God’s Mathematics

By June Foster

When I was an elementary teacher, I used the Venn diagram to teach the set theory showing the relationship between two groups of objects, numbers, concepts, etc.

The other day when I read “Jesus Calling” about our relationship with God, I thought of a small circle with me in the center. Then another with God in the center. I placed the God circle so it would intersect the me circle.

Part of me intersects with the God circle. But I’m holding back the rest of me and not allowing God in. I need to “erase” the two lines. Not only that, I need to move the me circle all the way into the God circle. And of course that circle is infinitely larger than the minuscule me circle. As large as infinity. No man could draw it.

I’m wondering how many of us intersect with God but hold back a portion of ourselves. Let’s erase any barriers that keep us from the Lord. Let’s live in perfect union with Him.

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will love it, but however loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. Mark 8: 34-35.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

Thoughts on the New Release

By Staci Stallings

Eternity cover“Eternity” might be more accurately called “The one I’m going to get killed for,” and believe me, I fully know this going in.  Why?  Because I already know some of my Christian readers (especially the newer ones) will question the portrayal of Christians in this story.  They will say things like, “I would hardly call them Christian.  They went to church, but it didn’t seem to make any difference at all.”

That’s probably one reason I’ve called “Eternity” an inspirational (rather than Christian) romance in the past because I recognized this void almost from the start.  However, to be completely honest, that’s not totally accurate either.  I think “Eternity” is really about Christians who don’t know and live the meaning of the word.  They go to church, but church and God really don’t affect their lives in a practical way.

In fact, they are a lot like I was when I was younger–back when I thought the 10 Commandments were about God taking your fun away, making life harder with all of His rules, and waiting to bop you on the head if you broke one.  Since realizing God is about relationship more than religion, I now see my Father’s intense and immediate love in giving me these rules because in them, He is saying, “To be able to really LIVE, here are the ways to avoid life’s messiest, rottenest decisions that will really land you in a pit of yuck.”

So, I think ultimately “Eternity” is not just about the decisions and situations, it is also about how lost, confused, and deluded by the world even Christians can get when they see God as the rule-maker and punisher rather than as the all-wise, loving Father He is.

Therefore, if there’s not enough Christianity in this one for you, know that I knew that upfront and that I am simply giving you the story the way God gave it to me–with lost and hurting Christians who don’t realize they’ve had the Answer the whole time.  Call it a practical lesson in what happens when Christian is your label, not your life.

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, #1 Best Selling Christian author, 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. Staci touches the lives of people across the globe every week with her various Internet endeavors including:

Staci’s Internet “Home”:

http://www.stacistallings.net

Staci’s Ebook Romance Stories:

http://ebookromancestories.com

Facebook Author Page at:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spirit-Light-Author-Staci-Stallings/266593276699576

Professional Mourner or Professional Joy Generator?

By Mary Anne Benedetto

I recently learned that in some ancient cultures, it was common to hire professional mourners to wail at funerals. Also known as Feb 2013 Albany guy dinnermoirologists, their duties could possibly include delivering a eulogy or simply weeping, moaning and crying loudly.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that even in current times, there are Mediterranean, Near Eastern and other cultures who still participate in this practice.  In the U.K. someone established a business called Rent a Mourner!

Imagine crying and wailing and actually getting paid for your emotional outbursts of sorrow? I know some chronic complainers who would probably excel at and love that job.

As caring siblings, children, parents and grandparents, don’t we sometimes want to mourn the poor choices and resulting situations of loved ones? One lesson that God has recently been teaching me is that I simply can’t control what other people choose to do, although I’d like to. I so wish that I could pave the way for my loved ones to walk in the lighted pathway the Lord has planned for them and never detour, but I can’t accomplish that any more than my own parents could spare me from making less than stellar decisions during my teenage and young adult years.

So what can I do? I can be vigilant as their prayer warrior. I can literally get on my knees and pray that they won’t stray too far away and that their early upbringing will always bring them back into the loving arms of Christ. They were already forgiven at the cross.

