CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 9/20/2021

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by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 7:3-5 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye when you can’t see past the log in your own?’ Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

We don’t think much about our own issues when we criticize or judge others. It’s not too hard to convince ourselves that we don’t have any issues, or if we do, that they don’t really matter. We are easily led into the trap of seeing ourselves in a positive light and others in a negative one.

Jesus instructs us to look inward before we look outward. An honest look at ourselves through the lens of God’s Word quickly reminds us of just how far short we fall from God’s standards. None of us can honestly say we don’t have issues, that there is no sin in us.

Jesus instructs us to take our issues to God before we attempt to address the issues others have. Only the pure in heart have the right to confront others with sin. Think about this a moment. I wonder how many professing Christians actually live this out. It is easy to pull out our Bibles and point out the sins of others. It’s another thing to pull out our Bibles and let God point out our own sins. I wonder how we would act differently when confronting others if we were to spend time before the Lord in repentance first. I suspect we would be a lot more compassionate and gracious.

Jesus reminds us that it’s hypocrisy for us to intervene in someone’s life without first dealing with our sins before God. Don’t let Satan deceive you in this. All of us are sinners and need to let Christ purify our hearts before we stand in judgment over others.

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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Being a Magi 9/17/2021

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by Staci Stallings

A long time ago I read a book that said, “There is a reason you notice the things you notice.  They come into your sight to tell you something.” (paraphrase) I took that to heart and began actively noticing.  That is, I notice when I notice something.  Rather than going through life oblivious to the signs God is putting in my path, I either actively seek them or at least I get the message with only a couple of occurrences.

Much like the man in the flood who was standing on his porch as a boat went by.  The people in the boat told him he could come with them.  He shook his head. “God will save me if He wants to save me.”  Several hours passed, and now he was hanging onto an upstairs window.  A second boat came by.  The people in it said, “Come on with us!”  But the man replied, “No, I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.”

Hours passed, and it grew dark.  A Coast Guard boat with a search light found the man clinging to his chimney.  “Come on! Get on!” they yelled. But the man refused.  “I love God, and if He wants to save me, He will.”  An hour later the man appeared at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter looked at him incredulously.  “What are you doing here?”  The man shrugged. “I guess it was my time.  God didn’t save me.”  To which St. Peter said, “That’s weird.  We sent three boats!”

Several years after I heard this story, I heard Oprah Winfrey say something similar.  She said (paraphrase), “To get your attention, God will send a breath. Then He will send a pebble, then a brick, then a boulder, then the whole house will come crashing down!”

Let me just say, for myself, I prefer to catch what God is telling me at the first boat, the breath, or at most the pebble.  So, I have become very conscious of the messages God sends to me.  And they are everywhere!

In music, books, the Bible, conversations, on billboards, in magazines, sometimes even in dreams.  Recently I’ve been preparing a project that is very close to my heart for which God has given many signs and messages since it was first conceived.  For this one project I have received messages ranging from videos depicting the story, songs, email messages, and even a tour bus following me down the road!

The ultimate (so far) message was that just before I mailed the project in, I was praying over it in the Post Office, and my oldest daughter said, “Look, Mom.”  When I opened my eyes, she was holding a piece of paper about five inches from me in my direct line of sight.  It said, “Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded.”  I just started laughing because I get signs and messages, but most of the time they take at least a little bit of interpretation.

As I was recounting these events to my sister, she laughed.  “You are such a Magi.”  To which I said the only logical thing, “Huh?”

She went on to explain.  “The Magi were astronomers.  They spent their time looking for signs in the sky, signs of a new king, signs of a shift on the earth begun in the heavens. That’s what you do!”

I’d never thought of it quite like that, but I’ve got to say, it’s great fun to be a Magi.  You should try it sometime.

Cowboy

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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CrossReads Book Spotlight: The Six Loves of Jack Brown 9/16/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

The Six Loves of Jack Brown

by Danny Mac

The Six Loves of Jack Brown

Six women reveal their relationship with Jack. They describe his life of joining a company at age seventeen and working his way up to sales where he finds his calling. Meeting and falling in love with the boss’s daughter, Sarah, they marry. Jack sees the market changing and wants to change with it and so they buy the company from her father. They struggle for many years and it pays off into a successful enterprise. They have one child and raise Katherine to adulthood. After Kathrine’s senior year of high school, Sarah dies from cancer. This leaves Jack aimless and depressed as he gave up control of the company to be with his wife in the end. The next ten years he dates four women who help him cope with life as he searches for God to join his wife again. In the end, he finds God and loses his life. As the women disclose Jack’s life, they uncover their own life with and without Jack.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Stir Yourself Up & Southern Belles 9/15/2021

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CrossReads Short Takes

Stir Yourself Up

Rekindling Your Passion and Fire For The Lord

by Sheldon Newton

Stir Yourself Up

A MOST IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ AS WE PREPARE FOR HIS COMING?

