Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rain or Shine Live Life to the Fullest

Charming chirp-er courtesy of Eileen DeCamp

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 (KJV)

The sun is shining.  Birds chirp outside my window.  If I didn't know better, I’d say spring has arrived.  The pleasant weather forecast makes me smile.  I’m grateful to God for the gorgeous weather.  When it’s sunny and warm, my mood usually is too. 

There’s no doubt, the weather impacts our moods.  I’ve read somewhere that women are even more susceptible to weather conditions than men, who more easily change their plans. (Readers, be sure to correct me if I’m wrong.) However, I am aware the weather can change at the drop of a hat.  Just as our “situations” can change on a dime.  Bad news can come unexpectedly.

As I enjoy this day, I want to thank God for all that He means to me, and all that He’s done that I might live abundantly as His child.  The simple pleasures, like a sunny day, a good night’s sleep, a hot cup of coffee, His peace--things I often take for granted--I want to be grateful to God for all that, all the time, and thank Him throughout the day for all His blessings, not the least of which is my access to His throne of grace, purchased for me by His son, Jesus Christ.

So, come rain or shine, sickness or health, no matter the time or circumstance, I will appreciate Him and who I am in Christ Jesus and enjoy His many benefits.

Today, it’s sunshine.  My cup is full.  Later today when I hug one of my children, my cup will overflow.  Gratitude fills my heart.  I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know God will be with me.  His goodness and mercy shall follow me.   I thank God for that assurance.  (See Psalm 23)

 Stained glass window in the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keeping a Divine Perspective on Goals, Earthly Ambitions, aka Our Plans

Photo courtesy of Google Images
Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Matthew 24:46 RSV

We've seen articles galore on resolutions and goal setting in the last few weeks. I wrote about resolutions in my devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea.  So, I don’t want to give you more of the same. Instead, I’d like to focus on keeping a divine perspective.

To me, goals sometimes seem more like earthly ambitions. I've had to think about this point. I've concluded:

The important thing is to have a godly perspective on our plans.

How do we do this?

Pray.  Prayer is the first step in the work of goal-setting.  As we talk it all over with God, bringing our plans before His throne of grace, daily, we will get the mind of Christ on the matter. The Holy Spirit within us even helps us pray. 

We can ask God in prayer how each goal affects our relationship with Him first, and then with our loved ones?  Does the goal glorify God?  Ask, does this goal serve a good purpose in my life? in His Kingdom? Prayer will help us achieve the right balance.

We want God’s will for our lives, so we ask “according to thy will”, let it be done.

God has created each of us with talents—our unique gifts and abilities.  We are expected to cultivate those, not bury them (Matthew 25:14-30), and use them to serve God.  Ask, do my goals serve to cultivate my unique talents? Am I using them for God’s glory?

The fruits of our talents should be kept in proper perspective, lest they become worldly or tend toward selfish ambitions (vainglory). In addition to that, it’s wise to do what we can to develop talents in line with goals without breaking our backs or our bank accounts.

The biggest obstacle to achieving goals, from my experience, is self-doubt which translates into fear, causing hindrances and missed opportunities.  However, if we've set our goals in cooperation with God, we know we are in His will. Then, our confidence is in God and we can rely on Him to enable us to do what we need to do.  We’ll have His blessing to pursue our goals, with humility, in full cooperative with Him, to do our unique part in His kingdom work and to finish the task He has given us.

 [Jesus said] I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do. John 17:4 RSV

Amazing photo courtesy of Aaron Baron
Thank you all for visiting today. God bless you today and always.  God's speed accomplishing your goals.  I appreciate hearing from you, so please share your thoughts below.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Your Legacy of Love, Early Impressions, and Lasting Gifts

A Playground in Quebec City ~  I visited in June 2011.

And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:15

By default, I half listened to the television that was on in the waiting area where I sat.  A young 90 year old man was introduced by the host to the applause of an enthusiastic audience.  I was impressed by his healthy alertness, vitality, and cheerful responses.  I sat a little straighter and tried to hear what he had to say.  He didn’t appear to be a day over 75.  And then, he referred to his dear mother departed, and smiled as he spoke of her.  I didn’t hear much after that because I became lost in the wonder of such an old son still sensing his mother’s love and recalling her words which lived on in him.

A couple of days later, I heard another interview.  A middle aged sports icon spoke of  his grandmother’s instructions which still guide him today. I thought of the verses in Paul’s letter to Timothy.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5

Matthew Henry wrote this in his bible commentary:

“Thus pious women may take encouragement from the success of Lois and Eunice with Timothy, who proved so excellent and useful a minister. Some of the most worthy and valuable ministers the church of Christ has been favoured with, have had to bless God for early religious impressions made upon their minds by the teaching of their mothers or other female relatives.”

These words touched my heart. Maybe it was because I was spending a wonderful holiday with my children and grandchildren. Maybe it was because the Lord has been calling me to prayer, for the hurting and homeless, the fatherless, those who are alone and suffering, and in particular for the unborn and children, everywhere.

