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Become As Little Children – A Devotional by Rose Chandler Johnson

AH4_0103 (2)Rose Chandler Johnson, author of the devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments shares a devotional entitled, Become as Little Children. Rose’s devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is from a small Georgia town and has lived in Martinez, GA for the last twenty-eight years. She has been a French and English teacher for the last twenty years. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18: 3 (KJV)

I’ve been thinking about that verse. …become as little children… I’ve been trying to understand what that assertion implies.

Children are trusting innocents with eyes wide-open to wonder and all possibilities. They are teachable and willingly look to their parents.

They have no stipulations. There is no such thing as disbelief.

All things are possible to their loving humble hearts.

So, maybe that’s the key.

Let go of all preconceived notions, prejudices, and prior knowledge based on laws of nature or man.

Hold onto God alone.

Trust that He is the Source of Love and Life and all things good come from His hands.

Then enter into your prayer closet (Matthew 6:6) and kneel before His throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:16) and pray.

Pray until you forget all those things that constrain you in this grown-up world

Forget time nipping at your heels.

Pray until earth seems to fall away and you rise to a vast open space where there’s nothing but you and God alone.

Your expectation in Him and from Him alone.

Then as a little child, all things are possible.

When Jesus says to you, as He did to the blind man,

Believe you that I am able to do this? (See Matthew 9:28)

The ready answer springs forth from your trusting heart.

Yes, LORD, I believe.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him. Psalm 62:5

Cover of Sweet TEaAbout God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea: In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. Whether purchased as a personal resource or given as a heartfelt gift, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

Meet up with Rose at her following links:  Rose’s blog,TwitterPinterest FacebookGoodreads  God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is available for sale on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and through your local independent book stores.

On September 24 and 25, Rose’s devotional will be free on Amazon.

To read Part One of Rose’s Inner Source interview click here.

To read Part Two of Rose’s Inner Source interview click here.

Interview Two with Rose Chandler Johnson, Author of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea.

AH4_0103 (2)We’re back today with Rose Chandler Johnson to discuss her  devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments was released in July 2013. Her devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is from a small Georgia town and has lived in Martinez, GA for the last twenty-eight years. She has been a French and English teacher for the last twenty years. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

Rose, we’d love to hear a little about you. Tell me a bit about yourself, how long you’ve been writing, what types of writing you do, etc.?

I wrote in the late 70s and 80s, had some poems and articles published then, and then basically didn’t write for close to twenty years. Due to the demands of my family life—I raised six children as a single parent—and the fact that I’ve been a teacher and a student myself over the last twenty years, writing took a backseat until 2008. I began writing again in 2008 almost daily and I’ve been writing ever since.

Why did you decide to become a writer?

Writers write because they have a passion to write. I always enjoyed it so much. I was a big fan of the classics growing up and very studious. I decided to get a degree in English literature and French and bide my time until I could write a great novel. I’m just saying…that must be what I was thinking as a college student.

Here’s a question that is frequently asked of me, and I’d love to know your answer. What is the one piece of writing advice you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?

The one piece of advice—write every day.

Great advice. If we are not writing, how can we claim to be a writer? What are you currently working on? Any special projects.

I’m working on two major projects simultaneously. A novel, which has been like a neglected pet, and a non-fiction book. I think of the non-fiction as a priority because it’s an overflow of what the Lord has done in my life and what He continues to reveal to me about Himself.

What do you have coming out next? What do your fans have to look forward to?

I’m writing a novel, as well as another non-fiction book. I continue to write devotions every week for my blog and other publications. I’m looking forward to see God’s timing in all of this. In the meantime, I want to be faithful to write everyday what God puts on my heart.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I love the classics. My tastes are probably a bit old fashioned. I can read Jane Eyre every year. It’s my favorite novel. I actually read more spiritual non-fiction than anything else. I also read memoirs and books about writing. I’ve recently read On Writing by Stephen King and The Journal Keeper by Phyllis Theroux. I would recommend both of those. I’m usually reading 2 or 3 books at once.

