Words DO hurt! by Kathrine Pasour

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Kathrine Pasour

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

James 3:6

I hate you,” the teenage girl screams to her mother before running out of the house.

We don’t want him on our team,” one student yelled to the teacher. “He is fat, never hits the ball, and can’t run!”

You never keep your promises,” the wife cries out to her husband. “It’s just the same old excuses!”

The old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me!” is a falsehood. Yes, physical attacks are painful, but verbal attacks are also devastating. I propose a new statement: “Sticks and stone may break our bones, but words break our hearts!”

As the Bible reminds us, our tongue is a weapon of fire. It does not shoot blanks—the tongue fires painful bullets that rip and tear their way through the hearts and minds of our loved ones.

Why do we do it?

Because we can . . .

We speak before we think. Afterwards we may regret the harsh words and wish we could take them back. We cannot—once spoken, painful words remain between the victim and the aggressor forever. The victim may choose to forgive, but that never erases the actual words or the pain. The only cure for hurtful words is to keep them unsaid!

We may actively seek to wound. We may know exactly what we are saying and purposefully speak harsh words to punish our loved one for some perceived offense (it may be real) or task left undone. We may even use the excuse of, “I don’t mean to hurt your feelings, but…” (and the hurt is inflicted). In actuality, whether or not we mean to hurt someone’s feelings is not as relevant as the fact that we did. My husband is not a man that likes to apologize (but who does?) Years ago, his typical apology was, “I am sorry you got upset.” My response was always, “But you are not sorry for what you said to upset me?”

Out of the heart come evil thoughts murders, adultery, sexual sins, theft, false testimonies, and insults. These contaminate a person in God’s sight.

Matthew 15:19-20

Evil thoughts and insults are ranked in the same list of sins as murder and adultery? Wow! That puts a different perspective on my grumbling about the driver who tailgates me on the interstate, zooms around, then slows to make the exit, forcing me to slam on brakes to keep from rear ending them. I have some evil thoughts at that moment and typically some verbal insults as well.

What should we do?

James tells us that, “No one can tame the tongue.” (James 3:8). So, is it all hopeless? Are we destined to give and receive those hurtful words that break our hearts and those of our loved ones?

No! We can, with the help of our LORD Jesus, guard our words and tame the tongue. We can replace the hurtful words with affirmation, praise, comfort, and blessing! We can think before we speak and examine our words before they are verbalized. If our words are not helpful (in a constructive manner); if they are not merciful; if they are not words of healing and blessing; they should remain unsaid.

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CrossReads Book Blast featuring Amy von Borstel

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Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation
By Amy von Borstel

About the Book:

If you knew that your prayers could change the lives and futures of your children or grandchildren, would you pray regularly? Prayers of a Mother’s Heart: For a Chosen Generation is a hope-filled resource for those desiring a life of prayer and for those seeking God for miracles.

In the Prayers of a Mother’s Heart eBook, there are several personal stories that reveal the power of prayer, a collection of heartfelt prayers that address a wide range of concerns many mothers have for their children, along with over ninety-five Scriptures, simple guidelines for preparing the heart for prayer, a chapter on prayer journals, and a chapter on the importance of generational blessings.

Be inspired by Prayers of a Mother’s Heart to begin trusting that Jesus truly holds the answers to the challenges in your children’s lives. Jesus promised He would do the impossible if only we would believe (Mark 9:23).

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Amy 2014Amy von Borstel is a passionate follower of Christ, a wife and mother of two—one adult child and one teen. She attributes her twenty-eight year marriage and happy home to the love of God and living a life of faith-filled prayer. She’s been a writer since she was a little girl, writing poetry and keeping journals as a way to find peace and rest in her soul. Her first published short story, A Divine Hair Appointment, was released in the 2013 Thomas Nelson book, When God Makes Lemonade. She is passionate about helping orphans and seeing people find abundance through an intimate relationship with Christ.

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My Call From the Heart by Parker J. Cole

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Parker J. Cole

 I’ll be honest. I was going to write on a completely different subject for this post. Yet, circumstances have led me to write what is on my heart.

