.”

This loss led to devaluing traditions and communal roots until we reached a general “depersonalization” of mankind. If we take a sec now to think about the ads, television programs, popular books and movies today, we can see how timely or, perhaps, prophetic, Wilder’s words were in saying, “The depersonalized psyche, the numbered and enervated worker, requires high-tension stimuli to recover a transient awareness of his own identity.”

Insightful!

In other words, the more insensitive society becomes, the more it takes to awaken individual readers, help them to feel again, know themselves again, and/or draw them to Christ, the church, and the Christian faith.

So, how are we, as Christian poets and writers, to respond to this dilemma? As Wilder reminded us, “It is the spirit, as the Christian understands it, which searcheth all things and which underlies all the dynamic impulses of our crisis. Therefore the Christian is in the best position to understand them, to diagnose the age, to ‘interpret the times’.”

While acknowledging that a “diagnosis of our time in terms of its imaginative literature allows us to speak rather of directions than of solutions or conclusions,” the author gave us insight into Catholic and Protestant poets and writers who found ways to connect with readers during their lifetimes and also with readers now.

As I mentioned earlier, Wilder selected works to discuss of the very Christian poets and writers I’d also recommend for careful study and enjoyment. What I did not mention, though, is that it took me years of reading and searching on my own to “discover” and recommend those same literary artists as mentors I turn to again and again.

Be forewarned, however: You might need a dictionary, as I did, to clarify some words in Wilder’s heightened vocabulary, but his insights will give you a wide view of the impact and Christian influence your poems and writings can have on our needy society now.


© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler - poet-author of Living in the Nature Poem and the Bible-based poetry book, Outside Eden - also wrote the Christian Poet’s Guide to Writing Poetry e-book, based on the home study course she used, one-on-one, with poetry students and other poets for years.


Modern Poetry and the Christian Tradition, paperback





August 9, 2014

How do Christian poets and writers get prepared to write?


Recently I asked members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook how they go about preparing for the writing God has given them to do, and within a week or so, we had the following responses collected here for you to read and recollect as needed:

QUESTION: How do you prepare for the writing God has called you to do?

Henry: (I) pray and listen for the direction to go, then do the research necessary.

Jaime: Sometimes I start by arguing with Him honestly. A lot of times God asks me to write things that are very uncomfortable for me, but I think my arguing or questioning opens the dialogue for God to show me why I need to write what He tells me to. I also spend a lot of quiet time really thinking through whatever the topic is then making sure it's covered from all angles.

Nellie: Two words: Pray and Listen.

Sharon: I pray and take time to listen before I write anything. I often consult with others and listen to their words, knowing He is guiding that too. Over the years I am learning the importance of writing over (revising) a piece.

Joy: (I) pray and write my heart out!

Danielle: (I) pray and read the Word.

Karin: I study the Bible and pray. I also listen to what others have to say, conversations that give me a clue as to what people are dealing with and going through.

Cathy: Same as above, pray, listen, write, rewrite. And read!

Art and Teresa: I start reading and writing down every thought that comes to mind. Pretty soon a bunch of fragmented thoughts come together to form a theme. With prayer and searching out scriptures related to the theme, a message forms.

Mary Ann: I read Psalms, think on them, and write.

Dawn: I pray and ask God for wisdom and inspiration. When I have a direction on what I'm going to write, I research the subject. Then I do an outline and start writing.

Bill: I pray, and then if nothing pulls at my heart strings within thirty seconds, I'm tempted to start smacking myself in the noggin with a frying pan! (But) I sit still for awhile. Then I start writing.

Patti: (After praying, thinking, researching, talking) the biggest prep I could make would be to get my rear in that chair and begin again!

Terry: Listening to Him...

Stacey: Prayer, the Word, and sitting still to hear and receive. I then put my fingers to the keyboard and let the Holy Spirit take over.

Lindabelle: (I) seek God in earnest prayer, then write whatever He puts in my mind and heart. (I’m) praying my stories will inspire and encourage those who read them.

Rebecca: Be diligent to keep writing time as a holy commitment.

Neil: I have gotten adamant about writing down every idea, title, or phrase that comes to mind, saving it for future development. No more mental notes! I've found those are written in disappearing ink. As quickly as an idea slips into my mind, it slips out again. I've said, "Oh, I'll remember later," then I promptly forgot!

Mary Ann: I know what you mean, Neil; my mental notes disappear too. I'm learning now to jot down in a journal.

Neil: Also, I've begun praying for the ones who will need to hear what I'm writing to meet a need or provide direction in their lives. I don't know the needs or the individuals, but God does. So, instead of assuming that people will come across it randomly and benefit, or “if you write it, they will come," I'm praying for the ones it is for, even before putting pen to paper, and asking God to guide my thoughts to meet the needs of specific people He knows who will read it a year or two from now. It's an “only God" thing: only God could do it!

Linda: I keep it a priority to open my head to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and work them ASAP. That might mean hopping out of bed to work all the way through a new hymn text, or just jotting down a few phrases for future development. Everything He gives me goes into a PC file, so it doesn't get forgotten. Then I rely on the Holy Spirit to direct which piece to work on and where/when to submit or publish. Meanwhile, I prepare technically by studying craft and attending conferences. If you think God is calling you to share your writing through publication, you'll want to learn more and get a knowledgeable support/critique group.

Rodney: I gather inspiration from reading other books - the Bible included, praying for clarity, and… listening to people talk in all realms of life…. God uses people, places, and things to speak to me.

TK: I settle my spirit and await further instructions. Before writing I commune with the Lord for the direction and purpose of that particular project. All of my books can be the essence of the divine scriptures with one or two in particular. As a Christian fictional author, I utilize my experiences to help create a fictitious reality with a subliminal gospel message.

