Blog Archives

Standing Up for What You Believe

Recently, a senator claimed that a nominee was unqualified to serve in the government because he believed in “Christ alone” for salvation. Business owners took their case all the way to the Supreme Court and won the right to only offer health insurance that complied with their faith. Christian florists, bakers, photographers and calligraphers have been sued because they refuse to do work for same-sex weddings. These weddings go against their deeply held beliefs that God designed marriage for one man and one woman.

How can you, as a Christian writer, support fellow believers who take a stand for their faith? How can you encourage other believers to stand strong when their faith comes under fire? What do Christians need to know about the law and their freedom of religion?

Devotions

To stand strong for their faith, Christians need to be strong in their faith. What verses can you use for your devotion? What anecdote can you share? How can you remind Christians that we will face persecution? How can you help them stand strong in the face of persecution?

How can you remind your readers to love their enemies? What does that look like? How would Jesus respond? How can they react in Christlike ways while refusing to back down?

How-To and Personal Experience

Share your own story or someone else’s story. What takeaway value can you give them? What worked? What didn’t work? Where can they find the resources they need to protect themselves when they face opposition? What practical steps can they take? How can they build a support group during their trial?

What experts can you interview? What organizations can you research? Share the insights these specialists offer.

Writing for Children

Children and teens are told they can’t pray in school, use school facilities for Bible meetings or mention God in graduation speeches. What does the law say? How can you help children and teens stand strong when “authorities” deny their rights? How can you encourage them to demonstrate Christ’s love in the face of trials?

The Founders of this country wanted to protect our religious freedoms from the government, not protect the government from people of faith. As writers, we can help them stand up for what they believe.

© Deborah Christensen

Seeds of Truth: John 14:13

“You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.”

John 14:13, NLT

What does this verse mean to you? What does it say about prayer? What about when God doesn’t answer a prayer the way you think He should? How do you respond to an answered prayer? How do you respond to an unanswered prayer? How can you bring glory to God through prayer? Through answered prayer? Through unanswered prayer?

How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children? For teens?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about the prayer, healing, illness, salvation of loved ones, marriage, parenting, pregnancy, singleness, relationship struggles, work, finances, unemployment, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, current events, fear, discouragement, weakness, courage, hope, forgiveness, anger, anxiety, patience, grief, persecution, trials, etc.?
  • What other issues can you apply this verse to?

Helping Aging Parents Navigate the Later Years

I am blessed to have my parents still with me. They are in their 80s and relatively healthy. But, they are slowing down. As their children, my sister and I help them with whatever they need. Other family members help, as well. A few weeks ago, their grandsons removed old railroad ties and pulled weeds from their back yard.

A couple of years ago, my mom was in the hospital. My dad walks with a cane and my mom occasionally needs a walker. Their physical limitations are growing but manageable. My mom still does laundry in their basement, refusing to allow us to help her with the stairs. They drive. And, they take care of my aunt, who lives in a nursing home. They want their independence.

How do you know when it’s time to step in? How do you help parents know when it’s time to stop driving, to move to an assisted-care facility or to get them in-home care? What are the healthcare options for aging parents? What do you do when you see signs of dementia? How do you help them without treating them like children?

We will encounter aging issues with our parents. How can we, as writers, help our readers know where to look for answers?

Share your own story. What worked for you? What didn’t work? What do you wish you had done differently?

Write a how-to piece. This will mean research. Talk to experts in the field and share their insights. Offer practical tips that your readers can use. Help them find the right government agencies, choose the right nursing home, find the best living situation that works best for their family.

Write a devotion. Use verses that talk about honoring parents and defending the defenseless. Help your readers understand that God commands us to care for our parents, forgive them for their mistakes and serve them until He calls them home.

Use fiction or poetry to share your insights. This is an indirect way to guide your readers as they deal with these issues.

Consider doing a tie-in to Mother’s Day. How has the meaning of Mother’s Day changed, now that your parents are aging? What are special ways to honor your aging mom?

As people live longer, more of us need direction to help our parents navigate the later years. Our parents took care of us. Now, it’s our turn. And, as writers, we can walk beside our readers because they’re navigating new territory, too.

© Deborah Christensen

 

Seeds of Truth: Psalm 60:12

With Gods help we will do mighty things…

Psalm 60:12, NLT

What help do you need from God? How do you learn to rely on God to take care of your needs? How do you put your faith in God to take care of you? What miracles have your seen in your life? How has God helped you to do mighty things? How do you trust Him to do mighty things through you? How does He help you when you feel insignificant? How do you learn to live in His power?

How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children? For teens?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, infertility, unplanned pregnancies, abortion, adoption, relationship struggles, aging parents, death of a loved one, work, unemployment, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, fear, discouragement, weakness, courage, hope, forgiveness, health issues, anger, anxiety, patience, grief, finances, prayer, persecution, salvation of loved ones, trials, etc.?

 

Faithfulness for a Lifetime

hibiscusWhen Paul listed faithfulness as one of the fruits of the Spirit, he knew we can live out faithfulness in many ways. First, we must be faithful to God. Second, we must be faithful to each other. As writers, we can help our readers understand the role of faithfulness in their lives.

