New Title Tuesday :: Week of June 25th, 2019

By Sean Frankel

We decided to start posting the new releases for every week on every Tuesday! We are going to give you a list of the new releases that should be on your radar every week!

  • A Family of Strangers by Emilie Richards
  • A Nearly Normal Family: A Novel by M.T. Edvardsson and Rachel Willson-Broyles
  • A Rainbow Above Us by Sharon Sala
  • After the End by Clare Mackintosh
  • After the Fall by E C Myers
  • Backlash by Brad Thor
  • Bad Things by Nancy Bush
  • Bewitched and Betrothed by Juliet Blackwell
  • Beyond the Limit by Cindy Dees
  • Big Sky by Kate Atkinson
  • Breathless by Helen Hardt
  • Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer
  • Cygnet: A Novel by Season Butler
  • Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe
  • Dear Wife by Kimberly Belle
  • Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion by Tanisha C. Ford
  • Emperors of the Deep: The Ocean’s Most Mysterious, Most Misunderstood, and Most Important Guardians by William McKeever
  • Escape from Earth: A Secret History of the Space Rocket by Fraser MacDonald
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
  • Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce
  • Gone Too Long: A Novel by Lori Roy
  • Here Is What You Do: Stories by Chris Dennis
  • Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee
  • How Could She: A Novel by Lauren Mechling
  • I Like to Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by Emily Nussbaum
  • Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym Martineau
  • Lost And Found by Danielle Steel
  • Murder in the Crooked House by Soji Shimada and Louise Heal Kawai
  • Once Upon a Bad Boy by Melonie Johnson
  • Paranoid by Lisa Jackson
  • Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis
  • Return To Zero by Pittacus Lore
  • Say No to the Duke: The Wildes of Lindow Castle by Eloisa James
  • Slow Dancing at Sunrise by Jo McNally
  • Summer Cover by Nora Roberts
  • Sweet Heat by Zuri Day
  • Technically, You Started It by Lana Wood Johnson
  • Texas Home by Debbie Macomber
  • That Other World: Nabokov and the Puzzle of Exile by Azar Nafisi, Lotfali Khonji (Translator)
  • The Bookshop On Shore by Jenny Colgan
  • The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs: A Novel by Katherine Howe
  • The Drama of Celebrity by Sharon Marcus
  • The Evil Queen by Gena Showalter
  • The Friend: A Novel by Joakim Zander
  • The Gone Dead: A Novel by Chanelle Benz
  • The Great Unexpected by Dan Mooney
  • The Iron Dragon’s Mother by Michael Swanwick
  • The Journal I Did Not Keep: New and Selected Writing by Lore Segal
  • The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
  • The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
  • The Not Good Enough Mother by Sharon Lamb
  • The Orphan’s Song by Lauren Kate
  • The Patient Assassin: A True Tale of Massacre, Revenge, and India’s Quest for Independence by Anita Anand
  • The Snakes by Sadie Jones
  • The Solar War by A G Riddle
  • The Summer It Begins by Sheila Roberts and Susan Wiggs
  • The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean
  • The Virtue of Sin by Shannon Schuren
  • The Weather Machine: A Journey Inside the Forecast by Andrew Blum
  • This Is Not a T-Shirt: A Brand, a Culture, a Community–a Life in Streetwear by Bobby Hundreds
  • This Wicked Tongue by Elise Levine
  • Time’s Convert (Paperback Release) by Deborah Harkness
  • Total Mayhem by John Gilstrap
  • Twisted Family Values by V.C. Chickering
  • Unleashed by Diana Palmer
  • Wherever She Goes by Kelly Armstrong
  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

ISRAEL AND HER ENEMIES: LAW ABIDING VERSUS LAW DEFYING

By James A. Wilson

This author has just finished reading the landmark book of another. The book is Jerusalem, by Jay Sekulow, founder and leader of the American Center for Law and Justice, and counselor to President Donald Trump. In it Sekulow, an attorney who has argued multiple cases before the US Supreme Court, the International Court located at the Hague, Belgium, and the United Nations itself, makes an irrefutable case for the legitimacy of Israel as the single sovereign nation on the land known as Israel and Judea until the Romans re-named the region – not the nation – Palestine as a final insult to the nation that dared rebel in 70 AD.