Barbara: I've only written one book, and that took me 17 years…. Much prayer precedes everything. Then I wait. I pray again. I start typing whatever comes out. I walk around. Pray some more. Cry, if needed. Moan. Perhaps start over. I go through this because I am afraid to write something that He would disapprove. Sigh.

Ashley: Lately, God has been asking me to write on some topics/issues I'm not 100% wanting to write about and I often find myself going back and forth before writing it. However, when we obey, it's very rewarding. (Also) I think reading the Word is very important for Christian writers. How can we teach and share the Word if we don't know it?

Linda: Please don't let fear of God's or anyone's disapproval deter you. Think of God as your writing partner, your co-creator, your collaborator, not as the divine writing judge. Go ahead and write whatever comes into your head that you know to be true to your experience of Him. Then the Holy Spirit can guide you to edit it. Maybe in that process you'll end up with something very different from what you started with. That's okay! That's the Holy Spirit at work. I think never trying would disappoint the Lord more than the poorest quality work, because he has someone waiting to be touched by what He wants to say through you.

Even for us Christian writers, inspiration is just the start. You have to be willing to do the work. Accept knowledgeable critique humbly; remember, your words aren't sacred scripture that can never be revised. Be patient when it takes more time and effort than you thought. And leave the outcome …to God's intention and timing without comparing your success to anyone else's… If you accomplish the Lord's plan for your work, you are a SUCCESS, even if you never sell a single book!

Connie: I don't think I have what it takes to write, for I am my worse critic. I pray for encouragement and boldness. I am not one who feels the need to write all the time, (and so) with that, I feel I must not be a true writer.

Linda: I just took up writing again after years of doing God's will in other ways. Does that stop me from being a "true" writer. No! No! and No! Be a writer who is true to the Lord's calling…. You can do it!

Connie: Thank you Linda, for your words of encouragement. I want to please the Lord in all that I do. Thank you.

Eileen: Pray first. (I) ask God for the story concept He wants me to present. Then I quiet my mind so the ideas can begin to form. When ideas come, I mull them over for a few weeks, arranging and rearranging the plot in my mind before my fingers hit the keys or the notebook. Then off I go, developing an outline/scenes, one-liner, two-paragraph summary, etc. After that, the actual writing begins.

Joyce: I spend a lot of time in God's Word and prayer. I have found if I do not allow God to fill me, I have nothing of spiritual significance to write.

Christine: Pray.

Mary: You all are mentioning what I believe is most important too: Praying, listening to God, and studying the Bible. But what about studying your craft, experimenting with forms, playing with words, and reading poems, stories, articles, essays, books, etc. in the same genre you want to write? How important are those to you?

Joyce: I believe that whatever we do for the LORD should be done skillfully. Studying our craft and reading books written by successful authors, studying marketing skills, and belonging to a writer's group are a few of the ways I try to improve – after I have prayed and studied the Word of God, of course. I am also a songwriter and have bitten my tongue on more than one occasion as I heard a songwriter say "God, gave it to me this way and I'm not changing it!"…I'm afraid Christians too often confuse inspiration and perspiration. Excellence takes both.

Michael: Thank you all! This is inspiring me to keep going.

Robin: I have been writing poetry for over 30 years and no one has ever given me encouragement or invited me to join a writers group/attend conferences until this past year. A personal friend and accomplished author read some of my poetry and invited me to do both. I entered my very first writing competition and attended a writers conference... The poem I entered did not place this year… Yet the most exciting thing is that the judge who critiqued my work compared it to Robert Frost! She …said to study his work because I have meter much like his. I love that she said to study and rewrite, rewrite and rewrite and enter the same poem in next year's contest! So to those of you…who are concerned that your writing is not good enough or that you don't know where to begin, may I offer this bit of advice and encouragement: DO NOT GIVE UP! Stay teachable, flexible….

Brian: Some poems bubble out with little immediate preparations. Others are based on study and thinking. Some are motivated by my experience or reaction to events, and some were written to influence or persuade….Some poems are the result of hard work on the theme of the poem or the poetics -- structure, meter, and rhythm.

Anita: Pray, read, go to writing conferences, meditate on the Word of God!

Barbara: As I pray and study, I listen to Christian music or fellowship with friends on the things of God, (then) thoughts, phrases, visions, and inspiration sometimes floods my being…. Descriptive Words formulate and begin to flow like water.

Rodney: For me and some of us…, it's a difficult assignment to be able to hear from God …or speak words of life, listen clearly to the Spirit, and work diligently and effectively where the environment is dysfunctional…. Clear this space for Jesus!

Mary: Yes. Writing what God has given us to write needs to be a top priority even when it's hard and we have to let some things go until later…. For freelance writers in general, the biggest obstacle is not writing! When I began freelancing about 30 years ago, I had to establish a routine and find ways to handle – or preferably, avoid – interruptions, and that's still true even now. As with any job, my family comes first, but otherwise, I go to work every day at my desk at home.

Judy: Pray daily seeking His will! (Also) I have been to…writer conferences through the years, learning from some of the best Christian editors and publishers. And, I enjoy this group!

Songaye: (My preparation for writing involves) praying, reading, writing, praying for wisdom and guidance, rereading, rewriting, praying….

Nellie: I get very calm and quiet. I open my iPad and start typing. If I start feeling an agitation, I take a deep breath and ask God to give me a clear mind and calm spirit.

Robin: I agree 100%. I am listening and learning – implementing things I learn from people in this group. And I agree with Judy. This… is a wonderful and very enjoyable group of people to learn from and grow as a writer!

Annie: Oh, my wonderful sisters and brothers, I enjoyed everything each one of you had to say. It was simply enriching. Why? God deals differently with each one of us and we get the assignment done according to His plan and will and He gets the Glory!

Linda: How wonderful that the Lord works within each of us in a unique fashion! Each is valid for that individual.

