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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Soul (07/13/06)

TITLE: The Question
By Joanne Sher


I jumped up from my knees, where I had been kneeling in prayer, listening for the voice of God. Well, there it was!
I wasn't exactly wanting a question as my first audible communication from the Lord, especially with the mess my life seemed to be in. An answer - a positive one, specifically - would have been nice, or even an affirmation. I'd even have accepted an admonishment - at least it would have been straightforward. I would have known just what to do with it, if you will. But instead, I get "Do you love me?"
Of course, it's not like I hadn't "heard from" God before - I'd known he'd led me through His Word, my feelings, friends, and countless other ways in the half-dozen years since I'd become His child. Never before, however, had I felt so certain that God was speaking directly to me. And of all things, he asks me a question.
Well....do I?
I'm his child - I must. "Family love" comes naturally, right? Sure, there are times I don't like my folks, or my husband, or my kids, but I ALWAYS love them.
Hmmm...guess that wasn't what He was looking for.
"LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, ALL YOUR SOUL, AND ALL YOUR STRENGTH." Deuteronomy 6:5 (SO - maybe He didn't "tell me" the reference - but I certainly heard the verse loud and clear!)
Now here's a verse I've known all my life - seems that way anyway! But do I really know what I am being asked to do?
I know how to love with all my heart - that's the whole emotional part of love, right? And loving with my strength, I'd guess, would be showing my love through my actions - making sacrifices that hurt for that love. And those I can say I do, though certainly not perfectly, as far as the Lord is concerned.
But how do I love with all my soul? What does that mean, exactly?
Well, my soul is the spiritual part of me, so it has nothing to do with the physica, and it's not my emotions. My soul, it seems, is what makes me uniquely human - my conscience, my morals, the bit of me that makes me a creature in God's image. When my strength is gone, and my emotions are haywire, I can still have peace - that must be in my soul.
Do I love the Lord with all my soul? Can I trust His love for me, that He is good and knows best, when it seems everything is going wrong, when He doesn't seem to be answering my prayers? Is my soul in sync with the King of Kings?
Say - maybe that wasn't such a bad response to my prayer after all!

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This article has been read 2121 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Philip Barnes07/20/06
A great little diddy on loving God with all of your soul. You could have expanded it a little more. I would have liked to have seen more of your personal reaction to your realization of God's good question. Do you love him with all of your soul? Are you going to? How will you?
Brenda Craig07/24/06
Lovely concept of your discovery. I would have like to seen separation in paragraphs making it easier to read. Wonderful truths. Thanks for sharing your heart,
Lisa Vest07/24/06
I enjoyed the conversational tone this starts out with.It gets more devotional-like towards the end...Maybe tweak your "thinking outloud"/analyzing part a little to make them more like the conversational style. It would have read easier if there were some lines between paragraphs. I liked the way you began this, it hooked me and kept me wanting to read more. Expand the ending to let us see your response to the question God asks of you. Good message and good job overall. Keep writing and thanks for sharing!
Jan Ross07/24/06
I agree with the others -- great beginning and great idea to delve into the understanding of our soul and its relationship to God. There was the transition from conversation to devotional/teaching. Keeping the conversational approach going would have added to your wonderful story! Good work! :)
Jan Ackerson 07/24/06
Really nice first entry. Email me or PM me for a quick tutorial on how to get your text to go into paragraphs--it's a little bit tricky at first.

I really look forward to reading future entries from you!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz07/25/06
Good writing. Your conversation style kept it interesting.
Helen Paynter07/25/06
A good entry. The above comments will guide you, but I enjoyed it a lot. Well done.
william price07/25/06
I really enjoyed your entry. I like a story that speaks right to me. Wow, your first challenge at that. Look forward to reading more from you.
God Bless!
Trina Courtenay07/25/06
"Do you love me?" How would I respond to that question? This has got me thinking!

I agree with the others. PM Jan, she'll help you through the submission process and maybe she'll also tell you how to bold, italicize etc. If not sent me an e-mail and I will.

