Fear Not 10/30/2020

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by Suzanne D. Williams

I needed medication for my older dog the other day, so I called the vet as usually do. Since her puppyhood, she has had this persistent itch. She will scratch until her skin is infected. The pills are a lifesaver.

During the call, the vet tech asked me if I wanted twice as many this time, “Just in case.”

For the life of me, I could not figure out what she meant. Just in case of what? Confused, I asked my spouse, and he gave me a one-word answer – panic. The vet tech assumed I was worried about the future.

“I don’t think like ‘panic,’ I guess,” I replied to him.

Not anymore. I’ve become acquainted with WHO GOD IS. We have a relationship. He is personal to me, accessible, and incredibly longsuffering. But hearing those words I’d spoken opened my eyes wider. What God has helped me overcome is a huge problem for others. They don’t know Him like I do. If they did, there’d be no fear at all.

Fear actually bookends the Bible. It is the first emotion which followed Adam’s sin in the book of Genesis and is the first type of person listed as those who will face judgment in Revelation. (Ge 3:10; Rev 21:8) There, the word closer holds the meaning of “cowardliness.” It is someone whose fear of man prevents them from standing up for God’s truth. (John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible)

But we can see this in other Scriptures. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Fear of any kind does not come from God. Know this first. However, also, the word used here, translated “fear,” describes someone timid.

(NLT)  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity.

(VOICE)  God did not give us a cowardly spirit.

God is full of mercy and compassion. We have not fully realized how much. Study God’s Word and you will see a picture of His heart. He does not want His children to be afraid and has provided the power of Jesus’ name, a name above any other, and the victory of the Resurrection over that liar, the devil, as our power to overcome it. We have the armor of God to quench the fiery darts of fear and the good news of peace to guide our feet. (Php 2:9; Eph 6:13-16)

Peace, mental clarity, and harmony of soul is God’s will. God does not bring confusion. Jesus carried all our griefs, sorrows, anxieties, and distresses when He died on the cross. (1Co 14:33; Is 53:4) We don’t have to struggle with panic at all but must deliberately lay the weight of all our worries at Jesus’ feet.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Consistently indulging fear will eventually become cowardice and ultimately, sin, if we choose to stay afraid. Whereas a child of God, one who has taken God’s name as his own, one who calls Him “Father,” walks in boldness, unashamed of the gospel. (Act 4:29; 2Ti 1:8) We are commanded to “seek peace; and pursue it.” (Ps 34:14; 1Pe 3:11) That makes it an act of faith. We go forward despite how fearful we feel.

I get it. I know how hard it is to put down fear, how tight you cling to it, unsure how to take another step. But that’s the thing, God’s got you in His palm. What feels like midair and uncertainty is secure in Him. Hear the words of Isaiah.

Listen, Jacob, to the One who created you, Israel, to the one who shaped who you are. Do not fear, for I, your Kinsman-Redeemer, will rescue you. I have called you by name, and you are mine. When you pass through the deep, stormy sea, you can count on me to be there with you. When you pass through raging rivers, You will not drown. When you walk through persecution like fiery flames, you will not be burned; the flames will not harm you, for I am your Savior, Yahweh, your mighty God, the Holy One of Israel!  (Is 43:1-3 TPT)

God’s entire character depends on Him showing His great love for us. We find this thought emphasized a few verses later when the prophet Isaiah speaks in God’s own words. He says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions FOR MINE OWN SAKE, and will not remember thy sins. ” (v25)

 God will be known for mercy, for forgiveness, for compassion. And oh, how great His compassion is! The Biblical Illustrator describes it as if the father, having forgiven the prodigal son, once more entrusted him with his fortune. What a moving example.

Almighty God’s care for us is immenseWe have nothing to fear. Fear lies to us. It says God is small and unkind and unable, that we will never overcome what we are facing. But never, not once, on any day is that the truth. Whatever we face, He has provided the way out. Faith and patience will inherit the promises. (Heb 6:12) Sometimes, the victory isn’t instant, but with our determination to follow God, it is always on the way. And know this – we do not walk alone but hand-in-hand with the Creator of the universe, the God of all comfort. (2Co 1:3)

And lest you still have doubts, let me remind you of the most powerful truth of all. He sent His Son to earth to prove it.

