Monday, September 1, 2014

Meet Designed for Devotion Author ~ Plus Book Give-away

Dianne Neal Matthews

I'm glad you've joined me today. Our guest author is Dianne Neal Matthews, a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including The One Year Women of the Bible and Designed for Devotion, which won a 2013 Selah Award. She also writes for websites and blogs, contributes to compilations (including Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus), and teaches at writers' conferences. Dianne and her husband currently live in southeast Texas, but she is frequently on the road to visit her children and grandchildren.

I asked Dianne to share one of the devotions from her book, Designed for Devotion
I love the title and think this devotional is a good companion for reading through the bible. It's my pleasure to introduce Dianne and her writing to you.

Philippians: Joy to the Church

Always be joyful in the Lord! I'll say it again: Be joyful! Philippians 4:4

Paul enjoyed a special relationship with the believers in Philippi. The church that originated from a handful of women on a riverbank in Macedonia faithfully supported Paul and for the most part, remained a healthy congregation. When the believers heard that Paul had been imprisoned in Rome, they sent a financial gift through one of their members, Epaphroditus. Paul responded by writing the Philippians a letter to express his gratitude and deep love for them, and to urge them toward a lifestyle of holiness, humility, unity, and joy.

Philippians does contains a small amount of doctrinal teaching. Paul addressed the problem of rivalry and dissension in the church, and touched on the false teachings of legalism and antinomianism. But Philippians is primarily a personal letter of love and encouragement toward spiritual growth. Besides the benefit of Paul’s instructions, he offers himself as a living example as he shares thoughts about his circumstances.

Paul declares that he has learned to be content in whatever situation he finds himself (4:11). He has the assurance that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (4:13). Such victorious living is possible because of his single-minded devotion to knowing Christ and sharing the gospel. Paul urges his readers to imitate Christ’s perfect example of sacrifice and humility when he temporarily set aside his rightful glory and took on human form, even submitting to a horrible death on the cross.

The concept of “joy” is a predominant theme in Philippians. The noun and verb form of “joy” or a synonym is used sixteen times in the letter’s four chapters. While happiness depends on our outward circumstances, joy is deeper, stronger, and springs from our attitudes and mindset. Joy is a steadfast, confident assurance of God’s love and presence in our life no matter what we’re going through. Philippians is our own personal love letter from God, reminding us that joy is a gift he wants all his children to enjoy.

About the Book: Designed for Devotion: A 365 Day Journeyfrom Genesis to Revelation provides an overview of the Bible in chronological order. It offers background information for each book, including the author, theme, purpose for writing, and historical setting. The devotional highlights the key stories and characters in the OT and gospels, and explores the basic teachings of the NT writers. Several devotions called “Jesus Sightings” focus on how Christ fulfilled Old Testament prophecies. Also included are devotions about the 400-year period between the Testaments, the concept of “theophany”, the distinction between the Major and Minor Prophets, and other topics. Each day’s devotion ends with a practical application that encourages readers to apply that day’s spiritual lesson to their own journey with God.

To learn more, please visit or connect with Dianne through FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God. Dianne and I would love to hear from you.  

Would you like a chance to win a copy of Designed for Devotions? It's easy. All you have to do to be included in the drawing is leave a comment below with your email address by midnight September 6, 2014.  I will announce the winner on Monday, September 8, 2014. (Participation is limited to residents of the USA.)  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Engraved on the Palms of His Hands

"My peace I give you" written on the palm of my hand.
          "Mrs. Johnson, what do you have written on the palm of your hand," a student asked?
          "Notes to myself," I replied.

          You see, I've gotten into the habit of writing bits of Scripture on the palm of my hand.  Occasionally, I write a note, a phone number, something I need to remember, but usually I write a phrase from Scripture that I can refer to throughout the day.  Notes I can keep constantly before my eyes.
 My peace I give you...

 My trust is in You....

 Believe ye that I am able... 

My refuge and my strength....

          These words are constant reminders to me that God is faithful.  The faith filled words help me keep a godly perspective throughout my busy day.  A perspective that is in line with His Word and His Will.

          Isn't it amazing that we are so dear to God that He has us engraved upon the palms of His hands?

          Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.... Isaiah 49:15,16a (NIV)

Photo courtesy of Marissa Nicole Photography 
Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God. The meditation that I'm sharing today was a very popular post two years ago.  I currently have a short term teaching position. When I wrote on my palm with a Sharpie this week, I remembered this meditation.  

Be blessed.  God has not forgotten you.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sweet to the Soul: Health to the Bones

Photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques Collage of Life

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (NIV)

Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop: but a good word makes it glad. (AKJV)

Grief  in the heart of a man shall bring him low, but with a good word he shall be made glad.(Douay-Rheims) (All the above verses are Proverbs 12:25.)

I unwrapped a Halls cough drop for my sore throat and noticed words, pleasant sayings written on the wrapper.
“Don’t give up.”
“Seize the day.”
“A pep talk in every drop.”

Short simple sayings, but they actually started to work immediately on my attitude. Their effectiveness penetrated deep causing a boost of inspiration. My spirits lifted. I smiled.

