March 21, 2018

The EASTER STING ... by Jocelyn Faire

My church background did not focus on the Lent season ... other than the Holy Week. Each year I ponder anew the central meaning of the resurrection and what does that mean for me, for my daughter who works as a missionary in a hostile environment, for people bereaved, for the big picture of humanity. Is it possible to harness that resurrection power and how does that translate into reality in our wanderings of faith?
This year on a fast paced walk with my sister-in-law, I told her I needed a poem for Easter ... I'd already purchased two new poetry books at the thrift store. A cup of coffee and further conversation at her house followed our walk. As the last drops were sipped, she said, here I think this is for you, and she handed me Malcolm Guite's book of Poetry and Lenten readings; a poem-a-day with explanations. Thank you Lord, for the way you move in your people. The daily poetry has brought a new freshness to the Lent season for me. Not only that, some poetic writing resulted ... The topic of reflections initiated ideas both of mirror images and of bending back what has been sent to the recipient. Many of my thoughts originated while walking along a river where thin sheets of ice break, rise up and for a brief moment the broken edges shine brilliantly as they turn over. I love the idea that a mirror image reflects what it is shown, while a prism bends the light.

Do I reflect back to you what you reflect to me?
And if not, why not?
Can the fractured glass hold back its prismatic beauty?
Catching the rainbows
as the Light shines upon it.
Waters dark and deep glisten in the rays
The echo returns not a new song, but a muted variation of what has been heard.
If the truth be that I only know what I've been shown,
would there be a point to the search,
or is the journey of the question,
the quest causes our hearts to burn within us?
John Donne said in his poem:
... and mysteries
Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord.

Death and resurrection are powerful and painful thoughts focused on before Easter. This next poem recalls the Easter thirteen years ago, when that resurrection promise did little to alleviate the painful loss of two children. I have long given up the giving up for the lent season, I struggle with the inner heaviness. For bereaved people the Lent is too long. This is part of the reason I do not feel a need to become heavier in my Lenten contemplations, I long to experience the joy of Easter.

The Easter Sting
I recall that Easter years ago
When thoughts that the promise of resurrection 
would be the comfort, the
Power to overcome the weight of grief ...
     Vanity of vanities, All is vanity

Death, where is thy sting?
Where is thy sting?
     Who dares ask me that question?
That sting
Is in my heart
It relentlessly courses down my cheeks
It darkens a sunny day
It knots my stomach tight
It robs my sleep of dreams by day or night.
Powerfully absent that Victory o'er the grave,
The grave too fresh, too wrong, two young the body
My numbed heart shrouded in death's dark vale.
      Vanity of Vanities
      All was vanity

And so as time heals all wounds,
It also wounds all heals
As it wears down the sharp edge of the grave
It also mutes the vibrancy of the spring flowers

Victory, when will you come?
When will you thaw grieved hearts?
When will spring resurrect dreams of life?
     Is it all vanity? ...

(The silent church pause) 
The heavens remained quiet
Victory comes in battle, it skirmishes the mind
It cries out in the night, cries out to those seemingly silent heavens
It pleads the prayers of resurrection.
Greater things than these shall you also do ...
Overcoming sorrow by
Hope-filled prayers in the night,
by candles lit, by songs sung
by moments of awareness as our
H-hearts are
   O-open and the
      P-power of the risen Christ
         E-envelops our stricken souls

May it be as you have said ... (I believe) help me in my unbelief ...

Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head? Grief as an out of Body Experience.
 During the month of March and April she is offering a free copy of her book to Inscribe writers. If interested please contact me at and I will mail you a copy. People that bought the book, have told me it has been a powerful help for understanding deep grief. If you know someone who has lost a child, it may be beneficial for them. 
Photography by Jocelyn

March 17, 2018

It's All In The Details - Lynn Dove

As a writer, I tend to constantly strive to put as much detail into an article as I can.  I don't want my reader to misinterpret or misunderstand my intent and I'm not one for leaving anything to my reader's imagination.  That's not always a good thing, I'll admit that, especially when I write to a young adult audience. Being detailed is one thing, but readers should also be allowed to add their own "spin" based on their own experiences to fully appreciate and connect with a piece of writing.  Sometimes adding too much detail has left my readers cold.  So, I'm learning to write with more balance between detail and allowing the reader to use their imagination to fill in some of the blanks.  That said, I have discovered in reading Scripture, however, the Lord was all about the details!

I am constantly amazed by the complexity and purposefulness of Scripture.  The writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, captured the imagination of their listeners and readers, not by the withholding of detail, but by the meticulous telling of each story, event and Word spoken by the Lord.  For example:
Moses was given very specific, detailed instructions by God on how to build the Tabernacle, the Ark (of the Covenant), the Table, and the Lampstand that were to be put in the Tabernacle in Exodus 25.  God's intricate architectural specifications and furniture designs were to be followed to the letter.  Nothing was left to chance.

