CrossReads Weekly Devotional: You’re Invited 10/4/2021

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by Precarious Yates

You’re invited to the table of the Lord. Did you know that? Did you know He’s spread out a banquet for us and wants us to fellowship with Him there?
Psalm 36:7-9
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.

He is so eager to have us join Him that, as it says in Psalm 23:5, He prepares the banquet table for us even on the battlefield, even in the messiness of life:
Psalm 23:5
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

Just because a passage is familiar does not mean it’s not applicable. God wants so much for us to accept the invitation into abundant blessings!
Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Yes, there are troubles in this life. Yes, there are trials that test us sometimes past our breaking point. But there is also the fullness of joy in His presence. There is also a banqueting table in His presence which is full of delights.
In John 16:33, Jesus says,
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Accept His invitation today, for the first time or the hundred and first time, and sit in His presence. He says today as He did in days of old,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)
He wants to dine with you right in the midst of your life, in all the swirls of activity and the mires of disappointment. And He wants you to dine with Him in the midst of His life, at the abundance of His table full of mercy and healing and refreshment for our souls, drinking from the rivers of His pleasure where we will never thirst again.
He delights in you. Accept that invitation today.

Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…
Psalm 95:7-8

God bless you!
~ Precarious Yates

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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The Myth of Easy Romance 10/01/2021

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by: Staci Stallings

As a Christian romance author it has become incredibly obvious to me why people struggle to understand “romance.” You see, my days are spent crafting stories about people falling in love. While in most such stories the characters have challenges, in mine very often the challenges are emotional explosions meant not just to destroy the budding relationship but to destroy the two people in that relationship as well.

Why?

Because I write Christian romance, and let me tell you, Christian romances are NOT EASY romances. Satan would like nothing more than to convince both people that God is not real, He is not for them, and love is not worth all the hassle.

Now this past month or so I’ve really been struck by this understanding because I do a lot of Facebook marketing in book groups. This means I go around to the groups every day and post information about my books, hoping to attract new readers or to alert my current readers about other options I have available. The thing is, these reader groups (most of them anyway) are decidedly not Christian.

I choose to market there anyway because I think the hundreds of thousands of people who get their book information from those places should have a choice that doesn’t include vampires dripping with blood, thrillers and murder, and bodice rippers.  It is that last category that has most caught my attention recently. Why? Because their primary understanding of “love” is two bodies in a bed.

On their ads, they say things like, “Can Bryce and Trudy find real love?” next to a picture of… well, you can probably guess.  To which I always, looking beyond the hot nights in bed, respond, “No. Sooner or later, they’re going to realize life isn’t just about what happens between the sheets, and because their relationship is only rooted in how ‘hot’ the other one is, it’s doomed before it ever gets started… even if they find ‘love’ right now.”

Then you get the genre of jilted, revenge-seeking lovers who will stop at nothing to make the other one pay. There is a whole genre of books dedicated to this very topic.  Why? Because after a person realizes in their own lives that the first option doesn’t work, they will naturally move to the second one!

And herein lies what I have found in juxtaposing those types of “romances” with my stories… I find myself often going, “Ugh. My couple would love to just go right to the physical and skip all of this emotional stuff. Why is this taking so long? And why is it so hard?”

The other night as I posted, there was a plethora of the first type of ads—those for the hot bodice rippers. I was slogging through 10,000 word days when my characters were just going through a ton of emotional YUCK, and I have to tell you, even I got discouraged. “It sure would be easier just to write that stuff. He thinks she’s hot; she loves it that he loves her; they fall in bed, and BAM, they’re in love!”

And then it hit me. Women (and men) read these kinds of romances and feel the same way about their own marriages and relationships!  They don’t have the benefit of being an objective third party to the trials of establishing a relationship that will last. All they get is the day-to-day struggle of trying to keep a family together, deal with in-laws, co-workers, problems—a tired spouse, financial problems, conflict, and exhaustion. When they turn on the television or open that book to a story soaked in hot, easy romance, I’m sure one of their thoughts is, “Why can’t my relationship be like this?”

