Archive for the ‘Praying for our nation’ Category

Leona Choy is an author, speaker, publisher, and broadcaster still going strong in His strength at 95 years of age. The following is reprinted with her permission from her 9/17/2020 blog at https://leonachoy.com/therestofthewayposts. I encourage you to visit her website and subscribe to her posts.

A Fresh Slice of Daily Bread

What does the Almanac predict for this fall?

For the benefit of younger generations who might never have heard of such a book, it is a formerly much-relied-upon annual paperback publication listing events forthcoming in the next year: weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables, celestial data like eclipses, religious festivals and holidays. That was before the sophisticated technology of weather forecasting and today’s scanning the heavens for astronomical data. In spite of all the refined applied science, the weather person on TV is seldom right on the button.

If we’d like to know the societal and political forecast for the rest of 2020 and into the next year, forget the Almanac. Don’t consult some crystal ball. Google can’t tell us either. Modern seers and prophets of the day are attempting to interpret their personal dreams. The Bible is being seriously studied to understand the signs of the times which many conclude are “the end times.” We listen and then must pray and discern. God, who created this blue planet and mankind to populate it, is still in full control. He hasn’t left us without a reliable Scriptural GPS for “things to come.” At least to provide us with as much as we need to know to navigate one step at a time.

SO WHAT’S THE FORECAST? We can expect unusually stormy weather! Perhaps a fall and winter such as we have never known before. Not necessarily in amount of snow accumulation and severe temperatures, but in our daily way of life. Let’s be realistic. Not to scare but to prepare ourselves and our families. It is a fantasy to expect our society to ever return to the lifestyles to which we had been accustomed.

What happened to the world we once knew? How is it possible that so many things could change so fast and so dramatically?

Look around: Society has lost its way. Possible, probable, incredible uncertainties and shakings are in the offing even as early as this fall: Facets of our society are moving at warp speed to cast off all restraints while insisting on ever-increasing entitlements. Evil powers both in heaven and on earth are reaching for the reset button to drastically change the trajectory of our beloved nation and the entire globe toward lawlessness. The spirit of the age is reflected in moral breakdown, free-floating ethics, the shakeup of our courts and justice systems changing the way our nation has been governed, redefining marriage, the family, even genetic identity. Natural catastrophes of unusual proportions are accelerating to shake the world and add to the threatening storm clouds.

Affecting Christians directly is the widespread mutiny against God, We face an anti-Christian future nation and world where intolerance has turned to outright hostility toward those who stand for moral absolutes. Our freedom to practice our Christian faith is in jeopardy. We are moving toward being controlled in many critical aspects of our lives where we have heretofore had liberty.

Let’s not be afraid of “things to come” or let “our hearts fail us for fear.” Nothing can separate those who belong to God from His love and care. (Romans 8:35-39) We are not to be anxious for daily protection and provision. Jesus promised that our Heavenly Father knows we have need of these things. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:31) As God’s children, part of God’s Kingdom and His Body, we are not living through 2020 by accident. He has chosen us to live in this climactic generation to stand steadfast and shine in these prophetically “perilous times.”

Although darkness encroaches on this entire planet, we can circumvent the pitfalls. Each of us must choose whether “me and my house will serve the Lord.” Will we retreat and accommodate to the coming upheaval of the world system or will we stay anchored in Christ? Will we be overcome by the chaos and shaking or will we be courageous overcomers?

The genuineness of our Christian faith is soon to be tried by fire and tested. (James 1:2-4). Don’t be surprised or think it strange or unusual. (1 Peter 4:12, 13) “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” (MSG)

We don’t know about tomorrow, (James 4:13-15) but we know Who holds our hand. Let’s trust the Lord completely and rest confidently in His peace even if the world’s forecast is “probability of extreme weather conditions ahead.”

“With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.” (1 Corinthians 15:58 MSG)


A Note from Leona: May your readers become aware of the challenge of our uncertain times and at the same time our incredible opportunity as Christians which lies ahead of us. Without fear, in God we trust!

