Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obedience is Better than Sacrifice

My son Justin's 5th grade class--He's that well-behaved child in the blue stripped shirt on the front right.

"And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat the rams" 1 Samuel 15:22 (KJV).

          I am the mother of six children.  When one of my children listens to me and obeys my directions, I am delighted.  Simple obedience brings peace and contentment; whereas disobedience can bring much disappointment, confusion, and grief.  How many times as a parent have I lamented, "If only she had listened to me . . . if only he had listened."  So much heartache, so many troubles could have been avoided, if only they had listened and obeyed my voice.

          Our mature perspective shaped by life experiences allows us as parents to foresee the outcomes of some actions and decisions, giving us the wisdom to direct our children to make right choices.  When they don't obey, and the inevitable consequences follow, we endeavor to intervene to keep heartache from turning into heartbreak, setback into disaster, disaster into ruin.  We waste countless hours; we lose peace.  Simple obedience would have been better than all our efforts to make up for the disobedience.

          How much more so does God see all things?  He knows the beginning from the end.  How much more does God desire for His children to obey His voice?  God asks for our obedience.  He expects us to pay attention to His words.  In fact, He says that if we love Him, we will obey His commands (John 14:21). 

"Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams."

          Have you had the experience of wishing you had listened to the wise counsel of God found in the Scriptures?  Can you use that experience as a reminder to obey God in all things. 

Anne Marie, Justin, and Robbie--Three of my children.
          Thank God for His mercy to forgive us when we have caused Him pain by our disobedience.  I pray for the strength and the will to be obedient to Him at all times.   
Note to my readers:  The book give-away continues through Friday, so read the previous post and follow the instructions to enter.  Blessings to you today.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Eva Marie Everson, featured author plus monthly book give-away

Eva Marie Everson at Maranatha Christian Writers Conference
Today I'd like to introduce to you Eva Marie Everson.  I was delighted to meet Eva Marie in June at the Write to Publish Conference in Wheaton, near Chicago.  She had just given the opening key note address.  When I met her afterwards, we learned we had grown up less than twenty miles from each other, knowing many of the same people and local places.  We became fast friends as we entertained each other with stories of our parallel childhoods.

Eva Marie was born and brought up in Sylvania, Georgia. She says the best part of being from the South is the core values of its people.  A seminary graduate and former nurse turned award winning novelist, Eva Marie has published more than twenty-five books since signing her first contract with Barbour Publishing in 1999.

In her distinct voice with Southern charm, she endeavors to impart those values and her faith through her writing.  Eva Marie is a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She lives and works in her lakefront home in Florida.  If you would like to know more about Eva Marie and her work, please visit her website at

Since I met Eva Marie, I've read three of her Christian novels.  In September, I read Unconditional, a novelization of the movie by the same title.  In my opinion, Mrs. Everson has created a significant piece of fiction, destined to be another enduring, award-winning novel.  With her authentic prose she weaves together the lives of memorable, endearing characters.  There is nothing contrived or predictable about their story.  Universal themes thread throughout, one in particular, man's search for purpose and meaning in life in spite of the rain that falls on everyone.

This story has a positive message of hope, without being preachy.  Samatha Crawford and Papa Joe Bradford create meaning in their everyday lives in spite of personal tragedy and heartache.  As Sam watches Joe love and care for the kids in his struggling neighborhood, she begins to realize that no matter what life's circumstances may be, the love of God is always there for us.  She learns to love again and forgive in unexpected ways.  I laughed and cried as I read this moving story which flowed from the lives of its characters. I couldn't put it down.  Unconditional will be one of those rare novels I will read again and again.  I am looking forward to seeing the movie Unconditional by LifeWay Films which is playing in theatres now.

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these,"  Matthew 19:14.

Now, for an opportunity to receive a copy of Unconditional.

At least ten readers must comment in order for there to be a book give-away.  Follow these easy steps to qualify for the random drawing.

1.  Leave a comment on this blog which includes your name and email address.  (I will use your address to contact you if you win.)

2.  Share this blog post on Facebook or mention it on your own blog.  If you do not have a facebook, or a blog, become a follower of this site.

Complete these steps by 11:00 a.m. Friday, October 7th.  A winner will be announced on October 8th.

Thank you for supporting my writing by reading and commenting on this blog.  Another devotion will be posted on Wednesday, October 3rd, so please come back.
Now, have a wonderful day.  God bless you.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Some Mistakes Time Can't Erase--Repentance is the Only Apology

Photo taken by Eva Marie Everson in Rutherfordton, NC
"Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations. . .  " Luke 24:46-47 (KJV).

