by BJ Robinson

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. – Revelation 22:1-2

… the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. Peter 3-7

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Peter 3-10

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth; the home of righteousness. Peter 3-13

Troubled times in today’s world might make one long for the simple times of Henry David Thoreau when he lived on Walden Pond, but God promises a new heaven and earth that will be even better than Walden Pond, one with no sickness, no pain, and no death. He tells us not to let our hearts be troubled, to trust in Him.

Years ago, I longed for the peaceful solitude of a cabin in the woods by water. For a short time I enjoyed my own with the Tickfaw River for my back door. Nature abounded the cabin on three sides with beautiful woodlands, and I loved it. To me, it was heaven on earth, and I read Walden by Henry David Thoreau when I lived there and identified with how he loved his simple cabin in the woods and the reasons he did.

Thoreau wrote of his Walden Pond, “This is my lake county. These with Concord River, are my water privileges . . .” He spoke of White Pond also. As those were Thoreau’s water privileges, mine consisted of the Tickfaw River, and I took advantage of it on a daily basis that summer for fishing and swimming.

I have had my money’s worth of sunny hours and summer days “spent lavishly,” as Thoreau said, splashing and swimming in the waters of that old muddy river. I practically lived on the banks of the Tickfaw River that summer. My entire summer was spent between writing, with a view of the Holden woods, or swimming or sunning on the banks of the Tickfaw River. I usually used my own private little island, which was a present leftover from the many floods, a gift from God.

Just looking at the peaceful, calm water calmed and relaxed me. It was my way of getting back to nature. I was like a bird out of a cage, and I enjoyed my freedom. The pond, the woods, and the river were my links to nature. Sometimes a writer needs his solitude and to get back to nature, and my own Walden allowed me to do this. As nature and peaceful solitude helped Henry David Thoreau, it also helped this writer write as well as reflect upon nature and God’s gift to us while we live in our temporary homes.

Robert Lowry wrote a hymn in 1864, “Shall We Gather at the River?” which eases my heart.

These songs and the above-captioned scriptures helped me in my time of need when I lost my mother and youngest sister six years apart. God sent His Comforter and though I still miss them dearly, I know they’re no longer in pain, and I will see them again when we gather at the river. As Robert Lowry wrote, “Yes, we’ll gather at the river, The beautiful, the beautiful river, Gather with the saints at the river That flows by the throne of God.”

I pray you will be comforted by the Bible verses and hymn as I was, and I pray for America in these trying days. Friends and loved ones, I hope to see you there one day. Meet me at the river.


B. J. RobinsonB. J. Robinson writes Amazon best-selling historical romance and romantic suspense and enjoys writing in various genres. There are numerous selections readers may choose from among romantic suspense, historical romance, mystery, and sweet contemporary romance. Robinson is an avid reader and passionate writer whose hope is to entertain her readers by taking them on a continuous journey to other worlds while reminding them of the beautiful one yet to come. If you would like to explore the various genres she’s written, please check out her Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/B.-J.-Robinson/e/B007DNJIKU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1458731934&sr=1-2-ent

CrossReads Book Spotlight: Some Kind of Wonderful

CrossReads Book Spotlight: Some Kind of Wonderful

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Some Kind of Wonderful

(Treasure Harbor Book 1)

by Belle Calhoune

Some Kind of Wonderful

About the Book

Treasure Harbor: Seven novellas centered around a quest to find treasure hidden by a notorious pirate, Drake Burton, in the seventeen-hundreds. When Nor’easter Igor unearths gold coins on Bounty Beach in Treasure Harbor, treasure seekers from near and far converge on the town in hopes of finding the treasure of a lifetime. Set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina in the seaside town of Treasure Harbor, this eight book series features heroes and heroines who are dealing with the fact that their beloved town has gone treasure crazy.

Lara Callahan is a journalist living in Philadelphia and working for the Philadelphia Times newspaper. When her job sends her back to her hometown of Treasure Harbor, North Carolina in pursuit of a story about centuries old pirate’s treasure, Lara has mixed feelings. Years ago Lara left Treasure Harbor in order to seek a new life away from talk of buried treasure and the hunt for the elusive pirate’s booty. Her childhood was fractured by her parents’ obsession with finding the lost treasure; Lara still feels jaded about the dysfunction she and her sister, Avery, endured as a result.

