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I’m thrilled to once again be directing the St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference June 22-26, 2016 (What is the association’s board thinking?!)

Join agents, editors, marketing experts, plus fellow writers for a week of instruction and inspiration on the campus of Grove City College on the Ohio/Pennsylvania line.

Agents
Ann Byle: Credo Communications
Dave Fessenden: WordWise Media Services
Linda Glaz: Hartline Literary Agency

Editors
Dawn Anderson: Kregel Publishers
Rebecca Irwin-Diehl: Judson Press
Reg Forder: ACW Press, The Christian Communicator
Bonnie Rose Hudson: School House Teachers
Susan King: The Upper Room
Katie Long: Wesleyan Publishing House, Light from the Word
Jeff McDonald: Salvation Army National Publications

Movie producer
Zena Dell Lowe: award-winning screenwriter, actress, producer with Mission Ranch Films

Professional writers
Janyce Brawn: illustrator, author
Donald Hasselman: author, speaker
Eva Marie Everson: author, founder of Word Weavers
Bob Hostetler: best-selling author, speaker
Carol Hamilton: speaker trainer
Susan Lower: author, blogging expert
Amy Mable: president of St. Davids Writers’ Association, news anchor
Anne Waterman Murphy: poet
Gayle Roper: author
James Watkins: award-winning author and speaker
Lora Zill: poet

It is indeed”The Happiest Conference on Earth!”

Registration is now open. I hope to see you there!

Related posts
Hope and humor for writers

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Mark August 5-6, 2016, on your calendar for a writers’ conference geared toward writing in the commercial market! Taylor’s Professional Writing Conference is sponsored by Taylor University’s respected writing program in Upland, Indiana. (I taught writing there for 15 years and heartily endorse this conference. They’re even letting me teach at it!)

During the weekend, you will learn how to succeed in your writing from Taylor faculty as well as these editors, agents, and professional writers:

Faculty for the conference include:
Dan Balow: Steven Laube Literary Agency
Ann Byle: Credo Communications
Linda Glaz: Hartline Literary Agency
Amy Green: Bethany House
Dennis Hensley: author, chairman of Professional Writing Major
Gary Hensley: author and business expert
Regina Jackson: Warner Press
• Lin Johnson: author and editor of The Christian Communicator
Katie Long: Wesleyan Publishing House, Light from the Word
Holly Miller author, editor at Saturday Evening Post
Drew Neuenschwander: technology for writers
Rachael Phillips: author, humorist
Rose Tussing: Annie’s Publishing
James Watkins: author, editor ACW Press
Heather Gemmen Wilson: author, memoirist, professor of writing
Lawrence W. Wilson: author, editor Wesleyan Publishing House
Estee Wells Zandee: Zondervan

Please check back at the official site as more details are posted, but mark your calendar now for August 5-6, 2016, to learn how to get published at Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference.

Contact
Linda Taylor
taylorpwrconference@gmail.com
Taylor University
236 West Reade Avenue
Upland, Indiana 46989
Phone: (800) 882-3456

Please spread the word on your site and social networks. Thanks!

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Watkins for president 2016

February 1st, 2016 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

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I am formally throwing my pen into the presidential race!

I’m too conservative to be a Democrat, too liberal to be a Republican and too OCD to be a Libertarian, so I am running with the Tupperware Party: “Putting a lid on government.” Here are my planks in attractive, dish-washer-safe colors.

This is a very non-partisan campaign (I intend to offend all voters!), so I would appreciate your support by posting any of my “Hope & Humor” cartoons or links to my columns on your Facebook, Twitter, your blog or other social networks. (Simply right click on a cartoon, save it and then post. Thanks!)

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God is on our side! And theirs?
Pundits are claiming that our country is “polarized” to Civil War proportions over moral, fiscal and political issues. Part of the problem maybe that the issues that polarize us as a country are religion-based. [Continue reading]

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Liar! Liar! Pantsuit on fire!
I’m a fierce independent and someone with a journalism background, so if Ben Carson is lying about his rags to surgical scrubs story, that is a valid inquiry. It just wish Hillary Clinton was held to the same journalistic standards. [Continue reading]

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Candidates need to follow “Yellow Brick Road”
This election, I’m looking for a man or woman who has a brain, a heart and, oh yes, courage! [Continue reading]

Last Candidate Standing!
Perhaps national elections should be staged as reality TV shows: The Amazing Political Race, Keeping Up with the Kandidates, Conservative Eye for the Liberal Guy, Dancing with the Issues or Survivor: Electoral College. And the best part? It would run only from September through November “sweeps” each election year! [Continue reading]

