First Impressions: And the Greatest of These is Love 7/16/2021

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by:  Staci Stallings

First ImpressionsOne of the things I think is strange about my writing life is how clear certain scenes are when they come out of me and how those scenes never really leave my memory.  Each book seems to have a few of these, and often, years after the book is finished and I’ve moved on, I still can put myself right back into that scene as if it really happened and isn’t just a figment of my imagination.

Recently, I’ve started watching The Adventures of Lois & Clark, one of my favorite TV shows from the 90’s, and as I watch, I remember why “Clark” inspired the book And the Greatest of These is Love.  The heroine was actually from another movie I fell in love with at the time. She was the best friend in Bed of Roses.  In the story that they came together for me, Clark’s name is now Andrew Clark, and he like his inspiration is a reporter for a big city newspaper (though he doesn’t actually have super powers in this one), and Gabriella, just like her inspiration in the film, works in an after school and daycare program for kids whose families are struggling to survive.

One of the things I so love about their first face-to-face meeting is that Gabi doesn’t wilt like a wallflower though Andrew’s societal position probably warrants it. This is one of those almost mistrust-at-first-sight books, which sets up their challenging road to relationship throughout the rest of the book.

So today, I thought I’d share their First Impression story with you. It’s kind of long, but I’d love to know what you think…

~*~*~

The Greatest of These is LoveAndrew’s heart soared as he looked at her, the leaves and twigs still clinging to her almost straight dark hair, and in his soul he knew without asking that she was the cause of the laughter he’d heard outside. He couldn’t have stopped himself from smiling at her if he’d wanted to— which he so didn’t.

“Gabi, this is Andrew Clark, the reporter from The Herald that I mentioned. Andrew, this is Gabriella Treyvillion,” Jerry said, tipping his head in introduction. However, neither of them moved as they both stood there, staring at the other.

“Oh. It’s nice to meet you, Gabriella.” Andrew managed to extend his hand though it took real effort to get himself to keep thinking straight.

“It’s nice to meet you, too,” she said, the final word catching in her voice when her hand touched his. She seemed to shake herself a little before she smiled the most amazing, heart-stopping smile he’d ever in his life seen. The dimple in her cheek stopped his heart with one brief appearance. “And please, call me Gabi.”

“Oh, okay, Gabi,” he said, holding her hand in his a moment more. He never wanted to let go. Why did he have to again? She looked at him and then glanced down at their hands still connected between them. A jerk of his thoughts, and he finally managed to pull his hand away. That didn’t stop the joy dancing in his soul as he noticed the leaves in her hair once again. Reaching over, he plucked one from the strands and held it up. “Looks like you’ve been attacked by an oak tree.”

“Oh, my…” Instantly Gabi reached up to her hair and swiped at it in utter humiliation. Her smile disintegrated as she realized how middle school she was acting. “The children and I were just playing outside. I…  didn’t have time to…” but explanations were useless at this moment because nothing was making any sense to her anymore anyway.

“Gabi, Andrew tells me he’s going to do a whole series on the center,” Jerry said, and there was a lilt in his voice she hadn’t heard in a long time. “I thought he might want to interview you as a start.”

“Me?” she asked. The swiping stopped, and she looked at Jerry in surprised panic. “Why me?”

“Because next to me you know more about this place than anybody,” Jerry said matter-of-factly. “I thought maybe I could take your class for a little while and give the two of you a chance to talk.”

“Now?” Gabi asked, her eyes widening as the air clutched her lungs.

Jerry leveled his gaze at her as if to express the gravity of the situation. “Yes, now. Is that a problem?”

Andrew pleaded with God that it wouldn’t be a problem for her. If he could just spend a few minutes with her, he would never ask another thing for as long as he lived. She was fascinating, amazing, beautiful.

“Well, we’re going to lunch in a few minutes,” Gabi said, glancing at him but only that. She seemed to be shrinking back or becoming angry, and he didn’t like either one.

“Oh. I can take them to lunch,” Jerry said quickly.

That stopped her and she verily glared at her boss. “You?”

“Yes, me,” Jerry said with indignation. “I run this place — surely I can take care of a few children for one lunch.”

Gabi looked at him, skeptically twining her lips, but she said nothing.

“You can use my office,” Jerry continued, without pause. A long conversation passed between them, only some of which Andrew could read.

