Monday, August 17, 2015

Enough for each day -- Little by little the bird builds her nest

A wren ~ image courtesy of Google images

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.  In this way, I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.  Exodus16:4

We’ve had some unexpected guests at our house.  A sweet little wren built her nest in the wreath on the front door.  For days, I heard her little by little adding bits and pieces of leaves and grass she’d gathered to construct her nest.  All our comings and goings through that door did not deter her.  Little by little the nest took shape. Every time we’d open the door she would peak at us before flying out. One day she brushed against my son’s shoulder in her flight to the azaleas bushes.  Every evening I sneaked a close up look. When I noticed the eggs, I tied a string across the door posts to detour unsuspecting delivery folks and visitors. Sure enough, the eggs hatched.

What you might ask does this story have to do with manna in the wilderness? 

I believe this little bird was faithful each day to her call from God, quietly working and trusting in His supply for the day.  I think she was satisfied with enough – whatever God provided was sufficient and whatever she could accomplished was satisfactory.  I think if hers was a test, she passed.

That little bird inspired me by her unwavering devotion and persistence.

As the French say, petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid. Little by little, the bird makes her nest.

What encouragement might the wren offer to us goal-oriented, work obsessed folks?

I think it might be to work with confidence accomplishing manageable pieces each day, which in turn build for tomorrow, and demonstrate to God our obedience and trust in Him and the vision that He have given us.  Patience and self-discipline are critical. Don’t look beyond what you can do today or burden yourself with fears for the future. God’s provisions are sufficient for each day.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow. Matthew 6:34

Obedience and faithfulness honor God and bring its own reward.

Spectacular sunflowers at Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery ~
photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.  Psalm 20:4
Thank you ever so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  It means a lot to me that you are here.  Feel free to share your thoughts and add to the conversation.

Thanks to my guest Nan Jones for her recent interview.  She would like to send a copy of her book to Brenda C.  Thank you so much Brenda for your kind words.  If you'll include your email address with a comment, Nan will make arrangements to get the book in the mail.  Many blessings!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Meet the Author -- Nan Jones -- Win a copy of her new book

Nan Jones
My guest today is Nan Jones.  I first became acquainted with Nan Jones through her uplifting blog, Morning Glory. Nan is an author and speaker who resides in the beautiful mountains of Ashe County, North Carolina. She is the mother of three adult children and one grandchild. When Nan is not writing or preparing messages for her speaking ministry, you'll find her gardening, crocheting, reading or sharing a cup of coffee with a friend.

I’ve asked Nan to tell us a little about herself and her new book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife.  Nan would like to give away a paperback copy of the book, so be sure to read the details for the give-away at the end of this interview. 

Nan, tell us about your ministry.

For years I prayed, "Lord, open my eyes that I might see You. Teach me to know Your voice." God has honored my persistent prayers. He has taught me what it means when Paul said, "For it is in Him that we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). That is how I survived the years of sorrow and loss I have lived through. I love encouraging others with the truth that God is with them always, even when it feels like they've been abandoned. I know that by sharing my personal struggles with them and the tender ways the Lord has pursued me with His love in the midst of my pain—I know it will encourage them and give them strength for the journey. I love when the words of my heart meet a deep need in the life of a reader. It is an honor for me to share His message of faithfulness through my writing and speaking.


Share with us the most meaningful truth you hope your readers glean from your writing.

There have been times in my life that I was so overcome with sorrow I could no longer pray. All I could do was speak the Name of Jesus. He drew near to me in response to my cry and taught me to see Him and hear His sweet whispers of love. I learned to rest in His Presence—just being. Not striving. Not running my mouth. Just basking in His love. These are the things I write and teach about.

Tell us a little about your new book and what inspired you to write it.

The Perils of A Pastor's Wife will help mend hearts burned in the lonely fires of ministry. Through its pages I share what God has taught me about finding Him in my darkest hours.

