Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I Signed Up for NaNoWriMo on a Whim - den Boer

God help me. I just signed up to write a novel in a month or, as I understand, the first draft of a novel that could take a year or two to edit. All I need (they say)  is a story idea that excites me, a main character I love, and a touchstone such as a song, picture or memory to draw us back to the story if my character takes me drifting off in an ocean of words.

Dear God, give me a story that excites me...please.

Humour always excites me...clean humour...not that grungy, suggestive stuff. My story has to be humorous.

Suppose I take a character I like, put that person in an impossible situation and see what happens. With NaNoWriMo, a month and 50,000 words later I'll have the flawed first draft of a humorous novel.

Okay, now I'm dusting my keyboard. Such inspiration.

Let's concentrate on a character. I have to get on well with this character as I'll be spending most of November with her. I'll call her Minnie. She's a middle-aged woman.

Now, I'm biting my finger and thinking about lunch.

A touchstone...I'll do that first. That passage in Matthew 6 comes to mind. "Don't first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be yours as well." It's been a durable wedding passage for 36 years of marriage, so should work for a 50,000-word less-than-perfect novel.

Back to a story that excites me. I need an arresting situation for a middle-aged, God-loving woman. This lady's three kids are grown and have left the nest. Her husband dies after a short fight with cancer. He leaves her with a house, two cars, and nothing to do. Boring. How about she finds out he had a gambling problem and he leaves her with nothing? That sounds dreary.

It is three minutes to twelve. How  about I go have lunch?

How about Minnie doesn't lose her husband to cancer? Her husband loses her. Minnie has a car accident. She goes to heaven. She becomes one among the great cloud of witnesses cheering people on.

I can see potential here.

Minnie can explore heaven, and she can peer out through the windows up there to do some cheering. Of course this will go against all manner of theology, but that shouldn't matter because in the end Minnie wakes up from a coma with a renewed zest for living.

Forgive me for spoiling the suspense.

Marian den Boer is the author of the book Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress. If you haven't read it yet, she'll be happy to sell you a copy. Don't bother contacting her in November. She'll be busy. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Attitude before age, people -- Kathleen Gibson

Life goes faster over the hill, they say. Clearly, my body saw that coming and voted against it.

As I motored along (at a decent pace) over the freeway of mid-life, some molecular process within me tapped the brakes and flicked on the blinker. Looking for the scenic route, no doubt. Perhaps a long curving exit ramp.

It began just past my half-century mark. Flat parts got round, round parts got flat and smooth parts began wrinkling. Worst of all, things that used to stay up and in without a fuss, (hair and teeth for starters) began arguing.

Then I heard myself saying things like elephant instead of element and castration instead of frustration.

I also noticed (with more than an elephant of castration) that stuff that took minutes in my forties takes many more in my fifties.

These days, my evenings, once my most creative time of day, are often little more than supper, dishes and a few mandatory chores—all accompanied by yawns, rabid clock-watching, and a deep gulp of slow.

I can’t even order off most seniors’ menus yet, but some days I feel as though old age has marched out to meet me. “How’d we get this way?” I asked the Preacher the other day, as we dragged our limp selves into bed. “Who kicked us into old?” I sounded angry, and at that moment, I was.

He chuckled. “The pirates and beasts, probably.” True, his medical romps with West Nile and cancer have changed our lifestyle. But up with the birds, and down with the sun? We’re too young for that. Besides, I don’t see it working well in winter. My boss may complain.

Two well-aged men with great perspectives have recently reminded me how important it is to keep a great attitude, and a forward look.

Recently Stuart MacLean, on his radio show, The Vinyl Cafe, interviewed a ninety-some year old Arthur Award winner from Cape Breton. “Tell me, Angus,” he said, “what did you like better about the old days?”

Angus barely paused. “Dare were sam tings good, ‘n sam tings bad,” he said. “T’all evens up, I tink. Dem were doze days, and deez ‘r deez days.”

Angus had great attitude. So did the Apostle Paul, and he matched it with a great faith. “Forgetting what lies behind,” he said to the Philippians (my paraphrase), “I reach forward to grasp all the good God has waiting.”

Lord, give us boldness enough to let go of the old good, trust enough to seek out the new good, and hope enough to believe in your highest good. Amen.

