Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossPs. 119:160 All your words are true; all your laws will stand forever.

ALL means all. There is not one word God has recorded in the Scriptures that is not true. Like it or not, God has declared what is truth. He who tries to water it down or adapt it to fit his own desires does so at the risk of his soul.

Not one of God’s laws will falter. God’s ways and thoughts are unchangeable. God’s Word will outlast all of creation. God is absolute truth. He is eternal Truth. He is the same truth that He always has been and always will be.

It is imperative for us to strive to understand the words of God as written. It is not our opinions that matter, nor is it an option for us to try to make it say what we want it to say. Many things God has spoken are beyond our ability to understand, but that gives us no right to question its authenticity or authority over us. We must study it diligently under the Spirit’s guidance to try and discern what is being said. And if we can’t understand some things, we know they are true because God said it and we accept them by faith.

Wise is he who is humble enough to admit he doesn’t have perfect understanding of all things. Our understanding is limited by our feeble minds. We understand things based on our own experiences and teachings in life. Wise is he who lets the Word speak for itself and accepts it as truth simply because God inspired it to be written. The more time I spend in the Word, the more I discover how limited my understanding really is. Often, the Lord speaks to me in ways that are outside of my comfort zone of understanding. It is by faith and not our sight that we are able to gain an understanding of God’s Word.

God gives us opportunity and all the resources we need to learn truth and he will hold us accountable for what we do with our opportunities. Ignorance is not an excuse for those who have been given opportunity and squander it away. All of God’s words are eternally true and will outlast all or our understandings of it.

C Through Marriage

About the Author:

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

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the 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.

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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The Other Man Excerpt

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by Parker J. Cole

On December 8th, my book, The Other Man, the second volume of the Sins of the Flesh series, will be free to download.  In order to celebrate, enjoy this excerpt and then mark your calendars to get your free copy!

Vincent Miller stared at the beaming bride, who stood at the altar as she married Jacob Westwood. He had never seen Leah Martin look so beautiful. She had always been a looker, but now at her wedding, she had a bridal glow about her. Her caramel skin radiated with a golden sheen, the thick riot of russet curls shimmered, and her ivory gown was the perfect complement to her curves.

She laughed as she gave her flowers to her maid of honor. A little boy came down the aisle with a broom decorated with pink ribbons and frills. When the little boy placed the broom at the bride and groom’s feet, she and Jacob jumped over it. The bridegroom tripped and his arms flailed to keep from falling. The church rang with laughter as he smiled and stole another kiss from his new bride.

Third in line, Vincent watched with hooded eyes as Leah hugged more guests while the photographer took pictures of the bride and groom with everyone in the receiving line. As his turn came up, he braced himself and allowed his face to show only happiness for her.

“Vincent!” she screamed in his ear as she hugged him. The world receded. The flash of the photographer’s camera faded as an onslaught of sensations cascaded over his mind and heated his surging blood. His nostrils flared as he greedily inhaled the cocoa butter–scented skin. The assault of that delicious aroma nearly made his eyes roll into the back of his head. All her round, soft curves melted into his solid frame like warmed syrup over pancakes. The gentle clasp of her arms around his middle effectively imprisoned him, but he was a willing captive. He gritted his teeth in an attempt to still his senses from saturating themselves in the presence of this woman. Yet, when she pulled back from him an instant later, his body ached to hold her again.

“Hey, Vincent.”

The sound of the husband’s voice was an ice cold bucket of distraction that disintegrated the hold Leah’s presence had on him. Vincent gave himself a mental shake as he tugged on the ends of his suit and smoothed his hair in a nonchalant way. He hoped as he reached out to shake the groom’s hand that the slight tremble of his own hand wasn’t visible.

“Congrats, you guys.” How words erupted from his mouth was a mystery. Before he could say more, the photographer gestured and Leah jumped between them with her arms around their necks. Vincent’s lips stretched and curved upward as a sardonic voice whispered in his mind. Smile for the camera.

***

Do you see what you missed out on, Vincent? The flash from the camera blinded Leah Westwood as she stood in the middle of her husband and her ex-flame.

