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
Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  Please consider leaving a comment below.  I love to hear from you.

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.

Monday, March 31, 2014

What Kind of Fruit are you Producing? PLUS BOOK Give-Away

Clip Art courtesy of Google Image

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good­ness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians5:22-23 ISV

Years ago I received a capiz shell wind chime as a gift. Each brightly colored shell was shaped like a fruit. According to my friend, these fruits represented the fruit of the Holy Spirit. I memorized the verse and hung the wind chimes in front of the kitchen window. With each delicate tinkling, I remembered the list of virtues.

How is it possible, I thought, for all of these fruits to become evident in my life?

Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia, encouraging them to live by faith in Jesus Christ rather than giving in to their own fleshly desires. What results when people give in to the desires of a sinful nature?

  Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, rivalry, jealously, outbursts of anger, quarrels, conflicts, factions, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild partying, and things like that. I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21 ISV). When we live according to our sinful natures, we hurt ourselves and others and, in effect, reject the power available to us through the Holy Spirit.

Paul goes on to say, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good­ness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. Now those who belong to the Messiah Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s also be guided by the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-25 ISV)

 A life in harmony with the Holy Spirit, and consequently in accordance to God’s Word, will produce the fruit of the Spirit.

May you produce a beautiful bounty of spiritual fruit in your life.  Today's meditation is a excerpt from my devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments

Readers who share this blog post on social media sites and also tell me about it in a comment below will be included in a drawing for a free paperback copy of this devotional. It's my pleasure to get this devotional into the hands of readers and now is a perfect time as we look forward to Easter. If you already have your copy, think gift. 
The winner will be announced April 7th.  
Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Driftwood mirror courtesy of Google Images
We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image. 2 Corinthians 3:18

Changed into the same image? Isn’t that what Paul said? In that case, we would reflect Jesus. We would reflect His glory. We would mirror His character.

Jesus reflected God. 

We look to Him every time our thoughts turn to Him, every time we go before God’s throne of grace in prayer. We behold Him when we linger there in His presence.

This brings to mind the story of Moses coming down from the mountain where he had been with God.  Without his realizing it, his face shone, reflecting the glory of God that he had beheld. 

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he had the two tablets in his hand, and he did not know that the skin of his face was ablaze with light because he had been speaking with God. Exodus 34:29 ISV

It requires discipline to “behold Him”. The most natural thing to do is behold ourselves.  I look at myself in the mirror several times each day. I look at myself when my thoughts dwell on my aches and pains, everyday matters, and even my hopes and dreams. 

In requires discipline to “behold Him” in every particular and circumstance of life. 

It requires discipline to concentrate on His character, His glory, His grace, and meditate on God.

But the more we behold Him, the more we will reflect His glory.

A new friend reminded me of a beautiful song this week which started my reflections. Ever since I read these words, it keeps replaying in my mind. 

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.”

Text and music by Helen H. Lemmel

And Jesus said this about John the Baptist,

He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.  John 5:35

That's something to think about.

Sunrise on Seabrook Island courtesy of Eileen DeCamp
I'm pleased you have visited Write Moments with God.  Feel free to leave your comments below if you like.  I appreciate you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Let Me Be the Glove LORD. YOU Be the Hand that Moves Me

A new pair of gloves
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Today I want to give you this picture as a visual reminder.  Gloves
What is a glove without a hand? A lifeless, useless thing. 

This winter I have often worn gloves, not only outside, but inside as well.  My hands are cold!  So the gloves keep reminding me of something I wrote in my journal a few years ago:

 “Even though I feel physically weak, and my burden of responsibility seems too heavy,
I can do everything that God intends for me to do by the power of Him working in me,
empowering me.  The Holy Spirit of God dwells in me.
Let me be the glove, Lord.   I am the glove—God be the hand that moves me.”

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that God the Holy Spirit lives in us. It is He who strengthens us. In Ephesians, Paul is praying for the believers to be encouraged and have faith.

That he would grant you according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. Ephesians 3:16

God the Holy Spirit indwells the inner man, and strengthens our soul and encourages our heart with His might. That's encouraging to me.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Ephesians 3:20

The power that is working in us is the Holy Spirit of God if we will avail ourselves to His power.  If we will look to Him for our strength, we can be His hands and feet on this earth. 

Let me encourage you.  You CAN do WHATEVER GOD INTENDS for you to do if you avail yourself to His power that is already dwelling inside you. Look to Him for your strength and receive His comfort.  All to His glory.

