Writing for The Supreme Editor

"My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."
~ Psalm 45:1

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In real time you can usually find me in my writing studio. It is in my home which I call "Eagle Summit" in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia pictured above.

I'm Leona Choy and I'm passionate about sharing my experience of creative writing with YOU.

Whether you're an aspiring Christian writer or an already published author, young or a late bloomer in your 70's or above, it's never too early or too late to pursue your writing dreams. I'm here for you.

I've had decades of editorial writing, teaching writers' workshops, conference presenting, publishing and radio broadcast production.

I've written, collaborated, ghosted, edited and published more than 45 books through both royalty publishers and indie self-publishing.

It didn't happen overnight! I was in my mid-twenties, exhausted, with three toddlers in tow returning from the mission field when I experienced the sweat and thrill of seeing my first piece of writing published in a giveaway Sunday School paper. No payment, but oh, how sweet to see my byline! Read the whole story in ABOUT LEONA.

I knew God was calling me to write for Him. A long road lay ahead. For the past 26 years I've been Executive Director of Golden Morning Publishing, our indie ministry. We've produced close to 30 books, my own and also those of other authors. As your cheerleader-coach, I'd love to share YOUR sweat and thrill to see you become published.

THERE'S MORE! Writers can arrange for a free “Jump Start” consultation with me by email to explore your goals. For in-depth personalized assistance, I offer what I call “Stage Coaching” to work with you to reach the next level in your writing.

I feel a special connection with my many readers. I'm eager to tell you the back-stories of how and why I've written each book. I always have more than one book in process. On this site I'm giving you exclusive sneak-peeks of what's next on my publishing schedule.

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IN THE WRONG/RIGHT PLACE AT THE WRONG/RIGHT TIME?

4/3/2021 5:00:00 PM BY Leona Choy


THIS MYSTERY MAN comes along every Easter in the reading of Scripture during Holy Week in most churches. We wonder about him. It’s my tradition: I’ve encored this story every Easter for the past 10 years on my blog site.

So who was this Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry His cross? Wasn't he just a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, an insignificant, curious "passer-by," as he was referred to in the Scripture? Wasn't he randomly picked from the crowd by the Roman guards? 
 
What was so important about him that all three synoptic gospel writers would record the event? Why would his name be recorded for history when others prominent in Jesus' ministry like the rich young ruler didn't even get a name identity? There must be more here than meets the eye!

Where is Cyrene anyway? I was surprised to find that it is in North Africa not far from the modern day city of Benghazi in Libya which was so prominently in the news during the terrorist attack of September 11, 2012!

A condemned person was always forced to bear his own instrument of torture, in Jesus' case it was the heavy crossbeam of a cross. But the soldiers didn't want a prisoner to die on the way up the hill to his crucifixion because that would spare him from the planned cruel torture of a deliberately slow and painful execution. A criminal was crucified in a public place to serve as a warning and deterrent to would-be evildoers. Jesus was already staggering under the weight of the crossbeam and falling repeatedly from extreme weakness after his agonizing, prolonged scourging by the soldiers.

In various translations of this biblical passage Simon was said to have been “pressed into service” or “seized” or “compelled.” He obviously didn't volunteer; he had no choice. He was forced at the point of a spear. 
Why would the gospel writer Mark so precisely identify him that he even recorded the names of his sons and that he had come to Jerusalem from “the country” or “the fields.”  Since Mark wrote for Jewish believers, it is likely that by the time he wrote the gospel story the inclusion of the names of his sons in Mark 15:21 may suggest that they were well known and of some standing in the Early Christian community. Tradition says that Simon's sons Rufus and Alexander became missionaries of the gospel. It has also been suggested that the Rufus mentioned by Paul in Romans 16:13 is the son of Simon of Cyrene. 

Libya is separated from the Holy Land by Egypt. Simon would have had to cross Egypt by land or come by sea. Libya was under Roman rule at that time but there was a Greek colony in North Libya along the Mediterranean Sea with a large settlement of Judean Jews. Most of Libya is covered by the Sahara desert except for that special long strip of Northern coastline where eighty percent of Libya's people live. Cyrene became an early center of Christianity in the centuries after the Church began to spread. Some also link Simon with the "men of Cyrene" in Acts 11:20 who preached the gospel to the Greeks—the Cyrenians would have known how to speak Greek. 

Why was Simon there in the crowd that was following Jesus to Golgotha? Were his sons with him? Were they adults or children? Was he a common laborer or a wealthy foreign businessman? Was he a Jew from the diaspora or a dark-skinned Libyan native? Was Simon a believer in Jesus already when he carried Jesus' cross? Was he a devout Jew on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover according to the requirement of Judaism? Or was he only a curious pagan caught up in the drama of a Roman execution until he became part of what was a life-changing event for himself and his sons and perhaps his heritage for generations to come?

Simon, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Did you stay at the cross after you carried it up the hill for Jesus and watch salvation history unfold? Were your sons at the crucifixion with you? “Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?” Did you become a Christian as a result of seeing Jesus die on the cross or later, perhaps after hearing the witness of the disciples proclaiming Jesus' resurrection? (Someone ought to write a novel about this man!)

Simon,“Were you there when the Holy Spirit came?” Were you among the 120 in the Upper Room? In the biblical account of the birth of the Church on Pentecost in Acts chapter two, in the list of places from which people were present at the event, “the districts of Libya near Cyrene” was noted. Simon, “Were you there in the Upper Room?” We can only speculate.

What is the take-away insight for us from this special event? In His suffering humanity and to accomplish His mission from His Father, Jesus allowed Simon to help carry His cross. He could have called ten thousand angels to strengthen Him to carry the heavy cross, but He permitted and welcomed a mortal man to help Him. In His teaching before the crucifixion Jesus spoke about the necessity of taking up our cross and following Him. (Matthew 16:24) On the way to Golgotha Simon didn't carry his own cross; he carried Jesus' cross.

We can't do what Simon did. We can't carry Jesus' cross. Jesus gave His life once for all on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and to obtain eternal life for us. So then, how can we bear Jesus' cross for Him now? Jesus declared that whatsoever we do for others or to others, we do as if we did it unto Him. The Lord receives it as literally done to Him! (Matthew 25:35-46) In practice then, we are to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)

Each of us has a unique personal cross to bear as well as burdens, afflictions, and problems. There is a sense in which we must with courage and God's enabling accept and bear our own cross, the cross that God has given us in His love. By this we glorify Him and give witness to Him. However, there is a further sense in which we should reach out in love and compassion to help others shoulder their crosses as Simon of Cyrene did for Jesus. By so doing, we are privileged to partake in Jesus' suffering, “For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for His sake.” (Philippians 1:29)

YOUR UNIQUE CROSS

The everlasting God has, in His wisdom,
foreseen from eternity the cross
that He now presents to you
as a gift from His inmost heart.
This cross He now sends you
He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His loving mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with His loving arms,
and weighed with His own hands,
to see that it be not one inch too large
and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy name,
anointed it with His grace,
perfumed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage,
and then sent it to you from Heaven,
a special greeting from God to you,
an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
 

Saint Francis de Sales
1567-1622



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