Since prayer is really the only way I can help besides showing them tons of love and making sure they know they are in my daily prayers, I choose joy. I choose not letting the decisions and acts of others steal my joy. I choose remembering that I can’t dictate their actions, and so I will be a professional joy generator.

Nehemiah 8:10…Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (NIV)

Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Never Say Perfect Book CoverMary Anne Benedetto is a Certified Lifewriting Instructor and the author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Eyelash and Never Say Perfect. Please visit her at www.awriterspresence.com and www.maryannebenedetto.blogspot.com.

An Author’s Prayer

by June Foster

Dear Lord,

Give me the strength today to pen the words you want written on the page, the knowledge and wisdom to convey the message You desire for the reader to grasp.

I am weak, but You are strong. Lord, I am helpless and can do nothing without Your mighty power and understanding. You make my fingers move on the keyboard. Without You, I couldn’t even find the letters.

You put the words in my heart and allow them to flow through me and onto the page. Without Your knowledge I couldn’t write even the shortest of sentences. And you even placed Spell Check in the program because you know I can’t spell.

Help me mold the words into a story that comes from Your heart. Bring healing and hope to any who read it. Put Your emotion and desire within me to convey Your passion. With every word I type, glorify Your name. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012. June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

What’s Your Donkey?

The other night we went to Mass in a different town.  The readings were about Jesus entering Jerusalem for the last time, riding on a donkey. I have to admit, I’ve heard that story many times but never had much cause to think about the donkey.

Now we have donkeys not far from us, and I can tell you those things can be loud and annoying if they want to be.  That’s really my only experience with donkeys, so I didn’t give the one Jesus rode much thought.  So this sermon was an eye-opener.

You see, donkeys were a lot like cars, pickups, and tractors all rolled into one back then.  A good donkey was a treasure that not many people owned.  If you had one, you could ride it, you could use it to haul things, and you could use it to plow up the land for planting.  In short, donkeys were very valuable.

In fact, the priest said they could be the equivalent of $50,000 in our society today.

So think about this for a second.  You have this nice, brand new car that you recently purchased for $50,000.  It is sitting in your driveway, and these two guys show up out of the blue and say, “We need your car.”

“Need my car?” you ask as if you know you haven’t heard them correctly.  “Why?”

“Because the Master needs it.”

HAHAHA!

You tell me, would you give them the keys and let them know there’s a full tank of gas in it?

See, the donkey in this story is not an insignificant detail like I’ve always thought.  That donkey represents our most prized possessions on this earth!

Are we willing to surrender our hard-earned possessions for God’s glory?  Are we willing to give the things we have worked so hard to obtain to Him when He asks, just because He asked?

And notice, Jesus didn’t Himself go to get the donkey, He sent His disciples.  So it might not be Jesus that shows up on your doorstep. It might be that deacon from down the street wondering if you could help them move some things on Saturday.  It could be that lady from the church asking if they can use your Crockpot for the benefit.

The question is:  are you allowing God to use your possessions for His glory?  Or do you hoard what you have, making sure you are the only one to gain benefit from it?  Do you willingly give up your greatest, most costly and prized treasures on this earth so that God’s glory can be revealed?

What’s your donkey?  And what are you doing with it?

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012
Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling author and the co-founder CrossReads.com a new website that gives Christian readers and authors a place to meet and fellowship. With a newsletter, a blog, a forum, and other exciting, inspiring areas to visit, CrossReads visitors can find fabulous Christian books they never knew existed.

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Practice What You Write

By Precarious Yates

“You pay more attention to your work than you do to your family.” This scathing rebuke from my husband was spot on. And I needed it pointed out to me.

I had some troubles in family life, and while I prayed and cried out to God, I saw no relief or end in sight to these troubles. So I sank into my work and blocked it all out. (Trust me, this doesn’t feel very good to confess, but I think it’s important.)

During this time, I could edit and I could polish up work, but I couldn’t write anything new. Here’s why:

Everything I write is about people who are fully alive or people who are struggling toward wakefulness. I couldn’t write it if I wasn’t living it. I could edit it, or polish up the style, but I couldn’t write it if I wasn’t practicing it.

