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

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Book review of Mikayla and Gregory Kane’s Angel Crest Deception

by Mary Campagna Findley

What if you were a world-renowned self-help guru with a shocking secret about someone you were completely unable to help? What if the curse of mental illness came mingled with an amazing gift of discernment, even prophecy? What ifyou had to question whether you already accepted the Mark of the Beast? Are you lost forever, already tagged and in the enemy’s camp, possibly participating in his campaign of deception?
The message of the Angel Crest Deception is one of the most unusual treatments of the end times I have ever read. I could hear the buzz of the approaching locust horde from the book of Joel. The torment of each character, the struggle for understanding, the renewing of minds who thought they had things all figured out — it’s all there.
Suspense, subculture influence, media power, are all represented here, and will all keep you reading. And I have a feeling there must be more to come. I know I want there to be.

http://www.amazon.com/The-Angel-Crest-Deception-ebook/dp/B008S1A0FS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

mikaela book 1

Where My Title Came From

By Jessie Powers

Right now as I type this my house is peaceful. Hymns are running through my mind, our daughter is peacefully sleeping in her crib, my husband is about to get up and head to work, and the sun is beginning its daily trek across the sky. I am pleased to admit that my house cozy, and full of wonderful memories. The promise of a day with new adventures waits.

11 years ago I could not have said all that. 11 years ago I was living in fear, pain, shame, and confusion. I felt abandoned by God. This God that I loved and had grown up loving, this God that I dedicated my life to serving seemed to be a god that was out of touch, that didn’t really care about me, that ignored me in my time of utter desperation. So, when I was at my worst in lieu of turning toward God and running into His comforting arms, His waiting peace, I ran the opposite way.

I took an act committed by men and blamed God. I blamed God for allowing human nature to run its course. I blamed God for my feelings, for my situation. In reality God was hurting just as much. God is our Abba, our Father and He loves us. He desperately loves us. When one of His precious children is abused He hurts. He hates to see us use the precious gift of choice to hurt each other. He wanted me to turn to Him. It had to be my choice though.

In my time of running I learned a lot of truths. I learned that the places where we expect to find God are not always the places where He is the most evident. I learned that good, loyal, lifelong friends are one of the most precious gifts on this earth. I learned that it is ok to admit that we are weak sometimes. I learned that rarely does life happen the way that we plan. I learned that no matter how far I run, no matter what I do, no matter how angry I get at the world, God still loves me.

I learned that even a broken vessel is beautiful to someone. 11 years ago I was a rape victim, a mother that lost the baby I conceived during the rape, I was a hopeless child craving the love of her Abba, and I didn’t know how to feel His love. I knew Him. I grew up knowing Him, but I didn’t know how to tune into that love when it was most needed.

We can now fast forward to today. The sun is beginning to peak over the mountains. My husband is getting ready to head off to work, and our 13 month old daughter is peacefully sleeping in her crib. Not only do I have the family that I have prayed for since I was a little child. I have something more. I have a hard won peace that comes from seeking God and finding Him. I have a joy that comes from knowing that after all this life has to throw at me (the beautiful and the ugly) I have Heaven waiting, and finally I will not just feel God in my soul I will get to see Him. I will get to say “Jesus, thank you. I love you. I praise you.” And that is why my book is entitled Joyfully After All.

jessieJessie Lee is the author of Joyfully After All: My Journey From Rape Victim to God’s Princess. It can be find in paperback and Ebook format on amazon.com. When she isn’t busy working on her next book or her blog (www.joyfullyafterall.wordpress.com) Jessie enjoys spending time with friends and family, both indoors and exploring the wonderful world God has created.  Jessie Lee can be found on Facebook under Joyfully After All and loves spending as much time as possible helping other women realize that no matter what happens, no matter what they do, God is offering them salvation, joy and peace.