Mamie: You may not know you're called until you actually began to write naturally. I noticed I started that way--writing technically first, and then many other kinds of writings afterwards. Finally, I began to write poems and fiction about 20 years ago. So, you may not start out writing the things God has called you to write, but one thing is sure. You will start out writing little by little with the anointing of the Lord, writing something that pertains to the divine things of God.

Linda: I cut my teeth on technical writing, too. I figure that was all part of the call, because I was storing up skills and observations for the day when the Lord invited me to write for Him instead of an employer. Drama scripts and hymns are a far cry from training materials and case analysis documents, but it was all grist for the mental mill.

Miisrael: I believe true preparation for writing what God has for me is with trust and obedience to God. He gives me what to write. With trust He guides, with trust He delivers, with trust He directs (my) writings with the Word. All the trust I have (comes) with dedication and the commitment of loving Him. With obedience I become united with Him.

Mary: Thank you all for your responses! Not only have your words blessed one another, your thoughts will help other communicators for Christ who stop by here to read. May God continue to guide and empower each of us to write as we’ve been called in Jesus’ Name.



© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler placed 26 books in all genres with Christian and educational publishers then wrote the Christian Writer's Guide e-book, the Poetry Dictionary For Children and For Fun e-book, and the Christian Poet's Guide to Writing Poetry e-book on Kindle. She also founded the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook where this discussion began.


August 4, 2014

Praying for Christian poets, writers, the church Body of Christ, and the world


A few weeks ago, I asked the members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook what prayers keep coming to mind for each other, the church, and the world. Some responded with actual prayers (italicized below) and some with prayers thoughts and/or a prayerful purpose:

Jewell: To impact for Christ through gentle and loving words

Patti: Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Valerie: Father, give us ears to hear and Spiritual eyes to see what you place before me and how I can make an impact in my church and in my community. Give me your heart of compassion, so the door can open for me to tell more of your goodness. Allow me to run the race of life from an eternal perspective.

Mary: Besides the Lord's Prayer aka Our Father, my frequent prayer is: Lord, give us the prayers to pray.

Joyce: (I pray) that we will never lose sight of God's call to write – be it poetry, fiction, non-fiction. Our purpose as writers is about sharing God and Christ with the world, never about dollars and cents. Money and fame may come but should never be our reason for writing.

Karin: I often pray Philippians 2:13: For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Miisrael: I pray that God's poets keep writing of his wonderful love, his beautiful spirit to give us what we need to reach others with words and expressions. Prayers of poets I feel should never cease to show God's gift of words he has given us to share with others.

Wanda: I pray we never lose sight that gifts were given to us to praise God.

Jerome: Prayers of the faith of God – should the church come to embody such faith, we would indeed turn the world upside down.

Prayer S: My simple prayers are often associated with His commandments to love (Matthew 22:36-40.) If we comprehend all that’s behind these two commandments, we have before us all that’s needed to share the blessings of His church, share in the blessings of His love and share the blessings of His Word with the world.

Edie: When I was leading the opening for our Sunday School, I taught the kids my brief prayer with which I start many days: Lord, help me to be your child today - in all that I think and do and say. (For the kids, I added hand motions for think/do/say.) If each one of us in the church lives this way, then the church itself is strengthened – and the world is better served by us.

Mary: Lord, help! is a frequent prayer in times of trouble.

Lori: Lord Jesus, forgive our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven especially those in most need of thy mercy!

Patti: (Re: the Lord’s Prayer or Our Father) That's how Jesus taught us to pray, so yes, I do, all the time. Also, I love turning other scriptures into prayers with my name and others in them.

Rodgers: I pray that we may find satisfaction in life through Christ.

Lionel: That we may be less worldly and more holy....

Eileen: Unite our hearts to fear Your name, Oh Lord.

Cherrilynn: Philippians 1:9-11, And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Glynn: (I pray) that in what we do, how we serve, and what we write, we are a witness.

Tesha: Unity and CHRIST FOCUS!

Mary: I woke up this morning thinking about my first Fav from childhood, David's prayer (the last verse in Psalm 19.) What a great prayer to begin each day: Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

Nellie: Help us to constantly strive to live up to the image in which we were created. Help us love one another as Jesus loved us.

Marie: May my words and actions be a reflection of Who Jesus is in my everyday life. I desire that my blog and life reflect who HE is to others!

Cathy: Father, let Your kingdom come and Your will be done. Speak to our leaders, give our leaders wisdom. Lord, how we need You now!

Theresa: That we become scribes "instructed" in the Kingdom of Heaven.... Matthew 13:52.

Bill: For the church: to be conduits of God's glory. For this group: The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I may know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. The world: to bend the knee in adoration.

TR: Save and defend Your whole Church, purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Strengthen Your faithful people through the Word and the Holy Sacraments, making them perfect in love, and establishing in them the faith once delivered to the saints. Send the light of Your truth into all the earth. Raise up faithful servants of Christ to advance the Gospel both at home and in distant lands. Lord, in Your mercy, Hear our prayer. Sanctify and unite thy people in all the world, that one holy Church may bear witness to thee, the God and Father of all.

Dawn: My prayer for the church is that we would rise up and walk in the authority God gave us. Lord, we need to band together and get over our own egos and become one as you speak about in John Chapter 14. Your word says they will know us by our love one for another. My prayer for this group is that we would use the writing gifts to make a difference not only in this group, but to reach out to the unsaved with our words.

Robin: Venerable Lord, come quickly, and if you don't, please help us all! We are at the end of time as the Bible says will happen, and as we witness the growing evil, my prayer is that God would send Jesus to come quickly, or if not, help us all who call upon His name to be emboldened to stand up and claim the good news and the name of Jesus Christ. There is nothing darkness can do against the Light.

