CrossReads Weekly Devotionals: Gems From Pastor Jim 4/19/2021

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMal. 3:6-7 “I am the LORD, and I do not change. That is why you descendants of Jacob are not already completely destroyed. Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my laws and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty.

“I am the Lord, and I do not change.” God is the same as He always has been and always will be. But, do we really believe it? Think about it for a few moments. There is so much confusion about God floating around in the church. Many have come to the conclusion that what we once believed to be true no longer is. Many have taken the liberty to redefine God’s words and given meaning to them that are totally different than what has been understood in the church for many centuries.

Many have taken the liberty to rewrite the Scriptures to suit their own agendas and opinions. There is great effort put into changing things around so that what was once known to be sin is no longer sin. Words and thoughts are put into God that were never revealed by God to be there.

God has not changed His mind or His Word! God has not rewritten His Word or given man permission to do so. God has declared once and for all what is sin and what isn’t. We have no right to question or try to change what is clearly declared to be sin in God’s Word. Just because we may find it hard to conform to its teachings does not mean that we have permission to dismiss it and try something else. The Word of God is absolute truth for all people for all time.

You will never find anything in the Word of God that is not true and applicable to life. God’s standards for holy living, His warnings against sinning, and His promises are irrevocable and unchanging. We will stand before Him and be judged on how we have lived according to His Word. God will not be mocked by those who now seek to alter or disregard the Word. We all will reap what we sow We choose daily whether or not we will go to heaven or hell by the way we live according to God’s Word.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending 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 chaper 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.

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The Truth about Lamp Lighting

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by Staci Stallings

The Truth About Lamp LightingThe Bible says that God’s Word is a lamp at my feet. My dad always said that God put the lamp at our feet and not on our head. That means we’re supposed to focus on the next step, not how we’re getting all the way down the tunnel.

I’ve thought about that lamp at my feet a lot in my lifetime because to be honest, I’ve had multiple moments when I honestly did not know how I was going to get through whatever it was that was happening. In the last three months, I’ve had three such major, extended events where the unknown wasn’t just scary, it was terrifying. Cortisol-producing, fight-or-flight-but-neither-will-help terrifying. Events when taking the next step was all you could do but even that was overwhelming.

There’s a weird paradox of life that I’m learning through all of this—we all have these kinds of moments and yet when you’re in one, you feel like no one else has ever been here before. We don’t talk about them, and even when we do, most of the time the event is in the past now and it has somehow been resolved (to our liking or not). But in the midst of the trauma, in the midst of the trouble and turmoil, it’s easier than not to feel completely and utterly alone.

As I’ve gotten a day or two perspective on the last major trauma to hit my life, I’m coming to understand something. Yes, God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet, but it’s those around us who are often the ones who light the lamp in the first place.

In the middle of an insane life situation, it’s possible for you to light your own lamp, but wow, is it helpful when others do too. Like the people who came to the hospital room with God’s Word in hand. They were a God-send—literally. Like the people at church and online who said they were praying, and we could feel it. Like the visitors who came and gave us hugs and a little bit of God-with-skin-on. They were all lamp-lighters, lighting the next step with God’s love and hope.
Then I realized that in the two trauma events prior to that in September and October, I was a lamp-lighter for those in trauma. Oh, it wasn’t easy. It took time, effort, willpower, and a LOT of prayer on my part to be there for them. I, too, needed lamp lighters around during that time. People to pray for me while I worked in the situations.

What I’m seeing is we are all called to be lamp lighters for each other, and this is a sacred calling.

As I’ve reflected over my stories with this new perspective, I’ve realized just how intricately life is woven. My current series is comprised of a thousand threads all woven painstakingly to create an understanding not just of the story but of how God works in the lives of real people.

It’s funny because it seems like every single first review on this series says the same thing:

“lots of repetition seem liked same thing over and over again… it dragged in places…”

Now, I get it. Readers like fast-paced, movement books. They like a story that lifts up like a plane, soars for a while, and then gently lands. The problem is, life isn’t like that, and I write real rather than “storybook.” Oh, I wish I wrote storybook. Unfortunately, I believe to be a lamp-lighter for others through my stories, it’s important to go step-by-step. Sometimes that makes a book seem “draggy” with “a lot of repetition.”

