Your Best Friend


Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published on: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Ten Thoughts to Encourage Others

Over the years I have noticed people with ability and skill to do a task or an assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer, they may fear to put words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.

I have found that a little encouragement helps them make their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage others.

1. Show a Sincere Interest in the Person.

  • Listen to what they are saying.
  • When they are talking, look at them not your smart phone.
  • Be interested in what is happening in their life, the challenge(s) they are facing.
  • Let them know you care.

2. Acknowledge What’s Important. 

  • When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you offer a form of verification and support about who they are and what they’re doing.
  • A proper technique I use is merely to restate their question or challenge and then allow them to talk it through.
  • Follow-up and ask how it’s going, are they making progress.
  • Do not share similar circumstances you have lived through or had a friend or family member survive. It’s about them, not you!

3. Say “Congratulations.”

  • These magical “Words of Encouragement” at the right time can make all the difference between a person “keeping going” and “giving up.”
  • Congratulate them on a job or task well done. This recognition can be as simple as thanking them for meeting a deadline.
  • A “Post-It” note or email congratulatory word has fantastic results.
  • Give a person the credit they’ve earned. Do not claim it for yourself.

4. Be There. 

  • Sometimes the “ministry of your presence” is all they need.
  • Just being there for them is encouraging.
  • Many times all they need is a listening ear to talk through the issue or task.
  • Let them know “you have there back.” Many times these simple acts share hope.

5. Say “Thank You.”

  • Saying thank you is a common courtesy.
  • It is good manners.
  • People like a little reward for hard work.
  • A simple thank you will make others aware that you know what they have done worthwhile and find it meaningful to you.

6. Return the Favor.

  • If someone does something sweet for you, an excellent way to show your appreciation is merely to return the favor.
  • Returning a favor will both shock and encourage them.
  • Consider bringing them a coffee or offering to help them with their next project or routine tasks when they have a short deadline or a heavy workload. You might take their “on-call” where they can have a weekend break instead of swapping weekends with them.
  • Note: don’t ever do something expecting someone to return the favor for you.

7. Answer With Something Unexpected. 

  • I have a phrase I have used for years … love them from where they are to where they need to be!
  • Even when others let me down or they know I know they “dropped the ball” I don’t tell them so, I usually pick the ball up for them.
  • If something went wrong, help them focus on the solution instead of assigning blame.
  • It is incredible the long-term results this can have in encouraging someone.

8. Be a “Good Finder.”

  • A “good finder” is a person who looks for the good, not the bad in a person or a situation.
  • An example would be if a person is always late to meetings, but makes in on time to your meeting instead of saying “About time you attended a meeting on time” say “I really appreciate the extra effort you made to get here on time” without any reference to their usual tardiness.
  • A good finder affirms their coworkers or friends.
  • People will gravitate toward you where you’re a “good finder” as you’ll become someone who makes others feel good.

9. Smile.

  • Have you ever experienced the magic of a simple smile?
  • Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone they smile back?
  • Share an encouraging smile.
  • Smiling will transform your own attitude as well.

10. Offer to Lend a Hand. 

  • You can offer to lend a hand.
  • Sometimes a person feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and no one cares.
  • Show them you really care by being there for them.
  • If a person gives me an excessive workload, I usually ask them if there is anything else I can do for them when I finish the job. I do not complain about the amount of work.

What are some ways you encourage friends or coworkers? These techniques also work with your spouse or partner. Please share your suggestions in the comments.

What are some ways you encourage other? Post your actions in the comments. They just might enocourge someone!

Photo Source: Pixaby

Heed God’s Instructions

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17 — Crossway Bibles (2018-05-19). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 534). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Our Witness is Important

If our private lives don’t match our public lives, our writing suffers. More importantly, we have people tune out the message of Jesus Christ because of our witness. They label us as just another religious hypocrite.

One of the most significant and miraculous things in life is to heed God’s voice. It is when we fully trust and follow in His ways.

How to Know the Ways and Instructions of God

I know what you are thinking, how can you know the ways and instruction of God?

You ask God through prayer. You spend time in His Word, that is the Bible, by reading, meditating on and memorizing Scripture, and attending a Christian Writer’s Conference. You listen to God’s herald. This would be listening to sermons as you attend church.

You might be thinking, but you don’t know me. I have really failed. I have broken so many of God’s teachings. How can He ever use me?

God is a forgiving God. 1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) teaches, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God Has a Plan for Your Life

Never forget that God knows your heart. He even knows your most secret thoughts, feelings, and sins. God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows everything!

Maybe you think you have everything under control. If you think that, you are wrong. Only God has everything under control.

