Gems From Pastor Jim 4/9/2019

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by Jim Hughes

CrossIs. 29:13 And so the LORD says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away. And their worship of me amounts to nothing more than human laws learned by rote.”

This verse speaks of a matter that is close to my heart. So many people say that they are children of God, but their lives say otherwise. They may grace our churches on a regular basis and even be leaders in the church. They may be occasional church goers or they may never go to church. They may call themselves Christian without any real understanding of what that really means from a Biblical perspective. They may even deny basic Biblical teachings and the Bible itself as the written Word of God.

Many who gather for worship on a regular basis go through the motions of worship without ever really worshipping the Lord. They may say the right things without their hearts being in it. They may make a lot of noise and get emotionally wound up without being passionate about the Lord deep in their souls. They may be good at preaching and teaching the Word without the Word ever really getting a hold of their hearts and changing them.

The Lord declares that such people are not His children. There is a difference between proclaiming truth and living truth. Many grow up in the church and never leave the church who have never had a life-changing experience with the Lord. They assimilate the truth of the Gospel without dealing with their sinful souls before God. They may be very good people who are respected highly in the church, but they are lost.

We must carefully examine our souls and make sure that we have not fallen into the faith instead of embracing it. We are not children of God unless we are convicted of our sins, confess them, and repent. There are no backdoors into heaven. Jesus is the only way. He died to take away our sins, not to cover them up. We try often to cover them up with our goodness, but it never will work. Salvation is not ours just because we claim it to be so. What we say does not get us into heaven. Only Jesus can make our hearts righteous and holy before God.

Do you know for certain that you are the child of God that you claim to be? Have you opened up your heart to Jesus and let Him in to purify it and change you forever? If you have, it will be obvious in the way you live and in the peace that governs your soul.

Before and After the Honeymoon

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 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.

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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Trying Hard for God

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by Sherry Chamblee

Sometimes as Christians we try so hard. Our life is filled with trying to do what’s right, trying to be a better human, trying to be a better role model, trying to make our little corner of the world a better place. 

But I think we fill our minds with so much pressure, so many expectations, that we forget the truth about where we stand with God. 

I was reading Hebrews the other day and came across a thought that really hadn’t struck me in quite this way before. 

Hebrews 10:19 and 20 says: 

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 

By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

It had never struck me before that the veil in the Temple was symbolic of the body – the body of our sins separating us from the holiest part of God’s being.

In the crucifiction God ripped the physical veil in the literal Temple. It wasn’t swept aside, tied back so the holy of holies was revealed, but leaving the veil intact. 

It wasn’t dissolved completely, either, but remained, showing an opening to the inner holy of holies. 

And it wasn’t ripped bottom to top, but top to bottom.

We can’t sweep aside our flesh, trying to tie it back with rules and regulations, thinking that will be enough to please God and gain us access to Him. 

We can’t ignore it, thinking that denying the flesh exists will help us pretend we’re already good enough, or it doesn’t really matter how we act.

The direction it was ripped is even symbolic – bottom to top could be said that we were making a way to God, but by ripping top to bottom, God makes it even more clear that He is the One making a way to us.

We only get to God by going through that rip in the Veil. There is no other way, except through belief in the One who created the tear in the first place – Jesus Christ alone.

Being reconciled to God – pleasing God – isn’t about “trying” all the time. It’s accepting the Only Way to God, the Way that He has already secured for us.

Being who God wants us to be is also accepting where God has put us in life. And sometimes that’s hard to do, but it’s always right.

About the Author:

 

Sherry ChambleeSherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

Sherry Chamblee can be found at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com Or check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Chamblee/e/B00BA06RJ2/

 

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Faith’s Checkbook: Not Forgotten

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Thou art My servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of Me” (Isaiah 44:21).

Our Jehovah cannot so forget His servants as to cease to love them. He chose them not for a time but forever. He knew what they would be when He called them into the divine family. He blots out their sins like a cloud; and we may be sure that He will not turn them out of doors for iniquities which He has blotted out. It would be blasphemy to imagine such a thing.

