The Art and Craft of Writing is now on Sale

The Art and Craft of Writing, L.Jagi Lamplighter’s brilliant instructional guide for improving your writing craft, is available now in both ebook and paperback.

It contains 14 clear and useful lessons that explain powerful storytelling principles with practical examples and exercises that will be of benefit to beginner and experienced writers alike. If you want to improve as a writer, you cannot do better than this book.

Come With Us

Today I was reading Numbers chapter 10, and this little passage jumped out at me:

Numbers 10: 29-31 (NIV):

Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised good things to Israel.”

He answered, “No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people.”

But Moses said, “Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes. If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the Lord gives us.”

This is the heart of evangelism. We, as beneficiaries of the New Covenant, are heading for the true Promised Land, and it is only natural that we should want others to come with us, since all are invited.

Our journey there is the greatest of all adventures, offering the greatest of all rewards, along the way choices and challenges with enormous stakes, our actions leaving ripples that echo to eternity.

Notice that Moses does not just offer to have him taken care of the whole way, but invites him to participate. He has something to offer Israel, he will make their journey better.

What Christ offers as part of being his children is not just an adventure tour, not just a journey where everything is prearranged for us like a safari, package holiday or adrenaline sports, but a partnership in a great and glorious mission.

You might not think so, but you have something to offer. You can make a very meaningful difference. You can share love and truth and hope with others. You can help to mould your own character and those around you in ways that will be reflected in eternity. You can be part of God’s blessing for someone else, take part in the great love story that started before the creation of the universe and will outlast it.

Who’s up for that?

The Dragon

Deep within the mountain fortress of your troubled heart
A vicious dragon guards a more than priceless work of art.
He smothers it from shining in his greed and jealous rage,
Marring its true purpose as a prideful living cage.

“I’m no worse than the others, there’s no need to improve,
I’ll only hear the thoughts of those whose views I preapprove.
I’m wiser than those fools who strive for beauty, depth and love;
I laugh at lofty goals that I know all will fall short of;

“I deserve great treasures more than those who work and build
Because of who I am; it’s their fault I am unfulfilled
Questions of truth and justice are for others to decide,
I’ll wallow in my opulence and drift with every tide

“My appetites alone decide what is worth my time
Hurting others is just sport, depriving me’s a crime!
Today’s appointed devil I will curse and rend and burn
Until my wrath is spent and it is someone else’s turn.”

Another victim wanders in, dressed in robes of white,
Carrying a lantern that gives off a meagre light.
“This treasure’s mine!” the dragon roars, “You have no power here!
I’ll roast your flesh, and as you die, enjoy your pain and fear.”

The victim doesn’t move, and seems resigned to his bleak fate;
He’s bathed in flames from that foul mouth, his robes disintegrate,
Revealing flesh that’s charred and marred with scars of many kinds;
He gasps and shudders with the pain, but does not moan or whine.

“You thought you were so pure, and yet your skin is black with sin;
Your shoulders bear the cause of all of this world’s suffering.
Now I’ll tear you limb from limb, crush out your final breath,
You will meet a pointless and most agonizing death.”

The Dragon lunges forward and pierces the man’s chest,
Then draws its claws back to itself in manifest distress;
The blood that flows from that great wound is poison to the fiend,
Corrodes away the dragon’s form until the treasure’s cleaned

And gleams with a new glory as your soul is born anew,
Ready to be servant to the good and fair and true.
He suffered for you willingly, his love is unreserved,
Go out and pay it forward in a way that’s undeserved.

Sabbath

A day of rest to muse upon your place before your God,
Where you have fallen short and where you’ve gone back on your word,
The many blessings you’ve received you clearly don’t deserve
That fill your heart with gratitude and new desire to serve.

Appreciate the love he shows so far beyond our own,
Recall the recent struggles through which your soul has grown,
Look back upon the path you’ve trod, the progress you have made,
Broaden your horizons to see those that you can aid,

Realign your compass if you see you’ve gone astray,
Deal with a nagging problem that has worsened every day,
Take the time to reconnect with loved ones you’ve ignored,
Put an end to enmities your soul cannot afford,

Gain the wisdom others had to pay a high price for,
Make connections that had never come to mind before,
Free yourself to concentrate, to learn, to grow, to soar,
And look towards the One we rightly worship and adore.

Fortitude

True fortitude has always been the strength to feed your family,
To survive when all around are giving up on life;
Facing trials as they come with one eye on eternity,
Despite your pain and troubles, staying faithful to your wife,

Staying grateful when the hard days come and stretch out into weeks or months,
Knowing that the things you have are more than you have lost;
Not giving in to promises of easy wealth and influence,
Taking time before you sign to truly count the cost;

The strength to listen to a friend,
Admit what you don’t know,
Seek the truth together
In a way that you both grow;

Tell the truth when it still hurts
And gaze at your own flaws;
Revive a habit left inert
That points to higher laws;

Clarify a vague unease
To see what can be done
To stop a creeping vile disease
Before its course has run;

Rectify a thoughtless act,
Redeem a broken soul;
Lead them back into the light
With fresh and healthy goals;

Laugh at unfounded, nagging fears
That held your heart in chains
When their true nature has appeared
And you can breathe again.