I served as a pastor's wife for 31 years. These were some of the most fulfilling and rewarding years of my life. These years were also some of the most trying—not necessarily because of the people, but because of the spiritual battles that raged. Our lives could be turned upside down as quickly as the wind changes in a storm. A pastor's wife knows what it is to feel completely alone in the middle of a crowd. We are known to have trust issues—wondering who we can really be ourselves with and share our hearts with when we're troubled. Rejection is another hurt that most folks don’t think about when they consider the lives of pastors and their wives. The pain can be unbearable. I knew that other pastors' wives needed to know that they were not alone in their struggles and that someone understood what they were going through. I hope readers walk away from this book with renewed confidence in her calling, with healing deep in her spirit, and the realization that in her darkest moments God is with her—He is faithful.

I’d like to share this excerpt:


CHAPTER ONE

AFTER THE FIRE, A GENTLE WHISPER

ONLY GOD KNEW where my husband was. I had run from
the business meeting before its completion. Tempers
flared. Tongues were unleashed, and nearly three years
of fruitful ministry were all but destroyed. My heart beat
madly within my chest, fighting desperately not to break
from the pain of rejection. Angry tears stung my cheeks
as I bolted from the sanctuary. I didn’t know if I could
continue in this thing called ministry. God was asking too
much of me.

My husband, David, and I had been ministering in the
small rural church for three years. Under his leadership
and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the church had experienced
exponential growth. God’s mercy and grace flowed into
the lives of our people. Church had become a place of joy,
restoration, and refuge.

Then evil reared its ugly head.


Share with us your favorite Scripture and give us your insight about it.

The Scripture that I ponder and rely upon the most is Exodus 33:14:


This verse expresses the Truth that carries me through my difficulties in its simplest form—God is with me always and because of that I can find rest from the heartache, rest from the fears and anxieties, rest from the enemy's pursuit.


Where can we find you on the web? Readers might like to connect with you there.

Twitter: @NanJonesAuthor
Facebook Community Page: Seeing Beyond the Veil
Pinterest: Nan Jones, Author

To contact Nan, please visit her website or contact her directly at nan@jubilantlight.com

Please leave a comment below (along with your email address) to be included in a random drawing for a copy of The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife. The winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, August 17th.


Many thanks to Nan for being our guest, and thank you as ever for taking the time to visit Write Moments with God. You are much appreciated.

Monday, June 29, 2015

BLIND SPOTS -- Obscuring our view of the Cross

Beautiful picture taken and graciously provided by Aaron Barton

Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? Mark 8: 17b – 18a (RSV)

I glanced in the rear view mirrors and began moving over into the left lane when suddenly a horn blared causing me to jerk the car back into my lane.  None too soon. Disaster diverted.  I totally did not see that car although it was right beside me. Blame it on the “blind spot.”  Do you have a blind spot in your car?

This incident started me thinking about the blind spots we Christians have.  Do you think you might have a blind spot, or two?  I think I do.  Sometimes maybe that blind spot obscures sight due to immaturity or flat-out ignorance.  More often I suspect it’s due to arrogance.  We can become obsessed with our preferred style or methods and lose sight of the Cross.

Caution is advised when sentimental pious self-consciousness turns our eyes on self and away from Christ.

The Pharisees had a blind spot. They couldn’t see Jesus. God Incarnate walked among them yet that haughty crowd saw Him not.
 
His humble disciples saw Him.

Then he saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?  And Peter answering says to him, “Thou are the Christ.” Mark 8:29 (Douay-Rheims)

John the Baptist saw Him.

The next day, John saw Jesus coming to him, and says, Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

Now I suppose one could say the Pharisees had all the trappings of having it all together.  The crowd Jesus hung with didn’t appear to have much going for them but their devotion to Jesus. When the Pharisees looked upon Jesus, they saw “a man gluttonous, and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” (See Matthew 11:19)

Not only did they not see, they didn’t want to see. Seeing Jesus for who He was would have totally shook up the world as they knew it, like it did for Saul.