Some mistakes time can't erase
The chagrin just subsides
The millstone hangs heavy
Round the neck
Regret continually derides.
Stumbling blocks to others
No less so to ourselves
Indeed overcome
We've denied Him
Yea, three times, before the cock crowed.
No looking back! Endure
Until Thy Kingdom come,
God has graciously provided;
Confess and be ye cleansed
Repentance is the only apology.
This poem flowed from my heart during a time of personal trial and heartbreak.  Later I realized that my sentiments synthesized many Scriptures.  Of course, I had alluded to Peter's denial of Christ before the crucifixion.
Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him.
"'Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.'  And he said to him, 'Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.'  He said, 'I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.'" Luke 22:31-32.
Yes, Jesus knew that Peter would deny Him, and He prayed for him, and told him what to do when he realized his sin and returned to Jesus.  God knew that we all would sin and fall short, and He provided a way to Him through Jesus.
Repentance is a part of God's merciful plan for our salvation: repentance and salvation go hand in hand.
I don't know that we Christians hear enough about repentance, the need to turn from sin and seek God's forgiveness.  Last night I heard Anne Graham Lotz speak, and she told the wonderful story of Jesus and the Cross. One of the things she said in referring to all the suffering and chaos in the world--the "bottomline problem is sin"--and she told of the need for repentance.  Her message was well received.
"Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he many send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old," Acts 3:19-20.

                                               Glorious sunrise courtesy of Eileen DeCamp
Praise God, He has provided a way of forgiveness for us, and salvation through Jesus Christ.  May you have His peace today as you embrace the cross and Jesus.  I pray for all of you who read these words.  May we look together for that "time of refreshing".  Blessings to you in Jesus' name.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rest In His Peace--Don't Stress Over It

Beautiful Tiffany window in the Mary Willis Library founded 1888 in Washington, Georgia--First free library in the state.
One morning this week during my devotional time, I was journaling as I talked to the Lord.  So many thoughts were stirring in my mind; there were many things I was trying to plan and figure out for the day.

I picked up my pen and wrote these words--"Rest in His peace--don't stress over it."  Then, I picked up my Bible and opened it to Psalms where I often go to seek His peace.  Usually I start my Scripture reading with the 23rd Psalm, but that day I started reading Psalm 116.  I was not particularly familiar with it, but it seemed perfect for the time because it was all about His mercy.  When I read verse seven, I felt like He was right there with me. 

"Return unto thy rest, O my soul:  for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee," Psalm 116:7.

That was what I needed to hear from God.  So, I looked up other verses referenced there.

"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. . . ." Jeremiah 6:16

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls."  Matthew 11:29

Thank you Lord.  I so need rest for my soul.  I will find my rest in YOU.

May you all find rest for your souls today as you turn to Him with all of your cares. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Why do you think Jesus asks us to forgive "seventy times seven"?

Amazing sunset in Virginia courtesy of Eileen DeCamp
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" Luke 23:34a (KJV).

Christ's crucifixion and death involved pain, suffering, and humiliation beyond anything any of us will ever endure.  He was blameless, yet he took on the sins of the world in order to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  He forgave those who caused him pain and suffering, even as He hung on the cross.  As He suffered there, He prayed to God asking for their forgiveness, saying that they didn't know what they were doing.  Those who caused His death became recipients of His compassion and His forgiveness.  I won't pretend that I can comprehend such mercy.

When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  God's forgiveness of our sins is the supreme demonstration of His divine mercy and grace.

We are expected to follow Jesus' example, extending forgiveness to all who sin against us. 

At the close of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus added, "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt. 6:14-15).

Peter wanted to know just how often he must forgive someone who sinned against him.  To his way of thinking, seven times seemed to be generous.  In comparison to the Old Testament law "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", it was generous.  Jesus' response--"seventy times seven"--implies that our forgiveness must be unlimited.  Is such forgiveness humanly possible? 

Personally, I've faced some situations where I've told the Lord with tears streaming down my cheeks that He's asking me to do something that's too hard for me.  Sometimes the wrongs against us or our loved ones seem unforgiveable. 

 God understands what we are going through.  His Son was crucified. 

 Jesus understands.  He forgave even in the midst of His suffering.

When I feel it is too difficult for me to bend my emotions to God's will, I acknowledge His command for me to forgive, as well as my desire to honor Him by my obedience.  When I offer the mercy of forgiveness out of obedience to Christ, eventually my emotions come under the Lordship of Christ, and I come to realize that forgiveness is mine to give as well as to receive, thanks to Christ living in me.

Has someone's sin against you hurt you to the core?  You might want to pray this prayer as a love offering to Jesus and a step of faith.

          "By the power of the Holy Spirit working in me, I ask that You, Dear God, give me the will to forgive those who have sinned against me.  In Jesus' Name I pray.  Amen."

Photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp--American Cemetery Normandy France
with Tara DeCamp

 May the God of mercy and peace be with you today.  My thoughts and prayers are with you.  Thank you so much for visiting this blog.  Come back again.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hope to One Heart at a Time

My grandson, Nathan, when he was in the hospital last spring.
I have been asking some questions lately.  How do I touch the indifference?  How do I touch the unbelief that I sense all around me every day?  How do I make a difference for the Kingdom of God. 