As I become more and more familiar and enthralled with the study of it, I come to realize that not one Word in the Bible is used frivolously or without purpose.  God pieces together each word, phrase, line, and story so that they masterfully interweave and connect without error or misinterpretation. The joy is in reading a passage of Scripture over and over again, and having the Lord reveal something new and thought-provoking each time.

I am reading the Passion of Christ in the Book of Matthew and Mark this Easter season, and focusing on the details this year.  I am not just reading the Story itself, but reading how Jesus' Great Sacrifice for us, was foretold in great detail in the Old Testament first.  We have the benefit of having both the Old and New Testaments to see how God's plan of salvation for us was in His heart from the very beginning of time.  We cannot merely read the New Testament, without reading how the prophets wrote about the coming Messiah in their writings.  It adds the extraordinary and profound context and detail to the Easter Story!

As you celebrate the Easter season with your friends and family, ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you even more than He has done previously, by reading once again the familiar Passion story and focus particularly on the glorious Resurrection.  Read it anew and immerse yourself in the details and be blessed!

Lynn Dove is the award-winning author, of the YA “Wounded Trilogy”- a contemporary Christian fiction series with coming-of-age themes.  A wife, mom, grandmother, and free-lance writer with articles published in several magazines and anthologies including Chicken Soup for the Soul books, her blog, “Journey Thoughts” is a Canadian Christian Writing Award winner.  Readers may connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and at  

March 16, 2018

My Journey With Jesus by Nina Faye Morey

The story of the two men “On the Road to Emmaus” reflects the journey that many of us experience in our walk with Jesus (Luke 24:13-32). They were preoccupied with feelings of sadness, grief, and disappointment because of their own failure and their leaders’ betrayal of their Lord. They neither recognized Jesus nor realized the true meaning of His crucifixion. They’d hoped that Jesus was the Messiah who would redeem the Israelites from Roman rule. They failed to comprehend the spiritual significance that His death and reported resurrection held for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28). They hadn’t yet connected all the dots between the events they’d just witnessed and what Jesus had revealed to them through His teachings.

Just as Jesus came to meet and walk beside these downcast men on the road to Emmaus, Jesus comes to walk alongside many of us on our painful journeys through darkness and despair. We’ve all walked this road to Emmaus at least once during our lifetime. We’ve all experienced fear, failure, disappointment, sadness, hopelessness, uncertainty, and death. And just as He did for these men, Jesus comes to us and opens our eyes to reveal Himself as our true Lord and Saviour. The road to Emmaus is whatever road we’re trudging down when we encounter Jesus, resolve to walk and talk with Him, and open ourselves up to His radical transformation of our lives. It may be a calm experience like the one described in Luke, or it may be a more dramatic encounter like Paul’s on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9).

As we travel life’s road, Jesus joins us on our journey even though we may fail to recognize Him. It is His Spirit who arouses our curiosity and draws us towards Him. Like Moses, wonderstruck over the miracle of the Burning Bush, we find ourselves drawn aside from our usual path by a deep desire to explore a slow-burning but imperishable fascination with a spiritual world that’s difficult to fathom (Exodus 3:1-3). Our curiosity to know more about God leads us on an incessant spiritual quest. We find ourselves seeking fellowship with Him through His Word, prayer, devotionals, and meditative readings.

It’s at this point in our spiritual journey that we discover God is not some unseen, passive, “abstract” deity, but a very real and holy being who demands our complete loyalty, commitment, and devotion. Like Peter, it’s the crucial moment when we decide to “drop our nets,” to leave our former lives behind, and commit ourselves to Him (Matthew 4:18-20). It’s the moment when we open ourselves up to spiritual change.

At this stage in our spiritual development, we come to realize that this new life to which God is calling us is not only full of promises, but it’s also full of demands. We have not only accepted Christ, but the bonds, vows, and responsibilities that come with our spiritual conversion. God desires us to be active and fruitful in our spiritual lives. He’s given us gifts that He wants us to use to help and encourage others, open their hearts and minds to Him, and help direct them down the path in life that He’s chosen for them.

The Lenten season allows me to set aside extra time to walk and talk with Jesus. It enables me to focus more fully on my risen Lord and Saviour, reflecting on and renewing my relationship with Him. Lenten practices like Bible study and prayer open my eyes, move my heart, deepen my faith, and help me grow on my spiritual journey. Above all, Lent is a time for me to meditate on the profound meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and celebrate His eternal victory over sin and death.

