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Archive for the ‘Pondering Biblical Truth’ Category

Accept the truth – you can’t. But . . .

with God everything is possible. Mark 10:27 TLB

Choose to rely on Him and His enabling.

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. Proverbs 3:5 AMP

Refuse to believe the evil one’s lies that you can’t do what God is calling you to do.

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

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! Hebrews 12:2-3 MSG

Claim His promises.

I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. Philippians 4:13 TLB

Don’t give up!

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. Galatians 6:9 TLB

Praise Him in joyful anticipation of conquering the impossible in His strength.

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

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I love surprises! But waiting has never been the part I love. I’d beg my mother to give me a hint – just a little hint. I didn’t want her to totally give away the surprise. That would spoil the fun of wondering what the surprise might be.

I remember one Christmas when my curiosity got the best of me. I hunted through all of my mother’s favorite hiding places until I finally discovered the tiny outfits she had made for my Ginny doll while I was in school. Christmas morning just wasn’t the same.

When someone tells me a secret and makes me promise not to tell, I have to bite my tongue. Although I’m busting to tell, a promise is a promise.

But when I’m in control, when I’m the giver, keeping a surprise a secret is part of the fun. I love being a tease and getting the eager recipient to play guessing games. I remember the time I had my children squirming in the back seat trying to figure out where we were going. Their squeals of excitement when they discovered the surprise was a puppy is a memory I treasure.

Even more exciting are the times when I surprise myself by accomplishing something I didn’t think I could do. Like the first time I overcame my fear and sang a solo in church. Or the first time I gave a day-long writers’ seminar. Just before the last session, my voice was gone. I remember desperately praying for help. And Father answered. My voice returned and was stronger than at the beginning of the day. That really was a needed surprise and a miracle since I did not have a microphone.

Just this week I surprised myself by beating a self-imposed deadline. I think it was a first! If you were with me online on Tuesday for the workshop I presented on Patricia Durgin’s Facebook Live Marketers on a Mission Summit, you were the first to know that registration for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference is open. I beat my February 1 deadline by four days!

You can view the workshop, one of my favorites – The Power of Story, Turning Personal Experiences Into Print – by clicking here. Presenting a workshop online via Zoom was another first for me. The amazing technology even enabled me to use my PowerPoints. Another surprise was that I could figure out how to do it, but Patricia is a good teacher!

Just as I enjoy giving and receiving surprises, I believe our Heavenly Father receives even more joy in surprising us with blessings. He wants our lives to be an exciting adventure of discovering the surprises He has for us when we put our trust in Him.

This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise,
God handling all the details.

Ephesians 3:7 MSG

I hope you’ll visit the website for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Everything has been updated except for the conference brochure and Barb Haley’s amazing charts. Wow! That’s another surprise. I’m about a month ahead of last year! Thank You, Father!

I want to encourage you to register early. If you’re among the first 50 to register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (we offer optional early bird workshops on Wednesday afternoon), you’ll receive a bonus appointment for a total of SIX free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice based on availability.

Obviously, by registering early it is much more likely that you’ll get your top choices. You won’t be able to request your appointments until the charts of editorial needs, areas of expertise, and availability for paid critiques are online, but as long as you get your requests to us by April 15 and are paid in full by then, you’ll get preference based on the order in which you registered. Sounds complicated? It really isn’t, and we’ve got lots of how-to info online under Appointments to help you understand our system, make the best choices, and be prepared to get the most out of the time you’ll spend one-on-one with our faculty.

Plans are also surprisingly well underway for the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The conference is back to a full three days and begins Wednesday evening with a keynote by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Yes, I love surprises! What about you? Have you recently been surprised by a blessing you didn’t see coming or by something Father enabled you to do that you didn’t think was possible?

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Today is my birthday! Turning 75 is one of those sobering birthdays like my 40th. Hard to believe I’ve lived 3/4’s of a century!

A friend sent me a link to this hilarious video. What a wonderful example of creativity.

Happy Birthday, by Beethoven? Bach? Mozart? – Nicole Pesce on piano
https://bit.ly/2QJYBPX

I can only play simple melodies (sometimes in two-parts) with my right hand. But He’s given me – and YOU – other gifts. In fact, His Word promises in Ephesians 4:7 (TLB):

Christ has given each of us special abilities—
whatever he wants us to have
out of his rich storehouse of gifts.