The instant she articulated the thought, she felt the Spirit chastise her. Okay, okay. So maybe he hadn’t missed out on everything. They’d been intimate on more than one occasion. Yet, she did feel a pure sense of feminine pleasure at seeing this man, whom she at one time wanted to give her life to, watch her marry another man worth twelve of him. Jacob glanced down at her, his eyes gentle but lit with anticipation. A

bubble of sweet, ginger ale–like joy burst from inside her. Heady and intoxicating happiness made her want to fly. She loved her husband with To think God had crafted them for each other still amazed her. Jacob Westwood, the one man to subdue Mercury, the rage monster inside her.

“You look so beautiful, Leahgirl,” Jacob whispered as he kissed her cheek.

Although she recognized her own beauty, she wished she didn’t have so many men try to hit on her, grab at her, or flirt with her. It became tedious. Maybe there was a curse to being pretty. God knew how often she longed for the face of a tarantula.

“You don’t look so bad yourself,” she returned the compliment. She reached up and tugged the short, thick blond hair. He laughed, his periwinkle eyes filling with teasing light. The formal wedding suit rested

on his broad frame, accentuating it. Jacob wasn’t tall, but he stood almost a head above her. Her hairline came to his square chin, nicely trimmed with a goatee.

Vincent walked away and she greeted more people. Her lips curved into a wide smile but at the same time little needles of nervousness pricked her skin. Her throat started to constrict and she took a deep breath to calm the nerves. Sweat broke out on her forehead as she remembered the night. It was the night she met the two men who changed her life forever: her husband and her attacker. If she hadn’t been so pretty, maybe that scumbag would have left her alone. No. She refused to go into a full-fledged panic attack at her wedding. She was safe here beside Jacob.

“Leahgirl, what’s wrong?”

Jacob’s voice broke through the memory that had almost unveiled itself and she shook her head. This was her wedding day. The past would not interfere with it. She sent a quick prayer to the Almighty to help her with wayward thoughts, and then pushed the trepidation back and focused on all the people who had come to wish them joy.

***

The muscles in Jacob’s neck were tense and he rolled his head to relax them. He closed the door to the hotel room. His fingers tugged at the tie around his throat and loosened it as he rubbed his neck for a few moments. As his muscles stretched, fatigue seeped into them. Who knew weddings could be so time-consuming? From the moment the preacher declared, “You may now kiss the bride,” he’d wanted to race to the hotel suite.

He glanced out the window. The stars glistened against the backdrop of the city. The soft white blanket of snow gave the scenery a fanciful snow globe allure. Cars scuttled back and forth. Street lights changed. The night bustle added its magic to this special day.

For several hours he’d smiled, shook hands, laughed, and enjoyed oh so brief kisses with his new wife for the benefit of the guests. His eyes were dry from the numerous flashes of the camera. The photographer had cajoled, begged, and finally demanded they pose for pictures at each moment. He could have strangled the man.

Leah had been in her element. She sizzled and crackled with the vibrant energy of her happiness. She’d fluttered from one table to the next, her face bright with joy as she connected with the guests. The air about her buzzed and zinged. Hot like a tongue of fire, she singed people. More than once, he saw drooping backs straighten and unconscious frowns transform into smiles. Leah was a bolt of lightning, unable to be harnessed yet magnificent because of the unfettered freedom. He’d watched her all day, longing building up to a pressure inside him begging for release. When they did exchange kisses, he knew she was as eager for their time alone as he.

At last, they had each other to themselves.

Leah twirled around. The knee-length gold dress she had changed into for the reception shimmered in the light. His lips tilted to one side as he remembered how she refused to lug around her bridal dress on her big body for hours.

Big body. He watched her as she stepped out of her shoes and jumped on the bed. Her childish antics were in direct contradiction to the woman he desired with increasing intensity by the moment. This was their wedding night. And he was about to enjoy it.

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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When the Snow Comes Excerpt

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by BJ Robinson

An excerpt from B. J. Robinson’s new release and latest Christmas book.

When the Snow Comes

Amber’s tires crunched in the white shell drive as she pulled her 2012 blue and white Mustang beneath an ancient live oak draped in Spanish moss and glanced at a beautiful darker blue pickup. A man with a tall, lean frame came around the corner of the impressive Victorian, strode to the truck, and started pulling out buckets of paint. He hadn’t noticed her. She sat in the car and took advantage of being able to preview him.