In the midst of crying out to God, He answered with the strangest answer I could have imagined. I felt called to write romance.

WHAT???

I’m a YA sci-fi/fantasy author! The romance parts of my books are so minimal it’s as if they hardly exist. There was no way I could write romance.

Instead of arguing with God, I prayed. I didn’t beg Him to let me off the hook, I asked Him to unfold His plan through me. So I wrote. (At least two of these books will be released this year, one this month.) And He unfolded His plan.

I began to practice what I wrote and to be fully alive in my marriage. My husband is much happier, I can tell you that!

But the journey didn’t end there. I also felt called to write a series of children’s stories. Through writing these stories, some of the major troubles in my family life began to heal.

Many say that a writer needs to choose a genre to build up a “brand”, but I’ve learned that I need to write what the Lord calls me to write. He’s been healing my heart through what I put on the page, but especially when I begin to walk it out in my life.

So let’s be fully alive! Not just on the page, not just in our work, but in every aspect of our lives!

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates lives in Texas with husband, daughter, dogs, chickens, rabbit, lizard and by the time you read this some other exotic creature her husband or daughter has brought home. She had studied the plight of and worked toward the abolition of modern slavery for over a decade before sitting down to write Revelation Special Ops. She was further inspired by the work of her sister-in-law, who helped to found Love146, an organization that works to raise awareness about human trafficking and builds safe homes in vulnerable regions. Yates spent several years overseas as a missionary in Ireland, and also did missions work in India and the Philippines. Her passion for literature has become her means of further educating young adults of the realities of modern slavery, while producing hope through the power of Christ Jesus in us.

Book 1 of Revelation Special Ops

Elite

Crawling through an air duct in Queens…spending all night alone in an African jungle…that’s normal for teenage spy Hadassah Michelman. She wants to join Revelation Special Ops, a Christian organization that works to rescue kids from modern slavery.
Hadassah’s life is about to get a whole lot crazier.
The spies of Revelation Special Ops are the elite of the weak. Weak because their hearts are broken for the oppressed. Elite because they keep the code.

Coming Soon: Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

By Ada Brownell

On January 15th Christian Author Ada Brownell releases her new book: Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult. Do you want to know more about this new book.

Let’s hear more about this book…

Joe the dreamer coverNew teen novel, Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult, a mystery combined with biblical events and spiritual encouragement. When Joe’s parents disappear, he becomes the target of the radicals that enslave them and his fate could be worse than death.

***

Here are some random excerpts from the book by the author, A.B. Brownell         

CHAPTER ONE: The doorbell echoed. Penny let out another scream and Hefley’s bark vibrated through the house. Paralyzing heat flooded Joe. On legs like gelatin, he trotted to the entry and looked out the peep hole. The man who had glared through the window now stood on the porch, pushing the doorbell over and over.

CHAPTER TWO: When Joe slipped into the sheets on Pete’s bed, he admitted to himself something happened to his parents. His guts twisted as he tried to pray. The song he played rang in his mind. Does Jesus love us? How could God allow something to happen to Mom and Dad?

CHAPTER THREE: With his flashlight, Joe read the story of Joseph from Genesis 37 to 50, and even though he was under the blanket, he shook his head several times at the disturbing things God had allowed the young man to go through.

Sleep finally came, and Joe found himself inside Joseph’s skin, trudging through the rocky hills following his father’s order to check on his brothers where they herded sheep. Joe’s colorful coat flapped in the warm breeze as he hiked. Dread slowed his footsteps. He knew his brothers didn’t like him much.

CHAPTER TEN: Joe’s heart jerked like a kite in a stiff wind, fearing to create conflict with his uncle, but he asked anyway. “Have you ever done a news story on Sir Henry’s castle?”

Faulkner looked at the remote. “We did when he started building. There’s a new owner. It’s some tax-free corporation.”

“Is that why they’re using prisoners to build the wall? Why did Sir Henry sell it?”

