A “To God” List

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by Mary C. Findley

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Yesterday in our Sunday school class we were talking about the true meaning of the Sabbath. Some people believe the Sabbath is obsolete because it was part of the law. But Jesus kept the Sabbath, and never said we shouldn’t. He often said, however, that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. He also said the Jewish leaders burdened people with wrong ideas about the Sabbath. They condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath, but He quite rightly pointed out that they would not hesitate to water and feed their livestock or pull them out of pits on the Sabbath. To these Jewish leaders, their Sabbath rules were a means to control people.

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Sometimes we think God is trying to control us. Many people say that is why they reject Jesus Christ and salvation, because they see it as a loss of freedom. They will be burdened with a heavy list of rules to follow, a life filled with “don’ts” that will make them miserable.

I want to share the whole 58th chapter of Isaiah because it is so fantastic on the subject of real reasons to do real things for God. But I’ll just share verses 13 and 14 and stick with the Sabbath discussion. God had a very different view of the Sabbath from the Pharisees and Sadducees, I think.

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“If because of the Sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (NASB)

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Yes, we have to turn away from our own pleasure. But look! We can call the Sabbath a delight. People are fond of “name it, claim it” theology and visualization. This is a place where it works. Call the Sabbath a delight and it will be. You will also get to take delight in the Lord. Imagine how it would feel to “ride on the heights!”

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What is the heritage of Jacob? Maybe he’s not our father, if we are not literal children of Israel, but God gave Jacob, who was a most imperfect man, as are we all, huge blessings. Salvation is by grace, and was even for Jacob, and salvation puts us into God’s family. In Christ we can claim God’s blessings. God wants to feed us, and send us soaring like that daddy who swings his little one up in the air and makes him scream with joy.

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So instead of grumbling about all God is going to make us do, why don’t we make a change in our thinking? That’s all God really wanted us to do, with all the laws and regulations and commandments. Love God, love your neighbor. Jesus said these fulfill the commandments. It’s not a burden. It’s a delight.

Some people make “To Do” lists. What if we made a “To God” list, committing our day to God and seeking just to delight in Him, to honor Him, and see if we can’t get that ride to the height, and that feeding from His bounty?

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What would your “To God” list look like? We’d love to have you share it with us.

All images Public Domain from Pixabay

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A Woman’s War

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. (Judges 4:9)

Rather an unusual text, but there may be souls in the world that may have faith enough to grasp it. Barak, the man, though called to the war, had little stomach for the fight unless Deborah would go with him, and so the Lord determined to make it a woman’s war. By this means He rebuked the slackness of the man, gained for Himself the more renown, and cast the more shame upon the enemies of His people.

The Lord can still use feeble instrumentalities. Why not me? He may use persons who are not commonly called to great public engagements. Why not you? The woman who slew the enemy of Israel was no Amazon but a wife who tarried in her tent. She was no orator but a woman who milked the cows and made butter. May not the Lord use any one of us to accomplish His purpose? Somebody may come to the house today, even as Sisera came to Jael’s tent. Be it ours not to slay him, but to save him. Let us receive him with great kindness and then bring forth the blessed truth of salvation by the Lord Jesus, our great Substitute, and press home the command “Believe and live.” Who knoweth but some stout-hearted sinner may be slain by the gospel today!

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 9:10 Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in understanding.

To fear the Lord means we respect who He is, we revere Him, we regard Him, and we have a revulsion for sin. I don’t believe there is as much respect for God as there should be in our lives. We have sanitized God and put Him in a neat little box in our lives. We give little thought to God as being holy and demanding of our holiness. We limit Him in our thinking to fit into our comfort zone about Him. We want Him to be all love and not a judge of sin.

Can we really say that we revere the Lord? Are we in awe of Him? Do we humble ourselves in His presence? Do we adore Him? Are we overwhelmed by His majesty and glory? Does His power impress you? Wise are those who can see God for who He is and bow in amazement before Him.

For many of us, we don’t regard God as much as we should. We reserve a certain part of our lives for Him and do not engage Him in the rest. We go about our business with little thought of how the Lord should influence what we do. We focus on Him mainly on the Lord’s Day, and then mainly for just an hour or two. Wise are those who are willing to let the Lord into every area of their lives.

Wise are those who do not like sin and strive to keep it out of their lives. They see sin as repulsive. They understand the nature of sin and how it impacts our lives. Rather than cozying up to it, they strive to stay away from it. When we fear God we are sickened by sin and find it to be revolting.

When we fear the Lord like we should, we gain an understanding of what we need to be like in order to enter into His presence. We understand what we need to do in order to have the Lord be with us in life. We take seriously our relationship with God and pursue holiness in living . When we fear the Lord we can then begin to understand just how wondrous and precious our relationship really is. We also discover just how awful and foreboding life is without Him.