 

 

Testing and Trials (A Part of the Christian Life)

By Erin Lamb

Some teach that if you love God and do everything He says, then your life will be filled with nothing but good things. Nothing is further from the truth. Jesus lived a perfect life and suffered greatly. Jesus told us, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world,” John 16:33. Today, I wanted to talk about another person who suffered, Job.

“Job was a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. He is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil (1:1). One day, Satan (“the Adversary”) appears before God in heaven. God boasts to Satan about Job’s goodness, but Satan argues that Job is only good because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to torment Job to test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process,” Spark Notes.

My pastor friend told me that going through trials is a compliment, a sign that God trusts you. I thought to myself, “God can You trust me less.” I can relate to Job. Can you? Maybe we haven’t had the exact same experiences of losing children, a spouse, our health, or all our belongings all at the same time. I am certain that we have all had our faith tested in some way. If we haven’t, then eventually we will. The brief summary above tells us something about Job. He was not afflicted because he had done evil in the eyes of God. He was afflicted because the enemy wanted to prove that Job would turn away from God.

The good things about Job’s life:

He was well respected and honored by God. I love that God was boasting about Job in heaven. How great is it that Abba boasts about us? It does not matter if other people boast about you. What matters is what God is saying about you in heaven. To the people around you, even your friends and family, you may appear to be weak, sinful, and a mess. But in the eyes of God, you are more than precious. Job’s friends did not understand; his wife did not understand, but God did! God knows right where you are. He knows what is breaking your heart. He is boasting of your faithfulness in the heavens.

Job did not curse God, and he received double for what he lost. Whatever happens to you, don’t lose faith in the goodness of God. You may have to cry it out, scream it out, counsel it out, but don’t lose faith in God. He is cheering for you! He will heal and restore you. He will never leave or forsake you. Dig in deep with Him. One thing I can promise, God is more than faithful.

imagesCAMKUI04From the time Erin Lamb was a child, she was curious about God. She grew up in a home with a pastor and Sunday school teacher, which made knowing God a part of everyday life. More than reading about Him, her heart longed to know Him personally. Along this journey, she picked up a pen and paper and began to write about her experiences with God and His responses.

I Thought I Knew What Love Was is a book for every person who wants to plunge deeper into the heart of cover-iibGod. If circumstances or life have made God seem distant or cold, the words on these pages will lure your heart on a journey with the God of the high and low places. Understanding the depths of God’s love during the good and the challenging times is essential to living a joy-filled life. Erin has captured the heart of God through prayers, sonnets, and poems that reveal the human experience in relation to God. If you have ever felt as though God doesn’t understand you, then poems like “Agape” “Even If” and “Our Deepest Need” will reveal God’s unfailing love for you. Whether you find yourself in the difficult places, or on the mountaintop, your heart and mind will be drawn to a more intimate place where you commune with God.

Trusting in God Despite Our Circumstance

By June Foster

Habakkuk 3:17-19 are a couple of my favorite scriptures. The verses depict the prophet’s faith in the Lord despite his material circumstances. I think it would be interesting to put this into modern day language.

Here’s the original. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.

Now for the updated version. Though I don’t have the money to buy more than rice and beans at the grocery store, and I can’t pay my electric bill, though my car is sitting on empty, and I can’t find a job, though there’s very little food left in the cabinet, and only oatmeal to set on the table for my kids, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord will provide. He enriches my faith and opens the doors to His provisions. He supplies that job I need so badly and lifts me out of my poverty because I seek first the Kingdom of God.

I don’t believe this revision is merely an interesting exercise, but I think it has meaning for many. If this version brings a bit of hope, email me personally if you’d like. I’d love to hear your testimony. junefoster11@gmail.com

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.

Interview with Bree from Double Identity

Today we are glad to meet Bree, one of the main characters from Inspirational Author Dawn Byrd’s new book “Double Identity”

Bree, tell me the most interesting thing about you.

