CrossReads Book Spotlight: The Way Maker 10/28/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

The Way Maker

by Samantha Robinson

The Way Maker

This book is a personal testimony, from my child to adulthood, from the world to turning to Jesus. It explains true life events that I have been through and how God helped me, saved me and turned my whole life around. The book is to inspire the readers to let go and let God take over their life as Jesus waits for us to open the door and invite Him in.

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CrossReads Short Takes: The Gambit Queen & Sunflowers and Suspicions 10/27/2021

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

The Gambit Queen

(The Magdalen Cycle Book 3)

by Scott R. Rezer

The Gambit Queen

The Leper’s last heir;

a kingdom all but lost…

With the loss of Jherusalem three years before, only Tyre under Conrad de Montferrat remains to stand against the tide of Islam. Even though the dispossessed king lays siege to Muslim held Acre, calls begin to spread for new leadership centered around the young princess, Isabella d’Anjou, the Leper King’s last heir, whom they wish to force into a new marriage against her will. But things are never as they seem, especially in the Kingdom of Jherusalem. As the master of Sion sets his long-awaited plans into motion, Isabella must rely on a small group of allies—her husband Humphrey, and their friend Ernoul, along with the Magdalen and her daughter Salome—to fight the hidden enemies of the embattled kingdom, even as the knights of a new crusade march to war against Salehdin under Richard the Lionheart and his nephew Henri de Champagne. But what sacrifices must Isabella make for the sake of the kingdom—and can they trust the secretive Salome to help defeat the sinister Order of Sion at last before the kingdom ends up under its control… or will she betray them all to Amalric de Lusignan?

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Sunflowers and Suspicions

(Pine Springs)

by Karen Malley

Sunflowers and Suspicions

A Deception Revealed …

When Julie Wagner’s identical twin Jade goes missing, Julie travels to New York intent on pretending to be her sister so she can unravel the truth. There, she meets the the only person who has ever been able to tell them apart. Together, can she and her sister’s neighbor unravel a shady restaurant owner’s mysteries and find Jade?

A Fractured Family Healed …

Matt Callahan has lived across the hall from Jade Wagner for a year, but never understood the pain behind her eyes. When her sister appears in his apartment building, he is amazed at the differences he sees in the twins. As he helps Julie find her twin, he discovers that she just might be the answer to helping his own fractured family

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Like a Tree 10/26/2021

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by Suzanne Williams

My neighbor has these oak trees, large, solid-looking live oaks, that he’s trimmed unnaturally. Live oaks are thick, massive trees with stout, low-hanging limbs and dark foliage. But his have no lower limbs at all and these strange leafy upper branches. Now, I don’t know whether he did that out of fear of falling branches, out of personal taste, to let in more light, or because he has a misunderstanding of the proper structure of oak trees. But an oak tree should be treated like an oak tree. You can’t trim it like a pine tree or a crepe myrtle or a weeping willow.

This is how we usually behave towards a move of God. We trim it to fit our needs instead of allowing God to move as He sees best. We limit what He can do based on our personal preferences, to avoid what makes us uncomfortable, and not offend people. We give God a backdrop. Grow here, in front of this. Or we sit in the back (or click on the video) simply to gawk, not to participate. No prayer is offered from our lips, just an “oh-me, oh-my,” then we’re off to eat lunch or dinner and gossip about the kids.

We view God over our cup of coffee when He wants to commune with us. He wants us to let Him be an oak tree, growing like an oak tree does. Enjoy the shade He provides, enjoy the strength of His power, enjoy the birds that nest there. Even greater, cultivate our time with Him.

When it was built, years ago, our local Walmart moved an oak tree, a massive, full-grown live oak, and because they took care of it, seeing to its needed nourishment, it survived. Rather than cut it down and remove it, they opted to give it a new space to continue to live. Now, we cannot move God. But what if we let Him BE God and we became His faithful children who adored Him?

Our adoration should cause us to alter ourselves to fit Him, not the other way around. Stop trimming the branches to fit your lifestyle and instead adapt your lifestyle to fit His. If I’d made God do and be what I wanted Him to do and be, years ago when locked inside my house, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. He did not change my personality, nor did He force me to become an extrovert. He did push me to LIVE AGAIN, and there were times when I didn’t want to do what He asked. But I did because He’s God. I’m not.