Sekulow proves beyond reasonable doubt that Israel has been Israel over four millennia despite occupation by empires including modern Iraq and Iran, Rome, Muslim Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottoman Turks, and Great Britain. Occupation does not convey sovereignty and Israel has been sovereignly titled to the land without interruption. In 1948 she began the reclamation of her ancient land – a reclamation unique in world history after millennia of exile and dispossession. Jerusalem has been – for three thousand years – and will always be her capital. No other nation has ever demonstrated a credible claim; none ever will, in law or in justice.

But what about the Palestinians?

Many so-called Palestinians are needy and impoverished people, although a good number live in high rise apartments and drive late model Mercedes; I have witnessed this. Anyone should feel compassion for those languishing in refugee camps for decades. I personally feel even more compassion for the spiritual poverty of people fed nothing but indoctrinated hate all their lives; it is a cancer that devours them virtually from birth. However, this double-barrelled poverty is not the result of Israeli action; it is entirely the work Palestinian leaders who would rather see their people goaded to destroy Israel than live a decent life. And the Palestinian people as an identified national group? There never was such a people prior to 1967; they were Jordanians and Egyptians until Israel reclaimed her ancient lands in the war forced upon them by neighbors who had occupied Israeli lands since 1948.

Sekulow makes the elegant case for three criteria to determine landed nationality. The Latin principle of uti possidetis juris, “as you possess under law,” the principle of international law determining sovereignty for “newly created states formed out of territories that previously lacked independence or sovereignty,” is the first criterion. Modern Israel was created from parts of the defeated (in World War I) Ottoman Empire; those portions coincide with the ancient Kingdom of Israel. The British Empire was placed over the territory by League of Nations mandate and tasked with preparing the nations under the mandate for independence. Israel, in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, is the only nation mentioned in the mandatory documents. This is because no nation called Palestine has ever existed. These documents maintain the force of law even today.

According to the principle the borders of the new state must be the borders of the old colony or dependency. Israel thus reaches from Lebanon to Jordan and from the Jordan Rift Valley to Egypt. It includes – and always has, even when Israel was forced from her lands by aggression – the so-called West Bank, Gaza, Judea, Samaria, and all of Jerusalem.

Secondly, Israel holds a valid claim to all her lands according to the Mandate for (so-called) Palestine under which she was re-established by the United Nations in 1948; this is a document of international law as valid today as in 1948 and fully recognized by the UN despite its continuing efforts to undermine what it once-and-forever authorized; Israel’s membership in that body is proof. The same principle governs the existence of – for example – Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as they emerged from the same legislation a mere two years before Israel. No one questions their right to exist and name their own capital under these principles.

Thirdly, the lands called “occupied” by so many nations were taken in a defensive war against nations illegally occupying them since 1948. No principle of civilized nationhood argues that lands reclaimed from illegal occupation in a defensive war should later be returned to the aggressors. If it were otherwise there would be no disincentive to aggression – ever.

The reality?

Reality is Israel and her allies – especially the United States – have abided by international norms and laws at all times. Conflict has arisen – continued – only when groups ranging from Palestinian terrorist militias, the Arab League and Muslim Brotherhood, to the UN itself have sought to dislodge Israel from her national home by outright invasion and/or attempts to discredit her through libel and resolutions passed in defiance of UN principles and protocols. It is these haters of all things Israeli and Jewish – anti-Semitism is the proper name – who are the law defying. Sekulow’s case is airtight.