Kathleen Gibson ponders faith and life in her newspaper column, Sunny Side Up, and on her radio spots, Simple Words, aired weekdays on numerous Christian stations.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mercy in a Gift Shop - M. Laycock

I received this scripture by email one morning - "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life." (Jude 1:21,NKJ)

I was struck by the words, “looking for the mercy.” I believe this is a big part of being a Christ follower – we are to be looking for evidence of His hand everywhere we go, watching for His grace and mercy, looking for signs of His incomparable love. Sometimes we are to be that hand ourselves. 

Some time ago I was in a hospital gift shop, stocking shelves with Christian books. A young woman asked me about the flowers in a nearby display case. Her eyes were hopeful but I had to disappoint her and explain that I did not work in the shop. I was just there to stock the book rack. I pointed to two ladies at the front counter. “Maybe they can help,” I said. 

She nodded, stared at the flower display and sighed. “I’m not really sure what I want.”

I took note of her dress then – a baseball cap pulled over messy hair; a thin pair of pyjama bottoms topped by a hospital issue housecoat wrapped around a frail frame; pull-on terrycloth slippers, two sizes too big.

“My friend is dying,” she said, then turned back to me. “I am too.”

I put my clipboard down and waited. Her story unfolded in simple language, the words slipping from her mouth almost as though rehearsed. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a picture of her seven year old daughter. I could see the resemblance. She smiled when I mentioned it and went on to say there was a surgery that she was hoping for – highly experimental, there was only one doctor in the country who could do it and he just happened to live in a nearby city. But then her voice fell and I had to lean close to hear. Her friend had had the surgery. She was still dying.

The conversation turned to the word hope then. She had hope they would agree to do the surgery, hope that, unlike her friend, she would recover, hope that she would live to watch her daughter grow up.

She said a pastor came to visit sometimes and “we say our small prayers together. They seem small, just words, but maybe not, eh?” Again that hopeful look in her eyes.

I was praying small prayers right then. She’s so young, Lord. Please. Please.

Then she was gone and I resumed stocking the rack. I do it once a month and in that hospital, the rack is usually almost empty by the time I return. As I filled the pockets with books I was acutely aware of their contents. They hold pages about the love and mercy of Jesus, pages filled with stories of courage and faith, pages of humour to lift a sad heart and inspiration to encourage a weary soul. Pages of hope.

I knew I was sent there that day to do much more than “just stock the book racks,” but my job suddenly seemed important. My other job, as a writer, suddenly seemed essential, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (Ps. 26:7, KJV).


Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel, A Tumbled Stone has just been released. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia's website.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Alchemy of Poetry - Nesdoly

The Alchemy of Poetry

Position the inert element
(any prompt will do)
into the beaker of an empty page
and bathe in the acid of a long stare.

Placing vessel over the flame of thought
heat until surface softens
and breaks into fault lines.

With any writing instrument
organize component parts
into webs and lists.
Use hurried scrawl to freewrite
dissections and reconstructions.

Expand and condense
reorganize and rearrange
the substance that has now
begun to take shape
until the final creation
aligns to your satisfaction.

At this point it will often
appear to be gold
(but don’t be fooled).
Leave it to cool.

Return in an hour
a day or a week to inspect.
Very occasionally
you will be satisfied
you have created
something genuine.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly

I wrote "The Alchemy of Poetry" during the April poem-a-day challenge in 2010,  prompts and encouragement supplied by Robert Brewer of the Poetic Asides blog.

Now it's almost November, another challenge month when novelists around the world participate in NaNoWriMo (writing a 50,000-word novel in one month).

For poets, Poetic Asides has its own book challenge (called November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge). I'm not ready to tackle another novel, but am seriously considering joining the Poem-A-Day challenge again this year.

I find this type of writing jag helps me get over the feeling of writing as a 'precious' activity. I know from experience that when I write a lot of poems, not every one that seems great just after I've written it, is. I have to give the writing and myself the cooling and distance of time to see what I've made. That's what "The Alchemy of Poetry" is about.

By the way, the first draft of my novel Destiny's Hands, was written during NaNoWriMo 2009. So if you have a book inside you, why don't you dedicate this November to getting it out!