Faithfulness to God

The world pulls us in so many directions and, sometimes, it drowns out God’s still, small voice. Our readers look for ways to remain faithful to God.

Have you struggled with this? What helped you? What didn’t work? How did other people help you remain faithful to God? What emotions did you feel as you struggled? How did becoming faithful to God change you?

How can you use faithfulness to God in fiction? In poetry? Who can you interview to show people how to live in faithfulness to God? Do you know someone who lives it out who you can feature in a personality profile? What can you write for children to help them understand what it means?

Faithfulness in Marriage

In our sexualized society, faithfulness in marriage is often treated as old-fashioned. But, God calls us to remain faithful and committed for the rest of our lives.

Have you experienced infidelity? Are you the one who was unfaithful? What helped you heal? How did you heal your marriage? What tips can you offer to help your readers remain faithful? What help can you offer to help your readers protect their marriage before there’s a problem?

What about writing for singles? How can you help them prepare for a faithful marriage? How can you help them build a faithful character before they get married?

Faithfulness to Others

How tips can you offer to help your readers be a faithful friend? A faithful parent? A faithful child? How can they faithfully pray for others? How can they faithfully serve others?

Faithfulness affects every area of our lives. As writers, we can share tips, guidance, stories and examples of faithfulness.

© Deborah Christensen

Gleaning Writing Ideas from Election Issues

stars_and_stripesTomorrow, we head to the polls and vote. The policies that each candidate supports couldn’t be more different from each other. I’m not here to influence your vote. I want to help you look at some of the issues and find writing inspiration there.

Abortion

What can you write on this issue? How can you encourage your readers to protect the unborn and choose life? What stories can you tell?

Do you know a couple whose doctor suggested they abort their Down’s Syndrome baby but they didn’t? Tell their story. Do you know a woman who chose life for her unborn baby, even though it brought difficulty? Share her story. What about a woman who gave her child up for adoption in order to give the child life? Or, someone who was adopted? What about someone who survived an abortion? These are all stories you can offer to your readers.

Write about what really occurs during an abortion. Help readers know that the unborn baby is more than a “clump of cells.”

As Christians, we’re called to respect life. As writers, we can help our readers respect it, too.

Freedom of Religion

Freedom of religion hangs in the balance for this election. What can you write about this issue? How can you encourage your readers to fight for their Christian values?

Do you know anyone who was forced to violate their faith in the name of “tolerance”? What price did they pay if they refused? Tell their story. What value did the Founding Fathers place on religious freedom? Teach your readers how important it is and what consequences we face if we lose it.

We can help our readers fight for what belongs to us constitutionally.

Respect for the Military

Both active-duty military and veterans face issues that will be impacted by this election. From care at the VA to military readiness, they need our support.

Do a researched investigative report. Tell a personal story. Interview a military family. Help your readers understand the issues they face.

 

What are the issues that you’re passionate about this election? Supreme Court? Taxes? Immigration? Healthcare? The economy? Education? Write about these issues. Use them in your fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Don’t forget about them after the election is over. Continue to write and encourage your readers to stand up for what they believe.

© Deborah Christensen

Seeds of Truth: Isaiah 41:10

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged,

for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.

I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10, NLT

What makes you afraid? How do you turn your fear over to the Lord? How does that help you to not be afraid? What makes you feel discouraged? How do you turn away from discouragement and focus on God? How does that help you to not be discouraged? How does God strengthen you? How does He help you when you feel weak? How does God hold you up? How do you learn to trust God? How can you live a victorious life, even when you feel weak?

How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article? What tips can you offer?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children? For teens?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, infertility, unplanned pregnancies, abortion, adoption, relationship struggles, work, unemployment, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, fear, discouragement, weakness, courage, hope, forgiveness, health issues, politics, anger, anxiety, patience, grief, finances, prayer, persecution, salvation of loved ones, trials, etc.?

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Other Olympic Stories to Inspire You

Olympic_Rings_clip_art_mediumThe Olympics are in full swing. We watched Michael Phelps break an Olympic record that has stood for over 2,100 years. It was set during the ancient Greek Games by Leonidas of Rhodes when he won 13 individual events. Michael Phelps won 15 individual events.

We also watched Simone Biles and the American gymnastic team soar to victory. Now, the track and field elites are taking to the track.

But, more inspiring stories keep coming out. They can inspire our writing long after the Olympics end.

Adoption

Simone Biles was born to a drug-addicted mother. After spending time in foster care with her sister, her grandparents adopted the girls. They are now Mom and Dad. Her life could’ve turned out very differently from what it is now. But because loving people surrounded her with love and stability, she’s an Olympic champion.

Adoption saves lives and changes them. Tell adoption stories, both from the adoptee’s perspective and that of the adoptive parents.

Go deeper. Why does a pregnant woman choose life for her baby? How does she decide which adoption option works best (open adoption, closed adoption)? What can you write to help her choose life for her baby?

How does an infertile couple deal with their infertility? How can they choose adoption? What are the advantages of adoption over other alternatives, including IVF? What are the pros and cons of overseas adoptions?