And from Marlene: Again I encourage you to visit Leona’s website at https://leonachoy.com and be sure to visit her bookstore with 36 titles in print including 3 books for writers that I highly recommend: Release the Poet Within, This Is Your Life – Write It!, and Writing for the Supreme Editor.

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I’ve so missed connecting with old and new friends this year on the mountain in Colorado at CCWC and here in my backyard at GPCWC. Postponing both conferences until next year was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, but the coronavirus gave me no choice.

This year more than ever I believe we needed to hear our keynoters challenging us to “Write His Answer.”

I’m feeling a growing sense of urgency as I view what is happening in our nation. And I’m fearful of our fear to speak God’s truth into the events that are unfolding.

For years I’ve been talking about how we are like the frog in the kettle – how the temperature is being turned up but in our complacency we are not even aware of the danger.

You have probably heard me quote my friend, Hannah Crabtree, who grew up in Switzerland before the start of World War II. She said, “The church in Germany saw what was happening, but the church in Germany was silent.”

My friend, Eric Ludy (I was blessed to edit and typeset Eric and Leslie’s first two books many years ago) has just echoed Hannah’s words.

In Nazi Germany, out of 65 million people, there were 45 million Protestant Christians. And out of those 45 million, only 150,000 of them stood up against Hitler. That’s something like three out of every thousand. The church in America today is on the verge of being just as passive as the church in Nazi Germany was. In my new blog video, I present a challenge to all of us as modern Christians to rise up and take a stand for truth — not in the future when things get worse, but right now. Let’s not become silent at the very moment we need to speak up.  

Friends, I can’t urge you strongly enough to listen to Eric’s blog video. It’s only 2.36 minutes.

Father, please help us to wake up and to write and live Your answer for such a time as this.

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I know it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged. I’ve wanted to, but to be honest I’ve felt empty.

There haven’t been words to express my grief over the lives that have been lost from covid-19 and my concern for the financial nightmare it has caused others.

At our daughter’s insistence, Paul and I have stayed isolated and safe. But life is anything but normal for anyone and perhaps will never be what it once was.

It was hard to postpone both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference until next year. I’ve kept busy editing books for other writers, working in my garden, and even cleaning my garage.

And, of course, I’ve been deeply troubled over the turmoil our nation is experiencing because of racial injustice. I have many black friends who I treasure. I hurt for them and for us all as our nation struggles to survive.

I’m reminded of the writing seminar I gave in a black church in July 2016 shortly after a policeman shot and killed a black man. I admit I felt anxious about how I would be received. I sought the Lord for what I should say to the black men and women who waited for me to begin speaking.

If ever the Lord has given me a word, I know He did that morning. I acknowledged the injustice of what had happened and its source. “Friends,” I said, “we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood but against principalities and powers that seek to destroy us.”  

Heads nodded. God’s presence was very real as I prayed that somehow we, His people, could live and write His answer.    

The love I felt for my black brothers and sisters and that they showed me was powerful. We were “one in the Spirit” as the hymn, “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love” proclaims. Oh, how we need to live out that truth today.

Father, help us to not be afraid to confront the issues that are dividing us. Help us to listen to one another – really listen and seek to understand the anger, the hurt, and the fear behind the words. And help us to write wise words that open the door to honest dialogue that will bring understanding, healing, and peace. Bring us together at the foot of the Cross.

Make me truly happy by loving each other
and agreeing wholeheartedly with each other,
working together with one heart and mind and purpose.
Philippians 2:2 (TLB)

We are all parts of one body, we have the same Spirit,
and we have all been called to the same glorious future.
Ephesians 4:4 (TLB)

If one member suffers, all suffer together.
1 Corinthians 12:26 (ESV)

I encourage you to prayerfully consider what three friends I greatly respect have written. All three have keynoted at my conferences.

Patricia Raybonhttps://www.patriciaraybon.com/finding-the-way-forward/

Jim Watkinshttps://mailchi.mp/5b54493fd8d1/imitation-of-christ-is-risen-today-james-n-watkins-5160069?e=58fcb76afe

Michael Gantthttps://mkgantt.com/snakes-do-what-snakes-do/

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere.
James 3:17 (TLB)

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Storm over city

It’s been almost 30 years since Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages by Chuck Colson was published. He writes,

‘Dark Age’ is a strong term. I recognize that. Yet  in recent  years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon . . . The forecast is foreboding . . . We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away. Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates.

