Seated at the table with seven other women attending the women’s retreat where I was speaking, I enjoyed visiting with these young moms. Each one introduced herself and then we started talking about the gift of hospitality. Sarah spoke up and motioned to the woman beside her.

“Natalie has the most amazing gift of hospitality. Her husband must have had it in mind when he built their huge house. She just makes everyone feel welcome.”

The women nodded their agreement. Then another friend of hers offered, “Natalie’s house is so inviting, you’d never guess it’s 6,500 square feet.”

Everyone nodded their agreement again.

Then Ginny spoke up. “It was so funny the other day. My young son, Kyle, and I were driving home from Natalie’s house after he had played there that day, and somehow we got on the subject of who was rich. I asked him, ‘Who do you think is rich?’ and I mentioned several friends, including Natalie. For each one, he said they weren’t rich.

Then I mentioned my sister-in-law who is definitely not rich and she has a 1,400 square-foot home. But Kyle said she was rich!

“When I asked him why he thought that, he replied, ‘Because she has a Play Station.’”

We all laughed. Talk about a perspective of priorities. To Kyle, whatever was important to him made a person rich.

And aren’t we all like that? Each of us has different priorities and a definition of wealth. Which just means we each can feel wealthy in whatever circumstance we are. There will always be someone with more money–and with less. How blessed we are if we’re content with what we have.

Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller

Heart Wisdom by Kathy Collard Miller

Kathy Collard Miller is the author of over 55 books including Heart Wisdom in her Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, a women’s study on Proverbs. She has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

 

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Let’s be honest. Life is filled with ups and downs. Oftentimes there are more downs than ups, and it’s important to remember where our hope lies.

Our hope is in the Lord—and sometimes the things that seem so important really aren’t. Other times there are pretty big and scary things we have to face.

No matter what the issue, my faith and trust in the Lord help me to deal with whatever I’m facing. My go-to verses to remind me of this are Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and He will guide you.

I’ll admit I have trust issues, but when it comes to the Lord, I completely trust Him. Knowing He is in control and that He loves me and wants the best for me is literally the only way I make it through some days.

He wants the best for you, too. Isn’t that great news? I claim this verse often. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

God’s peace is incredible.

I hope these verses encourage and remind you that He is on your side. He is there for you and He loves you.

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 especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. She holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University, Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter at: https://kimberlyrjohnson.com/.

 

 

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In 1998 we moved from California to Atlanta, and a new friend asked, “What do you miss about California?”

Of course, the main things were family and friends, but then it hit me. “The Redwood Forest. It’s beautiful and Majestic, and I learned life-lessons from those giant trees.”

When you drive into the National Park and get out of your car, you enter a new world—an eerily quiet one. Your eyes scan the height of the magnificent trees, some 300 feet tall only allowing a trickle of light to peer through. The fringed tops seem to touch the sky, and you almost topple backwards.

But the strength of each gigantic tree is not in itself. Redwoods are held up by the strength of the “families” which grow in a circle. For every foot in height that these nature’s skyscrapers grow, the tree sends its roots three feet horizontally—some only six feet underground.

The roots grow toward each other, intertwine, and root-wrap. When severe storms blow in from the Pacific Ocean, the trees sway and bend, but they don’t break.

We humans do the same. We root-wrap with others. When storms blow into our lives, we sway and bend, but we don’t break. Ask the Lord to show you who needs root-wrapping.

Who has root-wrapped with you during a storm in your life? Send them a note of thanks.

The greatest root-wrapping occurs when we place our hand in the hand of Jesus. He will never let to.

Lynda T. Young is co-founder of Kindred Spirits International (KSI) whose outreaches include children’s hospitals and Amani ya Juu refugee women’s mission in Africa. She is a speaker and author of the You Are Not Alone book series which includes Hope for Families of Children with Cancer, Hope for Families of Children with Congenital Heart Disease, and Hope for Families of Children on the Autistic Spectrum. She earned a Masters of Religious Education (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Masters of Education (UNC Chapel Hill, NC.). She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, CLASS, SPEAK UP, and American Association of Christian Counselors. A speaker for Stonecroft Ministries, she lives in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, with her husband, Dr. John Young. kindredspiritsintl@yahoo.com.

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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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