Thursday, 18 January 2018

Book Review: Dealing with Python: Spirit of Constriction by Anne Hamilton

Review by Judy Rogers


For years I have listened to Anne Hamilton speak on destinies, thresholds, names and covenants. Covenants that date back to Biblical times—covenants that have guided and destroyed men and women. Covenants that have guided and destroyed Nations. Covenants that have released blessings and hope and promise. It has been this book, ‘Dealing with Python: Spirit of Constriction’, that has consolidated this information and turned on the light in my mind.


‘As far as the word threshold goes, whenever it is used in a spiritual sense here, it denotes the entry point into our destiny. It’s essentially the ‘doorway’ or the ‘opening’ into the individual calling God has appointed for each of us before the foundation of the world’ 
‘This book focuses on one of the most common of all threshold issues: a sentinel spirit known as Python.’

Discover his rights, his tactics, his colleagues and his downfall.

Do you ever find yourself on the brink of a new venture or a new project only to find it go belly-up just as you are ready to step into conquest? Maybe through constriction, silence or ambiguity. Maybe through intimidation, seduction or illness. Maybe through wasting or rejection. Maybe the world seems like it’s shutting you down. This book may help you sort through to your victory.

Do you want to understand more about thresholds, threshold covenants, name covenants and what just might be holding you back in life? Anne will show you how to recognise the blockages, how to overcome them and how to walk in victory through the Power of the Lord who is the Name about all Names.

Although this book is easy to understand, it’s not a book to be read in one sitting, or two sittings or three, but it is a book to be read. Read and mulled over, read and prayed over, read and rejoiced over.

If you read it and heed it—your life will be changed.





Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Getting Under Your Skin by Rita Stella Galieh

Another bill to pay.
I recently finished reading a great historical romance
where everything was going wrong for the heroine.
One thing after another seemed to weigh her down.

Now was this enough to turn me off? Somehow the author had managed to draw me in so that I was experiencing all the angst of this poor young woman. As in all good plot lines, conflict followed upon conflict

She had weak parents who ignored her, instead favouring the son and heir, a ne'er-do-well and an inveterate gambler. They willingly paid one debts after another by purloining monies their daughter had saved to pay household bills. They left her to worry over everything. With a poor excuse for a father who spent his whole life, to the detriment of his family, collecting bird's eggs and a helpless mother who spent all her time making yards of unsaleable.lace, their daughter surprisingly developed as a responsible and very sympathetic character. Not an annoying goody-goody but a genuinely nice person.

The author wrote in such a way I found myself feeling as frustrated as if I was in the heroine's skin.  Then when things began to go her way in the form of a bequest, my spirits rose. I had to remind myself I was reading a novel, for goodness sake! That is what good writing is all about, my friends, totally identifying with the character.

Writing as a Christian

This is also a challenge as we want our characters to have that inner struggle that Paul spoke about. eg. The things she wants to do she doesn't and the things she does, she knows she shouldn't. Oh yes, Christians have certain moral boundaries and struggle against temptations. So how will your character react when faced with these? 

In the story I am presently writing, I am constantly asking myself how would I feel if this or that happened to me? Besides figuring out your character's goals, questioning your own emotions or attitudes helps give that character flesh and bones. It's also challenging if one of your main characters is a real nasty piece of work, but dredging up memories of certain real life people from your own experiences helps. Especially if you've been treated poorly. No, that is not a type of 'author's revenge', it's simply writing true-to-life to reveal the depths of a mean character,not forgetting to include what happened in that character's past to make them that way.(Yes, even a villain needs to evoke some sympathy.)

Without naming the title, have you recently read a story where you felt the main character did not have realistic feelings? And did it leave you disappointed?

Indie Publisher, Rita Galieh, has written a trilogy of historical novels & also contributed to several US anthologies. She is now completing a third historical romance series. Besides her blog, she can be found on Facebook and www.ritastellapress.com   Rita studied art at the National Art School then joined the family ceramics studio. After their marriage, she and her husband attended Emmaus Bible College, and were also involved with Christian Television on Sydney’s Channel Nine. Currently she co-presents Vantage Point, an Australia-wide Christian FM radio program. She enjoys giving her fun-filled presentations of ‘Etiquette of the Victorian Era’ in costume.
                                              

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Tuesday Book Chat | 16 January 2018 | Iola Goulton


It's Iola here. Welcome to our ACW Tuesday Book Chat where we encourage book lovers to answer our bookish question of the week. 

