Monday, February 14, 2011

Grace of Giving: An Author Interview and Book Giveaway!

A thief. Someone who steals. When I think of a thief, I think of someone who takes things - money, jewelry, household belongings, etc. But have you ever considered that the definition of a thief also includes anyone who steals an employer's time, a fellow man's joy, or tithes from God? Brings the definition a bit closer to home when viewed that way!

Author, Marja Meijers, discusses leaving the way of the thief behind, in the fourth book of her Ten Commandment Series, Grace of Giving. She shares insights on the way of the thief versus the way of the giver. In her own words, "Becoming givers and leaving the way of the thief behind seems difficult. It requires a change in attitude and, maybe even more so, a change of mind. We have to learn to focus on all the riches God shares with us and to no longer focus on our fear of lack...We have to stop regarding everything as our possessions...We can start by concentrating on the fact that whatever we give was God's already; that way giving becomes so much easier."

Grace of Giving turns the reader's attention to the ultimate example, Jesus Christ. By following the way of the Master, we can experience what He intended for us, an abundant life (John 10:10)!

Today I have the privilege of interviewing Marja Meijers!

Maria: Your background is fascinating. Tell us a bit about yourself:

Marja: I was born and raised in Holland, a very small country full of people who like to travel. For the last 25 years I have traveled all over the world with my husband to countries in Central and South America, the Middle East and South East Asia. In 2002, we received our green cards and since then we have been able to live and work in the US. We both have seasonal jobs, so we currently divide our time between Holland and California. We have all our family in Holland and we love to be there for spring and summer!
Maria: Give us a brief description of how you became a published author:

Marja: Although I have always loved writing, I never imagined I would one day write and publish a series of Bible-based books in English. During my prayer time, I received the idea for my first book Sacred Sabbath and it became the first one in a series about the Ten Commandments in the 21st century. After finishing my manuscript, I mailed it off to the first Christian publisher I could find on the internet, and they offered me a contract. My first book was published in 2006. Grace of Giving, is my fourth book!

Maria: How has your relationship with Jesus Christ impacted your writing?

Marja: Without Him I can't do anything! First of all, He gave me a love for His Word and He planted the desire in me to explain Biblical truths in a fresh and down to earth way. The book series was His idea! Truly, it would have never crossed my mind to write about the Law, if it wasn't for Him. I mean, there are hundreds of more attractive subjects...right? But when I decided to obey the unction I received, and I started writing, the Lord showed me how exciting His Word really is and how many treasures are hidden within, just waiting to be revealed. I also believe he uses my limited vocabulary and sometimes clumsy English to touch the heart of my readers. Second, His Holy Spirit helps me on a day to day basis by giving me revelation about the Word of God. Third, He is right there when I write, so I can talk with Him, ask questions, plead my case before Him and cry when needed.

Maria: Give us a glimpse into the fourth book of your Ten Commandments Series, Grace of Giving:

Marja: In the series the emphasis is not on obeying or keeping the law, but on fulfilling it in our daily lives. The Bible says that love is the fulfillment of the Law. In Grace of Giving, I explain how we can go from merely being obedient (do not steal) to fulfilling that commandment in love (give!).
Maria: What do you hope your readers glean from Grace of Giving?

Marja: I hope readers will truly realize that contentment is in giving, not in accumulating more stuff. Not just in giving money or time, but also in giving ourselves to God, our whole being: spirit, soul, and body. If we hold back in one of those areas we will hold back in other areas too, an ongoing battle. We are most true to the gospel when we are generous, because God is generous!

Maria: As an established author, what do you do to keep your writing fresh?

Marja: I read in order to improve my English, I write to improve my skill (blogs, articles, columns, plays) and I learn by listening to others. Most of all, I pray and ask God for fresh ideas and correction where needed. I would like to attend more conferences or seminars, but they always seem to be either on the East Coast, or too expensive or just for fiction writers...

Maria: What goals do you have for the future?

Marja: This spring I will have my first book published in Holland, something I am really excited about. I am working on the other books in the series, as well as on a series of practical Bible studies based on my blog posts. I have many ideas and plans, but I have to finish the Ten Commandments series first! I am also a free-lance text writer for a company in Holland that focuses on talent-development. We are planning to launch the web community this spring. As a moderator and editor, I will have plenty of work to do!

Maria: When can we anticipate the next book in your series?

Marja: I have the fifth manuscript written in draft form. It is based on the last of the Ten Commandments; do not covet...From the moment I submit it to the publisher, it takes more than a year for it to be released. It will be released in 2012.

Maria: Share some lessons you've learned on your journey as a writer:

Marja: As a writer, I've learned to-

*not let disappointment, rejection, discouragement and failure stop me
*fight procrastination, doubt, and fear
*accept criticism as well as praise
*to believe in my own work, or no one will!

Maria: What words of wisdom would you like to leave with our readers?

Marja: Hmmmmmmm. We can never share enough wisdom, can we? Here we go:

1)Count the cost before you start! Are you willing to sacrifice what it takes to get where you want to be?
2)Don't ever think about giving up once you've started!
3)Learn to focus on your current work, because distraction will always try to find you.
4)Put God first in everything you do and don't forget to pray before you write!