99 cent sale. 

*Price good until 4/15/2020 

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Fearless

What does it mean to be fearless? And how do I get there? Where is the way out from hopelessness and despair?

Crippled by fear, Suzanne Williams found herself unable to leave home. In her testimonial book, Fearless, she shares her personal walk out of the darkness and bondage of fear into the health, peace, freedom and hope promised in God’s Word.

About the Author:

Suzanne D. WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

To learn more about what she’s doing and check out her extensive catalog of stories, visit www.feelgoodromance.com or www.suzannedwilliams.com or link with her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at @SDWAuthor.

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Christ Our Surety

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Christ Our Surety

The Assurance of At-One-Ment With God

by Thabani M. S. Dlodlo

Christ Our Surety

Death is certain; and so is eternal life in Jesus Christ. This book gives you rock solid assurance of salvation because of what one man has done and is doing for us. Within its pages you will discover your part to play in firmly securing this guarantee.

Explore how and why Jesus was only able to do this as a human being as well as discover the atonement: at-one-ment with God. Whilst this atonement is real and has a seal, many Christians struggle with grasping this assurance because of their experiences with sin. This challenge is addressed as the reader will feast on the righteousness that comes by faith.

The terror of the judgment will evaporate and in its place will be love for Christ, confidence in His promise of eternal life and a longing for His Second Coming.

Buy a copy now: there is no other life assurance policy that even comes close to this.

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CrossReads Short Takes: The Prodigal’s Wilderness & The Beatitudes

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CrossReads Short Takes

The Prodigal’s Wilderness

When the “Wrong” Path Really Is the Right Path

by Sue White

The Prodigal’s Wilderness

PARABLE OF TRANSFORMATION: Much has been written regarding Luke Chapter 15 and there’s been a great debate regarding which theme(s) should be considered and which one(s) ignored; however, this book takes a different approach by viewing it as a parable of transformation.

Are you in need of transformation?

•Are you confused, overwhelmed and struggling to make sense of life’s challenges? Lost a loved one? Suffered a serious health crisis?
•Have you made some poor life choices that negatively affect your life? Afraid that God is angry with you? That he won’t forgive you?
•Are you experiencing a period of spiritual dryness? Prayers bouncing off the ceiling? Relationship with God grown cold?
•Do you feel like you’re all alone in the world and no one understands you? Feel criticized, rejected or ostracized by friends or family?
•Have you lost hope? Don’t know what to do or where to go?

If any of these situations apply to you, this book is for you!

Take the first step in your transformation – discover how God works and how he can create dramatic change in your life, just like he did for the prodigal son.

God loves you and has a plan for your life – even when life doesn’t go according to plan, is confusing, stressful and overwhelming.

The desert is God’s preferred learning laboratory for believers. All believers will likely spend some time in the wilderness, in God’s “boot camp.” Some will enroll multiple times. But, the bottom line is this: God is still in control and he has a plan to conform you to his image (Rom. 12:2) so that he can have greater fellowship with you. God is sovereign even when you’re suffering and feeling scared, confused or overwhelmed.

The wilderness may seem like it’s the “wrong” path, that you’ve gotten lost or strayed from God, but he can redeem even the most crooked path and use your experiences along the way for good (Rom. 8:28).

In the end, the “right” path ultimately brings you closer to God whereas the wrong path ultimately takes you further away from him. You can’t really tell until you get to the end of the path. People in your life may be critical of your life choices, but in reality, they may not be seeing God’s hand at work in your life, invisibly, behind the scenes. Consequently, you need to be true to yourself and trust God to bring you home, and he will!

 

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The Beatitudes

Growing in Kingdom Character

(The Bible Teacher’s Guide Book 16)

by Gregory Brown

The Beatitudes

How can we grow in kingdom character?