Which books are you hoping to read over the summer holidays? Or over the summer, if you've already gone back to work? Or over the winter, if you're on the other side of the world?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts. Please join in the conversation in a comment on this post or in a comment on the blog post shared in our Australasian Christian Writers Facebook Group. Or, if you're feeling wordy (like me), write a blog post and link to it in the comments.

Let's chat! 

Monday, 15 January 2018

New Year Writing Goals and Resolutions | Narelle Atkins


By Narelle Atkins   @NarelleAtkins


January is that time of year when we reflect on 2017 and consider what we’d like to achieve in 2018. A writing career isn’t built by accident. Successful authors have take steps to achieve their writing aspirations. 

Each writer will have their own ideas on how they define success



Work Life Balance 


How much time do you have available for writing and writing-related activities? Can you write part-time or full-time? Is your writing a business or a hobby? 

These are important questions to answer. Most writers have a life outside of the writing world. They’re balancing their writing time with day jobs, family responsibilities, church and other volunteer work.

It’s helpful to ask the question:

Realistically, how much time do I have available for writing? 

This is different to asking how much time I’d like to spend writing. 

Take a look at your calendar and see where you have blocks or snippets of free time. What is the best way to spend that time? Can you write and still meet the other responsibilities and obligations in your life?

Establishing Priorities


Where does writing fit among the items on your priority list? I have school-aged children and my responsibilities as a wife and mother are higher up on my priority list than writing. I took a step back from writing in 2017 to focus on my family. 

Creating time vs. Admin/book promo time 


I define creating time as the actual time you spend working on your ms. This includes brainstorming, outlining, writing, revising, editing and proofreading. It doesn’t include checking email or cruising social media for fun.

We need to factor in time for writing admin and book promo. Indie authors have additional admin workload with book production, cover design and editing responsibilities to manage.

Writers are encouraged to build a platform for book promotion before they are published. This takes time and, more often than not, it’s time away from creating.

Writing networking – Groups and Social Media 


The experts tell us that social media is all about building relationships. The goal is to build relationships with our target audience. We need to ask the question: What is our ‘Return on Investment’ (ROI) from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, blogging, Pinterest, Goodreads, etc.?

ROI includes money, time and any other resources we invest in a particular activity. Are we achieving our goals and receiving a good ROI as a result?

Are we connecting with our target audience by providing content they value? What strategies can we employ to improve our ROI (including exit strategies if the activity is not working for us)? 

Your contribution to the writing world


How can we volunteer in our writing organisations? How can we help and support other writers? 

Are we involved in groups and activities, both in-person and online, that are aligned with our goals? For example, if my goal is to network with contemporary romance authors, I’m not likely to achieve this goal by joining my local poetry group.

Your faith journey


I’ll finish today with a few questions to ponder. There’s no right or wrong answer and we can prayerfully consider all of our options.

How does your writing influence your faith?

Is your writing drawing you closer to God? Is it encouraging and inspiring you in your faith journey?

How does your faith influence your writing?


Are you writing for the Christian market, general market, or both? Who is your audience and how can your writing add value to their life?



A fun loving Aussie girl at heart, NARELLE ATKINS was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle's contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Friday, 12 January 2018

Word for the Year

Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Ian Acheson @achesonian

Word for the year?

Huh? Explain that to me.

That was me a few years ago. Here I was in my late forties and I’d never heard of the thing. Why limit your year to a single word?

A few of you might be having the exact same reaction this very moment.

I read a little about it. And tried it. And have continued the practice for the last six years or so.

Why?

“Each year, you should choose a word to represent the year you have in front of you.”1

Claire Diaz-Ortiz explains the rationale behind the concept: “Think long and hard about one word that will serve as a guidepost for what you want to do and be in the year to come. One word that will remind you of what’s important when you need it most.”2

I like that: a guidepost.

I tend not to think too much about it, rather talk to God and meditate on a word for a week or so. Often He gives me one of those “Aha” moments that provide clarity.

