September 28, 2010

Will We Meet Our Pets in Heaven? - Bruce Atchison

As much as I wish I could hug and stroke my beloved departed rabbits again, we won't be reunited with our pets. Why? The Bible doesn't teach that animals will be resurrected. Nor do they have the capability of sinning. Because of that, they aren't rewarded with heaven or punished with hell. As John MacArthur once explained, they're conscious but not self-conscious. God will populate the new earth with animals but none of our beloved companions will be raised from the dead.

Scripture has proven its veracity through historical evidence, the cohesiveness of its message, and corroborating archeological discoveries. Therefore, fanciful notions of eternity, such as the Rainbow Bridge, aren't real and only those who have surrendered their lives to Christ will be with him forever. The belief in animals being resurrected is based on wishful thinking and not biblical proof, as I point out in this excerpt from my upcoming How I Was Razed memoir.


Brother H's notion of being reunited with our pets is also unbiblical. Ecclesiastes 3:21 says, "Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" Solomon wasn't doubting the assertion of human spirits and the descent of animal spirits but was pointing out that we can't see where they go. Ecclesiastes is based on a view of life from a physical standpoint. Even so, he did make a distinction between the two kinds of spirits and their final destinations. Since Christ died exclusively for humans, the only species on Earth created in God's image and capable of sinning, we are the only ones destined for resurrection. As much as I'd love to be reunited with my long-eared companions that I wrote about in When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), Scripture indirectly precludes that possibility.


I also wrote in Deliverance From Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) about the time I foolishly gave our pet rabbit, Samantha, a cold bath and inadvertently killed her when I was twelve years old. Please click here for more information about these memoirs from my web page.

September 23, 2010

Description that Wows! - Dorothy Bentley

Getting out of bed this morning was like climbing out of a marshmallow swamp; my delicious duvet had me trapped. But getting up was necessary... it was time to write my InScribe Blog entry.

Here are a few little tidbits I've picked up about writing description.

For comedic effect, exaggerate. Calling my bed a marshmallow swamp is not accurate. It's actually a typical queen-sized bed, with a comfy duvet, but saying that in writing would sound boring and not very funny. Doing this is not lying... it's merely stretching the truth. Someone once said, "Why ruin a good story with facts?" In other words, it is fine to take literary license, provided it is done in a harmless way.

For poetic effect, use imagery.

I recently wrote about Kootenay Lake in a newspaper article, calling the lake an aqua-bride. Wow... it made it through the editor's cut. The most fun a writer can have, is making up words and phrases. I once read in one of James Scott Bell's novels that a character was having cul-de-sac thoughts. In the next sentence, he explained what he meant by saying her thoughts continued to circle back around to the problem. That is the one and only time I have read that phrase, but it worked.

Dazzling description combines non-living characteristics with a person or animal, or conversely, personification: the lake calls to me; the trees wave; the person was like an acorn squash, rounded all over.

Have fun writing fresh, lively description. Your readers will be impressed!

~ © Dorothy Bentley

September 20, 2010

Music While Writing by Kimberley Payne

A question that was asked on The Word Guild discussion forum was, “What music do you listen to while on your computer? While writing?”

The responses were as varied as each writer and the different types of writing available.

Denise Rumble shares, “I find that sometimes I need it very quiet to concentrate, other times I want the music loud, or soft. It depends on the type of writing, where I am in the process, and my mood. Of course, listening to music greatly affects my mood which can certainly be a boon to my writing, as well.”

Like Denise, Pam Mytroen picks her music according to the project she’s currently on. “Forget listening to anything with vocals and lyrics however. I completely miss them when I'm writing fiction. But non-fiction is another story.”

Lynda Schultz also has tastes similar to Denise. “Sometimes the words to a song throw off my concentration, so I need instrumental music to which I do NOT know the words (otherwise I start to sing and that throws me off). Sometimes, I need the words to raise my spirits so that I can write. Fast or slow again depends on what I'm writing. It's very dependent on the task I think—‘heavy’ writing requires less intrusive music. At times, quiet is the only thing that works too.”

On the other extreme, Robert White likes his music loud. “Christian rock, heavy metal, classic rock, prog rock, you name it I'll listen to it while I'm writing. In fact, I find myself distracted by quiet music while writing.”