So, I guess I’m trying to give you a warning. When you read my books, you get “real,” sometimes like these next two books in the Hope Series, “really real.”  The hero in “A Time to Love” has the bodice-ripper paradigm as relationship goals in his head. The heroine is barely functioning after a tragic loss. To say the two of them miss the point completely through most of the book is putting it VERY mildly!

I do sincerely hope readers will stay with me and not get terribly frustrated by the twists and turns these two take to become a real couple. I dare say, these books are “more real” than even some of the ones I’ve written previously, but if you will stay with it, I think you will gain amazing insights into what being in a relationship can mean.  It ain’t easy, but it is worth it!

Start the Journey TODAY…

The Hope Series

Flight 259

A Time to Love

Some Say Love

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: Brides of the Old West 9/30/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

Brides of the Old West

by Amanda Cabot

Brides of the Old West

Four unlikely couples. Four unexpected chances at happiness. Four unforgettable stories of love and faith in the Old West.

The Christmas Star Bride – Can a bakery owner who lost her one true love at Gettysburg twenty years ago and an itinerant artist who lost more than love during the war find a second chance at happiness, or is love only for the young?

The Fourth of July Bride – She needs money to pay for her mother’s desperately needed eye surgery. He needs a way to stop his meddling mother from choosing his bride. Can the answer be a temporary courtship?

The Depot Bride – Can a cattle baron’s daughter who’s practically betrothed to another man and a struggling writer who fears he has nothing to offer her find happiness as they create a commemorative book to celebrate the creation of the new Union Pacific depot in Cheyenne?

The Unmatched Bride – When a confirmed spinster matchmaker accepts an unusual assignment and helps a wealthy widower choose the right mate for his daughter, can more than one couple have a chance at true love?

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CrossReads Short Takes: Between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 & Half-Price Bride

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

Between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2

by Ray James

Between Genesis

For at least two hundred years there has been a debate over whether there is a gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, no gap or a modified gap. Included in this book is a fascinating story of what scientific evidence has to say about the past several billion years, and what the Bible has to say about the period of time from the creation of Adam and Eve and the birth of Jesus Christ. Prepare to be amazed.

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Half-Price Bride

by Laurean Brooks

Half-Price Bride

To escape a contentious relationship, Emily Hammons answers a mail-order bride ad from a dentist in Abilene. Arriving a day late, she is shocked to find him exchanging vows with another woman.

Handsome rancher, Clint McCall came to town to fetch the doctor, but Doc is attending a wedding. As he waits outside the church, the bride tears out, slamming a pretty brunette into him. Clint tries to steady her, but loses his balance, becoming a cushion for her fall.

With an injured foot and an empty purse, Emily accepts Clint’s offer to care for his ailing mother.

Clint has arguments to back his opinion of mail-order brides. His mother suffered years of abuse at the hand of an angry man when she answered an ad.

With no relatives in Abilene, why did Emily travel more than 600 miles from Memphis? Clint feels she is hiding something.

The dentist in on the hunt for his “other” bride. Will he find Emily? Will Clint’s love be strong enough to endure Emily’s secret, or will it destroy them?

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What If?  9/28/2021

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by Suzanne D. Williams

What if we lived like God was WITH US? Not in the distance but right alongside. Participating. What if every action we made, every word we spoke, every step we’ve taken, we were continually aware of Him?

What if He was involved in everything? Not just services on Sundays but Mondays through Fridays, too. At home, at work, at college. In government. At the laundromat, the grocery store, our children’s elementary schools. In traffic jams, at basketball games, in video chats. What if He read every word you typed, while gazing over your shoulder?

What if you became AWARE of Him 24-7? Like, you get in your car and the music comes on and that song you groove to but don’t want to tell anyone, suddenly, you knew God was listening

What if you knew that He knew everything? Every book ever written, every script ever read, every legal document in any courtroom across the country. Every motive, every reasoning, every pathetic excuse. What if we knew that He knew every thought in our head?

What if He was concerned about every iota of every piece of your life? What if you included Him in more than a ten-minute bedtime prayer and the standard meal blessing? What if when you turned on the television you considered what He’d like to watch? Is He into Bonanza? Mountain Men? HGTV?

