A Quarterly e-Magazine Designed for the Christian Home
Volume 2, Number 4
WHO IS TEACHING AMERICA'S TROUBLED TEENAGERS?
by Nancy Jean Hardwick Grinstead
Have you ever wondered why there are so many suicides and so much drug and sex abuse among trouble teenagers? Are you troubled by hurting teenagers? Do you understand that most are not taught the real values and the reason God tells us to follow the Ten Commandments.
by Joann Jordan
Cool beverages, shade and two books will promote your wellbeing this summer: Live Healthy, Live Well by Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley and Embracing the Changes of Aging byFrancine Larson. Dana Perino avoids political heat in her new book, And The Good News Is . .
A PUZZLE A DAY . . .
by Jo Harris
“Parkinson’s disease? Oh, no. How. Can. This. Be? Are you sure? Are the doctors sure?”
I pressed the phone closer to my unbelieving ear, paused between my rapid-fire questions to grab a box of tissues from the end table, and struggled to grasp what my sister was telling me.
ELIZABETH -- A LIGHT OUT OF DARKNESS
by Barbara C. Crouse
It was August 21, 1952 and my mother had just birthed her second child. By then I was ten years old and our family was so excited as we welcomed little Elizabeth into the world! Turns out that Liz was normal for two days after birth, but . . .
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SCROLLING PHOTOS PENDING
FINDING PEACE IN THE PRISON
by Carolyn Dale Newell
Do you ever feel like you are imprisoned by fear, stress, or worry? Perhaps your concerns about your health, your job, or your family leave you desperate for peace. Let’s look at how Peter found peace while he was in prison.
This was Peter’s third time in prison (Acts 12:1-12). This prison had very tight security, and there were four guards watching Peter at all times, two of which were chained to him. It was the night prior to his execution, and Peter was sleeping on the cold, dirty, hard prison floor. How could he sleep in such conditions knowing that morning would bring his death? Peter had perfect peace.
First, Peter had a partnership with God – a proper fellowship with his heavenly Father. This is not merely obtained through salvation, although salvation is necessary, but it requires obedience. We cannot expect God to bless us if we have sin in our lives.
A proper relationship with God is also maintained through consistent communion with Him. It is necessary to spend quality time with God in prayer and allow Him to speak to us through His holy Word.
Peter also had proof that God could deliver him out of the prison. Earlier, John and Peter had been taken into custody. Later they were released after they had been threatened to stop preaching the gospel (Acts 4:21). The second time the apostles were incarcerated, an angel released them from their prison cell (Acts 5:19). Peter had complete faith that God could rescue him before the time of his execution. Christians today have proof of God’s powerful miracles. The Bible is rich in miracles, and we need to remember what God has done in our lives and in the lives of others. This is why testimonials are important.
Third, Peter had the promises of Christ. Specifically, Jesus had prophesied of Peter’s death: “…when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you …” (John 18:21b). Since James had been killed with the sword (Acts 12:2), it was likely that would be the type of execution Peter faced, not the cross as prophesied by Christ. In addition, Peter was not old yet, which was another part of the promise.
Friend, we have so many promises from God to rest upon. He has promised to give us strength to do all things (Phil. 4:13). He has promised to provide our every need (Phil. 4:19). We are promised that God will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Our Father has promised that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear, and He will provide the way of escape ( 1 Cor. 10:13). We are also promised peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). These promises are from our promise-keeping God.
Fourth, Peter was abundant in patience. When I think about the times that I lack peace, I realize that most of them were times of waiting. Waiting for test results. Waiting for someone to get back to me. Waiting for the answered prayer. When I choose to trust God, and I relinquish that need-to-know-everything attitude, that is when I can be patient. That’s when I have peace.
Next, while Peter was in prison, there was a prayer meeting going on at Mary’s house. Have you ever felt the prayers of others? That is why Peter had enough peace to sleep. He had prayed, and he felt the prayers of Christians.
Finally, God is powerful, and God broke Peter out of prison. An angel appeared. The chains fell off, and the prison gates were opened. Peter walked right out of prison. Never doubt the power of God.
He can free you from any prison: fear, cancer, rejection, debt, persecution, and whatever chains bind you today.
The story doesn’t end here. Peter shows up at Mary’s house where the prayer meeting is going on, and they cannot believe their prayers were answered. We can learn two important lessons here.
We should pray with perfect faith and expect an answer, but isn’t it wonderful to know that even when our faith is lacking, God will still be faithful? This little prayer group could not believe that Peter was free, but even with their “little faith”, God responded to their pleas for Peter. That is so comforting!
When we are weighed down with the chains of trouble, and deliverance from our suffering seems impossible, we can have peace. Like Peter, we can have that partnership with God. We must rest in our Father’s proof and promises. We can be filled with patience by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). We can pray with perfect faith. Others are able to pray interceding on our behalf. We have to trust God, who is faithful and powerful, and He is able to break any prison that holds us captive.
