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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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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Lessons from Little Ones

By Susan G Mathis

Children have so much to teach us. Last week I spent time with four young families. One had a newborn who slept peacefully in my arms while I gooed and giggled over every infant face she made. She was content. I want to be content too.

Another family had four busy little ones ages 3-7. The twin three year olds presented me with “gifts” of scribbled drawings that I just can’t throw away. I want to give others more gifts—gifts of myself—even if they are a bit scribbly.

The third family has a six month old, a five year old, and a seven year old. The five year old is a bug-crazy boy who just had to show me his “pet” fly. The six month old worked and worked to roll over and grab a plastic bowling pin, and we all were in awe when she accomplished her feat. And the seven year old read a book to me, and I marveled at the miracle of reading. I want to always be in awe of the wonder of life like these sweet kids.

Then I got to Skype with my grandchildren, the most precious part of my week. They are curious, funny, busy, energetic, inquisitive, and always learning. We laugh and talk and read books and blow kisses. We connect and reconnect on a deep and loving level. And it fills my soul in ways that nothing else can.

Each one of these children is a special and unique gift to me, and each one reminds me to step back from cooking and cleaning and pay bills and all the grownup busyness of life and to take time to be inspired at the beauty of Pikes Peak or create a story or dream or really enjoy moments with loved ones. Time with children not only helps me to reorient to what really matters but also enjoy my days so much more.

Contentment. Giving. Wonder. Learning. Growth. Love. These are what each child teaches me, and I want to apply all of them to my relationships with God and others. Good lessons, kids.

 

Dear Lord, Help us to be like little children, content, growing, loving and learning more about You everyday. In Jesus name, Amen

 

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is the vice president of Christian Authors Network and the Founding Editor of Thriving Family magazine and former Editor of 12 Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

I’m reevaluating the pace of my life, my priorities, and how I use my time. What’s really, really important? Yes, there are expectations, obligations, and demands that try to push and pull me in all kinds of directions, but what is an appropriately paced life?

While I know that my gifts will make space for me, there is a season for everything. Yet I also know that I need to manage that space. So what does that look like for me—and for you?

First, prayer, worship, and reading the Word needs to be the plumb line that will keep everything else in balance. When these get messed up, the pace of life simply gets out of whack. Right now, I need to adjust my schedule to allow more time for all three.

Second, I need to avoid unhealthy and unbalanced expectations. Moderation is key. I need to pace myself with work, play, relationships, exercise, and even my writing. I need to find the balance in all of it and reject the oppressive demands that weigh on me, whether that comes from inside myself or from others and remember that, ultimately, people and relationships are the most important.

Third, I need to preemptively replace guilt with peace. For me, this is the hardest of all. I’m a perfectionist and ultra responsible, so I feel the pressures of the “should dos” and “must dos” way too much. So I must choose to rest in Him and trust Him with my days, weeks, months, and year, even when they don’t turn out the way I wished they would.

Recently, on top of all the busyness, health issues, and family situations have pulled me away from my agenda, my to-do list, and my timelines. I have so much more that I’d like to do, see, and write than I can possibly get done. So I have to let some of them go and find peace and contentment with whatever the Lord allows.

And what about you? What advice to you have to create an appropriately paced life, find balance in this busy world, and enjoy the peace that comes with it?

About the author: Susan Mathis is the author of The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy and four other books. She is vice-president of Christian Authors Network, founding editor of Thriving Family magazine, and former Editor of twelve Focus on the Family publications. She has written hundreds of articles and now serves as a writer, writing coach, and consultant. For more, visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

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0098_Miller

Greetings from Kathy Collard Miller in the Southern California desert near Palm Springs.

Many years ago as the mother of a strong-willed toddler and a newborn, I didn’t want to be “just” a mother. I wanted to be out ministering to the world. I hated my husband, Larry, who seemed oblivious to my needs. I continually complained about his neglect and the thankless job of raising children. In time, I learned to choose contentment in three primary areas: problems, possessions, and people.

Problems
Complaining about our circumstances stems from a discontented heart. This isn’t a new attitude. In Exodus 15 through 17, the Israelites complained about the lack of water and food. Then when God provided both, they complained abut the type of food they received.

On the other hand, Joseph is an example of a contented person. He trusted God even though he was sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, forgotten by those he’d helped, and seemingly ignored by God (Gen. 39).

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