What if He knew all the characters and exactly how the story ends? What if He not only KNOWS our lives, but He’s actually working amongst us? What if that person you hate that you’ve written off as unsavable really isn’t? What if inside them is the potential to be something huge-huge big? An evangelist. A pastor. A teacher. Someone’s best friend.

What if you judged a situation incorrectly and passed a verdict when Holy Spirit was in your ears whispering? Except you were too noisy to hear it, too lost in your opinions, your self-knowledge, your criticisms?

What if we could see all about you at a glance? Like those commercials where they show people how much sun damage they’ve had. They can’t see the spots and blemishes until they get in the right light. What if that LIGHT was JESUS, and there, in front of the world is that thing you did?

What if all of this was true, the God of heaven, the Father of LIFE, the SAVIOR of the world knew you, He saw you, nothing was hidden from Him, yet He loved you anyway? 

A Good Life 

Amazon 

https://amzn.to/2y6R1IA  

A Good Life 

Other Retailers 

https://books2read.com/u/4EkqAA 

“There is no better portrait of God than in His Word. Though many men held the brush over thousands of years, God directed each stroke, never altering in His purpose.”

We have access to God on a personal level. He desires to spend time with us, for us to know Him so well that we think like Him and talk like Him, react like Him. Such a close relationship with Almighty God comes only through obedience.

Obedience paints such a negative picture in our mind. We see ourselves having to do something we dread and hate. But obedience is how a child of God will grow to maturity. Through obedience, we come to know our loving heavenly Father intimately, and in knowing Him, we find true joy and success.

In these pages, author Suzanne D. Williams paints WHO GOD IS from the image He has drawn in His Word of a GOOD God, a LOVING God. Speaking from her personal experience, she shares an image of the Father and Friend, who lifted her from a dark place of fear and panic to one full of peace and love and heavenly light.

To a beautiful life, a joyful life, a good life exceeding anything we can ever imagine.

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 9/27/2021

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Verse of the Day

September 27, 2021

Scripture

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. – Isaiah 40:8 ESV
 

Devotion

What is the nature of the Bible and how should we relate to it? Should we take its words seriously? Can we rely on them? Or are they just interesting artifacts from ancient times that say something about those times, but say nothing to us?

We live in a world of change. Nothing stays the same. The only constant seems to be that there is nothing constant. Things come and things go. Isaiah spoke, but Isaiah was a mere man. Men say all sorts of things. Why take Isaiah’s word more seriously than any other man’s?

Indeed, Isaiah seems to have undermined his own message. He likened people to grass and said, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it” (Isaiah 40:6-7). Does this not apply to Isaiah himself? Are not his words the mere words of a withering blade of grass? People come and people go, and their words come to naught. Why should anything be different in his case?

Isaiah, however, does not draw this conclusion. Although he was a withering blade of grass and a fading flower of the field like everyone else, he proclaimed his message not as his own but as the fixed and firm Word of God Himself. Isaiah knew he would fade away, but he also knew that his words would stand forever because they came from a place beyond his transient existence.

In this ever-changing world we live in, people desperately search for words that will stand fixed and firm. They frantically search for words that speak unchanging truth about our world. Christians believe that Isaiah’s words, along with all the words of the Bible, broke into this temporal world of ours from heaven above and gave us the eternal words we need. These words have the same status as Jesus’ words, of which He said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).

And we know that this is the case by the faith that rises within us when we hear them, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

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Counting Blessings 9/24/2021

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by Staci Stallings

Sometimes life is designed to make you remember what is really important and how easily our “blessing counter” can get skewed.

So for about 3 months now, I have been “counting down” so to speak for November. November 1, “A Time to Love” would release and “Some Say Love” would go on preorder. In order for that to happen, I had to have “Some Say Love’ finished at least the first draft.  To make a long story short, I ended up writing around 140K words in 21 days, which is INSANE.  But I got it done.

I was so looking forward to November as all of my marketing and hard work was going to pay off—maybe even resulting in hitting a “list.”  I was working almost literally around the clock to get this to happen, marketing, writing, publishing, and trying to keep up with my crazy-crazy life outside of writing.