Stand strong against each foe and woe,
Defend the light you’ve grown;
Be more than just an outward show,
And know you’re not alone.

Blinkered

Blinkered

Far below the crashing waves
Of what things seem to be,
Are powerful currents that will change
The course of history.

Far above the petty schemes
Down on this squalid earth,
Is a realm where all can see
Which acts have lasting worth.

So much more is happening
Than we can ever grasp;
How much broader will our vision be
When we near our final gasp?

What lessons will the Teacher grant
Before our weak hearts fail?
What glimpses can we share with Man
Of what’s beyond the veil?

What part of heaven can we bring
To life in our own homes?
What connects us to our kin
Besides our chromosomes?

Who will we turn to as our guide
Through turbulence and doubt?
In which good soul can we confide
And know they won’t walk out?

How can we be a solid friend
To those who need our care?
Be faithful with the gifts He sends
And keep them in your prayers.

He Sees

He sees you when you triumph,
He sees you when you fail;
He knows what keeps you up at night,
He knows what makes you pale.

He sees the stands you choose to make,
He sees the threats you flee;
He knows the promises you break,
Wisely or foolishly.

He knows your every flaw and yet
His love is undeterred;
He still came down to pay our debt
And share his living word

That brings new hope, lifts up our eyes,
Outshines our brightest dreams,
Shows us when our old self dies
We’re far more than we seem.

Great heavenly realms stretch out above
The limits of this world,
Where we can taste his full, pure love
Through gateways made of pearl.

When Our King Calls Us Home

Another song I hope to record one day:




When Our King Calls Us Home.
 
Our squabbles over pottage bowls,
That we disguise as higher goals,
Are worthless when our life unrolls
And our King calls us home.
 
The bitter words we spoke in rage
Can haunt us when we reach old age;
We’re grateful for a fresh, new page
And long to be called home.
 
Kindness shown in little ways
Will sparkle like the sun’s pure rays
When we’ve reached the End of Days
And Our King calls us home.
 
The treasures that we store with Him,
That far outweigh our sufferings,
Will cause our hearts to soar and sing
When our King calls us home.
 
When troubles come and blows we take,
When we feel our hearts will break,
We grow in glory for His sake,
Until He calls us home.
 
So now I make a daily choice,
In the chaos and the noise,
To listen for that still, small voice
When my King calls me home.

Perception

Perception

You might think you’re just a tiny speck within a raging storm,
A thousand different voices screaming at you to conform,
To give up hope, blaspheme your God, and join the vicious mob;
Or stand aside, at least, and let them do their hatchet job.

Defeat is unavoidable, what difference can you make?
What kind of fool would stand there when the dam’s about to break?
Then time itself stands still and you are swept before the Throne,
And He reveals you are in fact a vital cornerstone

To peoples you have yet to meet, besides the ones you know,
Your influence, for good or bad, eternity will show.
A thoughtful act can redirect a life that’s gone astray,
Bring broken souls back from the brink, unfounded fears allay,

Give strength to those so weary from fighting the good fight,
Grant the lame the grace to dance, give back the blind their sight,
As they perceive the holy war that’s waging for their hearts,
Step out from the audience and dare to play their part

In the thrilling drama that decides so many fates,
And takes them in directions they cannot anticipate,
Drawing others heavenwards with every step they take
Along the narrow path, leaving blessings in their wake.

Winter Musing

I wrote most of this this while on a walk yesterday:

Winter Musing

When snowy fields at sunset have turned the world to gold,
Remember truths you must pass on before your heart grows cold:
An empty soul cannot be filled with momentary joys;
A broken heart cannot be fixed with parties, tricks and shiny toys.

Don’t entertain yourselves to death, but reach for higher things,
You do not need to be struck blind or hear an angel’s wings
To witness glory all around in little acts of love,
Appreciate a kindness shown when push has come to shove,

Let the lonely child know there’s a place where he belongs,
Offer words of hope to those whose faith is not as strong:
When darkness overwhelms you and your path is all but gone,
The shadow’s but a passing thing, and you are not alone.

The one who knows your heart and pain,
Who knows your will to rise again,
Who calls the storm cloud and the rain,
Is closer than you know.

So lift your head up strong and proud,
And when before the madding crowd,
Be not afraid to shout aloud,
“In His steps I will go!”

Should they choose to run you through
For staying faithful, pure and true,
Then heaven’s door will be in view,
And joy will overflow.