I know for me in my own life I would love it if I “got it” the first time through every lesson, but I don’t. Sometimes it takes more than one go-round. Sometimes it’s a long, slow process rather than light bulb moment after light bulb moment.

Right now, lamp-lighting in my books is slow going for me because of all the lamp-lighting I’m doing outside of writing. It wasn’t my intention to not be finished with Book 8 when Book 7 goes out. I wanted to be able to put Book 8 on preorder like I have all the others.

Alas, as much as I would love to be able to see down the tunnel and know that I could have Book 8 ready to go at the end of the preorder period, right now, the lamp at my feet says I need to hold off on putting Book 8 up. So that’s what I’m doing. Not my preferred step but it’s one I feel most at peace taking. There. How’s that for a winding, meandering confession of an overwhelmed lamp-lighter?

So, I’m curious, dear readers…. Who are some of your lamp-lighters? And who do you light lamps for? What’s your lamp-lighting journey been like? And have you ever had to take a step that you really wished could be different but you knew was the right one at the time? Tell me your lamp-lighting stories!

Just the Sermons

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: The Secret Bride

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

The Secret Bride

(The First Children Book 1)

by J.M. Downey

The Secret Bride

Political intern Hannah has one goal: to make the right connections in order to further a cause she deeply believes in. A cause that would ensure abused women are able to find justice and safety from their abusers. But when an unknown group begins threatening the safety of her sister, she finds herself in a desperate situation. Not sure of the group’s end goal, she is forced to marry the current vice-presidential candidate’s son, and commit an act that would tear apart the new love she has found. But if she doesn’t follow their plan, she might have to forfeit her sister’s life. Can she protect the innocent while fighting the powerful forces that pull the strings of government or will she be crushed by the gears of a machine that has secretly controlled us all?

Clean, no sex, no foul language, inspirational, sweet. appropriate for all ages

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CrossReads Short Takes: 1001 Wise Quotes and Proverbs to Live By & The Dangerous Series

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

1001 Wise Quotes and Proverbs to Live By

(Happy Life! Book 1)

by Daniel Farcas

1001 Wise Quotes and Proverbs to Live By

These quotes from loved historical figures and proverbs from around the world were collected during my life time and empowered and encouraged me to survive challenges and to enjoy life to the fullest. “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.” Italian Proverb, Please Enjoy the Book “1001 Wise Quotes and Proverbs to Live By”! Dr. Daniel Farcas (www.DanielFarcas.com)

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The Dangerous Series

Books 1-3 Boxed Set

by Linda K. Rodante

The Dangerous Series

“Linda Rodante writes compelling characters and heart-in-your-throat suspense with a solid message.” Meez Carrie, Reading is My Superpower.

Step into romance, mystery, and suspense, wrapped in faith. This book set includes the first three books of the Dangerous Series.

1. AMBER ALERT: After an abusive relationship, social worker Sharee Jones determines to leave men alone. She’ll concentrate instead on the upcoming Christmas program she’s written and designed. But she needs the church’s multi-skilled technician’s help to do it. John Jergenson doesn’t want anything to do with the program. After a tragedy in his own life, he’s angry with God and life in particular. But Sharee’s enthusiasm, her warmth, her persistent getting-in-his-face attitude could change his mind. Then a baby is kidnapped, and Sharee decides to play detective. The ante in life just went up, and John’s about to make a move he never saw coming…
2. AS LONG AS YOU BOTH SHALL LIVE: Commitment to God was easy in the jungles of Indonesia, but when John Jergenson returns home to have Sharee Jones refuse his marriage proposal, have someone try to kill them, and her ex-fiancé return, his newly revived dedication to God is stretched to its limits. Facing crocodiles and venomous snakes in the Indonesian back-country was never this perilous.
3. SPLASHDOWN: Lynn Stapleton likes designer handbags and high-end clothing, so how did Sharee Jergenson talk her into visiting a homeless site, much less starting a friendship with one of its residents? Then a hurricane hits Florida, and Lynn finds herself involved in the homeless woman’s murder. Detective Rich Richards thinks Lynn’s connection with the woman is suspicious, but Lynn doesn’t care what the blue-eyed detective thinks. She’s not leaving this investigation until the murderer is found.

