Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Blessed by Mercy ~ Guest post by Heather Hart

Heather Hart
I've invited my friend and fellow Christian author Heather Hart to write a meditation for us today. Heather is first and foremost a servant of Christ. She has the desire to share His love with other women and girls through writing, and is the co-author of the internationally best-selling series, "Teen Devotionals...for Girls!" You can learn more about Heather at

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
~ Matthew 5:7

Have you ever stopped to think about what mercy really means? Wikipedia says that mercy is “the religious term for extending kindness and forgiveness.” I think of mercy as showing compassion, holding back just anger and consequences, lightening or forgoing a requirement or punishment.

When we receive mercy we are spared.

The most beautiful example of mercy we will ever know is the mercy that God has shown to us through the sacrifice of His Son. We deserve to spend eternity in hell for our sins, but by His mercy He provided a way for us to spend it with Him instead. It was God’s mercy that allowed Him to pour out His grace, transfer His righteous and justifiable anger away from us, and spare us from the eternal consequences of our sin.

And now He wants us to show that same mercy to others.

I love the way this is written in the book of Jude:

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.” (1:20-23 NIV).

Being merciful is a combination of acting justly, loving compassion, and walking humbly (Micah 6:8). It can be an attitude or an action—and is usually a combination of the two. It can be as simple as doing the right thing (even when you don’t feel like it), or going out of your way to help or forgive someone.

Paul David Tripp and his co-author Timothy S. Lane wrote in their book, “Relationships—A Mess Worth Making,” that “Mercy does not compromise what is morally right and true.” And, “A commitment to mercy will reveal the treasures of your heart.” I love that last line, but it makes me wonder:

Do we treasure God’s will?
Do we treasure His opinions?

In Luke 6:36 Jesus said, Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” That’s what God wants from us. He has been merciful to us beyond reason, and He desires us to be merciful to the rest of His creation—not because we have to, but out of love for Him and thanksgiving for what He has done for us.

“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”

~ Jude 1:2

Today's meditation is an edited excerpt from Heather's book Blessings from Above: A Deeper Look at the Beatitudes.

This book takes readers verse by verse through the blessings in Matthew 5, providing real life examples as well as verses for a deeper look into the beatitudes.
Reviewers are calling it fantastic, nourishing, and a blessing. I'm reading it and love Heather's gentle teaching style.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Because He Lives, We Shall Too

All week I watched a mockingbird fly in and out of a neighbor’s shrub.  It’s building a nest. I know this because it carries little bunches of twigs and grass in its beak.  To me this is just another reminder that spring has returned and life is eternal.  All nature cooperates to remind us that our Savior lives. And because He lives, we shall too.

Before He raised Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said to Martha…

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live. John 11:25 Douay-Rheims Bible

And when Jesus said this, He knew that before the Resurrection lay the Cross on which He would make the ultimate sacrifice of love for us…on which He would abandon Himself to the Father’s Will declaring God’s love and mercy to the world.

For by a man (Adam) came death, and by a man (Jesus Christ) the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:21 (I added the names in parentheses.)

All our sins were nailed to the Cross with Jesus so that we who believe in Him could live in newness and abundance of life.

On our spiritual journey we too must go the way of the Cross.  We must abandon ourselves at His feet to receive His mercy and grace. The essence of being a Christian is to abandon Self at the foot of the Cross and take up the Cross of Christ. Only then do we know the Resurrection and the Life.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. Romans 6: 6-8 NKJV

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Monday, April 14, 2014

We All Need a Simon -- We All Can Be One

In the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Augusta, GA

We really never know what God has in store for us each day.  We make our to-do lists, plot our best-laid plans.  I’ve been thrown off my game, time and again, because my plans were disrupted, only later to see how masterfully God wove people, places, times, and events together.  He has the master plan.  What I need to do is ask Him to lead the way; I will take up my cross, and follow Him. (See Matthew 16:20)

Today as we mediate on the LORD, I want us to also think about someone—Simon the Cyrenian—whose day was disrupted by a most defining moment of history.  He indeed followed Jesus all the way to Golgotha.

There isn’t much recorded about this man in the Scriptures, and I am not a theologian, but this is what I’ve found.  Simon, from Cyrene, a city in Libya, had come into Jerusalem from out of the country possibly  to celebrate the Passover.  Maybe he had his sons with him (I don’t know).  He had two sons, Alexander and Rufus.  Rufus is referred to by Paul in his letter to the Romans as one “chosen of the Lord”.  (See Romans 16:13)  Since the Apostles had spoken to people from his region telling of  the wonderful works of God  (See Acts 2:11), it’s possible Simon was a believer.  But I don’t know if he was or not.  This is what we know.