When Christ came into the world, he preached the kingdom of heaven (Matt 4:17). He taught that not only was the kingdom something future but a present reality, as the kingdom of heaven was in their midst (Lk 17:21). The kingdom consists of all those who profess Christ as Lord—though all who profess are not truly saved (cf. Matt 7:21-23, 13:36-43). In Matthew 5:3-10, Christ introduces the character of those who are truly part of his kingdom. They are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness. These character traits are affectionately called the Beatitudes, as each one begins with “Blessed” and finishes with a promise of God. If these characteristics are not in our lives, at least imperfectly, we are not truly part of Christ’s kingdom.

However, the Beatitudes not only represent the nature of kingdom citizens, they also represent the aspirations of them. Only Christ perfectly modeled these characteristics, but each kingdom citizen should constantly aim to grow in them. As we consider the Beatitudes, they will both affirm if we have truly entered God’s kingdom and also challenge us to grow in these kingdom characteristics. Let’s study them together with The Bible Teacher’s Guide.

“Helpful to both the layman and the serious student, The Bible Teacher’s Guide, by Dr. Greg Brown, is outstanding!”
—Dr. Neal Weaver, President of Louisiana Baptist University

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He Knows My Name 10/27/2020

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by Parker J. Cole

Going through the feeds on social mediayou can see that many friends, and acquaintances are campaigning for their political preference. Link sharing, video sharing, message shares, meme shares, a lot of energy goes into it. Some friends are solidly focusing on making sure that their candidate is perceived in the best light possible and the other candidate is perceived in the worst light possible.  

Please understand that religion reflects the culture and politics reflect the culture. You can see this enacted in a real-world context as your study the political arena of different countries. In the U. S., a thing I’ve heard a lot is, “You can’t be a Christian and vote X way.”  

This statement, in and of itself, leads to a question I have:  when did the state of Christianity rest on the advancement of a political party? Is that how far we have fallen from what being a follower of Christ is? Are we so focused on our emotions for a political party that we have forgotten that we serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? 

My pastor has been preaching hard lately about God’s sovereignty and how we need to be grounded in God, not anything else. Is it because of a foreshadowing of things to come? There is a sense of rising turmoil, of things coming to a head that some feel this presidential election embodies. It certainly has been touted that way. That this 2020 election is THE election. The one that changes the course of U. S. History and of course, the world! 

*cue ominous music* 

Let me be clear: It’s important to vote and know what political candidates stand behind and what their ideology is, belief system and all that.  

I am rebuking our DEPENDENCE on men.  

Regardless for who you vote for, none of candidates know who you really are. They don’t know the cries of your heart when the weight of your worries crushes your shoulders. They have no comprehension of your family life or your deepest fears.  

This has become more apparent to me in the past several weeks. I won’t go into detailbut the Lord has shown me that He knows my name and knows exactly who I am. I know that, of course, on a logical level. But like all things, being reminded of that is essential. 

He’s reminded of this through a number of small blessings that have come my way. The blessings, though small, have the impact of a mountain being thrown into a lake. I told a friend, “They’re better than a truck load of money being dumped in front of my door.” 

In Luke 12, it says:  Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. 

As He has showered me with these ‘small’ blessings, I came to a particular realization. It was already known in my mind but now I REALLY know – the God of the Universe, the One who spoke and brought everything into existence, knows ME. He knows EXACTLY who I am. He heard the cries of my heart, cries I hadn’t even really articulated and answered them. Cries and desires and hopes and dreams no political candidate can ever fulfill. Where I needed peace, He sent it. When I needed correction, He gave it. When I need to be embraced, He held me in His arms. 

When you consider that the God of the Universe knows who you are, it’s both humbling and frightening. Going back to Luke 12, it says, For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. 

Fear Him. 

Wow.  Fear, in this regard, is respect, to be in awe. To be humbled by it.  

To make a literary example as I close: in fiction, there’s a certain character that’s always considered extremely powerful. To pick one at random, I’ll choose Mycroft Holmes, brother of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock says of Mycroft: “The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience. We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question; he could get his separate advices from various departments upon each, but only Mycroft can focus them all, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other. They began by using him as a short-cut, a convenience; now he has made himself an essential. In that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holed and can be handed out in an instant.”  