Wanda: My prayer for everyone is that we all recognize Christ is the only entrance into heaven.

Jean: I'm sensing that there needs to be the spirit of repentance unleashed upon all of us, to begin to understand God's holiness, and our sinfulness.

Yolanda: These scriptures come to mind for me: Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.

Mary: Amen to all the above! If you have prayers or prayer thoughts to add, please do so in the Comment section below. Thanks. And, may each of us love one another and live each day in God's ongoing prayers for us in Jesus' Name.



© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, author of the Christian Writer's Guide e-book, and founder of the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook where this discussion began



July 25, 2014

Living in the Nature Poem | Now on Kindle! | Hiraeth Press


[Some of you have asked if my print book of poetry published by the environmental publisher, Hiraeth Press, would ever be released as an e-book too. Just happened! Hallelujah!]

Living in the Nature Poem | Now on Kindle! | Hiraeth Press

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July 21, 2014

Ways to promote church unity


Almost a month ago, I posed a question, which began a lively discussion that needs to be more than just highlighted on the Christian Poets & Writers blog. The insightful comments of many members of our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook need to be retained for future recollection and ongoing inspiration and also passed on to Bible teachers, pastors, clerics, and other leaders in the church Body of Christ. May these words continue to be a blessing in Jesus’ Name.

QUESTION: In what ways can we promote church unity? To clarify: Unity does NOT mean uniform! We're not meant to be exactly alike, but to be part of the one Body of Christ. So, maybe the real question is: How can we help each other and our readers to see this Oneness and the power it brings to bear in Jesus' Name?

Brian: Meeting other Christians, working together on a project, forming natural relationships is a start. Reaching out may be needed, and we all need prayer support from friends.

Tracy: Yes! Coming to the understanding that, like our physical bodies, the body of Christ consists of many members with different functions. All serve an important purpose. And all rely on each other's gifts and purpose in order to function at the fullness of God's Will for His body! (1 Cor. 12)

Christine: As one pastor I had said, "Keep the main thing the main thing." Don't major on the minors.

Valerie: I see it as God is a God of unity and regular prayer taps us into the heartbeat of encouragement and exhortation Christ exemplified when on earth. We set aside TIME for prayer so we can better reflect His nature. We are often too busy to do this and as a result a critical spirit can wedge into our outlook.

Susan: Oneness is shown by patience (for difficult ones or seekers), acceptance (for those with a different viewpoint), joy in the success of others, sorrow in their pain, and gentle words at all times.

Mary: What wonderful responses! Christine, your comment would make a good motto. Valerie and Susan, you describe being a Christian! Yes! If we would BE like Christ, we wouldn't need to focus on coming together as one Body. It would just happen.

Nellie: It all comes back to love. That is the greatest command. The denomination doesn't matter; through love we recognize the spirit in others. Tolerance is necessary if we are to pull together in the name of Jesus Christ. We all believe in the resurrection and that God loved us first. Everything else is minor.

Dawn: Respecting each other's right to share a point of view, whether we agree with it or not.... We come together as the body of Christ with different gifts, talents, backgrounds, and cultures. Instead of dismissing someone who doesn't believe exactly the way we believe, (we can) be willing and open to hear them out. They might have something valuable to share that we never thought of; diversity is healthy.

Jean: We have a monthly meeting here with up to 12 church bodies represented. It's great to listen to different speakers share their testimonies, have ministry time, and then eat together!

Kathy: I find the three circles help. In the innermost circle are those tenets that are absolutely essential to Christianity. Without them, there can be no true unity because without them we are not one in Christ. In the second circle are traditions that are not essential to salvation but are sufficiently disparate that folks from one tradition would be uncomfortable with folks of another. And then there are the things in the third circle, which ironically often cause the greatest disputes among believers but have no bearing whatsoever on the essentials of the faith such as music styles or the color of the carpet. The things of the first circle I must insist on for fellowship (not for friendship or acquaintance - those are different.) All the rest I can let go.

David: While each of us is different, we should pray and allow the Holy Spirit to use those unique gifts and talents in such a way that when people see us or read our words, they see Jesus. Getting people to agree with me is unimportant. Getting people to become my brothers and sisters, that is important (1 John 4:7,8.)

Mary: Amen, amen, and amen to all of your responses!

Linda: Have an artists’ showcase and invite all to sing, play, dance, read, and show their art work!

David: Lack of love can destroy this in the church. Yet it's more than what we call love that's central. It's how God created us and being obedient to that. There are lots of theological things I could say, but even they aren't worth as much as (the fact that) God made each of us in a particular manner. To snub someone who isn't like us is snubbing Jesus, because they really don't get it. God is love (1 John 4:8.) How can any person be like Him perfectly, even though we are commanded to? We can't. We can only approach that as each of us allows God to manifest Himself in us in our uniqueness. Sure there are certain absolutes, but that's only part of it.

Michele: Simplest way to keep unity in Christ: emulate Jesus in humility, yet be bold in faith in Him. We can encourage unity by reaching out and letting others into our comfortable circle. I think some are afraid or uncomfortable with our differences and don't know how to be peaceable and kind to all brothers and sisters in the faith. Paul exhorts us to embrace and support others' spiritual gifts. What are yours? (1 Corinthians 12) A spiritual gift will always glorify the Lord, never ourselves.

David: Michele, I agree. What I have a problem with is when some people say they are emulating Jesus and are not.

Christopher: Weekly community-wide prayer groups with local pastors is a great way to start. If the pastors become united, it gives their people an easy doorway to walk through for greater unity.

Mary: Excellent ideas! Christopher, your response reminds us to ask our pastors their thoughts on this and pray for all pastors too.

Matt: We must stop the "other churches" mentality. We are all the church and ought to spend time with each other and support one another… uplift each other, not tear down or pick apart doctrine.