Poetry blog: Violet Nesdoly Poems
Writerly blog: at (New!)
Daily adult devotions: Other Food daily devos

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Taste the Soup - Carolyn Arends

My most recent CT column explores my love-hate relationship with church.  Don't get me wrong.  I've been a part of some really fine churches in my day. I still am.  But sometimes I struggle.  If you can relate, let me know, and if not ... well, pray for me!


Taste the Soup

Sometimes understanding follows obedience.

Carolyn Arends

[ posted at CT  9/26/2012 11:18 ]

A man goes into a deli, orders the matzo ball soup, and motions the waiter back to his table.
"Taste the soup," says the man.
"Sir, is something wrong?" asks the waiter. "I can get you another bowl right away."
"Taste the soup," says the man.
"Sir, is there something you want me to tell the chef?"
"Taste the soup."
"Fine," says the waiter, exasperated. "I'll taste it. Where's the spoon?"
"Aha!" says the man.
Sometimes you have to do what's being asked of you before you understand why it's required. You have to be willing to taste the soup in order to discover the spoon is missing. In religious parlance: "Understanding follows obedience." It's an axiom every bit as true as it is vexing. Psalm 111 observes that "all who follow [God's] precepts have good understanding"—not the other way around.
Lately, for me, the command to "taste the soup" has been about attending church. Trouble is, I just haven't felt like going.
I've been sliding into pews (or modern equivalents) from infancy; my vocation has taken me to hundreds of churches around the world. I've met some of my dearest friends and endured some of my darkest betrayals in youth rooms, foyers, and sanctuaries. I've cried, sung, prayed, committed, disconnected, recommitted, scribbled sermon notes, doodled, been wounded, been healed, encountered the Mystery, and dozed off—sometimes all in the same service.
There are seasons when Sunday can't come soon enough. The gifts church has given me are too numerous to list.
But there are also stretches of disillusionment. Times when the songs that once ushered me into a profound awareness of God's presence seem suddenly schlocky and manipulative. Mornings when I can't find anyone I know during the "greeting" time, and a previously cozy ritual morphs into a caricature of superficial community. Those are the Sundays I struggle with the sermon and feel my theological earnestness hardening into elitism, discernment distorting into self-righteousness.
Like anyone who has logged serious pew time, I've got reasons to be jaded. I've seen churches split over trivia while they trivialize glaring immorality amongst their leaders. I've encountered gossip posing as prayer, and bullying masquerading as "spiritual guidance." I've watched the realignment and reduction of the gospel into a business plan for membership growth or personal improvement.
Most damaging of all, I've looked into my own heart and known that if my pew-mates are anything like me, church is composed of frail humans, each of us an unreliable, potentially dangerous mess of conflicting motives and wavering intentions.
People who complain that church is boring have no idea. Church is scary.
So I sell myself the half-truth that church is something we are rather than something we do. I stay home with my theology textbooks and Bible and enjoy a dissension-free congregation of one. I console myself with an online network of enlightened individuals who share both my convictions and my cynicisms. We satirize the excesses of organized religion, feeling cleverer than we ought about shooting the fish in our own barrels. We create a virtual but significant community. And for a while, it's enough.
There's just one problem. Beneath my rhetoric of antilegalism, enlightenment, and self-protection there remains a still, small—but increasingly insistent—voice. And it's telling me to taste the soup.
The biblical witness indicates that when God gets hold of people, they almost always work out the implications in groups. This has never been an easy process. The Israelites praise, squabble, fail, and repent together in a seemingly endless cycle. The Christians in the apostle Paul's churches alternately thrill and break their pastor's heart over and over again. But they keep at it, and with every try Paul grows more passionate about the ragtag crew of notoriously fallible humans who so thoroughly are the church that they can't help but do church together. Striving to convey the profound connection between Jesus and the people who gather in his name, Paul employs only the most intimate metaphors—we are Christ's bride, or his very body.
The triune God has always been into community. And community, I am forced to admit, ultimately requires meeting together with flesh and blood folks I cannot "block" or "unfriend" should they become annoying. It means getting close enough to hug and to arm wrestle, to build (and sometimes hold) each other up, even as we risk letting each other down.
It is important to remember that "tasting the soup" is not the same as "drinking the Kool-Aid." We are not required to unthinkingly remain in toxic or abusive environments, or even to follow a particular structure or meet on a certain day. Obedience in this area is simply intentional proximity with a group of people who love Jesus and each other. It is coming together to his table, if only because that is what he asks us to do. And it is trusting that he'll show us not only the spoons we're missing, but also the feast he has in store.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Are You Ready for What God Wants to Do?