Do you believe it? And if you do, are you using the gift(s) He has given you to further His Kingdom?

One day all those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will stand before Him. I have no doubt one of the questions He will ask us is, “What did you do with the gift I entrusted to you?”

I have invested 37 of my 75 years in directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (24 years directing the sister “Write His Answer” conference in Colorado). Each year there are more challenges – not, I believe, because I’m “over the hill” but because the evil one knows his time is short. My purpose continues to be

to encourage and equip writers
in all stages of their journey to write about
a God who is real, who is reachable,
and who changes lives
.

Father has given me the special birthday gift of enabling me to have the faculty in place for the May 13-16 Colorado conference. Last year at this time because of my husband’s fall and long recovery I had just begun planning. Our faculty includes 3 agents, 20 editors, 17 authors, 9 other professionals, and 10 staff. Nineteen are new to CCWC; 6 were not with us last year. You can see who is coming at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

About half of the faculty is in place for the July 22-25 Philly conference. See https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. Wednesday evening Liz Curtis Higgs will launch the conference by keynoting. Then, new this year, will be a full day of workshops on Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday.

If you’re not able to come to Colorado or Philly, I encourage you to check out the other Christian writers conferences around the nation. I believe attending a conference is the best investment you can make in your writing ministry.

You’ll find a list in the 2020 Christian Writers Market Guide. I have copies available at a discount (click here) or you can subscribe to the online edition. It really is a must-have resource as is a subscription to The Christian Communicator.

But the most important thing you can do to grow your gift is to grow closer to the Giver. In this new year I urge you to dig into His Word more deeply than ever. How else can you “write His answer”?

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Beyond the Manger

How tiny and helpless
how wonderfully human,
yet so mysteriously divine,
was the Baby born to Mary.

How great the promises
of who He was,
of why He had come,
of what He would do.

But did Mary know,
did Mary see,
beyond the manger—
to the Cross?

Did she know
that He would bear
our grief and sorrow,
be wounded and bruised
for our sins?

Did she know
He would be chastised
that we might have peace,
and lashed
that we might be healed?

This Christmas
will we be drawn
just to the manger
or also to the Cross?

manger cross

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It was one of those mornings! Multi-tasking (as always) I cracked two eggs into a pre-heated pan. I don’t waste time watching eggs fry or pots of water boil. Instead, I reached for my tray of pills, removed the lid, and somehow knocked it (the very full tray, not the lid) on the floor.

Knowing that our two-year-old Labradoodle (she has yet to grow up) eats everything but her monthly heartworm pill, my husband and I tried to get her to go outside. She thought it would be more fun to play catch-me-if-you-can. As usual, I had to give her a treat to get her to do what I want. (Yes, I know I’m rewarding her for bad behavior.)

Paul got two garden kneelers from the garage. I grabbed a flashlight and managed to get down on the kitchen floor. (My arthritic knees are bone-on-bone and one has been swollen for a week.)

The pills, of course, had rolled everywhere. I remembered the pick-up stix game I played as a kid, but this wasn’t a game and it wasn’t fun!

Paul is now vacumning the floor and then will give it a much needed scrubbing. (It was scary to see at eye level just how dirty my floor is.)

So . . . “give thanks in everything”?
Yes, “for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thess. 5:18 KJV

Now, I don’t think it is His will that bad things happen. And I don’t think He expects me to thank Him for my carelessness or the dumb and often sinful things I or others do. But in the midst of frustrating, annoying, and even awful circumstances I can choose to thank Him for being with me and for His promise to work all things together for my good.

Even when we are too weak to have any faith left,
he remains faithful to us and will help us.

2 Tim. 2:13 TLB

Now dumping a bunch of pills on the floor isn’t a biggee when it comes to my faith. But Father did use it to teach me, yet again, to give thanks.

  • Thank You, Father, for the availability of medicine and the wise new primary care doctor You have led us to.

  • Thank You that this new doctor discontinued three medications that were obviously causing my husband to be confused. (After almost a year of health issues since Paul fell and broke three bones September 30, 2019, I am so thankful He is much better.)

  • Thank You for my wonderful husband and our 56th wedding anniversary we celebrated November 9.

  • Thank You for calling and enabling me to direct the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and for the progress I’m making planning next year’s conferences. (Colorado is May 13-16; I don’t yet have a date for Philly. I’ve asked for July 22-25 or August 5-8.)