Mary: Matt, when you put it like that, I realize, there are no other churches! WE ARE the church, and each of us is part of the Body of Christ. The more I take that metaphor literally, the more I get the larger picture. (Eph. 3:6)

Brian: But are we all "the ekklesia"? I wish we all were, but some sects/ groups deny the fundamentals of our faith. Do we need some clear thinking to avoid unity at any cost?

Mary: Brian, the point is not agreeing any more than I need my right hand to agree with my left. The idea is to realize we all have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, so we're all part of the Body of Christ. Taking that literally helped me to understand how we can be together and work together even though we have very different perspectives.

David: The apostle Paul stated, "We preach Christ, and Christ crucified," (1 Cor. 1:23.) He later went on to explain that he preached that because Jesus rose from the dead. I'm fairly certain if you stick to this and leave your heart open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit there will be unity.

Mary: Yes! My devotional reading this morning focused on Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." So if we're IN Christ Jesus, we have Who and what's most important in common. Now to get that message across in our poems and other writings! May God heal and guide.

Jaime: I agree. That is also my thought. Sometimes we look at minor doctrinal differences and forget that Jesus is still Jesus, and if churches and people are preaching the gospel all the rest is our personal interpretations, and we as humans are not inerrant. What matters is Jesus.

Gerald: AMEN!

David: Jaime, you understood what I meant, but I guess that's the point. You DO NOT have to get what I mean, but we should all strive to understand what God means, and often that's different for all of us.

Jaime: To be honest David I didn't even read your comment. What I do know is the Bible is a living word, which means that certain scriptures speak to our hearts at one point in our lives (but) may speak something different later.

Laura: The fruits of the spirit and the definition of love develop us in a way that allows us to make allowances for others. (Gal. 5:22-23)

Mary: Amen! May God fill us with love until we spill it everywhere!

John: The stronger our relationship is with the Lord the more we become like him and the more we walk in the unity of the Spirit. We become one – One body, One spirit, One mind.

Mary: Yes, true, and amen! Thanks, John.

Stony: The Holy Spirit initiated this. This is exactly what I was pondering deeply on before coming on Facebook to see this!

David: Welcome, Stony. Jamie, isn't that neat that you could reply to my message before even reading it? This is the Holy Spirit working through us – making us ONE. And you are absolutely correct. You can read a passage of Scripture, and it says one thing to us, but when we read it later on it says something different. It is the LIVING Word of God, not something stagnant with only one understanding. (Heb. 4:12)

Lillian: I think we all need to be more accepting of others. More mercy – less judgment!

Stony: You are right, Lillian. We are so quick to call other preachers false teachers and heretics even when our theologies are not so far off. I have a dream for the unity of the body of Christ for only then will we have another awakening.

Mary: Oh, I'm so glad to see your comments, Lillian and Stony. May the love and mercy of Christ abound in us and bring unity in Jesus' Name.

Jeannie: I think my latest post is going in that direction, Mary. Being a people without division, we LOVE! If we are IN Christ, our denomination is not important. It is the choice we make to love the Lord and our neighbor!

David: In Matthew 25 Jesus is the one who separates, and He does so on this premise, "For whatsoever you do to the least of these My brethren, you do so unto Me." If that brother or sister needs your help, would you help them? If Jesus asked to stay at your home, would you let Him? If a brother or sister has asked, and you are able, then Jesus has already asked.

TR: Not having this all worked out, I am supposing Ephesians 4:3-6 would give us an outline of what is needed or helpful for unity: “(Be) eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Some of the difficult parts are identified in the phrase, "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." These three are where many differences exist. Christendom has many different ideas of who the Lord Jesus is, many different confessions of the faith, and a handful of different baptisms. Lacking unity in those three areas, general unity becomes something of a challenge. This suggests that to advance towards unity, we need conversations about these three things.

Linda: The lyrics (of “The Church’s One Foundation”) started playing in my head: "her charter of salvation, one Lord, one faith, one birth; one holy name she blesses…." Indeed we are all part of the body of Christ, we are not eyelashes all or fingernails or the heart. Each of these parts works together in unison with the others and usually doesn't war with the other parts (although there are exceptions on occasion.) Often it is too easy to look at another part and not appreciate its role in the body, but if we acknowledge the Head, it becomes an easier task. So, when I encounter a body part I don't understand, I try to take a step back, and appreciate the function, but more importantly who that part works for: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Col. 1:18)

Mary: I love these responses! Are any of you blogging on what we can do to heal the Body of Christ? If so, let me know. Those posts will certainly need highlighting on the Christian Poets & Writers blog.

Jean: In the words of Jesus: LOVE. Live a life of loving Christ foremost, then loving each other. Genuine, Christ-like love is the answer. (John 13:34-35)

Patti: Love one another as Jesus loves us. (John 15:12) And be ye kind ‘cause it's just not all about YOU or ME! And now, let's all go out for ice cream and share!

Mary: Actually, Patti, that might be the place to start! Eating together brings us together, and I'm sure Jesus enjoys the laughter and levity that usually accompanies ice cream.

Mamie: We all have different gifts and talents, and of course, we all can't be alike. So, I have to say what the Word says concerning oneness: "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Cor. 12)

David: Instead of denominations I think of the church as family. At my boyhood home I would always use the side door to come in. I still do when I visit my parents. Why? Because I'm family. There have been a few churches that I felt the same way when I walked in. Yeah, praise God, it's family.

Cherrilynn: Promote Unity by agreeing to disagree on the non-essentials. Hold fast to the unchangeable truth that Jesus is God, was born of a virgin, died on the cross for sin, and now sits at the right hand of God. Salvation by Grace alone…. I am not a Theologian, but I believe you understand what I am saying. Maybe someone else could word it better.