In 2015 my Word was “ADORATION”, in 2016 it was “DELIGHT” and last year “LINGER”. As I’ve drawn closer to the Lord these past few years I’ve felt an increasing desire for more of Him and less of me which probably best sums up the last three Words. I’ve so enjoyed adoring Him, delighting in Him and lingering with Him that I figured there was so much more for me to experience that I was expecting I would stick with something similar for 2018.
As some of you know I’m working on an intimacy project and as I’ve spent time in the Word I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the many examples of intimacy. Whether it’s God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve (how cool is that?), to David and Jonathan’s friendship, Mary of Bethany’s lying at Jesus’ feet to Jesus washing the disciples feet it’s clear that is what we were designed for.
The River from The Temple
I was reading Ezekiel 47 a few weeks ago where the prophet describes venturing into the river and as often occurs when I read this passage I was captivated by its imagery.
“As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.” (v3 NIV)

Often in our walk with the Lord we can accumulate lots of information about Him, but the Lord wants us to venture into Him. Here we see Ezekiel encouraged to enter the river, not simply look at it. But the man doesn’t stop there with Ezekiel:
“He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waistHe measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.” (v4-5)

See the progression: knee-deep, waist-deep and finally to a point where he can no longer stand. His only option is to swim and be carried along by the current.

And there was my word: IMMERSE

“… we can immerse ourselves in Him and allow Him to be fully in control of our lives. He’s not content with ankle-deep devotion; He wants us to lose ourselves in Him, to be swept under, knowing full well that as we lose ourselves in Him we will truly find ourselves.”3

That’s what I desire. To dive into the deep and let Him lead me.

I’m not sure what immersion neither looks like nor how to do it but hey, we’re only 12 days into the year. Now the fun part begins in discovering it.

Do any of you follow such a practice? Perhaps you have a verse or a “theme” for the year that you might like to share with us all.

Wishing all of my ACW friends a wonderful God-filled 2018.

Notes: 1.  “Design Your Day”, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Moody Publishers. 2016. Pg 15. 2. Ibid pg 15-16. 3. “Reckless Devotion,” Rolland and Heidi Baker, River Publishing, 2014. Day 77.



Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Book Review: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky

Review by Carolyn Miller

From the publisher:

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. 

When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

My thoughts:


I recently had the wonderful opportunity to read this soon-to-be-released novel by American author and Edwardian England specialist Carrie Turansky. This novel explores the fascinating world of those involved in the start of the aviation industry, something I'm quite unfamiliar with, so I felt I learned a lot through the rich descriptions of historical details of both the aviation and newspaper worlds of that time. 

I also enjoyed the element of adventure and mystery, as various characters struggle with the idea of identity and learning more about their background, and how this affects their faith, and their relationship.

In keeping with the depictions of social class presented the tone feels polite, which may jar with those who prefer more contemporary renditions of character angst and unfettered emotions. But if you're looking for a Christian historical novel of hope and determination 'Across the Blue' may be one you'll enjoy, with scenes destined to make your pulse soar. Releases February 20, preorder available now.

About Carolyn Miller


Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.

A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. 

Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey, all available from Amazon, Book Depository, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:        Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Eternal Jesus

By Jenny Glazebrook

I am embarrassed to admit I have been late putting up this blog post - life has once more become a battle, taking all my time and energy. And so, with little time, I am posting here the message I shared at the Omega Christian Writers' Conference last year - as much because I need to hear it again as to encourage you, also. Yes, it's long, but I hope you are blessed by it.

Jesus. He is our inspiration. The giver of life. The master story-teller. The one who understands us like no other person can. He is the grace and truth we have to share with the world. How well do you know Him?

Years ago, I was watching a show called Camera Trap. There was a guy baling people up in the market place, saying he was an art student and offering to sketch a 2 minute portrait of them for only $2.
Most people were hesitant but he’d beg them, ‘Please, just do it to help me, I’m a poor and needy art student.’
So one young couple posed for him, holding hands while he started sketching. Two minutes later he turned his portrait around for them to see.
It looked something like this:
Well, there were similarities.
I’m just wondering, what is your picture of Jesus Christ? How do you represent him to other people? Does it do Him any more justice than this picture did of that couple?

What was the first thing that came to your mind when I spoke Jesus’ name? Anything? Or was there a kind of emptiness there as it just slid past in a haze of familiarity?

My next question, is ‘How did you develop your picture of Christ?’
And more importantly, is it accurate? How well do you know Him?
As Christian writers, we represent Christ. How can we do that if we don’t have an accurate understanding of who He really is?

