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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Spam (not the meat) (11/03/11)

TITLE: Specifically Meant For You
By Hiram Claudio


I was trying to do some cleanup!

I had planned for days that I would take today and just focus on filing, processing, and overall cleaning up my desk at home. The mounds of paper and clutter had gotten really bad.

As I went through the stacks, I found unopened and opened junk mail. Advertisements for new credit cards and serious alerts about bank accounts I don’t have. It seemed endless. Why do I get all this junk mail anyway? Don’t these people realize how intrusive they are? Since most of it had personal information about me, I shredded them one by one, so annoying!

I needed a break from the paper mountains so I logged into my email account. More junk. I had over one hundred email messages from people I don’t know and don’t care to. One wanted me to click a link to check out some new work-from-home opportunity. Another told me I had two millions dollars in a, previously unknown to me, bank account in South Africa. SPAM! Electronic junk mail. Is there no escape?

I needed some air. So I shut everything down and went for a walk. It’s Fall here on Long Island. The trees are an explosion of colors. Soft tones of orange and brown with hints of yellow were all around me. The chill in the air, along with the brisk wind in my face, reminded me of the unique sensations of Autumn in America’s Northeast. Leaves were falling as I walked. Newly decorated pumpkins were carefully placed in the doorsteps of many homes I passed. I saw a few squirrels skirting past as they gathered food. They stopped to stare at me for a moment, then continued on with squirrel-like quickness.

I looked upwards and thanked the Lord for His presence in my life. I also asked Him to forgive me for letting something as silly as junk mail, whether paper or electronic, interrupt my peace even for a moment. I heard His voice tell me, “Look at the beauty around you.” I once again focused on the unique features of nature during this season. I said to Him, “It’s all so amazing, so beautiful.” He then said to me, “and I did it all for you!”

I pondered that for a moment. For me? So amazing! And in that instant it hit me why the junk mail had gotten to me. It wasn’t just the time that it robbed me of to deal with it. It was more about the nature of what it was, information sent to ‘me’ but where I was irrelevant. Not only did the senders not know me, they don’t care about me either. They were sending information to my email inbox, or my physical mailbox, and yet none of it was specifically intended for me. It might as well have been addressed to ‘occupant’ (and some of it was).

Yet the Lord was reminding me of just how much I am intentionally on His mind. All His creation, the beauty and wonder, is here for me to enjoy. And His message of love and freedom is a personal one, specifically meant for me. When He gave His life at Calvary, He was dying for ‘me’ not just for ‘occupant.’ His messages to me are focused and with purpose, to communicate an overwhelming love and His desire for a relationship with … me!

I thanked Him for His presence in my heart, and for His power to un-clutter the junk that may get in there at times. I returned home and the hills of paper that I had left were still there. I turned on my computer and I had received another seventy five emails in the short time I was gone. I smiled. Thinking about the senders of each email, I realized they don’t know me and I don’t know them … “But Jesus, you know them!”

I prayed that His great love would touch them and would let each one know how much He desires to walk with them, just how much He loves them, and how that His great love for them is specifically meant for … them.

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This article has been read 298 times
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C D Swanson 11/17/11
This was so clever and well written, I loved it. The topic was spot on- and the message about God was beautifully brought across.

I loved the imagery while the MC was taking a walk,and the thoughts within the MC's mind.

The ending was especially lovely- praying for the souls of all the people who elicited the SPAM mail. That was touching. Great job!

God Bless~
Helen Curtis11/18/11
This is my favourite entry this week! So well written and with such a beautiful message presented. I loved the line about Jesus not dying for "Occupant", but for 'me'! And to then end the way you did, loved it! Praying for the spammers! Ha! Who would normally do that?! Thank you for a lovely read, well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/19/11
This is a really sweet story. I could see it being worked into a devotional.

Use action verbs instead of an exclamation point to get your sense of excitement across. Also when God answers you, make sure you have his words in a new paragraph as you should start a new one each time you switch speakers.

It's funny how little things can bug us. I love how God stops us and reminds us of what rally matters. You did a nice job expressing your message.
Jenna Dawn11/23/11
This is a nice story with an interesting take on the topic. At first I thought it wasn't so unique, as many stories involve characters getting irritated with spam, yet the way you turned it around to praying for the spammers was creative.

The beginning could have been better ... could have grabbed me more, and I'm not sure why you used an exclamation mark.

I liked your description of fall. However, when you mentioned "fall" and "autumn" you capitalized them both. Seasons aren't capitalized unless they are within a title or the beginning of a sentence.

You also switched from past tense to present tense when you wrote, "It’s Fall here on Long Island." Eventually you went back to past tense.

Overall this is a nicely written and peaceful sort of story. I enjoyed going on the walk with the MC in the fall. Great job.
Yvonne Blake 11/29/11
This touched on something I hadn't put into words. Unsolicited mail doesn't care about us.
Great imagery and thoughts.
Lillian Rhoades 11/29/11
What a nice title! It absolutely captures the message of your piece. I concur with most of the previous comments, with a few additions.:-) In writing 1st person stories, it's often difficult to steer clear of "I". Most of your paragraphs began with this letter, and it also cluttered your narrative. Try to find creative ways to avoid this. Ex. You wrote: "I heard His voice tell me." You might have written..."His voice spoke to me." Another ex: "I saw a few squirrels skirting pass me." What you see has already been established in the earlier sentences. You need only to describe what you see. Hence - "A few squirrels skirted past as they..." In both cases the "I" is no longer needed. Try to see how many of this personal pronouns you can eliminate. This would help to make this an even more outstanding devotional
Lillian Rhoades 11/29/11
Clever, title! You were definitely on topic, and you gave a very descriptive account of the Spam game. Some improvements needed on the crafting of the poem. i.e. rhythm. Ex. The word "surely" interrupted the rhythm. In Jan's Basic Grammar which you can find on the Forums, there's an excellent thread on how to improve your poetry skills.

Lots of potential. Keep writing!
Lillian Rhoades 11/29/11
So sorry that we can't preview before we submit; maybe someday. :-( Obviously, the previous comment was meant for another entry. My bad!
C D Swanson 12/01/11
Congratualtions Hiram!

This was one of my "personal favorites." Brilliant job of bringing forth an important message, and it was well written. I wouldn't change a thing! I can see this being published in a Christian Magazaine. Nicely done.

Great job! God Bless you~
C D Swanson 12/01/11
I was so happy for you I didn't notice my typo for magazine! Congrats again-God Bless~
Jenna Dawn12/01/11
Congratulations, Hiram!