“Okay,” she finally relented. “Just give me a minute to get these leaves out of my hair, and I’ll meet you there.”

“Okay. Great,” Andrew said, trying to keep the breathlessness out of his voice. It didn’t work.

Gabi stared at her reflection in the tiny mirror wishing desperately for make-up of any kind, but she only owned two pieces of make-up, and she reserved them only for important occasions — certainly not a normal day at the center.

“This is stupid,” she berated herself harshly in the mirror. “He’s a reporter. A reporter. He’s not here to see you. He’s here to get a story. Get a grip already.”

But her heart said differently, and no words were talking it out of anything.

Andrew studied the office as if his life depended on how it looked. Sad and dismal were the two best words for the place, and he wished with all of his heart he could change that. He had one shot at this, and he wanted it to go well. He turned the two extra chairs toward each other, then pulled them to the side of the room, then replaced them. There was no getting around the fact that this felt like a principal’s office — and that was definitely not the feeling he wanted to evoke at this moment. Candlelight and roses, wine and chocolate strawberries. That would have been so much better.

Suddenly she slipped in the door, and when he saw her, his heart stopped again. How could anyone be so amazing?  He fought with his mind to stay with him, but it was a battle he was losing quickly. There were no more leaves in her hair, and he kind of missed them. He smiled at her shyly, his eyes asking questions he didn’t dare say with his lips.

“Thank you for taking the time to visit with me,” he said as professionally as possible.

“Oh, you’re welcome,” she said as if she was both worried and intimidated. “I don’t know how much help I can be, but I’ll sure try.” The dimple was back, and its twin joined it.

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll do just fine,” he said, smiling at her, and Gabi’s breath caught and locked. How was she supposed to sound rational and intelligent when she couldn’t get her mind to work or the words to come out of her mouth when she looked at him? Gabi, get a grip!

“Would you like to go somewhere else?” he asked, seeming to sense her discomfort.

She shrugged and glanced around the tiny office. It was less than inspiring. “I don’t care. Sure if you want.”

“Maybe we could go outside or something.”

“Okay.”

He pulled the door open and held it for her. Gabi ducked her head to step through it and led the way outside. As they walked in silence down the hall, her mind struggled with the unavoidable impression that she knew him from somewhere. They had met before, but when? Her mind couldn’t quite come up with the answer. It wasn’t like she went all that many places. Home, church and the center. That was about it. No. She was wrong. She didn’t know him, but why couldn’t she shake this feeling?

Andrew concentrated on each step down the darkened hall, willing himself to stay calm and professional. Sure, Gabriella — Gabi — made his mind mush, but he needed to get a grip. He had a job to do here, and that took precedence.  They crossed through another door and entered the warmth of the sunshine outside. It was a beautiful day — one of the few remaining before the winter came.

“We can go over there to the steps,” she said like a breath on the air as she pointed across the playground.

“K.” He wished he could be cool about this like Bryan would be. Bryan would have her eating strawberries and drinking wine at his place by nightfall. As it was, Andrew hoped he would be granted five minutes.

She climbed the light, baby blue painted concrete steps and sat down pulling her long dark skirt in around her knees. Adjusting his medium gray suit coat, he sat down next to her and pulled out his reporting notebook. It was time to get serious.

“Before we start, I need the spelling of your name — so I get it right, you know,” he said formally, which was good. Keep it formal. Professional. To that end, he put his pen and gaze on the paper.

“Okay,” Gabi said and spelled it slowly for him, watching his hands intently.

There was no ring, she noticed in spite of her brain reminding her that this was an interview and nothing more. Besides, no ring didn’t always mean anything anyway.

“Okay, Gabriella — Gabi,” he said, glancing at her and then retraining his gaze to his notebook with only a slight adjustment of his glasses. He cleared his throat. “How long have you worked here?”

“Six years in January,” she said, looking around the sparse playground. It was so easy to grow wistful at the thought of the place.

She remembered the first time she’d seen it. Her first thought had been that she would make an immediate request for more equipment. That was six years ago, and not a single thing had been added since then. But she was still writing equipment requests in the hopes that something would change. It didn’t. It never would, but she adamantly refused to give up hope that it would.

“So, what made you want to work here?”