Two weeks ago this Thursday my aunt passed away. On Saturday, we went to her memorial. She was the oldest of six children, had received her Master’s Degree, and traveled extensively. Yet, those were not the things we focused on. Instead, what mattered was what she did for others. She was not a woman to openly tell you what she was going to do. She heard what you needed and then made plans to help you get there.

As I sat listening to the stories people told us, what they remembered the most was the mark she left on others’ lives. She loved educating people so instead of a traditional funeral, she started a scholarship fund for those who wanted to have a higher education.

I had a few regrets while I listened: why didn’t I try to get to know her better? What kept me from drawing closer to her? Would it have hurt to do more to cement the relationship in my adulthood as it was in my youth? Would it have killed me to pick up the phone more often? Why did it take Death to open my eyes about how precious these relationships are?

A good thing that came from this event was that I reunited with my grandfather. I had not seen him in years. He’s ninety now and had some difficulty remembering our names but he was as spry as you can expect. We took pictures with him and we will be making sure to see him more often. I had to ask myself: what am I doing that is so important that I can’t see him more often?

My mind draws a blank.

Yesterday, Christians all over the world celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Our God is not dead but alive. He reigns forever. The regrets were swallowed up by the glaring truth: I will see her again. We will have all eternity to get to know each other once more. As the apostle Paul said, O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? In Christ, Death is defeated.

And isn’t that just the best thing ever?

My call from the heart is this: if you have fallen out of communication with loved ones, please pick up the phone, write an email, text them, or just run by their house. Say hello. Hug them. If you’ve broken apart because of a disagreement, reconcile your differences. Life is too short to stay angry for a day, much less months or years. Hug often and thank God for the privilege of seeing and hearing from each other. Although we have victory in Jesus over Death, we still have to fight with the hurt we can see them on this side of glory.

Most importantly please remember this: only what you do for Christ will last even after death.
Be blessed.

 

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“Burning Through the Basket” by Mary C. Findley

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This morning we visited a church, and the message came from Luke 12. People by the thousands were stepping on each other to hear what Jesus had to say, but He started talking, not to the thousands, but to the disciples. In part, He said this:

“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops.”

We who have Christ living in us have a light automatically shining in us. But sometimes we keep that hidden. In our typical backwards human thinking, we believe we do not have to share that light. It’s optional. We live the opposite of that other passage, one example of which is in Mark 4:21:

And He was saying to them, “A lamp is not brought to be put under a basket, is it, or under a bed? Is it not brought to be put on the lampstand?”

So if our lights are safely tucked under that basket … umm … folks, that basket is just made of reeds, or even grass. It’s flammable, and so is our bed. We can’t hide it! We can’t!

God will let His light shine. It will shine. Are you shy? Too bad, that bed and basket are gonna burn. Trying to live lifestyle evangelism and never say a word about the Eternal Word? God might catch more than the bed and the basket on fire. Look at Jeremiah 20:9:

But if I say, “I will not remember Him
Or speak anymore in His name,”
Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in,
And I cannot endure it.

The Sunday school lesson at the same church today had another very important message. Peter tried to deny the Lord a he warmed his hands at the enemy’s fire during Jesus’ trial in John 18. You can understand his confusion. Jesus had told them at the Last Supper to get swords. And Peter seems to have had one of the two mentioned.

When the Roman Cohort and Temple guards came to arrest Jesus, He just told them who He was and they fell to the ground. Peter thought the time to seize the earthly kingdom had come. He lopped off an enemy ear to prove he was ready. But Jesus said no, no fighting, I’ll go peacefully. Let my disciples go.

Peter was pumped full of adrenaline and still willing to follow Jesus, but when push came to shove he didn’t know what to do. The Sunday school teacher said people were asking if he was one of the disciples. Maybe he would have been surprised to find a willing audience. But he did worse than just keep silent. He denied knowing the Lord.

But don’t forget, that’s not at all where Peter’s story ends. After a few more stumbles Peter emerges from Pentecost as a fearless leader and speaker and spends the rest of his life almost flawlessly speaking the Word and serving Christ.

So, whatever you’ve done that’s hidden the Word, under the basket, under the bed, know that God will get you proclaiming his Word. The pastor urged us to understand that “it’s time to step up.” It’s time to bring those Words out of the shadows and proclaim them on the housetop. It will happen. Don’t make God wait any longer. Don’t make it burn through the basket. Let it shine. Step up. Put it on the lampstand. Do it now. It’s time.

