Never a Panic in Heaven

by Janet Chester Bly

Which of these  statements do you most relate to?

What I see is all there is. I’m governed by chance, ruled by fate. Mine is a bleak, empty existence, leading nowhere. My life is governed by my good choices and happy thoughts. We’re ruled by fearsome forces who can attack at any moment. Or I believe in a loving, powerful God who has a benevolent plan for the world, and for me, and the power to see it through.

Charlie Shedd wrote, “Even when things seem to the contrary, I believe (God’s) universe and my life in it are unfolding as they should, and everything is on schedule.”

Everything’s on schedule? That smacks of a celestial plan. But, why not? We ourselves are great planners. Where did that come from, if we’re born into a chancy, random world?

A look around makes plain that God’s will is largely ignored everywhere. The result is pain and violence, mystery and confusion, atrocity and death. A sovereign planner must be greater than ambitious rulers, the torrents of nature, and plotters of evil. Otherwise, where is our hope? To whom can we appeal?

The eyes of faith can detect order breaking through even the sudden outbursts of events. There’s a flow to history. A bigger plan at play. A serious study of the Bible reveals it, with an outline of God’s divine blueprint, his design.

Everything’s on schedule. Do you believe it? Such a statement recognizes someone in control beyond ourselves and the momentary headlines.

“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.” (Acts 17:26)

You and I have been chosen to live in such a time as this. Ask God for courage to embrace your appointed tasks each day. And when you’re troubled, say, “Even so, I trust you, Lord. This, too, is part of your plan.”

Janet Chester Bly

Janet Chester Bly

Beneath a Camperdown Elm, by Janet Chester Bly

Janet Chester Bly is a city girl with a country heart. She doesn’t corral horses or mow her own lawn. “I’m no womba woman,” she says, “but I love to write about them.” She followed her husband, award-winning western author Stephen Bly, to the Idaho mountaintop village of Winchester to write books and minister to a small church. When she lost him, she stayed. Janet has authored, and co-authored with Stephen, thirty-four contemporary and historical fiction and inspirational and family-themed nonfiction books. He also published more than 100 books of his own.

This article was adapted from her book, Awakening Your Sense of Wonder / Discovering God in the Ordinary. Her most recent release is Beneath a Camperdown Elm, Book 3, Trails of Reba Cahill contemporary western romance series, with a zing of mystery. More about Janet at www.blybooks.com.

 

 

 

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Social Distance, Stay Home, Be Still

By Christi Grace

I have had a lot of time on my hands since this whole Corona Virus quarantine thing started. I’m sure most of us are so tired of hearing about social-distancing, stay-at-home, and all the other newly coined phrases that have been conceived in the last six weeks.

But, in this time of forced solitude, God has shown me some amazing things. He’s taught me a lot, and it’s been the most incredible blessing amid what the world has considered confusing and turbulent times.

A perfect time to “be still” and listen to God. Have you taken the opportunity to delight in the stillness? If so, what has God revealed to you? Maybe it’s something simple; maybe it’s clarity on something you now see in a much deeper way. I have certainly learned things I never would have learned had this pandemic never happened.

I’ve learned to be grateful for the simplest of things, like sitting on the front porch and listening to all the miraculous sounds of God’s creation, eating (and even cooking) a home-cooked meal, and being okay with things not always in perfect order in my home and life. That, alone, is miraculous.

My prayer is that you have found gratefulness in this crazy time—that you have heard the voice of your God in the stillness… that you have been moved to go deeper and get closer to Jesus in a way you never have.

We truly serve a good God, and if we persevere in faith, hope, and love until the end, we will find He sends the brightest morning after the darkest of nights.

Thank You, Lord, for all You have taught me through these difficult days. Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Give us Your peace as only You can give and be with us in the uncertain days ahead. We know you’ve got this! In Jesus name, amen.

 

My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures As A Pet Sitter

Christi Grace head shot

Author Christi Grace

Christi Grace has published numerous articles for various lifestyle magazines in the last seventeen years. Most of her articles are about animals. An avid lover of God’s furry creation, she left the stressful corporate world and started a pet-sitting and boarding business. She calls her job spending every day with animals the “best job ever.” Her newly released My Hair-Raising and Heartwarming Adventures as a Pet Sitter, A Life of Fun, Fur, and Faith, is a collection of true stories from her experience caring for God’s furry and feathered creation. Christi shares her life at home in Georgia with three dogs, four horses and one devoted husband. Connect on Instagram @thefurrysideoffaith.