“A lot of things,” she said, still studying the grounds. It was far safer than looking at him. “I guess I thought I could make a difference, you know? It just seemed like this was where God wanted me to be at the time.”

“And did you plan to stay here when you came, or was this a stepping stone to something else?”

“You mean onto something bigger?” she asked, and he nodded. “No, not really, but I did think at the time that this place would get better…  But all it’s gotten is bigger — more kids, more parents, more problems.” Putting her elbows on her knees, she sighed the hopeless feeling back out of her spirit.

His gaze drifted over to her and didn’t move. “So you know about the financial problems then?”

“Yeah.” She nodded, feeling his gaze on her but not being able to return it. “I knew about them when I started here. I just didn’t know how bad things really were until a few days ago.”

The pen stopped writing as if they were now just talking. “How bad are they?”

Gabi wondered how much to tell him. How much had Jerry told him? How much did he already know, and how much should he know? “Pretty bad,” she finally hedged. “Let’s put it this way, I may be looking for a new job very soon.” As the tears she hadn’t let fall threatened, she pressed her lips together and ducked her head away from him. Keep it together, Gabi. He doesn’t need chapter and verse of your sob story.

He wrote something down and let out a breath. “I see.  So, in your estimation how bad would it be for the community if the center had to close?”

A knife sliced through her heart at that thought, and the tears became much harder to hold down.

“The center and the schools are the only stable places most of these kids know. For them it would be devastating. For their parents too, I guess, but mostly for the kids.” Gabi’s gaze slowly slid out across the yellowing grass, and she shook her head and closed her eyes to the pain dredging up in her soul.

The depth of the sadness in her voice stopped Andrew cold, and he let his gaze fuse to her and hold.

“It sounds like this is pretty important to you,” he said, watching her hair blowing softly in the breeze. He wanted to reach out to it and her, gather her into his arms and keep every bad thing from getting anywhere close.

“Yeah, I guess so.” Her words were soft and barely audible. “I guess I know how much of a difference a place like this makes to these kids, and it’s hard to think what will happen to them if it does close.”

“Yeah,” he said with half-a-shrug, “but even with the center, how much of a chance do they really have? I mean look at what they come from.”

Gabi bristled instantly, and her dark, angry eyes knifed over to him. “The kids that come through here are good kids, Mr. Clark. They don’t have fancy sports cars or big houses, but that doesn’t make them bad kids.”

“Oh. I… I didn’t mean that like it sounded,” Andrew said, catching his mistake. “I just meant… that they have so much against them already.”

The anger dropped to an even more dangerous level. “Yeah, they do. And that’s why it’s important for them to have the center. It might be their only chance to get out of the life they were born into.”

“So,” Andrew said, wanting to steer the conversation away from this hot button subject. “Have you taught the little ones your whole time here?”

“No.” That worked as she half-smiled and then laughed. “When I started, Jerry put me with the ten year olds.”

He lifted his eyebrows in surprise. “I take it that didn’t go well?”

“Oh, it went well enough, but after six months we both agreed I’d do better with the little ones. Besides I was one of the only full-timers here, and he needed someone for the all-day four-year-olds.”

“Four-year-olds?” Andrew shivered at the thought. “That must be like going into war every day.”

“It’s not so bad.” Gabi smiled and leaned back with a shrug. “They’re great — most of the time anyway.”

Thankful that she didn’t look like she was about to shoot him anymore, Andrew nodded. “So, how many do you have?”

“Oh, anywhere from 20 to 25 a day. It depends on the parents. I probably have 18 regulars who are here most every day and then about six that drop in once or twice a week.”

“So, you don’t have the same ones every day?”

“Well, mostly, but these parents don’t always have set work hours so you just have to go with the flow and teach who you have.”

“That must be a challenge.”

“It’s all a challenge,” she said, sighing as the dark cloud that was never far away crossed her face once again. “The kids, the parents, the hours…”

“The hours?”

She came forward, putting her elbows on her knees once again as she glanced over at him. “Yeah, most of the time I’m here by at least 6:15. I try for 6:00, but that doesn’t always happen.”

“Six in the morning?” he asked in horror and dismay.

“Yes, six in the morning.” When she smiled, the dimples were back. “And if I’m really lucky, I’m out of here by 7:00, but most of the time it’s 7:30 or 8:00.”

“Wow. What does your family think of those hours?” he asked before he’d thought about the question.

