Phenomenal Cosmic Power

aladin5.jpgYesterday, my daughter, my mother-in-law, and I went to see the new live-action release of Disney’s Aladdin. As with all of Disney’s films, it was a spectacle for the eyes and a sweet concoction for the ears. I was surprised that only Jasmine and Aladdin seemed Middle-Eastern. Those were some lily-white inhabitants of Agrabah! Overall, though, the acting was superb,, the score was enchanting, and we really enjoyed the film, except for one thing that completely ruined the ending for me and left me feeling very much out of sorts…

Most of you probably know that the story of Aladdin comes from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (also known as The Arabian Nights). The story actually takes place in China, where Aladdin is a poor boy living on the streets in a nameless Chinese city. His mother is persuaded by a sorcerer to allow Aladdin to retrieve an oil lamp from a magical cave. The sorcerer double-crosses Aladdin, who becomes trapped in the cave. A magical ring allows Aladdin the means to escape the cave with possession of the lamp. The genie turns Aladdin into a wealthy prince, and he marries the sultan’s daughter. There is more than one genie involved but no magic carpet.  

In Disney’s version, the genie, a being of of “phenomenal cosmic power,” is the star of the show (the Broadway version leaves no doubt about this and is a spectacular must-see). In the animated version, Aladdin and the genie trick the sorcerer into wishing he was a more powerful genie, and alas, the genie becomes the one trapped–not in a cave but inside a lamp. The live-action version plays out almost the same EXCEPT, the sorcerer does not wish to become a the most powerful genie in the universe. No, in this newest retelling, the sorcerer wishes to become the “most powerful being in the universe.” The genie takes that to mean a more powerful genie, thus relegating Jafar to life in a lamp. Alls well that ends well. But not with me.

As my daughter, Katie, pointed out when we were discussing this almost insignificant and nearly missable word change at dinner, who decided that a genie is more powerful than God? There can be no doubt that everyone involved in the production of that scene, from the writers to the actors to the producers, knew and understood the change.  How could they not? It was a deliberate switch of words and a profound change in meaning. 

Let me be honest here. I love the Disney films. Yes, even the ones where the princess needs rescuing and child-bride Snow White gets her fairy tale wedding. There is something wholesome and fun about them that always brings out the kid in me. I delight in the music, and I’ve spent more than my fair share of money at Disney theme parks. And yes, our family are big Harry Potter fans despite the “magic.”

I am a believer that there IS magic in the world. Perhaps not in the likes of the boy wizard, Harry, or the sorcerer Jafar, but a beautiful, Holy Spirit-infused kind of magic that can be both tangible and ethereal. Moses parted the Red Sea. Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot. Jesus sent possessed demons into swine and cured blindness. Even today, the power of prayer has befuddled the medical community in many ways. How can any of that happen without a certain kind of magic? 

The point being that GOD is magic. God is the source of miracles. God is the epicenter of all that is good, all that is possible, all that is known, and all that is unknown. He alone is the most powerful Being in the world. For Disney to change that one little word, is to change the entire makeup of the universe. When I heard it, it was as if the theater went dark, and the action on the screen came to a screeching halt. For the rest of the movie, that line echoed in my mind. In a split second, Disney relegated God to less than nothing–a being less than nothing when compared to the magic and capabilities of a genie. But unlike the genie, God is real. He is alpha and the omega. He is the real friend we all need.
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Yes, it was only a movie, but to me, it was just one more sign that Hollywood is trying to infiltrate the hearts and minds of those who follow the one, true, supreme being–to subtly distort our views and corrupt our beliefs. And they’re doing it one tiny word at a time. 

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What I was writing about a year ago this week: Withdraw From Your Cares.

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is a finalist for the RWA Golden Quill Contest and the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction.

Amy’s latest book, The Devil’s Fortune, is now available! Order your copy today.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).