Mary: Actually, Cherrilynn, you not only said it just fine, you came to the same conclusions the major denominations have voiced!

David: If you want to find out what Jesus' will for us is, read His prayer in John 17. We've been settling for scraps when God has a 7-course meal prepared for us.

Cherrilynn: David, I love that passage: "Sanctify us with the Truth; the Word is Truth," (John 17:17.)

David: Yes, and Jesus is that Living Word. He is that Truth. I also like what Paul wrote in Ephesians 2. The Jews were a people of the promise, but we were separated by the written Law. In Christ's death God broke down the wall of separation and made the two one. Isn't this what we're talking about?

Bill: I had forgotten you had posed this question and just happened to write about the same issue just this morning. I think we often forget that, without love, our opinions on other matters are annoying at best.

Anne: Church unity is promoted by us working through the very things that could divide. It is seeing Him (Christ) bigger than the differences that pepper our lives. (Ephesians 4) Church unity is accomplished when Christ is bigger than everything else. When our eyes are on the Master, the wind and waves are irrelevant as He reminds us He is over even them.

Mary: Oh, I pray each one of you lets your response flow into a poem, an article, a book, a Post-A-Note…! Also, I want to thank you and praise God for letting these good words on unity in Christ flow into this blog post. May the blessing continue in Jesus’ Name.


© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, poet, author of the Christian Writer's Guide e-book, and founder of the Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook

[Note: Bible references were researched and cited through Bible Gateway.]

July 11, 2014

The good about getting older


What’s good about getting older? More than you might suspect! For starters, you can:

• Call almost everyone “Honey.”

• Give a teenager a quick hug without being weird.

• Be somewhat eccentric (as long as you know the date, your name, and the name of the current President.)

• Focus on things you always wanted to do but thought you first had to have a highly justifiable reason.

• Say “no” to projects that drive you up a wall.

• Dress for comfort (as long as you remember to comb your hair in the back and avoid smelling funky.)

• Write your memoirs for your family members while you still remember the time, place, and who your family members even are.

• Know your “life themes” and write about them.

• Ride the roller coaster of deep despair and high thrills by sending your poems and manuscripts to traditional publishing companies you've taken the time to research.

• Make up new words when “real ones” don’t come to you.

• Be glad your sweat no longer contains the small stuff.

• Recognize malarkey, hogwash, balderdash, and drivel when you hear it.

• Comment on the above with the experience and humor to back you up.

• Throw yourself into loving and being loved, thereby ensuring a throng at the memorial service in your honor.

• Say “I am who I am” and be happy with that, knowing God is The Great I Am, Who made you as you are.


© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-author of Living in the Nature Poem and the Bible-based poetry book, Outside Eden,


July 5, 2014

Knowing what and when to write


Most writers wonder where or how to start when they first begin to write, but seasoned writers also have difficulty discerning which subject or story idea to focus on next. Assuming you have prayed for God’s guidance, just begin with whatever God brings to your mind. For example:

• Make a list of the Bible verses that speak to you often.

• Consider your Life Themes such as encouraging people or ministering healing to the church.

• Keep a diary, notebook, scrapbook, or journal.

• Practice journaling in a written conversation with God.

• List stories in your life that might make illustrative works of fiction.

• Start an "Idea Folder" on your favorite topics, interests, and places you would like to go.

• Jot down dreams, thoughts, and insights that come to you on awakening.

• Write down every idea God brings to mind for a story, article, or book.

If an idea or subject comes up again and again, prayerfully consider this as the start of a writing project, then let your imagination play. Have fun with the possibilities. Get comfy. Relax. Focus on a central topic or story idea, then let your thoughts flow. Write down everything that comes to mind without censoring yourself or eliminating any possibilities at this point. Later, you can cut or insert words as you revise.

Why wait? Writing and editing involve two separate tasks and actually use two different parts of the brain. By separating those aspects of your work into different time slots, you’ll avoid short-circuiting yourself!

Writing takes time. Revising takes time. So you might be wondering what you’ll do when you have no time to spare. Simple! Use snatches. A minute here or a half-hour there, waiting around for something, can offer writing moments you might not have realized were yours. For example, consider how “Tweeting” in 140 characters sounds inconsequential, but spending only a few minutes a day on Twitter for four years gave me 147 single-spaced, typewritten pages!

Although a well-written manuscript consists of more than tweets, notes, and fleeting thoughts, a little time at the beginning of a writing project can save you all sorts of time (and grief!) as you proceed. For example, almost every type of writing needs an underlying theme and purpose with an appropriate audience in mind. A favorite Bible verse can provide that theme, perhaps, with the purpose of helping to increase a reader’s faith in God, Christ, the church, love, forgiveness, or biblical principle such as this important word for Christian poets and writers:

“Wear steadfast love, kindness, and truth around your neck. Write them on your heart, and you will have a good reputation with God and with people too. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on what you think you know. Remember God in everything you do, and the Lord will show you the way,” Proverbs 3:3-6

© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved. This above post is an excerpt from the Christian Writer's Guide e-book.

Christian Writer's Guide, Kindle e-book on Amazon



June 25, 2014

Time in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry


• Let a narrative poem, true story, novel, or short story unfold according to its time sequence.

• Avoid flashbacks or use sparingly.

• Avoid distractions or unnecessary interruptions.

• Let time flow.

• In nonfiction, arrange each point chronologically, sequentially, or logically in the natural order of development.

• Make your points then move along from one point of interest to another.

~~

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler - poet-author of 26 traditionally published books in all genres, and a lifelong lover of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the church - wrote the Christian Writers' Guide e-book with you in mind.

~~



June 21, 2014

Breaking the Good News to your readers


Television news and articles on the Internet often give the impression that no good news exists! We constantly hear about failures and falls – the fall of meteorites, the fall of the economy, the fall of politicians, pastors, past heroes, and church membership – all of which can be expected in a fallen world. But here’s the Good News! Christ rescues and forgives. Christ saves.