Another bad question. She looked away again and said nothing for a long moment. “I don’t… really… have a family to worry about,” she said softly. “It’s just me.”

“Oh,” was all he could say. His heart broke for the sadness pouring from her

A second and she shrugged. “I guess you could say the people here are my family,” she said so softly he barely heard her. “It’s really gonna be hard to see them go.”

“So you think you’re going to have to see them go?” he asked immediately catching her meaning.

Gabi sat in silence, unable to put what was in her heart into words. It was the thought that kept creeping into her mind. The one she had desperately tried to avoid thinking about for three days.

“I think I’d really better be getting back to help Jerry,” she said, standing quickly and making sure to brush her skirt off. “He’s not exactly a natural with the little ones.”

“Oh.” A surprised second and Andrew followed her up. Even with him a step down, he was still taller than her by several inches, and this close, the magnetism of him pulled her inexorably closer. Lands, she needed to get away from him before she did or said something truly humiliating. Then with a soft smile in his dark eyes, he held his hand out to her. “Thank you for your time, Gabi. I really appreciate it.”

“No problem,” she said, swaying back and forth on the light breeze. She took his hand, praying she wouldn’t lose her balance with the swirling of her world. With him this close, anything was possible. A breath and she willed a smile onto her face. “I guess I’ll see you around?”

His smile was beyond amazing. “Count on it.”

Read more… Click here!

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: She’s Mine

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

She’s Mine

A Mystique of Naultag novel

by Tammy Doherty

She's Mine

This summer is going to be explosive for Caitlin Harrington and Sean Taggart!

YOU DON’T BELONG HERE

Caitlin dreams of a quiet life teaching math at her hometown middle school. Except someone is leaving ominous notes on her door. It could be her ex-boyfriend or someone else who doesn’t want her back in town. Firefighter Sean Taggart thinks Caitlin is beautiful…and possibly crazy. When he finds out the truth, Sean wants to help. Can he save Caitlin before the stalker turns to murder?

“Don’t you worry about Sean,” Randy said. “We need to take care of you.”
Caitlin pushed him away and looked up the hill. The glow she’d assumed was work lights suddenly took on an ominous tint. As they all watched, flames shot up into the night sky.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Live and Have Faith Book 28 Grateful & Dial F for Family

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

Live and Have Faith Book 28 Grateful

by Robin Cocks

Live and Have Faith Book 28 Grateful

One child’s grateful heart touches the lives of others.

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Dial F for Family

Sweet Christian Contemporary Romance Novella

(You Are on the Air, Book 1)

by Lisa Prysock

Dial F for Family

Maddie and Brandon Kingsley have been happily married for fifteen years, but they begin navigating rough waters as Maddie decides to transition from stay-at-home Mom to owning her own antique shop. At the same time, Brandon’s career as an advertising executive brings additional stress when business travel and other demands increase. When their pre-teen twin daughters mistakenly think Mom and Dad are headed for divorce, they begin calling the local Nashville radio station for on the air expert Christian relationship advice from radio personality, Pippa Johnston, to save their parents’ marriage from doom.

Get your copy of this Sweet Christian Contemporary Romance novella today and begin enjoying all of the fun in this exciting new series filled with romantic comedy, heartwarming drama, and inspirational romance. Readers are sure to want to collect them all!

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Verse of the Day and Devotional 7/13/2021

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Verse of the Day

July 13th, 2021

Scripture

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. – James 4:10 NLT
 

Devotion

In Chapter 4 of the book of James, the author describes the struggles between believers within the Christian community he was addressing. He made it very plain that these struggles did not come from God, but “from the evil desires at war within you” (James 4:1). He told them, “You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them” (v. 2).

Instead of asking God for what they wanted, they fought each other for it. Even when they did ask, James said, “you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure” (v. 3). Although they were Christians, they were not acting like Christians. They were acting like people of the world. In effect, they were spiritual adulterers. Although they were married to Jesus, they acted as if they were still married to the world.

James identified the primary motivating factor behind these struggles as pride. Instead of submitting to God and the ways of God, they were struggling with one another in the pride of the flesh, in the pride of the sinful spiritual state. James made it very clear that God would not stand idly by while all this was going on. He quoted Proverbs 3:34 to show them that “God opposes the proud” (v. 6). God actively opposes all those whose actions undermine proper order in the church.