Lisa Wilson agrees with Robert, “I'm with you! It depends on what I'm writing as to what I listen to, my tastes are pretty eclectic. I'll listen to Country, Big Band, Jazz, Pop, heavy metal, classic Rock even neo-classical (instrumental soundtracks). But usually it's something fast, upbeat.”

However, Heidi McLaughlin writes in quite the opposite environment ... “‘Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.’ That is how I like it when I am writing - not a sound, absolute silence. It's the only way I can ‘hear’ the words in my head.”

Jenny Burr agrees. “I'm with Heidi, no creatures stirring, no noise in the making, not even background instrumental. Silence is my best background noise.”

Tammy Wiens needs noise around her. She recently went to a retreat at a monastery where the authors in attendance were asked to respect the silent times from 9-5. “I almost went crazy!!! I did get a lot of writing done but didn't enjoy it. I like noise around me--children, music, radio, television -- sometimes everything at once. It doesn't matter the style of music or nature of the television program -- I like noise.”

Personally, I like to listen to instrumental music and pretend like I’m playing the piano as I’m typing on my keyboard.

How about you?


September 15, 2010

Who Is Jesus?

Jesus is referred to many names in the Bible. In Isaiah 26:4, He is named the “Rock Eternal.” The verse says: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the rock eternal.”

When I think about Jesus as being the rock, I think about Him as being firm, steadfast, secure, powerful, solid, unswerving and true. When I think of Jesus as being the “rock eternal,” I think about Him as being true to His promises, certain of who He is.

He promises life abundantly, peace and security in the midst of trouble, and a secured place in heaven if the decision is made to follow Him, trusting and believing His promises. We are held up by His mighty power and He is the rock of all ages.

Psalm 139: 7 – 10 David says: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; if I make my bed in the depths you are there; If I ride on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me fast.”

Yes, He is worthy of our praise, faith and love and expectations of answered prayers. The Bible says to be thankful in all circumstances of life. Who feels like praising God when we find ourselves in the heavy trials of life? Very few perhaps but our faith allows us to trust no matter what the circumstances are and since Jesus promised that He will never leave us or forsake us, we can learn to rely on Him for strength and guidance. We learn to trust and acquire faith; we learn to lean on the solid rock!

Take a look at 2 Samuel 22:1 – 4 to discover that He is a personal God?

My rock,
My deliverer,
My source of salvation
My stronghold,
My Savior.

Praise God he is a personal rock!

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61)

For daily need there is daily grace, for sudden need there is sudden grace, and for overwhelming need there is overwhelming grace!

Who is Jesus? He is the rock that is higher than I.
He knows my needs and yours.

May we all learn to place our trust in Him in all circumstances of life!

Janice Keats

September 12, 2010

God's pruning shears - Nesdoly

The vines were loaded with tomatoes. It looked like a bumper crop. Then one day I noticed a subtle blush of brown on one of the green tomatoes. It started where the fruit joined the stem.

I watched in dismay as day by day, it expanded. Soon I noticed similar spots on more tomatoes. They were rotting before my very eyes! Even picking the green unblemished ones in hopes they would ripen without first turning brown didn't help. I never grew tomatoes in that blight-infested spot of the garden again.

If you've done any gardening, you may well have experienced something similar. And you will understand the disappointment in the voice of the gardener, singing the Vineyard Song of Isaiah 5:1-7.

In it, Isaiah describes how the farmer has lovingly tended his vineyard. But instead of the harvest he expects, the pampered plot yields only small bitter wild grapes. He is so exasperated, he has decided to take away its protection, stop weeding and cultivating it, and send no more rain. In other words, he will abandon it.

The vineyard is, of course, a picture or metaphor for Israel and Judah. God, fed up with their bad fruit, has decided to leave them to their own devices.

We can apply the message of this poignant poem to our lives too. We also are God's plants, which He needs to do stuff to to make fruitful.

I am fine with Him putting His hedge of protection around me— I like it that nothing can touch me without His permission. Similarly I like the rain He sends, and the weeds He pulls out. But the pruning...