While some might say it’s an accident of heredity what we ourselves got handed in youth, we all have a personal opportunity to impact a life for good by our words and actions.  We all have a responsibility to do all the good we can do. And we can impact the life of a child. We don’t have to look very far.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 2 Peter 1:7

Now that is a wonderful gift, a blessing to you and to future generations.

My grandchildren reading.

I’m happy to be back with you today after a wonderful break during the holy season. It was also a great time for me to focus on home and family. I’ve been counting my many blessings, and you, my friends and readers are named among them. Thanks for visiting today.

God bless you and keep you. Invite Him to walk along beside you in 2015. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 1, 2014

GOD is always working in ways we cannot see...

My grandson baby Charlie's first trip to the beach ~ summer 2014

Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7 NIV

Psalm 139 is one of my favorites and I highly recommend that you read it especially when you need a comforting reminder that God has His eyes on you.  He is intimately acquainted with all our ways, and He cares for us.

A week or so ago I looked up the phone number for a business owned by an acquaintance who lives in another town. We aren’t social media friends and have no mutual friends. Nevertheless, I’d thought about her for days and considered giving her a call.  So I placed a call to her business, hoping she would be in.

Imagine my surprise when I connected with someone in the shop who seemed excited when I spoke my name.  

“Oh yes, hold on just a second,” she said. “She’s been trying to reach you.” 

When my acquaintance came on the line, she explained to me how she had been praying I’d call. She said that she and her business partner were even at that moment talking about me when the phone rang, and that he said, “That’s her calling right now!” 

We were delightfully surprised and we laughed and praised God for His amazing ways. (She couldn't find my contact information and needed to speak to me about a matter.) We marveled about that experience happening the way it did. 

I also wondered ... how many times are we the answer to someone’s prayer?  

And thought about how God is always working in ways we cannot see, on our behalf.

For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11 KJV

How often we question “why” and want to know the beginning from the end.
Isn’t it really enough to know the One who knows all things and is everywhere, who hears us when we call, the One who knows the beginning from the end, and loves us with an everlasting love?

O for grace to trust Him more … let that be our prayer.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17

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If this is your first time visiting Write Moments with God, welcome and be blessed. I have prayed for you. And to all of you who read this blog every week, thank you so much for your friendship and encouragement. I want to let you know that I will be taking a few weeks off from writing for the blog to prepare for Christmas and to work on some other important projects. God bless you and keep you. And Lord willing I’ll be back very soon.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hard Times and Hard Places

Brick walkway in  Magnolia Cemetery ~  courtesy of Betty Talbert Parker

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all. Psalm 34:19 NRSV

A friend is going through hard times. She’s recently lost a loved one; her children have moved away leaving her with feelings of abandonment; she is suffering with health issues aggravated by stress and grief; and to seemingly add insult to injury, she suffered a freak accident which has spoiled her holiday plans. 

My heart goes out to her.  But words of encouragement and acts of kindness can only go so far.  I cover her with my prayers and trust in God for her.

And the truth is, we all experience times like this, when we feel alone, our hopes and dreams shattered. When hard times come, we run the risk of sinking into self-pity, falling into despair.

But, we, the righteous, have this promise:

For though they fall seven times, they will rise again. Proverbs 24:16 NRSV

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. Micah 7:8 NRSV

We must hold on to this promise.

Daniel believed this. I love the story of his faith. (See Daniel 6:16-24) He was punished for trusting in God and specifically for praying, which defied the king’s orders.

Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!’  Daniel 6:20

And Daniel spent the dark night sitting amongst the lions in the bottom of that deep pit. But the next morning, to the king’s joy and the glory of God, he was found alive and well.

So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Daniel 6:23b

Let's pray for one another, that our faith will stay strong through the hard times, and pray for God’s mercy and grace to be poured out on those who are suffering. For in time we shall see the victory, for we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us. (SeeRomans 8:35-39)

Magnolia Cemetery ~ courtesy of Betty Talbert Parker
Thanks so much for visiting.  I pray for all of you who read this blog and pray you find some encouragement here.  Many Blessings for you and yours at this Thanksgiving time.

Special thanks to Betty Talbert Parker of Thomson, GA for allowing me to share her pictures.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Our Fallen Nature Obliges Us to Seek Him Moment by Moment

Photo of raging river courtesy of Google Images
Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—in peace because they trust in you. Isaiah26:3 NRSV

Following my devotions, I praised God for the beautiful day. After my time of meditating on Him, Scripture reading, and prayer, I was in a happy mood. As I sipped my coffee, I enjoyed the view from my window—golden leaves fluttered on the dogwood tree with the morning sun shining through. I enjoyed peace.

The first thing on my to-do list was to choose my insurance plan for the year during annual open enrollment. I sat down before the computer by the sunny window expecting to complete my task within a few minutes. I signed onto the website and filled in my personal information. But, to my dismay, when I got to the screen where I should have been able to make my selection, the screen was grayed out, and NO Coverage was already selected for me. I couldn't advance or go backwards. I had to call the 1-800 number for help.

So, with that I began a series of back-to-back calls to my insurance provider until I finally got an open line, and then I held for over an hour before a live person spoke to me. During the 2 ½ hour process (by the end of which all was resolved), I had time to analyze what was happening to my peaceful happy mood.