He will not forget them so as to cease to think of them. One forgetful moment on the part of our God would be our ruin. Therefore He says, “Thou shalt not be forgotten of me,” Men forget us; those whom we have benefited turn against us. We have no abiding place in the fickle hearts of men; but God will never forget one of His true servants. He binds Himself to us not by what we do for Him but by what He has done for us. We have been loved too long and bought at too great a price to be now forgotten. Jesus sees in us His soul’s travail, and that He never can forget. The Father sees in us the spouse of His Son, and the Spirit sees in us His own effectual work. The LORD thinketh upon us. This day we shall be succored and sustained. Oh, that the LORD may never be forgotten of us!

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

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/4/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”  – Acts 4:12 NLT

Devotion

God is the Creator of all things. As such, He determined the nature of all things. He determined, for example, the nature of human beings. He made us in His image and He placed us over the natural creation. (Genesis 1:28) In that capacity, He holds us responsible and accountable for how we exercise our authority. We are subject to Him. He is not subject to us. We have to do things His way, not our way. In the beginning, this was not a problem. In the beginning, humanity was obedient to the Lord God.

Since the fall into sin, however, it has become a problem. Adam and Eve, the first human beings, fell for the temptation of Satan. God had said that if they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17) Satan said that they wouldn’t die. Indeed, he said that they would become like God Himself if they ate from the tree. (Genesis 3:4) So, they ate. Sin, which first appeared with the fall of Satan and his henchmen (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18; Revelation 12:3-4), was thus introduced into the human realm. Ever since, human beings have been, more or less, sinning against the Lord God.

By rights, God could have let us suffer the full consequences of our sin. He could have let death have complete control over us. However, He didn’t do that. Instead, He provided a way of salvation, a way to escape eternal death. It’s the way of salvation mentioned in our verse for today. It comes through faith in Jesus Christ, the “name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Jesus was God incarnate. He lived a perfect life like we should have done, but He paid the penalty of death for our sin that we should have paid. If we believe this, we will overcome death.

We live in a time when people take issue with our verse for today. They take issue with the idea that salvation is in no other name. To them, it seems exclusionary and intolerant. “Why,” they ask, “do you proclaim one particular name and one particular faith as the only way?” “Why Jesus?”

The answer, at bottom, is simple. It was not our decision to make. It’s because God, the one who created and determines all things, determined that He wanted it that way.

Til the Whole World Know

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He is the Way-Maker – He is the Great Physician – Part 3

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by BJ Robinson

As I lay in that hospital, I knew I couldn’t help myself and no one else could either. No doctor at the hospital was going to help me. Only God could help. The doctor there blamed their not being able to help me on my cardiologist not referring me a year ago. I had to be placed on medicine first to see if it would help. God says he’ll make a way when none seems possible. I prayed that the pacemaker and medicine would be my way, and I wouldn’t have to have a heart transplant or heart pump. I hope and pray that God will provide that way when no other seems possible and continue to do so.

I left that hospital, as I will refer to it, in July. This is January as I write, and God has allowed me to live to see another new year. He has blessed me in so many ways despite my trials and tribulation. My cardiologist says my medicine is working and helping me. For that, I am so grateful.

Before I went to the hospital that drained the fluid from me, I could do nothing inside or outside of my house. I couldn’t even grocery shop. I felt so bad Christmas of 2017 when people sent me cards, but I was not able to shop for any in return. Everyone kept telling me to take it easy, not to do anything.

I could do nothing but sit on the couch and watch television, read the Bible, or a novel, and pray. My husband ordered food delivery for me, but he had to do it when he would be there to get it inside, since I got to the point I could no longer retrieve it from the porch. He literally had to wait on me hand-and-foot for a few months. Thank God he’d blessed me with a husband who tried his best to make my life easier. I couldn’t walk for months.