Are you struggling in your walk with the Lord? Perhaps you are a minister who has been preaching and teaching His Word for years, and now you feel weary, depressed, frustrated and burnt-out. Maybe you are one who – at one time – was on fire for the Lord, but now your walk has come to a stand-still. Then again, perhaps you have been going through all sorts of hardships, trials and difficulties which has distracted you from spending time with Jesus like you used to. Issues came up and now your spiritual life is not what it used to be. Church has become boring. Reading your Bible daily has become dull and uninteresting. You don’t pray like you used to, fast like you used to. You have become fearful in sharing your faith and lettings others know that you are a christian. Regardless of the reason you may have lost your hunger and fire for the Lord, it’s time to get your passion and zeal back for the things of God. And this book will stir you up and show you how to fall in love with Jesus all over again. Get your copy now and “GET STIRRED UP!”

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Southern Belles

(Cactus Creek Book 5)

by Janice Cole Hopkins

Southern Belles

Joanna Dobson comes to stay at the King Ranch because Magnolia, her mother, was Abby King’s cousin. Joanna is immediately interested in Grayson Fox, but the recent death of his parents has him questioning if he ever wants to marry. In the meantime, Adele Mead is caught in a rough situation in Maryland. When she rescues a hurt man, she falls hard for him, but she has a difficult time convincing him he’s the right man for her, although she knows he cares for her. When she does, they must flee, and they head West toward Cactus Creek. As these stories merge, can they all find the happiness they so desperately long for in the aftermath of the Civil War?

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Book Spotlight: A Groom for Agatha 9/14/2021

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by Parker J. Cole

Book Spotlight

A Groom for Agatha

The Blizzard Brides Book 27

by Parker J. Cole

A Groom for Agatha

A widow woman wanting to save her farm, an honorable man with the means to save it, the forbidden love that may save them both.

Agatha Waters has embraced widowhood after her husband of twenty years. She had a wonderful marriage and isn’t greedy for more. When the pastor of Last Chance forces the women to send for new spouses, she does so reluctantly. While waiting for a reply, she discovers her farm is in trouble. A chance visit from a family friend gives her an answer to her problem in a most unique way.

Lance Montcalm has loved Agatha for a long time, but never thought he would be able to express it. When the opportunity comes for him to help her, he proposes a risky plan — she marries him for a short time to obtain the financial assistance needed to save her farm.

Would their temporary marriage give Lance a chance for Agatha grow to love him? Or will it simply save the farm and break his heart?

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Change of Address 9/13/2021

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by Rebekah Beene

Recently I helped fill out a change of address form online for a friend. On the form it asks if it is a temporary change or a permanent one.  I had to think about that for a moment. Permanent sounds so, well, permanent! But it simply meant is this change for a season or are you staying gone from that address forever.

Oh beloved, this morning I’m thinking about our lives as believers.  We have had a permanent change of address from earth to heaven. But also we have this temporary home where we will still receive from the Lord. He provides more than mail – He is the Source for our lives.  He just doesn’t change our address to confuse us. He changes our address so that we no longer have to worry about what to keep and what not to keep. Junk mail isn’t forwarded. Neither do we need junk from any source.

Your life is so precious to God that He takes care of everything from beginning to end for you.  That situation that keeps showing up in your mind as troublesome junk mail is something you don’t have to let load you up and run over your life.  You may have to do a return to sender – give it back to the enemy and refuse possession.  It sounds crazy but the more you refuse the junk, the more you will know the good from the bad.  God sees what you need so you can trust Him to deliver whatever is pertinent for you.  If it is addressed with fear, worry, anxiety, depression, sorrow, guilt or pain – it’s not for you.  Don’t even open it up and give it a thought.  You are more than the junk you receive. You are born again to live in peace, love, joy, favor, faith, strength and calm.

God loves you and He’s for you.  Thank Him this morning that you have had a change of address through Christ. And praise Him that you have also had a change of mind through Holy Spirit. And then live, filtering out the junk from the good, in the Light of His wonderful Truth over your life!