I’m not sure how interesting it is, but I’ve had the same boyfriend since middle school. I’ve always known Luke is the guy for me. We have big plans for the future. He’s going to be a veterinarian and we’re going to work together. He’ll take care of the large animals and I’ll be a small animal expert.

 What do you do for fun?

I love to hang out with Luke. He lives on a farm and raises horses. It’s fun to ride through the meadows and to pet the newborn animals.

What do you put off doing because you dread it?

I put off washing my car. It’s such a pain.

What are you afraid of most in life?

I’m afraid of losing my dad to cancer. Now that he’s back in my life, I don’t want to lose him.

 What do you want out of life?

All I want is to graduate from high school and college and marry Luke.

 What is the most important thing to you?

My parents and Luke and my faith. For seventeen years, I thought my father was dead, but he’s alive. He’s fighting cancer right now and I’m really scared. I don’t know what I’d do without my faith in God. I’m having a really hard time right now because my identical twin sister, Cassie, is in love with my boyfriend.

 Do you read? If so, what is your favorite type of book to read?

I don’t have much time to read. I’m in high school and I work part-time at the local bowling alley.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d want to look totally different from my twin, Cassie. Having a twin does something to a girl’s identity. For example, Luke thinks I’m beautiful. Does he think my sister is beautiful too?

Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?

No pets, but I love to play with the animal’s on Luke’s farm.

 If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?

I would go back to the day I was born and find a way keep my parents together so I could grow up with my sister. Maybe if we’d grown up together, she would be a nicer person.

We thank Bree for taking the time to talk to us.

About K. Dawn Byrd

K. Dawn Byrd is an author of inspirational novels in several genres, including, historical, suspense, romance, and young adult. Some of her favorite things are chocolate, cars, and her pets. Her hobbies include reading, writing, and riding down country roads in the passenger seat of her husband’s Corvette Stingray. When asked why she writes, her response is, “For the simple joy of placing words on the page!”
To connect with K.Dawn Byrd

Email: kdawnbyrd@yahoo.com

Blog: www.kdawnbyrd.blogspot.com

Twitter: kdawnbyrd

Pinterist: kdawnbyrd

Facebook: kdawnbyrd

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLtz_kGEFFk&feature=plcp

 

DoubleIdentityCoverArt72dpiSeventeen-year old Bree has always wanted a sister. She’s shocked when she learns that her father is alive and her identical twin sister, Cassie, is coming to live with her. She can’t wait for Cassie to arrive. She just knows they’ll be best friends.
Bree soon discovers that even though they look alike, they’re totally different. Cassie is wild and impulsive. She hates Bree’s little town and everything in it, except Bree’s boyfriend, Luke. When Cassie becomes obsessed with Luke, she’ll go to any length to have him for herself.

 
Luke has a secret, which Cassie learns and uses against him. She’s off her medication and will stop at nothing. She says he’s in love with her. He says he loves Bree. Will their secrets destroy them and their relationships?

 

Dreams and Doubts

By Laura J. Marshall

Sometimes the doubts can overwhelm the dream.  But more than believing in ourselves, we must believe in God; for we know the heaviness of our flesh and our sinful nature.  We must remember that God placed that gift, the gift of our dreams, that burning desire inside of each of us for a reason.

Instead of burying the talent, as the fearful servant did in Matthew 25 and then returned it the same as when it was given to him, we must be like the “good and faithful” servants who invested and risked; sowing and reaping, overcoming the fears they likewise may have felt. For their desire to please their lord with gain far outweighed their self-doubt and what-ifs.

We must be brave and prayerful when following the dreams that God has placed within our hearts. As writers, the words fairly flow from the heart, from the head, images and stories. We strive to prove ourselves worthy of our calling. We study and read, learn from our counterparts and all the while, a little piece doubting the existence of this “talent,” asking ourselves, “Is it real?”