Pruning hurts. In horticulture it involves cutting off extra stems so that more energy can go into the fruit-producing branches. In the spiritual realm, pruning may involve having a person in my life who brings out the worst in me so I see the carnal nature within myself that I need to deal with. It may mean a source of income dries up so I'm forced to expend my energies elsewhere. It may mean delaying the pursuit of dreams while I do my duty.

Pruning often seems harsh and random. But Isaiah 5 reminds us how intentional and purposeful is God's tending of us. His goal is never to hurt us in a sadistic way, but to hurt us so we will be successful and fruitful in His kingdom.

Curious about how to prune?

- Here's an article on how to prune a grape vine.

- an article on how to prune tomatoes.

- an article on how to prune roses.

Can you find more lessons about spiritual pruning from these examples of plant pruning?

Copyright © 2010 by Violet Nesdoly

(First published on Other Food: daily devo's August 13, 2010)



September 10, 2010

Back to School for Writers - Bonnie Way

Over the past few months, I’ve been editing a novel for another writer. I really enjoyed working with another writer. It reminds me that writing is a journey; while I’m a little further on the journey than this writer, there are many other writers who are further along than I and who helped me when I was starting out.

As I’ve worked on his novel, I’ve tried to share the tips that I’ve learned in the ten years that I’ve been on this writing journey. One of those is the big rule of “show, don’t tell.” While I’ve read many articles on it and heard many workshops on it, I found it very hard to explain to another writer. It’s a tricky concept. The best I could do was to point to articles by Suzette Saxton and Bonnie Grove, two writers who handle “show don’t tell” very well.

Much of what I know about writing has come from reading. A couple books on writing I'd recommend are Things Feigned or Imagined by Fred Stenson (a good Canadian author) and A Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins. Both deal with fiction, provide good examples and practical exercises, and have a lot of great advice. There’s also a lot of good websites for writers to hang out at (and subscribe to writer’s newsletters from): Fiction Factor, Coffee House for Writers, and Randy Ingermanson’s Advanced Fiction Writing.

I would recommend trying to find a writing course, especially one specifically geared towards fiction or novel writing. UBC offers some courses online or on evenings/weekends. If there's a college or university near you, see what they offer; I know that several in Edmonton offer writing courses, either online or on weekends, so other institutions may as well. You can also check out websites or magazines such as Writer's Digest and The Writer.

As school starts again, it's a good time for writers to work on learning more about their craft as well.  Challenge yourself to read a book, take a course, or even just follow a writer's blog and join the conversations there about writing—do something to become a better writer this school year!

~ © Bonnie Way,

September 08, 2010

Believing Prayer, by Janet Sketchley

Believing Prayer
by Janet Sketchley

Each year I attend Write! Canada, I start the conference with a headache. I blame it on the flight, lack of sleep, or an unfamiliar bed. A couple of painkillers later, and it’s gone.

Except for this year. Pills with breakfast didn’t work for long.

I’m Prayer Team Lead for The Word Guild. My main role for Write! Canada is to recruit other prayer volunteers and to be available to pray with people when and as needed.

Some of my best memories from the past few conferences are of those impromptu prayer connections. (Yes, the food, fellowship and professional development are excellent too.)

It’s one thing to pray for someone else. Quite another to ask for prayer. To confess a need.

Some time during that first day, I found myself in the bookstore talking with a couple of other attendees. Maybe one of them said I didn’t look so well. Or maybe she just asked how I was enjoying the conference so far.

I started to say everything was fine, then stopped. Asked for prayer. My head pounded even harder from the tension of admitting the need.

Bless their hearts, Judy and Ann prayed with me in a little huddle right there among the books and shoppers.

With tears in my eyes—gratitude and pain—I thanked them and went in search of Jan. She’s one of the Prayer Team Assistant Leads, a powerful intercessor and the owner of the Under the Cover of Prayer blog. More to the point, my drugs were locked inside her cabin.

Jan’s prayers joined the others’ and the pain only got worse. I swallowed a second dose of painkillers, hoping for a temporary reprieve.

Somewhere between the prayers and the next conference session, I thought I sensed God saying the pain wouldn’t bother me anymore.

It still hurt like crazy, but I decided to believe Him. I told Jan what I thought He’d said and that I wasn’t really sure about it.