The times seem to smell of sunset. Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land. . . . We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”

Chuck Colson – Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages

If you are not aware of  H.R. 5, known as the Equality Act, that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives March 13, you need to Google it – NOW! This bill, if passed, would end our freedom as Christians to live out our faith not just in our workplaces but in our homes.

Liberty Counsel says,

HR 5, wrongly named the Equality Act, is the most extreme threat to religious freedom, free speech, privacy, and to women’s rights that has ever been proposed by Congress. The impact of HR 5 will be widespread – affecting churches; religious colleges and universities; public, private, and Christian schools; curriculum; religious and private organizations; employers; employees; individuals; foster care and adoption; shelters; local, state, and federal entities; privacy; women’s rights; and more. Click here to read more.

Yes, we must “love without stopping” (1 Cor. 16:14 MSG). But that does not mean we can ignore what God clearly says in His Word.

If we have eyes to see, the moral fabric of our nation is not just unraveling – it’s being torn apart. How much longer can a righteous God withhold His judgment of a nation that has turned away from His Truth?

The 23 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 36 years the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference has focused on the need for God’s scribes to “Write His Answer.”

Michael Gantt, who is again keynoting at both conferences, says:

MK gantt watchman

I urge you to subscribe to Michael’s blog at https://mkgantt.com and to read his post about the conference and why I’ve given him a standing invite to keynote. In part he says,

Writers have always been among the most feared by despots and dictators. Truth tellers have been imprisoned and executed, their writings banned and burned, their character brought into question by allegation and accusation. The written word is among the most powerful weapons of history. . . .

I realized this weekend that my part in standing before these conferences of writers and publishers is to represent the Word of God that it might not be bound; to communicate with a deep sense of urgency that we are not writers who are coincidentally Christians, but we are Christ followers who have been given a gift to write and that we bear a grave and dangerous responsibility to guard the deposit of truth that has been entrusted to us and to ensure above everything that the Word of God is not bound.

I also urge you to check out my blog post, “Write His Answer to Issues at this Year’s CCWC,” I posted on March 3. If you are unable to come to the conference, you can order a CD of one or more of the workshops in our Issues track:

America at the Crossroads
The Rocks Cry Out
Speaking Life to a Culture of Death
Answering Christianity’s Critics
The Burden of the Watchman
Make Some Noise!

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for children or adults, God can use you to write words that, as Michael says, “can shape lives and maybe, just maybe, change the world.”

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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.
Forgive us for failing to follow Your way.
Thru darkness please guide us, Your light please shine upon us.
Help hold fast to our faith in these difficult days.

We cling to Your promise, we know You are faithful.
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

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I confess! I should have changed the headline on the post I shared on my Facebook page Friday, but I didn’t know how to. I did not intend for it to be a political statement. But duh! How else could the headline be interpreted: “This video is the LAST thing Democrats want you to see right now – and it’s going viral.”

The headline did create attention. With 72 “shares” on my Facebook page alone, I can’t help but wonder how many would have read it had I created a more accurate headline like: “He’s not everything the media says he is. Another side of Trump.”

Posted on Allen B. West’s website, the video tells the story of a Puerto Rican boxer whose life was changed because of Donald Trump. I shared it not to rub salt in the very real wounds of those who are grieving over the results of Tuesday’s election. Rather I shared it to show another side of Mr. Trump that we have not seen covered by the media.

Our nation is deeply divided. Yes, I know that’s an understatement. Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and other minorities are genuinely fearful for their safety.  So are white evangelicals who are being accused of putting a bigot in office.

A dear black friend in my critique group was run off the road by a white man screaming “Trump.” She shared a link to the must-read blog below that I also posted on my Facebook page. Sadly there have been only two shares.

Christians bear the distinct responsibility to love and care for our neighbors,
even if we don’t fully understand them or agree with them.