Once the fluid was removed, things changed dramatically. I slowly began to do things for myself again and grew a little stronger each day. I was finally able to walk all over my house again instead of using the mobility scooter. Since I left that hospital in July, I have not used it inside again.

I began to wash, dry, and fold clothes again and to cook. I could dust, clean my kitchen cabinets, make up my bed, wash dishes, and bake. While I could do nothing, but watch television and read, I became hooked on those “fix it” or renovation shows on TV.

I do not know how long I will be able to keep going with my heart pumping only twenty percent, but what that last hospital must not have known and wouldn’t listen to me when I tried to tell them, was all my heart had pumped for over a year was 20 percent. I have faith bigger than a mustard seed, and I prayed for God to give me a way out even when there seemed to be no way. Indeed, according to the last hospital, there was no way, but thanks to God and my medicine, (I prayed that the medicine would be my way out, especially when I saw that the hospital had given up on me.) I am still going. I thank God every single day. He made a way for me when there seemed to be none. I don’t know how long God will decide to keep my heart pumping at only twenty percent, but I do know He’s the one in control, and I trust Him more than any doctor or nurse. He is my great physician and savior, and I love Him with all of my heart. He didn’t give up on me when man did. When not one doctor or nurse offered hope, God did, and He made a way for me to come home and see my pets and spend time with my husband and my family. I will forever be grateful.

I hope you have enjoyed reading a true devotional that illustrates how God made a way for me.

Won’t you let Him make a way for you? When you need help, ask God. Call upon Him!

Scripture taken from Holy Bible King James Version, edited by Russell Sherrard 

Bio: 

B. J. RobinsonB. J. Robinson writes Amazon best-selling historical romance and romantic suspense and enjoys writing in various genres. Her newest book, just published in January is A Southern Spring: A Story from a Backyard Swing, clean, wholesome contemporary Christian romance. There are numerous selections readers may choose from among romantic suspense, historical romance, mystery, and sweet contemporary romance. She has authored over thirty books including full-length novels, novellas, and short stories. Many are Amazon best sellers, and some have won awards. She is blessed with three girls, two boys, thirteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren, her husband, and pets, a golden retriever and a husky. Robinson is an avid reader and passionate writer whose hope is to entertain her readers by taking them on a continuous journey to other worlds while reminding them of the beautiful one yet to come. If you would like to explore the various genres she’s written, please check out her Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/B.-J.-Robinson/e/B007DNJIKU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1458731934&sr=1-2-ent 

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Gems From Pastor Jim 4/2/2019

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by Jim Hughes

CrossIs. 28:16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem. It is firm, a tested and precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never run away again.”

Notice that this is something that God has done. No man can lay down a foundation that is trustworthy enough to build his life on. Any attempts to do so will not stand the test of time. One’s life will crumble and fall apart as it faces the many storms of life. Jesus is the foundation stone that Isaiah spoke about. He is firm, a foundation that never moves or crumbles. We can put our trust in Him knowing that He will always be steadfast and true.

Jesus has been tested. Scripture tells us that He was tempted in all points just like we are and yet He did not sin. He had many opportunities, but His love for God and connection to God was so strong that He never wavered in His rejection of sin’s opportunities. I do wonder whether or not if we were to love the Lord more if we would not sin more. Is our connection to God so real and strong that we are able to say no to sin? It should be a challenge to us to do all that we can do to make our connection to the Lord as strong as we possibly can so we will have the willpower to resist temptations. I know I have found that I am the weakest in resisting temptation when I am weakest in my prayer and devotional life.

Jesus is our precious cornerstone. Everything in a building is built around it’s cornerstone. If the cornerstone is bad, the structure of the building will be weak and eventually crumble. Much care has to be given to make sure the cornerstone is what it should be. The same thing holds true in our relationship with the Lord. Our spiritual stability and longevity depends on how much we allow ourselves to be built on Christ. He is crucial to our life with God and there can be no compromising our connection to Him.