 

 

Grading on a Curve

Those who follow me on Facebook or Instagram will know that I spent this past weekend at a writer’s conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. What a fabulous city that is! I’m going to be honest here, my only knowledge of and experiences with Milwaukee involve the Cunninghams, Fonzie, and Laverne and Shirley. I had no idea what a delightful place it is with its Old World architecture, German restaurants, and biergartens (lots and lots of beer gardens, pubs, and bars). Of course, I did take some time to visit the Bronze Fonz while I was there, but my best and most personal experience had nothing to do with 70s television or even with the conference…
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Old St Mary Milwaukee.JPGOn Sunday morning, before heading to the airport, I awoke early and walked to the church of Old Saint Mary for the 7:15 Mass. The church was packed, a nice sight to see that early on a Sunday morning.  After hearing the homily, I could see why. The priest was witty, friendly, and engaging. More important, his homily was so thought-provoking, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Father Timothy Kitzk told the story of visiting his family years back when his older sister taught high school calculus. In order to allow his sister to complete her work and spend time with the family, Father Kitzk and his brother offered to help grade papers. His brother struggled with marking the answers wrong when the students seemed to have tried really hard but narrowly missed the answer. Father’s sister assured them that they had nothing to worry about because she graded on a curve. Father then reminded us that God grades on a curve. Think about that.

God grades on a curve.

He doesn’t look at one act, one sin, one bad decision. He looks at all of our hard work and grades us all on a curve. He knows that we can’t be perfect. More importantly, he knows that we can’t make the grade on our own. We need His help! We need Him to have mercy on us and grade us on a curve.

How profound is that? But even more than that, the homily got me thinking about how I grade people. While I certainly am not on par with God, what I say and think and do can matter greatly in the lives of the people I care about. We all know that a kind or harsh word from somebody, even an acquaintance, can have an effect on how we feel the rest of the day and often how we feel about ourselves. But the truth is, nobody is perfect. Everybody deserves to be graded on a curve!

Last night, I attended our parish penance service for Lent. I was reminded of the conversation between Jesus and Peter. Jesus asked the Lord, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 20-21). If Jesus expects us to forgive someone 77 times, how often do you think, in His perfection, God is willing to forgive us? When I look back over my mistakes in life, 77 seems like a drop in the bucket! But the bottom line is, we need to be more like God and let people keep trying, keep forging ahead, keep making mistakes, and love and forgive them anyway.
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Now, don’t get me wrong. the point isn’t that someone should be allowed to hurt you over and over again. No, the point is that we need to have mercy on others. We need to look past what they’ve done and see them for who they are. Sometimes, yes, we will need to walk away, but even that can be a way to grade on a curve, perhaps for them, and perhaps, more so, for ourselves. Because when it comes right down to it, not giving people the benefit of the doubt, not showing mercy, not giving second chances–that might hurt the other person, but it actually ends up taking a toll on you, the person unwilling to forgive, to let things go, to grade on the curve. Sometimes the person you need to forgive, to give a break to, is yourself.

I’m going to say it right here and now. I am writing this for me as much as for you. I need to be reminded of these things as much as or more than anyone. I have a long way to go before I reach that big red 100% that God expects of me, but I’ll keep working at it every day, learning, studying, and growing in my journey. And I’m going to try to remember that everyone else is doing the same. I’m going to make my best effort to start grading everyone on a curve. And that includes the grade I give myself.

What I was writing about a year ago this week: The Family Table.

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018.

Amy’s latest book, The Devil’s Fortune, is being released this Friday! Order your copy today, and join her at her book launch celebration.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).

 

Friended By God

GFMPerhaps I’m the only person watching, but I absolutely love the new television show, God Friended Me. It tells the story of an atheist, Miles, who is friended by God on Facebook. He declines the invitation again and again until he realizes this prankster, as he believes the person to be,  isn’t going to give up. Once Miles reluctantly accepts the request, he begins receiving friend suggestions from ‘God.’ Each new friend is, indeed, a friend in need. Reminiscent of two of our favorite shows, Touched by and Angel and Early Edition, each episode revolves around Miles and his friends trying to help the person God has thrust into their lives. 

Why do I love this show so much? There are several reasons.

First, I love that it’s about helping others, reaching out to those in need, and putting others first. There are way too many shows on television that are about hooking up, shaming good people, belittling parents, and living selfish lives. Isn’t it time we rally around a show that makes us feel good about what we can accomplish when we put others’ needs above our own? And isn’t it even better when we do so because it’s what God wants us to do?

Hebrews 13-16

Second, watching Miles struggle with his belief, or disbelief, in God reflects the same struggle that many, if not most, people go through at some point in their lives. Miles lost his mother when he was eight-years-old. From that point on, he reused to believe in God. But every time Miles helps another person, he sees more evidence that God exists. He is beginning to question his doubts. Hopefully, it takes a long time for Miles to accept there is a God because I’d love to see the show stick around for a while (the good news is that it’s on CBS which seems to like shows which highlight Christian families). But for those who believe, we can take solace in the fact that God is always ready be our friend, no matter how big our doubt or how long our journey to find Him. 