Mary C. Findley

 

To see all of Mary C. Findleys’ books on Amazon click the image.

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Light the Way by Tina Webb

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Tina Webb

Flickers of dim light danced on the darkened floor revealing that the path was turning in a different direction. The tunnel was longer than expected. Her heart thumped with anxiety as she placed her hands on the wall beside her for security. Careening her neck, she tried to see around the corner but the effort proved useless. She had no choice. Staying where she was would result in starvation. Stones had fallen blocking the path from which she’d come. She must continue through the dark tunnel with only the certainty that the light revealed an opening ahead.

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I wrote this scene to portray the journey of every human being. The reality of time and existence propels us into the future. No matter how daunting and difficult, life goes forward. Although our fears beckon us to stay put in places or seasons of comfort and security, we have a divine mandate for progress. We must not sit idly allowing our souls to stagnate with the familiar. We are made to venture into the unknown.

Lewis and Clark ventured into the unknown West. Prepared as they could be and with limited knowledge of the terrain, they set off from St. Louis with a mandate from President Thomas Jefferson. Their journey was one of faith. What encourages me about the story is that they reached their destination. Faith in God’s wisdom, guidance and provision secured their success.

I remember being a junior in college. While the “world was my oyster”, I was unsure how to go about tasting it. In fact, I was terrified of the thought of life after college. However, it was not as foreboding as I thought it would be. My husband and I began having children and I found parenting relatively easy. Relatively. Being a parent and home educating met my need to nurture, but with it has come bouts of “I have no idea how to parent my child right now!” In these times, God’s kindness taps me on the shoulder and says, “Be still and know that I am God. I know you can’t do anything by yourself. I know you are helpless. But in your weakness, I am strong.”

God is strong when it comes to our unknowns. Not only is He our wisdom, guidance and provision, but He is the One who stands at the finish line with a smile on His face.

I have six children and the first graduates from college next month with a degree in English. Even though I have five more children to go, I can hear His encouragement to press on. On my blog, beforethebeginningbook.blogspot.com, I wrote a post called, “Surviving Parenting”. Parenting takes perseverance and patience. That truth inevitably makes me turn my gaze upward and think of my own journey as a child of God and my relationship to my heavenly Daddy”.This blog post has been the most popular so far.

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Faith is certainty in what our physical eyes cannot see. Our Heavenly Father is the light that gives clarity as we take each step forward.

The Lord gave songwriter Calie Garrett lyrics for a song called “Light The Way”.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path.

Won’t You light the way, light the way, light the way.
I’ll follow You wherever You lead, wherever You go.
Won’t You light the way, light the way, light the way.

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Gems from Pastor Jim for 4/15/2014 by Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 15:1.4 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD? Who may enter your presence on your holy hill? Those who despise persistent sinners, and honor the faithful followers of the LORD and keep their promises even when it hurts.

Those who truly want to worship the Lord must have an attitude towards persistent sinners. There must be a lack of tolerance for those who insist on living in sin. We are to love them, but have a problem with their sinful lifestyles. For the most part, we don’t have strong feelings about those who insist on living in sin. We accept them and do not make a big deal out of the life choices they make. We cannot be neutral about sin. We should be bothered over the sinful choices people make and concerned for their souls. We should never idolize those who are living in sin. Have you ever paused to pray for those who entertain you with sin?

True worshipers honor the faithful followers of the Lord. We need to support and encourage those who are following Christ faithfully. We should recognize their faith and show our appreciation when we can. We should act graciously towards them when they mess up instead of criticizing and judging them. We should come alongside of them and help them as we are able. We should trust them and give them slack in their walk with the Lord. We should pray for them. We should learn from them and seek to put into practice what we learn from them.

True worshipers keep their promises even when it hurts. Ouch! It is not unusual for us to make promises we don’t keep. Our intentions may be good, but often our execution is poor. We may even be good at keeping our promises, but when it comes to costing us something, we back off. We do not like self-sacrifice. We shy away from being hurt. Yet, a true worshiper of God knows that his word is his honor. For a follower of Christ, our words mean something. We do not make rash promises. We strive to be people of integrity and stand by the things we say.