And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the  country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.  Mark 15:21

And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it for Jesus.  Luke 23:26

I can imagine the soldiers snatching Simon by the shoulders, pulling him out of that crowd which lined the streets, and making him bear the cross on which Jesus would be crucified.  I imagine he was terrified,  little knowing that he had been overtaken by a divine assignment. 
He carried THE CROSS all the way with Jesus to Golgotha.  And I believe he stayed with Jesus, witnessing his crucifixion, and the crucifixion of the two thieves, and the agony, and the darkness and our Lord’s death.  I believe Simon carried that cross all the way to Life Eternal, and his family too with him.

And today, knowing what we know, we all might say, “Let me, let me, let me bear the Savior’s cross!”  We would volunteer gladly to help carry that burden for our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We can still shout for joy because Jesus has told us how we can do just that. 

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.  Matthew 25:40
Don’t be surprised if God gives you an unexpected opportunity to do an act of mercy and kindness and by so doing allows you to help bear the Lord’s cross.  We all need a Simon, and we all can be one.
Beautiful picture courtesy of Aaron Barton
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Monday, April 7, 2014

Meet Author Andrea Merrell -- Plus Monthly Book Give-Away

Andrea Merrell

It's my pleasure to introduce to you this week Andrea Merrell, an author and editor living in the upstate of South Carolina. She is Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Andrea has led workshops at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference (KCWC), Writers Advance Boot Camp, and The CLASS Christian Writers Conference in New Mexico. Her work has been published online and in numerous anthologies.

Please be sure to comment at the end of the interview.  Andrea is giving away a copy of her new book on editing, which will make the perfect gift for the graduate en route to higher education.  If you're a writer, you'll want to just keep it for yourself.

How long have you been writing, Andrea?

From the time I learned my ABCs and how to write my name. I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself on paper.

Was there a "defining moment" for you on your writing journey?

Absolutely. About fifteen years ago my husband and I attended a marriage retreat. One morning the speaker asked me about my hobbies and passions. When I mentioned writing, he said, “Yes, and I’ll bet that’s on the bottom of your priority list.” When I admitted it was, he said, “Well, it’s time to get it off the bottom and put it on the top.” Then he leaned in a little closer and said, “After all, you’re not getting any younger, you know!”

I went home, started writing seriously, and have never turned back.

I've known you as an editor, first.  Tell us about how you become a professional editor?

I’ve always had an eye for detail, and most of my jobs have included proofreading and editing. About seven years ago I met Cindy Sproles and Eddie Jones with Christian Devotions Ministries and started editing the daily devotions for their website. I became an associate editor for their ministry and, later, an associate editor with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I also do freelance editing.

Where did you get the idea for your new book, Murder of a Manuscript?

From teaching workshops on self-editing at writers’ conferences and mentoring new writers. It’s exciting to help others learn the craft and advance in their writing skills. I know the heartbreak and discouragement of rejection letters (especially those that don’t give the reasons for the rejection), and I wanted to hit the high points of what agents, editors, and publishers are really looking for. 

Because reference material and how-to books can be overwhelming, my book is meant to be a concise, easy-to-read-and-understand guide to help writers submit manuscripts that are as clean and professional as possible.

Murder of a Manuscript

Andrea’s new book, Murder of a Manuscript, (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 2014) is available from Amazon. To learn more about her, visit her website,, or e-mail

What thoughts would you like to leave with our readers, Andrea?

God has gifted each of us in special and unique ways. Whatever your calling might be, God has a purpose for your life. In Jeremiah 29:11-12 (one of my favorite Scriptures), the Lord says, “For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (emphasis mine).”

Don’t waste your life running from that purpose, or spend your time comparing yourself to others. Recognize the talents and abilities that are yours alone and embrace them. There is no greater gift than doing exactly what God has called you to do.

Thank you Andrea for those encouraging words.  And thank you for giving away a copy to one of our readers.

It's so easy to be included in the drawing!  Please leave a comment below and state how you will share this post to be included in the random drawing. Please include your email address as well in your comment so I can contact you in the event your name is chosen.  A winner will be announced Monday, April 14th. 

NOW, to announce the winner of a copy of my devotional.

Congratulations to Robin Densmore Fuson. I hope you will love this toprated devotional and be greatly blessed by your journey through, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea.  I appreciate your encouragement and kind support.

Thank you all for visiting Write Moments with God.