|Little redbird not minding the rain~he sat there for a long time.|
Monday, February 25, 2013
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not. Luke 22:31-32a
It rained practically all week; the toilet ran over and I had to call the plumber; the dog ate my son’s new boxers; I got a nasty cold. What a week! And that’s not the half of it.
Frustrations piling on—stealing our money, our time, our sense of well-being—can lead to fear.
Fear—fear of not being able to do what we need to do, fear of failure.
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. 1 Peter 4:12
The truth is this. I am no exception. Everyone deals with these kinds of frustrations. They are minor obstacles really in the big scheme of things--minor irritants compared with what most of this world’s population must endure on a daily basis. Hardly worth wasting the breath it takes to grumble. Such is the human condition.
And what’s more. We’ll always have to deal with these petty obstacles in this fallen world. Conditions cannot always be ideal. It’s just not possible on this pilgrim journey. Heaven is promised for a future reality.
Oh yes, Satan will try to sift us and shake our confidence in God. Shake our confidence in who we are in Christ Jesus.
Look to Jesus. I say this to encourage myself as much as to encourage you.
Our circumstances cannot control our outlook.
Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is the principal reality. I want that to control my perspective. Our faith in Him is what matters most in our everyday moments.
Faith is the victory over all our frustrations and fears.
For whoever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
Thursday, February 21, 2013
|Thomas Jefferson's home~Monticello~Charlottesville, Virginia~photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp|
“In God We Trust”
So, here’s the thing. In God We Trust is embossed on our money. But is trust in God embossed on our hearts? That’s probably a good question to ask ourselves every time we notice those words on our money.
And again, "I will put my trust in him." (Hebrews 2:13a)
Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. Please consider leaving a comment below. I really enjoy reading them. May God be with you and bless you richly.
Sunday, February 17, 2013
|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 I want us to 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 should 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 lets you help bear the Lord’s cross. We all need a Simon, and we all can be one.
One of my favorite photos ever courtesy of Aaron Barton
Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. Please consider leaving a comment below or writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear from you. God be with you always.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
|Roses in Paris -- photo courtesy of Collage of Life|
It’s Valentine's Day. Everywhere--hearts, flowers, cards, and chocolates.
Everyone is in romance mode.
Prince Charming is at the door.
His heart is in his smile. He has a huge bouquet of red roses in one hand and a several-pound heart-shaped box of chocolates in the other.
I don’t know about you, but this whole scenario smacks of too-good-to-be-true. It’s more than a little bit fairytale.
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about hearts.
See Ecclesiastes3:11. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Interesting: the Hebrew word for world means “everlasting, evermore, perpetual.” So, we could read this phrase, “he hath set eternity in their heart.”
Everyone, male and female, was created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). We obviously aren’t made physically in His image, since God is a Spirit. This has to mean that we have a soul. In contrast with plants, animals, rocks, and seas, we have a soul. It’s our heart.
By the sixth chapter of Genesis, God was already displeased with man’s heart.
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (verses 5-6). God’s heart was grieved because of man’s heart.
A bleak commentary indeed regarding man's heart.
The good news is:
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:15).
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8).
Did you notice the Valentine words? Love. Gift.
It doesn’t stop there.
God promises to cleanse believers when we confess our sins to Him (1 John1:8-9). The
psalmist David put it this way: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit
within me (Psalm 51:10).
As much as we might romantically desire the flowers and chocolates, isn’t the real condition
of our heart much more important?
The Truth says:
God loves us.
He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to die for our sins. This love is free and available to everyone. God’s forgiveness is eternal. God’s love is so much higher than human love.
David said, talking about God’s care, Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I
cannot attain unto it (Psalm139:6).
This Valentine’s Day, let’s look for more than flowers, chocolates, and romance.
Let’s let God take care of our hearts!
Lou Ann Keiser
Lou Ann Keiser is a missionary pastor's wife with over thirty years of ministry experience. She loves teaching the Bible. She is a mother of two married children and a grandmother. She and her husband live in a quaint town in Europe. I'd like to thank her for being my first guest blog writer. To read more about her, visit her blog at In the Way.
Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God. I will return with one of my own devotions for the next blog post. May God be with you.
Monday, February 11, 2013
|Sardis Methodist Church -- where I went to church as a little girl and sang in the children's choir|
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. John 6:63
One of the benefits of my Southern Protestant heritage is that I know all the words of all the songs in the hymnal by heart. I’ve sung them hundreds of times—heard them pounded out loud on the piano every line and verse. I remember walking down a dirt road as a child singing hymns at the top of my lungs without a care in the world.
Sing them over again to me,
Wonderful words of Life;
Let me more of their beauty see,
Wonderful words of Life. ~Philip P. Bliss
We learned the absolute life-giving value of the Word of God incorporated into the songs we sung and found in the Holy Bible (also learned verses by heart, weekly, from colored index cards).
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35
There’s much recorded in the Scripture about words—not only God’s Word, but the words we speak and the power of the tongue.
Think about it for a second and you will remember kind words spoken to you that ministered peace as sweet as a sip of iced tea. Likewise, you will remember harsh words spoken that struck your heart like fiery darts. You might even recall hurtful things you've said to others.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21
We’ve all experienced the consequences of idle chatter—backbiting, gossip—our own as well as that of others. It’s hurtful. It tears a person down.
Jesus condemned it.
But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. Matthew 12:36
I tried to speak some life-giving words this week to someone who was crying because of careless words that had been spoken to her—words that had hurt her heart, making her feel good-for-nothing and unloved.