Maybe you are feeling confused and just need direction in your life. Maybe the struggles of daily living and just meeting life’s expenses have you down. You feel spiritually broken.

One thing we can do in times of brokenness and confusion is looking at and praying for our needs. Don’t forget to thank and praise God when He meets your needs!

An example of God’s provision from my life when I began writing fulltime was finding a large unopened and undamaged package with twenty rolls of toilet paper in the middle of the highway. I stopped, picked it up, and took it home. My late wife shared she hadn’t purchased any that week when she bought groceries but had been looking for some on sale as our finances were tight.

God met this everyday need in our life. Another example could be a friend calls and speaks words of reassurance or encouragement when you feel depressed or hopeless.

God Uses Christian Writers

Christian writers are used by God to meet needs in other’s lives. We do this through the written word, through our speaking words of encouragement, and through the example of our lives.

We need to heed God’s instructions where others will listen to what God is saying through our writing and speaking ministry. When we fail to walk with God, our witness doesn’t point others to Christ, but can actually lead them astray.


Photo Source: Pixabay

The Influence of a Writing Mentor

Mentor

One way a writer can become successful is by having a more established writer as a mentor. While writing groups can serve as a mentor, the right personal mentor will help improve your writing by giving you guidance each step of the way. Let me share an example of the influence a mentor.

In 1919 a young veteran returned from World War I. He moved to Chicago moving into a particular neighborhood for the purpose of being close to the author Sherwood Anderson.

Sherwood Anderson

The critical praise for Anderson and his book Winesburg, Ohio impressed a young, beginning writer. This hopeful writer had heard that Sherwood Anderson was willing to help aspiring writers. He worked to meet Anderson. The two men became close friends. They met almost every day to read newspapers, magazines, and novels. They dissected the writings they read.

Ernest Hemingway

The aspiring writer brought his own works for critique having Anderson help him improve his craft. Anderson went as far as introducing the want-to-be writer to his network of publishing contacts. The aspiring writer did okay with his first book The Sun Also Rises. The aspiring writer was Ernest Hemingway.

William Faulkner

Sherwood Anderson didn’t stop there. He moved to New Orléans where he met another aspiring writer. He took the young man through the same steps and paces of the craft. He became roommates with this young man. He even invested $300 in getting this writer’s first book Soldier’s Pay published. This young author was William Faulkner.

John Steinbeck

Anderson would later move to California and repeat the process with John Steinbeck. Thomas Wolfe and Erskine Caldwell were also mentored by Sherwood Anderson.

Ray Bradbury says Winesburg, Ohio was on his mind when he wrote The Martian Chronicles. Bradbury basically wrote Winesburg, Ohio placing it on the planet Mars.

Mark Twain

Arguably, only Mark Twain has had a greater influence in shaping modern American writing than Sherwood Anderson. Anderson didn’t do too badly, did he?

Nobel Prize for Literature and Pulitzer Prizes

William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck each won the Nobel Prize for Literature and there are multiple Pulitzer Prizes between them.

If you are serious about writing I urge you to find a mentor or join a writing group. The people in my writer’s and critique group keeps me encouraged and motivated.

Encourage your writer friends, keep reading and writing.
Jimmie Aaron Kepler


Photo Source: Public Domain

 

Walk In A Manner Worthy Of Your Call To Write

 

Walk in a Manner Worthy of Your Call to Write

Text: Ephesians 4: 1 – 6
Focus: Ephesians: 4: 1b – 3

Are you a Christian writer that writes inspirational fiction or devotions to encourage Believers in Jesus Christ? Maybe you are a writer whose drive is sharing Christian themes and principles for the mainstream market. Whatever your motivation, “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1b.

Ephesians 4:1-6 (English Standard Version) says,

I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

These verses give five principles that will help you: Walk In A Manner Worthy Of Your Call To Write

Humility

Principle One: Humility – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility” – Ephesians 4: 1b—2a

As a Christian writer, you should be full of Jesus, not self. The temptation is to be full of ourselves. When this happens, we are at risk of treating others with contempt. It should be about others, not ourselves.

Gentleness

Principle Two: Gentleness – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,” Ephesians 4: 1b- 2a

As a Christian writer, you should be bold but under control. This does not mean to be a wimp. Just as a mighty racehorse is under the control of the jockey, as a Believer, we need to be under the control of the Spirit of the Living God. Share the love Jesus and his teachings without beating the reader over the head with the Holy Bible. Share how God’s Word is applicable to everyday living.