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: “The word on the street is somethin’ weird is going on at Sir Henry’s Castle.” Centipede’s bony hand shoved back his stringy hair. “We were going on that there natural water slide in the mountains and decided to take a peek at the castle. It looks like they have prisoners workin’ on that rich ol’ dude’s wall.”

Joe’s heart thumped. “What made you think the workers are prisoners?”

“They wear house arrest bracelets on their ankles like my pa used to wear, and they looked totally abused. A guard with a gun is always with ‘em.”

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE: The next day at school, Joe tried to listen to his teachers, but he kept thinking about how Dr. Zogg might put him into a mental hospital.

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE “A few minutes later, Joe sat in the dayroom with the other teens. Kurt, a freckled-faced blond boy, stared at Joe. “What’d you do to get in here?”

I read my Bible a lot… and dreamed about it.” Joe was having a hard time getting his brain to work with his mouth. He figured it was the medicine.

The boy howled. “Is that all?” One boy slapped his leg and laughed hysterically. Two girls looked and each other and giggled.

“Zack here did in both his freakin’ parents.” A curly-haired boy covered with pimples jabbed the youth next to him on the shoulder.

“Well, you cut yourself all up,” said the rough looking guy beside Joe. From the hatred and anger shooting from his eyes, Joe assumed he was Zack.

CHAPTER FORTY-THREE: (After Joe escapes from the mental hospital) “Kill!” the big guard yelled. “Get rid of this girl robot and kill these intruders!” He pointed to Centipede and Sham..

“Fire!” Joe whispered, hoping his aim was on target. He and Thumbs fired at the same instant and orange ammunition flew.

Both the robot and the guard moved, however. Thumbs’ ammo exploded on the guard’s big stomach, and he hit the ground.

Joe’s pumpkin shot up, then rolled away hitting nothing. He needed to aim better.

CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR: “I’ll kill these men myself!” the guard yelled as he struggled to his feet again. He took a handgun from under his jacket and aimed at Centipede. “I don’t know who’s throwing the pumpkins, but I have some real bullets.”

Centipede opened his oversized shirt, and a metal mirror flashed the sun into Gorilla’s eyes, almost blinding him. But Gorilla fired anyway.

Centipede fell backward to the ground.

ada brownellA.B. Brownell’s blog: http://www.inkfromanearthenvessel.com

Are You a Star?

By Staci Stallings

Our world today is obsessed with stars–celebrities who make a lot of money, gain a lot of fame, or otherwise dominate the chitter-chatter of masses.  Many of us wish, even if fleetingly, that we could be a star, but most will never attain that “level” of “success.”

I found, however, a different and probably more important way to be a star this weekend.  So if you’re interested or have ever thought it would be nice to be a star, here’s your chance!

Not sure where this thought came from other than “up there,” but I was thinking about how a year or so ago, my sister compared me to the Magi.  I believe I wrote about that at the time–how she said I was a Magi because I was always looking for signs that would point me to God.  I thought that was really cool at the time.  This weekend, I had cause while thinking about that, to look just a little higher into the story.

I happened to be at my hometown church, which is always good for a few hundred incredible insights into life, and at my hometown, they have this HUGE creche inside the church.  The trees are as tall as live trees, decked out in white lights with this star above it.  Of course, Mary and Joseph have the Baby Jesus lying in a manger underneath.  This year I had cause to think about that star.  The one so long ago.  The one that was there, shining in the night, guiding the Wisemen to the place where Jesus was.

You may have heard the saying, “Wisemen still search for Him.”  Wise men still look for stars, just as I was those years ago when my sister dubbed me a Magi.  But what about that star?  Maybe it had a story too.

Now, I know, stars don’t have feelings and thoughts.  They are put in the sky for a time by God, and for their time, they shine, then they burn out and disappear.  (A bit like us, don’t you think?) But consider what if… what if… that little star so long ago DID have feelings and thoughts.  What would they have been, since that little star was SO far away from the action and burned for much longer than most of us celebrate Christmas (at least a year by most accounts)?