The struggles of the church in James’ day still happen today. The actions of the proud still undermine proper order in the church and God is still opposing them. The solution to the problem, from James’ point of view, is to “humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (verse 7). Instead of struggling with other members of the church for whatever it is we want, we should humble ourselves before God and seek His will and His ways in our dealings with them.

We should repent with tears for the things we have done and renew our loyalty and trust in God. Although God opposes the proud and brings them down, He gives grace to the humble and lifts them up.

In due time He will lift up the humble in honor.

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CrossReads Weekly Devotional: The Fragrance of Life 7/12/2021

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by Rebekah Beene

Well I woke up just a few days ago as an unemployed woman. After nearly 30 years in the same office I can say it’s surreal for sure. The last month has been a whirlwind of preparation. And there have been parties, outings and flowers! Yesterday afternoon the last bouquet came to the office for me. I keep remembering how good this bouquet smells. So fragrant! I’ve got to go smell those flowers again!

Oh beloved, your life is a sweet fragrance. You may be going through a huge change in your life. It might be hard. Walking out from a job where you are loved and respected isn’t easy. But you may be walking into something much harder than that. I wish I could tell you everything in life is sunshine and roses. But we all know if you live long enough there will be days you want to wish away.

But the Lord wants you to know this morning that your life is a fragrant aroma to Him. And as you walk through this world, out one door and into another, your life is a fragrant aroma to others as well. We can’t always pick the doors, but we can know the Lord is going with us, before us and He hems us behind as well. Nothing you are going through is permanent. Life ebbs and flows. But God is so real to you, even in the hard spaces of life. Even more so in the hard spaces of life. Even if you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, your life is holding such meaning. Don’t despair now. Breathe in the aroma of Holy Spirit comfort and abiding joy. And you can trust that God’s plan for you is still ongoing. What a blessing!

God loves you and He’s for you. Picture Him walking with you out one door and into the next appointment. Run to Him this morning and thank Him that you never walk alone and you never have to rely on self for comfort. And live, precious believer, with your eye on the sky, your heart in the heavens and your life as a fragrant offering to Him!

2 Corinthians 2:15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing

Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Psalm 139:7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.

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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When Do You Find the Time? 7/9/2021

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by Staci Stallings

Fall In LoveBy far the biggest question I get from my writer friends is:  “When do you find the time?”

While right now there are a lot of novellas being released which usually run around 20,000 to 40,000 words, my books tend to be…. uhm, longer, to say the least.

The one I’m working on right now actually had to be chopped into two books because when I hit page 850, I knew, it was just too long. That threw some monkey wrenches into the process because I already had all of my covers done, which meant I had to do a new cover AND renumber several covers, AND figure out where to chop the books (which isn’t at all easy when you write like I do).  UGH.  Not my idea of how I like to be productive.

But the funniest thing about this question of how I “find” the time is this…. I have NO IDEA!

Literally.

Let me explain.

While most people think that a writer’s life is this idyllic existence where you awake to romantic music that just accompanies your entire life, go to the keyboard with your flowing silk robe, and quietly flood the world with amazing, awe-inspiring prose…. that is NOT how my life is.

First of all, I’m not a morning person, so that part of the dream shatters pretty completely right there. Second of all, if you were around to see my life, you would know how ridiculous that whole idyllic thing is.

For example, I have two daughters currently in college. One is about to graduate for the second time in December. That one is currently working two jobs as well. Not that I do a lot to keep her going, but keeping up with her is a challenge. The second daughter is equally busy. She’s currently holding down a perfect 4.0 not for the semester but for all of college! Let me tell you, there is more to having kids that age than just fond memories of life when they were little.

We’re constantly Facebooking each other about tests and things that need done on their house, how we’re going to get things done, etc. In fact, both of them now have parties (three of them to be exact) scheduled at my house in the next month. Oy!

Then there’s my hubby who has his own construction company. I do the bookkeeping for that, and while most of the time, that’s not a huge deal, it, too, has its moments.

THEN… there’s my wonderful, lovely, amazing 16-year-old son whose dream is to light the world. Literally.