Jeans clung to his well-muscled legs, and his tee shirt tightened across a broad, muscled chest and rippling muscles in his upper arms. She quietly climbed from her vehicle, heart throbbing. It was Adam. She knew she’d run into him if she returned, but she hadn’t expected to the first day back and at her home of all places. What was he doing here?

He turned as she stepped up to him. Wiry, lean muscles rippled as he held a can of paint in each hand, tanned forearms stretched down along his sides. His shiny brown eyes flew open as her heart thundered against her chest. “Amber Brooke Paige, what are you doing here?”

“I was just about to ask you that same question, Adam Cameron Baker.”

“Getting ready to give this old house a fresh coat of paint to spruce it up for the holidays.” The administrators of the estate hired me.”

“Aunt Amelia left me the house, furnishing, and grounds, so I’ve returned.”

The smile that had turned up his lips fell as his face shut like a closed book. “I guess you’ve come back long enough to sell the old place.” He sighed. “I’m interested in buying it if the price is right. Always loved it as much as I love Wears Valley.”

“It’s not for sale. I’ll be staying. I always loved this place, and Aunt Amelia knew it. She was my favorite aunt, and I cherish my girlhood memories of the times spent here.”

His face fell even further if that were possible. “I thought they wanted me to paint it to put it on the market, and I’d planned to buy it. Childhood memories were special here for me too.”

“Sorry, it’s not for sale. It’s going to be my home.” She glanced at the paint cans hanging from each hand. “Those look heavy. Sit them down, and I’ll explain.”

“No time to talk. I’ve got a job to do. Besides, there is nothing to explain. College and a career were more important than me and this hick town. Surprised you want to come back and call it home.” He strode around her, paint cans swinging as he made his way around the corner of the house.

How could one man be so handsome, yet so rude and irritating? He sounded like a man from a prior generation, one who expected his woman to stay home, cook, clean, and rear children. When she’d gone to the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, a teaching university, and the University of Tennessee Medical Center to become a nurse, he’d broken their engagement and ripped her heart apart, making her choose between him and her dream career as a nurse. She’d made it and was a registered nurse, but now he wouldn’t even listen to her or let her explain. He’d always had to come first. When she refused to give up her dream for him, he’d broken their engagement. She’d never forget his words. “If Wears Valley and its small-town, traditional values aren’t good enough for you, you’re the wrong woman for me.”

How could he be so old-fashioned? He didn’t even know what career she’d chosen because he could have cared less. She’d gone to college, and he’d closed the book on any love story they might have had. It hadn’t been easy right out of high school, but determined, she’d worked hard. The first child in her family to attend college, she refused to let her parents or her Aunt Amelia down. She could still hear her aunt advising her. “Honey, you can’t go wrong with nursing. You’ll always be able to find a job, and it pays well.”

Her dear, sweet aunt had passed while she was away, and she’d made a quick trip home long enough for the wake and funeral. Adam had come to the wake out of respect for her aunt, but he totally ignored her and refused to even speak, so she went back to Knoxville heartbroken. He had no idea how he’d hurt her, scarred her, broken her spirit as well as her heart in some ways, but still she’d refused to let him take away her career. Amber knew she’d need a way to earn a living, and she refused to depend on a man and not have one. She wasn’t living in the olden days. This was the twenty-first century and just because she loved old Victorian houses, especially her aunt’s, it didn’t mean that she had to live like it was still that era. That time had come and gone.

She could still enjoy the beautiful old home. Sure she wanted children one day, but first she wanted to be sure she’d be able to take care of them and now, she knew she would. Why couldn’t he at least listen to her side of things, how she felt. He wasn’t the man she’d thought he was. He wouldn’t listen to her heart and what mattered to her. It had always been all about him and what he wanted. Well, he’d given up on her, and he wouldn’t get her home. He’d have to go find another old Victorian because he wasn’t getting hers.

Amber turned and sunlight sparkled off one of the beautiful stained-glass windows in the dining room. The house had been gorgeous in its day, and she’d be sure to make it that way again. It was a beauty. A fresh coat of paint would spruce it up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She was glad that was taken care of, but it wasn’t very pleasant knowing the love of her life was the one doing the painting, and he wouldn’t even give her the time of day.