Even though my lovely view from the window had not changed, and God was still God, my focus shifted. As I held the phone, minute by dreary minute, unpleasant changes were taking place in my body, and my thoughts were scampering about like the squirrels in the tree.

My heart rate rose.  Tension across my forehead warned that my blood pressure had also risen. My shoulder ached, and my neck got stiff. I felt aggravated and anxious; all because my focus shifted from God to an unexpected “glitch”.

Allow me to echo the Apostle Paul:

Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24)

I think it must be part of our fallen human condition and this earthly piligrimage to suffer these moods and changing feelings so easily swayed by circumstances and situations beyond our control. Wouldn’t it be grand if we Christians could rest in perfect and permanent peace all the time?  Living constantly in conformity to our faith in Him?  We have hope. 

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:25)

Daily, moment by moment, as we seek His grace (through prayer and reflection, Scripture reading and practicing godly virtues), we can experience His perfect peace in the midst of the realities of life. With our focus on Him, His peace will be like stepping stones in the raging river of life.

For he is our peace…Ephesians 2:14a

And with our mind stayed on Him, He will lead us to our eternal home, where all will be peace and light.

Daily, let us pray, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10b

Sunset at Beaver Creek Reservoir ~ photo courtesy of the talented Eileen DeCamp

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit Write Moments with God.  Some of you will remember this story from last November.  It's so reflective of how we are, I thought I'd write about it again. 

May you experience His peace today.

Now, to announce the winner of my monthly book giveaway.  Norma Gail and I thank all of you who commented.

Caroline Brown is the winner by random drawing of Norma Gail's compelling debut novel, Land of My Dreams.  Enjoy!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Meet debut novelist Norma Gail - Plus monthly book giveaway

Norma Gail 

I’m happy to introduce to you today Norma Gail.  Norma Gail’s debut Christian novel, Land of My Dreams, released in April 2014. Her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. She lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 38 years. They have two adult children.

I hope you enjoy the interview.  Be sure to leave a comment at the end as your entry in our random drawing to win a copy of Land of My Dreams.

Norma Gail, please tell us a little about yourself and your writing.

I began writing poetry and short stories when I was very young and continued all through my school years, but stopped for a nursing career and to raise my children. I didn’t begin writing again until I was in my forties, and then only on rare occasions. It wasn’t until my children were grown that I began to write seriously. Land of My Dreams is my first novel.

What inspired you on your writing journey?

I feel an intense desire to explain the struggles and challenges that have taught me the greatest lessons of my Christian life through stories that entertain and draw the reader in until they become a part of the story.

Do you have a publishing secret you’d like to share with other writers?

You need to feel confidant you have found your own voice, but it is important to listen to what others are telling you. Do the paid critiques, talk to a variety of people, other authors, editors, and agents. If they are saying some major changes need to be done to make your book publishable, do them. If you are serious about your writing you need to be teachable.

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

I want my readers to learn that we have a loving God who can turn even the worst of trials into blessing. I don’t write light fiction. There are heavy spiritual lessons to be learned in this story, and the reviews bear that out. I write very much from the point of view of a Bible study leader. Having led women’s Bible studies for 19 years, my thinking is deeply scriptural. I want to communicate the wisdom of God’s word and the blessings of obedience, as well as the consequences of doing things our own way.

Please tell us about your new novel. 

Land of MyDreams began as a dream as we prepared for a trip to Scotland for our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I literally dreamed about a man in a kilt on a misty mountainside with his bagpipes, and surrounded by sheep. The characters developed as people who had been hurt by life and questioned a loving God who is personally involved in their daily lives. Bonny and Kieran are a little older than in some romances. Both have suffered tremendous loss. It takes time to trust each other and their relationship is threatened by their inability to leave the past behind and trust God. They are surrounded by friends who direct them toward the Lord in loving and pretty straight forward ways.

Here’s the back cover copy of the book:

Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny’s former fiancĂ© reenters her life, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to a former student.How will Bonny decide between her rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future, or will it drive them apart?

Landof My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

I can’t wait to get my own copy, Norma Gail.  It sounds intriguing. How can readers contact you on the web?

My website: www.normagail.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNormaGail
Twitter: @Norma_Gail

Land of Dreams is available for purchase on Amazon.com and BN.com (Barnes & Noble).

In conclusion, I like to ask my guest authors to share their favorite Scripture verse.

 They are not just idle words for you--they are your life. De. 32:47 NIV

I first learned this Scripture when I was a discussion leader in Bible Study Fellowship. Not only has teaching and leading other women in Bible study been my passion and ministry for 19 years, it is my source of strength to make it through every day as I deal with fibromyalgia and other health problems. There is no life worth living apart from Jesus Christ.


Dear Readers, thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Norma Gail as much as I have.  If you will leave a comment below (including your email in case you are the winner) we will include your name in the random drawing for a copy of Land of My Dreams. Please comment by Sunday, November 9th. The winner will be announced on the blog on Monday, November 10th.  As always, I appreciate you.  Blessings!