 

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Help in Times of Trouble

by Kimberly Rose Johnson

I once had a conversation with a friend who was dealing with the death of a loved one. At the same time her career was shooting off into a new and exciting direction. God opened doors she never imagined.

She went on to tell me that her brother was experiencing a similar situation with his career. It was all very exciting, but it was in the midst of their mourning. She told me how her brother couldn’t understand why God always ruined the good stuff with bad stuff and went on to say that it seemed like whenever something good happened, something bad would happen too.

Have you ever experienced this?

I suggested to my friend that God gives us the good stuff to help us through the difficult times.

She was blown away by the thought and excited. To her way of thinking, the bad stuff was there to temper the good.

The Lord knows what we face and how it will affect us. He also knows what gives us joy. I liken it to being a parent or best friend. We see our kids or best friend going through a rough patch and we want to help. We know what will make them happy and try to help them through it with some positive encouragement.

Our Lord loves us more than we are capable of grasping. He wants the best for us. He’s not out to destroy or make us fearful of what will happen next. Yes, bad stuff happens every day. People die, jobs are lost, illness happens, but He wants to help us through those times. He wants to be included in every aspect of our lives.

I encourage you today to remember you are loved by your creator. He wants the best for you.

Kimberly Rose Johnson, Author

Kimberly Rose Johnson, Author

Kimberly Rose Johnson, an award-winning author married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Learn more at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/.

 

 

 

Kimberly Rose Johnson’s latest release is Direct Threat.

Pick up a copy at your favorite store today.

Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson

Direct Threat by Kimberly Rose Johnson

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Honoring the Fallen

This Memorial Day feels different than those in recent memory. I’m sure its sense of untimeliness is related to the COVID-19 issues swirling around us. We need community – as believers and as humans – and that sense of community has been threatened.

Today is a perfect day to remember those who have fallen while fighting for our communities.

Those warriors cannot hear our thanks, but their families and descendants can. May we acknowledge their sacrifices by remembering that nothing we possess or enjoy has been gained or achieved on our own.

Others have contributed.

The Psalmist wrote:

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Psalm 44:3).

Notice the progression in this verse – from God’s hand to His arm to His face. As though the reader is drawing closer and closer to Him, recognizing that our great and loving God is the one who gives us victory.

Let us remember the men and women who sacrificed their present and their futures so others yet to come could enjoy the very same in peaceful community.

Davalynn Spencer, bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. When she’s not writing Western romance, she teaches writing workshops and wrangles Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

 

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Are you searching for just the right gift for a graduate in your life? Consider giving high-school or college grads something they will cherish for years to come—a “YOU Gift.” It’s free and it will make this season special. Here are five suggestions:

  • Express value. Graduates are under a lot of pressure. They’re adults now but they may not have every detail of their future in place. (We don’t either, right?) One way to encourage them is to tell them the positive qualities and skills you see in them. Resist offering advice but instead, affirm them. You just might guide them into the right path for study and career.
  • Ask them for advice. This is a very creative generation! They are thinkers and they are passionate and compassionate. They see life differently from older adults and have creative ways of solving problems.
  • Get healthy together. Take a walk or go to the gym together. Chat about healthy foods over dinner. If they get on a good health track now, chances are they’ll make good choices when they’re on their own.
  • Listen to them. They want to be heard. Ask for their opinions without interjecting your own. And you will learn too!
  • Pray for them. Studies show young adults believe in God, believe in heaven, and believe in prayer. Ask them how you can pray for them. And definitely pray they make good choices and follow God with their lives.
Janet McHenry

Janet McHenry

50 Life Lessons For Grads

Janet McHenry is the author of 24 books, including the bookstore bestselling 50 Life Lessons for Grads. A mom of four college grads and a former high school English teacher and academic advisor, she still keeps score at the home basketball games and loves hanging out with young people. More about her writing and speaking can be found at https://www.janetmchenry.com.

 

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