Sometimes God requires us to step out of our comfort zones. This is not an easy thing to do when we become so comfortable with certain aspects of our lives.

As I've shared in previous posts, after 30 years in music ministry God decided that it was time for a change. I don't like change. I would suspect not many of us do. I like my routines. They are as I've said - comfortable. I know my limits and where I excel. But God decided quite unceremoniously to take me out of my comfort zone and plop me into a new one. 

I was like a fish out of water, flopping around for air until someone rescued me. The great thing about God is that when He does make changes in your life, He's there to show you what to do and how to do it - if you listen to Him.

Unfortunately, when I get an idea in my head that I think "sounds good", is directly from God, or is the easiest way, sometimes I run with it - believing with all my heart that "God wants it this way." So, when I realized that God wanted me to publish Come to Me, I looked at my options and thought self-publishing was the way to go. I thought this because it seemed to be the least painful, easiest way to get my book out there. I also convinced myself that God wanted me to get about 30 copies printed for friends and family only. So that's what I did and everything seemed to fall neatly into place once I started down that path. I saw each and every success as confirmation from God that I was doing the right thing. 

For example - I "happened" to run across an incredible photographer on the internet who just "happened" to be a Christian. When I told him what I was looking for as a cover for my book, he sent me these gorgeous photos (with my vision perfectly captured) - for free! My daughter then designed the cover, front and back. This is what the first edition of Come to Me looked like. 

If you can't tell, there is a crown of thorns on the top of the manger. I thought the cover was beautiful and I gave most of my copies away as Christmas gifts to my family and friends, the others I sold. The self-publishing company I went with had put my book up on Amazon, so if anyone else was interested in it, I reasoned, they could buy it there. I then washed my hands of the whole thing, patted myself on the back and said, "There you go God, I did what you wanted. Book published."

That didn't go over too well.

God had other plans - harder plans, which I unsuspectingly set in motion. You see, when I realized I could no longer sing I contacted Moira Brown of 100 Huntley St.. I did this because I had sung on the show a few times and I thought they might be interested in knowing what had happened to me. They were. 

I received a call from the producer, who interviewed me over the phone and then invited me to come on the show. I explained that my book was self-published (thinking that would put them off). It didn't. Within a couple of weeks I was on TV being interviewed by Moira Brown and I realized half-way through the interview as they kept showing the cover of my book, that I was going to need to get some more books printed. I thought maybe 30 more should be enough.

It wasn't.

After that show I realized God had bigger plans for me than I did. Emails started coming from various people, asking where they could buy my book. I even had a phonecall from a young lady in New York, who wanted to contact me so badly she phoned 100 Huntley St., who contacted me to get permission to give her my phone number. After that conversation I realized I had made a huge mistake. I needed to get my book properly published. It needed reviews, it needed promotion - it needed to be in bookstores! So I began the painstaking process of finding a publisher and all that entails.

Until next time!

Visit me at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Night Owl

I am a night owl. No matter how hard I may wish to be an early bird, I have always been and will likely always be, a night owl.

I used to feel bad about that. I still do on occasion. When discussing the hours of a recent course I would be teaching, I requested an afternoon rather than a morning class. My supervisor chuckled and said, “Not a morning person, eh?”

Our society seems to put greater worth on hours worked before noon than after noon. And there isn’t really a logical reason for that. We’ve all heard, “early to bed, early to rise, makes one healthy, wealthy and wise.”

It isn’t that I haven’t done the early morning shifts; it’s that I do the evening and night shifts much better. I feel more alert, have higher productivity – and am more cheerful.

For years, I felt as if I should try to change this. But it’s been a losing battle. I can easier work until four in the morning than I can wake up at four in the morning.

Then someone told me, “God made the early birds and the night owls so he would always have someone to sing his praises.”

Hooray, I’m not a lazy bones! I’m a night owl!

