Feeds:
Posts
Comments
"I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord.
"They are plans for good and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
In those days when you pray, I will listen.
You will find me when you seek me,
if you look for me in earnest."
Jeremiah 29:11-13 TLB

Thank You, Father, for Your faithfulness. Last year wasn’t easy, but then You never promised us a problem-free life. What You have promised is always to be with us.


Last year was more than challenging for me and my husband. Yet despite scary health issues, the ministry of Write His Answer continued. Through going virtual (that was scary too!) the Greater Philly and Colorado Christian Writers Conference reached people who otherwise would not have been able to come. Thank You, Father, for the technology and for the team who made it work.

I confess there were days when I was tempted to give up – days when the evil one tried to convince me that I’m too old to keep on keeping on. The ongoing pandemic has made me fearful to begin planning to meet on the mountain for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. (The August 4-6 Philly conference will be virtual.) The financial risk and workload is daunting. Yet now, more than ever, I know God is calling me to encourage and equip His people to “Write His Answer.”

And so, during last night’s House of Worship* with Marty and Jenny Goetz and Misha and her family, I again told the Lord, “Hineni, Here Am I.” I’m praying you will join me in saying “Hineni” in this new year. Click here for the link to the song.

Together, let’s trust Father’s promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13 and worship Him as Marty and Misha sing “The Plans I Have for You.” For the story behind the creation of this song click here.

*The House of Worship has been meeting since March 2020 most Tuesday’s and Friday’s at 8 pm EST on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
It’s been almost 40 years since the traumatic Christmas Eve I wrote about below. Thank You, Father, for bringing Your peace to these strained relationships and for the assurance that my mother and stepfather are now home with You. Please bring Your peace – Your shalom – to families in conflict. Restore estranged relationships and help us to love others as You love us.
~ * ~ * ~

How fast the year has flown, I reflected as I took the photographs off the mantle to decorate it for Christmas. A charred mark on the paneling behind one of the photos instantly reminded me of a Christmas when our home had been anything but peaceful.

My mother and stepfather were visiting. The relationship was strained, but we had been trying to keep the peace. On Christmas Eve the tension erupted into a bitter argument. The smell of burning wood stopped me from saying things I would have later regretted. A candle had tipped over on the mantle causing the paneling right near the thermostat to smolder. Trembling with fear of what might have been, I soaked the wall with water and later hid the damage with a photo. The damage in the relationship with my parents was not so easily hid.

Painful memories have a way of refusing to stay camouflaged. At Christmas we are forced to face the fact that all is not always “calm” and “bright” in our relationships with a brother or sister, a parent or child, an in-law or cousin. This season of joy can turn into one of misery as we have no choice but to spend time with people who go out of their way to avoid us the rest of the year.

When our homes are filled with conflict, what can we do to have “peace on earth, good will to men”?

1. Keep our eyes on the One whose birth we celebrate. The Gospel of John opens with the poignant words: “His life is the light that shines through the darkness–and the darkness can never extinguish it” (John l:5 TLB). The reality of that first Christmas was not just the angels’ song, but Herod’s decree that every baby boy two years old and under be slaughtered (see Matthew 2:16). The shadow of the cross was already hanging over the Holy Family as they fled to Egypt.

Jesus never promised us problem-free relationships, but He has promised to give us the wisdom to know how to love those who may be anything but lovable. Difficult relationships do not have to spoil the joy of Christmas if we follow Jesus’ example and respond with love and forgiveness.

2. Try not to put unrealistic demands on ourselves. Christmas Eve I typically am still racing to complete my “to-do” list. I end up too tired to enjoy Christmas much less to cope with difficult family members. We need to learn when to make a good night’s sleep a priority so that we’re able to handle added emotional pressures.

3. Avoid having unrealistic expectations of others. It is unlikely that people who have been less than pleasant throughout the year will suddenly become nice just because it is Christmas. Yes, I believe God works miracles, but it is just as great a miracle to learn not to set ourselves up to be hurt through our unrealistic expectations.