I took my time before I spoke, carefully choosing the few words that I thought might offer her hope, build her up, and minister God’s grace like a healing balm to her open wound.
I know I must resolve to always be so careful with my words. They are powerful.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29
Please consider leaving a comment on today's blog. I love to hear from you.
Please consider leaving a comment on today's blog. I love to hear from you.
* * *
Now to announce the winner of Alice Wisler's devotional Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache. Congratulations to Kathleen Belongia who is our winner. Thanks to all of you who participated. Alice and I both were thrilled to read all your kind and encouraging comments. May God's grace be with you all.
Monday, February 4, 2013
|Alice J. Wisler's new devotional and a picture of her son Daniel|
You have had a heartbreaking experience with grief; could you talk a little bit about that?
My son Daniel died after cancer treatments in 1997. He was three when he was diagnosed with a malignant tumor in his neck. He was four when he died in my arms after a staph infection entered his compromised body. The day was Groundhog Day, so every year when the little rascal is looking for his shadow to predict the onset of spring, I am remembering my little rascal—a beautiful blond-haired boy who loved his mama and had a great sense of humor.
I think we are surprised at how long grief takes (how long the journey through it is) and what an impact grief has on each aspect of our lives. The loss of Daniel challenged my faith, my beliefs—my very core.
Doing for others means getting out of yourself, so to speak, and letting others enter your life. You begin to see that others have sorrow, too. Others are hurt and need understanding. By helping to meet the needs of others, you help yourself (a remarkable truth from God’s economy).
What is the main takeaway of you new devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning?
Life is tough and grief is real. Being human isn’t easy. God provides for us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, sustaining us so that we can carry on. He is full of compassion, love, forgiveness, mercy and grace.
You have a lot of writing exercises in your book. How important is writing through heartache?
If you ask me, it is vital. Writing saved me. When Daniel died, I needed to pour my pain onto paper and have my journal share in holding it. I wrote all the time. Now I teach online writing courses (Writing the Heartache) and speak at conferences on the value and benefits of putting pen to paper. Writing is inexpensive therapy, a great gift from God. I hope you’ll visit my website to learn more about my workshops.
Besides this devotional, what else have you written?
I have written five novels and two self-published cookbooks in memory of kids.
Rain Song (Christy Finalist)
How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist)
A Wedding Invitation
Still Life in Shadows
All my novels take place in the South. Even though I was born and raised in Japan, now that I live in North Carolina, I have learned the beauty of sweet tea and grits.
How does your family handle having a mom and wife who is behind her laptop most of the day?
My three kids are used to seeing me spend the majority of my time writing or heading out the door to speak. My oldest, Rachel, who is now 22, drew a picture of me years ago when Elizabeth, my youngest (now 15), was a baby. The drawing had Elizabeth in the baby seat/carrier on the carpet and me at my computer with my foot rocking the carrier. My hands, of course, were on the keyboard, eyes glued to the screen. My husband Carl likes me to quit work each day by 5 pm and spend time with him so I honor that request.
Read more about Alice at http://www.alicewisler.com
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
***Now, for an opportunity to receive a copy of Alice's devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache.
At least ten readers must comment and share in order for there to be a book give-away. So come on everyone. Join in. Follow these easy steps to qualify for the random drawing.
1. Leave a comment on this blog which includes your name and email address if you want to be included in the drawing. You can comment without leaving it if you want to as usual. I will use your address to contact you if you win. To leave a comment, click on the pencil icon or the word comment at the end of this blog post.
2. Share this blog post on Facebook so your friends will read about it and visit too, tweet it if you have twitter, and mention the book give-away on your own blog if you have one. It would be great as well and an extra perk for me if you would become a follower of this site, so you won't miss a single post.
Complete these steps by 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 9th. A winner will be announced here on Monday, February 11th, so be sure to check back to see if you've won. Thank you so much for participating in the monthly give-away.
May God be with you.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
|Granddaughter Mya reading Who Is God? by Kathleen Ruckman|
I visited the home improvement store last week. I enjoyed the background music as I browsed the aisles. The cashier was listening, too, because as I checked out, she actually started singing the lyrics of the catchy tune that filled the airwaves.
Maybe that's when it got stuck in my head. I first noticed it as I waited at the traffic light. I was singing it in my mind. By the time I got to the grocery store, I was belting it outloud. It wasn't even a song I liked. That wasn't the end of it. It happened the next day, and the next. When I started writing this, it happened again.
Do you know what I mean? Haven't we all had songs stuck in our heads. We hear it on the radio in the car, or in church, or in the home improvement store, and at the most unexpected time, it plays over and over like a broken record. Unfortunately, negative thoughts, self-doubts, painful memories, and worry can get stuck in our heads as well. And like that song I was singing even though I didn't like it, those negative thoughts can play over and over again in our minds causing us to lose our peace.
For our mental and spiritual health, it's important that we control those negative thoughts. The apostle Paul has given us a simple list.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things...and the God of peace shall be with you" Philippians 4:8-9 (KJV).
Could he have been any more direct? Paul said "think on these things". I like the promise he gives. The God of peace shall be with you.
Do you have a favorite Scripture that helps you overcome negative thinking?
Melanie's rescued kittens in a box
Those of you who read Write Moments with God regularly will remember this is a devotion I wrote last summer. It's been a favorite with readers. Feel free to leave your comments below. I'd like to hear from you. Be sure to visit this upcoming Monday when I will have the featured author of the month and book give away.
May His peace be with you.