  • YES, thank You for every thing!
And yes, I’m grateful for our strong-willed puppy!

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Thank You, Father, that the answers we need are in Your Word. Help us not to believe the lies of the evil one but to live in faith and not fear because we know You love us and we know we can trust Your promises. And thank You, Father, that you do not edit my run-on and grammatically needy sentences!

Yes, this was published in 1983. And yes, I needed to read it again! Click here for a more readable PDF.

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Over 50 years ago I felt called to “Write His Answer.” Today, much of what I still feel called to write is on the backburner as I invest my time and energy in encouraging and equipping others to

write about a God who is real,
who is reachable,
and who changes lives.

But sometimes, like this afternoon, I find myself leafing through the binders of the 1,000 plus manuscripts I have sold to Christian periodicals. The piece below grabbed my attention. It was published 36 years ago in Christian Single. And it was what I needed to re-read, to re-pray, today. Perhaps you, too? Click here for a more readable PDF.

If you know God has called you to “write His answer” but you’re feeling empty and doubting your ability, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord and His “power for living.” He does speak to us when we are listening.

And please pray about registering for the August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Because Father does not want anyone to be turned away because of financial need, partial scholarships and/or time payments are available. Click here for the scholarship application.

If your schedule can’t make room for a conference, why not order some CDs from the May Colorado Christian Writers Conference? There is a link to the order form on the home page of the conference website. We can get them to you in several days if you order soon before we’re in the home stretch for the Philly conference.

Finally, remembering the stern admonishment of my writing papa, Lee Roddy, who is now with the Lord, I need to encourage you to read my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. You’ll find excerpts and a link to order it by clicking here. Father has used it in Ephesians 3:20 ways throughout the 27 years it has been in print.

Thank You, Father, for Your power that is available to us simply for the asking. Help us to “write Your answer.”

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Thank You, Father, for holding back the clouds so that the faculty and conferees at this year’s Colorado Christian Writers Conference didn’t miss viewing Your magnificent handiwork. Thank You for the elk and mule deer that roamed the YMCA’s grounds and Rocky Mountain National Park. And thank You that the folks in one of the cars that went up to the park on Sunday saw moose. You know I’m disappointed. I’ve been looking for them for 30 years! Instead, I saw a turkey. 🙁

But now, Father, we’ve arrived home from the mountaintop we’ve been on, no doubt, to mountains of work. Problems we faced before we left for CCWC likely have not disappeared as the mountain peaks did on Sunday morning. Yet, as Beatrice Bruno would say, “But God . . . “

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. . . . Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow,  or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by
our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.
Romans 8:38-39 TLB

But thank You, Father, that even when we don’t see or feel You near, we can KNOW that you are still with us just as the mountains, although hidden from my view, were still there.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father . . .

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They had believed he was the Messiah.
Leaving everything behind,
they followed him.
The Kingdom of God
had seemed so real, so near.
He healed the sick,
fed the hungry,
calmed the storm at sea –
and in their hearts.

His words had given them life
and hope and purpose.
But now he was dead.
How could they have been
so mistaken, so misled?

Hiding in the room
where he had broken the bread
and passed the cup,
hopelessness and despair
closed in around them.

They laughed,
a hard and bitter laugh,
when Mary said she had seen him.
People didn’t come back to life
after dying on a cross.

Suddenly,
at the sound of the familiar voice,
the darkness shattered!
“Peace be with you.”

Jesus stood before them
not dead – but alive!
Light filled the room
and the darkness in their hearts.

Everything he had taught them was true.
Death could not hold him.
He is alive now and forevermore.
Christ is risen.
He is risen, indeed!

Marlene Bagnull

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Choices

Arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane,
You could have called on heaven’s armies;
yet You allowed them to take You captive.

Falsely accused in a mockery of a trial,
You could have denied who You were;
yet You convicted Yourself.

Physically and emotionally abused,
You could have struck down Your tormenters;
yet You remained silent and turned the other cheek.

On the way to the cross,
You could have thought only of Yourself;
yet You spoke with compassion to Jerusalem’s daughters.

Nailed to the cross and spit upon by the crowd,
You could have cursed Your enemies;
instead You prayed, “Father, forgive them.”

Taunted to “come down from the cross!”
You could have done exactly that;
yet You chose to suffer and die
that I might have the choice to live in You.

Marlene Bagnull

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