We all know pleasant words make us feel good. The proverbs of Solomon instruct us about words and their power. Words can inspire all kinds of emotions and actions. But Proverbs 16:24 takes it further than that.

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. Proverbs16:24

Not only do words build up the soul, they can build up the physical body. They can give us strength. Pleasant words can bring joy to the depressed, healing for those who hurt.

I’m not talking about denying reality. We do have to deal with the facts of the struggles and obstacles we face.  Even so, when my soul is built up, my faith is increased, and I am better able to overcome those obstacles.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.  Proverbs 18:21

A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.  Proverbs 18:6

Do we curse ourselves by the poisonous words we speak that are lacking the life-giving power of faith?

I think this week I will be diligent to speak words of faith that promote life  and vitality, words that agree with God’s Word and build up my faith and give me hope.  I want to be diligent to speak words that sooth the soul and strengthens the bones.  Not only for myself, but especially for those in need all around me.  Will you do the same? God will give us the opportunities.  Let’s be ready.

Rainbow passing over her farm ~ photo courtesy of Jeanne Henriques
Collage of Life

Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I am honored you spent some of your time with me. Feel free to share your thoughts below. I always like to hear from you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Blessed to Be a Blessing

Beautiful Sunset on Beaver Creek Reservoir ~ photo courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

“I keep to myself.” My friend explained her habit, her way of coping with many of life’s issues. Those words coming from my beautiful self-confident friend surprised me and struck a cord.  I understood oh so well.

 I keep to myself.  

Our lives are so busy with work and family.  We concentrate our efforts at home. In addition to that, people hurt us. It’s natural to withdraw.  But not only withdraw from the person who hurt us, but also to associate the hurts to entire groups of people, to institutions.  

A dog bit you. So now you are afraid of ALL dogs.  Not just the mean little critter that sunk his teeth into your ankle twenty years ago, but to every single creature with four legs and a tail.  (I exaggerate to make my point.)

But the words “I keep to myself” kept nagging me.

I thought about my gifts. Those wonderful graces the Lord has bestowed upon me, my talents and strengths that I usually fail to appreciate.

And what about spiritual gifts?  We are told to “desire spiritual gifts” (1Corinthians 14:1) and “seek that we might excel to the edifying of the church.” (1 Corinthians 14:12)

So that would mean that the gifts God has given me are not just for my own personal development and enjoyment, they are for the benefit of the body of Christ.  We should use our gifts to edify the church.  By the church I’m not speaking of that brick and mortar building on the corner.  I’m referring to the body of Christ—those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and call Him Lord.

“Edify” means to build up.  To me that also implies restoration.  A restoration into a relationship God designed us for before the foundation of the world.

So then, my conscience convicts me.

My tendency to “keep to myself”, to withdraw, to be hyper-critical of my gifts and talents and hide them away…to that tendency I begin to sense a gentle calling in my spirit, “No no, my child. Love edifies.  Love builds up.  Love restores.”

And the light comes on in my mind and shines in my heart.  Now I get it Lord!   It would be like hiding my light under a bushel.  (Matthew 5:15)  I can’t do that.  I have to let it shine.

All for His glory.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: til we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God….

Cape Henry Lighthouse on Fort Story ~ by Eileen DeCamp
Thanks for visiting Write Moments with God.  This isn't the neat little devotion I intended to bring you today, but it is the meditation that kept speaking to my heart. I hope it speaks to yours as well.  Be blessed and be a blessing.

I'd like to thank again Eileen DeCamp for her beautiful photography that she so generously shares with me. What a blessing this lovely and talented Christian friend has been to me. Thank you, Eileen.

And now to announce the winner of last week's book give-away.

Janet McPherson will be receiving a copy of Kathy Collard Miller's book, Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries.  Thank you Kathy for being my guest last week, and thank you Janet for sharing your thoughts with us.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Kathy Collard Miller ~ Guest Author, Plus Monthy Book Give-Away

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is our guest today on Write Moments with God. She is a speaker and author with a passion to inspire women to trust God. Kathy has 49 published books including Women of the Bible: Smart Guide to the Bible (Thomas Nelson). She has spoken in 31 states and 7 foreign countries, and she blogs at Kathy lives in Southern California with her husband of 44 years, Larry, and is the proud grandma of Raphael. Kathy and Larry often speak together at marriage events and retreats. 

Kathy is sharing an excerpt from her book, Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries. It really touches my mother's heart. At the end of the post, I will tell you how you can win a copy of Kathy's book.

“Let Him Need Me”

by Kathy Collard Miller

Several years ago, when my son, Mark, was 14, I faced the challenge of releasing him to fly alone for the first time from California to Florida to attend a Christian golf camp. As I explained how he should find his connecting flight in Dallas, Mark brushed me off by saying, “I know, Mom, I’ll be okay.” I didn’t think he knew at all how to “read” the arrival/departure monitor. Dallas was a huge airport, often requiring a long walk to a distant gate—sometimes even transferring to another terminal on a train. “He’ll never find the correct gate,” I moaned to myself.

Several hours later, about the time Mark would arrive in Dallas, I felt tension seep into my neck muscles. I knew the phone would ring any moment with Mark telling me he had missed his connecting flight. How was I going to help him? I felt tense about him being alone and tense that I felt so helpless.

