Finally Being Able To Be The Real Me 6/24/2022

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by Staci Stallings

For many, many, many years I tried to be someone else.  It wasn’t a specific someone else.  I simply had the impression that something was wrong with me, so being someone else made more sense.  The weird thing was, I was desperately trying to be successful and get the approval of others while simultaneously hiding the parts of me I thought they wouldn’t approve of.

It was as if I was saying, “I want you to love me, but I’m not going to let you know who the real me is.” So I lived my life in fear that someone who loved me would figure out that wasn’t really who I was and they would decide not to love me anymore.  Which of course is ridiculous because they weren’t loving the real me in the first place, they were loving the made-up me, which wasn’t me at all. What a mess, right?

Well, this year as we go into the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, the thing I am most grateful for is that God finally broke me out of that miserable, rotten prison I was holding myself captive in.  Little-by-little through life and writing, I have learned that being me is really okay, that using my gifts and letting others see them is all right as well.

In fact, it’s better than all right… it’s amazing!

You see, when I was trying to hide, I spent all my time radaring everyone else to see who they wanted me to be.  I scanned my family and my friends.  I scanned others in writing groups and you, my readers. I scanned everybody.  And I spent so much time scanning trying to figure out who everyone else wanted me to be, I forgot to live!The Long Way Home Cover 10-27-2014

When God finally convinced me (and it really did take some convincing) that He loved me just as I am and that He knew all about my weaknesses and all about those things I didn’t want to admit to anyone, and that He loved me anyway… It blew me away!  I realized that all that hiding wasn’t doing anyone any good.  God wanted me to come out of my little cave, bravely if possible or using His bravery if mine was shaky, and live.

Amazingly, upon finally accepting that, life has opened up to possibilities and opportunities I never would have even tried when I was wallowing in my self-cave of doubt and fear.  This year I stepped out on God’s bravery when He asked me to put my books on Kindle and then on Nook.  It took more of His bravery to get on Facebook and Twitter. And it took everything He could give me to start a new author connection group.

Best of all, I didn’t panic and run when things got tough. Instead, I stood on God’s promise that HE could do it even if I couldn’t.  And miracles started happening.

So now when I look back on this year, I will be very thankful that finally, finally I listened to what God’s been trying to tell me all these years in a thousand ways:  “I love you. It’s about Me being faithful to show you how awesome I am not about anything you can do.  I want to help you all the time, in every situation, especially when you don’t think you can do it.  I want to be Your partner and Your best friend in everything.  All you have to do is accept what I’m holding out to you.”

Understanding, believing, and accepting that has literally changed my life.  So this year, I am thankful that God didn’t give up on this headstrong, confused, but good-intentioned girl.  He is my Hero!

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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Book Spotlight Christmas Wishes and Cowboy Kisses 6/21/2022

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Book Spotlight

Christmas Wishes and Cowboy Kisses

A Sweet Contemporary Western Romance Collection

by Parker J. Cole

Christmas Wishes and Cowboy Kisses

★★ Curl up with a cowboy this Christmas! ★★

Ring in the holiday season with 23 heartwarming sweet contemporary romances from USA Today and Top 100 Kindle Unlimited All-Star bestselling authors!

Discover second chance romance, love at first sight, small-town Christmas cheer, swoony single dads, enemies to lovers, snowed-in with the cowboy, and many more stories featuring the cowboy next door. Fall in love with the hunky heroes of this limited-edition Christmas cowboy romance collection.

CHRISTMAS WISHES & COWBOY KISSES features brand new clean and wholesome romances by:

  • USA Today Bestselling Author Liz Isaacson
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Lacy Williams
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Carolyne Aarsen
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Melissa McClone
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Kit Morgan
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Ashwood
  • Natalie Dean
  • Terri Lorah
  • Cynthia Woolf
  • Kathleen Ball
  • Macie St. James
  • Christina Butrum
  • Terri Grace
  • April Murdock
  • Hannah Jo Abbott
  • Amelia C. Adams
  • Josephine Blake
  • Heather Blanton
  • Catie Cahill
  • Parker J. Cole
  • RL Ashly
  • Christine Sterling

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: As Long As You Both Shall Live 6/23/2022

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

As Long As You Both Shall Live

A Christian Contemporary Romance with Suspense

(Dangerous Series Book 2)

by Linda K. Rodante

As Long As You Both Shall Live

Social worker Sharee Jones has enough to think about–anonymous phone calls, an attack on her life, and uneasiness about her relationship with missionary pilot John Jergenson. The last thing she wants is a marriage proposal.