This old house had beckoned her back to small-town life, and it wouldn’t let her forget the man who broke her heart. She’d coveted this home and its cherished memories since childhood, and it was hard to believe another dream had come true. She had her dream home and her dream career. If only, she could have had the man of her dreams too. Still, she knew she had a lot to be thankful for, and she had to be patient. If God meant Adam for her, he’d make a way. She’d have to bide her time and let things happen naturally, if they happened at all. No way would she allow him to see how he’d hurt her and no way would she chase him. She’d show him that she was a strong woman and could live without him. She didn’t need him, but she wanted him. Amber sighed. Well, she did need him, truth be told, but he didn’t need to know that at the moment.

Amber glanced up at the turning leaves in an array of red, yellow, and orange. The mountains were a blaze of autumn colors, and this was another reason she loved Wears Valley. How could Adam not know she loved this place as much as he did?

Fall was ending and Christmas was coming. The holidays would be hard with him acting like a cad, but she’d gotten through harder things in her life, and she’d get through this too. Soon Main Street in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge would be adorned with festive lights, Christmas songs, and holiday cheer as locals and tourists enjoyed the beautiful decorations and atmosphere. Their wedding was to have been on Christmas Day. That would be the hardest day of them all, but she’d get through it.

Amber strolled up the wide steps and across the battleship gray boards of the porch to the sturdy oak door. She loved the gracious, wide veranda. A swing hung from one side and two rockers graced each side of the front door. The same ones she’d swung and rocked in as a child. The same rockers her aunt and mother had rocked her in as an infant and a toddler. The Amish and the other men who did woodwork in these parts built items to last and these had. They needed a new coat of paint to freshen them up, but they still had many good years left, just as the beautiful home did. Thank God she’d inherited the home she loved with all of her heart. It was possible to fall in love with a house because she had as a child.

She leaned against the porch railing and let her eyes take in the gorgeous view of mountains ablaze in glorious fall colors. The hills lit in a blaze of crimson, gold, and rust. There was no place on earth, no view that could beat this one. The house stood proudly on two acres of prime land with beautiful ancient oaks and elms. She was one blessed woman to have a good career to take care of herself and a lovely home like this one, but God knew her heart. He knew she was lonely for a love of her own, for Adam, the love of her life, her soul mate.

She sighed, went to the door, opened it, and as always, the grand staircase that arched gracefully along one side of the foyer took away her breath. She’d once toured a plantation home with a mural above the staircase. Amber would have one of the town artisans paint a scenic view with dogwoods and redbirds. She loved cardinals.

Her aunt had taken great care with the oak hardwood floors, and they only needed a new coat of stain to make them look brand new again. This place would be the grand beauty she once was. She’d see to it.

She moseyed down the length of the wide hall to the back of the house and turned into the only bedroom on the bottom floor. It had been her aunt’s when she could no longer climb the stairs. She peeked out a window. Adam’s long blue-jean clad legs stood on a ladder as he painted. Amber shook her head and turned to gaze around the room.

Aunt Amelia’s blue chenille bedspread with pink roses still clothed the huge oak bed. Amber ran her hand across it as she took a seat on the mattress. If it were any higher, she’d need a ladder. She sunk into the soft comfort. As her fingertips glided across the rose petals one touch brought back all the sweet memories. She caressed the flower petals and green leaves and envisioned her petite aunt, knowing that she would’ve had to use a footstool to get into this high bed. She traced a delicate rose with her fingertips and admired the tall oak chest of drawers and heavy dresser and mirror. Furniture was made to last in those days, and it had. It would serve her well.

She climbed from the bed and let her fingers trace the green velvet drapes that matched the leaves of the spread. An oak nightstand stood on each side of the bed with a vase and an old glass-based lamp. The lamps needed new shades, and she knew just where to find them in the arts and crafts community. She loved cardinals, and she’d buy the ones with red birds and dogwoods. They’d go well with the antique glass bases of the lamps.

Some of those beautiful hand-made rugs would grace her floors. She couldn’t wait to fix up the place and redecorate and knew her aunt wouldn’t mind her making small changes to make it her place.

Amber heard the ladder bang against the side of the house and suddenly white paint splashed on the windowpane. She jumped from the bed to race out the back door and down the porch steps. Adam lay on the ground covered with a ladder and white paint.