I cannot remove that charred area of paneling without replacing the entire wall, but it can serve as a reminder that if I want peace in my family, it must begin with me. Truly, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor. 5:19 NIV). Because Christ came, we can be reconciled to one another.
___________

The above article was first published in the December 1986 issue of Decision. It has been reprinted by Our Family, Messenger of St. Anthony, Christian Standard, Sunday Digest, Family Forum, The Gem, Live, and ASSISTnews.net.

We Thank You, O Lord

tg-bible

We Thank You, O Lord
To the tune “We Gather Together”

We thank You, O Lord, for Your mercy and blessings,
Your love that we never can merit or earn.
Our praises we’re bringing to You on this Thanksgiving.
We worship You, O Lord -, our hearts for You yearn.

We need You, O Lord, in our lives, in our nation.
Our land You will heal if Your people will pray.
If humbly we’ll seek You and turn away from evil,
There’s hope that our- nation will see brighter days.

And so, Lord, we give You our praise and thanksgiving,
Our worries and fears we surrender to You.
We choose to rejoice in Your promise, Your provision.
We will trust You, O Lord -, for Your Word is true.

 Marlene Bagnull


Invest only $157 (before August 1; $177 after) and “hit the ground running” in your writing life by experiencing three days at the COLORADO Christian Writers Conference described below!

UNBELIEVABLE!

Guest Blogger, Leona Choy

Your flight, hotel, food and total expenses are FREE! This super-conference is VIRTUAL–so you live and eat and sleep at your own home! Colorado is awesome and beautiful, but you don’t have to go there to “attend” this event.

All you have to do is sit in front of your computer or open your laptop and ZOOM along with a VIRTUAL gallery full of writers (well-published and beginners) and an outstanding faculty of agents, authors, editors, publishers, workshop leaders, and keynote inspirational speakers. You can schedule personal appointments with faculty and discuss your writing in “real time.”

AN INCREDIBLE BONUS!

Since no one is able to “attend” every one of these outstanding sessions in three days, as a perk because you registered, you’ll be able at your leisure to go back and sit in on all the recorded video sessions you missed or want to experience again. For how long? FOR TWO ENTIRE MONTHS after the conclusion of this conference. A mega-bargain for such a small investment!

A few weeks ago I VIRTUALLY participated in the “big sister” Christian Writers Conference in Philadelphia, but we were also  VIRTUAL so not located there. It was truly life-changing and unforgettable. The writing progress of some participants since attending has gone to a new level. In fact, some writers were so inspired that they are “attending” both conferences this year and doubling their learning opportunity.

If you are serious about writing and believe God has called you, learn all you can about the writing craft and current opportunities. Pray and consider “going” to this Colorado Conference–while staying at home. Let me know if you decide to register. I will pray for the Lord to arrange His ordained encounters for you during those life-changing three days in August and will hope to see you there!

Leona Choy,
Christian Writing Coach

Guest post by Chris Richards

I can go online, search for writers’ conferences, and get a huge list I could read in, ooohhh, let’s say, about 8 hours – if I wanted to spend my time that way. The things they have in common are classes teaching:

  • Writing
  • Marketing
  • Editing
  • Publishing

And they will provide:

  • Inspiration
  • Opportunities to meet fellow writers
  • Opportunities to make writing friends

And most will have opportunities to meet with agents and editors.

I can also find conferences lasting from one day to all summer. There are conferences online, in-person, and both. They are close to home and far away. They focus on all genres, or only one. They come from different points of view – secular, spiritual, Buddhist, communist, ecological, etc. And some are Christian.

So, why should I choose GPCWC over all the others?

Heart.

The heart of the conference. The heart of the staff and faculty. The heart of the conferees. The heart of the world.

First, I am Christian, so I prefer Christian conferences. The list is still long.

Next, I review speakers and select conferences with those I want to learn from. Finally, I look at where they are and how much they cost.

What makes GPCWC different? What makes GPCWC stand out?

In addition to the above list they build me up as a Christian and help me as I evangelize through my writing. All Christians are called by Jesus to evangelize (Mark 16:15).

We all know this world and this country have turned away from our first love, Jesus (Rev. 2:4).