There is a love there that can’t be denied, a burning; the love of images that flit through the mind at the merest mention of a word, time, or place; stories that catch fire in your soul and where you live for meaningful moments (of writing) during each day.  You yearn to share the journeys, the struggles, and the triumphs.  Most of all, we yearn to show the world our Lord; the One who picks us up and cheers us on when everyone else has called the coroner and pronounced us dead. The One who mends our broken hearts, heals our broken bodies, and give us a testimony from our testing.

I encourage you to be confident and stalwart; steadfast and humble.

God will give you increase and you will enter the joy of the Lord.

Walk in God’s own dreams for your life; they are in your heart and you’ve been following them all along.

Habbakuk 2:2-3

Then the Lord answered me and said:

Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.

Laura J. Marshall can be found at www.LauraJMarshall.com.  She writes Christian Historical Romance and hopes to have one of her two novels available on Amazon soon.  Join her at Encouragement for the Christian Writer at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Encouragement-for-the-Christian-Writer/179470742076487

Accountability: Two are Better Than One

Have you ever had an accountability partner?  I recently contacted another author about being my writing accountability partner.  We have a private Facebook group where we post our writing goals each week.  This does two things:  first it forces me to write out my goals and secondly it provides motivation as I know I will have to ‘fess up to her if I fail to accomplish the goals I have set.  This accountability relationship has helped me accomplish more in my writing – what God has laid on my heart to share with others.  Therefore, it has been well worth it!

Two Are Better Than One

 The Bible says it this way, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up…Though one may be overpowered,  two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)  This scripture is often used to describe a marriage relationship.  However, I also believe it can be applied to an accountability partner.  For example, if I fail to meet my goals, I know that my accountability partner will encourage me, help me get back on track and pray for me.

Isolation:  One Tactic From the Enemy

As Christians, I believe we are vulnerable to our enemy, Satan, when we are isolated from each other.  There is power in meeting together and praying together.  I found this to be true in the year 2000 when I was struggling with a secret sin.  The longer this sin was a secret and I was dealing with it alone, the more power it seemed to hold over me.  The shame I felt over this sin also fed my secrecy.   It was a vicious cycle in which I got caught.

You see, as a Christian married woman, I struggled with pornography.  I could not believe it and yet I could not stop.  “Wasn’t this just a guy’s problem?” I thought to myself.  I felt that I was the only woman to ever struggle with this particular sin.

My Breaking Point

And yet I reached a breaking point where I was desperate to change.  One part of my healing process was meeting each week with an accountability and prayer partner.  I know that God provided this accountability partner for me as she was someone I could trust to not share the details of my life with others, show me grace and yet also ask me the hard questions.  I firmly believe that some of her prayers got me through that dark season of my life.

How About You?

Could you benefit from accountability in an area of your life?  If so, I encourage you to pray about it and ask God to provide an accountability partner for you.   And then take the step to approach that person and ask them to start meeting with you to share honestly with each and pray together.  There is power in meeting together as believers in Christ!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  Matthew 18:20

Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements.  Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.

Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography:  It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.”  During their book launch on 9/26/12 – 9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $400 worth of resources.  Find out more at www.ChristianWomenandPorn.com

New Beginnings

By Naty Matos

As the Grace & Faith 4U blog has been in hiatus since June, I felt the best way to re-launch it would be talking about new beginnings. In life we have those all the time. New chapters that open at certain places of our life journey that provides us with a whole new experience to grow through.

Life is filled with new beginnings and the way we look at them will determine the outcome. One of the great beginnings is the gift of salvation. It gives us the opportunity of a new spiritual life and to have eternal life. Like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”

Every morning is a new beginning as well and regardless of the issues we faced the day before, God gives us a new opportunity to make our wrong right and to have hope in a better life experience. Keep in mind what it says in Lamentations 3:22-24 “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

So just like God and life gives us new beginnings let’s enjoy this new beginning for Grace and Faith. Enjoy what our awesome authors have to share with us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Many blessings
Naty Matos was born in the city of New York. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling.
Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at www.therisingmuse.com

 

Her new novel The Road Home is available in Kindle and Nook

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