Photos: Pixabay

March 15, 2018

The Road to Emmaus - Tracy Krauss

The story of the two travellers on the road to Emmaus found in Luke 24 has special significance for me. Several years ago I was asked to speak at a women's retreat at a beautiful place called Camp Sagitawa, The key passage for the weekend was this very scripture from Luke.

Never one to waste good material, I reused the things I had shared in a series of blog posts. Then I got the idea to revamp the entire presentation into a devotional book - my first non-fiction publication. The result was a little book called LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: Advice and Reflections on Navigating the Road of Life. It contains detailed scripture analysis, anecdotal stories, and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter. 

About a year later, I was asked to contribute to another devotional book featuring several Canadian authors. I was honoured to be among Murray Pura, Tony Hilling, and InScribe's own Ruth L. Snyder, Marcia Laycock, and Janice Dick. My contributions were shortened devotionals from the original book above. Although out of print on most platforms, Uplifting Devotionals III is still available as a paperback through Amazon on a limited basis.

Below is one of the devotionals from that book:

God With Us Everyday
Luke 24: 13 – 15: And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. And they were conversing with each other about all these things which had taken place. And it came about that while they were conversing and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began travelling with them.

God meets with us in the everyday, ordinary experiences of our lives. Often we don’t even recognize that we’ve had a ‘God moment’ until much later. Sure he can meet us during the ‘big events’ too, but more often than not, He wants to meet with us during our day-to-day life. In the passage above, two men were on a road trip, travelling from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which was about seven miles. At first that doesn’t sound very far, but remember, they were on foot. While they walked, they were talking about the latest ‘news’, namely Jesus’ crucifixion.
I want you to think for a moment about times in your life when God met with you in simple, everyday ways. We tend to over look these moments, but I believe that God can speak to us profoundly through our everyday experiences. I’ve moved more times than I have digits and I’ve lived in some very remote places. Each time, God was faithful in providing just the right housing, just the right job, at the just the right time. I’ve experienced times of poverty and I’ve also had times of plenty. From flat tires on deserted dirt highways, to getting stranded on the tundra in the middle of polar beat season, I’ve had a few adventures, too. God brought me through each one of these but He’s also been there during the mundane and ordinary. Allow God to speak to you each day through the highs and the lows.

Excerpted from LIFE IS A HIGHWAY – Advice and Reflections On Navigating the Road of Life. Copyright Tracy Krauss 2013.

Scripture references from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used with permission.

Tracy Krauss is the current Vice President of InScribe and writes from her home in northern BC. Website:

March 14, 2018

Prayer, Purpose, and Peace - Ruth L. Snyder

In January I shared how God led me NOT to set goals for 2018. It continues to be an interesting challenge that is drawing me closer to God, my family, and my church. I have found my priorities shifting.

In many ways I have been encouraged:

  • Peace is more consistent in my life, freeing me to focus on what is happening in the moment.
  • Conversations with God are happening throughout the day. My prayers have been deeply affected as I work my way through Power Praying: Hearing Jesus' Spirit By Praying Jesus' Prayer. 
  • I'm spending less time on the computer. When someone comes to talk to me while I am working on the computer, I consciously turn away from the computer and towards them, giving them my full attention. This is one of the reminders I picked up from The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging & Becoming
  • I have enjoyed and been challenged by many deeper discussions with friends. We are skipping past the superficial and sharing our heart struggles, and how God is meeting us in the midst of our struggles.
  • My Pastor encouraged me and is supporting me in hosting a monthly prayer meeting. I started out thinking this prayer meeting would only be for women, but the men are also asking to come :)
  • God used my need for fellowship to spur me into starting a monthly get together for women where we have fun, laugh, and share.
  • In January I was elected onto the board of Inclusion St. Paul, which works under Inclusion Alberta. This group works to raise awareness of the benefits of including all children and adults in the normative path of life, and to advocate for children and adults with disabilities to be included in every sphere. 
Along with the positives, there have also been some struggles:
  • My spiritual warfare book has been put on hold. In fact, I have done very little writing in the last few months. At times this bothers me. However, I continue to remind myself to trust God and wait for His timing.
  • Some days I feel like I get nothing done. However, when I look back at the day I see that I used my time wisely. I'm learning to do what I can and trust God.
  • I still struggle with not making lists. I am an organizer by nature. But for this season God is telling me to put less energy into organizing and more energy into being the person He wants me to be.
  • I am having to say "No" to some things I enjoy. As a peacemaker, this is difficult for me.
As we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let's set our minds to seek God. Let's confess our sin to Him and walk in step with HIM each day, minute by minute. Let's listen and obey, praying for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

What has our Heavenly Father been teaching you lately? How will you celebrate Jesus's death and resurrection—not only at Easter, but throughout the coming year?