Author Archives: jrcoggins

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is www.coggins.ca

Reflections from a Hospital Hallway by James R. Coggins

They told me to go home and come back in a couple of hours after the operation had been done. That’s when I realized that this hospital was set up to serve people who lived nearby, in the middle of … Continue reading

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To a Young Couple Contemplating Marriage by James R. Coggins

This blog is adapted from a talk I gave at a wedding some years ago. Dennis the Menace famously said, “You can’t tell how deep a puddle is from the top.” When my wife and I married, we decided that: … Continue reading

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A Moving Experience by James R. Coggins

A couple of months ago, three men wearing masks backed a truck up to our house and took away all of our furniture, completely emptying the house. Before you ask, yes, we paid them to do this. So they emptied … Continue reading

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Animal Dominoes by James R. Coggins

The year 2021 AD has just begun. But what does the “AD” mean? Some people might remember that it means something like “Animal Dominoes.” It is actually a Latin term, “anno Domini,” which means “in the year of the Lord.” … Continue reading

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The Best Stories by James R. Coggins

The best stories we may not hear repeated very often, sometimes only once or twice. But they are precious, and we must grasp them when we have the opportunity. The best stories also often happen by accident—at least, from our … Continue reading

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Was Wenceslas a Saint? by James R. Coggins

Has it ever happened that we miss the implications of the songs we sing? A song that has intrigued me for some time is the Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas.” The carol has a medieval European setting and has some … Continue reading

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Cards and Communication by James R. Coggins

Every year when I was growing up, one entire wall of our living room would be filled with multiple strings holding Christmas cards our family had received that year. Long distance telephone rates were very high, and the postal system … Continue reading

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He Who Has Helped Thee Hitherto by James R. Coggins

Years ago, my wife Jackie and I were moving 3,000 miles away to the east so I could return to school and embark on a new career. The small church that we attended gave us a loving send-off, a gift … Continue reading

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I Am Not a Charismatic Christian by James R. Coggins

I have been asked if I am a charismatic Christian. The answer is no, it is too hard. Oh, I have no problem believing in the miraculous. I believe the Bible, and I know God can and does heal people … Continue reading

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Last Words by James R. Coggins

Good writers work very hard to craft interest-grabbing opening sentences to their books. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote as the opening for A Tale of Two Cities. I think it … Continue reading

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A Manifesto for Christian Writers

I have sometimes considered Ecclesiastes 12:9-14 to be “a manifesto for Christian writers.” Verses 9-11 (from the New International Version) describe what a writer should do: • “The Teacher [was] wise.” This is the first qualification of a writer. It … Continue reading

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Aspirations

Today, instead of more words from me, I offer for your consideration a simple image and a short quotation from a great writer. “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?” – Robert Browning

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Human Work

Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 is a passage about human work, human responsibility, and God’s providence. From the creation of Adam, the first man, God commanded human beings to work. Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 offers advice on how to go about this. Following are the … Continue reading

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Mysteries by James R. Coggins

Having read hundreds of murder mysteries, good, mediocre, and terrible, (and even having scribbled a few myself), I’ve come to a startling conclusion: People read murder mysteries for the mystery. It’s the mental puzzle that attracts. Readers want to see … Continue reading

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Weeds

A Conversation Hello, pastor. Thanks for stopping by. Pastors don’t seem to visit much anymore. Guess they’re off doing something more important. I hope you don’t mind if I keep on weeding while we talk. I find if I don’t … Continue reading

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