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How Bad Do You Want to See the Lord? 4/13/2021

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by Robin McKinley 

As Jesus was walking through Jericho, a crowd was gathered around Him. A man named Zaccheaus tried to get a look at Jesus. He couldn’t see Him though because he was too short to see over the crowd. It’s amazing what this rich tax collector did to reach his goal. How bad do you want to see the Lord?

He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. Luke 19:3-4

You’ve heard the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”. Well, it’s a good thing that Zaccheaus wasn’t a cat. In his case curiosity was very beneficial to him. I wonder if Jesus was walking down that street with the thought of calling Zaccheaus. Or did he just happened to see him?

Forethought or not, Jesus not only called to him, but He invited Himself to dinner. It was the Lord going the second mile to establish a relationship with Zaccheaus which was desperately needed. Jesus always goes the second mile if we let him.

  • Parents brought children to Jesus for a touch, but he went the second mile and blessed them. 
  • The woman was going to the well for water. Jesus went the second mile though and gave her living water. 
  • Here Zaccheaus just wanted a look and because Jesus went the second mile, he found salvation.

The Crowd was Unhappy 

The people who were on the street surrounding the Lord were not happy at all that Jesus went to the house of a “sinner.”

But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled. Luke 19:7

Maybe they reacted the way they did because they couldn’t see the possibilities of an encounter with Jesus. Zaccheaus’ life was about to change.

Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!” Luke 19:8

This chief tax collector was not going to overcharge or cheat anyone anymore. He pledged to give money back to those from whom he had taken too much. I think this might have been the first recorded tax refund that ever took place.

The very people who exhibited their displeasure actually benefitted from this changed man. 

However, the only thing focused in their minds was, Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners.

Do You Want To See The Lord? 

This very rich man was willing to humble himself and climb a tree just to see Jesus. He had no expectations beyond getting a glimpse of Him. Because however, he accepted the invitation of the Lord, listen to what Jesus said.

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:9-10

The Lord is offering us an invitation as well. Do you want to see the Lord? How bad? Are you willing to humble yourself? Will you accept His invitation? In Revelation 3, Jesus said,

Behold, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If your heart is open to hear my voice and you open the door within, I will come in to you and feast with you, and you will feast with me. Revelation 3:20

About The Author 

Pastor RobinRobin, with his wife Cindy, became children’s evangelists early in their ministry. They ministered to children full time for 8 years. During that time they developed several children’s stories which were told with visuals and puppets.

Robin recently turned two of those stories into children’s books. One is called “The Contest,” a book about the Fruit of the Spirit, and the other is called “Twas the Night of Christmas”.  He has also authored 5 volumes of devotional books called, 3 Minutes Alone with God. Each entry is a product of his personal biblical Journaling.

These and his other writings are available on his website called Christian Perspectives at www.ramckinley.com. When you visit this site, you can sign-up for newly written devotions as they come out which will be emailed to you. 

Presently Robin is the pastor of Calvary Christian Center in Pottstown, PA. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He and his wife make their home in Birdsboro, Pa. He also serves as the president of the local ministerium. He and Cindy have two married sons and four grandchildren.

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Bird’s Nest Soup

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by Rebekah Beene

Sometimes I wonder why things like Bird’s Nest Soup come to mind out of nowhere. I can remember hearing about this as a child. I wondered why anyone would cook a bird’s nest and then eat it. You know kids and their imaginations! So I read a little bit about it this morning and find out why anyone would eat such a thing.  Rather than being made from twigs and bits of moss, they’re made from the hardened saliva from swiftlet nests and dissolved in a broth. Now that’s really much more appetizing than boiling twigs and moss right? LOL

The information goes on to say the nests are considered to have a high nutritional and medicinal value, believed to have everything from anti-aging and anti-cancer properties to the ability to improve concentration. If that’s not enough to make you wonder, then how about the price?  The nest of the swiftlet bird, costs anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per ounce, resulting in a single bowl of soup that will set you back anywhere from $30 to $100.