Let us all say, “Toda Raba,” Hebrew for “Thank you very much,” to Jay Sekulow for his achievement; I cannot recommend his book too highly. While we are shopping for his book – if we do not already own one – we might shop for a Bible and read it closely. I give thanks for Sekulow and his chiseled legal mind, but I give praise to God who created Israel, Jay Sekulow, and the rest of us, providing us abundant opportunity to cherish all He has done. To cherish is – in this case – to participate.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

PENTECOST AND THE NEW DAY – A SEMINAL AND A SUMMARY MOMENT

By James A. Wilson

In my branch of the Body of Christ we celebrate seasons each year. Christmas is a season, Epiphany is a season, Lent is a season. Pentecost is the last day of the Easter Season but – as the birthday of the Church – it is also the first day of the rest of our lives in Christ.

Put another way, Pentecost is the season that began two millennia ago and continues until the King returns to claim His Kingdom. It is both a seminal and a summary moment. It summarizes all the activities of God from the Creation to the death and resurrection of His Son, and the fifty day season leading up to the outpouring of His Spirit which is our inheritance. It launches – inseminates – the Kingdom of God on earth in the Person of that Spirit and the people of the Spirit.

One day the season of Pentecost will itself be summarized in the return of the King. In the meantime those of us who acknowledge the King are expected to take care of what belongs to Him. It’s kind of like the old story of the rich man who went away to a far country and left his friends in charge of his money. When he returned he was thrilled to find those who had invested his money; regardless of how much or how little they gained he cared only that they loved him enough to take risks for him. Likewise, he was majorly steamed at those who simply held what he had left with them; he’s not much for safety borne of either cowardice or narcissism.

A decade ago the Lord gave me a word as I was preparing to write a blog in advance of Pentecost. He began by asking me a question, although we should know whenever He asks a question He is not seeking information. He asked if I knew why the people in the street were so confused by the disciples’ initial outburst of praise and good news they thought these folks must be drunk at nine in the morning. When I confessed my ignorance He said the sound of their words was distorted because they were speaking through walls. When they went outside and spoke the very same words people were blessed and three thousand gave their lives to Yeshua Hamashiach – Jesus the Christ. He ended with something like go and do likewise – get outside where people can hear clearly and understand fully.

A year or so later God gave me another word right around the time of Pentecost, this one more pointed. He said, speaking to the whole Church, “I have provided for you a great harvest and you have gathered it into barns and there it remains. I will tear down the walls of your barns and release the harvest.” Two details are noteworthy: One is that the Lord did not threaten to tear down the building, only the walls that confined the harvest; the other is that the pastor of the church in which I was speaking that Sunday was so personally threatened by my message I have never been asked back to that house.

The takeaways? The Lord loves the Church as He loves His own Body, as any husband is expected to love his bride. He neither threatens nor intends harm to us, but He is adamant that nothing in us will prevent the achieving of His mission on earth, including the need for an enforced remodeling of the temples – and cows – we hold sacred. The second is if we choose to be so personally threatened by this word we reject the messenger we simply prove God’s point that a major league remodel is necessary and now is when.

In 2014, as our Abba proclaimed the advent of His promised Fourth Great Awakening in American history, He gave three words intended to help us navigate this great season. He first called the Church to embrace the whole of His Word, not just our pet passages. Those who honor contemporary prophecy, for example, might want to recall that most prophetic words in scripture interpret past and present events; predictive words are real but only a small percentage of what God has to say. Those who think only men can lead might want to revisit passages like Galatians 3:28-29 and Hebrews 7:12; those who think it’s all about empowering women need to embrace Ephesians 5:21-33.

He secondly called all of us to embrace the whole of His Holy Spirit. Those who focus only on the more dramatic gifts need to re-focus on the promise of leading into all – that means all – truth by that Spirit. Those who think the Spirit is all about doctrine might want to recognize the gifts are irrevocable and as needed now as ever. All of us need to get it that the fruit of the Spirit trumps the gifts – irrevocable though they may be.

Third and finally He challenged all of us to recognize – and repent – of the reality we do accept and celebrate some portions of Word and Spirit more than others, thus creating idols or – as He likes to say – sacred cows. He commands their immediate sacrifice before we can enter the fullness of this season of awakening.