It requires only a few moments watching the television or reading the news or listening to our neighbors fight or walking along a downtown street in any major city and you know this world and country are sliding off a cliff into the depths of evil.

Our desire is to turn off the TV news reports, stop reading the news, hide in our homes behind the pretty white picket fence where everything is beautiful and there are no lions who wander the streets seeking to devour us (1 Peter 5:8). Or is that just what we desire to believe regardless of the truth?

At GPCWC (June 24-26) one of the keynotes and a seven-hour continuing session will focus on the issues facing our nation – on those things we desire to ignore, but ones that God wants us to see and where He wants us to shine His redemptive Love.

I will attend these presentations at GPCWC and listen to what the Lord wants me to do and where He wants me to be.

For more information go to the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, https://Philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

Trust…given or earned?

As Officer Logan Taul’s nightstick plummets toward the teen’s arm, he sees the monster he has become reflected in the warped storefront window.

Thus begins his journey, back to the officer, man, and father he wants to be. Logan must face his own nature and insecurities and defy those who do not want him to succeed. His quest for redemption leads him to search for the family he deserted. Despite physical attacks on both himself and those he loves, and attempts to frame him, can he bring his family back together? Will he once more wear the badge in a position of trust?

Do you know a teen who loves to write?

Because of going virtual this year, we have decided not to offer Teens Write. But teens are the future, and it’s important to support and encourage them. So please see the email below from one of our team members, Darcie Gudger, and pass it on to a teen who is interested in writing or to your church secretary. With going virtual, teens from all over the country can participate. And at $59, it’s one-third the price of an adult registration.    


Hey aspiring teen writers,  

Things are a bit different this year… well, they have been different for the past year and a half.   

Anyway, since there is no Teens Write with the virtual June 24-26 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference, your friendly neighborhood Teen’s Write expert (me!) has curated a list of continuing sessions and workshops to help boost your novel-writing aspirations.   

Before I share the list, lean in. Closer. I have a secret. Don’t tell the adults because they don’t get this deal.

For you guys who are in 6th – 12th grade, we will reduce the cost of the conference to only $59 dollars.  

SHHHHH! I know you’re excited and the shrieks are bursting from your lips. Because you teens are my FAVORITE people, the conference director decided to give your MORE than 50% off. Actually, my calculator tells me it’s one-third off! How cool is that? It’s the cost of a Switch game.   

I hope I can connect with you all over a lunch or dinner break during the conference so we can chat about writing. And remember, this deal is for teens ONLY! Because you are awesome and I want to see a lot of you!  

From the desk of the Mad Scribbler,

Darcie
Editor, Instructor
Author of SPIN, TOSS, and CATCH  

P.S. Here’s the list:
The Novelist’s Toolbox – a 7.5 hour continuing session spread over 3 days

Deep, deep, deeper POV – taught by a literary agent

Researching your novel – with best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs

Grammar – what you really need to know – a class taught to college students

Be Bold – edgy Christian Fiction

Show and Tell Time – How to KNOW if you SHOW!   

Go to https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com
to find out more and to register.

Baker’s Dozen of reasons why YOU need to come . . .

#13 Going virtual. Save $$$ – NO cost for travel, lodging, and meals!

#12 Connect with other writers through breakouts and online chat.

#11 Six-hours in a LIVE continuing session. Choose from eight offered.

#10 Total of 42 workshops plus pre-conference webinars & zoom meetings.

#9 LIVE panels – agents, editors, indie publishers.

#8 LIVE mealtime breakouts. Get your questions answered.

#7 Five LIVE inspiring keynotes.

#6 Faculty of 65 agents, editors, authors, and other professionals.

#5 Appointments with editors and agents.

#4 Author’s Night and opportunity to sell your latest book.

#3 Worship with Marty Goetz.

#2 Experience a new or renewed vision for your writing ministry.

#1 And . . . videos of everything (over 100 HOURS) available to view for two months after the conference at NO additional charge! Plus this year’s registration fee is half what our last three day conference cost.