As Christians, we ARE the Body of Christ on earth, which means, of course, we CAN make a difference! How? Through empowerment by the Holy Spirit and the power of the pen, pencil, print, and Internet….

I’ll be eager to hear your suggestions about this in the Comments section below. Meanwhile, these starters come to mind:

Listen.

Get comfortable. Get quiet. Pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

Empty your thoughts. Quiet your mind. Give God a chance to speak to you. How? However, God chooses! Often this will be an impression, inspired thought, or sudden recollection of a word from the Bible that seems especially relevant and timely.

Observe. Notice. Use your good senses!

For example, notice your own reactions to people, ads, news, sermons, events. What troubles you? Do you feel grieved, as I do, when you hear someone bad-mouth God, Christ, Christianity, and the church? Do you wonder, as I do, what Jesus thinks of the bickering and “gang rivalry” that occurs among Christians and various denominations? Do you hear about problems but know of biblical solutions you can address in a poem, article, book, or Bible story retold in a fresh but accurate way?

Identify.

To whom do you intend to speak? If children, are you drawn to a particular age group? If adults, do you feel a stronger connection with young people, middle-aged readers, retirees, or elderly persons? Do you interact with those prospective readers often enough to know what’s on their minds, on their plates, or under their feet?

Focus.

When you know who your readers will be, think about a topic or theme you want to discuss that will most likely interest them. Then sharpen your focus as you identify your writing goal or purpose. i.e., What do you hope your poem, fiction, or nonfiction will accomplish? Do you want to encourage faith? Do you see yourself as an evangelizer whose writings can coax non-Christians to Christ? Do you hope to help heal rifts and misunderstandings in the Body of Christ? How would you go about each of those goals?

Consider.

• In what ways will the Kingdom of God and Will of God attract your readers?

• In what ways would you like for the church to adapt to our changing culture but not lose the power of the Gospel message?

• In what ways can you encourage readers to take the first command in Genesis 1:28 as God's word to protect the environment?

• In what ways can you encourage readers to take the “wreck” out of recreation and put godly acts into action?

• In what way can your writing show true love for God, other Christians, and “those people” we don’t relate to or even like?

• In what winsome ways can all of us accurately, intelligently, empathetically, lovingly, and prayerfully break the good Good News to our readers?

~~

© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler - poet-author of 26 traditionally published books in all genres, and a lifelong lover of Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the church Body of Christ in all its parts - wrote the Christian Writer's Guide e-book with you and the above thoughts in mind.

~~

June 12, 2014

Ministry of Christian poets and writers


Wondering how the members of our Christian Poets and Writers group on Facebook saw their writing ministries, I recently asked:

In what ways do you hope your writing will help to draw others to Christ, up-build the church, and strength faith?

Adeline: I believe people respond to writers who are real and authentic – honest about our struggles and how God reveals himself to us in the midst of good and tough times. My desire is for my life and my writing to be congruent – nothing more and nothing less.

Brian: Many of my poems center on Christian truth. There can be a kind of prophetic dimension to poems that comfort, challenge, inform, and edify.

Christine: I hope others will be able to see and say, "Wow, she can relate to me. God does love me and want the best for me. I'm not perfect, but I am the apple of His eye, and there is hope."

Anne: I hope my writing will give others hope. I want those who hurt to know God cares. And for those who feel alone, I want them to know God is with them, even though they only hear silence.

Gregory: (I want to) empower and equip others to live out their unique, God-given destiny!

Kristen: I write for children 9 to 14. I want them to realize our God can be relied upon and even children can make a difference.

Me: What a joy to see so many ways of expressing God's love! Like Adeline, I believe people respond well to honesty, and the Bible itself shows this to be true. Except for Christ, every Bible story shows flawed people, whom God still chose, forgave, and blessed, so I want my writing to be real and help readers to get real with themselves and God. My primary goals, however, are to encourage loving interactions among Christians, up-build the church Body of Christ, and draw people into reading the Bible.

Rali: My desire is to see my readers inspired to live fulfilled, empowered, and victorious lives in Christ – that they know and walk in God's plan for their lives.

Paul: (I want to give) examples from real life that show our past errors can point us to Christ, who offers grace and new beginnings. Writing that offers hope in spite of the past draws attention away from the sin and toward His forgiveness. I'm not sure I've accomplished that yet, but every day gives new opportunities. I like blank pages.

Barbara: I hope and pray my recent book will break down some prejudices and stereotypes. I wrote it to tell a story but was also keenly aware of the fact that I was to approach a certain topic with accurate facts and an open mind. So far the response to the book has been positive.

Marie: I hope my writing will bring encouragement and hope to many people! I also pray for my readers, wherever they are, that God will bring glory to His name through my poetry.

Fran: I hope my book about seeing God in everyday experiences will bring others closer to God through my easy-to-understand poems and devotions. I also hope people will be encouraged to know my first book was published a month after my 80th birthday.

Jeannie: I hope my writing will inspire others to trust God and create a deeper hunger for His Word by sharing real life examples of what He is doing in my heart. His Word is greater than gold, achieving things for us money cannot buy. I hope my writing will show His greatness.

Norma: I believe Christian fiction is a terrific tool for leading people to Christ and discipling believers. It provides a non-confrontational format to show how believers live and how their lives differ from the world around them. I hope my characters will be identified with and will lead others to see the need for Christ in their own lives.

Stacey: All I hope my writing does is show people God/Jesus' love and desire for them and to glorify Him in all things, working for the advancement of the Kingdom.

Rebecca: By writing the truth, especially within the genre of fiction, I hope my readers will gasp and see the a-ha.

