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Archive for the ‘Pondering Biblical Truth’ Category

Saturday was the first time I’ve driven my car in seven weeks. It felt really strange. At least I hadn’t forgotten how to drive! And I didn’t get lost finding the church where I was scheduled to pick up a box of food for my daughter. I wore a mask and was careful to social distance.

Although some states are beginning to reopen, it’s likely to be quite some time before the Philadelphia area where I live will return to normal. I’m growing impatient. I’ve never been very good at waiting, and I admit I’m anxious wondering what restrictions the new normal will require. Will I again be able to hug my grandkids? And will it be safe to hold the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference? I don’t know. I’m still waiting and praying for a clear answer.

Be still and rest in the Lord;
wait for Him and
patiently lean yourself upon Him.
Psalm 37:7 AMP

A good thing to do during any season of waiting is to learn from a master crafts- man. Cec shares valuable, bite-sized lessons such as:

* How to get beyond the amateur look;
* Why writing articles is a good place to start;
* The importance of showing and telling;
* Choosing the best words and tenses;
* Using dialog to move your story along;
* Writing from the right perspective;
* Keeping your reader happy;
* Working with publishers, editors, and agents;
* Making a living as a writer.

Special price $7. Click here to order.

“The most comprehensive and recommended resource on the market for finding a place to sell what you are writing or locating an agent, an editor, a designer, a podcast, or a writing coach.”

I purchased two boxes (40 books) for $590 for the Colorado conference. It has cost $102 to ship them back to Pennsylvania. I am unable to return them and, honestly, I can’t afford to lose what I invested. Please help me and yourself by purchasing a copy at $18 (only .75 cents more than my cost). Regular price is $24.99. Click here to order.


I highly recommend this book for everyone who writes fiction. Time-saving tips, revision-made-easy charts, short checklists, and more.

  • Create great characters
  • Maintain a compelling pace
  • Craft believing dialogue
  • Expand your creativity.

246 page hardback. Full color
Retail $19.95.
Half price special $9.97.
Click here to order.

Please note: I’m finally updating the Write His Answer bookstore – something I’ve not had time to do until the pandemic has put both conferences on hold. I’ve got far too much tied up in books (I still have loads more to add) that are doing nothing to help the huge financial loss of postponing the Colorado conference. Knowing that financially things may also be difficult for you, I’ve greatly reduced prices. Quantities are limited.

Be sure to also check out the Other Titles that include 30 books I’ve edited in addition to the 14 Ampelos Press books I’ve edited and published. Amazing. Thank You, Father, for Your Ephesians 3:20 blessings.

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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 cold, hard, bitter laugh –
when Mary said she had seen Him.
People didn’t come back to life
after dying on a cross.

Jesus and Thomas

Suddenly
the darkness shattered
at the sound
of the familiar voice.
“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.
He was and is and shall be alive –
forevermore!

Christ is risen.
He is risen, indeed!

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Despised and rejected.
Forsaken – it seemed,
even by His Father
who turned His face away –
Jesus writhed in agony,
His hands and His feet
nailed to a tree.

“They’re not worth it,”
Satan must have taunted.
“Come down from the cross.
Give them what they deserve.
Death – now
and for eternity!”

All of heaven’s armies
stood on alert – ready
to obey the Son’s command.
Would Jesus choose
to save Himself – or men?
Would He endure to the end?

Only love kept Jesus on the cross
knowing only His blood
could set men free.
“It is finished!” He shouted.
Sin and death no longer reign.
Christ has won the victory!

Marlene Bagnull

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So sorry. Snopes.com (I should have checked) said the self-test and drinking water is not true. But the needed encouragement that “God is with us” is truth that will never change.

I just received the following from a friend:

Since I know I’m in the group that is vulnerable to pneumonia and suddenly find that I am older—also a risk group, this brief piece gives pertinent information and advice to follow that would help you know if you should seek treatment BEFORE the fever, etc.  I believe that while the other information about washing hands, keeping hands out of our faces, is pertinent—this information could be lifesaving and make us proactive in our own behalf. Please read.”

From a friend at the Stanford hospital board. This is their feedback on Coronavirus: 

The new Coronavirus may not show sign of infection for many days. How can one know if he/she is infected? By the time they have fever and/or cough and go to the hospital, the lung is usually 50% Fibrosis and it’s too late…Taiwan experts provide a simple self-check that we can do every morning. Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you complete it successfully without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, etc., it proves there is no Fibrosis in the lungs, basically indicates no infection. In critical time, please self-check every morning in an environment with clean air.”

Serious excellent advice by Japanese doctors treating COVID-19 cases: Everyone should ensure your mouth & throat are moist, never dry. Take a few sips of water every 15 minutes at least. Why? Even if the virus gets into your mouth, drinking water or other liquids will wash them down through your throat and into the stomach. Once there, your stomach acid will kill all the virus. If you don’t drink enough water more regularly, the virus can enter your windpipe and into the lungs. That’s very dangerous. 

And now for some encouragement. There’s no better place to find it than in God’s Word:

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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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