Your FR.EE weekend audio!

Hello Sweet Readers!

Happy July!

I have several things I want to tell you, and I have a devotion below, but first, I have a new release from a good friend of mine!

Bridget writes smart and intricately plotted books that sweep a reader away. (Along with being a writer she has five kids and almost as many animals as we do – I love talking chickens with her.) But I know this book is not going to be for everyone – it’s clean and wholesome humorous urban fantasy (just reading the blurb makes you smile!) so that means there’s magic and other elements urban fantasy readers expect. Check it out:

New from Bridget Baker

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Forget Murphy—it should be called Minerva’s Law.

Paranormal affairs officer Minerva Lucent has always wanted to stand out by making a difference in the supernatural world. Unfortunately, she’s only managed to stick out—like a sore thumb. Her stun spells often misfire and freeze people by mistake. Her magical restraints have been known to pull objects to them like magnets. And last week, her truth spell caused a perp to start singing in verse.

But when a coveted guardian position opens up, Minerva’s determined to finally show everyone that she’s the witch for the job. She makes a plan to redeem her reputation, and she’s about to set it in motion, when her old finishing school pal, Roxana Goldenscales, shows up on her doorstep in dire need of assistance.

Can Minerva enact her plan and help Roxana (knock on wand!)? Or will she have to choose between becoming a guardian and being a good friend to her old mate?

Jessie again!

On down below you’ll see some graphics where you can share a recipe and be entered to win a $25 Amazon egift card. I’ll have some winners from last month in Tuesday’s newsletter, hopefully.

Below that I have a devotion I shared in the Chat on FB last year.

But, first, I’m so excited to announce that the audio for Heartland Gold is out on Say with Jay! It’s totally free (which you all know I love!) and Jay’s performance in this is spectacular!

I have a short excerpt down below which you can read, then click on the link to listen to the FULL audio for free on YouTube.

A couple of people have asked me how we make money on YouTube. Any time you click on a video, we get paid for that, and if you watch at least thirty seconds of an ad, we get paid for that as well.

Also, any kind of interaction – likes and comments – help the algos show the video to more people.

Hope that helps!

I’ll be back on Tuesday with a farm story and some info about my upcoming release!

In the meantime, I hope all my US readers have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Thanks so much for spending time with me today!

Hugs and love,

~Jessie ❤️

Listen to the incredible Jay Dyess perform Heartland Gold for FREE on Say with Jay!

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Shelby hung the towel while Keene turned to the table.

“Help me out here, girls,” he said. “Where should I sit? I don’t want to accidentally sit in your mother’s seat.”

“She sat in my seat once, and I just sat in her lap,” Haley said, and Shelby wanted to sink through the floor.

“I promise you, if you sit in my seat, I won’t sit in your lap. I’m trying to quit.”

Keene’s eyes were dancing as he looked up, but he seemed like he was trying to keep a grin from taking over his face. “Me too.”

Shelby didn’t try to not laugh at that.

He looked back at the table and then said casually, “I’ve got a lot of bad habits I’m working on, and that one’s really not at the top of the list anyway. So I can’t guarantee if you sit in my seat, I won’t end up sitting in your lap. Just warning you.”

He glanced at Shelby but then looked back around the table at the girls, who giggled.

“You can sit on my lap!” Haley said, patting her legs like he might actually do it.

“I was thinking I would sit on your grandmother’s lap. Hers looks like the most comfortable one, and I think she’d feed me too. The rest of you, you might let me sit on your lap, but I’m betting you won’t let me eat your food.”

“I’ll share. We’ll divide everything equally, although, I don’t like hot pepper flakes on mine, so if you like it on yours, we’ll have to divide our spaghetti first before Mom puts hot pepper flakes on it.” Grace sounded quite serious.

“Your mom likes hot pepper flakes?”

“She says they build character. But I don’t know what that means,” Grace added.

“Character, huh?” he said with a lifted brow.

“We all have our little habits that we justify with religious reasons, ones that sound good but are completely inaccurate.”

“In other words, you somehow twist the Bible to say that it’s virtuous to eat food that burns your mouth and makes you miserable?”

“Also food that’s healthy.”

“So…you cook spaghetti and put hot pepper flakes on it and convince yourself you’re eating health food? That’s new. I like it. Creative.”

“I also have salad. It’s mostly lettuce, and I’ll convince myself I’m only putting one serving of dressing on when I know I’m probably dowsing it with at least five.”

“It’s pretty much the only way a person can eat lettuce. Doused. And then preferably set on fire.”

“You’re not a rabbit?”

“Nope. Not a cannibal.”

Her mother laughed at that along with her, but the kids missed the humor.

“I’m going to assume one of these two chairs is yours.” He indicated the two empty chairs at the table while she set the salad dressing and the cheese on.

“Yeah. It doesn’t matter. Whichever one you don’t take.”

“Mom usually sits here,” Grace said, putting an end to that mystery.

“I see.” Keene waited for her to start toward her chair, and then he started toward the same one. She thought maybe he really was going to sit on her lap just to be goofy, and she wasn’t sure exactly how she was going to handle that, but he didn’t.

Instead, he pulled her chair out for her.

“Ma’am,” he said.

“Oh.” Shelby put a hand to her chest. She certainly wasn’t expecting that. She didn’t know what to say. He flustered her.