Sweet Jesus, was he hurt? He’d hit the ground hard. She ran to him and knelt beside his white-painted body. “Are you okay? Do I need to phone for help?”

Blurb

When the Snow Comes

The last thing Amber Brooke Paige desires is to return to the town she left, but she has no choice. Away at college, a broken engagement, broken heart, and broken spirit, has left her hurting, scared, and scarred. Yet, her dream home beckons her back to small-town life that won’t let her forget the man who broke her heart.

Her favorite aunt left her the old Victorian on Wears Valley Road in Tennessee. It’s the home she’s always coveted since childhood and so many wonderful, cherished memories are entrenched in her heart and mind.

Adam Cameron Baker can’t deny the attraction, or pull between them, but the last thing he needs is to get involved with Amber again. He thought he knew what she wanted from life, but she left him and the home they both loved for a career dream and college. He’s vowed he’ll never leave Wears Valley. It’s his home and in his blood. No way will he follow the beautiful ash blonde who broke his heart. If Tennessee and it’s small-town, traditional values aren’t good enough for her, she’s the wrong woman for him.

Fall is ending and Christmas is coming. He was hired by the estate administrators to put a fresh coat of paint on the old home to spruce it up for the holidays and Amber’s return. Since his broken engagement, Christmas is viewed as just another day to him.

Can their hearts and views be transformed by the spirit of the season? Main Street will be adorned with festive lights, Christmas songs, and holiday cheer. Their wedding was to be on Christmas Day. When the snow comes, will the season melt their hearts?

When the Snow Comes

 

B. J. RobinsonBio: B. J. Robinson loves reading and writing, family, pets, and writing in various genres to provide choice for readers. You’ll discover romantic suspense, historical romance, and Christmas stories and books as well as others. Check out her Amazon Author page for a larger selection. When the Snow Comes is her new release and latest Christmas book.

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Overcoming The Low Moments

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by Suzanne D. Williams

There are days when I have to force myself to smile. Any author knows what I mean – that plastic, I-don’t-want-to-hear-this expression that hides what you’re actually thinking. Because nothing should show how I really feel about negative reviews, low sales, or any of the other innumerable downers that come with being an author. I must say “thank you” and “I’ll take that into consideration” until the sun goes down, then the next day I start all over again. I have to keep up a positive front.

At the same time, I can’t stay in the low moments. I have to find hope again, and there are a few healthy steps to standing on my feet.

  1. Time.

I have to give myself time to grieve whatever my “loss” for the day is. Nothing sucks the life out of a writer more than to have someone criticize a story you’ve worked on diligently for weeks. Yet readers, in a matter of hours, can tear down everything you thought you knew.

Being honest, there are stories I’ve written that I love and to this day I don’t understand why someone else doesn’t. Here’s the thing – THAT’S OKAY. They are entitled to their opinion, and I’m entitled to mine. I think about their thoughts BRIEFLY, but only AFTER I’ve given myself time to get over the pain of it.

No one says I have to jump right out there and start tearing things apart. That is usually a recipe for disaster.

  1. Space.

Putting distance between me and the event is imperative. But incredibly hard. Nevertheless, I have to set things aside and do something else. Sometimes, that means NOT WRITING. Other times, it’s simply switching tasks. I work on something that takes my thoughts away from what upsets me, and that, in itself, keeps me from reacting. Because just as soon as I allow my feelings to spout out, without thinking them through first, I know I will regret every word.

  1. Friends.

My friends have saved me more times when I was ready to self-destruct, both writing friends and non-writing friends. I realize I am someone outside of an author. I can stop and be a mom, a wife, a daughter. I can sit with my dog for an hour and just be a human. It’s amazing how that will re-center things.

I also know I don’t have to be witty and on-the-ball all the time. I can watch TV or bake cookies or water the flowers. With my head clear later, I’ll see how to fix whatever is messed up or know how to simply leave it be. Sometimes, doing nothing is everything.

  1. Try again.

Never give up. If one idea failed, I have other successes. I am not perfect, but I don’t let my mistakes define me.