For more info and to register go to
https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com

“All writers conferences stimulate the mind;
Marlene Bagnull’s conferences
challenge the heart.”

Cec Murphey

Thinking on my feet was never one of my strong points.

I remember my very first television interview for the book that accumulated 42 rejection slips over the six years I worked to find a home for it. When the invite came to be live on TBN, I was more panicked than excited. I made my list of ten interview questions as requested and tried to memorize my answers. I even did a practice interview with a friend.

I was beyond nervous when I arrived at the studio. Seeing the circular staircase I would need to walk down to get on the set didn’t help. PTL I didn’t fall down the stairs, but my mouth fell open and my mind went blank when I was asked:

Why did you write this book?

I remember my mind racing and my frantic prayer. “God, help! That wasn’t one of the questions!”

I don’t remember what I answered, but the next 30 minutes flew by. To my amazement I was asked to come back the next time I was on the west coast.

Why am I sharing this story? Because I don’t want you to have the same experience Friday, June 25, during the Author’s Night at the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference when Eric Sprinkle and Darcie Gudger ask you why you wrote your book – why people need to read it.

Eric will have the timer set on his iPhone, so you won’t have time to mentally rehearse what you want to say or to ramble as you think out loud.

So be prepared! It’s amazing how thinking ahead, and especially praying ahead, relieves anxiety. And the bottom line is I guarantee you will enjoy our Author’s Night. Hopefully you will also get orders for an autographed copy of your book.

We did a lot of thinking and praying about how to make it possible for you to sell your book at our VIRTUAL conference. PTL we’ve found a way to make it work. To find out what you need to do ASAP if you’re planning on coming to the conference and have a book to sell, go to “Selling Your Book” at https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com.

I’d love to see you, and your book, June 24-26.
Now glory be to God,
who by his mighty power at work within us
is able to do far more than
we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—
infinitely beyond our highest prayers,
desires, thoughts, or hopes. 
Ephesians 3:20 TLB

Do you see the storm clouds gathering?

Will our nation survive?

Do you believe God can use the words you write to bring our nation back to Him?

At the June 24-26 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference you will learn tons about the craft of writing and marketing. In fact, your registration will give you access to over 90 hours of valuable information that you can view for two months after the conference – information that will help launch or expand your writing ministry whether it be through a nonfiction book, novel, personal experience story, article, or poetry.

But GPCWC will also encourage and equip you to address the issues facing our nation. After Leona Choy’s Thursday evening’s keynote, the six faculty teaching the “Impact Our Culture” continuing session will share in a panel discussion and lead us in a time of praying for our nation.

A keynote you won’t want to miss!

Leona Choy will turn ninety-six two days before the conference. She says, “As writers who are Christians, we can’t afford to stand down, to back off from writing honest words in appropriate ways. We can’t afford to live or write on the safe side by avoiding controversial topics. We must tackle edgy subject matter.

“We can’t be wimpy writers. Let’s stand our ground and stand up for our faith and truth and righteousness even if we stand out with a target on our back. When we see deception and fakery, God is counting on us to pray and write well with courage.”

Will you accept the challenge to “Write – and Live – His Answer”?

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

Memorial Day

Father, help us not forget those who have given their lives for our country and those who are presently serving in places near and far. You know the sacrifices they and their families make as well as how difficult it is to see a son or daughter, husband or wife, mother or father cope with physical disability or PTSD.

Others are grieving the loss of a loved one from covid-19.

And then there are countless others who are battling cancer and other frightening conditions or are overwhelmed caring for a family member or close friend.

It’s not easy, Lord, but then You never promised life would be easy. But thank You that You have promised always to be with us.

Jesus said: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 TLB

If someone you love has cancer, or if you know of a caregiver who needs comfort and encouragement, this gift book will provide spirit-lifting thoughts for celebrating the gift of life in the midst of troubles. My good friend, Cec Murphey, who cared for his wife as she battled cancer, has given Write His Answer Ministries a box of these beautiful full-color gift books. Only $7. Click here to order.

Let him have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you
and watching everything that concerns you.

1 Peter 5:7 (TLB)