What would be the most rigorous challenge for a writer? Would it be characters? Probably not, for we all have players in mind before we start. Beginnings and endings are a given, especially in this man's line of work. It's the middle, the filler, that's his problem.
“Emily, what should I wrote about this week?” John asked his wife.
“Oh...I don't know. What's the topic this Sunday?”
“What's your favorite chapter?” she asked.
Emily put down her book, dropped her reading glasses on her nose until he could see her brilliant, blue eyes. “I thought those Baptists were paying you the big bucks. When do I get my cut?”
“As soon as you give me a verse; I'm having a brain freeze.”
“Who's doing dishes tonight?”
John Givens had loved Emily...forever. She was his spark at writing a good sermon when he couldn't, and occasionally he'd work off that debt where it counted the most—the kitchen.
“Yours truly. So give me a hint.”
“Chapter One, verses eighteen through twenty. They've always moved me.”
John opened the Book to within two pages of his target. After Ministering for twenty-two years, it wasn't that hard.
Verse 18: “Come now,” saith the Lord, “and let us reason together.”
I know that some of the patriarches had talked directly to God, he thought, but how can the average person relate to that? How can I make them believe that this is possible?
Verse 19: “If you are willing...”
Who wouldn't be willing? What person, Christian, Jew or Muslim wouldn't want to do that?
How can one be totally obedient in this day and age of constant temptations? I just wish that Mrs. Andrews would pull her skirt down a little, or at least not sit in the front pew every Sunday. I must focus more on the Words, lest I fall from grace.
“...you shall eat of the good of the land.”
Many of the congregation have eaten fully of the fruits of our community. Look at the Sedgwicks; married forty years, four fine children, two of which are in the service of Christ. How did they accomplish this on his meager salary? Maybe they prayed—or talked out loud—to God for guidance. And He listened...and He answered...not by words...but...by actions, and re-actions to their obedience—that's it; good old fashioned Cause and Effect, I must write that down as point one.
John paused for a minute to wipe the sweat beading on his forehead. He hadn't been this excited—or nervous—since Seminary. Yet, he continued without delay, for he knew he was on a roll.
Verse 18: “Though your sins are like scarlet...”
If that's the case, then spray paint me red and put me on the shelf, he thought as he hung his head. Why would the Lord my God sends these vile enticements my way—I am a Man of the Cloth, His spokesman. But...He doesn't send them...Lucifer does, so he can accuse me before my Master. He does that to all who align with Jesus and not with him. Those that make their stand with Him have a promise that:
“they will be as white as snow.”
Point two. Now I'm twenty minutes in...got ten more to drive it home. Back to my King James.
Verse 20: “But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”
All I have to do is mention the gangsters in our United States, Hitler, Mussolini, the communist leaders during the Cold War to prove that. I could go on and on, but I must find the right words for the Alter Call.
He closed his laptop for a time to let his writings breath, because he had another mission to complete.
John saw her in the kitchen slicing a very thin piece of the cherry cheesecake that she'd made last night. She was always on a diet, he thought, as he snuck quietly behind her, put his arms around her waist and said softly:
“Thank you for the tip, my dear. It'll work out beautifully, but...where do you keep the Dawn?”
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