I also don’t let peer pressure tell me how to do my job. If one person didn’t like a character or this person thought I should have taken the storyline to the left or to the right, that’s okay for them to say, but ultimately, the style of stories I write are mine to choose. I have to like them first and foremost.

Ultimately, I will not be the author people expect, but I’ll be the author I ACTUALLY AM, no matter whose hair that ruffles along the way. I change when it’s necessary, but I make my choice to change after listening to my heart. Then, the next day, the next week, I’ll look back and realize I overcame things. I have a new goal. I’m making new efforts and everything’s going to be all right.

http://amzn.to/2ccOI8R

Mail Order Bride

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 http://www.feelgoodromance.com or link with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/suzannedwilliamsauthor or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SDWAuthor.

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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossPs. 119:57 LORD, you are mine! I promise to obey your words!

Can you make that declaration today? Can you emphatically say and mean it that the Lord is yours today? Do you really know it to be true? Upon what basis do you make your claim? Do you know your sins are forgiven and are no more? Can you honestly say that the Lord has changed you from the inside out and you are forever a different person than you were before you gave your heart to Him?

If so, stop right now and thank Him. Thank Him for His loving you so much that He was willing to die on the cross for your sins. Thank Him for all that He went through to make you His own—the enormous physical, mental, emotional, and most of all, spiritual suffering that He endured for you. Thank Him for His eternal love—a love that is unconditional, unchanging, and never dies. Thank Him for His constant work within you—chiseling away at your old self to make you into a holy person, a person after God’s own heart.

You know Him and His love for you. Do you love Him? How does He know that you love Him? Do you tell Him that you love Him? How often do you say it? You can’t say it enough. He longs to hear you say it. How do you show Him your love? It’s one thing to say it and it’s another thing to show it. If you really love Him, you will show it. You will strive to obey His words to the very best of your ability and you will strive to always live a consistent, godly life. Actions speak louder than words.

If you truly love the Lord, you will honor Him and respect Him. You will not take advantage of His grace. You will allow Him to use you as a love channel to others, a vessel of grace. You will guard carefully your soul so that you don’t shame Him. You will strive to always keep sin out so that He will be comfortable in your presence. If you love Him, you will take your faith in Him seriously and strive to always work out your salvation in a way that pleases Him.

You are mine! I pray that you can make that statement today from the very steps of your heart.
C Through Marriage

About the Author:

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

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the 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.

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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Taking Myself Seriously

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by Parker J. Cole

Last month, I made mention I was expecting another child. Today, I want to announce my new child is almost ready for his debut.

Before I introduce this new addition to the family, I want to tell you a little bit about his conception. Unlike the other children I have, this one went through several drafts. The idea for my newest book came to me three years ago when I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time back in 2013. I had outlined every single chapter in the months before November and was ready to get started. I thought for sure I could do this.

Well, that didn’t happen. By end of NaNoWriMo, I had only written 9,000 words for this book and then I lost all compunction to write. If you were to ask me why, I couldn’t even tell you.  Thinking that it was the story itself, I started it up again, writing from a different angle. And then another. And another. Finally, when I stopped by sixth draft of this book, I thought, “Maybe this is not the book the Lord wants me to write. Maybe I’m forcing it.”

But one thing I always do to keep me motivated is buy a cover for my books. It may not be the cover I use when I release it but I buy it to motivate me. My logic is this: “I’ve bought this cover. I have to use it.” So I started the book yet again this year.

I was so tired of writing this book. I just wanted it to be over. I’ve never felt that way about any of my children before. It was a strange thing. It’s not that I hated it – could any decent parent hate their offspring? – but why was it taking so much out of me?

My agent eventually cracked the whip and told me to get this book done. Well, you can’t upset the person who spearheaded your career and help create the brand that is you. So, although she stood over me with the whip (I’m joking of course) another thing that happened that helped me completed this book. It was a person’s faith in me.

One of my co-workers, when I was lamenting this project, said to me, “You’re not taking yourself seriously. If you take yourself seriously, you would do better.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You don’t believe in yourself.”

That stopped me. Now I know last month, I wrote how all my children helped me to believe in myself. Yet, I guess some part of me still held onto to the ‘Wounded Author Syndrome’. You know, the illness that affects all authors when they lack belief in themselves. For whatever reason, we think, “I’m not a good writer.” “No one wants to read this garbage.” “Sold one book in two months. That’ll put food on the table.” Those kinds of thoughts wound us.