During my devotional time yesterday, I read John 13:35.

"By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another."

I felt God was reminding me of Christ's command to love.  By loving others, I demonstrate the love of Christ to the world.  As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I am empowered to do that by the Holy Spirit who lives in me.  My realm of influence is my little world--those people I come into contact with as I go about my life every day.  Through reading the Scriptures, I felt God was giving me more understanding regarding my questions.

Then last night I received the monthly newsletter from "Living Hope Pregnancy Support Services" in Whiteville, N.C.  This ministry opens its doors to its community, providing counseling as well as practical and material assistance to those who come in.

Janet McPherson, the Director of the center, writes,

 "There are many hurting people and extremely limited resources in our community.  Sometimes there is little that we can do aside from giving a Bible, providing a listening ear, and praying.  As Mother Teresa once said, 'We can do no great things, only small things with great love.'" 

Again, God spoke to my heart through her words.

As those kind volunteers listen to each person's story, they touch the indifference.  As they wipe each tear and hold each hand, they touch the hurt.  As they give out baby clothing, car seats, and so much more, they touch the unbelief.  They are manifesting the love of God. 

And this is how the world comes to know Him.  By the love that Christians demonstrate to others.  That's how we promote the gospel of Christ in the world.  Providing hope to one heart at a time.

                                                                     My little Nathan.  

All praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.  My prayers and best wishes to all of you who visit this blog. 

AND, congratulations to Beverly and Anne Marie who will be receiving one of Elizabeth Musser's beautiful books from the Secrets of the Cross trilogy. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Entertainment with a Soul -- and monthly book give-away

Elizabeth Musser
          Today I'd like to introduce to my readers, Elizabeth Musser.  Elizabeth is a native of Atlanta,Georgia.  For over 25 years, Elizabeth and her husband Paul have lived in France, serving as missionaries through International Teams.  The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law, and a new grandson.  Presently, Elizabeth and her husand live in Lyon, France.  To learn more about their work and Elizabeth's writing, visit her website at

          I first met Elizabeth online, drawn to her because of our common interests of faith, writing, and French.  I had just read her book The Swan House, and I wanted to send her some fan mail.  As it's turned out, I've gotten to know her as a friend. I've had the pleasure of spending time with Elizabeth in Atlanta. She is a kind, gracious lady.  I appreciate her writing, not only for the memorable stories she creates, but also for the fact that she puts intriguing stories of faith into the hands of readers who might not normally pick up a "Christian" novel.  She likes to call her writing "entertainment with a soul."  I think that's an appropriate tag.

          Elizabeth's novel, The Swan House, set in Atlanta in the early sixties, was recently named one of Georgia's Top Ten Novels of the past 100 years.  Her Secrets of the Cross Trilogy is now available in its entirety in English.  Elizabeth wrote Two Crosses, Two Testaments and Two Destinies back in the 1990s.  All three of the books were published then in Europe, becoming best-sellers, but Two Destinies was not published in English until now.  It is now available in bookstores everywhere stating today, September 1, 2012.   


          I've just finished reading Two Destinies.  I can tell you, your heart will beat along with those of the characters as you are drawn into their lives and loves.  Set in France and Algeria near the end of 1994, this historical romance is the story of the persecuted church in North Africa, the terrorist activities in the midst of Algeria's civil war, the desperate homeless people in France, and the courageous individuals willing to risk their lives to help those in need.  The issues addressed in this novel are more timely and relevant than ever.  Since the tragic events of 9-11, we have become much more aware of the Muslim world. In the trilogy, Elizabeth tackles faith questions  and issues which Americans now read about and see on the daily news.  

          I believe as a result of reading this novel, I am more sensitive to the plight of persecuted Christians, and much more aware of the issues that face those who serve our Lord as missionaries.  Not only do missionaries face unbelief and indifference, but also the fear and mistrust of those they are trying to help.

          This weekend, Elizabeth will be at the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia.  If you're in the area, go meet her in person.  She will have all of her books for sale, several more than I've been able to mention here, plus she will be giving away copies of The Secrets of the Cross trilogy.  I'm sure if you tell her you read about her on this blog, she will give you a free signed copy.

"And this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith," 1 John 5:4b.

                                                                   * * * *

Now, for an opportunity to receive a copy of one of the lovely books from the Secrets of the Cross trilogy.

At least ten readers must comment in order for there to be a Free Book Give-Away.  Follow these three easy steps to qualify for the random drawing.

1.  Leave a comment on this blog which includes your name and email address.  (I'll use that address to contact you for your mailing address if you win.)

2.  Share this blog post on Facebook or mention it on your own blog.

3.  Sign up to become a "follower" of Write Moments with God. 

Steps 1-3 must be completed by 11:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7th.

A winner will be announced on September 8th. 
Thank you for supporting my writing by reading and commenting on this blog.

Now, have a wonderful day.  God bless you.