He goes on to say (to Watson): “I did not know you quite so well in those days. One has to be discreet when one talks of high matters of state. You are right in thinking that he is under the British government. You would also be right in a sense if you said that occasionally he is the British government.” 

Mycroft is this character who wields great power. He’s connected to government and has a brain superior to Sherlock in its deductive power.  

To pick another character, again from fiction, Dale the Whale from the Monk series.  Dale the Whale is an obese man who hasn’t moved from his room in twelve or fourteen years due to his obesity and yet, he wields power because of his vast monetary resources and connections with people who are in power.  

The God of the Universe, the God of the Bible, does haven’t to be connected to anyone to know who you are. He already knows how many hairs you have (or don’t have) and He knew you before you were even born.  

Don’t put all your trust in political candidates.  Trust in the One who knows your name and knows you better than you know yourself. 

About the Author:

Parker J ColeParker J. Cole is a writer and radio show host who spends most of her time reading, knitting, writing, cooking, and concocting new ideas for stories. Her first novel, Dark Cherub, won Best of Spring Reading 2013 from eMediaCampaigns. She lives in Michigan with her husband and beloved dog Sarah.

Visit her site at http://www.ParkerJCole.com

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Testimony of God’s Love 10/26/2020

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by Ruth O’Neil

There was once a time when I thought I had no testimony. I didn’t have anything amazing to share. But I was wrong. It wasn’t right away that I was able to see where God had been working. It took time and distance. But one day it dawned on me, and I was amazed.

I excelled in school, I even skipped a grade. I never gave it much thought; it “just happened.” The year I skipped a grade was also the year I started dating the man I would marry.

After graduation, I went off to college. Knowing I wanted to be a writer and that we had set our wedding date, I chose the writing classes I wanted, bypassing othersknowing I could go back anytime, anywhere to finish my degree.

When I came home for Christmas that year, my mother and I spoke about my maternal grandmother’s health. She had breast cancer and was not doing well.

My mother started crying. “I didn’t want to say anything until after Christmas because I didn’t want to ruin the holidays. I found a lump.”

I encouraged her to get it tested ASAP. The week before our wedding, she received the news the lump was benign.

Since my fiancé and I had done things the old-fashioned way and did not live together until after we were married, we planned to wait a year or two before beginning a family.

But God had other plans.

Three weeks after the wedding, I was sicker than Id ever been. Yup. I was pregnant.

Nine months and two days after we got married, we welcomed our first daughter into our lives. She was three weeks early, but the timing of our daughter’s birth was all in God’s grand plan.

She was the first grandchild on my side of the family, and my mother was ecstatic! She flew down to visit and spent a week holding that little girl as much as she possibly could, knowing the miles would be a barrier to regular visits.

After her visit, Mom started having more health issues. That lump she’d been told was benign was cancer that had spread throughout her body. Doctors gave her thirty days to live.

As my mother deteriorated, our home church bought a plane ticket so my daughter, now a year old, and I could fly home and spend some time with my mom, thinking it might lift her spirits. While we were visiting, my mom witnessed my daughter taking her first steps.

She died a month later.

If I had not skipped a grade, I would have graduated from high school a year later, gone to college a year later, got married a year later, and my daughter would have been born a year later. It would have been a year too late for my mom to see her first grandchild taking her first steps.

God orchestrated all the days of my life because He loved my mom and wanted to bless her with one of her dreams. My testimony is not one of the drastically changed, but one of God’s love for His children.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) 

About the Author:

Ruth OneilRuth O’Neil has been writing for over 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles in numerous publications. She loves to touch the emotions when she writes. “If I can make one person laugh or cry, I’ll consider myself successful.” Her first novel “Come Eat at My Table” has just come out in ebook form and can be purchased on her website. She homeschools her three children (well, one now, as two have graduated). She and her husband have been married for 20-plus years. In her spare time she enjoys quilting, crafting, and reading. You can visit her on her blog at ruths-real-life (dot)blogspot.com or her website at ruthoneil (dot)weebly.com

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Get Up and Get Out: Find Your Research Gems in Conversation

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by Carmen Peone

“Just to let you know, I wouldn’t marry her!” said my working cattle ranch-owning contact 

His words made my chest clench. Yet, his profound statement changed the course of my first romantic suspense story’s attitude. 