Joshua 1

Third, though Miles is convinced that ‘God’ isn’t really GOD, he has come to believe that his life has meaning, that he is here to serve a higher purpose, and that we are all called to help, and that sometimes you just have to stop questioning and start doing. Miles closes the most recent episode by telling his Podcast audience, “Helping people isn’t a burden; it’s an opportunity.” 

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Fourth, and this is my favorite reason, I love being reminded that we are ALL being friended by God. He wants to be our friend, our guide, our mentor, our driving force. He wants us to go to Him when we need something. He wants us to follow His lead and help others. He wants to be part of our lives!

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In the most recent episode [SPOILER ALERT], Miles complains that helping people is a burden, and he wishes ‘God’ would leave him alone. Presto! He is unfriended, but not before seeing that God sent another friend suggestion. Unable to allow himself to let that person go unaided, Miles spends the show trying to help Rachel, who lost her sister in a car accident. At the end of the show, she tells him that he is the “first person I’ve ever met…who walks the walk.” How awesome would this world be if we all walked the walk! 

Galatians 5

Upon his return to his podcast studio, Miles does what he probably never thought he would do – he goes to Facebook and re-friends God, and immediately, God accepts. How often have we had to do that? How often do we have days, weeks, months, years, when we abandon our friendship with God? The beautiful thing is that God always accepts us back as a friend immediately. There is no time too long and no distance too far, for a new or renewed friendship with God. He is waiting for you. Will you accept?

Jeremiah 2

What I was writing about a year ago this week: Patience is a Virtue I am Lacking.

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available in stores and online.

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).

Riding Out the Storm

Please don’t think I mean any disrespect to those in the Florida Panhandle or that I am diminishing what they are going through. Rather, I greatly sympathize with them, for they are facing a far greater storm than most of us do in our daily lives. However, I can’t help but think that what has happened with hurricane Michael is the perfect analogy for what often happens to us at certain times in our lives.

Sometimes, we are perfectly happy living a carefree life with blue skies over head and the sun beating down upon us. Even though there might be some warning signs, and those who voice caution, we have no worries because everything is running smoothly and going our way. Then, all of a sudden, we wake up one morning to the news that a category 4 hurricane with 104mph sustained winds is barreling upon us. With barely enough time to register what is happening, we are forced to go into survival mode.

What are we to do during these times of impending disaster? Where do we turn for help? Do we turn for help? Do we buckle down, sequester ourselves, and declare that we are going to wage this war on our own? Or do we look for help, realizing that there are times in life when the storm is too great, the winds are too strong, and the clouds are too dark for us to fight it alone?

It is during those times that I find I need my family and friends more than ever. But more than my friends and family, I need God. Who better to lead me safely through the storm than He who parts the seas, calms the waves, and turns the dark into day?

In a world full of chaos, where everyone seems only to be out for themselves, it’s tremendously comforting to me that God is there. He listens. He offers comfort, help, and hope. Even when I am too distraught to offer my own prayers, I know that the prayers said on my behalf, by friends and family, are reaching a merciful God who knows me, knows my innermost thoughts and feelings, and knows what I need even when I don’t. I’m not always perfect when it comes to prayer, not even close. I often let life get in the way. I don’t always remember to talk to God during those rare, quiet moments of the day when He is listening, hoping, that I will reach out to him. I often fall asleep in the middle of my evening prayers and wake with the knowledge that God knows all things, even those left unsaid. But despite my short-fallings, my failures, my forgetfulness, and even my selfishness, God is there and is waiting for my call for help.

May God’s hand reach down into the lives of those caught in the storm, Michael and otherwise. May they feel His comfort and His healing touch. May we be touched by the Holy Spirit and know that, no matter how dark or frightful things become, God will calm the storm, and He will bring light to a new day.Sunset2

What I was writing about a year ago this week: A Little Time to Spare.

The second book in Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Promise, is now available in stores and online.

Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture MeWhispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016.  Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her latest children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now available; and her novel, Summer’s Squall, can be found online and in stores.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018).