That, my friend, is how we find peace in the prison.
Carolyn Dale Newell is a Christian wife, mom and passionate writer. After losing most of her vision, she began writing devotions about God’s grace and strength to encourage people as they go through life’s struggles. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13) became her life verse as she struggled to learn to live as a blind person. She writes for Encouragement Café Ministries and Garlands of Grace Ministries e-magazine. She has published a devotional e-book, “In The Storm”, which is available for free download on
LIFE'S LITTLE IMPERFECTIONS (COUNT IT ALL JOY . . .)
by Tammy Vice
I was standing there, waiting to do special music. As the deacon introduced me, he said something about “the burden this mother has had to bear all these years." His words caught me completely by surprise. I realize he meant no harm, but his perspective was so far off the mark. . .
NICOLE BAART: RECOMMENDED AUTHOR
by Marcia Nelson
One of the simple things in life that makes me truly happy is when I see one of my favorite authors has a new book coming out. That happened to me just this week when I saw that Nicole Baart has a new release coming out in a few weeks. Nicole is the mother of four children from four different countries.
I'M MOVING ON: ACCEPTING CHANGES AND CHALLENGES AS WE AGE: NEW BEGINNINGS
by Francine Coleman Larson
I hear myself saying out loud, “it’s ok: it is really ok." It’s ok that I am now having a harder time losing 10 pounds. It’s ok that I can’t remember names as well as I once did. I suppose it’s ok that my husband and I no longer have the earning power to make money that we once did.
GARLANDS OF GRACE: REACHING OUR WORLD FOR CHRIST
by Donna M. (New Jersey)
I remember the day a pretty lady from Texas asked me, "Are you Christopher's mother?" I answered, "Yes, I am." With a smile on her face she responded, "I am Joann Jordan, Tony Jordan's mother, and this is my husband Byron A." And so the story began . . .
Come, be a Garland Girl and learn to lead by learning to know the God you serve. Women of all faiths, nationalities and ages are invited.
HOW TO GET THROUGH SPIRITUAL DRYNESS
by Dr. Carol Peters-Tanksley
Something just feels off. You try to pray, but it feels as though no one is listening. You try to go to church, but you leave feeling empty. You’re struggling with the same sinful habit you were a year ago. Things you thought you heard from God aren’t happening. This thing called Christianity doesn’t seem to be working for you at all.
This section is written by women who have participated in Garlands of Grace Bible studies - some for the past 20 years.
YOU LOVED HIM ENOUGH TO MARRY HIM
by Joyce Zook
Blond and blue-eyed, rugged and strong, funny and outgoing, intelligent and quiet, or tall dark and handsome - we each found qualities we loved in the guy we chose to marry. He’s our hunk; the man we thought was the perfect fit for us.
For most couples, the lovey-dovey feelings wear off at about the two-year mark. Then we must make a conscious decision to . . .
THE BIRTH OF A GIFT
by Larry Ferguson
Every night, Mother Elizabeth prayed for her son, J. B., who had been missing in action for some time now. The Luttrell family was very proud of J. B. serving his country during what was to be the war to end all wars. These were hard times, . . .
The world owes much of its beauty to cloudland. The unchanging blue of the Italian sky hardly compensates for the change fullness and glory of the clouds. Earth would become a wilderness apart from their ministry. There are clouds in human life, shadowing, refreshing, and sometimes draping it in blackness of night; but there is never a cloud without its bright light, "I do set my bow in the cloud."
If we could see the cloud from the other side where they lie in billowy glory, bathed in the light they intercept, like heaped ranges of the Alps, we should be amazed at their splendid magnificence.
We look at their under side; but who should describe the bright light that bathes their summits and searches their valleys and is reflected from every drop of drinking health-giving qualities, which will carry to the earth.
O child of God! If you could see your troubles and sorrows from the other side; if instead of looking up to them from earth, you would look down on them from the heavenly places where you sit with Christ; if you knew how they are reflecting in prismatic beauty before the gaze of heaven, the bright light of Jesus' face, you would be content that they should cast their deep shadows over the mountain slopes of existence. Only remember clouds are always moving and passing before God's cleansing winds. ---Selected.
Our e-Magazine has a few new changes we hope you will enjoy. "Conversations in the Word" is a testimony by a Garlands Girl. For the first time, we have also added a “Featured Author” column on this page; we hope you enjoy Carolyn Dale Newell’s article.
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Welcome Dear Readers:
We are going into a beautiful summer. Scattered showers and rainbow arcs remind us of God's everlasting promise: that floods would never destroy the earth again (Genesis 9:13).
As we enjoy the warm to hot weather, we will also delight in the beauty of gardens, local festivals, extra time with our children, and those much-needed vacations.
Living in the Great Smoky Mountains is like a vacation for us. The beauty surrounds us every day. It is a great vacation place for all of you; if you haven't been, you should definitely visit.