Oh beloved, God speaks to our hearts. Nothing will ever satisfy the hunger of humanity like the Lord. And nothing will taste as sweet as His blessings. He is your Provider. Riches may get you a bowl of soup made from a swallow’s nest found on a cliff in a foreign country. But it won’t satisfy like the Bread of Heaven.  We humans tend to spend everything we can to make ourselves younger, better, healthier and more prosperous. Yet it is all found in God through Christ.  Imagine drinking from the Fountain of Living Water and never thirsting again!

The Lord knows your needs. Every single one of them. He knows who is on your side to help you achieve what you need to achieve. And He knows the enemy’s plans for you.  The main plan of the enemy of your soul is to get you so distracted by your wants and desires that you miss having your needs met by the Lord entirely. But you are of Faith! You who have trusted in the Lord for your salvation can also trust in Him for all your needs! You aren’t the sum of all the enticement of the enemy. You are rather and Ambassador of High Calling, so that you walk into every situation already fed with the Knowledge of God for every situation! You are feasting on the Manna of God!

God loves you and He’s for you. He meets all your needs always. If it looks like you’re going hungry with hurts and despair this morning, run to Him.  He loves to talk His people through to His Truth. And then live the life of feasting on His Word, in prayer and through the Spirit so that you will never hunger or thirst in any situation ever again!

Isaiah 55:1 -2  “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you without money, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! Why spend money on that which is not bread, and your labor on that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of foods.

John 6:27 Do not work for food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on Him God the Father has placed His seal of approval.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became a joy to me and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, LORD God of armies.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

About the Author:

Rebekah Beene

 

In a Christian Women’s meeting in 1983, Rebekah was given a prophetic message that she would write books. Several years ago she began writing stories about special holiday memories and travels, sharing God’s love and care through each story. God has gifted Rebekah with the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural. Both Rebekah and her husband Danny have a heart to share the Gospel and the riches of life in Christ to everyone they meet. They have served in the local church and in ministry to motorcyclists. Danny is an ordained minister and they both have been Bible study teachers for many years. Rebekah also speaks at women’s retreats and conferences. Her tag line says it all “God loves you and He’s for you”.

My website is http://rebekahbeene.wordpress.com

My first book in print is Oh Beloved! Live in the Light of His Word.
Link to buying the book via paypal is on the website.
As well a link to purchasing the ebook on Amazon is there too.
I’m also on twitter @rebekahbeene, tumblr http://rebekah-beene.tumblr.com/
and of course facebook as Rebekah Beene (Warren) I included my maiden name for old friends.
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The Psychology of Getting to Know Characters 4/9/2021

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by Staci Stallings

PsychologySo, my blog this month stems from a couple of questions I got from my Facebook group, Staci’s FAN-tastic Readers,

The first comes from Christina Jay:

“Maybe not much of a question, and it’s something you’ve talked about a bit here but you have really dug deep into psychology with the Imagination Series and made some difficult concepts easier to understand. Have you studied psychology?”

The second comes from Kathy Gilbride:

“How do your characters tell you their story? Do you just know their personality and they take you where they want to go? Or do you already know what their story is before you start writing? I’d love to hear your process for writing a book!”

I thought I’d try to tackle both questions at the same time because there are a lot of overlaps in the answers to them.

Psychology was one of my first loves when I got old enough to start trying to figure people out. In fact, when I was a junior in high school, my plan was to study psychology in college. Then I got talked out of that and into teaching because others were afraid I wouldn’t be able to separate my heart from my work.