All of this – especially the challenges – offer privilege rather than punishment. Yet He provides no alternatives. Not now and not ever. I pray a blessed season of Pentecost to us all.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

SCOTUS AND SEX SELECTION ABORTIONS

By James A. Wilson

The difference between procedure and protocol is the difference between doing things the right way and doing the right thing in the right way. The Fourteenth Amendment was enacted to ensure protocol enjoyed at least equal prominence alongside procedure; it was all about doing the right thing while proceeding to the right way. One such famous dichotomy was resolved when the Supreme Court overturned the supremely wrongheaded Plessy vs Ferguson in Brown vs Topeka Board. The 1954 court found what the 1896 court missed; the Fourteenth Amendment – in requiring accommodation for all – declares in context that separate but equal facilities and associations equal in-equality, whether in trains or in schools. Plessy/Ferguson had done it the right way – in terms of existing law – but the Court in Brown/Topeka found it was utterly the wrong thing to do in terms of the Constitution.

SCOTUS had a failed opportunity to do the right thing – under existing standards – just recently. The court heard an Indiana law that placed two restrictions on abortions in that state. One forbade abortions for sex selection or based on race or nationality. The other mandated burial or cremation for fetal remains following abortion; this would preclude selling baby body parts. Because it imposes no burden on aborting babies themselves the court accepted the mandate for burial. Yet using a twenty-seven year-old policy that abortion can be restricted only if it imposes no “undue” burden on a woman’s right to choose, SCOTUS let stand a lower court decision cancelling the law for sex selection and so forth. Most interesting was the rationale for not acting; SCOTUS retained “our ordinary practice of denying petitions insofar as they raise legal questions that have not been considered by additional courts of appeals.”

Of course, while justices await additional cases making their way through lower courts babies continue to die and their parents suffer guilt and shame without even necessarily knowing why. Vice President Pence, who signed the Indiana law as governor, expressed hope the process will be speedy. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote scathingly of concern that abortion not be a “tool of modern eugenics.” He knows Planned Parenthood was birthed as just such a tool by pro-eugenics founder Margaret Sanger. And the innocent continue to die.

Activist judges regularly trample on people’s constitutional rights in cases like the 2005 Kelo case – in which SCOTUS upheld New London, Connecticut’s claim that forcing homeowners off their land in favor of private developers who would enhance tax revenues – was legitimate of eminent domain despite the plain language of the Constitution. They did it because they deemed it the right thing to do; never mind the constitutionally lawful thing to do.

Perhaps the most infamous example of procedure trumping propriety is the Dred Scott decision – SCOTUS held that a man enslaved in one state remains a slave in another even if slavery is illegal there – because the Court believed it the right thing to do. Surely a Supreme Court so willing to go outside law and Constitution when it is “the right thing to do” can bring itself to do the right thing when it is within law and Constitution.

Doing the right thing requires no judicial activism. Roe v Wade based legalized abortion on a created-on-the-spot right to privacy; that is activism. Obergefell v Hodges mandated same sex marriage across the land when justices declared the issue “too important” to be left to legislators as the Constitution requires. This Indiana statute could be upheld within parameters of the Fourteenth Amendment and existing federal law.

The Fourteenth Amendment provides equal protection for all persons. Civil rights law requires equal protection for all persons in places of public accommodation. The rub is the Supreme Court does not recognize unborn children as persons. They miss this recognition because medical science had not progressed to its present understanding of when life begins in 1973; Roe v Wade holds only the mother has personhood under law. Yet medicine has reached a point of scientific certainty – through DNA studies, early heartbeat detection, and obvious brain activity, that every unborn child is a human being from conception forward. If all persons merit protection of life outside due process – meaning both procedural (right way) and substantive (right thing) – then SCOTUS had every reason to uphold this Indiana law and virtually all other pro-life legislation

All that is missing right now are five justices with the courage to sacrifice their sacred cow of procedure trumping protocol, of doing the right thing in – but before – the right way.

