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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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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In Discovering Joy in Philippians, I share that the book of Philippians, while known as the book about JOY, is also full of great relationship information.

We see Paul’s priority of relationships in Phil 1:3-6

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Make a list of those you are thankful for and those you are in partnership with. Call them, send a card, text a thank you, post a praise on their social media wall.

Pam and Bill Farrel are authors of 48 books, international speakers, and relationship experts who minister to people through their Living Love-Wise community. 

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On Mother’s Day morning we witnessed the baptism of our baby granddaughter in a wonderful service filled with praise and worship. Though I believe every new life is a miracle, we waited a long time for this baby girl since my daughter-in-law was told she would not be able to have children. It was a very special morning for our family.

Later that afternoon, I received a call from my sister telling me that my ninety-seven-year-old mother would soon be entering heaven. I was a few states away and quickly booked a flight to my hometown. My mom’s funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life, which was defined by unconditional love. It didn’t matter if her children, grandkids, and great grandkids were born into the family, married into the family, “stepped” into the family, or were adopted into the family. She loved us all the same.

In the days that followed, as I processed my emotions, I found myself grateful for a new addition to our family, and grateful for a mother who showed me what it means to love and accept others the way Jesus did.

In life and in death, our hearts can be filled with gratitude to our heavenly Father—the one who gives life and holds us in His hands.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High
(Psalm 9:1-2 NIV).

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman

Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award winning author of more than 100 books for children and adults. She is a lyricist for children’s piano music, contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, and presenter at writers’ conferences. Her latest book is Mothers in Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms (Harvest House).

 

 

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