Did I have still some self-doubt? Was that what she meant? After all, fully-vested authors believe in themselves. When you do, then instead of putting the blame on one’s ability, you turn that around and use it to become more disciplined and write.

For whatever reason, her words stuck with me. When I got frustrated over a plot point. Or when I started to put the pen down, I remembered her words. Each time, it got me through.

Here’s the funny thing: this newest child is one of my shortest works. Go figure.

When I wrote ‘The End’, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders. I’d finished it. Three years later, in the same month of its birth, my child is just about ready to see the world. Here’s an MRI photo of him for your viewing pleasure. And remember, there are sometimes in life, you have to take yourself seriously.

The Doctor's Cure

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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Mountains Turned to Plains

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain; and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. (Zechariah 4:7)

At this hour a mountain of difficulty, distress, or necessity may be in our way, and natural reason sees no path over it, or through it, or round it. Let faith come in, and straightway the mountain disappears and becomes a plain. But faith must first hear the word of the Lord—”Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” This grand truth is a prime necessity for meeting the insurmountable trials of life.

I see that I can do nothing and that all reliance on man is vanity. “Not by might.” I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit. God alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of. If it be so that the Almighty God takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing. He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot. This power He can lend to me. If the Lord bids me move an Alp I can do it through His name. It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain; for the Lord hath said it. What can I be afraid of with God on my side?

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

Morning and Evening

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Thankful at Thanksgiving

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by Rebekah Beene

There have been some awesome times and there have been some hard times in my life. I can remember waking up on mornings breathing well when suddenly the truth of the present situation hit me in the heart. All of a sudden all peace and joy get sucked away in the realization of things along the way. Some years it was the death of family members, other years illness, loss of jobs, concerns about children and more. Just the things of life we all go through that we don’t really want to face. Hard mornings to get up and go and face life.

But we all put one foot in front of the other. That’s faith. We don’t know the outcome when we’re going through things. But we are trusting in Someone who is Bigger than we are to make things turn out.

Oh beloved, it’s thanksgiving week. But you may not feel you have much to be thankful for.  But God is waking you up this morning and placing fresh air in your lungs. He’s ordained this day that you will live and breathe and declare His works. He isn’t a distant deity waiting to see if you will make it. He is an Ever Present Help. He is your reason for living.  And He has a plan. You may have gone through much and felt little like an overcomer. But that’s who you are! You may have suffered greatly and felt no resemblance to victorious. But that’s God’s Word about you! You may have loved and lost and wondered if God will get you through. But God says I will carry you through this and every other season! You’re not alone, you’re not done for, and you’re not written off. You are destined!  Destined for praises, destined for triumph, destined for greater faith and greater living!  Now is not the time to waver. It’s time to savor the Truth of God and live fearlessly awaiting His next great move!

God loves you and He always has. He is for you and He’s never let you down.  Rejoice in the purpose for living that begins and ends in Christ! Celebrate Holy Spirit indwelling that gives meaning to ordinary days! And live, precious one, live fully alive in the Light of His glory & grace!

Philemon 1:3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.

Psalm 8:1-2  O LORD, our Lord, Your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.  You have taught children and infants to tell of Your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose You.

Isaiah 50:4 The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, That I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple.

Psalm 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me.

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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Gems From Pastor Jim

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by Jim Hughes

CrossPs. 119:152 I have known from my earliest days that your decrees never change.

When did you first understand that God’s Word never changes? Or, have you ever paused to consider whether or not it’s true? If there was any chance at all that God’s Word could change, we could not trust any part of it to be true. We would never be able to trust that what it proclaims about God and His ways are true. We would always be in a quest to discern what to believe and not to believe. We could never be sure that our decisions were the right ones. There would be no absolute standard upon which to build our lives. We would be no better off than any other form of life on earth.

God’s Word and ways never change. God never goes back on His Word. He had written exactly what He meant to be written. It is sin to try and adapt the Word to fit what we want it to say. We do not have the wisdom, right, or authority to try and make it say what we want it to say. It is absolute truth from beginning to end.