God has enough courage. He supplies it upon request and without exception.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

AUSTRALIAN ELECTIONS: JUSTICE HEARTS VERSUS CULTURAL ELITISM

By James A. Wilson

Australians have just handed themselves a national elections upset like unto the shockwave of Donald Trump’s come-from-behind win over Hillary Clinton, the Brexit vote, and the return of Benjamin Netanyahu to power in Israel just last month. Pundits in Australia forecast not just a win for Bill Shorten and his leftist Labor Party, but a big win. Internal polls in both Labor and the conservative Liberal Party called for a closer margin but still expected Labor to ascend to the apex of authority in the Land Down Under. Instead, Labor is out and Bill Shorten is ousted as their leader.

Evangelical-Charismatic Christian Scott Morrison continues as Prime Minister with a larger margin than the razor thin edge he enjoyed a month ago and since displacing moderate Malcolm Turnbull. Media brains – the same who prophesied the vote so spectacularly wrong – attribute the upset to overly extravagant Labor promises to retirees without explaining how they would fund them. My own conviction is the Australian People have given Labor a pass for a long time on social issues like same sex marriage and abortion, education, and climate change. They have accepted Labor and Green Party denials about the persecution of those who object to their social agenda…until now. They did this because Australians are a genetically fair-minded people. Voters thought it best to give ideas like so-called marriage equality a chance to level the social and cultural playing field; more than sixty per cent voted what Aussies call a fair go to progressive – read socialist – arguments on the issue.

The chickens were inside the eggs. It took a while for the eggs to hatch.

Back in 2016 then PM Turnbull called for a national plebiscite on marriage equality. The results would be advisory, but Parliament was committed to changing marriage laws if results warranted it. A national free-for-all was set in motion, including physical attacks on speakers at rallies, verbal excoriation of iconic Australians such as tennis great Margaret Court, and boycotts of businesses.

At least one former prime minister and one broadcast journalist were assaulted while walking on public streets; there was a bombing attack on the headquarters of a prominent Christian organization. Although leftists – including most media outlets – claimed these incidents were virtually all fomented by bigoted opponents of marriage equality investigation revealed at least nine of ten were the work of its supporters; this included the broadcasting of homophobic banners that turned out to be the work of same sex marriage supporters masquerading as traditional marriage backers. When the leftists won the plebiscite such incidents only increased across the country. The agenda was never the claim that equality advocates wanted a place at the table; it was always to crush dissent and dissenters.

Two events converged in the recent past to push Australians over the edge. One is the social and professional lynching of football champion Israel Folau, the latest episode of punishment for those who do not embrace that cultural agenda. Folau posted a passage from scripture detailing a number of alternatives to faith in Christ – including the gay lifestyle – and expressing his conviction that faith in Jesus heals and redeems all. Qantas Airlines owner Alan Jones – himself a gay man and the owner of Folau’s team arranged for his permanent banning from Australian football. Any who have defended Folau’s right to speak – whether or not they support his views – have been subjected to similar persecution by the thought police.

Just as important was the moving of a bill in normally progressive Queensland’s parliament to authorize abortion for any reason up to twenty-two weeks’ gestation, and at any time after if a second doctor agrees. The bill was moved without the usual procedures permitting debate and other parliamentary niceties; Queenslanders found their sense of fairness and decency mightily offended. Their vote was the deciding factor returning the Morrison coalition to power.

Add to these majors the relative minors that most Aussies do not accept the rhetoric of human caused climate change as wholeheartedly as their leaders, the reality that government is selling their energy to nations such as China while telling them to get used to outages, and school curricula have increasingly tilted toward a militant LBGTQ world of kindergartners being instructed their gender is a matter of choice. The question becomes less “how did it happen?” and more “why did it take so long?”

All that said, my prayer is that ScoMo takes his evangelical faith seriously enough to govern by it – not in terms of this or that doctrine – but in terms of the example His Lord sets wherein all constituents are not on the same page and faithful allies are essential. Jesus said those not against Him are for Him; He cherished such people.