I didn’t want another weak woman saved by macho man. I wanted real characters facing and overcoming trauma—like domestic violence, death of a parent as a child, and other abuses and adversities.  

Then I asked him, “Why not?” 

“She’s mean.” 

She’s mean? I was blown away but considered his statement.   

Oh, wow…Here I was trying to create a strong ranch woman for my main character who overcomes domestic violence but instead, I’d made her callous and uncaring. His feedback became a turning point for me and was invaluable.  

I loved his honesty 

And I appreciated his candor.  

The truth is, if I had not gotten up out of my chair and went on a personal interview and ranch tour at his place, which happens to be the setting of my Seven Tine Guest Ranch romantic suspense series, then I would have never built a relationship to where my ranch connection could and would have the nerve to speak freely.  

With that, I’d like to encourage you to… 

Get Up… 

and 

Get Out… 

Build relationships with those who are in your character’s occupation and setting.  

G see, hear, smell, touch, and taste their environment 

Your right, it might be easier to sit in front of your computer, information at your fingertips, iced tea or hot coffee and a slice of carrot cake or pecan pie within reach 

But, my question to you is…will you be able to discover those golden gems that only face-to-face contact can uncover?  

So…what is needed for a successful interview? 

  • Goalstell the interviewee what you need ahead of time. 
  • Questionshave them ready: who, what, when, where, how, and be prepared to take a few rabbit trails and see where they might lead. But not so many it’s takes you on an altered path.  
  • Your curiosity and openness. Be yourself but also be professional. If they only have 40 minutes, don’t take 41.  
  • Build report. Take the time to look them up and find out who they are, take clues from their environment (ranch, quilter, doctor, veteran), make them feel comfortable. Care about them.  
  • Listenmore than you talk. And don’t fill in the silence, let them think a minute so they can expand. Remember, God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason.  
  • Ask to be shown. It pays to see and feel an object. In our writing, the more senses we can pepper in a scene (and not info dump) the more the reader will pay attention.  
  • Gather their stories, you never know what is usable. 
  • Photograph what you see. I have often sat in front of my inspiration boards and stared at photos until I noticed something of value to my story. Something I’d missed while talking, walking, or taking notes.  

And for goodness sake, be confident and have fun!  

This may be hard if you’re an introvert, but I can guarantee you, the more in-person interviews you do, the easier it becomes. Experts want to help. They want to make sure we have correct information and factsThey want our work to be accurate and authentic, as do we, right? 

I’d love to hear any research tips and tidbits you have discovered along the way. 

About the Author:

Carmen PeoneCarmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington and on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She owns and trains her horses and competes in local Extreme Challenge and Mountain Trail competitions. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. With the love of history and western woman lifestyle, she brings stories of hope, family, relationships, and faith to her novels.

These books were a labor of love, especially the second edition of the True to Heart Trilogy. Thank you to my cover model, Shayna Palmanteer of the Colville Confederated Tribes, for your willingness to be a part of this adventure. Visit my website for information on the workbooks that go along with my young adult books at https://carmenpeone.com/books/.
http://carmenpeone.com

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Courting Country

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Courting Country

by LoRee Peery

Courting Country

One Secret Love + One Misdirection and Multiple Situationships = Courting Country

Taggart Bauman has secretly loved Kylie Gordon since they were young, but she married his best friend. When Kylie is widowed, Taggert promises to take care of her. And even though he could be free to profess his love, he chooses to keep his feelings a secret. If Kylie knew that he’d failed to save her husband, she’d never forgive him. He knows, because he can’t forgive himself.

After being alone for so long, Kylie believes an online dating service is her last chance at finding love. But she continually finds herself in “situationships” that require Taggert to rescue her. When at last she reconnects with Eldon Wenz, an old friend from their college years, she thinks perhaps this is finally her second chance at love…but just in case, she asks Taggert to accompany her when she travels to Eldon’s ranch.

But sometimes things are not what they seem, and when one more situationship crops up, Taggart vents his resentment and tells Kylie she needs to work out the choices she’s making.