Is your picture of Christ developed from what people have told you,
from what you have read in His Word,
from what you imagined as a child and never quite grew out of?
I’ve heard it said that some people never let Jesus grow up. They have him in a manger all his life.
Well, I think some people also have Jesus on a cross forever.
And others leave him on earth forever.
Or just sitting on his heavenly throne doing what?
A school teacher I met was teaching year one. She asked them what Jesus was doing and one child piped up and said, ‘He’s sitting in heaven.’ Just sitting.
Is this what you imagine heaven will be like? You, standing around the throne forever singing, while Jesus is sitting? You might be a bit tired and like the idea of just sitting right now.

My Dad was a perfectionist. A few years ago he had just retired, and had a new home, but he was dying of cancer. Still, he set up his tools in his new sheds out the back yard; spanners, screwdrivers, everything in perfect rows, in height order …
Looking at those sheds I prayed, ‘Please Lord, just give Dad a few years to enjoy this.’
But I felt God said to me, ‘Jenny, I have so much more for him.’
And I know that He does. Dad is now in heaven with Jesus, a place that is so much more than we can imagine.

What is your picture of heaven? More importantly, what is your picture of Christ?
Do you know Him personally – the living Christ, the all-powerful one who shares His mission of reaching the world with you? Who walks with you, inspires you?

Can a baby in a manger connect with this broken world? 
Can a man hanging on a cross reach that deepest part inside us that is empty and hurting? 
Can a man who walked on earth healing peoples’ physical ailments help you with the sicknesses you are suffering today?
What about someone just sitting on a throne?
So who is this Christ who heals and binds up the broken hearted and sets the captive free? This Jesus who gave His life to give us eternal life if we only believe?

1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul says what we now see and understand of Christ with our human minds isn’t clear the way it will be when we reach heaven. He says:
‘Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.’

With four children, I know just how dirty mirrors can get. I also know how warped the image can be – how different we can appear. I was getting my hair cut recently and my 8 year old watched in the mirror and said, ‘Mum, you look a lot better in real life than you do in the mirror.’
Thank you. I think.

But the thing is, she knows me. The real me, not just the reflection in the mirror. But do you know the real Christ? Not just about Him? Do you talk with Him, walk with Him? He knows the real us – and He knows a lot more about us than we know about Him! We are so complex that even we can’t understand ourselves but Christ fully knows us. There are things about you that only He knows and understands because no other human has the ability to truly know you. If we as humans are that complex, how much more so Christ?

In Collin’s book, ‘Back to the Gospel’, there is this illustration:

The Gospel of Christ is a rich treasure. It is like a cave, which when you enter it you see sparkling jewels and diamonds like you have never known before. And as you venture further in, there is more and more to be found and claimed. Yet many are content to sit at the entrance to the cave and they never bother to venture any further in. They are content to know it is there; they feel no need to experience, to own the fullness of the wealth there is within.

It’s too easy to become complacent and just sit at the entrance to the cave. To feel like we know enough, have experienced enough to last a lifetime. But if we truly understood Jesus we would never become bored with Him and the Gospel. We would reach further, seek harder, embrace Him with our whole hearts. Be so
overwhelmed and excited by Him we can’t help but share Him with others.

I wanted to share with you a picture of Christ which changed my life. It gave me an excitement, a new, refreshing awe and appreciation of who He really is and how much He loves us – how much he gave to connect with me – to connect with us humans.


Revelation 1: 2:20 
How does this picture compare with your picture of Christ?
John was so afraid and awed he fell at his feet as though dead. And yet this terrifying Jesus is filled with Compassion. See the way he reaches and places his hand on John, telling him not to be afraid. Awesome power mixed with love.

Together I want us to look at the most familiar picture of Christ – the earthly Christ - and compare it with this heavenly picture of Christ. 

Have you ever thought about the fact that what we read of the earthly Jesus in the
Gospels is a picture of what he was for merely thirty three years out of eternity – only thirty three years. Not that his time on earth wasn’t important - it was more than we can ever understand. But this same Jesus is the Jesus the angels worshipped before the world even began and still worship today.

It’s interesting that in my search for pictures of Jesus I found many thousands of him during his time on earth. And the heavenly picture? One that was almost accurate. And a couple of others. That’s it. So we have to use our imaginations – something we writers are good at doing.

I want to challenge us to look beyond all you have in your human minds, if that
is possible. To look into heaven with John and catch a glimpse of Christ as God rather than man. The creator, the saviour and the almighty God who is to be worshipped.