Scott Morrison has led a coalition of conservatives and the One Nation Party. The latter is vilified in the press for alleged anti-Muslim and anti-indigenous bigotry. I am no expert on One Nation, but knowing the reputation for manufacturing news the AUS press has earned I lean sympathetically toward those they accuse. Those who are not against Morrison need to be treated as friends until further notice.

And bigotry? Israel Folau’s social crime was posting a statement of his faith on social media. Now that the people have spoken through their election, here is hoping these same people begin to chant, “We are intolerant of intimidation.”

Standing against these elitist bullies will be good for everyone’s freedom – including the bullies – in the long run. And may God forgive us for letting things go so far into the night. May He likewise protect us from becoming what we stand against.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com

Our 7 Favorite New Book Releases In June 2019

By Sean Frankel

Summer has officially kicked off! It is definitely time to start picking up those new trendy summer reads to take with you on your vacation(s). Here are a few of the new releases this month that the Bounty Books team have put on our summer TBR (to be read) list.


1. Magic for liars by sarah gailey

Everything about this book that I have read so far has me acting like a little kid who is impatiently waiting for grandma to give me candy. Magic For Liars has everything you would want in a book –murder, magical academy, amazingly gifted magical professors, and estranged private investigator siblings. The book follows the character Ivy –someone who dislikes magic– and how she is investigating a murder, but also investigating the life she could have had… Releases June 4th, 2019.


2. Recursion by blake crouch

Blake Crouch is back at it again with another mind blowing novel. This novel takes everything we think about how the brain works and our memories and twists it in to a new phenomenon of thrills. By giving us the adventure of a neuroscientist who is working on a device to save people’s memories forever –allowing them to relive their first kiss or the greatest day of their life– but also uncovering ‘False Memory Syndrome’ which forces people’s brains to live a life they never lived, but while driving them absolutely crazy. Releases June 11th, 2019.


3. Dear wife by kimberly belle

This might be the next big psycho-thriller everyone has been waiting for after The Woman In the Window by A.J. Finn. This story is told in multiple perspectives and follows a plot that has many twists and turns. It will keep you guessing throughout the whole book and it will have you on a read-a-thon.


4. Sorcery of thorns by margaret rogerson

This book makes my life at the bookstore look like a travesty –because why can’t I be a battle ready bookseller who guards it from evil? Don’t get me wrong the love story part is all fine and dandy too, but I just want to slay demons. Okay, and maybe I want to live in a huge mansion too. Releases on June 4th, 2019.


5. Fix Her up by Tessa bailey

An old baseball star, Travis, gets injured and has to start anew. Travis goes back to his hometown to hammer out his frustrations in life working for a construction company that flips houses. He reconnects with old friends –especially his best-friends younger sister Georgie– who have all grown in to people that he doesn’t recognize anymore. This is a love story about re-connection, friendship morality, and re-discovery –everything that is perfect for a summer read! Releases June 11th, 2019.


6. Summer of ’69 by elin hilderbrand

This is the perfect flashback to the free love era. I mean, what happens when you go on vacation to enjoy chill vibes and have a good time on Nantucket Beach? The perfect summer read for all –full of drama and fun times– even being that it is a Historical Fiction Novel. Elin really did a great job taking us all back to 1969 and re-living a time that gave us Woodstock, short skirts, lava lamps, and Jimi Hendrix.. Releases June 18th, 2019.


7. Storm and fury by jennifer l. armentrout

Witches… Gargoyles… Ghosts… Angels… Demons… and a blind girl who can still see and communicate with them. A dangerous gift that Demons and Wardens are trying to devour to enhance their own power(s). A minor love story that is bound to develop through the rest of the series… This book is a spin-off from the Dark Elements series, and definitely brings in the cameos from characters in her other series as well. Jennifer has done a beautiful job at building her own fantasy world and making it come to life. Releases June 11th, 2019.

