Resources for Christians

If you’re a communicator for Christ, as I am, you can find Writing Resources with Christian poets, writers, and pastors in mind on my website.

In addition, I hope you’ll follow these blogs, which I maintain as often as family, church, and book-writing commitments allow:

Bible Prayers
Bible Reviewer
Mary Sayler (in lieu of this site)
Poetry Editor & Poetry
Praise Poems (many of which have been compiled in the book PRAISE! and the forthcoming chapbook, WE: the people under God.)
What the Bible Says About Love

May God bless you and your good work in Christ.

Mary Harwell Sayler, (c) 2017

 

Bible Reviewer: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

This journaling edition of the English Standard Version of the Bible published by Crossway makes a good choice for carrying on a conversation with God’s Word.

Source: Bible Reviewer: ESV Single Column Journaling Bible

Timeless Bible questions to answer

As Christian poets, writers, pastors, and/or communicators for Christ, we often begin our articles, books, and sometimes poems by asking questions our readers might ask then thoroughly researching information to provide the solutions or answers needed. In The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer published by Thomas Nelson and kindly sent to me for review by BookLookbloggers.com, prolific author O.S. Hawkins gleaned many, many questions from the Bible then narrowed them down to one a week for a year. Although I liked the idea of the book in general, two premises especially appealed to me:

1. Timely questions asked by the Lord and/or Bible people will most likely be timeless.

2. Each Bible-related question gives a theme and purpose for poets and writers to focus on, research well, and address in all genres of writing.

Both of those aspects make this evangelically-oriented book recommended for poets and writers, regardless of denominational preferences.

For example, the first timeless but troubling question began in the beginning and is still being asked today: “Has God Indeed Said…?” Or, to put it another way, “Does God really mean _______?” (fill in the blank.) So, if I were looking for a new topic to write about, I’d pray about it and ask God to bring to my attention specific scriptures people often question or water down or, in some way, say, “Well, God does not really mean that for us now.”

Another of the many questions the Bible asks is, “Where Can I Go from Your Spirit?” The answer, of course, is nowhere! God is everywhere, and as the text says, “What a wonder! God knows you… your e-mail address… your phone number… your worries… your hurts… your fears… your dreams. And He loves you.”

Thinking again about our potential readers and writing interests, we might ask ourselves, “Who most needs to hear this?” Would people in prison be glad to know God has not forgotten them? Would Christians weighted down by dark thoughts or chemical imbalances or financial woes be relieved to hear that, yes, God is with them? Or, if you’re into politics or social needs more than mental health or legal issues, the Bible question “Who Is My Neighbor?” will surely appeal to you.

If we look carefully into each page of the Bible, we could eventually locate these questions ourselves, but O. S. Hawkins has done this for us with pastoral guidance we can prayerfully translate into that poem, article, or book God has put on our minds and hearts to write.

© 2014 Mary Harwell Sayler – poet-author of Living in the Nature Poem and the Bible-based poetry book, Outside Eden –

The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer, hardback, imitation leather

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I review for BookLook Bloggers

Writing Bible studies

Christian poets and writers who read the Bible often feel drawn to writing Bible guides but think the lack of a degree in biblical studies will hold them back. This can happen but might not!

A manuscript written according to the guidelines of your denomination’s official publishing house might not require a college degree if you have been teaching a Sunday School class or leading a Bible study group for several years or if the Bishop of your diocese agrees to proof the manuscript.

Self-publishing what you have written offers an option too, but self-published manuscripts, e-Books, and Print on Demand (POD) book sales succeeds mainly if your work is well-known and biblical soundness trusted. To build a following, many Christian writers begin with a Bible-based blog until enough followers want the articles in book form.

Regardless of the publishing route you take, consider these basics for writing Bible studies:

Pray for God to inspire and direct your thoughts and interests toward the project you’re to do.

Know the Bible – really well, preferably in several translations.

Select a topic you want to research such as the biblical word on work, marriage, or family.

Type any key word(s) relevant to your topic into the Search Box on a Bible website such as Biblegateway.com.

Investigate scriptures from a variety of translations.

If you want to use one version only and have a few hundred scriptural references, you need to find out if the publisher allows this. If not, just write to ask for permission. Or use the King James Version in the public domain.