So, my love of psychology went temporarily into hibernation although I honestly think it never really went away. It actually just shifted for a time. I took psychology in college and loved it. Then I watched others who were in psychology as a field, and I realized there are many parts to the field of psychology that don’t mesh with who I am. For example, I don’t like the emphasis on diagnosing everything as a disorder. Are there genuine disorders? Sure. But by and large, I think that we all have issues and things we need to work on and through. Putting a label on everything is not my idea of productive.

However, the thing I never lost was my love of delving into who people are and what makes them tick. I love the ideas of backstory and process and learning and growth. I love to see how people tackle life (or not), how they choose what they choose and why. I love working through the process with them as they confront the consequences of their choices and learn lessons on a deep, deep level.

I think for me, one of the things that happened was that, along the way, I started looking at psychology through a spiritual lens. I read tons of books—some secular psychology, some spiritual. I saw the similarities and the gaps. I saw the inherent complements, so that questions that appear psychological are best answered in the spiritual.  As I read and wrote, I began to see patterns in my characters, and I began to truly understand them not as characters but as people with real problems.

This morphed into longer books with more in-depth story and character arcs. I had to up my game both in the learning realm and in the how to get to really know someone realm. So, to Kathy’s question, I think the answer is that I genuinely love to get to know people, characters included. Very rarely do I know “everything” about them when we start, and when I think I do, I’m often wrong. My characters often surprise me in the course of writing their stories.

In fact, I often get to know my characters just as you do—through spending time with them. I see them when they are with friends, with parents, and alone. I start to form understandings based on the time I spend with them in different environments and situations. I see the inherent inconsistencies of who they are alone vs. when they are with different people, and I start asking the questions I always ask, “Why are they doing this? What does this mean? How does this fit? What doesn’t fit, and why doesn’t it fit? What are they not telling me? What else could this mean?”

Basically, I get to know them as I write their story.

This is not a straightforward or clean process. Just like in real life, there are roadblocks and things that just don’t make sense… until they do.

Click the Cover to Read More about “Always”!

When I start to write a book (a first book in a series or standalone), very often I don’t know much of anything. I might know a name or a very basic plot of the story. Many of my stories have come out of dreams I’ve actually had and latched onto because the basics were fascinating to me. Then, I start somewhere, write and try to figure out what I don’t know.

Doing this has resulted in some very interesting twists and turns—like Jake in More Than This who turned out to be dyslexic 50 pages in, or Kalin in Lucky who refused to tell me what had happened in his backstory until page 350, or Taylor in the last of The Imagination Series, who eight books in STILL hasn’t revealed what’s driving her.

I think that is one thing I’ve learned is how closed some people really are. It’s like they have been hurt so badly that they’ve just closed down what is most them. A lot of times, they aren’t even being real with themselves much less anyone else.

What I’ve found is that the place people like this can find hope and healing is in the midst of God’s unconditional love. The point of psychology was supposed to give people a safe place to sort things out, and I hope and pray for many that actually happens. But, in my experience, all the talking around and around a problem will do nothing until you can trust enough to get to-the-bone honest about what’s really going on—maybe even about things you’ve never admitted to yourself. Most of the time, that takes the safety of God’s love to really get there.

So I guess that’s my answer to both questions. I’m called to psychology, but God saw fit to take me around another way. His way.

And I’m so glad He did because of the amount of healing I’ve seen Him accomplish through me and my writing.

Okay, InspyRomance readers, now it’s your turn. Do you have any burning questions you’d like to have answered? Ask away

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: A Call To Intercession

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

A Call To Intercession

Praying For Others

The Time is Now

by Arnester White

A Call To Intercession

COME INTO AN UNDERSTANDING OF INTERCESSION

You will learn about Biblical examples of intercessors and who the greatest intercessor was to walk the earth. Arnester White discusses intimacy with God and seeking God’s face during prayer. You will sense a strong love for God’s Word and how the Bible plays an integral part in the life of an intercessor throughout this book. In tumultuous or challenging times we face day to day, the significance of prayer and the application of God’s Word effectuate courage and strength. At the end of this book, you’ll find a convenient self-test that we encourage you to complete. This might be a part of your true calling if you have ever wondered:

  • Are you called to be an intercessor?
  • What is the role of an intercessor?
  • What are the characteristics of an intercessor?
  • How do you obtain answers to prayer?
  • What is the relationship between fasting and prayer?
  • and much more!