THAT ROMANS 8 THING…AND THAT FORGIVENESS THING

By James A. Wilson

It is now nearly half a century since I learned the greatest lesson possible about two things for the price of one – the absolute value to the forgiver of forgiveness and the incredible breadth and depth of the providence of a loving God who invariably gives more than we can ask or imagine. The only variable is whether and to what degree we let go of our agenda of entitlements to see – and receive – all He offers us.

I was a twenty-something teaching assistant at a high school in San Diego with a gift for defusing potentially violent confrontations. One of my duties was to patrol the lunch area when students were out. One day I witnessed a teacher deliberately baiting a student until the young man drew back his fist and moved to clock the teacher. I intervened before a blow landed and offered to escort the student to the office so as to avoid further incident. Both were okay with this and the teacher told me to be sure I told the assistant principal all I had seen. I did just that, including the deliberate provocation by the teacher. Later, realizing the teacher would be pretty steamed at me when he learned I had painted him in a most unflattering light, I thought it best to relate the incident to my supervisor first. I did that too and was shocked when – instead of commending me for my fairness – the supervisor said regretfully he would have to fire me. My job – he said – was to back faculty at all times with no exceptions.

I was frankly so hacked off at my treatment I failed to credit for some years all my God did for me in the event. I secured another assistant position at another school in the same district within days. Working different hours made me available for an accelerated credentialing program that halved the time until I would be a certificated teacher; meanwhile the new school needed a reading instructor, unlike the other one. I obtained my credential in a season when less than a third of graduates were landing jobs and yet I found myself – because of my new position – hired as a reading specialist and on my way to earning a simultaneous masters’ degree and specialist credential. This apparent happenstance also led me into the curriculum development and peer education I had wanted to do all along.

The only fly in the ointment – years after the fact – was my resilient resentment over the unfairness of my termination that day. Even after the Lord reminded me this ill treatment made me available for an accelerated program leading to my teaching credential and positioned me for a job in a market where new teachers were not being hired – even then – my attitude was that guy was a jerk who penalized me for doing the right thing. That resentment prevented my appreciation of the ultimate reality I was not penalized at all; God worked all of it together for my good, and the good of the thousands of students I was ultimately able to benefit.

God has this habit of giving us more than we can either ask or imagine; He says as much in Ephesians 3:20-21. He has this even more remarkable will to work all things together in any of us willing to love Him and live according to His calling on our lives. He makes that point explicitly in Romans 8:28 and implicitly on virtually every page of His book, known simply as the Bible.

There is a catch. We are called by this same Lord and Christ to repent as the access point for His love and provision. Truth is every person on the planet has enjoyed unlimited access to Him since His death and resurrection; He says that too in the Gospels and thereafter. Our repentance – focus on Him instead of ourselves – is how we give Him access to us; it is just as crucial as actually cashing a check we are given if we would use the funds it represents.

This repentance is meant to be a lifestyle. Though many imagine it a one-time commitment, every act of forgiveness is one of repentance – re-focus – on Him. When we refuse forgiveness we refuse Him access to our hearts and it never ends well despite His ongoing love and creative vitality meant to be at our disposal. Every time we choose to thank Him in the face of trouble we likewise re-admit Him into our lives and it always ends well – sooner or later, one way or another.

By the grace of God I finally heard it enough from Jesus to actually forgive that guy. Later I learned even to give thanks for the blessing his bad behavior introduced into my life. The fruit has been and continues to be amazing. I recommend – any time we find ourselves in trouble or anger or grief – asking Him to identify the ones we need to forgive or the issues for which we need to give thanks despite their negative appearance.

I recommend this same advice to myself whenever I forget the lesson I might have learned in 1972 with a bit more humility to enable the learning. It is a lesson requiring frequent repetition. It is a reminder the Gospel is – after all – a lot more good news than mere good advice.

James A. Wilson is the author of Living As Ambassadors of Relationships, The Holy Spirit and the End Times, Kingdom in Pursuit, and his first novel, Generation – available at Bounty Books, or at praynorthstate@gmail.com