It might have gone something like this, “This is pointless.  I mean, when I first got here, it was fun, dancing around and everything.  But now, all I do is shine and shine and shine in the middle of all of this darkness, and what has it gotten me?  Burned fingertips that’s all.  I’m not even making a difference.  Look at all this darkness.  It’s still here.  I look out there, and there are other stars.  Sure most aren’t as bright as me, but they aren’t doing much good either.  I mean, look at ALL of this darkness.  We can never hope to overcome it.  What’s the point?  Maybe I should just tell God I’m a failure and go home.  I mean, how long can He expect me to keep this shining thing up?  I’ve been out here night after night after night, and nothing.  Sure, I heard the choirs of angels singing a couple times at first, but they haven’t done that in months.  Now I’m just out here, all alone, shining for no one to even see.  In fact, I bet those people down there on the earth don’t even know I’m here anymore…”

That’s the way we get, isn’t it?

Discouraged.  Tired.  Thinking whatever we’re doing is so meaningless as to be pointless.

We don’t often see and understand the real difference we are making… or could be making in the lives of others.

We don’t see those three Kings looking at our light and following our light to the Presence of Jesus in the world.  So sometimes we’re tempted to give up, to go home, to tell God it’s too hard.  But maybe we should take a few lessons from that little star about how to be a real star in this world.

First, the star recognized the Presence of Jesus, and the Presence of Jesus lit up the star’s life.  Do we recognize the Presence of Jesus in our lives, or do we slog through the day with our head down and our bodies on auto-pilot, trying to just get to the end of the day or the end of the week?  There is a better way.  FIND the Presence of Jesus all around you and inside of you.  Be a Magi.  Look for it.  The star found it and wanted to tell the world.

Second, let His light shine through you.  That little star had the first burst of excitement, but after that, it needed God’s power to stay lit.  Let God’s power light your life as well.

Next, remember that you never know who your light is leading.  I guarantee you, no matter who you are or where you are, someone is paying attention to your light and your life.  They are watching how you live and taking their cue from that.  It may be someone you don’t even know.  When people walk into your office, do you smile and greet them happily?  Or do you grumble and wish they would go away and let you get some work done?  There are wisemen and women out there, looking for someone to point them the right direction.  Is that person you?

Are you a star?

You can be, but you have to recognize the possibility and then act on it.  And when you get discouraged, always remember, just like that little star, God put you here for a reason.  You may not know what that reason is, but I challenge you to shine as best you can and let God work out the details you can’t even see.  The star did, and because of that, we still sing about that little star today.  To me, that’s worth remembering!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2009

A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to

Staci Stallings

Staci Stallings

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.

Staci Stallings, the author of this article, is a #1 Best Selling Contemporary Christian Romance author and the founder of Grace & Faith Author Connection. Staci has a special surprise for you today and tomorrow only…

Cowboy coverFREE ON KINDLE THREE DAYS ONLY!

December 26th – 28th:

Cowboy

 “One of the most gripping contemporary romances I’ve read in the past three years.”  

–Michelle Sutton, Amazon Top 1,000 Reviewer

 

Timothy Ashton Raines is at the top of his game and the end of his rope.  Then one night, he walks away from everything…

Available today as a free download from Amazon!

Praying for Salvation

by June Foster

Is there anyone in your life – friend or family – that you’d love to see come to salvation? Have you been praying for this person for what seems like forever, and sometimes you ask God if He really hears your prayers? I have. And I’d like to encourage you. Don’t give up.

Let’s see what God’s word says. First of all, He wants everyone and that means the person you’re praying for, to come to Christ. 11Peter3:9 says “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Just as He waited until you were ready to receive Him, He’s waiting to save your friend or loved one when they are, and He absolutely wants them to enter into His Kingdom.

Have you been praying with someone else for that person’s salvation? Matthew 18:19 says “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” I know – God doesn’t violate a person’s free will and force them to receive salvation, but I’d say that agreement in prayer sounds like a powerful tool in seeking God.

Now Acts 16:31 says “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Again, that’s no guarantee that another will be saved. But still, this statement is in the Bible and worth considering. If that person you’re praying for is a member of your family, I’d take this verse to heart. To me it indicates that there is a good possibility other people in your family will be saved when or after you do.