Will Taggart lose Kylie forever, friendship and all, or will Kylie realize that what she’s been searching for has been right in front of her the whole time?

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CrossReads Short Takes: When Heaven Sighs & Kingdom Leadership

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CrossReads Short Takes

When Heaven Sighs

by Susan Guinn

When Heaven Sighs

Beneath layers of glamourous country music stars and professional athletes, deceit and brutality stalk the city sidewalks of Nashville, Tennessee in the form of assassins sent by a secret society to find and destroy a missing Dead Sea Scroll. On a steamy day in August, a young man dies from the Ebola virus on a downtown sidewalk. Close to midnight on the same day, tires screech and a young girl screams as the body of Father Tom McClarin smacks against the hard, cold asphalt in front of the cathedral where he serves. Both men’s destinies have been bound together by their mutual belief in the ancient scroll which possibly contains a unique message for today’s churches. Detective Hayden Douglan and Samual Thomas, a local pastor, follow the clues piling up and conclude both deaths are homicides. Faith and courage will be tested as the investigation leads from corruption in the highest levels of the religious community and police department to a powerful mystic cloistered behind the walls of beautiful Saint Alaric Monastery near Vienna, Austria. After Samual is also attacked and shot in the chest, he is healed by angels sent to enlist his help in convincing the religious community to believe the message of the scroll. Despite death threats and the struggle to contain an Ebola outbreak, Douglan and Samual work alongside and against powerful forces at work in Nashville: forces seeking to destroy the scroll and opposing forces strong enough to save anyone connected with bringing the scroll to the attention of the city’s spiritual leaders.

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Kingdom Leadership

Leading God’s Way To Fulfill Purpose

by Dr. Monteic A. Sizer

Kingdom Leadership

As human beings, we will inevitably come to a point in life when we ask ourselves who am I, why was I born, and what is my purpose. The answers to these profound questions are found in God. God gives us specific gifts and talents to be used for His ultimate glory. It is through doing the will of God that we find true happiness, peace, and meaning.

In Kingdom Leadership: Leading God’s Way To Fulfill Purpose, you will discover the reasons for your gifts and talents, and what they are to be used for. God created you for His purpose. His purpose created you. And when you find your purpose, you find the God who created you.

An unrevealed purpose leads humanity to chase fleeting and temporal pleasures as a substitute for God’s intentions and revealed plans. No amount of worldly consumption and praise can give peace or eradicate humankind’s innate drive towards God, its creator.

The world is filled with brokenness and too many unrealized dreams. Nations are consumed with war and rumors of war. Too many individuals are burdened with excessive poverty and disease. Racial and ethnic conflicts polarize societies. Still, others are trapped by unconstrained moral conflicts, various forms of addiction, consumerism, power grabs, and religious strife. All of these things above are futile attempts at gaining a relationship, purpose, and meaning from life. They are a result of humanity, not knowing God and God’s purpose for their lives.

For people to find peace, purpose, and fulfillment in life, it must come through communing with God and living according to God’s Word, rules, and principles. God seeks to be reconciled with what He created. God is always available to His creation if sought. It is one’s pursuit and obedience to God’s will after many meaningless activities and disappointments that will reestablish one to their original and intended purpose.

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The Point Is … Better Late Than Never 10/20/2020

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by James Collins

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

Over the years, I have been blessed to receive many letters from readers. Many of those letters asked questions. One reader wrote, “Dear Pastor James, you are without a doubt the biggest pinhead on the planet. Who told you that you were a writer?” Signed, “Phillis Stein.” 

Another reader wrote, “James Collins, you are a narrowminded bigot. Where do you get off by saying Jesus is the only way?” Signed, “Barry Cuwder.”   

Another letter read, “We’ve been trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty. Why don’t you reply? Signed, “Otto Matik.” 

One of my favorite letters said, “Dr. Collins, I’m sorry that I called you an idiot in my previous letter. I really thought you already knew. I could explain to you how stupid you are, but I can’t understand it for you. What university would be so moronic as to give you a doctorate?” Signed, “Rory Motion.” 