Now that she’s back in Treasure Harbor, Lara finds herself confronted by the ghosts of the past. Ryan Burton, her childhood best friend and the object of her teen crush, is now a gorgeous, kind man who is determined to find the treasure buried by his ancestor, Drake Burton. Although Lara quickly finds herself falling for Ryan, she isn’t sure that she can bear to watch someone she cares about become so consumed with the treasure.

Ryan Burton can’t believe his eyes when Lara Callahan walks into Pirate Pizza looking all grown up and gorgeous. Years ago they were best friends before the enmity of their families and the centuries old Burton-Callahan feud tore them apart. Now an executive at the Burton import-export family business, Ryan is struggling to make his family proud of his achievements. Now that gold coins have washed up on Bounty Beach, the town is in a frenzy over the elusive treasure. Wanting to spend time with Lara, Ryan suggests they pool their resources since she’s writing a series of articles about the treasure and he’s officially become a treasure seeker. When romantic sparks fly between them, Ryan finds himself imagining a future with the spunky journalist. But when tensions rise over the treasure in the small seaside town, Ryan begins to realize that he and Lara are at odds over his pursuit of the treasure.

Will Lara and Ryan find their way to a happy ending?

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CrossReads Short Takes: Smoke and Mirrors & Beyond the Waves

CrossReads Short Takes

Smoke and Mirrors

by Hallee Bridgeman

and 7 other best selling authors

Smoke and Mirrors

Eight BRAND NEW, never before released “hidden identity” contemporary romantic suspense novellas from today’s best selling Christian authors in one anthology!

THE LONG VIEW by Connie Almony: J.T. MacGregor is ex-FBI and training with terrorists. When his former boss makes an unusual request, J.T. wonders about his motives and how he can use them to his advantage. Destiny Long is no stranger to her father’s covert world of catching terrorists, but who is he after now? When J.T., the man behind the one kiss she will never forget joins a fitness club owned by a suspected member of ISIS and he’s found praying head-first into a tasseled rug, she wonders what side of the war on terror is J.T. MacGregor really on.

TAKEN by USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR Sally Bradley: Cam Winters has never talked about his past, about life before he became a Christian. Jordan Foster knows that Cam’s a strong, caring man–a man she can see herself with. But he refuses to ask her out for fear of what her brother, one of his closest friends, might say. So Jordan takes things into her own hands. When Cam admits to sharing her feelings, the two fall quickly in love–just as that past that Cam won’t ever talk about returns for Cam and those he loves. A group which now includes Jordan.

ON THE ROPES by Hallee Bridgeman: Doctor Ruth Burnette is placed in witness protection after witnessing a Russian mafia execution. Just a week before the trial, Victor Kovalev finds her. Memories of planning her wedding with Victor are wiped clean by the vision of his father executing three men. Does he want to help her survive to her testimony, or is he trying to stop it all together?

OUT OF CIRCULATION by Heather Day Gilbert: When Russian mobsters threaten small-town librarian Katie McClure, she is forced to accept an offer of protection from Manhattan bodyguard Ace Calhoun. As they race the clock to find a long-hidden bank stash, Katie discovers too late that Ace might be the wrong man to trust with her life…and her heart.

DANGEROUS ALTERNATIVE by Kelli Hughett: Summer in Southern California doesn’t get any hotter than this. When Levi Boulter agrees to work for the FBI behind the scenes in Hollywood, he never plans on becoming an operative working to thwart a plan to assassinate the President’s wife—or on keeping a deadly secret from Mahari, the love of his life. When Mahari is kidnapped, Levi makes the gamble of his life in order to save her. Will Levi’s secret divide them forever, or will they come together in time to stop an assassination?

