In Bible study on the Book of Exodus, our lecturer said the Ark of the Covenant was a “portable Eden.” It was a gold box God told the Hebrews to create so He could once again dwell among His nomadic people on earth and be in covenant with them as they traveled.

Once the temple in Jerusalem was built, God then dwelled there, in the midst of the land He’d promised them. It became “Eden.”

That talk sent a flutter through my chest. Why? Paul told the Corinthians that their bodies were the temple since the one in Jerusalem had been destroyed. It has never been rebuilt, by the way. Not that it needs to be because God now dwells in the hearts of believers.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1Corinthains 3:16).

That makes you and me portable Edens!

So, Eden is not a lost world. It still exists. The peace that passes all understanding still resides. Faith, trust, and compassion flourish. This wondrous place now travels with us wherever we go in this un-Eden-like world. It is our “go to” spot whenever we need it. Better than comfy pants or chocolate.

If this portable Eden is always with us, and thus God is, why are we not more serene and content?  Something to ponder. Also, if our hearts contain that marvelous, fruitful place called paradise, why do we try to bring the seeds of worry, strife, anger, and bitterness through the garden gate? Those need to stay outside. We don’t need to haul them inside to dwell where only God should.

Where can we find God today? He still dwells in Eden, a heartbeat away.

Photo credit: simon-wilkes-691856-unsplash (royalty-free photos)

Julie B. Cosgrove is a professional speaker, freelance writer, and award-winning author of twenty-one faith-based books. She is a digital missionary on staff at Power to Change (Campus Crusades Canada) assisting twenty-seven-plus volunteer writers from all over the world to produce free, daily devotionals as well as meaningful testimonies and articles. The two websites, The Life.com and Issues I Face, have yearly readership in the hundreds of thousands in five languages. Her blog Where Did You Find God Today? reaches readership in over fifty countries. Visit her website www.juliebcosgrove.com. A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Authors Network, and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she’s an INSPY Award semi-finalist and a Grace Award Finalist. She was awarded Best Religious Fiction 2016 and Best Cozy Mystery 2017 by the Texas Association of Authors. Another cozy mystery, One Leaf Too Many is the ACFW Book Club book of the month for August 2019.

 

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“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3 NIV).

Spinning is a popular form of exercise almost everywhere now. Although, in my neighborhood, spinning has a totally different connotation.

When I hear the word spinning, I immediately visualize a gym with a spinning class. Don’t you? But in my neighborhood, bicycles are not used for exercise per se. Yes, they are a means of exercise for my neighbors, but their primary purpose is to provide transportation by spinning to and from their alfalfa fields before sunrise.

As I watch my neighbors spinning by my house in the early mornings, I sometimes long to take a spin with them. Not to help them cut alfalfa but to stop my fruitless spinning and set my priorities on these people I came to serve, instead of focusing on the 100 things on my to-do list for the day.

When I step down from the merry-go-round of life, I find refreshment from being with God’s people and enjoy His beauty around me. I focus on the reason God has me here in this place of service (Bolivia)—to spread the Good News. It’s not easy to step off that merry-go-round. Some days I keep on spinning, and some days I wobble as I come to a halt. However, it is always possible.

Each day is a new opportunity for service. It’s easy to allow each day’s tasks (our plans) to keep us from God’s checklist for the day. But, when we ask God to establish our plans (to-do list) and take control of our spinning, He will establish our to-do lists and prioritize our days. Everything will change when we commit our plans to Him. The spinning out of control will cease, and our days will be fruitful and calm.

Try and see. The verse says He will—not He might. He keeps His promises.

Peggy Cunningham and her husband Chuck have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. Learn more at www.PeggyCunningham.com.

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This is the week of our nation’s Independence Day. And in today’s times there is a greater need for bright lights of the gospel and  people of faith living out their Christianity.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD . . .” Psalm 33:12 NASB

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14)

In Devotions for Women on the Go and Devotions for Men on the Go, we quote leaders and their view of building a nation- and a family. Two favorite quotes from two vital presidents in our nations’ history are:

George Washington: “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

Abraham Lincoln: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.”

Be a Legacy Builder. Today, take time to lead your family in a prayer of thanks for your family, for your nation, and for the men and women who bravely give their lives protecting your freedom. Ask God to guide ALL the leaders of the land by turning their hearts toward Him.

 

Pam and Bill Farrel are the Co-Directors of Love-Wise, and they often speak for the military, Business, churches and non-profits with a desire to help build and bless marriages, families, churches and communities.

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The upcoming Independence Day holiday is all about fun, food, family, and celebrating America’s freedom from Britain. Here are five interesting facts about the U.S. flag you can share with your kids while waiting for the fireworks to start.

  • History states the red, white, and blue colors of the U.S. flag represent valor (red), liberty and purity (white), and justice and loyalty (blue).
  • There have been twenty-seven official versions of the American flag, each with a different number of stars.
  • Of the six American flags that were planted on the moon, five of them are still standing. Which one isn’t? The first one, planted by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission.
  • President Eisenhower received thousands of ideas for an updated flag when Alaska and Hawaii become states. Robert, a seventeen-year-old high-school student from Ohio, submitted his version, which he created for a class project. It was accepted and remains in use today. Can you believe that Robert got a “B” on his project?
  • The Pledge of Allegiance has changed four times since it was composed in 1892.

Enjoy celebrating with your family, and remember the freedoms we have, especially the freedom to worship as we wish.

(Flag photo courtesy Pixabay)

Vickie McDonough is the best-selling author of fifty Christian fiction books and novellas. Her stories are sweet romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie’s books have won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best and the Inspirational Choice awards. Find her online at www.VickieMcDonough.com

 

 

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This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 5:4b-5).

She rested on her deathbed with saddened eyes and asked her clergyman, “How do I know if I’ve been good enough?”

She had believed that Christ was the Son of God, trusted Him for salvation, confessed her hopelessness to absolve her sins, and given her life over to God. Yet, somewhere along the line, she held to a misconception that her good deeds, which were bountiful, measured her worth in God’s eyes rather than her relationship with the Savior.

A second woman lay dying. Although she struggled with the scars from her former life, she never wandered far from God, visiting him daily with her fears and joys. Because of the external blemishes, I experienced angst over where she would rest for eternity. God pinched my disbelief.

“All you see is the imperfection … I see a heart that loves me, and I’m bringing her home to be with me forever.” Peace that passed all understanding shrouded her last moments.

From John’s short epistle, one might assume the early church struggled with that same tendency to measure faith through accomplishment rather than a relationship with God. John reassures believers that those who love God will keep the commandments naturally as an extension of that belief rather than a pursuit of the commandments for the sake of pursuit.

I’m grateful for the lesson God taught me through observing the final hours in the lives of these two women. It is not our puny regimentation in spiritual exercise that enriches our spirituality, but rather a heart that stands ready to receive God, his Goodness, and His offer of salvation.

Linda Wood Rondeau, multi-published and award-winning author, is a veteran social worker. Her books examine the complexities of human relationships. Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. She manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Linda resides in Hagerstown with her husband of forty-plus years. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

 

 

 

 

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