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Speaking with truth . . . and grace
I’ve been accused of being a “hateful,” “intolerant,” “homophobic,” “right-wing, conservative Christian nut case,” and a few other things not suitable for this website. I’ll plead guilty on the “Christian nut case” charge, but I don’t believe attempting to present objective information condemns one to being shackled to those adjectives. [Continue reading]

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Top ten ways to reduce the national debt
10. Sponsor a national garage sale (Do we really need two Dakotas?) [Continue reading]

My plan to eliminate Infernal Revenue Service
If elected, I promise to work to abolish the current convoluted tax system. [Continue reading]

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Is it a ‘life’ or a ‘choice’?
It’s not a part of your body! It is a completely separate being with unique DNA and a fifty/fifty chance of being a different gender, blood type, . . . [Continue reading]

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Will God’s purpose be accomplished election day?
I have a degree in theology and so, with complete confidence, I can emphatically state, “It’s a mystery!” I do, however, know this . . . [Continue reading]

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WWJE? Who would Jesus elect?
Don’t support someone simply because he or she mouths the right spiritual sound bytes. [Continue reading]

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You want me to pray for whom?!
No matter who is elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November 2016, Christians are urged to pray for every elected official, not just those they supported. [Continue reading]

* Not associated with the fine resealable containers from the good people at Tupperware.

If you support my candidacy and the Tupperware Party, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

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I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten posts from January 2016

10. The Imitation of Christ

9. God is never late, but he sure is slow

8. ‘Threat Level’ solidly ‘green’

7. Does DNA disprove evolution?

6. The Christmas story in chronological order

5. Children who marry their parents: the psychology of courtship

4. Cure for common cold: sex

3. What was Paul thinking when he wrote 1 Timothy 2:12?

2. Were U.S. founding fathers Christian?

And, the number one post in January 2016 . . .

1. “It Is Well with My Soul”: the rest of the stories

(See list at right for the latest posts.)

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Welcome to a roundup of this week’s comments and cartoons. Each Saturday, I’ll bring you the best (?) from HopeAndHumor.org as well as my daily posts on Facebook. Meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend!


Brand new hope and humor:

How to walk on water (Monday, January 25, 2016)
One of the things I loved best about my uncle’s lakeside property was strolling out on the dock, off the end of the diving board and continuing to walk across the water. [Read post]

jimshortsfriends
(Monday, January 25, 2016)

jimshortsholdup
(Tuesday, January 26)

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From my Tupperware Party: Putting a lid on government campaign for president. (Tuesday, January 26)
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(Thursday, January 28)

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I’ll consider this one-star review of The Imitation of Christ a compliment! (Screwtape is the demon mentor writing to Wormwood, an apprentice demon in Lewis’ classic book on spiritual warfare, The Screwtape Letters. I pray that when I awake, the devil mutters, “Oh crap! Jim is up!” I do want to write things that, through Christ, threaten Satan’s kingdom!)
(Saturday, January 30)


Gently used hope and humor:

jimshortsopenmyeyes
(Wednesday, January 27)

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(Thursday, January 28)

WWJD? Who Would Jesus Elect? (Friday, January 29)
Don’t support someone simply because he or she spouts spiritual sound bytes! [Continue reading]

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(Friday, January 29)


Thanks for stopping by!

I’ll have a brand new post bright and early Monday morning, plus you can follow me throughout the week on Facebook.

All content copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

If you enjoyed a column, cartoon or this whole post, please share on your social networks. Thanks

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How to walk on water

January 25th, 2016 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (2 Comments)

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One of the things I loved best about my uncle’s lakeside property was strolling out on the dock, off the end of the diving board and continuing to walk across the water. I would walk out toward the middle of Graham Lake, then turn and look back at the shore hundreds of feet from the shore. It was almost as much fun as diving deep into the water and paddling around the surface. Now I was standing firmly atop the surface.

I probably should mention that it was in Michigan—in the middle of January.

It’s often in the coldest, hardest time of life that Jesus appears walking on the water and invites us to join him. If you’re going through a brutal winter spiritually, I pray that you’ll sense Jesus beside as you walk on the water with him!

      “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
           or seen the storehouses of hail?”

      “Who is the mother of the ice?
           Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
      For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
           and the surface of the water freezes” (Job 38:22, 29-30).

He is the Lord of all creation—and he is walking right beside you today!

P.S. If you’re digging out from the east coast blizzard, you’re in my thoughts and prayers!