Commitment to God was easy in the jungles of Indonesia, but when John Jergenson returns home, Sharee refuses his marriage proposal, someone tries to kill them, and a personal tragedy hits. As Easter approaches, will love prevail and his faith survive?

Reviewer Dana McCall Michael says, “I loved the relationship between Sharee and John…The mystery (kept me) on the edge of my seat and had me until the end. I also love the fact that (the story) deals with a spiritual message.”

Another reviewer: Suspense is right! Ms. Rodante keeps you guessing till the spine tingling climax. She also fearlessly addresses deep spiritual truths. An amazingly good read.

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CrossReads Short Takes: One Hundred Stories of Faith? & Battlefield of Deceit 6/22/2022

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CrossReads Short Takes

One Hundred Stories of Faith?

Live and Have Faith Volume One and Volume Two Second Edition

by Robin Cocks

One Hundred Stories of Faith

If you enjoy reading Holy Scriptures and short stories, you might like reading these stories!

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Battlefield of Deceit

(Faith in the Parks Book 5)

by J. Carol Nemeth

Battlefield of Deceit

 

A diary on loan to the museum.
An old Civil War house on the edge of the battlefield.
Could these two things be connected?

Gettysburg National Military Park historian, Chloe Rogers, begins her research into both: to prepare for a donor event and to discover if it can be restored for public viewing. Chloe and her fellow historian, Clifford Weston, discover a virtual Pandora’s box in the cellar beneath the house revealing more questions than answers. Park policeman, Blake Hunter, becomes embroiled in the old house mystery but gives Chloe cause for concern when her widowed heart responds to his attentions. She’s simply not ready to move on. Is she?

When unwelcome things begin to occur, they realize they have to discover who’s behind them and soon. Will Chloe find the answers in a packet of old letters discovered in the cellar? Then there are the unexplained footsteps….

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Verse of the Day and Devotional 6/20/2022

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Verse of the DayJune 20th, 2022

Scripture

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.'” – 1 Kings 17:13-14 ESV

Devotion

Our verses for today are part of the story of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath told in 1 Kings 17. The story is instructive in a number of ways, but perhaps its most important lesson is what it has to say about giving. When the Spirit of God is at work in the world, it pays to support that work.

Elijah was in the midst of his struggle with King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Because of their sins and the sins of the people, Elijah had prophesied that there would be a drought. During the drought, the Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath because He had “commanded a widow there to feed you.” The widow told Elijah that she was about to prepare her last meal and then die, so he assured her with the words of our verses for today.

From the perspective of the world, the widow had it backwards. Instead of supporting Elijah, she should have kept everything for herself and her son. From the perspective of the world, it was outrageous for Elijah to even ask for food from a poor widow. He even had the audacity to ask her to feed him first.

From the Lord God’s perspective, however, giving to the work He is working in the world is the key to survival in desperate times. Indeed, it is the key to prosperity. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

The story of the widow of Zarephath is a story about priorities. What should come first are not our concerns, but the Lord’s concerns. Take to heart what happened to the widow—and then keep an eye out for the opportunities to bless the work of the Lord that come your way.

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Abiding In Him: Behind the Story of “To Protect & Serve” 6/17/2022

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by Staci Stallings

It always amazes me how there is a story and then the stories that happen while I’m writing the stories. Oftentimes I

To Protect and to Serve

learn as much from one as from the other.  That was certainly true of “To Protect & Serve.”