It is safe to build your life on Christ. In fact, as the old hymn put it, all other ground is sinking sand. If you try to build your life on anything else, you will make a mess of your life. Only in Christ are we able to handle whatever comes our way in life in a way that pleases God.

All who believe in Him find a safe haven in which to stand. They no longer have need to run and hide. They no longer have to chase after things to satisfy. In Christ alone do we find what our souls need. In His life we find peace and contentment. In Him we find a life worth living for.

Before and After the Honeymoon

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 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.

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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A Loving April Fools Day

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by Precarious Yates

My daughter loves to joke around. This girl is one of the funniest kids you will ever meet. She will make a brilliant stand up comic one day!

Her mother (me!) is way too serious and doesn’t naturally joke around.

Here I thought God may have played an April Fools Day joke in me. What He really did was balance me out and give me enough of a challenge that I would rely fully on Him. He gave me strength in my weakness and grace in my hyper seriousness.

Growing up, I couldn’t stand the first of April. April Fools Day used to be something I rued, something I braced myself for, a day I wanted to hide in a closet until all the jokes are done. Now that I learned that joking around is the way my daughter shows love, I plan for April Fools months in advance! One year, I froze her bowl of cereal. Another year, I made a candy “egg” for her breakfast. And another year, I drew faces on everything in the fridge: that one made her both jump in surprise and laugh her head off!

I’m so thankful that God taught me how to love in ways that were difficult for me. It had always been a stretch for me, to let my hair down and joke around a bit. But I cannot wait to see how she likes today’s prank!

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

Links:

Facebook Amazon Author Page

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Faith’s Checkbook: Dauntless Faith 3/29/2019

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by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee” (Acts 18:10).

So long as the LORD had work for Paul to do in Corinth, the fury of the mob was restrained. The Jews opposed themselves and blasphemed; but they could neither stop the preaching of the gospel nor the conversion of the hearers. God has power over the most violent minds. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him when it breaks forth, but He still more displays His goodness when He restrains it; and He can restrain it. “By the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone, till thy people pass over, I LORD.”

Do not, therefore, feel any fear of man when you know that you are doing your duty. Go straight on, as Jesus would have done, and those who oppose shall be as a bruised reed and as smoking flax. Many a time men have had cause to fear because they were themselves afraid; but a dauntless faith in God brushes fear aside like the cobwebs in a giant’s path. No man can harm us unless the LORD permits. He who makes the devil himself to flee at a word can certainly control the devil’s agents. Maybe they are already more afraid of you than you are of them. Therefore, go forward, and where you looked to meet with foes you will find friends.

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

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotionals

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Verse of the Day and Devotion 3/28/2019

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by Bible League International

Verse of the Day and Devotion

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  – Romans 6:12 NIV

Devotion

According to the Apostle Paul, you’re dead. If you’re a Christian, then your old self, your sinful self, is dead. It was crucified with Christ. (Galatians 2:20) As Paul puts it, “don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death.” (Romans 6:3-4) Although the old sinful self may rise from the dead from time to time and try to take over again, it can never completely succeed in that endeavor. It no longer has the power to do it. It’s death on the cross with Christ has made sure of that.

Given the death of your old sinful self, you should consider yourself dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11) You should never, therefore, consider yourself to be a lost cause when it comes to sin and you should never speak of yourself as if you were a lost cause. Instead, you should consider yourself to be the handiwork of God that is getting better day by day and you should speak of yourself in those terms. (Ephesians 2:10) Your faith in Christ demands this. Your faith in Christ demands that you believe all this has actually been accomplished in your life.

That brings us to our verse for today. If you’re old sinful self is dead and if you consider yourself dead to sin but alive to God, then you should not let “sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” True, the old sinful self may still be a problem. True, you may still have struggles with it (Galatians 5:16-17), but you have the wherewithal to win the struggles in the long run. You’re alive to God through Christ and the new you, the righteous you (II Corinthians 5:21), does not have to let itself be pushed around by the old you anymore.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes time. Don’t give up. After all, these are struggles that you, and every other Christian, will be fighting until your death, or until Jesus returns. Trust in God and rely on His Spirit for help. Take comfort in this thought:

Although you may not be where you want to be, you’re no longer where you used to be.

