Monday, November 18, 2013

Action Speaks Louder than Words ~ Living with Integrity

Keeping it real ~  this dirt road reminds me of home ~ photo courtesy of Wanda White

The other day, I read again the expression "walk the walk and talk the talk" , which is all about living with integrity.  And I thought about how often we don't live up to our ideals.

All too often we talk (preach) one way, and walk (live) something entirely different.

We preach love and live indifference.

We preach mercy and live condemnation.

We preach holiness and live hypocrisy.

We preach grace and live judgment.

So, today, I want to bring you a meditation on this theme.  It's an excerpt from my devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. 

Action Speaks Louder than Words

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46 (NIV) 

Our actions communicate.  Even in subtle ways, our body language reveals our unspoken feelings.  When actions and words don’t jibe, we pick up on that incongruence.  The bottom line is actions trump words. 
Leave it to American writer and humorist Mark Twain to quip, “Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often”.  Not only does this adage hold true on a practical level, but also on a spiritual level.

Jesus said, “Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).  These words of our Lord cause me to pause and reflect. 
 Lip service does not impress God.  Our actions reveal our love for Him.  
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:21).  He takes it personally when we show kindness and love to our neighbor.  He wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, take care of the sick and destitute (see James 2:15-16).  Three times, Jesus asked Simon Peter how much he loved Him.  When Simon Peter answered Him each time, Jesus responded with an imperative: Feed my lambs, Feed my sheep” (Mt. 25:35-36).  Jesus expects love to result in action. 

John said, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18 NIV).  Let’s not be guilty, as Mark Twain pointed out, of speaking so much more than doing.
The grandkids bringing birthday cake

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  It means so much to me that you would take time to read this. 

Just a brief note to let you know that my devotional ~ God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea ~ is on sale right now at the lowest prices ever on Amazon, in paperback and kindle version.  If you don't order online, ask your local Barnes and Noble or Christian bookstore to order it for you.  You'll be blessed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

GIANTS and How to Slay Them ~ plus winner of book giveaway

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques ~ Collage of Life

 Then said David to the Philistine, You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you hast defied.  This day will the LORD deliver you into mine hand.  1 Samuel 17:45-46a


After my devotional time the other day, I praised God for the beautiful day.  As I sipped my coffee, I enjoyed the view from my window -- golden leaves fluttered on the dogwood tree with the morning sun sparkling through.  I smiled. I felt peaceful.

All was right in my world. 

The first thing on my to-do list was to choose my insurance plan for 2014 during its annual open enrollment.  I sat down at the computer by the window expecting to be done within fifteen minutes.  I signed into the website.  To my dismay, when I got to the screen where I’d make a selection, the screen was grayed out, and NO Coverage was already selected for me.  I couldn’t move forward or backwards.  I had to resort to the 1-800 number. 

So, with that I began a series of back-to-back calls to my insurance provider until I finally got a place in line, and held for a little over an HOUR before I could talk to a live representative.  During the 2 ½ hour process (at the end of which all was resolved) I had time to analyze what was happening in body as a result of that predicament.

My lovely happy view out the window was the same.  The leaves swayed in the dogwood tree, and squirrels played on its branches, as I held the phone to my ear and glanced back and forth at the computer screen.  Earlier I was all smiles.  Now unpleasant changes were taking place in my body as a result of this unexpected inconvenience.

My heart rate rose.

Tension across my forehead warned that my blood pressure was rising.

My shoulder began to ache; my neck got stiff.

I was afraid.

All because of an unexpected “glitch” which resulted in insurance complications.

I had to stop myself and note, HEY, everything is still right with my world!

This was just another giant.  (Okay, maybe I made a mountain out of a mole hill.)  But, it seemed like a giant, and we have to face these GIANTS daily in some shape or form…but, still, the things that mattered most had not changed. 

I want to be like David. Just think of that little shepherd boy who faced a real GIANT.

He had confidence in God’s presence, God’s protection, and God’s provision.

If we focus on the negative—the problem, the opposition, the pain, the loss, the sickness, the sorrow, the FEAR

It will GROW in proportion to the attention we give it, and DOMINATE our mind, and TORMENT our physical body with the weight of that burden we take on.

That’s why we have to FOCUS on God—His presence, His protection, His provision.

To maintain that godly perspective that assures us

All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26b)

and we can walk on water (Matthew 14:29) and move mountains (Matthew 21:21) and slay all our giants without breaking a sweat. 

That’s when all’s right with my world.

Photo courtesy of Marissa Nicole Photography
Many thanks to all of you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I appreciate you.  Thanks also to all of you who visited last week and met Elaine Marie Cooper.  We love reading your thoughtful comments. 
And now to announce the winner of Elaine's new release ~ Fields of the Fatherless.  Veronica Leigh will be receiving her own signed copy.  Congratulations Veronica! 
Remember the first Monday of every month, we give away a book.  Blessings!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meet Elaine Marie Cooper ~ Plus, win a copy of her new historical novel!