Things looked to be going great, but then around November 4, I started having health issues—major ones. By the 7th and 8th, my body had slammed on the brakes, and by the 9th, I was in the Urgent Care. The 10th I made a trip to the Emergency Room with horrible symptoms that they did not at all understand. They gave me a mild painkiller (I wasn’t in pain, just felt like my body was about to shut down completely!), and they sent me home.

The 11th was one of the worst days I’ve ever lived through physically. I was mentally a wreck, and my body kept going into spasms I could not predict, control or fix.  It would be four full days before I got any kind of answer as to what was going on. My natural health lady finally figured it out. I had gone into near total adrenal collapse. My estrogen went off the charts because my progesterone had virtually crashed into nothing.

I don’t know how well-versed you are in the importance and function of hormones, but let me just tell you, when they get as out-of-whack as mine were, coming back is NOT an easy road. It is slow going and a process of boosting the good things in your body, eliminating and detoxing the overloaded hormones, and artificially boosting certain hormones enough while the other two processes are going on so that you don’t lose your mind!

It has been quite a trip, let me tell you.

So November didn’t turn out exactly as I had planned.  Mostly, I’ve been sitting in the chair and progressively going from near catatonic to mingling with the family, to watching movies, to reading, and now to actually working a little each day.  So with this Thanksgiving season, you can bet I am taking care to count my blessings—little things like getting more than a few hours sleep at a time before my body freaks out, having a wonderful family who loves me and is doing everything they can to help me get well, GREAT health people who have gone out of their way to help me figure this out, living in a place where I have access to good stuff to get me going again.

Yeah, I thought this year I would be thankful for sales, and I am. They just aren’t on the top of the list anymore.

It is funny though how a couple of the reviews I’ve gotten for “A Time to Love” have mentioned that Jenna’s grief seems to “drag on” and how her recovery doesn’t track the easy road some have experienced.  I have to say, my November has felt a lot like Jenna’s grief process—slow, meandering, getting a few things right as other things seem to fall apart… Strange how life sometimes really parallels what we write.

I hope you and yours have had a safe, wonderful, peaceful, healthy Thanksgiving, and I’m wishing you all a most wonderful holiday season!

A Time to Love

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: DAILY BIBLICAL WISDOM 9/23/2021

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CrossReads Book Spotlight

CrossReads Book Spotlight

DAILY BIBLICAL WISDOM:

AN OUTLINE OF UNDERSTANDING AND

REVELATIONS ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF GOD (VOL. 1)

by Charles Adikwu

DAILY BIBLICAL WISDOM

Many Christians today have access to the written word of God, but very few have cracked the code that gives access to the hidden mysteries packed in the word. It is these few that have access to the hidden mysteries that have been doing exploits in their lives and individual ministries (callings). The only way to access the hidden mysteries of the word of God is when there is a deeper understanding of the Logos (written word of God) that will institute the Rhema (revelation) that backs that word.

Every spoken/written word of God (as contained in the pages of the Bible) carries the ability to produce life-changing realities in the life of everyone who approaches it insightfully. It is in the place of revelation that a believer (through the help of the Holy Spirit) is able to unravel the mysteries bottled in the word of God. The Bible clearly shows us that we need power to unravel scriptural secrets. “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” (Romans 16:25 KJV)

It is the quest for a deeper understanding of the mysteries about the presence of God that has moved me into coming up with a book like this. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are finding it difficult to get results from study of the word of God that will lead to the manifestations of His presence and this is why I had to go into the spirit space where I sought the help of the Holy Spirit to assist me in the understanding of the Bible verses used in this book.

This book will give you a deeper insight into understanding God’s personality and how to foster a sustainable relationship now and in the world to come when Jesus comes to take His saints back home to the Father. As you read this book, may the Holy Spirit be your teacher and show you the deep things of God in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.

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CrossReads Short Takes: Mistaken Murder and Small Town Status & Our Life’s Journey 9/22/2021

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CrossReadsShortTakes

CrossReads Short Takes

Mistaken Murder and Small Town Status

A Katy Cross Cozy Mystery Book 7

by KC Hart

Mistaken Murder and Small Town Status

Someone in Skeeterville has a serious beef with Hernando and it’s up to Katy to figure out who…

Sixty-thousand-dollar stud bull Hernando is shot in his pasture and falls on one of his owners, crushing him to death. Katy Cross, along with everyone else in Skeeterville, assumes the shooting (and deadly cow-tipping) are nothing more sinister than a tragic accident and a case of terrible luck.