Jesus compared us individually to different types of soil and based on the quality of our soil, we will reap the results of what is sown. (Mt 13:3-8) Good soil grows more abundant crops with more fruitfulness. But good soil allows the farmer to till it, to turn it up and remove the weeds, before planting. Good soil soaks in the rain and allows the water to drain properly. Plant an oak tree in the desert sand, and it will die.

In another parable, Jesus spoke about a field of wheat sown with tares, or, we’d say, weeds. (Mt 13:24-30) The enemy plants the tares, He said. But notice why. The LORD pointed out to me the enemy has no need to plant them where the ground is dry and cracked or full of stones and thorns. The seed won’t grow there anyway. Where he wants to grow the weeds is on the best ground, amongst the healthy plants in the garden. Then, the weeds can do their work and choke the life out of what should be productive.

But here’s the thing, we’re too busy trimming the oak tree to look like what we need instead of what God created. You know, once trimmed, an oak tree cannot grow those branches back. What’s been done to my neighbor’s trees is permanent. They will look “wrong” from now until their life’s end. Of course, God can and will be God regardless, but how we view Him, what we allow Him to do, is stilted by our unwillingness. We see Him as fitting into a certain location when He, in fact, fills everything.

It’s our point of view that needs alterations, not His.

I’ve said this many times before, but when something doesn’t fit into what you know or what makes sense to you, pray about it and trust God. Don’t go lopping off limbs so that it’s more comfortable for you. I usually say to Him, “I don’t understand that, and it seems strange to me, but you know what’s best. You know him or her and their motive.” It isn’t my job to fix someone else or correct them, only to speak His truth. If that person or situation doesn’t involve me, then I leave it up to God to take care of the weeds.

That’s what Jesus said in the parable. The farmer, when asked about pulling up the weeds, said, “No, let them grow and separate them at the harvest.” Notice, the farmer knew what he was doing, and the workers obeyed his instructions. So should we. And because He’s God, it just might be, He might can change one of those weeds into a stalk of wheat. Impossible in the natural, but not to the Almighty. 

 If we’ll give Him the space to work without His will being stopped by our opinions.  

The Passionate Church

 

 The Passionate Church: Being the Church In An Age of Offense 

Amazon 

https://amzn.to/3eIlKeQ   

Other Epub Retailers 

https://books2read.com/u/4XnQq9 

The church cries out for revival and the sweeping power of the Holy Spirit, to see lives changed and bodies healed as in the book of Acts, and this the promise of Jehovah. The church has been sent to GO and do GREATER WORKS than those told in the gospels.

What then keeps the church from an amazing demonstration of God’s presence?

In a study of the Scriptures, author, SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS, describes the church as God expects it to be – a loving, forgiving church, free of condemnation and criticisms, submissive to people, honoring government, and incredibly generous. A PASSIONATE CHURCH, on fire for the things of God and “willing and obedient” to God’s principles as demonstrated in the life, death, and Resurrection of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

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. 

www.feelgoodromance.com 

www.suzannedwilliams.com 

Facebook – suzannedwilliamsauthor 

Twitter – @SDWAuthor

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 10/25/2021

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Verse of the Day

October 25, 2021

Scripture

Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him. – 1 Chronicles 16:11 NLT

Devotion

Our verse for today is part of a thanksgiving Psalm that King David composed. It was meant to be sung by Asaph and his fellow Levites when the Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem and placed in the tent that David had pitched for it.

This part of David’s psalm counsels that we should “search for the Lord.” To search for the Lord means that we decide to turn away from everything else and turn to the Lord. It is to enter the Lord’s presence. This can be done in several ways, but it is primarily done through prayer and through reading the Bible. When people search for the Lord, they are expressing the desire to enter a personal relationship with the Lord to bless Him and to be blessed by Him (Psalm 134:1-3).

David also counsels that there is one blessing to ask for from the Lord: His strength. People who search for the Lord are people who know that trying to accomplish anything on their own apart from His strength and ability is a losing proposition. Trying to go it alone apart from the Lord leads us nowhere and wears us out. Searching and seeking for the strength of the Lord is an absolute necessity if we are to accomplish anything in this world that is worth doing.

Finally, David counsels that we should continually seek the Lord. This does not mean that we should exclusively relate to the Lord and neglect our relationships to other people and to the natural world. It means that we should regularly search for and seek the Lord. It means that we should keep the lines of communication open to Him and regularly turn away from our other relationships and focus our attention on Him. The person who continually seeks the Lord is a person who knows how important it is to be in a personal relationship with Him.