Thanks to Virginia Sharpe Franz for the lovely photo

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  Please come again. Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dispel Dissatisfaction with an Attitude of Gratitude

Photo courtesy of Collage of Life

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AKJV

I tend to write often on the subject of thankfulness or an attitude of gratitude. I have a quote attributed to Chuck Swindoll about “Attitude” on my Facebook Author page.  I used to keep it posted in my classroom. 

Why do I write about this subject so often? Simply because I need to remind myself of its importance.  Maybe you need reminding too. I believe this is a lifestyle choice that needs to be practiced in the concrete circumstances of our lives.

The world that surrounds us with all its materialism and commercialism promotes dissatisfaction. We are practically programmed to want all the newest technology and gadgets, the most comfortable and stylish homes, cars, clothes, and the most exotic, luxurious vacations (from God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea). We tend to compare our possessions and lifestyles with those of our proverbial neighbor.  This can lead to an attitude of dissatisfaction and disappointment. 

A remedy for the anxiety and alienation this dissatisfaction spawns is thankfulness and faith in the goodness and love of God. 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

I need to be thankful for all that God has given me and also for His mercy and grace that spares me from undesirable things.

A friend told me the other day: “say ‘thank you’ every chance you get”—to family, friends, to everything and everybody that sparks thankfulness within, and especially to God, say “thank you.” With gratitude in my heart, I am free to enjoy what God has given me.

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

I am grateful for you and thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. I pray that the meditations and reflections you find on this blog are encouraging and uplifting to you.  Thank you for visiting. Please feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below.

CONGRATULATONS  to Carol Heilman who has won a copy of Vanessa Fortenberry's new children's book, Mama, I want to see God. Thank you Vanessa for being my guest and for offering a copy of your book to my readers.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Meet Guest Author, Vanessa Fortenberry ~ Plus, monthly Book Give-Away

Vanessa Fortenberry 

Today’s guest is Vanessa Fortenberry. She is a true Georgia Peach having lived in Georgia all her life. I had the pleasure of meeting Vanessa in 2011 at the Catch the Wave Christian Writers Conference. I was impressed by her kind soft-spoken nature. We’ve become friends and encourage each other on our Christian journey.

Vanessa is giving away a copy of her beautiful newly released children’s book, Mama,I Want to See God. So, be sure to leave a comment below.

As a child Vanessa wrote plays, poetry, short stories, and she was an avid reader. However, as much as she loved reading and writing, when she went to college, she majored in music.
Unable to escape the appeal of the written word, Vanessa later became a teacher-librarian. And, after reading countless picture books during story time, Vanessa picked up her own pen to create inspirational stories for children and adults. 

Vanessa has two children, Thomas and Teresa; and two grandchildren, Andrea and Anthony.

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

In 2010, while exercising at the gym, I mistakenly turned the TV channel to the 700 Club. A conversation about how "God knows us and knows us by name" quickly gained my attention. God spoke to me that day, and I went home to write the first of many inspirational stories for children.  

Tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I find inspiration from real life stories. We all struggle at home, school, work, and play. My message to my readers is that we can overcome our personal conflicts with the help of a loving God.

 Vanessa, what inspired your book, Mama, I Want to See God?

My grandson, Anthony inspired me to write Mama, I Want to See God. About three years ago, when he was six-years old, he actually said to his mother those exact words. The next day, I sat down at my computer and wrote the story. In my book a child ask his mother lots of questions about God. The child’s curiosity about God indicates his desire to connect with God, while his mother answers his questions with patience and affection.

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

God is teaching me to study His Word, to believe in His Word, and to act on His Word.

Would you share your favorite Scripture with us?

Psalm 78:4 is my favorite scripture. It states, “We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders” (NIV).

As a Christian writer, God gave me an important assignment to teach children about God through life lesson stories. So, it becomes even more imperative to introduce children to the Word and prayer so they may gain knowledge about God, which will ultimately draw them closer to Him.

Where can we find you on the web?

I also write a monthly e-newsletter, “Connecting Readers to the Word,” which you can subscribe to free on my website.

Thank you Vanessa for being our guest today.  And thank you Readers for spending some of your day with us. I hope you will participate in the drawing for a chance to win your own copy of Vanessa's new children's book.

Now, to qualify for the random drawing:

1.  Leave a comment in the comment box below for one chance to win. Include (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 about Jane’s writing and this blog.

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

Do this by Saturday, March 8th by noon. I will announce the winner on Monday, March 10th. 

Thanks again for visiting Write Moments with God.  Please come again.