The author, Anthony Bushnell, wrote: “One of the central teachings of Christianity is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–40.) The Bible exhorts us to ‘weep with those who weep’ (Romans 12:15); it doesn’t lead with telling us to ‘judge whether they should be weeping,’ says pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. The same is true for those in fear. We don’t have to agree with the intensity of their fear in order to empathize with them. Compassion doesn’t require us to be convinced another person is entirely correct. It requires us to care about how he is feeling. Even if you think the danger won’t come to pass, the fear is certainly real….”

I witnessed this fear In July when I spoke in an African-American church in Baltimore after a beautiful black man was killed in Minnesota. I said that day, “The battle is not with people made of flesh and blood but with the principalities and powers seeking to divide our nation and the church.”

I have also experienced fear as a white woman when I’ve driven through the black inner-city neighborhood where my son and daughter-in-law used to live. The rioting in Portland and threats calling for the assassination of President-elect Donald Trump cause me much fear that our nation could descend into anarchy.

The shouting and name-calling coming from both sides is deafening our ears to really hear one another. Who is listening? Certainly the world is. No doubt their opinion of Americans has fallen. God is listening and, I’m just as certain that He is not pleased, especially with those who profess to be Christians. Hopefully we are not spitting out hateful and angry words, but our silence can be just as loud and divisive.

Friends, we are called to be reconcilers through and because of His amazing love. Father, let peace begin with me and my decision to listen and to love.

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Father, I grieve
for my nation that I love
and for Your people who are caught up
in the angry rhetoric that is dividing our nation.
I grieve even more for those who choose
to ignore the issues, to remain silent,
and not to exercise their responsibility to vote.

Father, I plead with You
to help us discern what is most important.
Give us the courage to stand
for the sanctity of life,
for marriage between a man and a woman,
for the nation of Israel surrounded by enemies.

Father, help us to recognize
that we are not fighting against people
made of flesh and blood
but against principalities and powers
intent on fueling angry thoughts and words
into explosive actions to destroy our nation.

Regardless of what happens tomorrow,
help us to trust that You are able
to work all things together for good.
Bring our nation back to You.
Help Your scribes to live
and to write Your answer!

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It used to be the biggest challenge writers faced was getting words down on paper and finding someone willing to publish them. That still is a challenge, but today it’s just the beginning of what a writer is expected to do.


Writing not facebookingNow we daily face the overwhelming task of building a platform. The time needed to write words worth reading is infringed upon by the need to have a growing presence on social media. We are driven to develop our “brand” along with a memorable tagline that will resonate with our “audience.”

I confess it’s all too easy for me to get caught up in this not so merry, merry-go-round.


Last week I spent a day and a half preparing a new flyer for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. One side is an overview of the conference and highlights the concert my friend, Marty Goetz, is giving on Wednesday night.

Marty poster for web


The other side describes our exciting Teens Write on Thursday and Pastors Write on Friday.


TW & PW flyer GP 2016 for web


I am excited about all this year’s conference offers. And I do work really hard to present the opportunities in the most professional and best way possible. I even added a new Spread the Word page to the conference website. But sadly, in my effort to “market” the conference, I am convicted that I forgot the most important thing.


The 3-1/2 day conference in August does provide many opportunities to learn about the craft of writing and marketing, but it is the message – “His answer” – that is the most important Word that needs to be spread.


As Michael Gantt said in his keynote at last year’s conference and this year’s  Colorado Christian Writers Conference, “The Cross is the Main Thing.” I urge you to watch the video of his keynote and/or read the transcript.  I also urge you to subscribe to his blog at http://growinggodlyseed.com.


Yes, I’d really appreciate your help spreading the word about the August 3-6 conference, but the most important thing each one of us can and must do is to spread His Word, His answer.


Again, quoting Michael Gantt from the blog he posted today:

We are called to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven. We are called to magnify and glorify the matchless Name of Jesus. We are called to declare deliverance to the captives, healing to the broken, and to declare that forgiveness of sin is found in none other than Jesus Christ. We are called to bring the light of the gospel to our cities; to bind up the broken, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and to declare even in the face of Caesar the eternal decrees of God – That’s what we are called to do!