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.

Philippians 3:20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

About the Author:

Rebekah Beene

 

In a Christian Women’s meeting in 1983, Rebekah was given a prophetic message that she would write books. Several years ago she began writing stories about special holiday memories and travels, sharing God’s love and care through each story. God has gifted Rebekah with the ability to look at the natural and see the supernatural. Both Rebekah and her husband Danny have a heart to share the Gospel and the riches of life in Christ to everyone they meet. They have served in the local church and in ministry to motorcyclists. Danny is an ordained minister and they both have been Bible study teachers for many years. Rebekah also speaks at women’s retreats and conferences. Her tag line says it all “God loves you and He’s for you”.

My website is http://rebekahbeene.wordpress.com

My first book in print is Oh Beloved! Live in the Light of His Word.
Link to buying the book via paypal is on the website.
As well a link to purchasing the ebook on Amazon is there too.
I’m also on twitter @rebekahbeene, tumblr http://rebekah-beene.tumblr.com/
and of course facebook as Rebekah Beene (Warren) I included my maiden name for old friends.
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Some Say Love, Book Excerpt 9/10/2021

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by Staci Stallings

From the newly-released Finale of the Hope Series…

How she would ever say good-bye to Scott and Lane again, Jenna had no earthly idea. As she walked to the gate, tucked under Scott’s arm, holding Lane’s hand with her other, she let the thought of what the coming minutes would bring into her consciousness, and it gripped her heart so tightly that breathing was becoming an issue.

“First boarding call for Flight 9351 to Newark…”

Already. She forced herself to take a breath. She couldn’t lose it now. Not now. You have to be strong. They need you to be strong. This is no time to fall apart. She swallowed the jumble of emotions back down into her heart. “Wow, good thing we left when we did. We barely made it.”

“Yeah.” But he didn’t sound wholly sure or happy about that.

Understanding what he didn’t voice, she slowed their steps and tightened her hold on his waist. “Oh, I was going to tell you, I packed some extra snacks in the bag. Animal crackers.” She grinned up at him. “Can’t fly without those.”

He pulled her closer to him and kissed her head. “You think of everything.”

Some Say LoveShe kept the smile on her face even though her heart was about to abort the mission. “It’s a mom thing.”

When they stopped at the gate which already had people lined from one end to the other, boarding the jet bridge, his gaze swept across the area and fell right into hers. It took actual thought for her to hold onto Lane because getting lost in Scott’s blue eyes was always a possibility.

He reached up and brushed the hair off her shoulder. “You’re going to be okay getting back? I know the traffic…”

She let her gaze go soft. “It’s a whole lot better than getting on that plane would be.”

His face came close to a smile, but it fell from his eyes before it found his lips. “I’m gonna miss you.”

“I know, but just think, the next time you get here, no more leaving.”

“No more leaving. I like the sound of that.” And right there in the terminal, he put his hand on her neck and laid his lips on hers. They were warm, soft, safe, perfect. She felt the love pour through them and right into her being. She soaked each molecule in with deep, abiding joy.

“Second boarding call for Flight 9351 to Newark.”

Scott broke the kiss for one second. “I really wish they’d stop doing that. It’s kinda killing the mood.”

However, Jenna hardly heard anything other than her heart begging for more. She put her hand on the back of his head and tugged him back to her. “Not a chance.”

By the time Scott got on the plane, settled Lane and Laylee the bear in, and pulled out the little box of animal crackers, he felt more loved than he ever had in his life. She was incredible. Remarkable. Amazing.

A man in business casual clothes showed up and sat without fanfare in the aisle seat, and Scott remembered with no prompting the moment she had sat down with them. He had never experienced one other thing in his life that had rocked his world so fiercely. After giving Lane an elephant cracker to keep him occupied, he put his head back and looked out to the still-bright sunshine of the late Texas afternoon. The next time you get here, no more leaving… He couldn’t wait.

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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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Antidote For the Guilt of Sin 9/9/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Antidote For the Guilt of Sin

Justification By Faith Alone

by Martin Murphy

Antidote For the Guilt of Sin

This book is not an academic commentary of Romans. However, it is an exposition of the first 5 chapters of Romans with an eye on the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The theological themes and topics found in the book of Romans are deep and wide. The doctrine of the righteousness of God and justification by faith alone is a primary interest in this study.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Knowing God & Pursued

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CrossReads Short Takes

Knowing God

How to Build a Relationship with God

(Knowing God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit Teaching Series)

by Chelsea Kong

Knowing God

Do you feel like something is missing? Joy is a key of intimacy with God. Do you want your child to know God? God’s desire is for His children to know Him and have a relationship with Him. This book teaches basic principles to children on building a relationship with God. Children will get excited as they learn to stay alone with God. Their faith will grow as they draw close to Him.