As I tried to keep busy doing housework, I suddenly sensed God whisper in my heart, “You're worried because you want him to fail.”

I couldn’t believe that was true. First of all, I wasn't worried, I was just concerned. And secondly, what kind of mother would want her child's failure?

But God persisted, “You are worried because you want to be needed. Let him need Me instead.”

I was shocked, but soon realized it was true. I wanted to be a part of his life—even in this situation. Mark needing me to help him would make me feel important and included.

That evening, the phone rang and it was Mark—in Florida. He had arrived safely. “Did you have trouble finding your connecting flight in Dallas?” I asked him nervously.

“No, Mom,” he replied matter-of-factly but with a touch of sarcasm in his voice. “It was directly across from the gate where I arrived.”

I fell silent. God had provided for him and I had unexpectedly learned the blessing of releasing my son to God’s loving care and calling worry worry!

It is possible to worry less through trusting God more. Regardless of the storms of trials, temptations, worry, uncertainty, confusion, or regrets that you're facing, you can trust God more. Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries offers personal testimonies, practical illustrations, and solid biblical teaching for breaking anxiety and the devastating effects of worry. Each chapter includes Discussion Questions for individuals or groups, along with a “Letter from God.” In addition, a profile of a woman in the Bible who struggled with or experienced victory over worry is featured in each chapter to inspire every reader to see God's hand in her life.

Don't be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Luke 12:32 NIV

            I hope Kathy's message has encouraged you.

Please leave a comment below with your email address and you will be included in the drawing for a copy of Partly Cloudy with Scattered Worries. The winner will be announced Monday, August 11th, here on the blog.  Blessings! I'm so glad you joined me today.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Return to Me and Close the Gap

Photo courtesy of Google image

As some of you may know, I’ve just taken a bit of a vacation from my normal routine.  But changing my normal routine caused me to change my daily devotional time, and it was sometimes haphazard.  As I embraced more carefree activities, I neglected to spend as much time in Bible study. I began to feel like I was neglecting God. I certainly didn’t intend to do that.

There is a powerful draw of the world, the flesh, and the devil (See 1 John 2:16) even when we vacation.

But God has made it so easy for us as His children to close the gap between ourselves and Him.

Thus declares the LORD of hosts: Return to me, says the LORD of hosts, and I will return to you.  Zechariah 1:3 b ESV

The apostle James tells us “Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you.” (James 4:8)

He will draw close.  He who is full of mercy and lovingkindness WILL draw close.

If we drift from God, He is happy to renew fellowship and a loving relationship with us.  He waits for our response to Him, and when we draw nearer to Him, He quickly closes that gap between us and Himself.

When we commit ourselves to pursue God, He will be found.  (See Jeremiah 29:14)
His presence can be powerfully real, and by the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can have a vibrant fulfilling relationship with our God.

Jesus said “Come to me….and I will refresh you.” Matthew 11:28(Douay-Rheims)

I took this picture while on vacation in Quebec City in 2011. 

Thank you for taking some of your time today to visit Write Moments with God.  I pray all is well with you and yours.  It's my pleasure to be back with you today.  May God bless you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Your Strength is to "Sit Still" in Quietness and Confidence in GOD

A quiet shady place to sit still in my own backyard
Their strength is to sit still. Isaiah 30:7

I understand how not “sitting still” can wear a body out, as well as keep you from hearing from the Lord. My sister used to say to me, almost every time she came over, “Sit down! Can’t you ever be still?” I blamed my constant doing on the fact that I have six children. Well, most of the children have grown up and gone, and I still find myself too busy to be still.

When my Scripture reading led me to the words of Isaiah 30:7 last week, I sat quietly a few minutes to let them sink into my soul…and I listened.

Their strength is to sit still. (v.7)

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. Isaiah 30:15

But, I’m in the process of doing my thing, ticking off the tasks on my to-do list, accomplishing some goal?  So what!  All of my striving can never take the place of God’s leading and His strength. I don’t want to be as obstinate as the rebellious children of Israel. 

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7

God can accomplish His will in my life if I wait patiently on Him. 

Our strength comes when we humble ourselves enough to sit still in dependence upon God and in submission to His Holy will, which is far better and above anything we could imagine. 

I’d like to share a quote from one of my favorite devotionals.  This is from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest:

“It sounds so easy to talk about ‘resting in the Lord’ and ‘waiting patiently for Him’ until the nest is upset—until we live, as so many are doing in tumult and anguish; is it possible then to rest in the Lord? … Resting in the Lord does not depend on external circumstances at all, but on your relationship to God Himself.”

So with my calendar full of visitors and day trips, birthdays and celebrations, I’ve decided to take a little vacation from the blog. I hope to “sit still” before God often and return to you refreshed and inspired with a new meditation on July 28th.

The Church of the Most Holy Trinity ~ Augusta, GA
Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.

Eileen DeCamp  will be receiving a signed copy of God,Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments. 

My sincere thanks to all of you who visited and commented on the blog last week. Your kind words and encouragement mean more to me than you will ever know.  Be blessed.