What would your response have been to the heavenly Jesus John saw?
This Jesus wearing a robe and gold sash, with hair white like wool,
eyes like blazing fire, feet like bronze, voice like rushing waters, holding seven stars, a sharp sword in his mouth and a face like the sun shining in all its brilliance?
What is your response? I have to confess, my first one was of disappointment. I
didn’t fall down in fear as though dead as John did - John who had seen Christ as man and God.
Why? Because I couldn’t connect. This Jesus was so out of my experience. I have grown to love the ‘earthly’ Jesus. The man so full of emotion, passion, compassion and strength of character. The one who gave His life for me. The one I feel to some extent that I know and understand. This awesome figure seen in heaven seems distant and unreachable somehow.
Yet this awesome, majestic figure is that same Jesus without His glory veiled. It is hard for us to understand.
But this just confirms why Christ came to earth as a human - because he wanted us to see His love, undistracted by His awesome glory. He wanted us to not fear Him... but to get to know Him. Yet despite His love, He was still this same Jesus. Fully and completely the almighty God.

Can you imagine how the angels, looking from a heavenly point of view struggled
to see this awesome God whom they worshipped become a man?

That robe we read about in v13 which reached down to his feet and had a golden
sash - they saw Jesus abandon these royal, priestly robes and instead wear earthly garments. And then they saw humans tear these garments and divide them amongst themselves as they called Jesus a blasphemer for daring to claim He was God.

That head and hair as white as wool... as white as snow. Jesus allowed His glory
to fade. He is the ancient of days, all wise and all knowing, yet He gave this up and
rather than having hair as white as wool, allowed Himself to become as gentle as a
lamb. He left the worship of the angels who day and night proclaimed Him holy,
Almighty, Author of Life and He became the son of man, Lamb of God.

Those eyes of blazing fire - all knowing, all perceiving which searched hearts and
minds were disguised so that all that could be seen was the love in His eyes.

The feet like bronze glowing in a furnace became flesh and walked in the dust
and filth of the earth wearing nothing but sandals. And rather than speaking the word and allowing angels to come and wash his tired, worn out feet, he reached out and washed the dirt off the feet of those humans He created. He whom angels served and worshipped day and night, had reduced Himself to a servant.

The voice which in heaven was so powerful it was the like the sound of rushing waters became gentle, caring and filled with love and compassion as Jesus cried out to His Father to forgive those who mocked Him, hurled insults at Him and despised Him.

I have no doubt He could have called ten thousand angels to deliver Him from
them. He, the one who holds the seven stars - which are angels,(as we’re told in v20) in His right hand. And He was very aware that He could call upon them. In fact, I can imagine those angels waiting, hoping, desperately longing that Jesus would call them so they could wipe out these blasphemous, ignorant humans who couldn’t see who Jesus really was.
Fully prepared for battle, ready to go as soon as he uttered the command, those angels watched in grief as the one they worshipped and served was treated like the lowest of humans. A criminal - a common thief.

Rather than use His sharp, double edged sword and speak the word to begin
battle and destroy these people, Jesus chose not to use His power. He used no miracles to get Himself out of the situation. Instead he bore all the pain, the betrayal and rejection.

As a man by the name of Frederick Beuchner says, 

The miracle of the cross is that there was no miracle.’

Jesus, the all powerful, all knowing, majestic Holy one could have done anything
he wanted to. Yet He chose to lay His power to perform miracles aside so that He could connect with you.

The miracle of the cross is that there was no miracle. He could have called ten
thousand angels to take him from the earth and back to heaven. He could have slipped away from the authorities like the many times he had before. He could have convinced Pilate to keep him alive by his intelligent, unquestionable defence. He could have destroyed the earth like he did at the flood.

But instead, that face which for eternity had shone like the sun in all it’s
brilliance streamed with red - torn, bleeding and destroyed. That face was slapped and spat upon. Those angels would have washed His wounds and brought Him home, but Jesus continued to lay His miracles aside.
Why?

Michael Card puts it aptly when he says in his song, Why,: ‘He died on a cross for on a cross a thief was supposed to pay. And Jesus came into the world to steal every heart away.’
And he also asks, ‘Why did they nail His feet and hands when His love would
have held Him there?’
His love for us is the reason.
His desire to connect with us. So that we can call the almighty God our father,
and His son, our brother.

Do you know, I couldn’t bring myself to put a picture of Jesus with the crown of thorns up here. My horror was too great. It seemed so blasphemous. And it was.
What He did to connect with us, to make us His!

It makes me wonder, as writers, as God’s children, do we take all He has done for us for granted?
And if He gave up so much so that humans would connect with Him, to know Him, what do we do as Christian writers do to connect with our readers and connect them to God? How far do we go?