Yes, indeed, that is the Word we are called to spread. God help us to be found faithful.

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eagle (2)Many Christians believe this is a pivotal year for the United States of America, and it is not just because it is an election year.

As Franklin Graham proclaimed in his Decision America Tour, America has a sickness and that sickness is sin. Has idolized reason led to despair? Has despair evolved into apathy, and has apathy produced hopelessness? Have foundations for lawlessness been laid? Do we live in a culture where illegal acts go unpunished and evildoers prosper? Is institutionalized sin – personal and national – the new normal even for believers?

During the May 11-14, 2016, Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference (CCWC) held at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, seven faculty members will collaborate to present a 5-3/4 hour continuing session on “Addressing the Issues.” Their objective is to prepare Christians to write biblical solutions to the many problems surrounding us. It is not enough to complain about issues; it is time to present His answer with clarity, conviction, and courage. Topics they will cover include:

  • America at the Crossroads – Advance the American Dream or the Kingdom of God?
  • Stand for Truth – Even with Often-Controversial Subjects
  • Answering Christianity’s Critics – Face Antagonism & Win Respect
  • Grace, Race & Forgiveness – Remedies are First Spiritual: Prayer, Forgiveness, Love, Hope & Mercy
  • Know What You Believe – Write Based on Well-Grounded Faith
  • Write His Question – So people will know Jesus as the Answer
  • How Then Should We Live? – Part 1, What Can I Do?
    Part 2, Trust in God Alone

Go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/continuingsessions2016 for information on the presenters and times. There is no charge for any of the above sessions or the conference closing session and keynote, “Live and Write Dangerously,” Saturday, May 14, 4:00 – 5:30pm.

Other continuing sessions will provide encouragement and practical help for wannabe writers (there are some in every congregation) and those who are already published.

Allen Arnold, founding fiction publisher for one of the world’s largest Christian publishing houses, will teach “From Overwhelmed to Creative Breakthrough.” Other continuing sessions at this year’s CCWC include:

  • Indie Publishing Boot Camp
  • Write a Winning Book Proposal
  • Christian Speculative Fiction
  • Reaching Youth through Fiction
  • Thriving in Today’s Publishing World
  • First Chapter Boot Camp (nonfiction)

CCWC also offers 8 inspiring keynotes, 18 early bird workshops on Wednesday and 42 workshops Thursday through Saturday; panels; one-on-one appointments with the faculty of 57 authors, editors, and literary agents; and the popular Teens Write program Saturday, May 14, from 9:30am – 3:45pm.

Pastors, seniors 65 and over, full-time students, and alumni receive a 10% discount. Teens are welcome to attend the entire conference at a 60% discount. Partial scholarships and time payments are still available as is lodging on the YMCA Estes Park Center campus.

For those unable to come CDs can be ordered through CCWC’s website after the conference – http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.


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On February 1, a week from today God willing, online registration for the May 11-14 Colorado Christian Writers Conference will open. And plans are well underway for the August 3-6 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

It’s my 20th year directing the Colorado conference, my 33rd year for Philly. And it’s not gotten any easier. Instead the spiritual battles have become more intense.

The urgency I feel to challenge you to live and write His answer compells me to keep on keeping on despite the weariness, fear, and discouragement I often face. Michael Gantt, who will keynote at both conferences, expresses my heart burden far more powerfully than I can. As a watchman on the wall, he urges prayer “day in and day out for a move of God that will shake the nation out of its spiritual coma.”

Michael’s words about 15 years ago when he keynoted at the Colorado conference keep ringing in my ears: “Do you believe, do you really believe, that God can use you?”

Yes, I do!

Father, please help us to surrender our hopes and dreams for our writing – for our lives – to You. Use us, Lord.

Michael Gantt’s blog – www.growinggodlyseed.com

Too Little Too Late? Anglican Church Tries To Reverse Apostate Trend – Church attendance in Great Britain is now only 1.4 percent of the population! Is this where the church in America is headed?

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