Recently, my husband got an app on his I-Touch that has bird sounds. Did you know that there are 525 different owls all over the world including the tropics and subarctic? And each of these owls makes several different interesting and unique sounds. The Great Horned Owl which we have around here, makes a deep sound like a large dog barking. The Easter Screech Owl sounds like a horse whinnying. It’s great fun listening to all the varied sounds of owls on this bird song app. And I can just imagine the chorus they must make sending up their collective praises to their Creator.

Night owls or early birds – God made each of us to do our part for him.
Dorene Meyer, author of Rachel's Children 
Jenny Wilson, an investigative reporter, finds more than she bargained for: Jeff Peters, the man who had mysteriously disappeared from her life three years before; Missy, the child she thought was dead; and a story that could make headlines across the world.        
But if Jenny publishes what she knows, Jeff may be sent to prison; Missy could lose her father; and Jenny will have betrayed her new friends. It is a choice that only she can make.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Staying Focused

In 1992, my tree-loving husband planted a nut grove of quite a variety of edible nuts.  He thought it conceived it as a retirement project.  He enjoyed trimming and caring for trees and experimenting with the best ways to help them grow.  The first fruits came in 1999 when the hazelnuts bore quite a crop in the month before he died in October.  We put baskets of the nuts along with pictures and other memorabilia at the visitation, inviting others to take a few and plant them in his memory. 

In subsequent years, we kept the grass mowed in the plantation so that the gathering in the fall would be easier.  Year after year, we watched carefully, but the harvest was sparse.  One of the first years after my second marriage, my new husband and I worked at trimming and thinning out the trees, but with two knee replacements then dealing with cancer, my deteriorating eyesight, and perhaps our age, J  it became more difficult. The trees continued to grow, but a few Manitoba maples also sprouted and grew, fast as Manitoba maples do.  There were even some hard maples—good in their place, but not in accord with the purpose of the nut grove.  It became more difficult to mow close to the trees so grasses and weeds grew rampant and the whole grove began to look messy and uncared for.

How like our lives when we don’t pay close attention to what is filling our time and taking our energy.  For a few years, my focus was on my writing.  Gradually, other things worked their way into my life until my writing was relegated to the few days I could fit in any given month.  With my husband’s hospitalization and many medical appointments, it became hours instead of days.  Oh the thoughts and ideas still held a large space in my mind and heart, but the actual writing was almost obscured by the undergrowth and the larger activities that grew around the focal interest in my life. 

This spring, when we went to take another look at the nut grove, I was filled with remorse. I plead with my children and grandchildren for one day’s help.  They responded positively and we had a wonderful day in the nut grove, led by the services of an arborist friend.  We mowed the long grass and weeds, chopped down the trees that didn’t belong in a nut grove and trimmed up the nut trees to make maintenance easier. Now when I drive past the nut grove, and I’ve done so frequently, I feel a glowing sense of satisfaction, an awareness that it once more represents the intention of my first husband, and a warm glow as I remember the family working together to achieve the new look. It once more looks like a nut grove.

The nut grove has become an illustration of what I need to be constantly aware in my day to day living.  Right now it may take a major time of sorting out and discarding, but if I do that, I will do more writing again.  Some interruptions may be legitimate and necessary, but if I am more conscious of each demand on my time and discard the less necessary as soon as they appear, I will be able to maintain the integrity of the purpose of my life. 

In this busy world, I probably am not the only one with this problem. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

