Monday, February 23, 2015

The Allure of Other Things

Old Rugged Cross Wreath found on Pinterest

 But the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. Mark 4:19 (RSV)

So, these are the things that choke out God’s Word, rob us of contentment, and render us unfruitful. Cares and delights and desires threaten to monopolize our thoughts, consume our attention, and turn our minds and affections away from God. Such is the propensity of man who lives in this fallen world. 

But Jesus did not intend for us to be taken out of the world, or shut ourselves away so we might never be tempted.  He wanted us to go about doing good as He did.  He wanted us to be His ambassadors. (See Matthew 28:19-20)

Now we have entered the season of Lent when many Christians give up something as a way to honor God and prepare their hearts to receive the risen Lord.

Lent is the forty day period which precedes the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  It reflects the forty days Jesus spent in the desert in prayer and fasting in preparation for ministry.  After those forty days, he began preaching in Galilee. (See Matthew 4:1-11)

May this season be especially precious to us--a time of intentional personal reflection, committed to prayer and quiet times with God.  While we think about Jesus and His life and ministry, we can focus our hearts and minds on Him and away from those other things that choke out God’s truth.

We will be refreshed and strengthened and more able to manifest the kingdom of God hidden in our hearts.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; ... to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. Isaiah 61:1a,3 (RSV)

Daffodil opening in the rain from

Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I hope you will enjoy the season of Lent.  I appreciate you.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Be Happy in the Now -- the Secret of Contentment

Cheerful daffodils courtesy of Eileen DeCamp 
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

 Years ago during a difficult time in my life, I received a greeting card with the following message:

I wish our lives were like VCRs.  We could rewind the good parts and fast forward the bad.

I smiled when I read that message then and again the other day when I found it while cleaning out a drawer.

And the fact is, we are like that.  We often wish that we could go back and replay the good parts, the good years, the joyful flourishing seasons of our lives.  Who wouldn't want to fast forward the more trying times?  To some extent, our thoughts and memories can take us anywhere we want to go.  But, in reality, it's a good thing we don't have the ability to rewind and fast forward our lives.  We would totally miss out on what God has for us today.

Focusing on what we no longer have rather than being grateful for our blessings today is a source of much discontentment.  When you reach a point in your life when so many milestones and major life accomplishments and joys have already passed, or when you go through the unease of life transitions, it's natural to long for "the good old days" or for some special future event.  It’s a strategy to take the focus off the here and now.

The apostle Paul wanted us to be happy in the now and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. 

For I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.  Philippians 4:11b (RSV) 

There is great gain in godliness with contentment.  1 Timothy 6:6 (RSV)

The older I get, the more I appreciate the serenity prayer’s sweet summation of contentment.  I want to share it with you.  (I found this picture on Google images.)

Thank you all so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  And thank you Carol Heilman for being my guest last week and giving away a copy of your novel,  Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar.  Carol and I appreciate all your kind words.  Congratulations to Betsy Herman who is the winner of the drawing.  Be looking for your copy in the mail.  

P. S.  My daffodils are blooming!  That always makes me happy.  Blessings!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Meet the Author -- Carol Heilman -- Win a Copy of Her Novel in the Monthly Give-away

Carol Heilman 
Our guest today is Carol Heilman. I enjoyed getting to know Carol last spring at the Carolina Christian Writers’ Conference. Carol is a coal miner's daughter who married her high school sweetheart. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina with her husband of fifty-plus years.

I hope you'll enjoy our interview.  Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Carol’s delightful debut novel, Agnes Hopper Shakes Up Sweetbrier. I love the cover.

Carol, please tell us a little about your writing.

I began writing family stories, especially about my dad’s Appalachian humor, for newspapers and magazines. I read tons of books on writing, and enrolled in a few creative writing classes, but the most important step for me was joining a critique group. These fellow writers became my support and my cheerleaders who gently critiqued my work until gradually my writing skills improved. I think a good critique group is invaluable.

For you is writing a passion, a calling, or both?

Writing is an absolute passion. Just ask my husband who sometimes rolls his eyes at my enthusiasm.

What’s the best thing about writing a book?

Getting lost in the story and in the lives of the characters.

Is there one piece of writing advice you wish you’d had from the beginning?

You will learn more from your failures than your successes.

What is the most meaningful truth you hope your readers will glean from your writing?

Listen to our elders. Really listen. And become a voice for a senior who cannot speak for himself or herself.

What do you think the Lord is teaching you through your writing?

Patience and compassion. 

What inspired you to write this novel?

The story began as a writing assignment, a short story, inspired by my mother’s spunky spirit and my dad’s humor. The main character, Agnes, has my mother’s spunky spirit.

Tell us about your new book.

Set in a small town, AgnesHopper Shakes Up Sweetbriar, is about an outspoken widow who sometimes talks to her husband, Charlie, even though he died two years and three months ago. Here’s a description from the back cover.

Summer's steamy haze coats North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, but feisty Agnes Marie Hopper discovers the heat isn't the only thing causing her blood to boil. After a kitchen fire destroys her home, Agnes moves in with her daughter, Betty Jo. Three months later they come to an understanding. Neither can tolerate living with the other. So on a sultry August morning Betty Jo drives Agnes and her few belongings to Sweetbriar Manor, a local retirement home and a former house of ill repute.

With no intention of staying, Agnes devises a scheme to sneak out of the Manor and find another place to live. Before she can make her exit, she runs into her best friend from high school, along with some other quirky characters. With a nose for trouble, Agnes learns some of the residents are being robbed, over-medicated, and denied basic cable and Internet access.

Armed with nothing more than seventy-one years of common sense and a knack for pushing people's buttons, Agnes sets out to expose the unscrupulous administrator, protect her new friends, and restore Sweetbriar Manor's reputation as a "rewarding and enriching lifestyle." But the real moment of truth comes when Agnes is forced to choose between her feisty self-reliance and the self-sacrifice that comes from caring for others. 

Please share with us your favorite Scripture and why it means so much to you?

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters.” 2 Samuel 22:17 (NIV)

If the Lord Jesus had not rescued me, I would have drowned. I was a young adult when I realized He loved me unconditionally, and at that very moment my bitter and rebellious heart began to heal and change. Now my heart is filled with His joy because I will always belong to Him.

Thank you Carol for sharing with us today.  Your novel sounds like a fun read.    

Readers, thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  You can connect with Carol on the following sites:

I hope you will leave a comment (with your email address if I don't have it already) in order to be included in the random drawing for a paperback copy of Carol new book.  Please share this post with your friends. The winner will be announced on the blog, Monday, February 9th.  Blessings!