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

I believe the Lord is teaching me to listen better. I’m learning to be quiet and still in His presence and listen. I believe He wants to commune with us as His children on a deep personal level if we will only be quiet before Him and wait on Him to speak to our hearts. He is very patient with me.

About God, Me and Cover of Sweet TEaSweet Iced Tea: In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, except experiencing God in those small, everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. Whether purchased as a personal resource or given as a heartfelt gift, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

Meet up with Rose at her following links:  Rose’s blog,TwitterPinterest FacebookGoodreads  God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is available for sale on AmazonBarnes & Noble, and through your local independent book stores.

On September 24 and 25, Rose’s devotional will be free on Amazon.

To read Part One of our Interview with Rose Chandler Johnson, click here.

Interview: Rose Chandler Johnson Author of God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea

AH4_0103 (2)Today’s special guest on Inner Source is Rose Chandler Johnson, whose devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments was released in July 2013. Her devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is from a small Georgia town and has lived in Martinez, GA for the last twenty-eight years. She has been a French and English teacher for the last twenty years. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families.

God used Rose’s writing not only to encourage me in print, but she shared a devotion with attendees at a recent conversation, and I knew I had to have her devotionals in hand. I love God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. 

Rose, you’re our first author of devotionals on the Inner Source, but truly the light comes to you from our Inner Source. Is there a story behind your devotional God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea?

I was reading some of my old journals recently, and I came across an entry from 1979. It was a prayer in which I said to the Lord I wanted to write a book that was relevant and encouraging and that would point others to the heart of God. I believe that the Lord gave me that desire and that God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a realization of that desire, even though I wasn’t thinking of that consciously when I wrote it.

I believe God works through a writer’s subconscious when we sit down and dedicate a book to His calling of us as authors. He is faithful to answer our prayers. I’m curious, why did you write a devotional?

When I decided to make Jesus the Lord of my life, in 1977, I starting reading a devotional every morning. It was just what I needed to help me focus and structure my time. I’ve incorporated devotional reading in my quiet times with God for decades. I think most people could benefit from that format. The fact that I wrote a devotional comes back to my desire to be relevant and encouraging.

I’ve read God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea, and I found the devotionals relevant to what I faced daily. I recommend this book highly. Rose, what is the significance to you of “sweet iced tea”?

I love sweet iced tea. I feel like I can’t do without it. I literary drink a pitcher a day. Nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Even more so, I can’t do without the Lord who is with me through every moment of my day. The presence of God in my life restores my soul. And those moments where He shows Himself as the most refreshing. The “sweet iced tea” says it’s personal.

God often works through those things we love. What a unique aspect. What started you on your writing journey?

I always wanted to be a writer. I received my first undergraduate degree in 1977 with a BA in English. In the late 70s and 80s I wrote a little and had some things published in periodicals, but motherhood, work, and life in general got in the way of that dream. I began writing again in 2008 when the desire to “write it all down” became too hard to resist.

I’m sure many authors understand that desire to write. So, what are you writing now?

I am a journal keeper. Writing is a passion that fills a need for me and that I believe can be a blessing to others. Devotion writing is a way to communicate what I know about God, as a living reality. It’s more or less an overflow of what I experience as a Christian. I want to share that. I also like to write fiction, and I’m working on a novel, but that doesn’t seem as vital to me as my devotional writing.

Well, my advice is to let the Lord lead. Whom do you wish to reach with your book? Which audience?

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is uniquely appropriate for working mothers, but it’s also for anyone who wants to put their Christianity into practice in their everyday moments and go deeper into God’s word. Men are reading it and enjoying it as well. As Tiffany Colter said, this devotional is simple enough for the newest believer, yet deep enough to make a life-long Christian feel challenged to go higher.

About God, Me and Sweet Iced Tea: In the South, nothing is more refreshing than a glass of sweet iced tea. Nothing, that is, exceptCover of Sweet TEa experiencing God in those small, everyday moments. God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is a deeply personal collection of spiritual treasures designed to help readers experience new mercies each morning. Seasoned with insight and grace, this tender devotional points to the divine presence of God in everyday moments. Whether purchased as a personal resource or given as a heartfelt gift, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea will help readers develop a daily habit of turning to God in those quiet moments of reflection.