Longing for a Little Sleep

IMG_0085Have you ever noticed that a child can sleep anywhere? How about that guy on the plane next to you who is asleep before the plane takes off and slumbers soundly until the plane touches down? By the way, that’s my husband. Oh, how I wish that was me. Actually, forget sleeping in a car or on a plane. I just want to be able to sleep in my own bed.

At some point every night, I wake up. Sometimes, it’s because Ken wakes up, and since I can’t sleep through the sound of a drop of rain on a blade of grass, that wakes me up, too. Sometimes, it’s the sound of the wind against the house. Sometimes, it’s because I hear Morgan get up to use the bathroom, or our dog, Misty, softly padding across the carpet. Sometimes, I have no idea at all what causes me to stir. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Once I’m awake, there’s no going back to sleep, even if it’s only midnight.  I lie in bed for the next two hours, four hours, six hours, just praying that I can go back to sleep. My body longs for restful slumber, but my mind refuses to shut down.

It’s not that I’m worried or stressed. I just can’t seem to stop the thoughts. I’ve written entire chapters with engrossing scenes and witty dialog while lying in the dark, my eyes closed, but my mind open. I’ve planned days and trips and parties. I’ve rehearsed conversations I intend to have family or friends. Mostly, I pray. I pray rote prayers I’ve known since childhood as well as long streams of consciousness that roll through the foggy recesses of my mind. There never seems to be an end to my prayers–asking for good health for my parents and Ken’s, asking for wisdom and happiness for my daughters, for success with a project, for traveling mercies, for the intentions of friends and loved ones. I pray more at night when I’m trying to sleep than I do during the day when I’m fully awake.

prayerWhich brings me to wonder… Maybe I’m trying too hard during the day to do things on my own, to fit in too many things, to honor too many commitments. Maybe I’m supposed to be doing less and praying more. Maybe I need to spend less time focussing on myself and more time focussing on God. It’s not something I ever thought of before, but maybe it should have been. 

Glancing at the clock, I have several more hours to go until bedtime. Perhaps it’s time to take a break from this world and concentrate on the next. Maybe then, I’ll be able to sleep tonight.

What I was writing about one year ago this week: Learning from the Past, Changing for the Future.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

A Little Time to Spare

Yesterday, I was out running errands while Morgan was at field hockey practice. I just got a new car, and I wanted to organize the storage space in the front seat, so I ran to my favorite home organization store – the Dollar Tree. If you’ve never done home organization shopping at the Dollar Tree, then you are missing out. Every room of my house has the perfect containers, all purchased for a dollar each! Anyway, I was standing in the back of the store, weighing my options and trying to decide what would work best, when an older man stopped nearby to look at something.

“Hmm, sugar free chocolate. I wonder if it’s any good,” he said to himself.

Glancing over, I saw the display of Baker’s Chocolate that had caught his attention. I winced.

“Only for baking,” I told him. “You definitely do not want to eat it. It’s very bitter.”

He looked at the box for a moment, and then I saw understanding dawn. 

“I guess the name should have given that away. I’m diabetic, and the words ‘no sugar’ jumped out at me. I sure miss eating chocolate.”

Before I knew it, this man launched into a story about his younger sister who had eaten a whole box of ExLax as a child. It was much more information than I needed to know about this stranger and his family, but I smiled and listened. When he finished his story, I nodded, picked up the plastic containers I’d been eyeing, and began to turn away. But I didn’t get far. 

“I have three kids,” this man proceeded to tell me. Before I could say that I, too, have three children, or rather, before I could escape and run down the aisle, he began telling me about his children and his grandchildren. Twenty minutes and several stories later, I smiled, told him I enjoyed talking to him, and wished him a nice day. The entire time he talked, my mind was screaming, “Don’t you get that I have things to do?” But my heart was saying, this man needs to talk.

Perhaps his wife has a medical issue and can’t hold a conversation with him. Perhaps he recently retired and is at loose ends in his life. Perhaps he is just so filled with joy at this stage of his life that he wants the world to know it. Whatever the reason, he chose me to spend close to a half hour regaling with stories. In the end, I paid for my stuff, ran to the grocery store, and still had time to sit in the school parking lot and organize my car. What could have been seen as lost time in my otherwise very busy day, ended up being just a few minutes that I had to spare.