Patience

Principle Three: Patience – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience,” Ephesians 4: 1b- 2a

As a Christian writer, we need to trust God in believing His word would come true. We need to keep on keeping on. We need to accept the fact that it takes time to develop our writing craft.  “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but wish patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9

It is better to have a limited audience and impact lives for Christ than to be a New York Times bestselling author and have no impact or testimony for Christ.

Forgiving Love

Principle Four: Forgiving Love – “to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,” – Ephesians 4: 1b – 2.

As a Christian writer, we need to realize Christian love covers a multitude of sins. We should write with a respect that loves no matter what. We have all heard it said, “hate the sin, love the sinner.” That is precisely what we must do as writers. After all, as a Christian, you are, by grace saved through faith … it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8-10

In Christ, we need to love people from where they are to faith and growth in Christ.

Unity of the Spirit in the Bond Of Peace

Principle Five: Unity of the Spirit in the Bond Of Peace – “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” – Ephesians 4:3 English Standard Version

Principal five is the sum of points one through four. All four points equal a bond of peace. We are bearing one another in love. Our writing should share and bring people to Christ, not drive them from Christ. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4:4-6 (English Standard Version).

We need to realize it is not a geographical or a denominational thing; it is a Jesus and a God thing.

Encourage your friends, keep reading and writing.
Jimmie A. Kepler

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Photo Source: Pixabay

This is an original devotion written by Jimmie A. Kepler on May 4, 2012, and edited on July 6, 2013, and August 26, 2018. 

Anyone Ever Laugh When You Say You’re a Writer?

You Need a Real Job

Summoned to my high school guidance counselor’s office, I learned not everyone thinks being a writer is a good idea.  I still recall the meeting as if it were yesterday.

“Why can’t I be an author?” I asked. I wanted to be the next Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth, or Ray Bradbury. They were the best-selling authors of the day.

Her career choices for me came from the father role models on the popular television programs of the era. She wanted me to be the next Mike Brady (the architect dad on The Brady Bunch) or an aerospace engineer like Steven Douglas (My Three Sons).

“Jimmie, you’re a boy. You need a college degree in engineering, math, science, or accounting. You have to earn enough money to support your future wife and family. Forget your silly notion that a man can support himself by writing. It is okay to write for a hobby, but you will need a real job. With your grades you could even aspire to be a medical doctor or dentist,” she said.

I was heartbroken. Raised to believe I could do anything, now I wasn’t so sure.

Has anyone ever laughed at your vision of writing? Perhaps you have been told you lack life experience or you don’t stand a chance because everyone is writing now that they can simply self-publish on Amazon.

You may have feelings of doubt, thinking if only you had an MFA. If only your family and spouse supported you more. If you could quit your day job. Maybe you are in your sixties like me. You think it is too late. You say I am just too old. If only…

We all experience self-doubt. Friends and family do not always understand our passion.

Everyone faces such challenges. My faith as a Christian also helps me overcome such thoughts. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned.

Some people will never understand your passion for writing. Don’t bother trying to explain. Just let them watch as you write.

Read

Reading is necessary for writing. Not only is reading the fodder for writing, it is fun. It also helps me relax as well as grow.

Write

I know it sounds silly, but to become a writer you have to write. I have heard for years that it takes 10,000 hours to master something. 10,000 hours is five years worth of forty-hour weeks. Maybe that is why it takes ten years for so many to get that first traditional book deal. Do not be a want to be a writer. Write.

Edit

This includes proofreading, rewriting, and polishing. No one is perfect. Critique groups help as well as reputable professional editing services. Rewrite as needed.

Submit

To your surprise, someone may like and buy what you wrote.

Rejection

Being rejected is not personal. Your writing may be bad. It may be good, but just not meet the publisher’s or editor’s needs. You may have submitted to the wrong market or not followed the submission guidelines (both guarantee a rejection). Every writer gets rejections. The photo is a rejection I received from the New Yorker Magazine. I’ve been rejected by the best.

Acceptance

Selling a book or an article doesn’t guarantee success. Many times it means the real work is only beginning. Having your work accepted by a publisher feels good. It feels very good.

Writers’ Groups

Consider joining a writers’ group. I have belonged to three over the years. I have changed groups as I have changed. Some groups I have belonged to were for critique. Some have been to learn the business of writing. Some have been for the encouragement.

I know the thoughts I have shared are all items you have heard many times before. Sometimes a reminder is good.

We all have people like my old high school guidance counselor in our lives. Do not let their negative words keep you from writing. If you have the urge to write, write! It’s not too late.

The formula really is simple. It is read, write, edit, rewrite, submit, and repeat. If your writing is good enough and if what you write matches the publisher’s need, you just may see your story in print.


Photo Source: Pixabay