Now first of all, you have to know that writing about firefighting was WAY out of my comfort zone.  Ovens scare me.  Fire terrifies me. In fact, I didn’t light a match until I was married, and once I nearly burned my church down trying to get a small candle lit.  So this is not a story I would ever have envisioned me being called to write.

Second of all, this story was not my idea.  You see, I was writing a different story, and when I write, I find people who look like my characters (often celebrities) and I print off pictures of them. I also make a soundtrack of music for each book that I write.  Well this particular book featured a guy from a 90’s boy band that I liked at the time.  And I was happily writing that story when a friend who had taken a deep interest in my stories and how I write them happened to be talking with me about my new story.

I showed her the footage I had of the group and the pictures…. and she proceeded to “fall in love” with one of the other guys in the band.  No matter what I did from that point on, she was like, “That’s nice.  When are you going to write this other guy’s story?”  UGH!  She kept it up so long that one day as I was driving to get my kids from school, I said, “Well, God, if I was going to write this other guy’s story, what would it be?”

And God literally dumped the whole story on top of me.

Now that’s weird.  Most of the time He gives me bits and pieces, and I have to do a lot of trusting along the way that He knows where we’re going with this because I have no clue.  Not with this one.  It came almost fully formed.

My first obstacle was the firefighting thing.  So when I got home and started writing “To Protect & Serve,” I realized I was going to have to do some actual-actual research because I knew NOTHING about fighting fires.  One day on the way home from somewhere, I drove by our local volunteer fire department station house, and on a complete whim, I turned in there.  Not usually an out-going person, I went in, introduced myself, told them I was an author and I was writing a story about firemen and could they answer a few questions.

Within 20 minutes I had five firemen (I know… I have a rough job! 🙂 following me around, showing me the trucks and the ladders and all of the equipment, the suits, the boots, the gear.  It was an interesting hour and a half!

Then I went home and the story just came tumbling out.  However, there was another obstacle.  The main character, Jeff, was like a turtle when it came to talking with his love interest, Lisa about his job.  This frustrated her and me!

All of this occurred prior to 9-11.  When that tragedy happened, it took me quite a while to start writing again, and one of the Bible verses that started showing up was John 15:4 “Abide in Me and I in you.” I was beginning to learn deeply just what that meant–that I was to trust God even when I couldn’t clearly see where any of this was going.

So I wrote the story that came to me whether I understood it or not–including Jeff’s frustrating habit of shutting down when asked about his work.

About four months later, the post office changed our address for no apparent reason and flatly refused to deliver things with the old address on them.  So I stopped getting magazine subscriptions.  I had tried to get the address changed on my subscription for Time, but it was not working.

Then, one day I went to the mailbox, and here was my magazine–with the old address on it, in the mailbox they had refused to deliver to.  It was the Man of the Year issue featuring Rudy Giuliani.  In that issue was a picture of a firefighter taken in the stairwell during 9-11 and accompanying that picture was an article about this fireman’s wife.  In it, she talked about how the firemen don’t talk about work with the wives and how hard that can be.

Right then, I fully understood “Abide in Me and I in you” because I had written a fully-developed character just from what God had given me that perfectly fit what a character like him might be like–and I didn’t know it until after the fact!

God is so cool!  And abiding in Him is more amazing than I could ever put in to words!

To Protect and to Serve

 

The #1 Best Selling Christian Romance Novel

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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: Ko’olau’s Secret 6/16/2022

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Ko’olau’s Secret

by Sharon Connell

Ko'olau's Secret

Kyleigh Flanagan, receives a strange note from her father, an Army Major stationed on the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu. The wording tells her something is not right. Her calls to him go unanswered.

With her best friend Marisa, Kyleigh sets off for O’ahu to find out what’s going on. Her father’s commanding officer has no idea where he is but ordered an investigation.

The major had contacted the Honolulu Police Department with information about suspicions he had. But what information?

After checking with HPD, Kyleigh and Marisa are told Detectives O’Shea and Swanson were assigned to the case. But the detectives are not available to speak to. Kyleigh is still in the dark. She is not one to sit around and do nothing when her father is missing.

Could the mysterious Ko’olau Range, which holds many secrets, have an answer to her father’s disappearance?

