Posted in devotionals, guest posts

Word Games by Heart

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

I am thrilled to welcome my guest blogger, writer Joy Avery Melville, to my blog today.  I met Joy through ACFW.  She is such a ray of sunshine and seeks to touch the lives of others with her joyful personality (hence her name!) Feel free to leave Joy a comment and let her know how God is using your words (whether written or spoken) to make a difference for His Kingdom.

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I pray you’ll be blessed by Joy’s blog post…


I think God was playing a word game with me last week. I was reading an article and it had the word ‘hearts’ in it. For some reason the word ‘hears’ jumped out at me. Now, that’s not a normal response for me when I see the word ‘hearts’ and especially when you consider the ‘s’ isn’t next to the ‘hear’ so why that happened at that particular time is a mystery to me. The chuckle I had to myself would normally have been the end of the incident, but not that evening. Seeing those two words played back and forth in my head off and on for several hours.

Later, I was sitting in the living room with my husband and our dog when I began thinking a little out-of-the-box in regards to the combination of hearts and hears and a spiritual application suddenly hit me. I shot out of my chair,  my Yorkie went nuts, my husband, no longer able to hear  his television program, went just a little crazy himself, but I kept moving and managed to shut myself in our library, much to my hubby’s  relief and the Yorkie’s chagrin.

Before the dust-up I’d envisioned an old, old picture depicting Jesus at a door that had no outside latch with his hand raised to knock. I’m sure many of you have seen that some copy of that picture.

What do you do when someone knocks at the door of your house? You hear the knocking, right? Then what do you do? Usually you go answer it by opening the door to whomever is standing on the other side.

Remember what I said about the picture? It has no latch on the outside of the door. The door can only be opened from the inside. That’s how it is with the door of our hearts – Jesus won’t force His way in. He stands and knocks, pleading for the owner to hear Him knocking and willingly open his heart’s door to forgiveness and life eternal.

I’m not sure why God used that word in the article I had been reading. I just know He really impressed the word hears from the word hearts and asked me to write about it. There might be someone just a bit hard-of-hearing due to the hardness-of-their-heart needing to read it at this time.

If that someone is you, please, don’t waste time. Only you can open your heart’s door  to welcome Him in by unlatching it from the inside.

And now, a bit about Joy: 

Joy has written several short stories, one of which one second place in a regional literary contest resulting with a monetary prize. Family obligations and then a severe, debilitating disease separated Joy from her beloved writing for over a decade but through God’s
leading and provision, she has recently been revising and rewriting a full-length Christian Women’s Fiction novel for the September 2011 ACFW Conference.

Falling in love with words and books at a very early age, Joy listened each night as her parents took turns reading a variety of books to one another before they retired to bed. The old farm house the family lived in had open registers to the second floor from the first and her parent’s voices carried clearly as they read to each other.

In the 8th grade, Joy wrote a twenty page short story for a year end assignment and received an A+ along with a meeting with her teacher at the end of the day. That concerned teacher encouraged Joy to take as many writing/English courses as she could and in her sophomore year of high school, Joy co-authored, co-composed with three other students, an entire operetta that the school’s choir, band and speech class produced for the public as a Spring Play. Five performances and the credits included not only her scene writing for several scenes, but lyrics as well as musical melody to three songs performed by soloists during the play. It was an exciting transition to writing on a new level. In her senior year Joy had enough credits to leave her high school at noon and go to the local community college to take college credit creative writing courses.



Penny Zeller is known for her heartfelt stories of faith and her passion to impact lives for Christ through fiction. While she has had a love for writing since childhood, she began her adult writing career penning articles for national and regional publications on a wide variety of topics. Today Penny is a multi-published author of over a dozen books. She is also a homeschool mom and a group fitness instructor. When Penny is not dreaming up new characters, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters and camping, hiking, canoeing, reading, running, gardening, and playing volleyball. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and loves to hear from her readers at her website,, her blog,, and through her newsletter via

10 thoughts on “Word Games by Heart

  1. So true, and what a beautiful word picture, Joy! I love it! Don’t you just love how God can use simple words to speak His truth to us, and then we can share that insight with others about Jesus?

    This is a wonderful reminder that we must open our hearts to Him. I pray those reading it will empty their hearts of pride and open their heart’s door to Jesus.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

    God Bless,

  2. Thank you, Kerry. I certainly miss those opportunities too many times but for some reason this was one of those ‘HEAD-THWACK’ moments.
    Oh, that I would always catch those!
    Joyfully appreciative of His gracious teaching

  3. Penny,
    What a nice blog you have here. I am so glad I had the opportunity to check it out. Gotta check out the Hollyhocks book too. I remember making clothes pins dolls using the blossoms from holly hocks. Thank you for reviving that memory for me AND thank you so much for the honor I’ve experienced by being asked to post here today.

    1. Thank you, Joy, for the compliment about my blog. I’m glad I was able to bring back a fond memory with Hollyhocks 🙂 I am so blessed that you agreed to be my guest. What an honor!
      Blessings, my sweet friend!

      1. I’m so looking forward to returning the compliment next week (TUES APRIL 19th) when you come to visit my blog too. I’m been so happy to have this connection with you, Penny. See you next week!

  4. Joy ~ Your story on Penny’s page just made my heart smile bit time! Like you, I often find a spiritual parallel in almost everything and I loved the way you wrote what God placed on your heart! Beautiful and clearly practical!

    Made me think about the need to have a ready heart to hear from God! 🙂 (I think we may be two peas in a pod!)

    1. It’s so much more comfortable when you’re sharing a pod with someone else – so much less lonely and there’s power in numbers – I love the word picture.
      Thank you for your kind comment and the connection we have in Jesus.

  5. Hi Joy,
    I think that writing a novel after all that you have been through
    is very encouraging.I cannot wait to read it.Ienjoyed your post.


    1. Thank’s, Gwen.
      I’ve put it aside way too many times – this time, God has pushed, proddied and connected to many dots in the picture He’s drawing of my life – I HAVE to get it done and out there.
      Who knows – I”ve got a series sitting and simmering on the back burner of my brain – too many ideas, too many books, NOT ENOUGHT TIME! (well, God provides the time, doesn’t He)
      Penny’s invitation was a blessing and affirmation.

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