He’s been working since April on a Christmas light show ON OUR HOUSE.  Over the last two weekends, we’ve had an army of people out here to set everything up.  (To see more about his show, you can visit:  https://www.facebook.com/TangledLights/ )  So basically I spent this last weekend, untangling lights (yes, that’s a thing when you’re dealing with 16,500+ lights!), feeding people, helping anchor snowmen to poles so they wouldn’t blow off our roof… and all in 32 degree weather!

And all of this kicks off one of my “busy seasons” — Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Parties, Christmas cards, decorations, and 2,000 people out front of my house to see the lights. Fun!

Oh, and did I also mention I’m teaching a class, getting finals ready, and trying to get my house clean for all of these parties?

I’m telling you, it can get to be rather overwhelming at times.

So, how am I going to get this current book finished, Book #4 formatted and ready to upload by Dec. 15, doing a sale next week, and putting together all of the marketing for the new release which hits the virtual shelves on Dec. 20th?  I have no idea!

I’m curious. How is your Christmas shaping up?  Busy…. or idyllically serene?  If it’s the later, can I move in with you for a month or two?  I promise, I won’t even wake you up early!  🙂

Signed,

Staci Stallings
  (who needs more than 24 hours in each day!)

Fall in Love with Lauren and Wes

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CrossReads Book Spotlight: Lessons From Leviticus

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Lessons From Leviticus

A 30-Day Devotional of Wisdom from the Book of Leviticus

Chapters 1-7 (Volume One) (Leviticus Devotionals)

by Jean Kabasomi

Lessons From Leviticus

Have you ever tried to read the book of Leviticus but got stuck at chapter one verse one? Did you try again and then stop at verse two?

Well…… this devotional is just for you!

This 30 day daily devotional uses one or two verses a day from the book of Leviticus to explain a simple but useful Biblical truth. Using practical and relevant examples and the New International Reader’s Version, this series of devotionals will help you conquer the book of Leviticus in no time at all!

The devotional includes all your Bible readings for the day, so you don’t need a separate Bible.

Get your copy today to tap into the wisdom in Leviticus!

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CrossReads Short takes: Transformation & How To Meditate In God’s Word & Why

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CrossReads Short takes

Transformation

WHEN SUFFERING RESULTED IN CHANGING YOU FROM BEING HELLBOUND

by Kevin Harrison Sr

Transformation

How does anger and hate towards God end for us? Is God worthy of us blaming and cursing Him because our loved one died or things don’t happen as we plan?

“Transformation: When suffering resulted in changing me from being Hell-bound” is a book about a young man who blamed and cursed God for his grandmother’s death. Traumatized from the feeling that God did not heal, his grandmother, per his prayer, sent this young man over the edge with fear and confusion. After cursing God for disappointing him, he became evil and suffered (inwardly) due to his choice to live apart from God’s protection and provisions (until…).

Listen,

“When everything around me began to fall apart, I found myself hating life…suicidal…angry with God, and hell became my unconscious choice.” “Without warning, an urge to cry out to God for help came over me.”

Facts: The death of a loved one can cause the nicest person to become evil and turn against God, family, and life?

Fast forward – What happens if you were able to see where your soul ends after death? Would you do or say things differently? Read how God’s love transformed this young man and can change you as well. Don’t let pride, fear, and hate to justify your position as God’s enemy!

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How To Meditate In God’s Word & Why

Meditation Transformation Victory

by Sheldon Newton

How To Meditate In God's Word & Why

When the Holy Spirit opens the Bible to you, the biblical instruction imparted will transform your life. Meditation in God’s Word is the key, for it positions you to receive revelation knowledge of the scriptures. When the Word of God becomes alive in your heart, your Bible study will allow you to understand more-and much more- of the will, plan and purpose of the Father. His Word will become your “daily bread” revealing God’s Word, bringing an explosion within your spirit on a consistent basis, renewing your mind. Your prayer life will be revolutionized and your walk with God will go to greater levels and deeper dimensions. Scriptures that once seemed veiled and hidden from you will come alive within you, bringing vitality and healing to your body, and peace, rest and quietness to your mind, regardless of the circumstances you may be facing. You will tap into the Mind of Christ and learn God’s will in every situation you face. Moreover, the word of God will abide within you so richly, the Bible explained so vividly, that you will remember scripture with effortless ease. According to the scriptures, meditation in the word day and night results in prosperity of the soul and the life. Learn how to meditate and experience the mighty power of God’s transforming Word!