Carole: I pray the Lord will use my writings to draw people unto Himself, to realize their need for Him in their lives. I pray this with all my heart, and I thank Him for the opportunity He has given me to do so. Jeremiah 31: 1, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you,” NKJV.

Patti: I write for a Christian newspaper and hope people can identify with my being real, humorous, in love with God and His church. Having my stories and poems in books and magazines 20 years ago was all about "me,” and that byline was fun! But God changed my heart around and made it all about HIM, and there the difference made a mark on my heart.

Dawn: Speak the Truth in Love. (Ephesians 4:15) Encourage and build up others. (1 Thessalonians 5:11) Correct and instruct the body of Christ. (2 Timothy 4:2) Teach and train in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Brayden: I pray people realize that the way the world handles problems is not necessarily how God wanted us to handle problems. I pray that people would see that He is very much concerned with every facet of our lives and that when we follow His ways, the outcome is so much better than what we could ever expect. The situation may never change, but our hearts and attitudes do.

Elizabeth: I want my writing to point to spiritual truths in a way that catches people by surprise. Many of my poems contain symbols of spiritual truth and/ or are somewhat allegorical. I love to create an image that has greater meaning than what appears on the surface.

Terry: No matter what I am writing about, I always try to have a clear presentation of the gospel somewhere in the book. It is always my prayer that someone will be saved as a result.

Susan: Taking C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien to heart, I write to feed the religious imaginations of readers through fantastical-whimsical-spiritual stories. It is a first step to belief for the secular-minded and pure fun for the believer, who will recognize Christian themes and allusions.

Susan P: Some of my poetry has me crying as I am writing it as I know the Holy Spirit is healing me through every word I write. He inspires.

Joy: My default mode seems to be to write vulnerable, open, and honest in the hope that other wounded souls will see that they are not alone. And I hope and pray readers may be blessed by hearing how being in relationship with God makes all the difference in the world in coping with life's trials. I aim to encourage fellow believers in their faith and point to the One who gives me daily grace and strength to live and write for His glory. I'm tremendously encouraged by Fran's admission here about the age she achieved being a published author! As I'm approaching my 60th birthday, I was beginning to feel time was running out to achieve publishing my own poetry anthology and/or a devotional book/ memoir. But her words have given me fresh hope that God isn't finished with me yet, and it can still happen within His perfect timing. I love how we can inspire one another here!

Keren: Poetry for me, like Susan, feels like a release which I hope others can share, mystical stories I hope others can glimpse something of the nature of transformational love, but with my theology/ polemical writing I can be more straightforward and hope to encourage and edify. I pray over all of it that the Lord will use it (one day as I'm not published yet either) and that none of it will go to waste.

Lorretta: I aim for authenticity and transparency. I simply tell the stories of how I once was lost and now am found and hope others can see Christ through it all. Humorous or Serious – no topic is too big or too small and no mistake or triumph will get wasted.

Mamie: I write for a ministry and do various other writings too (articles, poems, etc.) So, as I write to minister, I am also teaching and preaching the Word of the Lord to anyone who's already a saved person and who receives the message from the Spirit. That involves much prayer, the Word of God, and staying in living contact with the Lord. Therefore, people have responded in considerable numbers. I give praise and glory to the Lord our God Who has given me the talent of writing that I may use it to the utmost for His glory!!

Regina: My blog is all about showing God at work in our lives – every day! And the show I produce, The Hand of God, was developed to do the same.

Prayer Soldierone: I simply pray that the words I share will find the person who needs them in the moment or the one who will reflect on them from which to build their understanding as to where the Holy Spirit is guiding.

Joyce: Faith in God is found in Christ alone. Unity in the church is found in Christ alone. My writing goal is to grow, in myself and others, a hunger and thirst for the Word of God in order that we may truly know God as we walk with Christ.

Eileen: So many authors have inspired me to grow in my walk with the Lord. Some may never know until heaven the influence they've had on me. Because of that investment in my life, I'm now a writer who longs to encourage others in their faith walk. Whether it's a word or phrase that plays in the reader's mind while she washes dishes or bathes an infant, or whether it's a life-changing chapter that she must read again and mull over, I want my words to challenge thinking and move toward real change. Words keep; they are such powerful motivators, either for good or ill. I pray my words will leave a lasting legacy of faith for all who partake.

Karin: I am learning more each day that God wants me to help Believers become more connected to His mindset, which is outlined in the Bible. The more we respond to His way, the more peace and joy we will have. Having peace and joy releases us to be who He called us to be which in turn affects other lives for the better. We cannot fulfill His call if we are stressed and worried.

Lisa B: I hope to maybe help others see things in the Word that they may have had a hard time understanding, amen.

Linda: I want my writing to draw out what hurts, so the reader can lift it to the Lord.

Anne: It is only in drawing out that hurt that it can truly heal. We live in a society that looks like things are fine – airbrushed fine. And the reality is, people are hurting, just getting better at hiding it.

Tesha: Praying our post will empower single women to take godly steps to prepare to become a wife.

Tim C: I write Bible-inspired poetry to sustain long, loving meditation on Scripture and communion with Christ. Moreover, I find poetry (and hiking) most helpful in curbing depression. Now, to your question: Much of my time after coming to Christ at age twelve had been "I think" and "I feel" instead of "It is written" and "Thus saith the Lord." When the Bible (more than my gut) becomes primary in informing my Christian walk, i am greatly helped. Hence, I write to point to the word and the Word. Said another way, I write poetry in hopes of stimulating a Berean (Acts 17:11-12) response.

Me: Thank you all for your wonderful responses! May God continue to bless you and the writing you have been given to do in all genres for the glory of God and the healing of the church Body of Christ in Jesus' Name.


© 2014, Mary Harwell Sayler, poet-author of 26 traditionally published books in all genres and the Christian Writer's Guide e-book on Amazon.