Meet up with Rose at her following links:  Rose’s blog, TwitterPinterest FacebookGoodreads 

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and through your local independent book stores. On September 24 and 25, Rose’s devotional will be free on Amazon. 

Why a Book About the Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus?

I’m so happy that once again author and friend, Dianne E. Butts, has agreed to be our guest here at Inner Source. I am a fan of  Dianne’s work, especially the book she’s writing about today. Today, Dianne shares why she feels God has given her the desire to share the prophecies of His word.

Prophecies Fulfilled Christmas FRONT _Compressed for webProphecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus 

by Dianne E. Butts

Some people have asked me, “Why did you feel the need to write books about prophecies?” My answer is because prophecy is the key to everything. And I don’t mean just the key to foretelling the future. I’m saying that prophecy is the way the one true God has proved and continues to prove that He is the only true God. This is a real issue today and, in my opinion, the most basic and urgent issue of human existence: knowing that God exists, and which God is the true God. The true God is the only one who knows the end from the beginning. He is the only one who is in complete control—even when it appears everything in our world is so out of control.

Writing about prophecy—both prophecies that have been fulfilled and prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled—is also about teaching God’s Word (the Bible) to an increasingly biblically illiterate population. As some people and leaders continue to push God out of our society in America, and as other religions continue to become more prominent in other countries, the number of people who have a good grasp on Bible knowledge is shrinking. And yet our God is continually drawing people to Himself. This combined pushing away by people and drawing in by God creates a tremendous opportunity for Christians to share our knowledge of the God of the Bible with an increasing number of people. Contrary to what some would have us believe, many, many people of all nationalities and languages want to know about the true God, and about this God who is becoming increasingly forbidden. My books on many prophecies that have already been fulfilled teach the Bible; they teach the deeper truths that more and more people are searching for.

In my book, for each prophecy we travel back in time to see where in the Bible the prophecy was given, who gave it, when, and in what context. Then we travel forward in time to see it fulfilled. Each chapter includes Scripture readings, my thoughts and comments, questions that apply the timeless truths discussed in the chapter to our lives today, suggested prayers, additional suggested Scriptures to study, and more.

And as I’ve been told many times, my writing is easy to understand and accessible, like sitting down together over a cup of coffee and chatting in everyday language. So whether you’re trying to study and figure things out on your own in the privacy of your own space, or whether you want to lead your family in discovering proven truths in the Bible, or whether you’re already a Christian and long to share with other not-yet believers or lead a group Bible study to deeper understanding of the Bible, this book can help you do that.

I guess I have been a prophecy geek for as long as I can remember. I did not grow up in a strongly Christian home. However even when I didn’t know it, or know God, He was at work causing prophecy to have a profound effect on me.

I attended grade school in the sixties and even then it was common for public schools to hold a Christian-based Christmas program. I believe I was in the fifth grade when I was assigned to recite a Bible verse from memory during our Christmas program. I remember that verse to this day. It was Isaiah 9:6:

“For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (NIV 1984).

I grew up thinking those words were written about Jesus. Everybody knows that, right? So imagine my shock when, as an adult, I learned those words were written about 700 years before Jesus was born! How can that be? That can be because the true God knows the end of time from the beginning of time and instructed His writer to write that in advance.

Have you ever wondered why God gives us prophecies? God tells us what he will do in advance for at least three reasons:

  • So we can know who the true God is. Because giving information or predictions in advance, and then bringing them to pass in every detail, is something only God can do.
  • So when we see things happening around us, we will not fear but will trust God knowing He has everything under control. (See Isaiah 48:3, 5-6.)
  • So we could see, know, and recognize who the Messiah was when He came.

That third reason is why the prophecies fulfilled in the birth of Jesus are so important. When I looked at the Christmas story, that is the story of the birth of Jesus in the Bible, I counted thirty-five prophecies that were given before they happened and then fulfilled at a later date. Only one person would fulfill all the prophecies perfectly: the one God had in mind. Jesus did that, fulfilling all the prophecies perfectly, proving He is the messiah.