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Let’s Continually Rejoice And Be Glad In The Lord 7/6/2021

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by Robin McKinley 

To continually rejoice and be glad in the Lord, we must understand who God is. What we are talking about today is more than going to church. It’s more than raising your hand in praise and worship. The keyword in the title is continually rejoicing. Continually being glad in the Lord. 

But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy. Psalm 68:3 

In our verse for today, there is a prepositional phrase we need to make sure that we don’t overlook. It is, “in God’s presence.” As Christians, we have the privilege to enjoy the presence of the Lord. 

David Showed Us Why He Could rejoice and Be Glad in the Lord 

In the entire 68th Psalm, David demonstrated to us, his and Israel’s relationship with God. How it helped them maintain continual rejoicing and gladness in their lives. In verses 5 and 6 he made a list of some of the things God did. 

  • To the fatherless he is a father. 
  • To the widow he is a champion friend. 
  • The lonely he makes part of a family. 
  • The prisoners he leads into prosperity until they sing for joy. Psalm 68:5-6 TPT 

David revealed the power of the Lord as He led His people out of Egypt. 

O Lord, it was you who marched in front of your people, leading them through the wasteland. The earth shook beneath your feet; the heavens filled with clouds before the presence of the God of Sinai. The sacred mountain shook at the sight of the face of Israel’s God. You, O God, sent the reviving rain upon your weary inheritance, showers of blessing to refresh it. Psalm 68:7-9 TPT 

David also revealed how God led the charge and defeated their enemies. 

What a glorious God! He gives us salvation over and over, then daily he carries our burdens! Pause in his presence Our God is a mighty God who saves us over and over! For the Lord, Yahweh, rescues us from the ways of death many times. Psalm 68:19-20 

Reflect on Your Own Life 

Why don’t you take a few minutes to recall what God has done for you? How He has blessed you and your family. Thank Him for the times He has delivered you from situations that could have been devastating. Give Him thanks for the times He has bailed you out financially. 

I’ve often wondered how many times God or one of His angels intervened for us before something dreadful happened. Something we never even knew about. I wonder if we will find out about those events when we get to heaven. When we put all of these things together, it makes it pretty simple to continually rejoice and be glad in the Lord. 

Take a look at how David ended this Psalm. 

Give it up for God, for he alone has all the strength and power! Proclaim his majesty! For his glory shines down on Israel. His mighty strength soars in the clouds of glory. God, we are consumed with awe, trembling before you as your glory streams from your Holy Place. The God of power shares his mighty strength with Israel and with all his people. God, we give our highest praise to you! Psalm 68:34-35 

You never know David may have started and ended each of his days these thoughts in mind. It would be a good idea for us to start and end our days the same way.

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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CrossReads Weekly Devotional:Dependent on Grace 7/4/2021

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by Precarious Yates

Our nation defines itself as democratic and independent from tyranny. The whole nation celebrates, regardless of background. We light off fireworks, we traditional eat American foods, we enjoy time together as a family, as a nation.
This country wrestled for independence, having arrived at the conclusion that all are created equal. Throughout this country’s history, people have been struggling in one way or another to prove that conclusion all over again.
So many people have been sensing an increased struggle lately. There is struggle at every turn, both within and without. People have felt restless and yet have longed for peace. Where can we find that peace?
We long for “the peace of God which passes all understanding” that “will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
We long for a break from the tyranny of the crowded voices that entice us to walk away from the Truth: truth not as a sense of principles but as a Person. I have noticed that people are not only more isolated than ever, they are also more crowded than ever. Opinions crowd us from all sides these days. We don’t even get the news anymore, we get opinions about the news.
The Lord spoke to my heart the other day saying, “It’s time to draw closer to Me than ever. Draw close to Me as if your life depends on it, because it does.”
As He said this, I knew this word wasn’t just for me. So many of us need this reminder. We need to return to hope and anchor ourselves there, as Hebrews 6:19 says. And Romans 5:5 reaffirms that “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Sometimes we have to wrestle to find that hope, to find that God in fact does wants us to give us His grace.
Sometimes, in the wrestling, we are hit in a certain way that leaves us with a limp for the rest of our lives, a reminder that Logos sometimes lets us win, always wants to bless us, and will always leave us with the reminder that we can lean on His grace

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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