How can couples minister to children through foster care? What should they consider when choosing to adopt a child they fostered?

We can find so many different perspectives in the issue of adoption. It provides endless writing ideas.

Dealing with Injuries

Every Olympic athlete has faced some kind of injury at one time or another. It can break their career or make them stronger.

Tell stories of people who have overcome an injury. How did they do it? What medical steps did they need to take? What emotional toll did it take on them?

Again, go deeper. Help your readers know what to look for when seeking medical help for an injury? Give them guidance for when they can take care of themselves or when they need medical attention. Each injury is different. So is each medical approach.

When should they look into alternative medicine? What are the pros and cons? What factors should they consider when looking into surgery? What are the latest medical treatments for injuries?

Some Olympic stories can inspire our writing beyond the Olympics. We can find writing ideas in all aspects of the Olympics.

© Deborah Christensen

The Thrill of Victory

Olympic_Rings_clip_art_mediumThe Summer Olympics 2016 opened on Friday. Did you watch the opening ceremony? How did you feel when Team USA walked into the arena?

As writers, we can view events like the Olympics through different eyes. We see stories to tell, we find character qualities to share, and we find inspiration to help our readers grow in the Lord and as people.

Athletes Who Put God First

Numerous articles have come out about Olympic athletes who are Christians. Can you interview any of them? What would you highlight about their Olympic journey?

Look for stories you can tell. Get below the surface of the Games themselves to how their faith influences the way they approach their sport.

Even if you don’t have the opportunity to interview the athletes, you can still use the way they play their sport as a testament to their faith. Those stories make excellent anecdotes in how-to articles and devotions. This means research. Read what you can on the athlete to make sure their faith story is real. Christianity Today and the Christian Post have run some of the recent articles on Christian Olympians.

Courage, Humility and Perseverance

Last night, I watched the medal ceremony for the 4×100 meter relay. Michael Phelps was on that team. His comeback story provides an example of overcoming bad choices. He trained harder for the 2016 Olympics than he did for the 2012 Olympics.

But, there was another story on that podium, as well. Ryan Held swam in his first international competition in that relay. It was the only event he entered in the Olympics. During the “Star Spangled Banner,” Held broke down in tears. He clearly felt humbled by the honor.

But, the story doesn’t end there, Phelps, who is the most-decorated Olympian ever, reached over and wrapped his arm around Held. This is an example of humility from both of them.

Other stories introduce us to athletes who summoned courage to overcome obstacles: One of the refugee athletes practiced for her race as she ran without shoes. An American swimmer started swimming after facing a life-threatening illness.

Look for examples of character qualities that come out in the Olympic athletes. You may not focus on the athlete but you can use their story as an anecdote. It can inspire your fiction and poetry, as well. And if you write for children, look for ways you can teach these things to them.

As you watch the Olympics and cheer your team, let the stories inspire your writing.

© Deborah Christensen

The Good in Goodness

hibiscusWhat does goodness mean to you? We know it’s a Fruit of the Spirit, but we need to look at how we can cultivate it in our life and use it in our writing.

Some people view people who live out goodness as “goody-two shoes.” That’s now how God sees it. He is good and He calls us to be good. That means He wants us to do the right thing, to obey Him, to love Him and to love others. It means we choose His way and turn away from the world’s way. We practice justice, use honorable speech, encourage others and live a pure life. We spurn evil.

Living a good life pleases God. After we give our life to Christ, goodness grows in our life. It shows we belong to Him and that He makes a difference in our life.

Encouraging Others to Goodness

It’s easier to sin. Cut a corner here, make a compromise there, and soon you’ve forgotten about goodness. But, goodness often requires sacrifice. In Galatians 6:9, Paul tells us not to become weary of “doing good.” And as writer, we can pass that message on to our readers.

When was a time you grew weary of doing good? How did you find the strength to keep going? How did you choose to do good instead of giving up?

Tell your story in a personal experience piece. Offer tips you learned in a how-to article. Give your readers practical advice that they can follow. Get them thinking about the importance of goodness.

Write a devotion and give your readers verses that they can turn to. Goodness pulls in issues of perseverance, trust and loving others. Find verses that encourage your readers in these areas, as well. Open the devotion with an anecdote.

Interview someone who works with the poor, fights for persecuted Christians, saves the unborn or helps the elderly. What can they share about goodness? How do their good works make a difference in the lives of the people they serve? How does God use them? How did they decide to make goodness the focus of their life?

Children need to grow in goodness, too. Help them see the value of making the right choices and making God happy. Guide them in the struggle to do the right thing.

Other Writing Arenas

Poetry is the perfect vehicle for a discussion on goodness. Poets have a way of viewing something from a different angle. You can offer a unique perspective.

In fiction, you can write a character who struggles with goodness. Put obstacles in your character’s way that prevent them from choosing to do good. How do they overcome it? You can feature the classic fight of good against evil in your fiction.

God values goodness. We can value it in our own life and help our readers see the importance of it for their lives, too.

© Deborah Christensen

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