I know there are many here who have written at great cost to themselves in many ways. There are those who have been judged or scorned even by other Christians when what they write is not in line with what other believers think they should be writing.
Maybe what they write even seems blasphemous in the way they connect with everyday people.
But we, like Jesus on earth, sometimes need to use the same background so we can connect, but in that, we share a different message.
A message of grace and truth.
There are those here who have put their hearts on the line and have been trampled. There are wounded warriors reading this today.

Painting of Jesus by Akiarne Kramarik
But I want to encourage you. This all-powerful, all-loving, eternal Jesus is here. He sees you. He knows you. He knows all you are going through. How do I know?

If we look at Revelation 2:1, He is the God who today holds His church in His hand and walks amongst His people.
He is here with us right now.

John was given a message for each of the churches – for God’s people. He was told to write it down – God knows the value of writing!
And one message comes through in every single one. I believe this is the message Jesus has for us as His Christian writers today.

I encourage you to look at the letters to each of the churches. Do you see the pattern?

First he states his character and position as Almighty, Sovereign God. Then he says over and over again, He sees. He knows.

So what does He say to us today? His Australasian Christian writers?
This almighty God.
He is involved. He knows. He cares.
He sees everything you do for Him. He knows every intimate detail of our lives. He sees you battle over your writing, battle over marketing, struggle with which way to go, what to do. He sees the money you have put in, the time, your heart. He sees what it costs you.
And He cares.
But more than anything He wants you to do it with him. As worship to Him as you connect with Him and share this amazing, eternal Jesus. He will direct you as you share the truth with grace and humility and love.

And He knows the value of writing. He tells John to write what he sees. To preserve it in words so that it may bless many in future years.
We have inspiration like no other writer.

Another point I want to make, is that Jesus came to earth as a baby to connect with us. But for 30 years of his 33 years on earth, he was growing, learning, developing, growing closer to God. It was only in the last 3 years his ministry became public.
This is what it cost to connect with us.

Don't give up! You are not alone!
I’ve seen people who have a manuscript they believe is ready to be published. And then when they realise how much work needs to be done, they give up. They never come back, they never have their manuscript published.
But if Jesus – God himself in the flesh, took so long to learn to connect, to build connections, to be ready for public ministry, if he was willing to put in so much, shouldn’t we also expect it will take some work?

I admit that after my first Christian writers meeting I was broken. I discovered my already published book was not what it seemed. My publisher was not traditional as I’d thought, as I’d had to pay out quite a significant sum of money. I had broken all the rules of good writing and I knew so little. All I had was the heart of a good story inspired by my relationship with the living God.
If you feel like that today, please don’t give up. Lay your manuscript before the Lord. Work on it with him. Listen to His voice. He is the master story-teller. He is your inspiration. He who gave you that brilliant idea can also direct you to those who can teach you. He can guide you, encourage you. He brought you here for a reason, to meet people, to learn, to connect.
It costs to connect with people. Expect it to be hard but also expect it to be more worthwhile than you ever dreamed! We have a living, eternal saviour, so worth sharing!

Another thing I want to encourage you with – if you’ve felt intimidated by all those who are further ahead in the journey than you are – know that every single one of them were beginners once too. You and your writing are not of any less value because you are not yet at the point another author is. And if they succeed in any way, that does not lessen your value. It increases it. We are a body of writers. We are Christ’s children. We are a family. If one is honoured, so are we all. I would encourage you not to see your writing as an individual thing but a team effort. Connect with each other, learn from each other. Lift one another up. We are the church of God’s writers here in Australia and NZ. What does He say to us?

He hears. He knows. He sees. He wants to connect with us as we connect with others. This almighty God who loves us more than His own life is our inspiration. What more can we need?

I pray that you will be strengthened, that you will connect with God and others through your writing. If there was a part of you that felt like it was dying, I pray it has been raised to life again by the power of this almighty, eternal Jesus. May we connect with Him as we never have before! May we enter further and further into the cave and find the riches He has there for us. And together, may we share those riches with the world!

Jenny Glazebrook lives in the country town of Gundagai with her husband, Rob and 4 children along with many pets. She is the published author of 7 novels, 1 traditionally published, and 6 self published. She writes because words burn within her. She is an experienced inspirational speaker and loves to encourage others to walk closer with God and hear His voice each day.  Jenny’s website is: www.jennyglazebrook.com