Everyone else in Skeeterville, that is, except local Post Mistress Barbara Jean Nelson, who makes it her business to let everyone know she suspects foul play. Barbara Jean’s reputation as a hateful gossip proceeds her, however, and no one takes her accusations seriously… until she is attacked at the post office, barely escaping with her life.

With one of Hernando’s owners in the grave, and the only person who suspected foul play in the hospital, Katy decides it’s time to take the bull by the horns. Can she find the true murderer and uncover their connection to the dead cash cow?

Join Katy Cross and her friends and family in Skeeterville as they work together to solve this latest mystery. This Christian cozy mystery contains no gore, sex, or foul language, but is full of humor and southern small town charm.

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Our Life’s Journey

The Past/The Present/The Future

by Donavon D Campbell

Our Life's Journey

Our Life’s Journey was designed through the inspiration of a Caribbean couple wanting to share a different and exciting personal experience. It targets a variety of audiences, including young adults, families, couples, and seniors.

When Donavon and Samantha Campbell heard the phrase “from nightmare to sweet dreams” while listening to their youth pastor, Michelle Clarke, preach her first sermon, they were motivated and empowered to make this book a reality. It will remind the readers there is hope and a bright future ahead, despite struggles and disappointments. They were further inspired by a co-worker’s statement that if anyone wants to experience growth or success, he or she must “do uncomfortable things to achieve goals in life.”

Our Life’s Journey identifies challenging topics, such as understanding love, dealing with life’s transitions, overcoming health and environmental struggles, discovering how to keep a positive mindset despite the negatives, and learning to fully depend on God’s help in life.

The authors hope that every reader of this inspired book will be motivated to accomplish their heart’s desires and expand on their talents . . . let’s GO!

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Lend a Vet a Helping Hand 9/21/2021

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by Rhonda Underhill

While many people offer veterans their heartfelt thanks for their service to our country, many vets and their families appreciate more concrete forms of help, including assistance with job and house-hunting. Grace & Faith 4 U can be an inspirational guide when it comes to reaching out to those in need.

Job Opportunities

Hiring a veteran can help them be self-sufficient. Look for opportunities for good fits, either within your own industry, or in other businesses where you have connections. Veterans have a variety of skill sets applicable to many different lines of work. According to Military.com, vets typically have exceptional organizational and strategizing skills, take direction well, and are fast learners. Many veterans have specialized training and education that can be utilized in a civilian workplace setting.

Educational Pursuits

The GI Bill offers a number of different training and education opportunities for veterans. This can allow them to pursue new areas of interest that can lead to new career paths. You might be able to help with identifying area educational institutes that have specialized veterans programs and provide them with information related to admissions, enrollment, and financial planning. You may also be able to help identify areas of interest and align them with course offerings, or make arrangements for career counseling through local colleges, universities, and vocational training institutes.

Family Support

Veterans may have challenges reintegrating into civilian life after being deployed, and you may be in a position to offer support for the entire family. This might include helping with getting settled in and reacclimated in a new community, making introductions within your social circles, church, and neighborhood. You may also be able to help vets identify services they may be eligible for. The U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs has a wealth of information that can help you help the vets in your life connect with available services in your community.

House Hunting

Veterans may be eligible for various types of housing assistance in the form of VA loans. This typically means they have the opportunity to buy a house with little or no money down, as well as forego private mortgage insurance. There are a number of steps involved in buying a home, including monitoring credit score and debt-to-income ratio, searching for the best home fit, and going about the mortgage application process. A seasoned real estate professional and mortgage lender can aid in the process.

Veterans and their families make considerable sacrifices for their country and their fellow citizens. If you have a heart for service and want to show your support, look into opportunities within your faith community and local veterans support groups. There are myriad needs to be fulfilled, and you’re sure to find opportunities to help. Grace & Faith 4 U can provide you with insights and inspiration for helping others as you pursue your own spiritual path.

Photo by Pixabay

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