Saul had a blind spot.  He was a Pharisee, a very religious man, who hated Jesus and persecuted Christians.  God, in His mercy, cured Saul’s blind spot by striking him down by His light, blinding him completely.  Only then did Saul see the Lord and understand the Truth. This revelation of Christ totally changed him into a devoted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ who spent the rest of his life as the apostle Paul, a missionary and teacher of the gospel.

Christians suffer from blind spots which we think of as benign until they cause us to behave in anti-Christian ways toward one another.

Might it be possible that our own individuality and temperament is obscuring our vision? Do we have obstinate attitudes that have formed and hardened – possibly based on past hurts, habits, or prejudices – and we don’t even want to examine them in the light of God’s Truth? 

When I first wrote this, I listed examples from my own experience, then deleted them, because I didn’t want to inadvertently step on toes. It’s better to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Word.

A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another. John 13:34-35 (KJV)

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (KJV)


Hopeland Gardens, Aiken, S.C.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to stop by Write Moments with God.  Feel free to share your thoughts and comments.  I appreciate hearing from you.  Be blessed.


Note to Readers: This meditation has nothing whatsoever to do with recent events in the media.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Uniquely Personal Temptations


My chocolate cake made with Southern Living's Fudge Pecan Ripple Layer Cake recipe.

Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:41 KJV

You’ve heard statements like these.

"I have a weakness for chocolate."
"I love warm bread and butter."
"I can't resist ice cream."

Indeed, we hear confessions like these all the time. It would seem that we all know the weaknesses of our appetites. But do we know our spiritual weaknesses as well as that? Have you ever considered that Satan knows your weaknesses?

As personal as our taste in food, what tempts each of us to sin is uniquely personal. It seems to me that temptations are finely presented by Satan to work on our personal spiritual weaknesses. He knows just what it takes to tempt us to sin. I had this "ah-hah" moment, viz., revelation, the other day after I had lunch with a friend.

I looked forward to this lunch date with an old friend I seldom see.  In advance of our meeting, I reconfirmed to myself the intention to avoid speaking about certain "subjects" which I suspected might come up--subjects, such as, a particular broken relationship. 

I knew that even a little nibble would serve up old history that could lead to tale bearing, gossip, gloating, and other unsavory stuff.

Yet, no sooner had she spoken the words, "And what do you hear of so-and-so?", my response came laced with lots of gossip. Indigestion quickly followed in the form of self-condemnation and guilt.

Temptation is like Satan or one of his minions saying, Let's see what it takes to get this soul to disregard God and His teachingThe devil is subtle and tempts us unaware; we must spot him at the point of his attack.  

Then, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Thanks to the Atonement, with the help of the Holy Spirit of God in us, we too can overcome temptation. 

Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4 RSV

Iced tea and cheese cake with whipped cream ~ Google image

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  Many of you have noted that I am not posting on this blog as often as I once did.  Thanks for your concern and for bearing with me.  A new job and other projects are requiring much of my time and focus.  But I intend to continue writing as often as I can for Write Moments with God.  Your prayers are always welcome, as I continue to pray for those who are touched by these posts. Please feel free to leave your comments.  I appreciate you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hope and Confidence in the face of life's puzzles

An intriguing picture of baby Charlie "reading" the newspaper 


I’ve always loved putting together jigsaw puzzles, not only as a child, but as an adult. Whenever I hold a new puzzle in my hands, I shake the box, then I'm ready to master its 1,000 easy pieces. The designs and variegated hues and shadows intrigue me. As the pieces are fitted together, satisfying glimpses of the big picture come into view. I am master of its tiny universe.

Sometimes an elusive piece will send me searching high and low on the table and under it, examining every remaining piece until I find the elusive one. I enjoy the moment when I have put the final one into place to complete the picture perfect. 

Life simplified into 1,000 pieces in a box.  Thus, the perennial charm of puzzles, I guess. 

But, life isn’t 1,000 easy pieces. 

There are many puzzles in life and even in the Bible we read passages that puzzle us. We all find ourselves from time to time in muddles seemingly beyond our comprehension and control. Through persistence and prayer, we keep on working. By God’s mercy and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we can understand.  But when we don’t, it's enough to know we can trust God.