Til the Whole World Know

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30 seconds to 4 Journey Nuggets

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by Lisa Prysock

  1. This too shall pass.  

My grandmother had a saying whenever I’d talk with her about any problem.  She’d smile and press her lips together as she so often did.  Then she’d encourage me with this saying.  I can honestly say, she was always right.  Nothing lasts forever and God gives us strength in the meantime.  Sometimes we only need to face our problems with an extra dose of patience and hold the Lord’s hand in trust.  Wait on His timing.  He has a plan and sometimes it takes a while before we can fully see it. 

  1. Sunday’s coming!

It’s been a long winter, but spring is technically finally here, although there may be a few places in our country who still have snow and chilly weather.  Easter is right around the corner, my friend.  Look up and sing a new song unto the Lord.  Good Friday was looking dark, stormy, and bleak.  If you’re in a dark stormy moment, it may be in reality, everything is falling perfectly into place. 

  1. Your suddenly moment is just around the corner.

Have you ever been reading along in the Bible, and boom, there’s a little phrase that says, and suddenly? 

It usually precedes a miracle.  It’s a suddenly God shows up moment when He begins to shift things in your favor.  Hold on, because if you’re expecting  His favor and looking for it, the Lord will come through for you.   

  1. Rewards for the diligent seeker.

His Word promises He will diligently reward those who seek Him.  How I love this promise.  If we spend our days delighting in Him, looking to Him, singing and worshipping Him, spending time in prayer and the Word, bringing His presence into all we do, He will reward you for being faithful and diligent.  He knows who His sheep are and He will not forsake you. 

Have a blessed day!   

Lisa 

Author Biography

Lisa M. PrysockLisa M. Prysock is an award-winning, bestselling, Christian and inspirational author of 15 novels.  She and her husband of more than 20 years reside in Kentucky.  They have five children, grown.   

She writes in the genres of both Historical Christian Romance and Contemporary Christian Romance, including a multi-author Western Christian Romance series, “Whispers in Wyoming.”  She is also the author of a devotional.  Lisa enjoys sharing her faith in Jesus through her writing. 

She has many interests, but a few of these include gardening, cooking, drawing, sewing, crochet, cross stitch, reading, swimming, biking, and walking.  She loves dollhouses, cats, horses, butterflies, hats, boots, flip-flops, espadrilles, chocolate, coffee, tea, chocolate, the colors peach and purple, and everything old-fashioned.   

She adopted the slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl” because of her love for classic, traditional, and old-fashioned everything.  When she isn’t writing, she can sometimes be found teaching herself piano and violin, but finds the process “a bit slow and painful.”  Lisa enjoys working with the children and youth in her local church creating human videos and plays or programs incorporating her love for inspirational dance.  A few of her favorite authors include Jane Austen, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  You’ll find “food, fashion, fun, and faith” in her novels.  Sometimes she includes her own illustrations. 

She continues the joy and adventure of her writing journey as a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and LCW (Louisville Christian Writers).  Lisa’s books are clean and wholesome, inspirational, romantic, and family oriented.  She gives a generous portion of the proceeds to missions.    

Discover more about this author at www.LisaPrysock.com where you’ll find free recipes, devotionals, author video interviews, book trailers, giveaways, blog posts, and much more, including an invitation to sign up for her free newsletter. 

Links to Connect with Lisa: 

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMPrysock 

https://twitter.com/LPrysock  

www.LisaPrysock.com            

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J6MBC64   (Find all of Lisa’s books on Amazon at this link) 

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-m-prysock 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/500592113747995/      (Lisa’s Facebook reader & friends group) 

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