It is becoming increasingly popular to question what God says. Many people take things out of context to make the Scriptures say what it doesn’t say. Many pick and choose what they want to believe and live by. Many will compromise the Word to fit our culture and times in order not to offend certain people. Many refuse to believe that the Scriptures are indeed truth from God.

If we don’t have absolute confidence in the authenticity of the Word, we have nothing to stand on and live by. If God has not spoken clearly to all people of all times in the same way, man becomes his own god. There is no absolute truth; everybody is able to determine for themselves what is right and wrong. We see the end result of this way of thinking all around us. There are a multitude of belief systems, all claiming to be truth from God. There are a multitude of religions who deny the Word as God’s final authority for belief and practice. Truth is adapted to fit the sinful desires of people, all in the name of God. God’s character is distorted and He is deemed to be a God of love who embraces all people and invites them into His kingdom just as they are, without repentance or change.

God’s Word is non-negotiable and non-changeable. God says what he means and means what he says. If you have a problem with that, then you have a problem with God. Take your complaints to Him, not me. I stand unmovable on the absolute authority and authenticity of God’s Word. ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God. He didn’t need man’s help in deciding what truth is when He moved man to write it, and He doesn’t need man’s help in deciding now what truth is.

God has spoken to us by the Word. It behooves us to accept it, learn it, and strive to live by it.

C Through Marriage

About the Author:

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

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the 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.

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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Accepting Rejection (or Constructive Criticism)

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by Ruth O’Neil

I recently had a request to review a book. This book was already published in ebook form. Now I was not being paid to write this review and I was receiving no other compensation, which was fine. This was a new, young writer and I wanted to encourage him. Keep in mind, I have written a lot of book reviews. I am normally paid to write what the book is about, not necessarily give my opinions of the content. That is what I did with this particular book.

Since he was a brand new writer and very young, I thought I would include some advice in a private email to him. The advice I gave centered around getting a professional editor and allowing some distance between him and his writing, as some of the events were very recent.

The review I wrote and the advice I gave were both nice. However, he did not take it as such. A return email came very quickly, “No thanks, for the review and the advice.”

I have to say I was quite shocked at his response. He came to me, wasn’t paying me for my time or expertise, and yet he refused to listen to me.

It bothered me for quite a while, until I thought of other writers I have known. Some were open to criticism and willingly reworked their writing to make it even better. Others…not so much. Some writers take criticism as a personal offense when everyone doesn’t immediately fall in love with their new work.

How can you take advice about your own writing? In the words of Winston Churchill, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” And in your writing, criticism is necessary.

  1. Be choosy in who you ask to read your work. You want someone who will be honest, but will offer legitimate criticism. Your mom, who thinks you can do no wrong, may not be your best option. Keep in mind this quote from Benjamin Franklin, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.” When choosing people to give you feedback on your writing, think about what you are looking for. Ask an English teacher if you want someone only to look at grammar. Choose a book club group if you want to know what readers think.
  2.  Keep an open mind. Not every piece of advice is something you will want to take to heart. However, you should at least thoroughly examine your work upon receiving advice and consider it. If it is something you realize you should change, then by all means change it.
  3.  Set the work aside. This is a very important step in your rewriting/editing process. Once you read your work so many times, you skip over things you should change simply because you don’t notice them. Use this same idea with criticism. Keep the notes from other people with your work, put it away for at least a week, pull the work out, read the suggestions, and then reread the work with those suggestions in mind.
  4.  Don’t quit. Don’t allow a little constructive criticism make you forget your dreams. Yes, it may take you a little longer to become a published author, but the more you work on your story or article, the better it will be.
  5.  Choose multiple people to read your work. Use people that preferably don’t know each other so they can’t discuss you. When you get feedback from multiple people you can see if there is one particular problem with your work when more than one person points it out. If more than one person says it, you definitely need to consider it. If you hear the same criticism repeatedly, then you will know it is a real problem.
  6.  Learn from rejection. As painful as it is, sometimes you just need to scrap what you were working on and start over. If your story or article has been rejected over and over and over again, this is a clue that something just isn’t working. Try a different approach. Write from a different character’s point of view. Change your writing from fiction to non-fiction. Or just scrap the idea all together and move on to something else.

Keep in mind, rejection isn’t always a bad thing. It can be a great learning tool to help improve your writing.

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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