It’s crazy how busy we all are. My days seem to roll by at a constant speed with little time to take a break. If you had told me yesterday morning that I’d spend part of my day listening to a stranger tell me how he feels when his grandson lays his head on his lap and looks up and says, “Grandpa, I love you,” I would have told you no way, I had no time for that. But, as it turned out, I had plenty of time. In fact, I had more than enough time. It’s amazing how sometimes, when we’re open to it, God allows us to make time for little things like listening to a stranger. And that makes me wonder.

If I had been on my phone, if I was one of those people who walks around with earbuds in my ears all day, or if I had simply ignored this man’s comment to himself about the chocolate, the conversation never would have taken place. Would my day have changed? Not at all. But would his? I’ll never know. But God does. He knew that I was meant to be there at that time. He knew that this man needed someone to listen. He knew that my day would turn out just fine if I spared a few minutes for a stranger. He knew that I’d still be thinking about it today. Maybe that man is still thinking about it, too. And maybe it was just what he needed.

Rick Warren

What I was writing about one year ago this week: America, Our Ship is Sinking.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles, which has outsold all of her other books worldwide and ranked as high 600 on Amazon. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale. Amy’s novel, Summer’s Squall, is on pre-sale and will be released on December 1, 2017.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)

A World Without God

My father is a firm believer that we are living in a world without God and that God, angry with us, is showing us His wrath. I don’t believe in a vengeful, wrath-filled God. Jesus dispelled that when He was here on earth. However, I do believe that, where God is not welcome, evil fills the void. We, as a nation, have turned our backs on God. He is not wanted in our schools, our government, our hospitals, our military, our public spaces. I daresay, He is not welcome in many private spaces either. We have shoved Him out of our lives and left the door wide open for evil to enter in and take up residence. 

I don’t care if you believe in Satan or demons or anything like that. That’s a theological debate that has been ongoing for centuries. However, there can be no doubt that, call it what you will, there is pure evil in the world. How else do you describe a massacre like the one that just took place on Las Vegas? If that isn’t evil, I don’t know what is. Murders, rapes, drug addiction, family violence, and a horde of other evils plague us every day, and it’s only getting worse. How can one not label that the work of an evil presence in our midst?

We live in world where God is mocked, where people are told to do as they wish, where pleasure is seen as the only thing worth obtaining, and where we value things, including celebrity and power, over virtues. We live in a world where people claim to be “spiritual but not religious.” What does that even mean? I was fascinated by the most recent results of the Pew Research Center study of religious landscapes. Those who said they were “spiritual but not religious” were mostly under 40, unmarried, childless, and making less than $100,000 per year. Most had some college or less. Almost 85% rarely or never attend any kind of religious service. 

Why do I bring this up? Because I think it’s a good snapshot of where we are in America today. We have lost our foundation. So many young people are no longer getting married and are choosing to have one child or none. Many never read or hear or learn about God. And while the vast majority of these “spiritual” people believe in God (over 91%), they really have no idea what or who God is, how to relate to Him, or why He is important. We are raising a generation of people who believe that they are their own god, that only their decisions matter, and that being “happy” can only be found through self-gratification. Is it any wonder that evil can so easily slip into and become commonplace in our lives?

St FrancisThe next question is, what can we do to combat the evil that has taken up residence in our world? The answer is so simple it sounds trite, impossible even. Be kind. Be loving. Be patient. Be compassionate. Be forgiving. BE CHRIST. Be Christ to everyone. More than once, I’ve written a few blogs about bringing peace, being a person of encouragement, and kindness (Be Kind and “In the End, Only Kindness Matters”). Many others have as well, but a few words written down will never make a difference. What will make a difference is you and me and others, spending every day of our lives trying to make this world a better place. On this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, let’s all strive to be instruments of peace, to treat other with kindness and respect, and to be Christ to the world. 

I pray for the people killed and injured in Las Vegas. I pray for those suffering throughout our country and our world. I pray for those who are lost and hopeless. I pray that we find a way to let God back into our lives. He is waiting for us. All we have to do open the door and ask Him to come back in.

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What I was writing about one year ago this week: Nine Reasons Why Saying Yes is Not a Weakness.

Amy Schisler is an award winning author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me and Whispering Vines, are recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top three inspirational fiction books of 2015 and 2016. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Amy followed up her success with, Island of Miracles. Her next children’s book, The Greatest Gift, is now on pre-sale.

You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor, Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschislerand at http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017)