We may want the big picture completed neatly now so we can see the results of all God plans to do in and through our lives. But, in reality, we can't know. God knows the beginning and the ending. Maybe God has given us a vision for who he wants us to be and we’re doing our best to work it out. We will see and understands parts of His plan for our lives, but some things we can't know and understand this side of eternity. 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

We’ve just celebrated holy week and I’m still rejoicing over the Cross of Christ, which has bridged the gap between God and man and made it possible for us to be brought back into relationship with God where the whole human race was designed to be in perfect communion with God from the beginning.  And it’s with Him my hope and confidence lies for the future.


Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

My grandson Charlie with birthday balloons
Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  Always, I appreciate you. 
I hope you enjoy the grand-Mimi pictures (even if they have little relevance to the meditation). I hope they make you s m i l e.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Consider Him Who Can Save to the Uttermost

One of my dogwoods
For consider him [Jesus] that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:3 KJV

Besides busy-ness getting in the way of my writing to you the last few weeks, the feeling of not being able to write anything worthy of this holy season prevented me. I have several incomplete devotions I started for this blog. But, that being said, I've watched the earth coming alive all around me with new birth. It’s the wonderful season of Easter when I am ever mindful of Jesus’ journey to the cross. I wanted to write a few words today to encourage you on your journey of faith.

This past month I studied the book of Job. I hope I will be sharing some meditations on that in the future. In some ways, Job foreshadows the life of Christ.

Job suffered the misunderstanding, anger, and scorn of even his friends who accused him of hypocrisy and sin. He suffered humiliation and blame. His wife advised him to curse God and die. His children were destroyed and Job lost all his earthly comforts and possessions. No man could help him. Besides that anguish, he suffered greatly in his body as Satan piled on to prove his point that man only serves God for the blessings. Job didn’t know the backstory, didn’t know that Satan and God had made a battleground of his soul – yet still, he trusted in the integrity of God.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. Job 13:15a

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold…. Job 19:25-27a

Hope for Job was totally based on God.

Job longed for a mediator to plead his case before God. Job had no advocate: we do.

Praise God for the Cross of Jesus Christ.  

Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25


I took these today in my backyard -- if only I knew how.  3/28/2015

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God. I appreciate you. Sending prayers for a wonderful week.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I am Crucified with Christ

Quebec City, Quebec

Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. John 4:11a

Jesus raised the curiosity of the Samarian woman at the well. She had practical matters to attend to, but this Jewish man speaking to her raised questions in her mind. (See John 4:7-30)

…thou hast nothing to draw with…

She might as well have added, “as a matter of fact.” She made statements based on what she saw according to her natural reasoning, which was totally blind to God’s ways.

I wonder how often we put limitations on God. We presume to understand the situations and circumstances we find ourselves in better than God.

After all, we reason…

How will I ever overcome this weakness?
This debt is too much. How can I pay it?
How can I help this troubled relationship?

We put limitations on God by trying to figure it all out ourselves. With our preconceived notions, even religious prejudices, we deny the power of God.

…the well is deep…


Don’t we insult God by our unbelief every time we worry and, in effect, question Him by our doubts and fears?

Instead we need to identify ourselves with Christ and confess like Paul did:

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20a RSV

We, who call Jesus our Lord and Savior, need to realize the resurrection power of God that lives in us. It’s not practical or common sense; it’s the Spirit of the living God. The life hid with Christ in God—our Source of living water. We need to identify so completely with His life, that we bring it into our daily living, walk and conversation. The power of the crucified Christ (in us as Spirit-filled believers) is meant to be brought to real, definite, practical experiences in our lives.

He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. John 7:38



New Zealand waterfall taken by my daughter

Thank you so much for visiting. I appreciate you. Feel free to add your comments below.

I want to thank all of you on behalf of Jennifer Brommet and myself for visiting last week. Lou Ann Keiser will be receiving a copy of Jennifer’s book True Identify. Lou Ann, I know you’ll be blessed. Thank you again Jennifer for being my guest on Write Moments with God.