If we don’t fear God, we won’t fear hell. And if we don’t fear hell, we will not see sin as being something to avoid. We will treat sin, and thus God’s grace, lightly.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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Blood That Is Thicker Than Skin

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by Precarious Yates

Why does Jesus’ blood speak a better word that Abel’s? I mean, we know He’s the Son of God, but is there another reason it’s better?

When Cain killed Abel, Abel’s blood cried out from the ground. Perhaps it wasn’t crying for revenge, but it was at least crying out for justice.

The cry for justice is something that stirs at the very depths of us. It’s a yearning for fairness, an emotion that cries out for everything to be turned right again. How many of you who are parents have had children say, “That’s not fair!” before they turn five?

What Cain did to Abel was not fair. It was not right. And Abel wasn’t wrong when he cried out for justice.

But the blood of Jesus speaks a better word.

What word is that?

Mercy!

As I write this, the people of Tulsa, OK, are reeling from the death of another young black man at the hands of police officers.

As I write this, there is breaking news that a republican representative and his aides have been shot.

No doubt, by the time this is published, people will still be deeply affected by this news or something else that has occurred.

The whole nation of America seems to be a tinderbox right now. Is there anything that can turn the tide?

I don’t know. But I do know that blood needs to be thicker than skin. All of us who are connected by the blood of Jesus, all of us who are washed in His forgiveness and sanctified by His grace need to stand side by side in prayer, in fellowship, and in the work of the gospel, regardless of race. Regardless of skin color. Regardless of what happened last week. Or this morning.

Let’s allow what binds us together be stronger than anything that could tear us apart. Let’s be ready to bring the words that speak louder than cries for justice:

Mercy.

Forgiveness.

Everlasting life for all who believe in Jesus.

Things might get worse. It might get darker. So let’s shine brighter. Together.

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

God bless you!

Precarious Yates

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 big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

Facebook Amazon Author Page

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Feeding It Makes It Grow

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by Sherry Chamblee

Scientists say that we create pathways in our brains – we teach our own brains how to think.

Someone who’s constantly feeling judged is telling themselves that everyone around them is judging them, and is training their brain to think that way. They’re training their minds to believe they’re judged by everyone around them.

Someone who’s constantly angry has trained themselves into the anger by rehashing slights and offenses that happen to them through their day.

On the positive side, someone who’s consistently joyful has more than likely worked at remaining joyful.

It takes work. Otherwise God wouldn’t have to command us to do it.

This is why God put Philippians 4:8 in the Bible.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We so often just leave our mind to do its own thing, trying to be reactive instead of proactive in regards to what we think about and guarding our minds. But instead, we need to take the reins and train that mind of ours to do what God says it ought to do.

You may need some extra help sometimes, I get that. I’m not talking about clinical depression or mental illness here.

It may be a daily struggle, it may be something that’s tough and an uphill battle, but with God, all things are possible.

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/

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He Constantly Abides

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. (1 Samuel 12:22)

God’s choice of His people is the reason for His abiding by them and not forsaking them. He chose them for His love, and He loves them for His choice. His own good pleasure is the source of their election, and His election is the reason for the continuance of His pleasure in them. It would dishonor His great name for Him to forsake them, since it would either show that He made an error in His choice or that He was fickle in His love. God’s love has this glory, that it never changes, and this glory He will never tarnish.

By all the memories of the Lord’s former lovingkindnesses let us rest assured that He will not forsake us. He who has gone so far as to make us His people will not undo the creation of His grace. He has not wrought such wonders for us that He might leave us after all. His Son Jesus has died for us, and we may be sure that He has not died in vain. Can He forsake those for whom He shed His blood? Because He has hitherto taken pleasure in choosing and in saving us, it will be His pleasure still to bless us. Our Lord Jesus is no changeable lover. Having loved His own, He loves them to the end.

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossProv. 8:13 All who fear the LORD will hate evil. That is why I hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverted speech.

How much do you hate evil? How we feel about evil is reflected in how we live. The more we despise evil, the more we will avoid it and strive to live a holy life. Take a moment and think about how you react when evil rears its ugly head. Do you ignore it? Do you tolerate it? Do you indulge in it? Does it repulse you? Do you try to squash it?

Evil is everywhere we are at. We can’t avoid it and whether or not we think we are, we are doing something about it. We are either participating in it, condoning it, or resisting it. We cannot be neutral about it. If we are in Christ, we do make choices about it all the time. When we let it entertain us we are choosing it instead of righteousness. When we allow it to go on uncontested around us, we are choosing it instead of righteousness. If we truly hated evil, I suspect things would be quite different in our homes, churches and world.