Derek Prince mentions a key comment about prayer. Here’s the excerpt from Secrets of a Prayer Warrior  by Derek Prince “In this book, I will be dealing with one of my favor topics, the topic of prayer.  For some people, I suppose, prayer seems like an irksome religious duty. For my part, I love to pray — and what is more, I get what I pray for.” Copyright C 2009. Used by permission of Chosen Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

A Call to Intercession shall shed light on how this can happen!

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CrossReads Short Takes: A Devotional for the Forgotten Mom & Homebound Journey

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

A Devotional for the Forgotten Mom

by Rebekah Barnes

A Devotional for the Forgotten Mom

Do you ever feel forgotten as a mom? This book was written for any mom who has ever felt “forgotten.” Stepmoms, foster moms, adoptive moms, moms with grown children, single moms, working moms—you fill in the blank. As a mom in a blended family myself, I have struggled to find an encouraging book that I could connect with as a mother. There are twenty-two encouraging messages for any mom who feels like she doesn’t belong. A Devotional for the Forgotten Mom provides short, inspirational messages aligned with God’s Word. So, grab a cup of coffee, and join me as we tackle this crazy, beautiful adventure through motherhood together.

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Homebound Journey

(Angel Tweet Series Book 3)

by Peggy McGee

Homebound Journey

“Homebound Journey” of the “Angel Tweet” inspiration series is about a terminal cancer victim, Dana, who is all alone and only seeks to join her young son who passed away years ago. But, first she would like to self-publish a historical WWII romance book. Karlee, a thirteen year old, who is computer savvy and a victim of vicious social bullying, is seeking a safe place over the summer. Can these two find one other while supporting their aspirations during a time of need?
Discover the intricacies of how to self-publish a book in both paperback and e-book by joining Dana and Karlee in overcoming their differences by forming an unlikely friendship to obtain their goals. A heartwarming novel which provides information, benevolence and inspiration to anyone who wishes to self-publish or just enjoy a noteworthy read!

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Gems from Pastor Jim 4/6/2021

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMalachi 2:15,16 Didn’t the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the LORD, the God of Israel. “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the LORD Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”

I do not claim to have perfect understanding on the issue of divorce. I know what God says about it; He hates it. Jesus declared that divorce exists because of the hardness of the soul towards God. He gave very limited permissible causes for divorce. The Apostle Paul also makes it clear that divorce is not God’s desired outcome for marriage. Knowing how strong God speaks out against it ought to cause us to take note and consider our stand on it.

I understand that there are situations in which divorce is the only solution to a marriage that has gone horribly bad. Sometimes it is essential for the safety of a victimized spouse. Sometimes one is left with absolutely no other option. What concerns me is all the other reasons why people divorce one another. It is so prevalent in the church today that you would be hard pressed to find a church fellowship where it has not happened.

Divorce should only happen when it is obvious there are absolutely no other options for a couple. It should never be seen as a way out of a marriage that one does not want to work on anymore. Just to give up on a spouse because you have drifted apart from a lack of working together to make the marriage work, is not a justifiable reason to divorce one’s spouse. Most issues in marriage can be worked out if a couple sincerely tries to work them out. For most couples today, divorce is nothing more than a testimony to their failure to even try to make their marriage work.

Divorce in the church is not a good thing. We ought to cringe and be ashamed by how readily we give up on our marriages. Instead, we accept it as normal and often condone it. We do not think much about not installing divorced people in positions of leadership in the church. It scarcely has a stigma anymore. But, if God hates it, shouldn’t we take it a lot more seriously than we do? How can we be a godly example to others when we fall flat on our faces so miserably in this area? It is time we take seriously the vows we make to each other in the presence of God and man and try much harder to make our marriages work, either that or change our vows. It is a very serious matter to make a vow before God and not keep it.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending 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 chaper 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.

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