God recognizes and honors those who honor Him by the way they view sin, treat His children, and keep their word.

C Through Marriage

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Author Interview with Tralisa McNeal

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Tralisa McNeal

Question: What do you think prepared you or qualifies you to write in your chosen genre?

Answer: Life experiences.

Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?

Answer: I am a divorced mother of one adult child who means the world to me. He makes me wish that I had more children because I like him. He has been an inspiration to my writing. I do not currently work outside of the home. I am a Christian. I grew up in the church. My mother was a Sunday school teacher and I was president of the Jr. Choir and both the Young Adult and Jr. Usher boards. However, my adult experiences with the church have been negative. I have found people in the church’s I have attended to be judgmental, non-trustworthy and exclusionary. It’s like you’re not free to love just as Christ did. If you love the women you must have some underlying motive like maybe you’re gay or if you love the men you want to take them to bed. Too much drama. So for now I watch church on television. I know not all Christians are the same and I know this is a direct contradiction to the Bible. There are several scriptures that allow me to know that I am supposed to attend church. However, right now my life is difficult and I need simplicity. I don’t expect a perfect church but hopefully someday I can find a church that is right for me.

Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?

Answer: I enjoy reading, writing, learning about other cultures. Spending time with friends and family.

Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?

Answer: I do not use beta readers because I have not been able to find any who keep their promises. I have given out so many book coupons with the promises of an honest critique but very few have kept their word. I would love to have some beta readers. I hate editing but I edited my entire book. If I ever make enough money from my writing I will hire an editor in the future. I was on Authonomy at one time and received feedback from some readers but I totally changed my book after that. My cover was done by Mary Campagna Findley

Question: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?

Answer: I currently host two blogs. One for my book that has a featured author page where I advertise for other authors. This blog is www.lovemesane.wordpress.com. I am encouraged by this blog because I am having more and more authors who want to be featured. It’s nice watch my readership grow. I host my second blog is the home for my poetry  http://wp.me/25ozb

Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.

Answer: My newest book is titled Love Me Sane. It’s about one woman’s struggles to build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ after she is raped. The protagonist in Love Me Sane continues to experience abuse through self-defeating behaviors such as addiction and promiscuity.

Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)

Answer: I write in different genres so the messages are different for each book. The message I want my readers to receive from Love Me Sane is that no matter what we have done in our past Jesus Christ still loves us and is there for us. His grace is never out of reach for any of us. Not all of my books are about spirituality or Christianity.

Question: Tell us one place you want to visit, or person you want to meet, and why.

Answer: I want to meet Oprah Winfrey because she is a reminder that success isn’t that far away. She offers hope to me as a black woman. I believe that if she did it I can too.

Question: Share something that’s amazing, touching, or that makes you angry.

Answer: Something that makes me angry is exploitation. I hate when people exploit others for personal benefit.

Question: What’s the worst trouble you ever had with getting a book written (plots, finding needed information, getting a cover done)?

Answer: Formatting books to download for sale is very difficult for me. This was so difficult that I don’t remember how I got through it the first time. I’ll have to learn all over again.

Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!

Answer: My next project is a sequel to Love Me Sane titled Beyond Transgressions.

Question: What are your future projects?

Answer: I am writing a children’s book about grief titled Auntie Don’t Leave without Saying Goodbye, a poetry book titled Lesson’s I’ve Learned and a fiction book that I just call a soldier’s story. I haven’t titled it yet.

Question: Are their characters/stories/scenes/etc based on anything in real life?

Answer: The protagonist in my book Love Me Sane is based on some real experiences I have had but not all that’s the reason it’s realistic fiction and not non-fiction. Auntie Don’t Leave Without Saying Goodbye is a non-fiction book about how my son deals with my sister’s death but I don’t have the illustrations for this book yet. Lesson’s I’ve Learned is a book of poetry based on my personal life experiences.

Question: What is your favorite book/character?

Answer: My favorite book is Love Me Sane. I like Stacey’s character.

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ORIGINALS HAVE MORE VALUE By Ada Brownell

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Ada Brownell

A pregnant woman sits against a loaded cover wagon, weeping. Her husband, injured in an accident, lies a little distance away in a freshly dug grave.