As we look into and move into our future, it is important for people to understand that what is happening all around us has been foretold by God. It is equally important for us to look into the past of human history to see that God has foretold events before, and then He brought them about in His perfect timing to fulfill His perfect plan. By looking at past prophecies given and fulfilled, we can see God at work, we can get to know Him and His personality, and we can know in our hearts and minds and with everything that we are that He is trustworthy. This is how we strengthen our faith for the future.

Strong faith in God is vitally important as we move into an uncertain future in our increasingly hostile world. Strengthened faith for the future is what I wish to give my readers through examining prophecies that have been fulfilled in the past.

Prophecies Fulfilled in the Birth of Jesus is the first in this three-book series. The second book, Prophecies Fulfilled in the Death & Resurrection of Jesus, released for Easter 2013 and makes an excellent study for the Lenten or pre-Easter season.

I’m currently writing the third book (hopefully to be available soon), Prophecies Fulfilled in the Life of Jesus, and am excited to teach about how Jesus fulfills the picture God painted in the living object lesson of the Tabernacle/Temple, how He fulfills the seven Feasts of the Lord, and also some prophetic events that are coming in our near future. I’m speaking of the four total lunar eclipses (which are becoming known at the “Blood Moons”) scheduled for Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in both 2014 and 2015. The first of these will occur on April 15, 2014. If people do not understand the prophetic significance of the seven Feasts of the Lord, or of prophecies such as Joel 2:31, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” then they will be completely unprepared for what is happening, just like the people Jesus described in Matthew 24:38-39:

“For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”

I don’t want people to be ignorant or unprepared.  And I don’t want people to be fearful of our future. I want to prepare as many people as I can. I want to teach people. I want them informed and excited about these incredible times we live in. I want to reach everybody I can so they may know salvation in Jesus, stand strong in whatever comes, and spend eternity with Him. That is why I feel the need to write about prophecy.

Thank you, Fay, for the opportunity to talk with you and your readers about my books. May you each know Jesus ever more deeply through the study of His Word and the story of His birth this Christmas.

Dianne E. Butts has more than 300 published print articles, numerous online articles, has contributed to 19 books including Chicken Soup for the Soul books.Dianne E  Butts 1 - compressed for _web

Dianne contributed to a new compilation e-book novel debuting for Christmas titled A Ruby Christmas. Watch www.WriteIntegrity.com/ in December for free chapters and more information.

Her second book, Deliver Me, won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year” from Christian Small Publishers Association in 2012 and her third book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles (coauthored), won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year” from CSPA in 2013. Dianne’s books are available from all major online outlets.

An aspiring screenwriter, Dianne was a semifinalist in the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays in January 2013. A short script, inspired by a true story in Deliver Me, was a finalist in the 168 Film Project’s “Write of Passage” competition in 2010. She wrote, directed, and co-produced a short film, “The Choice” for the 168 Film Project in 2012, a script also inspired by a true story in Deliver Me.

Dianne is a member of Advance Writers and Speakers Association.

Dianne’s books are available at Amazon.com and other online retailers. Find all her books on her Amazon Author page.

Connect with Dianne on:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DianneButtsAuthor

Twitter: @DianneEButts

http://www.goodreads.com/DianneEButts

www.DianneEButts.com

www.DeliverMeBook.com

www.ButtsAboutWriting.blogspot.com

Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation

Dianne E  Butts 1 - compressed for _webToday’s special guest is Dianne E. Butts, who has more than 300 published print articles, numerous online articles, has contributed to 19 books including Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

Her second book, Deliver Me, won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year”  from Christian Small Publishers Association in 2012 and her third book, Grandparenting Through Obstacles (coauthored), won a Nonfiction “Book of the Year” from CSPA in 2013. Dianne’s books are available from all major online outlets.

An aspiring screenwriter, Dianne was a semifinalist in the Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays in January 2013. A short script, inspired by a true story in Deliver Me, was a finalist in the 168 Film Project’s “Write of Passage” competition in 2010. She wrote, directed, and co-produced a short film, “The Choice” for the 168 Film Project in 2012, a script also inspired by a true story in Deliver Me.