Search for the Lord today, for the Lord God blesses those who bless Him. Indeed, the Lord God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

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Thoughts on “The Price of Silence” 10/22/2021

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by Staci Stallings

“The Price of Silence” was the third novel I wrote, and with this one, I struck out in the direction of YA, or young adult, though I didn’t know what that was at the time.  Still trying to marry my love of romance with how to write inspirational and not become completely unmarketable, this is another of my least overtly Christian books.

The story idea was born out of several incidents in my teaching career. The first one happened while I was student teaching in the early 90’s. This was 9 years before Columbine would make headlines around the world. It was during a time when school shootings were unheard of, but guns in schools were just becoming a real issue.  At the time I was a student teacher in the business department of a large high school.  During class, one of the student teachers in another business class had a student come up looking very shaken. The student asked to go to the principal’s office and permission was granted by the student teacher.

Shortly the principal and vice principal showed up at the door and with no warning marched in, took hold of a student and his backpack and marched him back out. Come to find out, the student, who was in love with the girl who had gone to the principal, had shown her boyfriend the gun and she happened to see it. That one felt really close as I was literally one door down. However, I think I and a couple other student teachers even knew about it as it was kept under the radar almost completely.

After student teaching, I substitute taught for a semester. One of my regular assignments was in a journalism class at a local high school.  That was during the spring semester.  By the next fall, I was teaching across town when one of the very first actual school shootings happened–at the very high school I had been subbing at the previous semester. I have a friend who was still teaching there at the time, and I’ve heard her harrowing story of being yanked from the hallway by a student who had just moved there from California to escape the gangs. When she protested that she needed to go out there and do something, he simply said, “Miss, there ain’t nothing you can do when the guy’s got a gun.”

Had I been subbing in the journalism class that day, I would have literally been feet from where the student walked in and started shooting.  The fact that I always stood outside the door during class changes would have put me right there. Yes, I’ve thought about that many times.

Three years later, I had just turned in what would be my resignation come the end of the school year for my permanent teaching position.  I was pregnant with our first child and finishing up teaching. I had a typing class, which then crossed the parking lot to go to math.  In the math class a student saw another student with a gun.  That year we had had a lot of “gang-related” incidents at the school, owing to one student who had moved in.  Because we were a private school, many times we would get kids that had been removed from public school because of discipline issues. He was one of them.

The Price of SilenceOnly in the eighth grade, this kid had trouble written all over him. Come to find out, he had goaded one of the girls into bringing a gun as kind of an initiation.  They had the gun in my class, but did not take it out until math.  The student who reported seeing the gun would later leave the school for her own safety, and the following year after leaving the school himself, that student would be arrested for killing a girl and leaving her body on the railroad tracks.

So “The Price of Silence” for me was something of a clarion call to teachers and parents that bad things happen in our schools, and often because students don’t have a solid support system, they are left to try to navigate and deal with situations far above what they should be dealing with.

The title for this one was the third try as the book went through multiple revisions. The first title “Gang-Related” was on the book when I printed off a copy and gave it to my mom. She said, “We are going on vacation, so I won’t be able to read anything until we get back.”  I told her that was fine.  Three days later she called me. “I hope you know I’m not packed and we leave tomorrow.”  I couldn’t imagine how that was my fault until she continued, “I thought, ‘I’ll just read a little bit….’”  Ha. Ha. Famous last words with one of my books!

The second title which was probably a bit melodramatic but also rather fitting for what Robyn goes through in the book was “A Slow Dance Through Hell.”  Alas, that one didn’t stick.

And so my third novel became “The Price of Silence.”  I still pray it will open some eyes and minds so that we can work together to secure not just our children’s futures but their presents as well. The topic has only grown more important over the years, and it’s one I think we should all be aware of and prepared to deal with–especially if we have kids or grandkids that we love!

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About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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Book Spotlight: Genesis: Book of Beginnings (Journey Through the Bible 1) 10/21/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

by Russell Sherrard

Book Spotlight

Genesis: Book of Beginnings

(Journey Through the Bible 1)

by Russell Sherrard

Genesis: Book of Beginnings

Genesis: Book of Beginnings

This book is a Bible Study of the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. The Bible text used for this study is the King James Version (KJV). This Book is the first book in the Series entitled Journey Through the Bible.