If we are in Christ, we ought to have strong feelings about evil. We should hate all that robs the soul of life and destroys it. We should not tolerate those who blatantly do evil. We may not be able to stop them, but we certainly can resist the urge to join them in their evil. We can speak up when we have the opportunity. We can urge those who do evil to stop and repent. We can all do something instead of sitting by and letting evil go wild around us.

We forfeit our right to complain about it if we are not willing to do something about it. We who are in Christ must resist it. We must be advocates for righteousness. We must be part of the solution and not the problem. God commands us to be lights in the darkness. When we don’t do it, it is sin.

When we have a proper fear of God we will have a proper attitude about evil. We must understand the holiness of God and its impact on how God treats us. God is absolutely holy and He will absolutely judge all sin.

Before and After the Honeymoon

About the Author:

Jim HughesSpending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.

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A Review Revisited: Covert Justice

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by Paula Rose

This review appeared on Books-N-Reviews on Publishers Marketplace by Paula Rose http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/booksnreviews/

Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense | Published: June 1, 2015 | Format: eBook (224 pages) and Paperback (224 pages) | ASIN: B00R0F8QOU and ISBN: 9780373446773 | Origin: Purchase 

Covert Justice

Cover: Courtesy of Love Inspired Suspense

Thoughts:

Inside COVERT JUSTICE, author Lynn Huggins Blackburn grabs you with steep suspense and edges it higher straight up until the end!

It doesn’t take long before the FBI invades his world after a woman who saves him from impending death moves beyond her job and into his focus. Blake Harrison is an upstanding guy who is thrown into the path of a crime family who targets his family, his business, and his life, but can the Feds keep them all safe? Whom can he trust?

Early in this case, FBI Special Agent Heidi Zimmerman blows her cover as danger stalks a man nearly to death, but Blake Harrison doesn’t even know why someone wants him gone. And how could he, when her unit can’t figure it out either? Now, this man and his family who had all moved on from the betrayal by one of their own must absorb what is happening. But her wounded heart won’t heal until this crime family goes down. She can’t afford to get close to a family life she barely ever had, but she must protect them. She cannot watch another family be shattered but worries her own heart will be even more damaged in the end.

***This opinion is my own.***

Preview:

FBI Special Agent Heidi Zimmerman has a scarred past, heart, body, and psyche from losing family, childhood, and innocence. She’s come through it all but has fierce battles with PTSD, and this all occurred long before she got into the FBI. In fact, her background is the main reason that she joined the Bureau and is considered the prominent specialist on the Kovac family.

The FBI has become her life and has filled some of the voids. Sure, it can be a lonely existence, but it will be worth it.

She’s followed and investigated them, but law enforcement, the FBI, and others haven’t been able to get these monsters prosecuted. Her determination and life’s mission is to make that leap and to put an end to the Kovac family’s reign of terror.

Meanwhile, this latest piece of the crime family is one that can’t be placed into the puzzle. A young Kovac infiltrated a business under an assumed name. The why and motive is a mystery. The background checks out for the owner of this business along with his immediate family, leaving all without a connection to the likes of the Kovac family. However, this man is here for a reason and that reason will be deadly.

Blake Harrison has dealt with his share of troubles, including an embezzling wife[Symbol]with a drug addiction who abandons him and their child, but their life has gotten better. He is determined to keep his existence a single one for the safety of his daughter, Maggie. This kid has been through much heartbreak, and he will not add to it. However, some things are not a choice. Though forever grateful to the woman who saved his life, she just turns his world upside down. She knew him, and she knew too much about him, knew he would die, and jumped to save him. Then she disappeared. Moreover, he kept her warnings a secret and told not even family about her, but somehow, he had known that it wouldn’t be the last of her.

Once she resurfaces, he gains major problems. Someone wants him dead, is not opposed to hurting his family, and is working with him every day?

Sure, it’s great to have the FBI on his tail, but having his family and himself dependent on them is humbling. As much as he doesn’t like to think about it, his first meeting with Special Agent Heidi Zimmerman created a bond, but try as he does to keep it at bay, he’s getting closer to something he does not want. Thankfully, she is skilled at keeping herself at a distance, and he’s getting good at this himself.

Well, he was until weeks and months blend together and more tragedies hit his family. He’s beginning to wonder. Is his armor the only one that is developing a few cracks?

About the Author:

Paula RoseAuthor Paula Rose brings an “average” family into extraordinary situations, brushes with life-size strokes of reality, adding just a touch of humor, and coats with suspense inside Christian fiction. Paula’s research gives readers a panoramic view from law enforcement and lends to character authenticity. She enjoys writing in the romantic suspense, suspense, and mystery genres, but when she’s not writing, Paula Rose is reading or playing amateur photographer. Member of ACFW. 2015 Genesis Contest judge. NetGalley member. 2014 Grace Awards judge.