Copyright © 2016 James N. Watkins

Photo from MorgueFile

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Lent, the period of 40 days (minus Sundays) leading up to Easter, is designed to draw Christ-followers closer to the him. Here are two resources to do just that:

• A new web series, “Forty Days of Imitating Christ,” begins right here in less than three weeks. (Stay tuned.)

• My brand new book, The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language,is designed to help Christians become more Christ-like. Here are readers’ reaction from Amazon reviews:

      “The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language leads to a broader perspective on the life of Christ, a wider grasp of His life of grace, and the life changing challenges to my basic Christian beliefs.”
           Jon

      “This is literally a soul-changing, ultimately world changing book; a must for every person serious about being a Christ-follower.”
           Jo Anne

      “I really enjoyed this book as it grew me deeper in relationship with the Lord.”
           Julie

      “A deeply moving, wholly convicting, and truly life-altering book.”
           Mary

      “Each devotion seems to be something that nudges me to take a look at my relationship with Christ , and what I need to do to move closer to him.”
           Linda

      “This book is helping me grow closer to Jesus. Each devotional reminds me of the ways Jesus loves and acts and how it is important to be more like Him.”
           Carrie

      “It is helping me to discover a deeper understanding of the nature of faith and to put those truths into practice.”
           Deb

      “I find it draws me from the noisy demands of life—even the ‘Christian’ noise—and calls me to slow down, to walk humbly with God.”
           Lori

      “You will find yourself called to a level of spirituality and disassociation from this world rarely seen today.”
           Joan

Lent begins Wednesday, February 10, so order today!
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
• Christianbook hardcover eBook

Also available in book stores everywhere.

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Welcome to a roundup of this week’s comments and cartoons. Each Saturday, I’ll bring you the best (?) from HopeAndHumor.org.

In breaking—and slightly bent—news . . .

Shoo the news blues (Monday, January 18, 2016)
I hear over and over, “The news is just so depressing, so I don’t watch TV or subscribe to newspapers.” I view the news as my prayer list. [Read post]

Commandments for cultural change (Monday, January 18, 2016)
In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change the culture of his time in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.” [Read post]

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Sanctity of life: from womb to tomb (Friday, January 22, 2016)
On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date corresponded to January 22, 1973, when the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states. I wish he wouldn’t have limited the day to simply the unborn in the United States. Every human being everywhere has a right to life from womb to tomb. [Read post]


An artistic argument against abortion by one of my favorite singers, Matthew West.

The big snow . . . (Thursday, January 21, 2016)

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In the 2016 race for the White House

From my Tupperware Party: Putting a lid on government campaign for president.

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Eclectic encouragement and entertainmnt . . .

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This is what happens when my eight-year-old granddaughter gets a hold of our family Christmas picture and my computer.

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Thanks for stopping by. I’ll have a brand new post bright and early Monday morning, plus you can follow me throughout the week on Facebook.

All content copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

If you enjoyed a column, cartoon or this whole post, please share on your social networks. Thanks

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On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation designating January 22 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date corresponded to January 22, 1973, when the United States Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand in all 50 states. I wish he wouldn’t have limited the day to simply the unborn in the United States. Every human being everywhere has a right to life from womb to tomb.

Here are some of my pro-life columns from over the years, including this special announcement from Planned Bank Robbery:

I’m pro-life for the unborn

My “Planned Bank Robbery” video points out the inconsistencies in the “I’m not for abortion, but everyone has a right to choose” argument.

Here’s a column that reveals the serious biological issues of abortion. (It’s not your body.) Is it a ‘life’ or a ‘choice’?


I’m pro-life for the terminally ill

Here’s a transcript my talk at Indiana Wesleyan University that addresses the various schools of thought on euthanasia. Currently five states allow for physician assisted suicide: California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. There are no federal laws addressing euthanasia. I’m a firm believer in, when in doubt, choose life.

I’m also very pro-life in offering hope to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.


I’m pro-life for people of faith

World Watch List, 4,344 Christians were killed simply for their faith in 2014. In 2015, that number rose to 7,106! (In 2000, Dan Hodel, president of the Christian Coalition. reported, “More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th Century than the first nineteen centuries combined.”

However, the number of Muslims killed for their faith is more than three times higher. A United Nations report from September 2014 found that “at least 24,015” Iraqi civilians—the vast majority of whom were Muslim—had been killed or injured by ISIS in the first eight months of 2014. (Just Wednesday, the Taliban attacked a university in Muslim Pakistan killing at least 19 people and wounding dozens. Last year terrorists murdered 134 students at a nearby school.)