This book is a Study Guide for the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. The Bible text used for the study is the King James Version (KJV). It is fitting that we should start with Genesis, which is the book of Beginnings. Genesis: The Book of Beginnings is the first book in this series of Journey Through the Bible.

Genesis means “the beginning” and it is a book of beginnings. It records the creation of the world and the beginning of the nation of Israel. Chapters 12-50 focus on one man, Abraham, and his descendants. Abraham, his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob are called the patriarchs of Israel. Jacob’s twelve sons are the beginnings of the twelve tribes of Israel. Through Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, the whole family settles in Egypt.

The word Genesis means origin or creation. Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, is a book of beginnings. It has been said that every major doctrine has its seed or beginning in Genesis. For example, the material universe, the human race, sin, the promise of the Messiah, languages and the Hebrew nation all have their beginnings in the book of Genesis. For this reason Genesis is called the seed pot of the whole Bible. Every great fact, truth and revelation is found in this book in germ form. The book of Genesis is essential to the understanding of all the other books of the Bible.

Moses wrote the book of Genesis about 1500 years before Christ. Moses received the oracles directly from God. They were not handed down by word-of-mouth (Acts 7: 37, 38). God can just as easily tell a person the past as he can the future. The book Genesis covers a time period of nearly 2500 years, from the Creation to the journey of Israel into Egypt.

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CrossReads Short Takes: One Smooth Stone & Full Circle to Forgiveness

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

One Smooth Stone

by Marcia Lee Laycock

One Smooth Stone

The winner of the 2006 Best New Canadian Christian Author Award. No matter how far you run, God will find you. No matter how bad you’ve been, God will forgive you. Alex Donnelly is running and trying to hide. He has picked a good place to do it – The Yukon – but he is pursued by friends, enemies, and most effectively, by God. Burning with the need to know about his parents, Alex returns to his birth-city, Seattle, where he discovers that his mother tried to abort him. The trauma sends him on the run again only to find out God has orchestrated a divine appointment for him back in the Yukon. The story is filled with miraculous healing, struggles with rage and an obsession with revenge for a childhood abuser. This story illustrates that God never gives up on those whom He has chosen. God’s mercy and grace extend even to those who consider themselves unworthy, and even more, to those who are considered unworthy in the eyes of the world.

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Full Circle to Forgiveness

by Peggy McGee

Full Circle to Forgiveness

In this inspiring, “long lost family” themed novel, two girls, who equally experienced the ultimate trauma in their lives, find themselves ostracized and condemned by their families. Will they find that one person or magic distraction to support and comfort them until they can emotionally heal from their experiences? Can they depend on one another to fulfill their gifts and talents to make a difference for themselves and others? And is it in their future to forgive those who have wronged them so they can ultimately find happiness in their lives? It may take a lifetime, but there is always the hope of righting a wrong, and by accepting the inevitable while coming full circle to be able to ultimately forgive. Only then could the ongoing nightmares be put to rest and to be free from oneself and the past.

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 10/19/2021

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Verse of the Day

October 21, 2021

Scripture

Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for. Depend on the Lord. Trust in him and he will help you. – Psalm 37:4-5 ERV
 

Devotion

Trust, enjoy, and depend. As another translation states: trust, delight, and commit. Three actions of the heart and mind that serve the believer well in trying and tumultuous times.

As I sit in prayer and sharing of this devotion from my home in Orange County, California, we are under state “stay at home orders” (again) as Los Angeles County. The state has become the epicenter of Covid-19. Hospitals are full. There are no ICU beds. Ambulances have waited up to six hours for admission. At least one patient died while waiting in an ambulance. Tents are being set up in parking lots. Hospital employees are overworked and understaffed. Talk of rationing care is more and more. Young children are being orphaned, losing both parents to the disease.

Each day brings news of someone you know with COVID-19. Symptoms can range from nothing to mild to excruciating and, occasionally, comes the news of the death of a friend or acquaintance. On top of all that, there are the stresses of economic chaos and polarizing politics.

And yet, God is good. He is still on the throne. He sees it all. He is in control. In our verse for today, David reminds us that evildoers should not upset us. We must remember their day with the Lord will come, their evil will be exposed, and their end will come. Rather than being upset we are to trust in the Lord.