Elaine Cooper ~

Today’s guest is friend and fellow John 3:16 author, Elaine Marie Cooper--wife, Mom to two grown sons, and GiGi to three-year-old triplets. Her passions are her family, her faith in Jesus Christ and the history of the American Revolution.   
Elaine is the author of the three-part Deer Run Saga and the just released historical novel, Fields of the Fatherless.  She is also a registered nurse.   
The author began planning her first novel, The Road to Deer Run, on the fourth anniversary of her daughter passing away. Her daughter’s battle with brain cancer and its impact on their family will be the story told in the memoir that Elaine is currently writing. 
I hope you will enjoy my interview with Elaine.  She's a kind lady and such an encourager.  She is graciously giving away a copy of Fields of the Fatherless, so be sure to leave your comments below.  I'm impressed with its beautiful cover, and can't wait to read my copy.
Elaine, tell us a little about yourself and your writing.
I started writing as a young girl but never seriously considered it as a profession until my 30’s. A newspaper editor saw some of my humorous poems about the trials and tribulations of parenting three youngsters. I’m not sure what she saw in my efforts, but the next thing I knew, she was offering me an opportunity to write feature stories. Within a year, I had worked my way into writing two regular columns a week. Later I wrote for magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens. Soon after my daughter passed away in 2003, I retired my pen for several years. It was not until I felt a persistent, inaudible voice prompting me to pick up my writing again that I started my first novel.
What inspired you on your writing  journey?
My Dad was my first encourager when I was young. My husband became the next biggest encourager. But I pray that my inspiration in what I write comes from the Lord.
What was your journey to publication like?
It has been long and difficult. When my first manuscript was ready in 2009, the publishing industry was in a HUGE slump. No one wanted new writers. I decided to self-publish which at the time was looked down upon by traditional authors. (Now, some traditional authors are pursuing that same path.) I pursued the writing journey with a sequel and both Books 1 and 2 of the saga were given awards, my most treasured being “Best Romance” at the 2012 Los Angeles Book Festival for The Promise of Deer Run. The third book in the series, The Legacy of Deer Run, was contracted with Sword of the Spirit Publishing. (They are picking up the first two books as well). When attending a Christian writer’s conference in May of 2012, I pitched the idea for Fields of the Fatherless to the acquisitions editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I received a contract by Christmas—my best present by far that year.
Do you have any favorite books on craft?
I love “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk—a tiny book with huge amounts of helpful info about the basics for writers. Anything by writer Cecil Murphey is great as well.
One piece of writing advice you wish you’d had from the beginning.
If you feel called to write, be aware that it will be far more difficult than you can imagine but also far more rewarding than you could ever imagine as well.
What do you think the Lord is teaching you through your writing?
How powerful words can be to teach as well as reach the inner places in a person’s heart. They can inspire, heal, or hurt, depending on the message. The pen truly is mightier than the sword.
Where did you get the idea for your latest novel, TheFields of the Fatherless?
When I was a young girl living in Arlington, Massachusetts, my brother and I walked by the Jason Russell House on the way to school. Like most older brothers, Bob enjoyed scaring me. As we approached the house on the corner, he’d say in his most frightening tone, “There’s blood on the floor in there, you know.”
I was a bit unnerved, but mostly I was curious.
What had happened there? And why was there a sign that said it was a historical landmark?
I knew there must be a story. But I didn’t learn—until I became an adult—the full depth of the tragedy that occurred there. It was a story from our nation’s history that begged to be told.
That’s fascinating.  Tell our readers a little more about it, please. 
In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by the British troops.
Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land—yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take the Russells’ land as well?
Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems almost a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family—his wife, children and grandchildren—and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst.
But not even the American militia could have predicted what was about to occur—right on the Russells’ doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered?
(It’s based on a true story.)

Share with us your favorite verse of Scripture, Elaine.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

It speaks so clearly of our obligation to not ignore the needs of the poor but to use wisdom and compassion with those in need. There are so many verses throughout Scripture about helping the poor: their sheer number speaks loudly of God’s heart for the needy.


Thanks so much to Elaine for allowing me to share this with my readers.  You can learn more about Elaine on her website or on her Facebook page. 

And thank all of you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I love introducing you to Christian authors.

Now, to qualify for the random drawing of a signed copy of Elaine's novel:

(By the way, the kindle version is ONLY $1 at this time.)

1.  Leave a comment in the comment box below for one chance to win, which includes (1) your email address, and (2) how are you going to share this blog post.  We so enjoy reading your comments.

 It's easy to share this on Facebook.  Just click the button at the bottom of the page.  Plus, Twitter fans could tweet.  We appreciate lots of shares in order to help us get the word out.

2.  Become a follower of Write Moments with God for an additional chance to win.

Do this by Saturday, November 9 by noon.  I will announce the winner on Monday, November 11th.  It's time to start thinking about Christmas gifts, so here's your chance to get started. 

Thank you so much for participating. 
 May God bless you.