Blessings as you write for the glory of HIM!
Rita Garcia07/25/06
Fantastic talent wrapped up in the devotional. Look forward to reading more of your writing.
Shari Armstrong 07/25/06
Very very nice - lots of food for thought here (put a line between parapgraphs for an easier read). I really liked the internal conversation.
Teri Wilson07/25/06
This was very nice, would be a great devotional. Just in case no one else has mentioned it, you should add some white space between the paragraphs to ensure easier reading. Great job. Glad to have you on board here at FW!!!
Kimberly Mitchell07/25/06
Very good message here. I agree with everyone about the devotional idea. Just needs to be spaced out for better reading.
Marilyn Schnepp 07/26/06
After having already read eight unspaced paragraphed articles in the last fifteen minutes - my eyes are beginning to cross; however, this was worth the effort to find my way through the maize of wall to wall paragraphs without white spacing. Thanks for sharing. Great read.
Jen Davis07/27/06
You have received a lot of great feedback on your entry, so I won't repeat all that's been said. I most enjoyed your clear and casual voice and felt you shared an insigtful message as well. Good job!
Tracey Jackson07/27/06
I love the conversational tone of the piece. A good read.
Valerie Routhieaux08/05/06
This is a very good article. I saw only one spelling error in the whole piece, but it sure didn't take away from what you intended to convey. Really good job, and a joy to read.
Pauline TAIT08/19/06
I think if the writer can invoke a response from thier audience, it's a success right? Joanne you made me smile inside
Carol Gray09/09/06
Joanne, I enjoy reading about how God speaks. I agree the comments previously given. Great start. God Bless! Carol Gray
Jacquelyn Horne03/19/07
This was a very good article for a first challenge. I am browsing and read old challenges from time to time. It's uplifting. Especially when I run into such truths as this.
Rita Garcia07/04/07
Joanne, this entry blessed my soul the first time I read it, and it still does. You have grown in your writing skills, but your loving message shined through from the beginning!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/04/07
Blessed me today--no paragraph spacing and all.
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/04/07
oops...forgot to say From beginners to masters in one year! Wow! Good for you, Joanne!
Patty Wysong07/04/07
Talk about challenging. Definately something to chew on! Hugs!!
Virginia Lee Bliss 07/04/07
Thanks for posting your first entry, Joanne. I enjoyed reading it.
Lynda Lee Schab 07/05/07
Isn't it amazing to see how far you've come, Jo? I mean, this is a really great devotional but compared to the stuff you write now...But you could definitely polish this one up for publication somewhere (maybe you already have, you busy writer-girl, you). Honestly, because I judge the beginner level, I can say this was actually a very, very good first entry. Nice work!
Catrina Bradley 07/06/07
Cool! Very good first entry! You gave me goosepbumps with your description of "soul".
Edy T Johnson 07/07/07
Thank you, dear Joanne, for suggesting this "first entry" review. I love your creative mind. Thank you, too, for commenting on my "first." Faithwriters is such a lovely garden for helping us grow together, isn't it!
Brenda Welc07/07/07
This was great for a first! It has such a "cute" flow to it for lack of a better descriptive word!
Loren T. Lowery07/11/07
Even here, at your first FW article, your love for God and your searching/caring spirit shines through. I enjoyed your journey in this article and the thoughts it provokes. Great job and keep writing!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/04/13
I just "love" this piece. You were so honest in this piece, and considering your it was your very first entry that speaks even greater volumes. I remember thinking my first story would blow people away too, after all everyone oohhed and ahhhed over my stories and I heard countless you should get this published. But though we both had similar feelings, yours really is pretty good. If I were to comment on it today I would tell you to go back and count the number of times you said love. But you know that now and you have come so far these past few years, which says bunches, Cruz this was pretty good to start with. Have you thought of redoing it, with all you know now and submit it for a devotion? I think it would do quite well. I will always be one of your fans and cheering in your corner! <3