October by Rose McCormick Brandon

            There’s a park on the shore of the St. Mary’s River, a short walk from my office. When weather permits, and sometimes even when it doesn’t, I spend my lunch hours there writing, reading and praying. When staff moves the tables and benches inside for the winter, I’m forced to make other plans. Until then, I get full value from my mid-day breaks by spending them in this naturally refreshing place.
            On a late October day I sat at a picnic table in the park surrounded by books, paper and lunch. A north wind sent chills through my too-light sweater while noisy geese congregated nearby, planning their southbound flight. The sun peeked from behind the clouds every few minutes but not long enough to take the shiver from my arms and back.
            Others drifted away, driven from the park by the cold. I knew my days there were numbered so I stayed and watched a tour boat make what might be its last trip downriver. Understanding my sadness at saying goodbye to my lunch hour retreat, a little blast of sunshine blessed me. I wilted with pleasure and thanked God for it.
            As I nibbled at my sandwich and let my senses drink in the grandness of my surroundings, from a stand of thick pines came the distinctive whine of bagpipes. After a few priming notes, an invisible piper filled the air with Amazing Grace. Its notes drifted over the water. Quickly tourists gathered on deck, arms wrapped tightly round their trembling bodies. A few walkers broke stride to stand and listen. I didn't speak with the other lookiers but I shared with them a sacred moment on a bleak October day. Tears flowed behind my sunglasses as I remembered the generosity of His grace to me. In my notebook, I wrote -
O limitless grace
Grace that saved my soul from sin
Grace that healed the brokenness within
Grace that brought my loved ones in
Oh Grace, awesome, limitless grace.
Continue strong, continue long
Until that appointed time when all who’ve partaken of grace
Will fall in wonder before your face.
            Ten blissful minutes later the phantom piper emerged from nature’s closet of pine. We clapped, this sprinkling of strangers and me. Thank you for warming our souls today by reminding us of God’s never-ending kindness. The piper took a bashful bow.
            One day I will stand with throngs of people I don’t know and together we’ll applaud His amazing grace.

             What message is October sending you?

Jerusalem Road on the shore of Lake Mindemoya
I couldn't write about October without sharing with you my favorite fall photo. This is the road our cottage is on - this stretch of it is called Jerusalem Road. My sister, Brenda, a gifted photographer took this photo in 2008 and every member of our family has a framed copy.

Visit Rose McCormick's at The Promise of Home and Listening to My Hair Grow. Watch for her new book, He Loves Me Not . . . He Loves Me, the story of a transformed marriage, co-authored with Sandra Nunn.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pen and Pencil ... Making a Point -- Peter A. Black

Need to remember something a telephone number or grocery item you might require to pick up on the way home from the office or a birthday card for Aunt Harriet? You need a piece of paper and a pen or pencil – either will do. 

Oh, but I have my lists and birthday reminders on a computer calendar program, you may protest. Or, I’ve got all that information instantly available with a stroke of my thumb on my smart-phone. 
Yeah, but what if your computer breaks down, or there’s an electricity power cut, or your mobile phone battery dies without warning? Pens and pencils faithfully stand by – soldiers on guard to save the day.
What marvellous inventions pens and pencils are – portable, pointed, and practical instruments of writing! In this age of all things high-tech there is still a practical and prominent place for these perfect cousins – even if humble and homely. 
As for pens, they’ve been used for millennia. Whether the form of pen is sharpened reed or feathered quill dipped in a mixture of soot and water and whatever else, or a platinum-plated nib in settings of gold, or the popular ball-point, pens are and will still be in use for whatever generations are to come, I’m sure. 
Pens and pencils are for writing. I thank God that He chose to use the pen to eternal effect, since, over a period of 1,600 years in the writing of the original Scripture manuscripts, ranging from Genesis to The Revelation, about 40 “holy men of God wrote as they were moved by the  Holy Spirit!” (2 Peter 1:21). And now today, God’s Word – the Bible, is still the world’s bestseller, printed annually in the multi-millions of copies in hundreds of languages. It is available for use on our personal computers, and smart phones too!  
Since my youth and long before I was led into the ministry as a vocation, I made it my business to read, consider and memorize portions of the Bible. This has helped develop a frame of reference for life and living which has seen me through many a challenge. 
The humble pen and pencil played a part, as in my youth I would write out a verse or two and carry them with me for subsequent reference in memorizing and meditating on their relevance to my life. I still mark up my current Bible with pen and pencil, highlighting portions of interest and writing thoughts in the margins.
Would you like to try it? Take, for example the words of Jesus in John 5:24 (NIV):  “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” 
That’s a call to exercise faith and live it. Writing verses out, memorizing and meditating on them, asking God’s help to enable us to apply their truths to our lives in faith, can be really helpful.
Our receiving the divine assurance that our name is written in heaven and that our citizenship is there, is something to write home about, eh?
© Peter A. Black, 2012.
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and author of a children's / family book, "Parables from the Pond." An earlier version of this article was published in his weekly column in the September 12, 2012 issue of The Watford Guide-Advocate, and has been adapted here. His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. 


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