Enter to win a $25 Amazon egift card by submitting a recipe for May, and enter to win another egift card by submitting a recipe for July!

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Devotion from Jessie:

Most of the time, intellectually, I know what is right.

But my heart is wicked, my mind feeble, my thoughts prone to fixate on what I want rather than what God wants.

Just me?

Last week Julia and I planted some tulips. She ran the shovel since she said I was too old and decrepit to do it well. My job was to plant.

She got about three holes dug and said, “Am I going in a straight line?”

It looked pretty good from my crouched position, so I said, “Yeah,” and she kept on going.
Later in the week, she was in PA and I took her dogs out for a walk, going by the place where we’d planted the tulips. I could clearly see that not only were the holes not in a straight line, but it looked like we might have been trying to spell out some kind of SOS signal for an aircraft or something. (I wasn’t. I’m truly not sure about Julia.)

I’m not too worried about it. If the tulips come up and bloom (and no one runs over them and no cows step on them and nothing eats them) I’ll be content. Ha. Even if they don’t come up and bloom, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

I just don’t get upset about that kind of stuff. But, you know, if we had been going to do it right, we should have put two stakes in the ground and run a string between them. Something to keep us on track. A plumb line to keep our row straight.

Because, as humans in a fallen world, we have a tendency to go off track. To slide downhill. To move toward whatever is easiest.

No one – I’ll repeat – NO ONE automatically does right. Our sin nature keeps our default set on pleasing ourselves, letting our sin slide and allowing our selfish natures to take over.

If we want to do right, we need to be deliberate about it. And, in order for us to remember what is right, what God wants, we need a plumb line, something to keep us straight. Something to help us see where we’re going, to help us know what adjustments we need to make when we get off course, which inevitably happens.

God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path.

The Psalmist said I will hide thy word in my heart that I might not sin against thee.

The Bible is great for comfort. I love going to the Psalms and reading the familiar words. Words of protection and encouragement. Words about God’s goodness and love toward me. Favorite passages in Isaiah and Jeramiah (Call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not) lift me from my tiredness and discouragement like nothing else can.

BUT…the Bible is more than a place to get encouraged and inspired. So many times we tend to view God as our genie in the sky. We act like our lives are our own and He’s just there to get us out of our troubles and give us what we want.

We forget He’s a holy God and He calls us to holiness.

Don’t get me wrong, you can’t work your way to Heaven. My good works can’t save anyone and neither can yours.

But once the question of salvation is settled, once the Holy Spirit is residing in his temple (my body), once I’m no longer lost, but have been bought with a price, God’s will for my life is complete submission to Him, and part of that is for everyone who is saved is to choose to live a life of holiness and sacrificial love. (Jesus said by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another, and God said, Be ye holy for I am holy.)

I read a line in a children’s book once – rows of corn as straight as a good man’s life. I used a variation of that in Torque’s book when he was on the bus after getting out of prison, looking out the window and contemplating how the rest of his life was going to go.

I don’t know about you, but looking back on my life, I can easily see places where I’ve gotten off-track, where my footprints, if you will, are crooked. All of those times, without fail, I was not following the Bible, and most of those times, I wasn’t even reading it.

Men don’t walk straight by themselves. When we’re left to our own devices, we go crooked every time. And if I’m thinking I’m not that bad, then I’m almost assuredly more off-course than what I can imagine.

The Bible does a lot of things – encourages, inspires, points us to Christ and salvation, but it also serves as a mirror, a sword that pierces into our souls and convicts us of our sin and the iniquity we allow to slide past.

We need that. Daily. It doesn’t take long for us to move away from God and be seduced by the pleasure of sin.

Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the garden, and yet Eve was still deceived and ate the fruit. Am I stronger or wiser than they? I know I’m not.

I’ve been talking about fornication to someone who recently asked me for advice. In our society we hardly even know it’s wrong anymore, do we? In fact, fornication is encouraged as right and good and natural (as long as the proper precautions are used, ha), while someone who says fornication is wrong is told they’re a narrow-minded bigot who should keep their opinions to themselves so they don’t cause anyone to feel bad. (Right is wrong and wrong is right.)

This person that I’ve been talking to is also getting advice from “Bible teachers” who are giving them worldly advice and passing it off as Christian advice, although they have no Bible to back it up. I can’t figure out if these “Bible teachers” truly don’t know what the Bible says, or if they just think the world’s “wisdom” is better. (Better than God’s wisdom???)

If we deviate from what the Bible says and start picking and choosing what we believe, we’re following a man-made religion, believing we know more than God, right? We’re just doing what “feels right” to us. That’s foolishness. Doing right is hard and doing wrong will always “feel” easier and, in some cases, better. For a time.

Opening the Bible, reading it, using it as your plumb line for life will take the disparity of our feelings out of the equation and help us recognize the Truth.

Don’t depend on someone else to tell you what is right. Know the Bible so well that you can discern for yourself what is true. The only way to do that is to open it up and start reading. Read it like your life depends on it. Like the lives of your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors depend on it, too.

Know what it says, then make the little decisions every day that, with God’s help, will bring you closer to God. To holiness. To forgetting about self and focusing on loving others. To becoming the exact opposite of what the rest of the world is. To living a straight life. That’s what God’s Word does for us. If we allow it.

Take the first step. Open the Book.

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