IDENTITY THEFT by Alana Terry: After losing her fiancé in a devastating accident, Lacy meets Kurtis, an Alaska state trooper, and his delightful four-year-old daughter who would love nothing more than to make Lacy her new mom. Things could be perfect, except Lacy can’t shake the nagging suspicion that her fiancé isn’t dead like the police reports claim. All she wants is closure, but as she seeks out real answers, she discovers how deadly the truth can actually be.

OBSESSION by Rachel Trautmiller: A surge in crime has left two homeless women dead and Detective Amanda Nettles’ Alzheimer’s-riddled mother as the prime suspect. As his wife embarks on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek with a remorseless serial killer, FBI Agent Baker Jackson Robinson knows he can’t sit idly while the city of Charlotte destroys Amanda’s career a second time. Is her near decade-long obsession with protecting her hometown bigger than the needs of her family? Or are they one and the same?

SCENT OF DANGER by Alexa Verde: To find her missing sister, small-town cop Maya Hutchinson risks her life by posing as her glamorous twin. Under escalating attacks, Maya accepts protection from dashing senator’s son Connor McNamara. Cop turned PI, Connor McNamara has his own secret mission and is forced to choose between family loyalty and love. When the scent of danger draws near, will Connor and Maya survive long enough to forgive and accept each

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Beyond the Waves

by Lynette Bonner

Beyond the Waves

Can a Love Shattered by the Sands of Time…Rise Beyond the Waves?

Taysia Green nearly chokes on her water when Officer Kylen Sumner shows up in her office claiming he’s back in town because he loves her. Since he’s broken her heart more than once, and she recently started dating youth pastor Blaine Pittman, she wants absolutely nothing to do with Kylen. But he’s been asked to stand in as the mediator between Taysia and wannabe model Sophia Clinesmith, who twisted her ankle in the parking lot of Taysia’s business and is threatening a lawsuit.

If she didn’t need him to help save her gym, Taysia would tell Kylen to take a long midnight walk on a short cliffside trail.

She’s perfectly happy with her life just the way it is.

So why is it that just the sight of Kylen Sumner sets her traitorous heart to dancing faster than it did the time Blaine kissed her?

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Emotions: They’re Not What We Think

Emotions: They’re Not What We Think

by Precarious Yates

I hear a lot of talk about how emotions are bad and not to be trusted. I have lived long enough to see the damage that comes from uncontrolled emotion. I’ve even been the perpetrator on too many counts to throw a stone. With that sort of rap sheet, it’s not hard to see how emotions get a bad reputation. But are emotions evil?

First, let’s discuss what emotions are. They run the gamut from love to rage to grief to hatred to fear to joy to elation and back again. It is something unseen that can be felt inside of each person.

Well, almost each person. There are some who do all they can to murder emotional responses because of the negative outcomes emotional responses bring.

But I must ask again, is emotion all bad?

It can’t be. God feels almost every emotion I listed. Here are two examples of that:

“Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses…” Exodus 4:14 (ESV)

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17 (ESV)

If God feels emotions, which these verses clearly demonstrate, then emotions cannot be evil.

If emotions are not evil, what’s the deal with our emotional responses? They’re often either unhealthy or lacking.

I want to give a few ideas about that. First, in the western church many are convinced that emotions are deceitfully wicked based on how the translation of Jeremiah 17:9 reads:

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”- Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT)

In our minds, we translate heart to means emotions, or we heard it in a sermon, which brings us to the conclusion that emotions are deceitful and wicked. That’s because the word “leb” is translated “heart”. Elsewhere, it’s often translated as inner thoughts and mind. So if it was translated here as thoughts or mind, we’d probably have a different perspective on emotions. Just think about if it read, “The inner thoughts of man are deceitful above all things…” Now there’s an eye opener!

We tend to think of the mind and rationale as greater than emotions or feelings. A person who is sensitive to emotions and circumstances is often looked down upon while those who have rational responses to everything are called cool and often called upon for company and opinion. We’re told to let our brains lead and have our hearts follow.

I want to offer a different perspective. First, let me say that I started down the road to this perspective when I heard people say that the ‘soul’ is mind, will and emotions. Then I ran across Jesus’ words:

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. – Matthew 22:37

I kept asking, if Jesus makes a distinction between the soul, of which emotion is a part, and the heart, then what is the heart?