The two handsome detectives cause sparks to fly, and not the good kind. At least, not at first. Can Kyleigh trust them? Authorities had let her down in the past when her mother was killed and the murderer not apprehended.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Flowers for Hattie & Seven Dispensations 6/15/2022

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CrossReads Short Takes

Flowers for Hattie

by Kimberly M. Miller

Flowers for Hattie

Hattie Campanelli has blue hair and a solid start on a tattoo sleeve. No way can she be Finn Weslow’s muse. He needs a woman with pearls and pink sweaters.

Then again, to the world, Finn looks like a bad boy musician, when in reality he’s button-down shirts and home-cooked meals.

So looks can be deceiving, after all.

But one thing’s sure—Hattie and Finn need each other. One for music, one for survival, but both for true love.

From the author of Picking Daisy and Forgiving Tess comes a poignant tale of love, forgiveness, and surprises.

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Seven Dispensations

Examining God’s Dealings With Mankind Through Seven Time Periods

by Sheldon D. Newton

Seven Dispensations

A Theological Study On The Various Dispensations In The Bible. Used as the primary book for Dispensational Studies at Berea Theological University, this concise, but comprehensive resource guides the ardent student of the scriptures into a clearer understanding of each time period laid out in the Bible. It shows the how and when each dispensational period begins and where each ends. It is the unveiling of the prophetic timeline which gives the minister and the believer a glimpse of what is to come. The “Blessed Hope” and the glorious future of the child of God is portrayed in a most marvelous manner. This is a theological study book, written in an easy and understandable manner so that any reader can gain clear insight into mysteries of the Word of God and the culmination of the ages.

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Gems From Pastor Jim 6/14/2022

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 7:21 “Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as “Lord,” but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven.”

There is a difference between good people and godly people, between religious people and godly people. It’s fairly easy to be who we really are not. We can act the part but be far from it. What separates the godly from the ungodly is the relationship they have with Christ. Godly people are those who have given Christ their hearts and strive to live holy lives. They are a people who are changed from the inside out and not just on the outside.

People who consider themselves to be religious and good often call Jesus Lord, but they will not make it to heaven. We can do a lot of things in Jesus’ name and live to think about it in hell. When Jesus is Lord, we obey God. There is a constant effort to do what pleases God. A godly person knows what God expects them to do and strive to do it. Faith is real when actions back up one’s words.

We need to take a careful look in the mirror and consider whether or not we are living in obedience to God’s commands. We cannot pick and choose which ones we want to do. Partial obedience is really not obedience at all. A godly soul does not have divided loyalties. He gives the Lord all of his heart, mind and soul.

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 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.

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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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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Simple Trust As A Child Of God 6/13/2022

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by Rebekah Beene

Both my dad and my mom got sick and had hospital stays when I was young.  I never remember having any concerns about them dying or being disabled.  I do believe being a child helps. That simple trust and lack of worry are sure nice.

Yesterday my hubby got sick. It’s not the first time but it is rare that he has ever been in the hospital.  And for just a moment while we were waiting for help at our home I thought he might be dying.

Oh beloved.  Being a child of God helps. He asks us to have simple trust and not to worry.  Although I felt panic I knew I would lose my peace if I dwelled in panic mode.  And as believers, I did ask hubby if he was departing for heaven. He responded, “It’s not my time”.

God says behold this morning. Behold My goodness in the land of the living.  Behold My ability to get you through anything and everything. And behold the prayers of the saints and the value of having prayer warriors who will do warfare prayers.

He wants you to know it’s not time to give up or give in.  Keep your wits about you because you will need a sound mind for the days ahead.  Satan is a liar and a trickster. He wants to specifically kill, steal and destroy.  As you praise Him this morning for the goodness of God,  you can feel relieved of the onslaught of the demonic.

God loves you and He’s for you.  No matter what. He is Jehovah Rapha- the Lord who heals. He is also El Shaddai- the all sufficient one. Run to Him this morning with childlike Faith and stay free from worry and fear in every situation.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and sound mind.

Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

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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