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Pursued

Christian Comtemporary Romantic Suspense

(Dangerous Series Book 6)

Pursued

The man Cristina Torres has fallen in love with kisses her and then disappears for ten years. Now he’s back but with two detectives as shadows, and someone’s trying to kill her. Should she trust him or run for her life?

Dr. Chase Richards has fled his Christian roots long enough. He’s returning to his hometown in Tennessee to make amends—at what he thinks is God’s direction. But the way is not just hard, it’s almost impossible. The girl he once loved is now a woman—and she wants nothing to do with him. In addition, the opioid study he started and left in Virginia has followed him across state lines. The police have warned him that he’s in imminent danger. His well organized life is no longer safe or ordered—and neither is Cristina’s. Can he discover who’s trying to kill them before she becomes collateral damage?

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Let Every Created Thing Give Praise to the Lord 9/7/2021

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by Robin McKinley

I love to sit outside on the deck behind my house to write. As I am writing this devotional post I can hear, very loudly I might mention, cicadas singing in the trees. This is the summer they have emerged from the ground. They will mate and die with their offspring returning to us in about 17 years. The Psalmist said, let every created thing give praise to the Lord.  

 Cicadas can produce their sounds because they possess an organ that is almost unique among insects. It’s called the tymbal organ. These small insects can only praise the Lord a few weeks every 17 years. We can praise Him every day.

Praise the Lord!  Psalm 148:1

The writer of this Psalm began and ended it with the words, Praise the Lord! Between those two phrases, he divided this chapter into two sections. The first one says . . .

Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Psalm 148:1 

Let Every Created Thing in the Heavens Praise the Lord 

He said every flying thing must praise the Lord. The next time you are in an airplane, take time to praise the Lord. The Psalmist went even higher in the sky than the heights we are aware of. He spoke about the heavenly beings in the very next verse.

Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Psalm 148:2-3

Further than the eye can see, God is being praised. Noises have been detected in outer space that can only be a result of the stars offering praise to their creator. That statement isn’t far-fetched. Look at what the writer said next.

Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked. Psalm 148:5-6

Let Every Created Thing on the Earth Praise the Lord 

God receives praise from creatures of the ocean depths. Some of those created beings live so deep in the waters, they have never seen the light of day. Yet they offer praise to the Lord. 

Even fire and hail, snow and clouds praise Him. I like to sit on our front porch and watch a rainstorm go by. Yet I never looked at those storms as a praise to the Lord. Their power and fury are just samples of the majestic power of our Lord.

God receives praise from wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds. Then the Psalmist mentioned people.

 . . . kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children. Psalm 148:11-12 

 We are all mandated to offer praise unto the Lord. If we turn to Psalm 150, it says, Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Are you breathing?

One time the Pharisees asked Jesus to tell the people to quiet down from praising Him. His response was, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want the stones to do any praising for me.

The writer in Psalm 148, covered who should praise the Lord. Everything in the heavens, the skies, and the on earth. Then he made this blanket statement.

Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! Psalm 148:13

Lord, we are in awe of how all of your creation praises you. From the stars above to the cicadas in the trees. We will not be left out. Receive praise from our lips as we offer it to you.

About the Author: 

Pastor RobinRobin, with his wife Cindy, became children’s evangelists early in their ministry. They ministered to children full time for 8 years. During that time they developed several children’s stories which were told with visuals and puppets.

Robin recently turned two of those stories into children’s books. One is called “The Contest,” a book about the Fruit of the Spirit, and the other is called “Twas the Night of Christmas”. He has also authored 5 volumes of devotional books called, 3 Minutes Alone with God. Each entry is a product of his personal biblical Journaling.

These and his other writings are available on his website called Christian Perspectives at www.ramckinley.com. When you visit this site, you can sign-up for newly written devotions as they come out which will be emailed to you. 

Presently Robin is the pastor of Calvary Christian Center in Pottstown, PA. He is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He and his wife make their home in Birdsboro, Pa. He also serves as the president of the local ministerium. He and Cindy have two married sons and four grandchildren.

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