On my quest, I’ve discovered this: the heart is the core of our being, our drive, our ambition, that which most motivates us. For some that is emotions, for others, it’s intellect, for others still, it’s the ability to decide, for others the ability to create. As you can tell by now, I’m still at the beginning of this revelation. It’ll take my whole life to investigate this and map it out.

But why is it important?

Because God wants our emotional response. He wants us to respond to Him and with Him.

“For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets”. – Amos 3:7

What is a prophet? It’s a man or woman who simultaneously feels the emotions of God and the emotions of people around them, who hears the voice of God and the voice of the people, and in the midst of all that tension s/he speaks God’s words.

All this to say that emotions are not evil. They should not be what drives us, but they are not evil. Our thoughts should not be what drives us either. We shouldn’t hold either emotions or intellect above the other. God should be the One driving us, and thus driving both our emotions and our thoughts.

That means allowing him to sanctify our emotions. We’re familiar with the verse about renewing our minds (Romans 12:2). But God wants our emotions to be sanctified as well. He wants us to feel what He feels when a terrorist plows a truck into a crowd of people. He wants us to feel what He feels when a child is rescued from prostitution. This won’t happen if we deem emotions evil.

And this isn’t something reserved for the sensitive.

For my own part, I did what I could to clamp down, silence and destroy my emotional responses. I was one of those ‘sensitive’ souls who always felt things deeply. I saw it as a curse and not a gift, so I squashed and buried it. I let reason be my guide.

When reason was my guide, I relied on facts and figures for my responses. I weighed statistics in my head before I let myself feel. I didn’t want to give to charities because I saw how so many of them used their funds, all the while ignoring the vast amount of good done. I closed my eyes to the homeless because so many used the money they received to purchase alcohol or drugs. I went from ‘bleeding heart’ to ‘cold heart’.

When I asked God to sanctify my emotions, I began to see people and situations as He did. When I asked God to sanctify my emotions, He took both emotions and intellect out of the driver’s seat and placed Himself there.

My personal journey was through the Song of Solomon, but yours may look vastly different.

Don’t be afraid of emotions. They’re not what you think. Allow God to sanctify them and they will be mighty powerful in transforming how you respond to every situation.

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their one mastiff and four Pyrenees dogs, three sheep and nine chickens. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms and reading. She holds a masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

CrossReaders Book Review: Holy Trinity: Holy People – The Theology of Christian Perfecting by T.A. Noble

CrossReaders Book Review: Holy Trinity: Holy People – The Theology of Christian Perfecting by T.A. Noble

CrossReads Book Review

Title: Holy Trinity: Holy People

The Theology of Christian Perfecting

Author: T.A. Noble

Holy Trinity, Holy People

Rating: 3.5 out of five stars

About the Book

Teaching on the sanctification of Christians using the difficult word perfection has been part of Christian spirituality through the centuries. The Fathers spoke of it and Augustine particularly contributed his penetrating analysis of human motivation in terms of love. Medieval theologians such as Bernard and Thomas Aquinas developed the tradition and wrote of levels or ”degrees” of ”perfection” in love. However, the doctrine has not fared so well among Protestants. John Wesley was the one major Protestant leader who tried to blend this ancient tradition of Christian ”perfection” with the Reformation proclamation of justification by grace through faith.

This book seeks to develop Wesley’s synthesis of patristic and Reformation theology in order to consider how Christian ”perfection” can be expressed in a more nuanced way in today’s culture. Noble examines what basis may be found for Wesley’s understanding of sanctification in the central doctrines of the church, particularly the atonement, the doctrine of Christ, and the most comprehensive of all Christian doctrines, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. What he sets out is a fully trinitarian theology of holiness.


T.A. Noble provides a look at Christian perfecting through a detailed study of the John Wesley and the Wesleyan Method. He provides an introduction and understanding of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, while describing the art of perfecting the one through the entirety of the group.

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This review was submitted by: S.L. Springer