A man rides up on a horse, exchanges a few words of greeting and says, “Seems like we’re both in a fix. You have no husband and no place to go. I recently buried my wife and have a small child that needs care while I’m working in the fields. If we would marry, that would solve both our problems.”

Since the gal has no alternative, they marry within hours, and thus start a unique marriage that begins with no love, no intimacy, just convenience–but it evolves into one of the greatest romance stories written: Love Comes Softy by Janette Oke.

I don’t know if I’ve remembered every detail of the story correctly, but created in only about three weeks, the book sold over a million copies, became a television series, and launched a career that changed historical inspirational romance.

Janette didn’t use the plot formula of Grace Livingston Hill and even authors today where someone wealthy falls in love with a pauper, and the relationship is violently opposed.

Janette Oke dared to be original.

Originality is a precious aspect of writing. It is evident in much more than plots. It’s what makes Max Lucado’s writing so intriguing to read. Consider this from Max:

“A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.”

Beautiful original writing appears in the Bible. For instance, “Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth” (Psalm 110:4NIV)

Note this 45-word God-breathed description: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?” (2 Peter 3:10-11NKJ).

Ways to put originality in your writing:

1. Look for a different angle. For instance, in my recent Voice of the Day in The Springfield News-Leader, I wrote about why people hate The Ten Commandments. In an op-ed piece I submitted to The Pueblo Chieftain I asked, “Why do people smoke marijuana when there are more side effects than addiction?” In both, I believe the answers were original.

2. Include factual research, illustrations, and good quotes.

3. Tune up your writing style. Turn phrases in unique ways instead of using cliches, add humor, description, fiction techniques and create suspense.

4. Use dialogue, the senses in description, write in active tense instead of narration or summarizing.

5. Use the unexpected with words, action or development.

In her book, Word Painting, Rebecca McClanahan says the best way to achieve originality is to be yourself. “When we are writing from the center of ourselves, our metaphors are organic, unforced, springing from imagination rather than fancy.”

Rebecca says children draw naturally from original sources.

I found that to be true. Recently while we were in Florida, my 5-year-old granddaughter said, “Granny, you must be really old. “Your skin is all crinkled.”

It pays to learn from these moments, even if they do cause pain.

© Copyright Ada Brownell March 2014

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/#!/AdaBrownellWritingMinistries

Twitter: @adellerella

Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragement

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

BarnesandNoble.com: http://ow.ly/rFSW3

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Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study by Ashley Ferris

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Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study By Ashley Ferris

About the Book:

Let’s explore the gift of friendship- what a devoted friendship looks like, how to handle the waiting period, and how to deepen current, valued friendships.

If you are in a season where you find yourself light on friends, I want this study to be an encouragement that this season will have an expiration date.

If you are in a place where you feel you have many friends, I hope you can use this study to evaluate the depth and purpose of those friendships.

It may spur you to take risks to deepen some already beautiful friendships. It may also help you see that there are some unhealthy ties that may need to be prayed over and potentially ended.

Finally, if you have friendships that are deep, but you tend to pull away when you are confronted, I hope you will see the value that lies before you. I pray that you will endure uncomfortable conversations with deep friends (that you know have your best interests at heart) in order to grow in friendship and as a daughter of the King.

Ashlee Ferris

Connect with author Ashely Ferris here:
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We are so excited to celebrate this Kindle new release with you by hosting a giveaway! Just enter for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study and a $50 Kindle gift card!

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CrossReads Book Blast With Lillian Duncan

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BETRAYED

By Lillian Duncan

About the Book

Witness Protection Program claims they can keep anyone safe if only they follow the rules so Maria follows the rules–every rule. She’s given up everything–her friends, her family, her past, even her name to ensure her daughter has a future.

Reborn as Veronica Minor in the sleepy little town of Sunberry, Ohio, she struggles to rebuild their life amid the beauty of her flower shop. A life where her daughter can have a happy normal childhood. A life where her daughter will never know that her father was a monster.

When a child disappears, Veronica prays it has nothing to do with her past, but what if she’s wrong? Not knowing who to trust, she trusts no one…and that’s her first mistake

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lil2011dLillian Duncan

Stories of faith mingled… with murder & mayhem.

Lillian is a multi-published writer who writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com as well as her personal blog, Tiaras & Tennis Shoes at www.lillian-duncan.com

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