In John 16, Jesus speaks to the disciples of His pending ascension and concludes saying in 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” These are such words of comfort and strength to live by. All trouble, trials, and tribulations in the world are turned to joy because the believer has the result. Jesus has conquered sin and death to give us victory over the world. We trust in what God has already done for us. So, trust and continue to do well as unto the Lord, not hiding away, and the promise is the Lord will take care of you.

In such trust, we are also to enjoy and delight in doing good. We should continue and constantly fight the good fight of faith, enjoying it all in the promise of victory. Attitudes of defeat, self-loathing, and self-pity will never bring us into a place of peace and rest in our relationship with God. But with attitudes of joy as we serve, we will get answers to prayers and praises for the life of grace and mercy we have.

Finally, we are exhorted to depend on the Lord. The idea is committing our ways to the Lord. It’s not about us, our abilities, our wants, our desires, our rights, or our happiness. It’s about surrendering and sacrificing to the Lord’s way for our lives. It is much better to give God control of our lives and paths of life. Such is the way of “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.”

Beloved friends, whatever your circumstance, in whatever part of the world you reside, don’t be upset or angry. Rather trust in Him and His ways. Enjoy the ride serving God and doing well, and depend on Him to lead the way and direct your path.

May the Lord immerse you in much peace and rest as we wait up Him.

By Pastor David Massie, Bible League International Staff, California, U.S.

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How can we pray with you? Our Prayer Team is standing by ready to pray on your behalf. We believe prayer is a vital part of everything we do. Send your requests to: prayer_requests@sherrardsebookresellers.com

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Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals Podcast – Listen live at 6am Pacific and 6pm Pacific. Visit http://anchor.fm/russell-sherrard any other time to listen to all of our episodes. Now Available on EDIFI.APP Download from GooglePlay and AppleStore and start listening.
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Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 10/18/2021

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 9:36-38 He felt great pity for the crowds who came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is so great, but the workers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send out more workers for his fields.”

The Lord has a heart for people in need. He cares about our problems. He cares that we often can’t solve them on our own. He cares that we often wander around grasping for answers and often live without help or hope. The Lord loves us and His heart goes out to us. He has great pity for us.

The Lord calls us to likewise have a heart for one another. We need to see those around us who are in need. We need to likewise pity those who have no hope or help. We need to love others enough to pray on their behalf. We must realize how great the need is all around us. We must ask the Lord to send people to those in need who can help them and when He leads, we need to be willing to be the feet to our prayers.

There is ample amount of people in need all around us. There is far more work to do than there are workers to do it. No matter how much good we are able to do, we will never be able to do enough. Pray for the Lord to raise up more workers. Pray that He will send people to those in need who can help them. Pray that the Lord will help us to not have sinful thoughts towards other workers in the harvest field.

Sadly, we find ourselves often squabbling amongst ourselves and finding fault with one another while those around us wander around in darkness without a Shepherd. We become jealous and judgmental of co-laborers instead of partners with them in the Gospel. We insist that they enter into our comfort zone before we will work alongside of them.

May the Lord forgive us for our sinful ways. May He unite us together at the foot of the cross and send us out together into the harvest field to reach whomever we can for their souls’ sake. May He keep us from being more of a hindrance than a help to reach the world we live for the Gospel.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

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

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

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Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotionals Podcast – Listen live at 6am Pacific and 6pm Pacific. Visit http://anchor.fm/russell-sherrard any other time to listen to all of our episodes. Now Available on EDIFI.APP Download from GooglePlay and AppleStore and start listening.
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Flight 259 #Excerpt 10/15/2021

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by Staci Stallings

Scott put down the tray in front of him and set the two drinks on it carefully. He was still trying to understand Jenna, this beautiful, exotic creature, who had so thoroughly captured his attention in less than a heartbeat. He hadn’t known her for thirty minutes, but something about her captivated him, and he wanted to learn everything he could about her before they landed.

“So, you are going to Newark?” Jenna asked before he could say more.

“Harrington Park, actually.” Scott settled the drinks in front of him. “It’s a little town north of Newark.”

“Never heard of it.” Jenna took a sip of her drink. At first she sat back, but then her gaze came over to them.

Scott wished he was better at the parent thing. He felt like he had three thumbs trying to get things in place. “I’m not surprised,” he said with a laugh as he worked to get Lane’s drink settled on the little tray. “It’s just a little spot on the map, but it’s home to us.”