Website: http://paularosebooks.com/ Blog: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/booksnreviews/

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A Trustworthy Name

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:12)

When true religion is ready to die out among the wealthy it finds a home among the poor of this world, rich in faith. The Lord has even now His faithful remnant. Am I one of them?

Perhaps it is because men are afflicted and poor that they learn to trust in the name of the Lord. He that hath no money must try what he can do on trust. He whose own name is good for nothing in his own esteem, acts wisely to rest in another name, even that best of names, the name of Jehovah. God will always have a trusting people, and these will be an afflicted and poor people. Little as the world thinks of them, their being left in the midst of a nation is the channel of untold blessings to it. Here we have the conserving salt which keeps in check the corruption which is in the world through lust.

Again the question comes home to each one of us. Am I one of them? Am I afflicted by the sin within me and around me? Am I poor in spirit, poor spiritually in my own judgment? Do I trust in the Lord? This is the main business. Jesus reveals the name, the character, the person of God; am I trusting in Him? If so, I am left in this world for a purpose. Lord, help me to fulfill it.

If you would like your own copy of Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals by Charles Haddon Spurgeon click the image below.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Speak No Evil

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by Mary Hamilton

When people ask me what it was like to grow up at a camp, I say it was a bit like living at Disneyland. My dad served as director of the camp for nearly twenty years, so I lived where everyone else came for vacation. Winter weekends included ice skating on the frozen lake and tobogganing down a long chute to go skimming across the ice. But summers were the best. Summer meant weekly opportunities for new friendships, as well as swimming, boating, campfires, and sports, including staff/camper softball games.

Of course, there were also the usual friendly pranks, like running someone’s underwear up the flagpole, dumping sand or cereal in a counselor’s bed, and dipping the hand of a sleeping cabin mate in warm water which was supposed to make them wet the bed. (It never worked.) The counselors usually pulled a few pranks on each other, too. Like the giant three-legged bullfrog left in the dresser drawer of one of the girl counselors. I think the whole camp heard that scream.

But camp wasn’t always fun and games. Some campers arrived with serious baggage from home. In the 1960’s, the same unrest and racial divisions that swept the United States could be felt at camp. One black youngster seemed bent on rebellion. My dad called him into his office to talk with him. During the conversation, the boy noticed a popular image of Christ on Dad’s wall. He jabbed his finger at the picture and demanded to know why Jesus was always portrayed as white.

Dad conceded. “The historical Jesus probably did look more like you than me.” He pulled a black marker out of his desk and offered it to the young man. “You’re welcome to change it if you’d like.”

The boy hesitated, unsure and probably a little suspicious of the offer. But finally, he took the marker and scribbled on the cheeks of the image. The young man left Dad’s office and caused no more problems for the counselors, maybe because he understood that God’s love for him wasn’t dependent on his skin color.

My Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series is a testament to the camp ministry. Bible camp especially is a place for kids—and adults—to get away from the pressures, influences and challenges of daily life. A place to get quiet and listen to what God might be saying. Camp is where God changes lives.

Camp marks a turning point for so many teens. They may be battling self-image problems, relationship troubles, family issues. But at camp, they discover Christian fellowship with young people their age. They may meet a counselor who is willing to listen and understand. And hopefully, they find someone who points them toward the Lover of their soul, the One whose grace is sufficient for all their needs.

Speak No Evil blurb: 

Speak No Evil

Taylor Dixon knew having his little sister, Marissa, at camp would be a pain, but he never imagined the pain would go so deep.

At 15, Taylor wants nothing more than to get his drivers license. But Dad says he must prove he’s responsible by staying out of trouble. Marissa’s adventurous spirit is what usually lands him in trouble, but she’s the only one who believes in his dreams.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp expecting the usual sermons, softball and swimming. Instead, he discovers a vintage Mustang in the camp’s machine shed, and the owner’s invitation to help restore it fuels his dream of becoming a racecar driver. But Marissa falls for Taylor’s snobbish cabin mate, and her thirst for excitement pulls Taylor into a rivalry of words and deeds that threatens to destroy not only Taylor’s hopes of getting his license, but also his dreams for the future.

Can Taylor keep a lid on Marissa’s antics? And will the message hidden in the old car’s engine change his attitude before it’s too late?

Bio: 

Mary HamiltonAward-winning author Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Authors Network (CAN), and Texas Association of Authors (TAA). When not writing, Mary enjoys a little amateur photography, knitting, reading, and spending time with her family. Mary and her husband live in Texas.

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