Dianne is a member of Advance Writers and Speakers Association.

In the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, I’m sure most people were like me: wanting to do something but not knowing what to do.

For a writer, what else can you do but write?

I didn’t have any loved one directly involved in those attacks on America that morning, so I wondered what I could possibly say or write about them that might help someone. But two issues came to my mind: grief after the loss of a loved one, and how to know God and understand the Bible.

Grief

So many people lost loved ones that day. Many more have lost loved ones since – whether in the wars that followed or in ways unrelated to 9/11.

Grief is one thing I know about and one thing I could write about. I was fifteen when my Dad died of pancreatic cancer. Only a few years later my big brother, who was a Marine, was killed by a drunk driver while home on leave.

Those two major events in my life taught me a few things about grief, practical things that might help others. This was what I had to share after 9/11, and so I shared it. One chapter in Dear America shares “Ten Things I’ve Learned While Sifting through Grief.”

How to know God and understand the BibleDearAmerica_Cover_Front_180px

The other issue that came to me in the aftermath of September 11th was how can we believe in a good God, the God of the Bible, in the aftermath of such an attack? Why would God let this happen? Is He there? Does He care?

These are questions I see many people struggling with even today—a dozen years later—and it has become my life-long passion to share my Christian faith with others and answer why I believe God is there. And He does care. And He is involved in human history. And just because people who hate God and hate Christians attack the one nation that has been known as a Christian nation does not mean God does not exist or does not care.

My passion is to show others why they can believe in the God of the Old and New Testaments as well as what is happening in our world today in light of the Bible. In Dear America I wrote about how the over-arching story of the Bible is the most beautiful of all stories. It rings true with our souls because we are created to recognize and long for the greatest story in which we are living.

Here, briefly, is the story of God—the one true God—in the Bible excerpted from Dear America. See if this story line sounds familiar:

Once upon a time. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth and people. And everything was perfect. Then the worst possible happened…

The Villain’s Plot: Satan deceived Eve and Adam. They disobeyed God, which brought sin into the world. And sin brought death into the world. Everything changed.

The Divine Dilemma: God had proclaimed if you sin you will die. Adam and Eve sinned, as has every human being ever since. Now God has a dilemma: either the people He loves must die or His law must die. But God is not defeated! He devises a plan…

The Hero’s Quest: The Hero comes in disguise to win back the heart of his beloved! God came as a human, Jesus Christ, to win back the hearts of people. He taught about the one true God and the real, true heaven. But sinful people brought Him to His death. All seems lost in this story. But God knew that would happen all along! In fact, that was part of His plan. Jesus Christ rose from the dead, paying the sin = death penalty for all who willingly choose to receive it. Jesus, therefore, conquered death forever more.

The Final Conflict: Jesus conquering death could be viewed as the final conflict of this story. Or there is a conflict yet to come… which is what I believe we are seeing coming all around us in what is happening in the United States and in the world. But do not be afraid, because God wins the final conflict. And if you are on His side, He will carry you through to victory also.

The Hero story of triumph is written on our souls, and we are not satisfied with any other story line. God created us to recognize this truth and to love Him, our Hero.

In Dear America I also wrote a Q & A chapter where I addressed some questions such as, “Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?” and “How can we know which religion is the true one?”

I then gave some basic information about how to read the Bible for those who are new to it. So often I think we tend to assume that everyone has a certain level of knowledge about God and the Bible, and that just isn’t true. I shared the things I wish someone had told me when I didn’t know the first thing about the Bible.

Dear America: A Letter for Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation was my first book and it is only 52 pages long because in the midst of grief and the crisis of 9/11, I wanted to create a book that could be easily read in one sitting. Currently it is available exclusively on Amazon.com both in print ($6.95) and on Kindle ($2.99).

Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/Dear-America-Letter-Comfort-Grieving/dp/0966130553/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1358882311&sr=8-3

Connect with Dianne on:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DianneButtsAuthor

Twitter: @DianneEButts

www.DianneEButts.com

www.DeliverMeBook.com

www.ButtsAboutWriting.blogspot.com