11Timothy 3:16 says “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means it comes from God’s own mouth. So if God says something in the Word, we can trust it as truth. Pray for the person who’s on your heart and remind God what He says in His word. I believe when you storm Heaven in this way, your loved one doesn’t stand a chance to hide from God for long. I’ve seen it more than once in my own life.

Tim Garrett saw Jess Colton back to health in Give Us This Day but can’t control his own life. He wants nothing more than to serve God as a pastoral counselor, but first must prove to the staff and elders at Bellewood Fellowship he can handle the job he was hired to do — work with the senior high youth.

Roxanne Ratner’s father abandoned her when she was ten, and now she doesn’t trust men. They’ll only hurt her like her parent did. She fills the empty place in her heart with shopping for designer clothes. Though the perky young hairstylist falls in love with the Tim, she must keep her distance from the handsome pastor.

Despite Tim’s efforts to prove himself on the job, everything works against him bringing him closer to dismissal. Tim has one last chance at Camp Solid Rock. When Tim learns a frightening secret from his youthful adversary, can he make a difference? Can Roxanne risk giving her heart to Tim?

June Foster is a retired school teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She writes full time and travels in her RV with her husband Joe. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This Day – February 1, 2012, As We Forgive – September 1, 2012, and Deliver Us – April 1, 2013, and Hometown Fourth of July – July 1, 2012.  June loves to write stories about characters who overcome the issues in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. June’s book, Ryan’s Father, will be published by WhiteFire Publishing in the near future.

PART OF THE PROBLEM OR PART OF THE SOLUTION

by Lillian Duncan

My writing journey has been a long and twisted path—and I made some wrong turns along the way. But God has been with me every step of the way and He has made a way in spite of my wrong turns.

I didn’t start writing until I was forty. For the life of me, I can’t figure that one out since I always had stories in my head. Daydreams I called them. But they were very detailed with interesting characters and plots. Sometimes happy endings and sometimes not so happy.

One day I realized—hey, I’m supposed to be writing those stories down so I did.

It took me a year to finish that first manuscript and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time so I started another one and another.

Even though I was a Christian since my teens I wasn’t living a Christian lifestyle at the time. Along with starting my writing journey, I was also beginning my spiritual journey back to my Christian roots.

My first attempts at writing a novel were mystery and suspense and just like the books I read they were filled with four letter words and gratuitous sex.

When someone called me on the language, I explained that’s how bad guys talk but…I began to wonder about that and the more I prayed about it, the more uncomfortable I became.

About the same time, I got very tired of reading that same bad language and titillating sex scenes in books that would have been much better without them. But the thing that really bothered me the most with some of the mainstream books I read was the negative portrayal of God, traditional values, and Christians.

That led me to Christian fiction.

It occurred to me that you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. I wanted to be part of the solution. And a Christian fiction writer was born.

I am so thankful that my earlier “raunchy” attempts—oops—I mean mainstream suspense didn’t get published. I’m so glad I didn’t add to the problem.

DARK ALLEYS is a story about a woman who ends up homeless and alone in a dark alley on a cold winter night. She witnesses a murder while in a drunken stupor and almost becomes his second victim. She awakens in the hospital with no clear memory of how she was injured. She attempts to put her life back together but, of course, the murderer has other plans.

I wanted to write a story where the main character was the queen of underdogs and I think I succeeded. Tessa is a mess, just like the rest of us. She could give up and no one could blame her, but she doesn’t. She keeps going—putting one step in front of the other.

And some days that’s all any of us can do.

Those are the days we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.

And one step at a time He will lead out of that dark alley and into His light.

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She writes the type of books she loves to read—suspense with a touch of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or aspeech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. She also has a devotional blog at: www.PowerUpWithGod.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan

As an early Christmas gift to your readers, anyone who purchases a copy of THE CHRISTMAS STALKING can receive a FREE e-copy of either DARK ALLEYS or GEESE MATE FOR LIFE. Once you purchase it, simply go to my website (www.lillianduncan.net) and send me the order number. I will email you a copy of the book of your choice. Merry Christmas to all!!

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