Jenna nodded and exhaled slowly. She took another sip and turned her gaze from them. Silence fell between them, her sipping, him trying to look semi-competent. Even as his hands held both cups on the trays, he tried to find a neutral topic to continue the conversation. Not wanting to scare her off by staring, he glanced out the window on the opposite side. Instantly he noticed how dark it had become beyond that window. Instead of flying above the clouds, they were in them, and it was much darker than it should have been for this time of the afternoon. He took a sip wondering what that meant. The plane shook again, a little more violently this time, and his concern was back for his son.

“So,” Jenna said, letting out a hard breath. “Do you have any pictures of Lane?”

Scott’s mind and emotions slammed into the request. “Pictures?” Then he laughed, relaxing. “Are you kidding? This is the most photogenic kid in the world.”

Jenna smiled and turned to them, curling in the seat just a bit as he pulled out his wallet, being extra careful not to spill the drinks. He opened it, handed it across to her, and then went back to giving Lane some of the soft drink. However, he never really took his attention from her as she spun the wallet carefully and stopped when she came to the first picture. She studied it. It was a hospital shot of him holding Lane—looking every bit the proud father. He remembered that moment like it was five minutes ago.

“When’s his birthday?” Jenna asked, sounding very far away as she studied the photo.

“July 23.”

“Two and a half,” Jenna said, smiling to herself as Scott watched her between Lane’s sips. She turned the page over. “Oh, how cute.” She held the next one up for him to see. It was one of Lane holding a plastic bat. “So, he’s going to be a baseball star, huh?”

“We hope.” Scott shook his head. “That’d make my old man’s day.” He peered over his son’s head trying to look at her and the photo she came to next simultaneously as he gauged her reaction to each. She really was beautiful, he thought as he watched her. Mesmerizing with that dark hair and the pale-olive skin.

“What’s this?” She came to one with Lane and a tiny guitar. “He’s going to be a musician, too? Wow. You are one talented little boy,” she said to Lane. As though he understood her perfectly, Lane looked up, smiled, and giggled.

Scott looked down at his son and laughed. “Clearly he’s not yet learned the fine art of modesty.”

Jenna laughed too as she flipped the page. “It’s all right, when you’re this good-looking, who needs modesty?” She picked up the next picture. It was Lane’s two-year-old picture, and it was one of Scott’s favorites.

The laugh came naturally. “Well, you have a point, there. Just don’t tell him that, okay?”

“I won’t. I promise.”

~*~

However, with the next flip of the page, all levity left her. There they were in living color—Scott, his wife, and Lane. It reminded her of a very similar photo that had stayed behind on her own dresser.

“She’s pretty,” Jenna said, barely masking her thoughts as she stared at the photo.

“Yeah.” Scott looked at the photo over Lane’s head.

“What’s her name?” Jenna asked, trying not to sound too disheartened. What was it about that picture that so shredded the air from her lungs? The idea that he was married or the thought that he had what she had lost?

“Amber.”

Flight 259

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No more words would come. It was all Scott could think of to say. Should he tell her more? If so, what? He wasn’t sure how much he should say if anything. How much are you supposed to tell a complete stranger about the gory details of your love life? Especially a beautiful stranger who you would like to get to know better. It wasn’t a question he had thought of until now, and now he wasn’t sure.~*~

At that moment a deafening noise split across the space twined with a blinding flash of light that erupted, illuminating everything for a surreal second. The plane pitched to Scott’s side without warning, and he slammed against the window as screams exploded everywhere around them.

Excruciating pain sliced through his being. The empty cups bounced from his hands as he grabbed for his shoulder, agony ripping through him even as he forced himself to turn to his son. “Lane!” he yelled, the drinks now dripping from his hands as he reached for his son, only one arm working reliably. With one look, the abject terror in his son’s eyes froze his blood. “Lane!”

Mind-splitting noise reverberated around him from the screams, the plane, and the fury of the storm. The plane shook with a vengeance, rattling everything as a deafening roar emanated from everywhere at once. The lights went out, plunging everything into a dim semi-darkness. Dipping violently once more, the plane threw Scott back into the window smashing his shoulder and head into the plexi-glass with such force blacking out became a real possibility. Pain slashed up and down him as if someone had torn his shoulder completely off. He struggled through the blinding pain to right himself even as the plane continued to tip and toss. He had to help Lane. He had to get to his son…

About the Author:

Staci StallingsA stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading. Although she lives in Amarillo, Texas and her main career right now is her family, Staci touches the lives of people across the globe with her various Internet and writing endeavors.

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