I’m pro-life for prisoners

Capital punishment: serious questions asks the question, “Is the death penalty biblical?”

In Matthew 25, Jesus seems to be pro-life when it comes to prisoners:

      “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. . . . I was in prison, and you visited me.’

      “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you . . . in prison and visit you?’

      “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”


I’m pro-life for my enemies

If you’re still with me, let me go one step further. I’m pro-life when it comes to my enemies. Jesus teaches:

      “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much” (Matthew 5:43-46).


So, some things to consider on this National Sanctity of Human Life Day. Let’s be “pro-life” toward all people of all ages everywhere— all year round.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

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Related resources
Is There Really Life After Death?

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Shoo the news blues

Hi, I’m Jim. I’m a news junkie.

“Hi, Jim.”

Yep, I’m a ten to twelve hits-a-day, mainstream and online addict. In the morning it’s CBS radio news at 6 am. Then the local ABC station and “Good Morning, America.” At noon, it’s the independent affiliate. Six o’clock is FOX News and then “NBC Nightly News” at 6:30 pm. In between these regularly scheduled programs, I’m online for “The Drudge Report” and CNN.

Yikes, I probably need an intervention!

A lot of my friends have kicked the news habit cold turkey. I hear over and over, “The news is just so depressing, so I don’t watch TV or subscribe to newspapers.” For someone who carried a press pass for 15 years as a reporter and columnist, I have what my high school journalism teacher called “a nose for news.” Yep, I snort news like a thousand-dollar-a-day cocaine addict! But more importantly, I have a heart for the world; the news has become my prayer list.

Here are some important ways that you can shoo the news blues.

Eugene Peterson paraphrases 1 Timothy 2:1-7:

      The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live. He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free.

Don’t hate

It is so easy to hate people we deem our moral and political enemies: Islamic terrorists, members of your opposing party, human traffickers, etc. But there is only one enemy, and his name is Satan. All the rest are POWs “held captive by sin.” As a Christian soldiers, our mission is “to set them all free”—not demand their destruction.

Christ commands us in Matthew 5:43 to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” As you read or watch the news, remind yourself these individuals and groups are “held captive by sin,” and are to be loved and prayed for.

Don’t fear

While Israel was being crushed by foreign invaders, God’s prophet wrote:

      “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Things weren’t much better in first century Palestine when Israel was occupied by the Roman Empire. But Jesus teaches, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Fear’s root is often a lack of trust in God’s control of this, seemingly, out of control world. Jesus teaches in Matthew 10:28: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

Don’t despair 

Job seemed to receive nothing but bad news—really bad news! His family, his health and his wealth had been taken from him, yet he confidently proclaimed to his God, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Isaiah had the same message: “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (14:27).

There is a godly purpose in all the ungodly news stories we you see every day on the news. It is all part of God plan. Prophetic books of the Bible such as Daniel, Isaiah and Revelation, reveal that God and his devoted followers will triumph in the end!

Do pray

Remember Paul’s admonition: “[All] I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments. . . .”

To pray effectively, we have to be informed. That’s why I love the The Presidential Prayer Team’s mission to educate Christians to about the needs in the world and to encourage us to pray.

And then claim the psalmist promise as you watch or read the news: your prayer list! “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

Jim has managed to write 20 books and over 2,000 articles in between watching and reading the news.

Copyright © 2015 James N. Watkins

Originally published by The Presidential Prayer Team, December 2015.


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Martin Luther King, Jr.’s commandments for cultural change

In April 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. spelled out a radical strategy to change culture in his book, Why We Can’t Wait. Each participant in the Birmingham protests was required to abide by Dr. King’s “Ten Commandments.”

      1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

      2. Remember always that the nonviolent movement in Birmingham seeks justice and reconciliation—not victory.

      3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

      4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men might be free.

      5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men might be free.

      6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

      7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

      8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

      9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

      10. Follow the directions of the movement and of the captain on a demonstration.

Today we celebrate the hope for cultural change that Martin Luther King, Jr. preached in word and deed. Click for my book chapter expanding on “Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.”


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Brand-new 500-year-old book now in stores/online

Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ has been a best-seller for over 500 years! Now it’s completely updated in today’s language and organized into 90 devotional readings.

About the book
Read an excerpt
• Buy at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christian Books
About Thomas à Kempis
My exclusive interview with Thomas à Kempis
• Daily quotations: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
What others are saying
The story behind this book

You can help promote my book by writing a review at Amazon. Be honest. (Amazon hates gushy, mushy reviews! Thanks!)

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