By the time we walked into that next session, the pain had almost gone. Every time I felt its grip, I’d remind myself that it wasn’t going to bother me anymore. Then I’d think about something else.

I hadn’t been sure God spoke at all. Nor if He had, how long He’d meant. Long enough for the appointments I had that day? For the panel I was on?

That was back in June. The other day the pain came at me again. It swamped me for a few minutes, and then I looked at my husband and reminded myself aloud, “This isn’t going to bother me anymore.” I gave the spot a gentle rub and promised to hit the medicine cabinet if the pain didn’t go.

It went.

I don’t know how long “anymore” is. But I intend to enjoy it. Caught myself wishing in prayer this morning that God had said something about that ache in my hip....

For devotionals, reviews and conversation, stop by Janet Sketchley's blog, God with Us: Finding Joy.

September 06, 2010

(Photo: Amanda with her 'Mom Tribute" pic)

Glynis Belec

Next Saturday, Amanda - my darling daughter - along with Trenton and Jocelyn - my scrumpdillyishus grandbabies, will be making our annual trek to Barrie. There, we will be participating in the Winners Walk of Hope for Ovarian Cancer Canada.

Two years ago, as I was hiccuping through my chemotherapy, Amanda got us involved in the walk and although it was only 5km I found it arduous and challenging because of my weakened state at the time.

But I was doggedly determined to do it and do my part to help turn up the volume on this insidious and deadly disease. Amanda has been by my side ever since and she challenges and boosts my spirit when I am forlorn and unfocused. God surely blessed me with this feisty daughter and

Ovarian cancer is often found in the later stages and sadly there is often a high mortality rate because of this. We walk because we want to help find ways for women with ovarian cancer to be detected early. Also there is much research being done for treatments and education. If we can be even a small part of that, we are excited to do so.

About a month and a half ago, Becky, who was 31 years old, died from ovarian cancer. We will not see Becky in Barrie this year, but we will see her team - The Teal Titans - and we will share in the bittersweet event as we celebrate her life and walk for those who are dealing with this disease that whispers. Becky has a young lad and my heart breaks for him. I sometimes have trouble getting my head around situations like this, but I do know Who is in control and Who has the big picture in mind. So we journey on in faith and with gratitude for every breath and precious moment.

If there is one good lesson I have learned through all this, it is that the trivial is just that - trivial. The unimportant is such a time waster, so I am trying daily, not to fall into that trap anymore. My goal is to give it over to God and to not mess around judging, criticizing and thinking my way is the only way. Life is good, but it is fleeting at best and it is far too short to be turning alleluia moments into 'woe is me' parties.

This will be our third walk in Barrie and we are so thankful for the friendships we have made and the hope that trickles throughout the event.

Thank you Jesus that through You, all things are possible.

God is good. Life is good. Count your blessings name them one by one...

September 02, 2010

Changing the World - M. Laycock

“If you have changed a life you have changed the world.”

My head jerked up when I heard that sentence. It was at Inscribe’s Fall Conference and our speaker, Kathleen Gibson, was doing a great job of speaking to the hearts of all the writers there. But that one sentence really hit me.

I’d thought about changing lives before. I’ve had emails and letters and even phone calls telling me that God has done it through the words I’ve put on paper.

But changing the world? Really?

Then I thought about another speaker we’d had at one of our conferences. He told us that not very far back in his family line, someone read a book and became a believer in Christ. He told us that now there are many branches to his family, many are preachers of God’s word, there are missionaries and others serving in their churches across North America. None of it would have happened but for one book.

I began to consider all the ripple effects that one book has had – not just in the lives of his family members but in all the lives they have touched. I thought about the book I was given just as God was softening my heart toward him. It was a copy of Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict. It was put into my hands at exactly the perfect time. It convinced my head that Jesus was who He claimed to be – the Son of God, a man who came to earth to change the world by changing each one of us.

And I was stunned into awe and gratitude for what the Holy Spirit did in my life through that book.

Words are such small things. They can be simple or profound, plain or eloquent. But when God takes them and bends them to His purposes, He changes hearts with them and those hearts change the lives of others and those touch others and on and on.

Who knows how far our words will go. If you have changed a life, you have changed the world.

Yes. Really.

Visit Marcia's website at