My personal creed is: do unto others what you want them to do unto you! You cannot expect people to visit your blog and read your books and write reviews if you are not willing to do the same for others. Never forget to help others to reach their goals. As a Christian, I realize more than ever, that I depend on the Lord to guide and direct me. It is not just my talent that comes from Him, but also my joy, my perseverance and my hope for the future!

Maria: Thank you so much for joining us, Marja! Good news! If you're interested in winning a signed copy of Marja's book, Grace of Giving:

• Leave a comment to this post, include your email address in the following format: morgan(dot) maria(dot)i(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without an email address are not eligible.

• Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you're already a follower.

• Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook and/or Twitter. Please be sure and let me know you did so in your comment.

• This is open to US residents only. My sincere apology to those followers outside the US.

• Deadline to enter is midnight Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, February 16, 2010. Winner to be announced in Thursday's post. The winner will be notified via email

You're welcome to address any questions about Marja's book to:

(Note - Some of the opinions expressed in this book are not necessarily my beliefs.)


  1. Count me in!!


  2. Great interview! Thanks to both of you!

    I'll pass on the entry; I already have a copy. I'm reading Marja's book as we speak. :)


  3. I love, love those points of wisdom. Why do we have to keep reminding ourselves of them?? Great interview and some things to ponder. I am a follower. thanks so much for this post, I needed it today.

  4. Thank you Maria, you did a great job! I really feel honored to be a guest on your blog.

  5. Diana - Thanks for your interest! I've registered you for the drawing with two entries (for leaving a comment and for entering). Have a wonderful day! God bless!

    Karen - Glad you enjoyed the interview! Marja's a wonderful example of living what she's written about! Enjoy her book!! Blessings!

  6. Jan - Great to see you! Glad you enjoyed the interview- Marja's a wonderful believer and so full of wisdom! I've entered you for the drawing (you have 2 entries - 1 for leaving a comment and 1 for being a follower!). Have a beautiful week and God bless!

    Marja - Thank YOU for making the interview possible, my friend! Had to laugh as I was typing out the questions and answers - our names are so close in spelling that I had to double check and make sure I had gotten who said what correct!! I appreciate all the effort you put into this and look forward to reading your next book! God's abundant blessings on you as you follow the way of the Master! Hugs! :)

  7. Great point of going beyond simply being obedient. We need to live outside of ourselves and give, even when it is not convenient to do so.

  8. Dear Maria, Thank you for having this interview-the book and series sound wonderful.
    Sometimes we need a different perspective and Marja's makes me stop and think. I'm a follower too.
    Hugs today.

  9. Stephen - Thanks for stopping by and for the insightful comment! It's not always convenient to give, but when we do, it points to the One we serve. God bless!

    Noreen - Marja's book really challenged me! I'm sure you won't think about the eighth commandment the same way! So much more to it then just not stealing. I've given you two entries for the drawing - one for leaving a comment and a second for being a follower! God bless!

  10. Great interview, Maria!

    I love the quote about fulfilling God's law in our daily lives. What a wonderful way to look at it!

  11. Jill - Thanks for stopping by! Marja shares some great insights in her book! I know you'd enjoy it! Have a great week and God bless!

  12. I'm already a follower of yours. Now I think I'll start following Marja's books! This whole series sounds interesting to me. I'm going to add them to my list of 'read soon' titles. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to win one of them! They sound like they would be good for a Bible study group.


  13. I am a visitor from that little country Holland and really want to have her book!

    Thanks for the interview! I liked it very much.
    Nice to know that there are so many brothers en siters in Christ are over the world.

  14. Lily - Great to see you! You'll enjoy Marja's books - they're very thought provoking and challenging! They are perfectly formatted for a Bible study setting, with discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I've entered you for the drawing (you have 2 entries!) God bless you, my friend!

    Gerreke - Welcome! So glad you stopped by! What an honor! I've entered you for the drawing for Marja's book. Have a beautiful week full of God's blessings!

  15. Marja sounds like the kind of writer I would love knowing! What an amazing life she leads and she offers such encouraging advice. Loved the interview--thank you for doing it:)

  16. Marja sounds so very lovely, Maria. What a totally fantastic interview. I truly loved reading. Count me in, but even if I don't win, I'll be buying a copy of this. :) I'm a follower, my friend. :) (((hugs)))


  17. Terri - Glad you stopped by! Marja is a sweetheart - and it's evident that she has a love for the Lord! I've included you in the drawing for her book. Have a great night and God bless!

    Robyn - Hi, friend! Glad you enjoyed the interview. And you're right about Marja - lovely and genuine! Happy to hear that you're interested in her book. I've entered you in the drawing.

    *Can't believe I forgot to include her blog address!! Check it out: Have a blessed week! Hugs back to you!

  18. Maria, thanks so much for interviewing my sweet friend Marja. I loved reading and learning more about her. (I, too, have the book.) Blessings to you both!

  19. I know Marja quite well, and I just want to say from Holland that she lives what she writes. And she writes what she lives. An example of a living word ... Thanks Marja.

  20. Very good interview. I'm sorry to have been too late to qualify for the drawing, but I enjoyed reading about Marja and her work.