This past week, I received a letter from Ladonna (not her real name). She wrote, “Dear Pastor Collins, I write today because I am confused. Many years ago, I made accusations against another person that were just false. It created a crisis that I am ashamed of today. Should I try to make it right after all these years or should I just leave well enough alone… I don’t want to make things worse or dig up old wounds. What should I do?” 

This question is one that I have been asked often. Many Christians struggle with this issue. However, the Bible is clear that if you as a believer have wronged another believer then you need to attempt to make things right. God has given us a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). 

A few years ago, a woman named Dee felt something was missing in her life. So, she started coming to my church. Eventually, she gave her life to Christ. It was my privilege to baptize her. Whenever someone gets saved, it is a miracle of God. But Dee’s salvation was truly a miracle considering she was eighty-three-years-old. Most of the time, when someone reaches that age, life has hardened them to the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

One day Dee told me about her daughter, Joy. Dee had basically abandoned Joy when she was a child. They had not spoken to each other for almost fifty years. I encouraged Dee to call her daughter and apologize. Dee said the same thing to me that Ladonna said in her letter, “I don’t want to make things worse or dig up old wounds.” I said, “Jesus Christ can heal wounds even old ones,” as I handed her the phone. She called her daughter and apologized. She shared how Jesus Christ had changed her life. As they spoke, Joy put her faith in Jesus as Savior. She became reconciled with Jesus and with her mother. Now both Dee and Joy have peace with each other and peace with God.  

The point is: When you confess and seek forgiveness from someone you have wronged, God provides opportunities for healing (James 5:16). By not seeking reconciliation, you feel sick with unforgiveness, anger, and shame. God through His Son and Spirit can heal you when you seek His help. 

Why don’t you lean on God’s strength and reach out to that person and show them the love of Christ today? 

Better late than never.

The Point Is...

James Collins

James Collins

James Collins is pastor, columnist, and author. You can write to him by email at james@thepointis.net.

 

 

 

 

 

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Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals Podcast – Listen live at 6am Pacific and 6pm Pacific. Visit http://anchor.fm/russell-sherrard any other time to listen to all of our episodes.
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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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FREE eBook Interactive Romans Road American Standard Version This is the ideal and easy way to share the gospel using your Kindle http://bit.ly/2xvdXNY #free
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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 10/19/2020

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by Jim Hughes

crossDan. 9:4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed, “ O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and keep your commands.”

Do you really believe it? Do you believe that God always fulfills His promises of unfailing love to those who love Him and obey Him? Think about how you think about God when circumstances overwhelm you and He seems to not care. Be honest. Do you consider God loving you when things are going bad for you? Don’t you question the love of God for you when nothing seems to change for the better? After all, if God really loves, He would make sure everything went well for us, wouldn’t He?

We doubt God’s love because we can’t see the forest because of the trees. All we can see is the moment we are in, not the broader picture of our lives. We don’t see how the moment can be good for us in any way. We don’t see how God is going to use us the rest of our life journey and how our present circumstances are a part of our preparation.

We don’t see the good in the bad because we fail to remember what God says about himself. He is holy love and is incapable of acting in a non-loving way. Everything God does, or allows to happen in our lives, flows from love. He is incapable of doing anything wrong. We may not understand it at all, but it is true. In order to deal with life we must accept as absolute truth everything God says. All of God’s promises come to pass but, there is a condition if we are going to personally experience them.

We must love the Lord and obey Him. When we love the Lord we trust Him. We rest in the knowledge that what we are going through is noticed by God and is being used by Him for our good. We do not speak negatively of Him; instead we acknowledge Him, thank Him, and praise Him regardless of what we are experiencing. We continue to faithfully obey Him regardless of how we feel. God never fails us, but we do fail Him. God will see you through whatever you are going through if you love Him and obey Him.

Before and After the Honeymoon

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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Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals Podcast – Listen live at 6am Pacific and 6pm Pacific. Visit http://anchor.fm/russell-sherrard any other time to listen to all of our episodes.
========================================
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.
========================================
FREE eBook Interactive Romans Road American Standard Version This is the ideal and easy way to share the gospel using your Kindle http://bit.ly/2xvdXNY #free
========================================

 

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