Besides knowing the Bible, knowing your topic, and knowing which translation you plan to use, you need to know your potential readers:

Does your topic lend itself to group discussion or private reading?

What age group will most likely be drawn to your topic?

Will the study focus on the concerns of new Christians or church peoples?

What format do you plan to use? For example, you might provide background info for a group leader to use with scriptures for everyone to look up followed by pertinent questions to help readers or participants apply the Bible to their own lives.

If you plan to write for interdenominational groups or Christians from any church, see “Getting to know the whole Body of Christ” on the Christian Poets & Writers blog.

Begin your research with prayer. End with prayer, and invite your readers to do the same!

May God bless your work and give you the prayers to pray!

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© 2012, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved, but pass it on!

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Reflecting God’s Light in what we write

Christmas and Hanukah bring Holy Days of Light to Christians and Jews, but depression and desperation often come this time of year to lonely people who do not know God. As poets and writers who do know God and the Word of God given to us through the Holy Scriptures and Holy Spirit, God gives us light to bear and light to share.

As Isaiah 49:6 promises: “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to Me. I (God) will make you a Light to the nations to bring My salvation to all the peoples of the earth.”

Sometimes the word “salvation” is used so often it seems dull, but in God’s Light we see light. To re-view what the Bible shows:

Salvation offers a way of escape from bad habits and attitudes that seize and entrap.

Salvation rescues people from mistakes hanging over their heads like dead mistletoe.

Salvation delivers people from the presence of evil, bad will, and unforgiveness.

Salvation recovers who and what was lost.

Salvation brings salve and healing, wrapping us in love and offering our writing as a gift in the present as a present from God.

Only God can save. Only God is Light and gives Light to all who want to step away from dark corners or dark thoughts lurking around, threatening to overshadow. But, as poets and writers and people of God, we have brightness!

We are Christmas lights and Hanukah candles.

Our poems and manuscripts can bring all that God gives us to give to others – giving and giving yet having more and more to hold onto and keep.

Let’s pray to remember, though, that reflecting the Light requires reflection.

Let’s pray to remember that part of the Light is being light, and our part may be to have and to hold a light touch, levity, and humor.

Only God can put ho-ho into Holy Days – not with zaniness or phony attempts to be jolly but with the true, pure light of joy. So let’s pray for joy. Pray for light. Pray for daily reflection on the Light of Christ and the Joy of Salvation as we reflect our loving Heavenly Father — the Almighty LORD God to the world.

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© 2011, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.

http://www.marysayler.com

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Blogs need focus, focus

With new blogs appearing daily on the Internet, your blog can stand out and draw readers if you focus on a specific topic and a specific readership.

For instance, you probably noticed that this blog addresses steps traditionally involved in researching, writing, revising, and marketing manuscripts primarily written for a Christian audience and/ or from a Christian perspective. Therefore, the specific readers to whom I speak are Christian writers, Christian poets, and Christian editors.

For Christian readers in general, the Bible Prayers blog focuses on almost all of the prayers in Holy Scripture, while The Poetry Editor blog hopefully speaks to poets, poetry editors, poetry students, and poetry lovers who want to discuss the poetic techniques, forms, and characteristics of well-written free verse and traditional poetry too.

Before deciding on those particular topics, however, I asked myself some questions that might also help you to fine-tune your focus:

What topics have interested me most of my life and continue to interest me enough to want to keep spending time with them and investigating them, perhaps for a long time?

Which topics have I studied or researched reasonably well?

Which of these topics might readers also want to think about, learn about, or discuss?

Do I have relevant experiences that could benefit potential readers?

Am I willing to double-check the facts and information I relay, even though I think I know?

Realistically, how often can I research, write, and post new articles? Once a day? Once a week? Twice a week? Twice a month?

Do I treat blog readers the way I want to be treated?

Am I willing to focus on their needs even when I promote my blog(s) through the major social networks, so the very people I hope to draw will not feel spammed, disrespected, or overwhelmed?

Will my readers be so glad they discovered my blog that they will just naturally pass on the good news?

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© 2011, Mary Harwell Sayler, all rights reserved.

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